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 Friday night’s action and who we’re looking forward to seeing the most:
Seattle vs. Kansas City
There’s no doubt that all eyes will be on young Russell Wilson, who gets his first chance to play with the starters and can seemingly win the starting job for Seattle with a strong performance. Wilson has been electric in the preseason, but it’s been with the second team offense and against the second and third team defenses. If he can show the same type of dynamic “it” factor he has with the backups, we’ll see him on Sundays this season. The battle is also on at receiver with Terrell Owens and Braylon Edwards both trying to make their respective cases for a spot on the roster. Seattle may not keep both of them, so this night is going to be big for these two and, really, the entire receiving corps of the Seahawks.
For the Chiefs, we may see our first extended look at Jamaal Charles, though it would be pretty surprising to see him play the entire first half. Matt Cassel has been pretty good this preseason and the Seattle defense should be a stiff test for him tonight. At receiver, Dwayne Bowe is back and he could see a handful of snaps. Cyrus Gray has been intriguing so far and he could sew up a spot on the roster with another strong performance as well.
New England vs. Tampa Bay
For the Patriots, it’s all about the running backs. Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen are both in the mix to be the starter (though that really may not mean much in the end). Depending on what you read, either of them could be in the lead at this point. Whoever wins will get some key early down work in the committee-led attack. Barring something unforeseen, Ridley will likely get the early down and goal line work, while Vereen gets the passing down gig. It’s still too close to call, though. Look for Brandon Lloyd to finally be utilized more tonight as well.
For the Bucs, it’s time to unleash Vincent Jackson on the rest of the NFC. Reports have been glowing about Jackson’s performance and if he can really stretch the field, that’s going to do wonders for this offense. Speaking of offense, Doug Martin is going to have a legitimate chance to be the “1” in a “1-2” punch with another strong performance. The Ray Rice comparisons are a little extreme, but Martin has looked the part so far.
Philadelphia vs. Cleveland
The Eagles aren’t going to have to worry about protecting Michael Vick for a night as they’re wisely shutting him down for the preseason. We know who the starters are for Philadelphia, so the most intriguing players to watch since Vick is out are rookies Nick Foles and Bryce Brown. Foles has been tremendous thus far and looks to cement his status as the primary backup, which is an important position considering Vick’s tendency to get hurt. For Brown, he continues to push Dion Lewis to be the backup to LeSean McCoy and has been impressive in limited action.
For the Browns, it’s time to see Brandon Weeden get some chemistry going with Greg Little and Josh Gordon. The Browns offense has been sputtering so far and if they can’t show some type of passing game efficiency, defenses are going to do nothing but stack the box against Trent Richardson when he returns from injury. Meanwhile, can the renaissance of Montario Hardesty continue?
Atlanta vs. Miami
The Falcons may throw every play this year if Michael Turner continues to look this bad. It makes you wonder just how good this offense would be with, say, Maurice Jones-Drew? It seems that Jacquizz Rodgers is looking better and better to own each week with Turner’s struggles. Regardless, another solid half from Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White is going to do nothing to stop the whispers that Ryan could be a darkhorse candidate for fantasy MVP this season.
For the Dolphins, it would be great to see Ryan Tannehill develop some chemistry with someone on this rag tag receiving corps. He’s playing against a bit of a stacked deck at the moment and that needs to change quickly so he can gain some confidence. It’s not going to be surprising to see the Dolphins combing the waiver wire here soon if somebody doesn’t step up.
Chicago vs. New York Giants
This should be the first night we get to see an extended look at the re-tooled offense with Jay Cutler healthy and the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall on the outside. With Matt Forte back in camp, this is a team that suddenly looks very potent offensively. If they can put it together, there’s a lot of fantasy scoring sleeper potential within this group.
For the Giants, dynasty leaguers are very anxious to get another look at David Wilson since we already know what we have in the rest of the New York offense. Wilson is starting to put some heat on Ahmad Bradshaw and if we see a few more explosive plays, the Giants won’t have a choice but to make this a true committee attack.
San Diego vs. Minnesota
After losing Ryan Mathews and Vincent Brown to injuries, the Chargers likely just want to make it to Saturday with all their players in one piece. We were hoping to see a connection between Philip Rivers and Robert Meachem. It just hasn’t clicked yet and if it doesn’t soon, this passing game could be in some trouble early. Unfortunately, Rivers and Antonio Gates are both going to be held out tonight.
For the Vikings, Christian Ponder looks to continue building on a solid preseason, as does Toby Gerhart. We’re still looking for someone to step up opposite Percy Harvin since Jerome Simpson is going to be out soon. To this point, nobody has. Does that change tonight?
Those are just a few of the players we’re looking forward to watching on Friday as the action starts to get really serious. Who are you most interested in watching?
For more detailed team analysis, check out our premium content, where we just finished all 32 team capsules that consisted of over 100,000 words, nearly 500 player profiles and sleepers from all 32 teams.