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:
Indianapolis vs. Washington
All eyes will certainly be on the quarterbacks as Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck square off. For the Colts, Luck has been incredibly effective thus far and looks like that once in a generation prospect already. LaVon Brazill is making a case for serious playing time and it’s going to be interesting to see what he can do in place of Austin Collie. At running back, Vick Ballard has been a hot name lately and he’ll try to build on a solid preseason. Coby Fleener has been very quiet and he needs to step it up to cool all the Dwayne Allen buzz.
For the Redskins, the running back position is far from settled (shocker). With Evan Royster now joining Roy Helu in the nurse’s office, Alfred Morris looks to make an impression on the coaching staff this week. If you know how this is going to turn out this season, let me know. At receiver, Pierre Garcon has put together a nice camp and is rising on draft boards. We’ve never been his biggest fans around here, but he has looked good so far.
Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo
The Steelers look to get something settled in their backfield this week. Rashard Mendenhall is still going to be out for a while and Isaac Redman is banged up as well. We should get a good look at Chris Rainey and Jonathan Dwyer as they attempt to carve out some playing time this year. Will Mike Wallace ever show up?
The second receiver job opposite Stevie Johnson should be established this weekend. The player we’re looking forward to seeing the most isn’t Fred Jackson, CJ Spiller or Ryan Fitzpatrick – it’s rookie TJ Graham, who’s made play after play this off-season.
Detroit vs. Oakland
For the Lions, all eyes will be on Mikel Leshoure, who hasn’t played since his Achilles tear early in camp last season. This story is big in dynasty land because his performance is going to go a long way in determining the value of Kevin Smith and sleeper Joique Bell. We’ll also get our second look at Ryan Broyles this week, who looked mighty healthy in last week’s game.
Can Rod Streater keep this up? With the Raiders receiving unit spending most of their time on the trainer’s table, we’re about to find out. Darren McFadden’s owners are hoping (well, praying, actually) that he can just make it to week one healthy. Meanwhile, it would be pretty comforting to see Carson Palmer look better than he has so far.
St. Louis vs. Dallas
If there was a time for any offensive player outside of Steven Jackson to step up, this is the week. Isaiah Pead has been disappointing so far and none of the receivers have shown enough to build too much confidence in the eyes of dynasty owners. Sam Bradford is going to need some help and it needs to come sooner, rather than later.
For the Cowboys, it’s much the same. No Dez Bryant. No Miles Austin. No Jason Wittten. We haven’t even made it to week one and this team is a mess. At least Cole Beasley and Andre Holmes will get an extended look this week.
Houston vs. New Orleans
This is likely going to be the final round in the battle between Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin – one of them is going to get meaningful snaps and the competition is too close to call at the moment. DeVier Posey needs to do something productive to give his owners future hope. Looking for a super deep sleeper? Try running back Jonathan Grimes, who the Texans are probably going to try to sneak on the practice squad. If they fail with that, pay attention to where he goes.
For the Saints, there’s another battle that could come to its climax this week and it’s at running back between Chris Ivory and the upstart Travaris Cadet. The starters are going to play a bunch this week, but look for these two to go punch for punch in the second half – Cadet may just knock Ivory to the waiver wire. Meanwhile, the Saints are still looking for someone to step up at receiver other than Marques Colston and Lance Moore.
San Francisco vs. Denver
For the 49ers, the rotation at receiver is going to be a key story in dynasty leagues this year. If they truly rotate these players as much as some have suggested, it’s going to be tough to determine which ones are worthy each week. At running back, Kendall Hunter attempts to build on what’s been a solid preseason.
With Denver, all the dynasty eyes will be squarely on Ronnie Hillman, who is finally expected to make his debut. It is going to take a monster performance from Hillman to carve out any type of meaningful early role in this offense. Peyton Manning and John Fox aren’t exactly known for trusting rookie running backs, especially those who haven’t played much.
Carolina vs. New York Jets
The Panthers look to build on a solid preseason, but they’ll do it without the services of Steve Smith, who continues to battle a mysterious foot infection. The offense of the Panthers is pretty much solidified with Brandon LaFell as the second receiver, but Smith’s absence will allow somebody else to step up this weekend. On a side note, Cam Newton has looked great this year and is poised for a monster Sophomore season.
It’s hard to say any game this week is more critical for one team more than another, but the Jets have to get something productive going on offense or this thing is going to reach DEFCON 1. Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow are making a mess out of the quarterback position, no receivers have created separation, Shonn Greene and the running backs have all looked pedestrian and the offensive line has been mediocre at best. Other than that, the Jets have nothing to worry about.
Here’s to a great weekend!
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