The second full weekend of preseason NFL action looked much like the first, with most of the top fantasy options getting precious little playing time, but injuries emerging as the main story. Just like the preceding weekend, the San Diego Chargers fell victim, but unlike running back Ryan Mathews, who could still return by the first regular-season game, it will be a while before anyone sees sleeper wide receiver Vincent Brown helping a fantasy lineup.
Brown broke his left ankle on an 18-yard touchdown catch Saturday night, and is expected to miss at least eight weeks. A 15th-rounder in ESPN average live drafts, Brown's stock was rising over the past week, as he had 81 receiving yards and a touchdown a week earlier. In fact, as of Sunday night only Austin Collie of the Indianapolis Colts had seen his seven-day snake draft ADP rise more among wide receivers; Collie has been held back by concussions in the past and unfortunately he left Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after a particularly high hit. Stay tuned.
As for Brown, his loss erases a potential sleeper from the draft pool, but certainly remember the name if you've got the bench space to add a receiver in October. Brown should return and he's an obvious talent in the right spot for opportunity. Don't presume that chance won't still be there in two months. The Chargers lost Vincent Jackson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and starting wide receivers Robert Meachem and Malcom Floyd have each had issues staying healthy, as has tight end Antonio Gates. The Chargers also have Eddie Royal, but he's been dealing with a groin injury.
Quarterback Philip Rivers isn't a top-5 option at the position, and some might be concerned about his weapons, but don't downgrade him in the rankings yet, despite two more interceptions over the weekend, which was certainly a theme during the 2011 season. Meachem and Floyd, when healthy, have been productive deep threats and Gates claims he hasn't been this healthy in years. For now cross Brown off your draft lists but don't lose faith in other Chargers, unless more injuries just keep piling up.
Here is other news from a busy preseason weekend:
• Want some good news? Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson caught two passes in Saturday's win over the San Francisco 49ers, including a 43-yarder in which he outjumped two defenders. None of this ensures Johnson will play all 16 games this season, or rationalize his status as a second-round draft pick, but at least he's playing. Johnson is going 12th in ADP, third among wide receivers.
• The 49ers saw a pair of running backs leave prematurely from the Texans game with leg injuries. Veteran Brandon Jacobs, whose ADP is one pick ahead of Vincent Brown's, needed an MRI on his left knee and the results were deemed relatively positive, though his availability remains in question. Rookie LaMichael James sprained his left ankle and was carted from the field, but the team believes he avoided serious injury, as well. The 49ers still have a healthy, productive Frank Gore, and for those wondering about his handcuff, we remind you it's been Kendall Hunter all along. Hunter ran for 46 yards on six carries Saturday.
• Staying out west, Seattle Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson lit up Denver Broncos reserves for 155 passing yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns Saturday, and it's certainly possible Wilson could vault Matt Flynn for starting duties. Flynn threw for only 31 yards Saturday. Despite rumors that 2011 starter Tarvaris Jackson is headed elsewhere, fantasy owners really don't have much clarity on who will start for Seattle. The veteran Flynn would seem to be a better option for fantasy owners -- hey, he had a six-touchdown game to close the 2011 season! -- but not if he's on the bench.
• Speaking of the bench, oft-discussed wide receiver Terrell Owens made his Seahawks debut Saturday and was targeted five times, but caught nary a pass. Owens dropped what would have been a wide-open 46-yard touchdown, but at least he was wide open. Owens has actually seen his ADP stock fall in the past week, which makes sense. One has to wonder if any Seattle quarterbacks can be successful with their weapons.
• As for other news that didn't take place in a preseason game, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe ended his holdout, signing a one-year tender. This shouldn't affect Bowe's fantasy value, as he's going in the sixth round, and just outside the top 20 at his position. Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace remain notable holdouts, but fantasy owners are wisely presuming they'll play, since their lofty ADP hasn't changed.