The first week of the preseason is very interesting. It’s the first chance to see what many teams are going to look like with new additions, some subtractions, a few new coaches, and this year’s class of rookies.
While veteran starters probably won’t see too much playing time in Week 1, rookies and other young players will receive ample reps. There are maybe 10 first round rookies that are assured of a starting spot. Ezekiel Elliot is the only skill player guaranteed to start. The rest will have to earn it.
Position battles are of paramount importance. There are a couple QB competitions, most notably the Broncos and Rams.
There are plenty of story lines to follow during the preseason that are extremely relevant to Fantasy Football. You want to be aware of everything that’s going on when the real season kicks off.
Here are several situations to keep an eye on in this weeks games.
Preseason Watch: Week 1
Can Jimmy Garoppolo Play?
Jimmy Garoppolo is going to see a ton of playing time this preseason. He will have to start the first four games for the Patriots with Tom Brady suspended. Garoppolo is going to have a huge impact on the value of Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edleman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis, and Martellus Bennett. If he wets the bed in the first four games, its going to have a major ripple effect on these pass catchers. How can you use a first round pick on Gronkowski if it’s possible he may start the season with four bad games due to poor QB play?
How Does the Seahawks Offensive Line Look, and Who Will Emerge as Their No. 2 RB?
The Seahawks offensive line was bad last year, and they lost T Russell Okung and G JR Sweezy this offseason. They will try to replace them with Jamarcus Webb, a Guard from Oakland who will likely play right tackle, and late first round pick T/G Germaine Ifedi. They also just signed former pro bowl Guard Jahri Evans. This could be a sign of desperation, as Evans is very near the end of his career.
As for the RB position, Thomas Rawls is unlikely to play until at least the third week of the preseason. Rookie C.J. Prosise will also miss this week’s game. That leaves the door wide open for fellow rookie Alex Collins to receive plenty of carries. Christine Michael will also get a lot of reps, but he’s already proven he’s not very good.
Who Will Be the Ravens No. 1 WR and No. 1 TE?
The Ravens have four WRs and four TEs all fighting for playing time and targets. At wide receiver, they’ve got Kamar Aiken, the ageless wonder Steve Smith, veteran speedster Mike Wallace, and Breshard Perriman (who missed his whole rookie season due to injury, but has a world of talent). At tight end, they’ve got veteran free agent Ben Watson, second year player Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, and Dennis Pitta (attempting a comeback from very serious injury).
The Ravens could potentially have a very good offense. They don’t really have any superstars, but they have quality depth at all the skill positions, and Joe Flacco is an underrated QB.
What Will the Broncos Offense Look Like?
With the exception of the wide receiver position, the entire Bronco’s offense is in flux. At QB, there is a three-way battle between Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch. Sanchez and Siemien are currently listed as co-starters on the depth chart, and Lynch has been receiving good praises thus far from Head Coach Gary Kubiak. Sanchez will start the first preseason game, with Siemien slated to play the second quarter, and Lynch finishing the game.
Many seem confident that C.J. Anderson will be the featured RB in Denver. However, Anderson was thought to be the featured back going into last season, and that didn’t really happen. Also, Gary Kubiak has a history of plugging random RBs into his system and watching them flourish. Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Clinton Portis, and Arian Foster have all had great seasons under Kubiak. Rookie RB Devontae Booker could be the guy to watch. There are already indications coming out of camp that Booker could take over Ronnie Hillman’s role as the second rushing option and third down back.
The Broncos also have two or three new starters on their offensive line. They are a talented group of linemen, but they will all need to mesh well together.
What Will the Cowboys Backup QB Situation Look Like?
There’s a decent chance Tony Romo might get injured this season. It happened last year, and Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and the other Cowboys receivers suffered from terrible QB play. Kellen Moore was slated to be the No. 2 option, but he just suffered a broken ankle.
That leaves rookie Dak Prescott, and second-year practice squad QB Jameill Showers as the only two remaining options. The Cowboys don’t appear to be looking to sign or trade for a veteran QB. They missed the boat on Nick Foles, and Michael Vick is currently the only decent free agent QB left out there. Hopefully, Prescott or Showers will show something to invoke some confidence. And if Romo does go down, maybe it won’t be as big of a disaster for this offense as last season.
Those are the story lines for the Week 1 preseason watch. The Cowboys will be playing the Rams on ESPN Saturday night, and you can catch all the other preseason games on the NFL network.
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