It was great to watch some football last week. Although as expected, most starters only played a series. That's if they played at all. This week we should be able to see the starters play a little more and continue to see the development of the rookies and young players. There are position battles still going on and it's worth it to keep an eye on them, especially in keeper and dynasty leagues.
1. Buffalo Bills tight end
Shawn Nelson vs. Scott Chandler - Nelson was expected to be the starter coming into the season but has been replaced atop the depth chart by Chandler. Shawn Nelson is an athletic tight end but has not produced in his first two seasons and has battled a myriad of injuries. Scott Chandler has bounced around the league but is a big, tall target. Chandler has the edge right now as he actually has been on the field, both in practice and the first preseason game. Buffalo faces Denver on Saturday night.
2. Carolina Panthers starting quarterback
Cam Newton vs. Jimmy Clausen - As fantasy owners, we know that Carolina will eventually turn to Newton but if you're thinking of depending on Newton to start the season as quarterback, this is a competition to watch. The Panthers continue to rotate the starting role in camp and Newton gets the call on Friday night in Miami. Clausen threw for 69 yards, a TD and an INT against the Giants. Newton passed for 134 yards and led the team to 2 field goals. It will be interesting to see how Newton fares against the starting defense of Miami.
3. Chicago Bears backup running back
Marion Barber vs. Chester Taylor - Barber is only 28 years old and still has something left in the tank. Taylor might be starting to show his age. Last season, he averaged close to a yard less per carry than Barber despite almost the same amount of carries. It might have been partly because of the Chicago O-line. In their first preseason game, Barber rushed for 45 yards and Taylor for 3 yards. Marion Barber is one to watch, as he could also snag some goal line carries from Matt Forte this season. Chicago plays at the Giants on Monday night.
4. Cleveland Browns 3rd tight end
Jordan Cameron vs. Alex Smith - Smith was a pretty good tight end for Tampa Bay from 2005-08. Cameron is a rookie that is still learning the position. He is a former basketball player and is very athletic. The Browns will probably hold on to the prospect they have in Cameron but Alex Smith should be able to catch on somewhere. Cleveland will play Detroit on Friday.
5. Denver Broncos 4th wide receiver
Matthew Willis vs. David Anderson - Willis had a very productive preseason in 2010 and played in 6 regular season games before going on IR. Anderson came over from Houston and had been productive there the last 4 years. They both played well in the preseason opener. Anderson can also be used as a kick returner and that might give him the edge.