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NFL Preseason: What to Watch for 8-12

By Matt Schauf 11:08am EDT 8/12/16

We’ve finally got a round of games behind us, and we’re starting to get answers to some of our offseason backfield questions.

Night 2 presents some more interesting situations, with another 5 games to follow on Saturday.

It’s a good chance to get a look at some of the players you’ve been getting excited about in recent months … and to reveal some sleepers that you can play around with as you test some sleepers in our free mock draft tool.

Miami at N.Y. Giants


We won’t get Arian Foster, but we will get Jay Ajayi in his 1st chance to show why he’s still listed as the starter. Fingers crossed for him to show well enough to keep the job but not well enough to climb out of his current stupid-value range in fantasy football drafts.

We’ll also have to wait on DeVante Parker, who will sit out the game. But he did at least return to practice this week.


Bet on Rashad Jennings to lead the backfield in Week 1 (and beyond). But Paul Perkins can start to carve out a role this preseason -- especially behind a starter who has never reached 200 carries in an NFL season.

Of course, more people will be watching Sterling Shepard to see if he can live up to the hype. He’s already going around the bottom of WR3 range in drafts. Whatever he does tonight will have to come without QB Eli Manning, who isn't playing.

Detroit at Pittsburgh


So Marvin Jones has looked like the #1 WR, huh? Let’s see it. Of course, we shouldn’t count on seeing much of that 1st team tonight.

But what about the backfield? RB Zach Zenner needs to fend off Stevan Ridley if he wants to deliver for the believers who started hyping him up last summer. And Ameer Abdullah needs to seize whatever opportunity Detroit is offering him for 2016 better than he did as a rookie.


Who’s still available?

Kidding. We all know that Sammie Coates occupies the center ring of the hype circus in Pittsburgh right now. So what’s he got in store for the actual games (er, the pretend actual games)? He has already climbed into Round 9 in ADP. A big highlight catch or 2 just might make him difficult to draft at value.

Minnesota at Cincinnati


Whatcha got, Laquon Treadwell? Ditto Charles Johnson, who at least currently appears headed for a starting role ahead of the rookie. There figures to be at least some WR competition among Vikings through August.


We know what Brandon LaFell has, and it’s fairly meh. Let’s see what rookie WR Tyler Boyd can put out there, though, as we gauge which might help our fantasy football teams more as late-round fliers.

Cleveland at Green Bay


Cleveland already named Robert Griffin the starter. Now it’s time for him to start proving that to be the right move. We won’t get WRs Corey Coleman or Josh Gordon yet, but Terrelle Pryor has generated some soft buzz that he could build on.


TE Jared Cook and WR Ty Montgomery just returned to the practice field this week, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they don’t play at all against Cleveland. They’ll be key targets to watch this month, though.

Otherwise, let’s just watch to see if RB Eddie Lacy’s pants seem to be fitting better.

Oakland at Arizona


RB DeAndre Washington and starting RB Latavius Murray have generated positive words so far this offseason. Both could deliver value in your fantasy backfield, so let’s see how (fake) game action treats them and the further-strengthened O-line.


If you’ve been worrying about RB David Johnson’s workload since the team re-signed RB Chris Johnson … first of all, don’t. But if you need more than that, you probably won’t get it this preseason. No Cardinals back will get overworked in the practice games.

With roles pretty well set, let’s just watch to make sure the various targets in this offense looks healthy, in shape and motivated.

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