By: Dan Croop @dancroop
Every fantasy football owner waits all summer long for the first preseason game. It’s exciting and entertaining. We look for more. After about the first weekend, though, we start getting bored and look ahead to the regular season. Here are some reasons why the rest of the preseason might be able to perk up your interest.
Detroit Lions RBs – Jahvid Best looks likely to end up on the PUP list to start the season. Mikel Leshoure is coming off a torn left Achilles and is suspended for the first two games of the regular season. With the oft-injured Kevin Smith looking like the starting RB for the regular season, backup Keiland Williams may be a sleeper who gets an opportunity early on.
Green Bay RBs – Sure, they didn’t sign Cedric Benson to be a backup. They also didn’t sign him expecting 1,000 yards, too. James Starks is battling turf toe and hasn’t been a force the past couple years anyway. Widely unknown Alex Green has the best hands of the bunch, and considering how often Green Bay passes, he’s worth paying attention to.
Tampa Bay RBs – After all the hype for Doug Martin the past couple weeks, it now appears LeGarrette Blount has just as much of a chance to begin the season as the starter as Martin. With average draft pick in mind, Blount looks like the better value until one or the other separates himself.
Carolina Panthers RBs – Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams should continue to split duties. Where newcomer Mike Tolbert will factor in remains to be seen, but he may be more of a blocking fullback than the rusher he was with San Diego last season.
Seattle Seahawks QBs – It seems like this is Matt Flynn’s job to lose. Rumors fly of Tarvaris Jackson being shipped out to almost anyone who will take him, or maybe an outright release looms. Supremely talented Russell Wilson continues to impress, but he may not get a chance unless Flynn struggles.
Arizona Cardinals QBs – As much as they want to hand the job to Kevin Kolb due to his contract, he continues to give them reasons not to. John Skelton isn’t playing well, but he’s also not playing to the level of garbage currently associated with Kolb.
New England Patriots RBs – Stevan Ridley looks to start the season, but knowing how Bill Belichick has used running backs in the past, it shouldn’t take long until some combination of Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead is driving fantasy owners nuts.
Miami Dolphins QBs – Ryan Tannehill looks like he should be the starter, but latest word is that they want to bring him along slowly while Matt Moore is given a shot. David Garrard was the favorite until his knee got scoped.
Pittsburgh Steelers RBs – Isaac Redman looked high on every sleeper list available until he hurt his groin. With results pending, the Pittsburgh running game is up in the air. Can Jonathan Dwyer pick up the slack while Redman and Rashard Mendenhall recover?
Tennessee Titans QBs – Matt Hasselbeck looks like he’s more ready for retirement than a regular season of football. Jake Locker basically has this job won unless he plays his way out of it or gets hurt.
Players of intrigue
Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS – Cam Newton 2.0? It’s been an unfair comparison all season. Griffin won’t come close to approaching Newton’s numbers from last season, but he should still be almost as exciting.
Peyton Manning, QB, DEN – How healed is Manning’s neck? He’s already talking about not having the arm strength that he used to. Can he get the deep ball downfield to Demaryius Thomas? Or will Eric Decker be his favorite option over the middle?
Dallas Cowboys Offensive Line – They looked absolutely atrocious against Oakland last week. They have several injuries and are worth paying attention to if you have DeMarco Murray, Tony Romo, and the rest of the gang. I still like Dez Bryant to have a big season.
Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN – Peterson’s camp has been overly impressed with his quick recovery. He’s about to get into contact drills and full practice after coming off the PUP list. Is it hyperbole, or is he really this unbelievable? We’ll find out very soon.
Matt Forte, RB, CHI – Another stud running back coming off injury, Forte now has to worry about backup Michael Bush stealing goal-line carries and maybe even third-down carries. Does this turn into a time share?
Randy Moss, WR, SF – The latest out of camp is that Moss will be very limited to keep his legs fresh over the course of the season. However, with reports that he’s looking as dominant as ever, it will be hard to keep him off the field. Keep an eye on his progress.
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL – One of my favorite sleepers this season, Rodgers will get more work behind the elderly Michael Turner. Rodgers should thrive in the high-powered Atlanta offense if he gets the playing time he deserves.
Sam Bradford, QB, STL – Looking to rebound from a terrible 2011 campaign, Bradford is far more talented than his numbers indicate. With a clean bill of health and two receivers in Danny Amendola and Steve Smith who rarely drop passes, Bradford is a backup prospect with high upside.
Tim Tebow, QB, NYJ – As intriguing a player as there is in the league, Tebow commands attention regardless of what he’s doing. The Jets continue to implement more of the Wildcat into their practices, where Tebow should be able to do what he does best.
Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC – Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout could last well into the season, benefitting nobody more than Jennings. Even if Jones-Drew ends his holdout today, rumors fly that he would start the season as the backup. Jennings has shown he has the talent to succeed when given a chance.