Michael Fabiano | Tags: Andy Reid, Charlie Weis, Chris Cooley, Clinton Portis, Deji Karim, Devin Thomas, Dwayne Bowe, Fred Davis, Jamaal Charles, Kevin Kolb, Larry Johnson, Leonard Weaver, LeSean McCoy, Matt Cassel, Matt Ryan, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Fabiano, Michael Turner, Mike Bell, Mike Shanahan, Mike Thomas, Rashard Jennings, Thomas Jones
The NFL’s preseason schedule continues tonight with more three games. The Jaguars face the Eagles and the Bills battle the Redskins at 7:30 p.m. ET. The final game of the night pits the Chiefs against the Falcons at 8 p.m. ET. If you’re a fantasy owner, these matchups can help you gain a clearer picture of depth chart movement and player values.
Here are a few things you should be watching in these contests.
Jaguars at Eagles
– I’m interested to see how Jaguars WR Mike Thomas performs against a tough Eagles defense. He’s been getting some good press in training camp and is clearly on the late-round fantasy radar. He’s someone to watch in this game and throughout the preseason.
– RB Maurice Jones-Drew is clearly the featured player in the Jaguars offense, but I’d like to see who comes off the bench behind him between Rashard Jennings and rookie Deji Karim. Jennings appears to be the favorite.
– I think Kevin Kolb is one of the best sleepers in fantasy football, so I’ll be watching him very closely. Coach Andy Reid said Kolb and the rest of the Eagles’ starting offense will play the entire first quarter, so we should get a pretty good look at the talented quarterback.
– It’s important for fantasy owners to watch LeSean McCoy tonight. I think he could become an asset in most leagues, especially those that reward points for catches. I’m most interested to see if he’s used near the goal line, or if Mike Bell or Leonard Weaver will fill that role.
Bills at Redskins
– The player to watch in this game is definitely Bills RB C.J. Spiller. I’d keep tabs on if he starts, how the carries are distributed between Spiller and Fred Jackson, and in what other areas of the offense he’s utilized.
– Someone has to catch the football in the Bills pass attack other than Lee Evans, so I’ll be watching the other receivers on the team. Steve Johnson will be a player to monitor as James Hardy is sidelined due to an undisclosed injury.
– It will be interesting to see how QB Donovan McNabb clicks with his new teammates, especially Santana Moss, Devin Thomas, Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. All four of these receivers have some level of value in fantasy drafts this season.
– Clinton Portis will remain atop the Redskins RB depth chart, but reports indicate that coach Mike Shanahan will utilize a backfield committee with Portis and Larry Johnson. Be sure to watch how the carries are shared in the first few series, and which back sees goal-line work.
Chiefs at Falcons
– Thomas Jones currently is atop the Chiefs depth chart, so I’m interested to see how long it takes before Jamaal Charles gets onto the field. I still think Charles is far and away the better fantasy option across the board, but he does lose some luster with Jones in the mix.
– I’ll definitely keep an eye on QB Matt Cassel tonight. He’s a decent low-end sleeper and should improve this season with Charlie Weis calling the offensive plays. I’d also watch Dwayne Bowe, who could be undervalued in fantasy drafts after a poor 2009.
– I think Matt Ryan could turn into one of the best draft bargains among quarterbacks, so I’ll certainly be watching his performance against the Chiefs. If he shines, his value could rise.
– Fantasy owners should watch RB Michael Turner, particularly his explosiveness and power coming through the line of scrimmage. While he won’t duplicate his 2008 totals, Turner does have major first-round value in most drafts.
If you really want to prepare for your fantasy draft, check out NFL Preseason Live, where you can watch every preseason game live.