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With preseason play nearing its end, I've asked the Yahoo fanalysts to identify which players did the most to sway their opinions (positively and negatively) from where they were initially valued before training camps got underway. I will kick this exercise off with a player that, while he seriously damaged his value in the fantasy court of public opinion, I can't help but keep moving up my WR draft board.
Jeremy Maclin, KC, WR - I saw very bad things ahead for Maclin when he chose a penthouse-to-outhouse move from Philly to KC in the offseason. After all, Chiefs QB Alex Smith has been death to WR fantasy value during his career, and Maclin's downfield talents don't mesh well with Smith's check down leanings. But what I've seen of Maclin this preseason is something I wasn't expecting - Maclin changing into more of a possession type receiver, moving around and working within Smith's wheelhouse range. Credit Andy Reid for knowing that he could turn Maclin into a square peg instead of trying to deal with a circle that didn't fit the system. (Brandon Funston)
Brandon Marshall, NYJ, WR: Leading the Jets’ receiving corps in targets throughout the preseason, Marshall looks rejuvenated and ready to bounce back from a down year. He’s a fantastic value in the fifth round. (Liz Loza)
Chris Ivory, NYJ, RB: He’s never surpassed 200 carries in a single season and has 25 catches in 55 career games, but without much competition he should exceed 250 total touches with ease. In a better offensive situation than most believe, the violent, downhill runner is a strong candidate to bull his way to 1,200 combined yards with 6-8 touchdowns. Once ranked outside my RB top-24, he now firmly sits at the RB2 table. (Brad Evans)
Bishop Sankey, Ten, RB: Sankey remains in line to receive a healthy share of the workload in a not-totally-zombified offense, so he's not such a bad late-round dice roll. I don't trust him, obviously, but I can tolerate him after Pick No. 100. (Andy Behrens)
Doug Martin, TB, RB: Don't laugh off the "best shape of his life" theme, as sometimes it has legs. Exhibit A, Doug Martin. He came to Tampa Bay's camp slimmed down and eager to prove a point, and maybe earn a big contract for 2016 and beyond. He's been snappy in preseason action (almost 6.0 YPC) and has moved significantly up my board. (Scott Pianowski)
C.J. Anderson, Den, RB: There’s some recent buzz about Ronnie Hillman, but Anderson has impressed throughout August and has moved into the first round of my rankings as someone who should be the clear lead back in one of the NFL’s best offenses. (Dalton Del Don).
Joseph Randle, Dal, RB: I don't think any RB has fallen further in my rankings than Randle, who I once had as high as 15th but have dropped to the bottom end of my top 30. Despite reports to the contrary, I didn't view Darren McFadden as a serious threat to Randle's lead chair, and apparently Randle didn't either. With Randle failing to impress in August, talk is now that Run-DMC could end up at top of what now clearly looks like an unavoidable platoon situation. I love the O-line here, but I'm not sure the RB to own in Dallas is even on the roster yet. No matter to me, though, as I'm now as hands off on this situation as one fantasy owner can be. (Brandon Funston)
T.J. Yeldon, Jac, RB: In his first and only preseason action, Yeldon carried the ball eight times for a mere 10 yards. He looked sluggish and far from gritty. The volume might be there, but the tape is going to be ugly. (Liz Loza)
DeSean Jackson, Was, WR: The somewhat predictable demise of RGIII is a positive in some ways. Kirk Cousins posted a 48.0 accuracy percentage on throws beyond 20 yards last year, the seventh-best mark in the league. However, Washington’s ghostly offensive line is a major drawback, particularly for deep-threat Jackson. Pocket time is critical for the wideout to thrive. I have faith in Cousins, just not the players protecting him. Expect a wildly erratic season from D-Jax. (Brad Evans)
Josh Hill, NO, TE: As much as I appreciate Hill's team context and his skills, he's pretty clearly behind Ben Watson in the positional hierarchy. That hurts. I still think Hill can snag 6-7 scores, but they'll be awfully tough to predict along the way. (Andy Behrens)
Melvin Gordon, SD, RB: I wasn't sure how I felt about Melvin Gordon two months ago, but now the jury is in: I don't want him. He's been slow and deliberate on running attempts - struggling to pick up the speed of the pro game - and has also floundered in pass protection. Keep in mind, Gordon caught just 22 passes at Wisconsin. Danny Woodhead is healthy again and a superb third-down back; I won't be surprised if Gordon doesn't even lead the San Diego runners in fantasy points this fall. (Scott Pianowski)
DeMarco Murray, Phi, RB: I remained high on him despite coming off last season’s big workload, but it’s becoming increasingly clear he’s going to be in something of a committee in Philly, so I’ve dropped him about a round from my original ranking. (Dalton Del Don)