After another eventful few days, dynasty owners are ready for the most important week of the preseason, where starting jobs will be taken and players will either win jobs or find themselves on the streets. We’re here to provide analysis all preseason long so you don’t miss a thing. With that said, we’re posting a regular watch list for the preseason games, full of players we’re watching for each and every game. For premium subscribers, we also have the ultimate preseason index of players to watch, a 6,000 word write-up with a player from every team who we have our eyes on.
Let’s take a quick look at Thursday night’s limited action and who we’re looking forward to seeing the most:
Arizona vs. Tennessee
For the Titans, all eyes are going to be squarely on Jake Locker, who was recently named their starting quarterback. He hasn’t outplayed Matt Hasselbeck by any stretch of the imagination thus far in the preseason, but the Titans have obviously seen enough of him to feel he gives them the best chance to win. There are still some very real and valid questions about his accuracy that he’ll have to answer and he’ll start trying to do that tonight. At receiver, Kendall Wright has had a strong start to camp and he should see plenty of time in tonight’s game. It would be great to see some more consistency from Chris Johnson as well. It sure seems like a long time ago when he was dominating the league, but he’s starting to show some flashes of that form and his owners would love to see him put together a solid half of football. In deep sleeper land, Darius Reynaud has done nothing but make plays. Can he make enough to actually carve out a roster spot?
F0r the Cardinals, the story is obviously the quarterback play as well. John Skelton is going to start and will get an extended chance to win the job. Larry Fitzgerald’s owners have to be hoping to see something from Skelton or it’s going to be another season of “what if” questions. Kevin Kolb’s dynasty value is on full fledged life support and tonight could be the last straw for his owners in dynasty leagues. At running back, we’ll finally see the debut of Beanie Wells and should also see more of Ryan Williams this week. It’s going to be interesting to see how the carries are divided up and we could start getting some clue starting tonight. At receiver, Michael Floyd has been very quiet and his owners would love to see him make some plays. As we talked about in the Podcast last night, Floyd has been disappointing so far.
Green Bay vs. Cincinnati
For the Packers, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t looked as sharp as he did last year in his limited action this preseason. However, I’d venture to say nobody has ever looked as sharp as Rodgers did last year. It would be great to see him get into a rhythm tonight and start slinging the ball around the yard like we all know he can. In the end, there really isn’t much to worry about either way. At running back, there are still serious questions about how this whole thing shakes out. We may be able to get a bit of a clue tonight, though James Starks is still out with his turf toe injury. Other than that, there’s not much to be concerned about as far as the Packers go. The one player I have my eye on is Randall Cobb. We know how talented he is, but can he show the consistency needed to be on the field, well, consistently?
As far as the Bengals go, the second receiver position could very well be decided tonight and whoever wins the job will have some value opposite AJ Green. Armon Binns, Brandon Tate, Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones could all still be in the mix in some way, shape or form. Somebody needs to step up and if they don’t, defenses are going to focus even more attention on Green. We were hoping to see an extended look at the way the Bengals are going to handle their running back situation. Exactly how much BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Bernard Scott are deployed will be a major story line for dynasty owners looking at BGE at a possible RB3. Unfortunately, it looks like Scott is going to be held out, leaving the time share mystery something we won’t have revealed until week one of the regular season.
Jacksonville vs. Baltimore
The Jaguars were given at least a sliver of hope last week as Blaine Gabbert actually looked almost like a real NFL quarterback. Justin Blackmon helped him with a great debut and showed the ability to break tackles and make plays after the catch. Laurent Robinson needs to show up and give Gabbert some help as well – one catch for seven yards this preseason just hasn’t inspired a lot of confidence, though he obviously hasn’t played much. At running back, Rashad Jennings has been spectacular and he’s not giving the Jags any reason to beg Maurice Jones-Drew to come back. While Jennings is in no way the same type of dominant player that MJD is, he’s proving that he’s more than capable of being a primary option. Can this offense put together a half of football that isn’t borderline pathetic? That actually may be the question of the night.
For the Ravens, it’s all systems go. More than anything, owners of Ray Rice just want to see him leave the game unscathed. We know what we have in players like Rice, Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin. It’s time for Torrey Smith to step up, but we pretty much know what we have there as well. Believe it or not, the most intriguing player to watch for the Ravnes could be Bobby Rainey, who is making a serious push to not only make the roster, but to push Bernard Pierce to be the backup to Rice.
Those are just a few of the players we’re looking forward to watching on Thursday as the action starts to get really serious. Who are you most interested in watching?