Fantasy owners would prefer these things get figured sooner rather than later
Well, it's here. The first week of preseason games in the NFL. And with it (hopefully) comes the answer to many questions about certain situations for those of us who indulge in our favorite hobby: fantasy football. Now it's unlikely we're going to get definitive answers this early in the preseason, but there are some things I am hoping we start getting answers to sooner rather than later. I recently blogged about what to look for in preseason, but that was a list of things in general. These are a bit more specific.
How is the chemistry between Tom Brady and his WR's in New England?
We heard some glowing reports out of the joint practices between the Patriots and Eagles about Brady, but seeing him in action with a new crop of WR's (and TE's) will go a long way in determining if he retains his status as an elite fantasy QB. Julian Edelman is the only viable holdover from last season at WR but he's an oft-injured middling talent. Can Danny Amendola be the new Wes Welker? How will drafted rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce look? Is undrafted rookie Kenbrell Thompkins really as good as all the training camp hype he's received? Can we finally put Michael Jenkins out to pasture? Another undrafted rookie getting a lot of hype is TE Zach Sudfeld. Reports say he is pushing Daniel Fells for being the pass catching TE until Rob Gronkowski gets back on the field. These are the things fantasy players will be paying special attention to tomorrow night and throughout the preseason.
Will it be Michael Vick or Nick Foles for Philadelphia?
I never really bought into the hype about Foles leading the competition to be the Eagles starting QB throughout OTA's, and even though Vick supposedly has outplayed Foles in training camp, Chip Kelly says Vick will start the first preseason game Foles the second. You would expect that if Kelly really felt that one guy was superior to the other he would want to make sure that player was getting as many reps as he could with the starters. I'm 75% convinced that Vick will be the guy in week 1 of the regular season, but there's that other 25% of me that isn't so sure.
Will Giovani Bernard push Benjarvus Green-Ellis into a short yardage/goal line role?
There's been a lot of talk about Bernard from Bengals camp. He's an excellent receiving RB and offers a lot more burst and explosion as a runner than BGE. It's not that BGE is a poor RB (he did manage to rush for over 1,000 yards last season, but averaged less than 4 yards per attempt to do it) but simply put, he is just a power RB with little speed, mediocre hands, and is not a very creative runner in open space. Bernard is supposed to be the opposite. Some think it may take a few weeks into the season for Bernard to really push BGE out of the starting role, but a good preseason by Bernard can make that happen a lot sooner.
Which Packers RB will be "the guy"?
Up until recently it was a common question, but Eddie Lacy reportedly blew away everyone in a recent scrimmage and has the inside track. I liked Lacy coming out in the draft and wasn't nearly as concerned as some about his foot issue. But Mike McCarthy made some waves earlier today when he referred to DuJuan Harris as his "starter". While I think this was just a way to make sure Lacy doesn't just assume the job is his from here on out, Harris did do pretty well in this past postseason. I do fully expect Lacy to be the lead RB, but will he be a 3 down workhorse RB? His ability to catch the ball and provide good pass protection blocking will be the key.
Which Rams RB will assert himself as being the lead RB?
This one has all the look of a true RBBC heading into preseason, but there's a chance one of Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, Zac Stacy, and Terrence Ganaway will stand out over the others. Richardson and Pead both lack the size to be more than 12-15 carry guys and both are more like change of pace speed guys. Stacy is a power runner who lacks specialness to his game and Ganaway is a big bruising RB with little wiggle. Stacy seems to be the best suited for lead RB on early downs, but he's done little in training camp to stand out. Richardson gets a lot of the publicity, and did fairly well last season when he was given chances, but it's hard to really believe in a 5'11", 195 lbs primary RB. Pead is almost exactly the same size and his suspension for the first game of the season could cost him if one of the others stands out.
Will any of the Ravens WR's besides Torrey Smith distinguish themselves?
Jacoby Jones has had his opportunities to be a starter with mediocre results before when he was with the Houston Texans, but the other candidates aren't that appealing. Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, Tommy Streeter, Aaron Mellette, and a host of even lesser knowns are jockeying for position. None command any excitement, but someone has to step up, don't they?
Will either E.J. Manuel or Geno Smith do well enough in preseason to win the QB jobs in Buffalo and New York?
While rookie QB's usually struggle to make an impact, we've seen it happen quite a bit recently. And since Kevin Kolb and Mark Sanchez are the only things in their way, it doesn't take much imagination to see both of these rookies getting the start week 1 for their respective teams. And if the coaches are smart and make sure the offense they run is friendly to that QB's strengths and doesn't make it too hard for them right away, either or both could actually sneak into the realm of being a consideration as a backup fantasy QB.