Cordarrelle Patterson If there was a way to stress how early it is, trust me, I would.

I mean, if football kicks off at 1 p.m. on the east coast on Sunday's, it's basically Thursday afternoon.

What I'm trying to say, dear reader, is that it's very, very early. We have 12 quarters left of football action, and plenty of practices and 7-on-7 drills to really shake things up.

That still doesn't stop the fantasy football die-hards from trying to uncover the gem before everyone else does.

Now that the first preseason game is in the books, here are three players who might slide up your draft board a few spots, and a few more who took a bit of a dive this weekend.

Stock Up

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, MIN: Patterson got plenty of work against the Texans on Friday night, playing the entire first half. He reeled in four balls for 54 yards, and had a monster kickoff return to start the game, which he almost brought back to the house. Most importantly, Patterson had a team-high eight targets. No one else on the Vikings even had four.

The good news didn't stop on Friday, head coach Leslie Frazier lauded Patterson's performance in his Saturday news conference, and added that "the team would have to keep feeding Patterson." I don't know about you, but I feel pretty good with Patterson as my first or second bench wideout. Plenty of potential here.

New England Patriots' Running Game: I might be cheating, putting them all together, but it's hard to argue against any of them. The Patriots scored a league-high 27 touchdowns from the ground last season, and I don't see this season being any different. Stevan Ridley had 8 carries for 92 yards, and even though one of them was a massive 62-yard scamper, that means the other 7 still went for 30 yards, good for over 4 yards a pop.

LeGarrette Blount might only see minimal action this season, but he ripped up the ground against the Eagles, carrying the rock 11 times for 101 yards. Even with 51 of those on one carry, that means tha other 10 still went for 50 yards, good for 5.0 a pop. 

Lest we forget about Shane Vareen, who only had 3 carries for 12 yards, but added a nice 13-yard TD catch from Mr. Brady in the opening quarter. 

It's clear that Ridley will be the go-getter for the Pats this season, but I don't have a problem getting Vareen as your starting FLEX, or even Blount as a deep sleeper.

Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA: Tannehill has always had a huge arm, and this year he might finally get to put it on display. After Miami added Mike Wallace to the roster this offseason, Tannehill's stock certainly went up a tick. After the Dolphins' tilt with the Jaguars, it went up another tick. Tannehill finished 5-for-9 with 75 yards, including a nice 22-yard strike to the newly-acquired Dustin Keller.

In a standard league, Tannehill is a more than serviceable backup quarterback. For the few of us that might play in 2-QB leagues, Tannehill is someone you can wait on and slide into the starting lineup. There will be a few growing pains, but when Tannehill and Wallace start connecting, it could be fireworks.

Stock Down

Philip Rivers, QB, SD: Although Rivers wasn't an ideal QB before the Chargers' game with Seattle, he didn't do much in the game to alter his stock either way. In fact, Rivers was very accurate, hitting 5 of his 6 throws for 45 yards. It wasn't until Monday's practice that Rivers' stock took a dip.

With San Diego already thin at WR, they certainly didn't need Malcom Floyd being carted off the field with an apparent knee injury. Although the initial MRI only showed a sprain, Floyd will be seeking a second opinion to make sure there isn't any serious ligament damage. 

With the immense depth at QB this year, there is no reason that Rivers should be your starting gunslinger.

Montee Ball, RB, DEN: Ball has been going off the boards quickly as of late, but maybe the first preseason game will slow that down a bit. The Broncos have already listed Ronnie Hillman as RB1, but it's clear that Ball has as much a shot as anyone to claim the job. Neither of them did very much to help their cause, with Ball getting 5 carries for 9 yards, and Hillman getting 3 attempts for 9 yards.

Until one of these backs begins to separate themselves from the other, it's best to play keep-away. Let someone else roll the dice on this one.

Marques Colston, WR, NOS: Now, it's hard for Colston to really have his stock drop since he didn't even suit up for his first preseason game. However, it looks like New Orleans will have plenty of targets this season, and we all know how much Drew Brees likes to spread the ball around.

Preston Parker and Nick Toon looked great, for what it's worth, and of course Jimmy Graham and Lance Moore are still in town as well. And lest we forget about Darren Sproles out of the backfield, who's always good for four or five catches a game.

Now, Colston very well could return to fantasy glory, but still nursing a foot injury, and with so many options in New Orleans, I would stay away from Colston unless he slips to you in the 5th or 6th round.

Be sure to check back next Tuesday, where we will look at the risers and fallers after the second slate of preseason games!