Adam Rank | Tags: A.J. Feeley, Adam Rank, Arian Foster, Arizona Cardinals, Beanie Wells, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Pettigrew, Brett Favre, Chad Henne, Charlie Whitehurst, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Davone Bess, Detroit Lions, Gary Kubiak, Green Bay Packers, Greg Olsen, Houston Texans, Jahvid Best, Jay Cutler, Justin Forsett, Malcom Floyd, Matt Forte, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Leinart, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Montario Hardesty, Philip Rivers, Pittsrugh Steelers, Ryan Mathews, Sam Bradford, San Diego Chargers, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tarvaris Jackson, Tennessee Titans, Tim Hightower
This is the first Saturday in a long time that had some football. Who else is ready for this? I know this might be hard to convince your wife (or vice versa) that you need to watch these games, even though they do not count.
But that is the thing. These games do count.
And here are some story lines I will be following this evening.
- Tampa Bay at Miami: Will the Buccaneers have any fantasy relevant receivers this season? The buzz has been about rookie Mike Williams, who is currently at the top of the team’s depth chart. Take a look at him. And I am a fan of Dolphins QB Chad Henne, but keep an eye on where WR Davone Bess lines up in the offense. Bess will benefit from Brandon Marshall being out there.
- Detroit at Pittsburgh: Obviously there will be some intrigue to see how the Steelers handle their quarterbacks. But this game is all about rookie RB Jahvid Best who could be a great pick this season. Also watch TE Brandon Pettigrew, who figures to be a big part of the offense. The Lions with potential fantasy studs? Believe it.
- Cleveland at Green Bay: If your choice is to watch this game, or go with the wife to Eat, Pray, Love you might want to take the bullet on this one. The story would have been Montario Hardesty, but he is still about a week away. But who is going to be the Browns top receiver? Keep track if any of the Browns receivers shows anything. We all know about the Packers.
- Houston at Arizona: QB Matt Leinart struggled in the team’s scrimmage last week, despite having a strong camp. Play close attention to how the line plays. That will be the key. RB Beanie Wells is also another player of note and how the rotation works with Tim Hightower. Texans RB Arian Foster, but make sure he holds on to the football. That is a killer for coach Gary Kubiak.
- Minnesota at St. Louis: St. Louis has this new quarterback you might want to keep track of, A.J. Feeley. Oh, and St. Louis has that Sam Bradford kid, too. But obviously you want to see how QB Tarvaris Jackson plays with the first team. There is a good chance that many of you who have already had your draft — and taken Brett Favre — might need to pay close attention to this Jackson kid.
- Chicago at San Diego: RB Matt Forte figures to be the starter for the Bears, pay close attention to what kind of sets they are using with Forte (fullback or no) and if Jay Cutler looks for him out of the backfield. Also see if TE Greg Olsen is involved in the red zone offense. Keep track of the blocking, too. Chargers QB Philip Rivers was very complimentary of WR Malcom Floyd when I talked to him. See how many targets Floyd gets. And this is a first glimpse for Ryan Mathews, too.
- Tennessee at Seattle: People keep expecting Justin Forsett to be a fantasy force this year, but I just do not see it. The Seahawks have repeatedly said that they are going to run a backfield committee. I am looking for QB Charlie Whitehurst to see how he might be able to contribute when Matt Hasselbeck inevitably gets hurt.
And finally …
If you really want to prepare for your fantasy draft, check out NFL Preseason Live, where you can watch every preseason game live.
– Adam Rank