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What I’m watching for in Week 3 of NFL preseason

Here are a few fantasy storylines to keep in mind when watching this weekend’s football action.

New York Giants v Cleveland Browns Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Week 3 of the preseason is finally upon us which means that a) we’ve waded through way too much preseason hype to get here, b) these meaningless games are almost done and most importantly c) we’re about to watch our best football until the season starts. Week 3 tends to be the game which most NFL teams play their starters the longest to really get a sense at how they look heading into the season. For us fans, it’ll be the closest look to see how players will be utilized come regular season before the regular season.

It’s the last hurrah for fantasy drafts and the time where we fantasy pros make the final tweaks and adjustments to our rankings.

Obviously there will be a lot to watch for so I’ve tried to make this as easy as possible for you the viewer/interested fantasy fan. I’ve taken a look at each game this week and mention a few players and/or storylines I’m interested in seeing, starting with Thursday night action:

Eagles vs. Dolphins

  • Still trying to figure out exactly what Alshon Jeffery’s role is going to be in the Eagles offense. Obviously he’s their number one guy but he and Wentz haven’t looked on the same page and I’m worried that heading into the season it’s going to take more time then we’d like for the two of them to click. Anything less than an amazing performance from Jeffery and I’m not touching him in fantasy.
  • How does Jay Cutler look? I’ve been bold and gone on record twice thinking that Cutler won’t suck as much as we expect him to so now I’m hoping he backs up my claim.

Jaguars vs. Panthers

  • IT’S CHAD HENNE TIME IN JACKSONVILLE! I just want to point out that after a week of #GetAllenRobinsonARealQB Blake Bortles has been benched, so well done us! That’s not at all to say that Henne is a “real” QB but he at least seems better than Bortles. I’ll be curious to watch how the starting offense looks under Henne and if he’s even mild level of competence makes Allen Robinson a more viable fantasy receiver. I’m not holding my breath.
  • Hopefully we’ll be getting a glimpse at how the Panthers plan to use their two running backs. While Christian McCaffrey has been setting the world on fire, I think people might be underestimating the role Jonathan Stewart is still going to have in this offense, especially around the goalline.

Lions vs. Patriots

  • Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ passing attack picked apart the Jets last week but this week they’ll be facing a much tougher defensive matchup. I want to see how Stafford plays against top corners and if the connections he’s shown with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones are for real. If so, Tate could be an excellent buy low/high upside guy this year.
  • I could list any number of players I’m watching for the Patriots this game: Brandin Cooks, Gronk, Mike Gillislee (if he’s playing), James White, Malcolm Mitchell. Instead I’ll go with Sexy Rexy Burkhead who had himself a game last week against the Texans and will look to build on that. If he’s heavily involved this week, he becomes my fav fantasy back out of New England.

Seahawks vs. Chiefs

  • Is rookie running back Chris Carson legit? Last week was supposed to Eddie Lacy’s time to shine and instead he dropped a big old hamburger on the field only gaining 20 yards on six carries. Carson stole the show in Rawls’ absence and looked quick and decisive. I feel the about the Seahawks’ backfield the way Madonna feels about life. They’re both a mystery.
  • Honest question: if Pat Mahomes puts up another strong preseason performance, do the Chiefs consider trading Alex Smith? I don’t think so but the rookie has looked quite good in preseason action and it’ll be up to Smith this week to remind people what he can do.

Falcons vs. Cardinals

  • The Falcons offense seemingly hasn’t missed a beat despite losing offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan this offseason. What will they look like fully healthy against a tough Cardinals defense? Shrug emoji.
  • Is it crazy for me to watch this because of the Cardinals defense? I know that defenses don’t really put up enough points in fantasy to care about but Tyrann Mathieu looked like his old self last week against the Bears and if he’s in full “defensive player of the year” mode, the Cardinals defense could be fantasy’s number one D.

Ravens vs. Bills

  • I would say I want to see how Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin look since they are both late round receivers who could have fantasy value simply because of the target load they’ll receive but then you remember the Ravens will still be trotting out Ryan Mallett at quarterback. What a joke. Instead, I’ll watch for Terrance West who the Ravens clearly want to be their lead back but has yet to flash exactly what he can do.
  • I’m watching for one guy and one guy only. Queue Kanye. It’s all about the Zay Jones show in Buffalo right now and I want to see what he can do given a larger work load and playing more snaps.

Giants vs. Jets

  • WHO’S RUNNING THE FOOTBALL FOR THE NEW YORK GIANTS?? Paul Perkins has 13 yards on 11 carries so far this preseason and next best back Wayne Gallman has 33 on 10. Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen have flashed the best running ability so far but who knows which back they’ll role with. Hopefully we’ll get a real good look this week as the Giants will likely be without Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall.
  • ummmm... can I say Bilal Powell again?

Steelers vs. Colts

  • Last week Martavis Bryant made his return for the first time in 19 months and it understandably wasn’t great. Granted, he was playing with backup quarterback Josh Dobbs and not Ben Roethlisberger. Bryant is a sneaky wide receiver who could breakout in a big way on the fantasy stage and I want to see if he’ll be ready for football come September.
  • Still no Andrew Luck so I guess we can ignore the passing game. I’m watching for rookie running back Marlon Mack baby. While the ground game has been struggling, Mack was a bright spot last week rushing for 45 yards on five carries. Watch out old man Frank Gore.

Buccaneers vs. Browns

  • What does the Bucs starting offense look like? How do Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson complement each other? How does Doug Martin look? How will O.J. Howard be used? Lots of questions, hopefully lots of answers.
  • IT’S DESHONE KIZER TIME IN CLEVELAND! The rookie quarterback got the starting nod this week and a good preseason game could wrap up the gig for him. I talked a little bit on the podcast this week but I think this is the right move for Cleveland as they need to see what they have in Kizer. I want to see how the offense runs under him with the starters and I want more Corey Coleman please.

Cowboys vs. Raiders

  • This is going to be our best look at how the Cowboys are planning on operating their backfield with Ezekiel Elliott under suspension. It seems likely that it’ll be Darren McFadden’s gig to run with but I’ll be interested to see when and where other backs are used.
  • It’s going to be all eyes on Marshawn Lynch for me this weekend. Still need to see more from him to convince me that he’s RB1 status this year. Last week, Derek Carr looked like a man who didn’t just have his leg broken, throwing the ball effortlessly all over the field, so that’s taken care of.

Rams vs. Chargers

  • Are we starting to get excited about the Rams? Am I stupid for saying yes? I want to see multiple drives of Jared Goff, Sammy Watkins, Todd Gurley and Jonathan’s guy Cooper Kupp all working together. If they all look good together, I might be persuaded into not completely ignoring the team in fantasy. Then, someone pinch me and bring me back to real life.
  • An offense is only as good as it’s offensive line and the Chargers’ O-line look like an unflushed toilet bowl last week. Melvin Gordon was hit in the backfield on the first play from scrimmage. He promptly lost nine yards. No matter how many weapons the Chargers got, Philip Rivers and his bolo-tie aren’t going to be able to do anything if he’s running for his life every play.

Saints vs. Texans

  • Two words: Adrian. Peterson. Jonathan thinks he’s done. I think he’s got one last season in him. I want to see him play and see where and when he’ll be used in the Saints offense. I know Michael Thomas is going to be great and I know Drew Brees is going to be the Drew Brees we all know and love. Show me goalline AP back and I’ll be a happy happy boy.
  • Sorry DeShaun Watson hype that I drummed up into an oblivion, I think this is Tom Savage’s team until further notice. That being said, that “further notice” could be as soon as Week 1 of the regular season. Don’t forget that was exactly the time starter Brian Hoyer was benched for Ryan Mallett. Oh the good old days. Watching for Savage and DeAndre Hopkins’ connection. Let’s hope that it’s better than whatever Hopkins had with Brock Osweiler.

Broncos vs. Packers

  • It’s officially official that Trevor Siemian is the Broncos starting quarterback which is alright I guess. It kills my “Paxton Lynch is going to rise from the waiver wire to lead your fantasy team to glory” but I’m ok with that. I want to see more C.J. Anderson who’s looked alright in preseason action and is someone I think could have a better fantasy season than people are anticipating. Also, this is Jamaal Charles’ only shot at an NFL roster. GET OUT THE POPCORN!
  • I honestly don’t know what I’ll be watching for from Green Bay as the offense has looked like it’s mid-November and Aaron Rodgers is orchestrating his latest MVP run. Rookie Jamaal Williams has looked strong so I guess keep watching for him. This Packers offense is going to be exactly what we thought they were.

Titans vs. Bears

  • Pleeeeeease can we see Corey Davis this week?
  • Give me a heavy dose of Kevin White. He is a phenomenally athletic receiver who has the size and talent to be a force in this league. We’ve forgotten about his potential thanks to two injury riddled seasons but he could be a guy that suddenly becomes fantasy dominate out of nowhere. Also, is this the game where Mitch “Mitchell” Trubisky takes out Mike Glennon? Could be... (poor Glennon)

Washington vs. Bengals

  • People are freaking out about Kirk Cousins and I’m not sure it’s warranted. Cousins is still going to produce in Washington’s offense and he’s still going to be a very valuable quarterback you can draft in the 7-9 rounds. I’m still very much aboard the Kirk wagon. But maybe it’d be nice to see a fully put together offense from him.
  • It’s all Joe Mixon in Cincy for me. He hasn’t been the star that many expected him to be right out the gate, but he has certainly flashed the abilities to be an RB1 in fantasy. Hopefully we see the full package this weekend.

Vikings vs. 49ers

  • Give me more Dalvin Cook! I stated he was my fantasy rookie of the year so I want to see that from him in possibly his last week of preseason action. Also throw in a little Adam Thielen why don’t ya.
  • I’m starting to get worried about the 49ers’ rushing attack. They did not put together a great outing last week, picking up a sad 10 yards during the course of the first 25 minutes of action. My Carlos Hyde hype has taken a big hit as I expected him to perfectly play the Devonta Freeman role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Hopefully we see that this week.