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Preseason Notes

Alex Smith – looks sharp Sunday: Smith looked sharp Sunday, completing 9-of-13 passes 88 yards. He marched the 49ers down the field for a touchdown on their opening drive, a result made all the more impressive by the fact that most of the team's other main offensive weapons weren't in the lineup. It's been an up and down preseason so far for Smith, but he's still locked in as the top guy under center in San Francisco and has the potential to be one of the better #2 fantasy QBs available.

Jabar Gaffney – big game Saturday: Gaffney had six catches for 98 yards during Saturday's preseason game against
Detroit. All of Gaffney's catches were from starter Kyle Orton, which shows that their relationship is developing into one that could make Gaffney an interesting fantasy play this season. With Brandon Marshall now in Miami, Gaffney will be competing with Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley and rookies Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker for catches, so there is definite upside here due to the overall lack of competition from an elite wideout.

Josh Freeman – fractures thumb Saturday: When addressing Freeman's (thumb) status, a team spokesman said 
"the current expectation is that he will practice and play (in) Week One". "It's a huge setback, obviously, when you lose your first quarterback," Coach Raheem Morris said after Saturday's game, but he too sounds optimistic that Freeman will be back for Week 1. "We're lucky. We expect him back in the first week of the season and that's very fortunate." It sounds like the Bucs will get their second-year QB back in time to start the season, but that's of course barring a setback, and it is somewhat troubling that he fractured the tip of the thumb on his throwing hand.

Laurence Maroney- not much action in 2nd preseason game: According to Coach Bill Belichick, Maroney's lack of
carries in the Patriots' second preseason game was simply a preseason rotation issue. The Patriots have a deep and(for now) healthy backfield, so it will be revealing to see who gets the most work this coming Thursday in the Patriots' third preseason contest, often the most telling with regards to how things could shake out lineup-wise come Week 1. Maroney and Fred Taylor are the likely candidates, but given the team's personnel at running back, some form of committee seems likely, in any case so draft Maroney with caution knowing he might not be a big fantasy contributor every week.

Montario Hardesty – close to coming back: Hardesty (knee) could practice toward the end of next week and might get
some reps in the Browns' final preseason game. Hardesty's knee issue has thwarted his short-term chances of giving Jerome Harrison a run for his money for the team's starting running back job, but once the two are both healthy, a time-share could be on tap.

Darrius Heyward-Bey – misses preseason game: Heyward-Bey (soreness) did not play in Saturday's preseason game
against the Bears. Heyward-Bey has had a quiet preseason after the coaches raved about his offseason work, so hopefully he is able to get back to 100 percent by the start of the regular season or he may be in store for another disappointing season.

Chaz Schilens – can't get on the field: Schilens (foot) did not play in Saturday's preseason game against the Bears.
The Raiders continue to be cautious with Schilens, but it would be nice to see him get on the field in the last couple preseason games to get some game action with new quarterback Jason Campbell before the beginning of the regular season especially since he is supposed to be the No.1 WR for the Raiders this season.