As the 2012 NFL preseason gets completely underway, I thought I’d list several things we should all be watching for, as the games are played, practices are held and cuts are made. There are only so many days and weeks left before you have to start adding players to your roster through your Fantasy draft.
2012 NFL Preseason: W2W4
Does the Jets Pilot Crash and Burn?
Nobody plans on drafting Jets QB Mark Sanchez, but even though it is preseason, if he struggles and Tim Tebow is able to capitalize against second-stringers, then the Fantasy value of players like Santonio Holmes, Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller are affected.
Big Moves by Backup RBs
Remember in the 2010 NFL preseason, when C.J. Spiller broke several plays for big gains and touchdowns? Then the regular season began and the Bills relied mostly on Fred Jackson and Spiller’s touches were inconsistent. It took another season before Spiller showed those same flashes. The point is – watch breakouts by young backups for future moves. Giants RB David Wilson’s explosiveness has been the big talk in Giants camp, so we’ll see how that translates into in-game action. The Steelers’ Chris Rainey could also have a huge preseason and turn some heads with great moves out of the backfield and in the slot.
How Good Will the Broncos QB Play?
Not Peyton Manning. We already know he’s kinda good. But which player will be his backup: Brock Osweiler, Caleb Hanie or Adam Weber? If Manning’s neck isn’t as awesome as everyone says it is, then his backup QB will have some decent weapons at his disposal, including WRs Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas. You won’t be drafting Manning’s backup, even as a handcuff, but it will be good to see who plays well, to know how much of a dropoff to expect with Decker and Thomas if Manning gets hurt.
Rookie QBs Ready to Rock
The Browns, Colts, Dolphins and Redskins could have rookie signal-callers starting in Week 1, and the next four weeks will decide if that record-breaking feat will happen or not. Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III will end up on Fantasy rosters during your draft, and Brandon Weeden is already tops on the Browns depth chart. Ryan Tannehill is probably the latest of the group to start; he also might have the fewest offensive weapons. But if he has a big preseason, and Fantasy fans watch it happen on HBO’s Hard Knocks – expect someone (not you) to draft him in your league.
Super Sophs Start Smokin’
Sure, the freshmen are exciting because no one knows what they can do against the pros. But remember that sophomores this season are just now getting their first full training camps under their legs. That mean possible breakouts from players like Doug Baldwin, Jon Baldwin, Delone Carter, Randall Cobb, Leonard Hankerson, Roy Helu, Mark Ingram, Taiwan Jones, Lance Kendricks, Greg Little, Jake Locker, Denarius Moore, Christian Ponder, Stevan Ridley, Jacquizz Rodgers, Evan Royster, Torrey Smith, Daniel Thomas and Titus Young.
What else are you going to be watching for this 2012 NFL preseason?