It was great to finally watch some football last weekend. The game was not the most interesting but we were able to get a look at the 2010 Bengals and Cowboys. At least in their present form. Let us lay out six things that you can watch for in games that will be played this weekend. Six questions that could affect our fantasy football teams.
1. What can we expect from Anquan Boldin in Baltimore?
Tonight (Thursday), the Carolina Panthers visit the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN. Boldin will be the go-to receiver. He paired up well with Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona but that also probably limited him somewhat. In Baltimore, he will be looked for in the red zone and to move the chains. He doesn't have blazing speed but more than makes up for it with his strength and ability to break tackles. The Panthers should be a nice opening challenge and we should be able to discern if there is chemistry between him and Joe Flacco.
2. Will C.J. Spiller start in Buffalo and be allowed to run wild?
Friday night (live on The NFL Network), the Buffalo Bills visit the Washington Redskins. C.J. Spiller joined a Bills team that already had two solid running backs in Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson. Spiller has blazing speed, so hopefully we get a chance to see that on display here. He has also been receiving reps in various spots on offense and that will give us an opportunity to view his versatility. The Redskins are an average defense but should still challenge the rookie. This will be his first opportunity to go against the speed of an NFL defense. We'll be able to gauge if it was just his competition in the ACC that made him look good.
3. Can Brandon Marshall maintain his fantasy production in Miami?
Saturday night (live on The NFL Network), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Marshall has his new contract and a new team. After years without a go-to receiver, the Miami Dolphins have a superstar in Brandon Marshall. It will be interesting to watch the connection between Chad Henne and Marshall. He played with a few different quarterbacks in Denver, so the transition should be easy. The Dolphins loved their Wildcat offense but hopefully that will be shoved aside and they will use Marshall to the full. The other receivers are still borderline and developing, watch how much they use Marshall in comparison with the rest of the group. Henne should throw him the ball early and often, especially against this Buccaneer defense.
4. Can Russell Okung help Seattle's O-Line enough to increase the value of their offensive skill players?
Also Saturday night (live on The NFL Network), the Tennessee Titans visit the Seattle Seahawks. Okung will be asked to start at Left Tackle, which is the most important position on the offensive line. He was considered the top offensive lineman in the draft and will hopefully live up to his hype and draft position. When the Seahwaks were at their best was when the offensive line was operating like a well oiled machine. The addition of Okung can be the first step on the way back to being competitive. Another smart move was bringing in offensive line coach Alex Gibbs. He did great things with Denver's line in the late 90's and early 2000's. Watch to see how the line plays against Tennessee's defense.
5. Will Anthony Gonzalez still have a role in the offense or has he been demoted?
Sunday afternoon (live on The NFL Network), the San Francisco 49ers visit the Indianapolis Colts. Going into last season, Gonzalez was thought to be on the verge of a breakout season. He was going into his third year with the Colts and was the starter across from Reggie Wayne. Unfortunately, in the first game of the season he suffered a knee injury. The team didn't suffer as two players, Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, stepped up and displayed excellent skills. This game should give us insight into the position that Gonzalez holds on the Colts depth chart. Indianapolis also played us along last year, making it seem that Gonzalez would come back at some point. It will be interesting to note his speed and cutting ability .
6. Will Jermaine Gresham make the TE position relevant in the Bengals offense?
Sunday night (live on The NFL Network), the Denver Broncos visit the Cincinnati Bengals. He didn't catch a pass in the Hall of Fame game, which was surprising as the first string was removed almost right away. The Bengals used a first round pick on him in this year's draft, so you would think that they would want to get the most out of him. Then again this is the Bengals we are talking about. They haven't used their TE a whole lot in the last few seasons but Gresham is athletically in another league compared to those they've had. Watch to see if he gets used and if he might be another weapon for Palmer to use and someone we might take a chance on this year.