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What I’m watching for in Week 1 of NFL preseason

All eyes will be on Deshaun Watson. And Andrew Luck. And Baker Mayfield. There will be a lot of eyes out.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts-Training Camp Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

We did it everyone. We survived the hot, barren offseason and have finally arrived to that beautiful football oasis that always glimmered in the distance. We did it. Pats on the back for everyone.

The first week of the NFL preseason starts tonight and with it comes knowledge. No longer do we need to wildly speculate about how Player X will be used in his new offense, now we can finally see, even if it’s just the faintest hint. The real highlight is finally getting to see Saquon Barkley’s massive thighs in action! HUZZAH!

Here’s a look at every game this weekend and what I’m watching for as both a fantasy owner and a football fan.


Browns at Giants

  • Baker Mayfield first and foremost. How will he look in an NFL offense? Will he make enough noise to threaten the starting job? WHO’S TO SAY! I doubt most of the new members of the Browns’ offense will play today but I bet Mayfield gets a decent amount of screen time given he’s the first overall pick.
  • How does Nick Chubb look? I’m buying all the Carlos Hyde shares I can but that would really not go well for me if Chubb comes out and looks great running the football.
  • I don’t know if we’ll actually see Saquon tonight as Pat Shurmur has cut back the running back’s workload in practice recently but maybe that’s all to just get him ready for tonight. He’s clearly the guy to watch in NY.

Panthers at Bills

  • Do Kelvin Benjamin and Cam Newton get into a sideline brawl? We need something to replace the Aqib Talib vs Michael Crabtree beef.
  • OC Norv Turner has been talking a big game about how much the Panthers will use Christian McCaffrey this year. I don’t know if he’ll play tonight but I’d love to see some of that promise fulfilled.
  • Obviously the guy to watch in Buffalo is Josh Allen. He doesn’t have much competition in Buffalo and if he looks good to start this preseason, you can bet he’s going to claim that starting spot. You think A.J. McCarron’s going to take it from him? Show me you can make NFL throws Allen and maybe then I’ll stop ignoring the Bills’ receivers in fantasy.

Bears at Bengals

  • WHAT DOES MATT NAGY’S NEW OFFENSE LOOK LIKE? We got a tease when the Bears took on the Ravens in the Hall of Fame game but I need more. I want to see how Mitch Trubisky looks in this new imagined offense and how he utilizes his weapons. I don’t think we’ll see the likes of Allen Robinson and Jordan Howard for too much tonight, but I’ll still be curious to see how the offense flows.
  • Show me some Tarik Cohen/Tyreek Hill 2.0 please.
  • For Cincy, it’s all about Joe Mixon. Everyone else in that offense you know what you’re going to get but Mixon will be the guy that either makes or breaks this offense. He showed flashes last year, does he come into this year building upon his rookie highlights?

Steelers at Eagles

  • James Washington is who I’m looking for in Pittsburgh. The rookie receiver could have some fantasy value if he pulls a JuJu and becomes a vital part of the offense. That all starts in preseason.
  • The Eagles’ backfield is where my interest lies. Carson Wentz and Nick Foles are dealing with injuries so get excited for third string quarterbacks.

Saints at Jaguars

  • Michael Floyd, Brandon Tate, Cameron Meredith, Tre’Quan Smith, Ted Ginn, these are all the receivers the Saints have battling for the number two spot. Who will take their spot next to Michael Thomas? I want to know! (My money is on Cam Meredith.)
  • If you draft a Jaguars’ receiver, you’re letting Blake Bortles take the wheel and you’re going to live and die by his arm. But D.J. Clark is someone who has been drawing a lot of praise from training camps and could be a boom or bust type fantasy option (think Will Fuller).
  • Again, faith in Blake Bortles though.

Buccaneers at Dolphins

  • Ronald Jones baby! How will the rookie look in his first NFL action? The Bucs need a strong rushing attack and if Jones locks that gig up all to himself, he could be a sneaky fantasy monster this year.
  • Want to see some Chris Godwin who’s been just blowing up camp and kicking Desean Jackson to the curb! Let me see more of that.
  • Ryan Tannehill’s playing which means we’ll see what he looks like after his ACL tear. I want to see how his rapport is with his receivers after missing a year. Also want to watch Mike Gesicki who’s had a strong camp so far and could take the starting tight end gig in Miami.

Washington at Patriots

  • Clearly the pick here is Derrius Guice who some people—[cough] Clark [cough]—are insanely high on. Will he live up to the hype? Find out this and more tonight at 7:30 PM EST.
  • WHO’S GOING TO CATCH THE FOOTBALL FOR TOM BRADY/REALLY BRIAN HOYER? Also is Jeremy Hill legit? I need him to be now that my Sony Michel hypetrain has hit a major fork in the tracks.

Rams at Ravens

  • The next steps of Cooper Kupp could be fun to watch I guess. We all know the storyline we want to see is how Brandin Cooks will be used but I doubt we’ll see him out there tonight. Who knows. Maybe.
  • Time for Lamar Jackson to continue his campaign to be starting quarterback and that continues with him shellacking a “unstoppable” Rams defense. Come on people, stop trying to convince yourself that there’s anything Lamar can’t do. It’s just worthless. Trust me. Give into him and accept him for all his glory.

Titans at Packers

  • Much like what I’m watching for in Chicago, I want to see Matt LaFluer’s new offense that’s going to turn Marcus Mariota into a freaking wizard under center.
  • What will Corey Davis look like after a disappointing rookie season? I swear, if he makes just one amazing catch tonight, I’m going to be back in his camp eating all the s’mores before you can say “Wait, this is a Thunder Girls retreat, you’re not welcome here.”
  • Let me see the new Packers’ receivers everyone’s so hyped on, especially Equanimeous St. Brown. Also, I want to start getting a sense of the backfield and how Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones might split time. I don’t know if we’ll see that tonight but something to look for.

Texans at Chiefs

  • That’s literally all I care about this game.
  • Oh and maybe Pat Mahomes....
  • ...but really it’s just all Deshaun

Cowboys at 49ers

  • I want to know who Dak Prescott is going to be throwing the ball to and are the good? You’d think these are questions you wouldn’t have to ask of a professional sports team, yet here we are. The Cowboys have a completely overhauled receiving core and I want to see how they’re clicking with their starting quarterback.
  • I don’t know if Jerick McKinnon will get playing time, but I want to see how he looks when the backfield is all his.
  • Really I’m just going to spend this game staring at Jimmy Garoppolo’s dreamy eyes and strong jawline and crying to myself about how that man could’ve been my franchise quarterback.

Colts at Seahawks

  • Andrew Luck. Nothing else matters.
  • Ok ok ok, I already pulled that gimmick. I also want to see how Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny perform. Penny’s ADP has been falling but he could rocket back up if it looks like he’s the clear workhorse in Seattle.


Falcons at Jets

  • The Falcons’ twitter account keeps tweeting out videos of Calvin Ridley making plays so I’m starting to get really hyped about this guy. I want to see how he performs in game as he could be a guy to watch on waivers as he might put together a solid stretch of fantasy performances this season.
  • In New York, obviously the man to watch is Sam Darnold. If he looks as good as people says he does, then the Jets are in business. We all know what a good quarterback can do to his receivers and the Jets have some pass catchers that could have serious fantasy value if they’re getting the ball thrown to them by a legit starting quarterback.

Lions at Raiders

  • What does the Lions’ backfield look like? How will the trio of LeGarrette Blount/Theo Riddick/rookie Kerryon Johnson be deployed. Yes, I know I’m forgetting Ameer Abdullah. Ameer, show me something to get on this list.
  • What in the fiery blue blazes will Jon Gruden’s team look like? If there’s a fullback on the field for more than 70% of the snaps, I’m going to flip.


Vikings at Broncos

  • Kirk Cousins will likely throw only two passes this game but if they are anything other than two touchdowns, twitter is going to melt.
  • Remember Laquon Treadwell? Well I hope he does something to make us all remember him this game.
  • Case Keenum back home baby! REVENGE GAME! I’ll be curious to see how the offense looks with him at the helm but more than that, how the rookie wide receivers look. Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton have been generating a lot of buzz out of camp and could take a big step towards replacing Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders with a big Week 1 performance.
  • Also Royce Freeman. He’s my guy.

Chargers at Cardinals

  • Don’t forget the Chargers spent a first round pick last year on a big bodied wide receiver to go score all the touchdowns in Mike Williams. I could totally see Philip Rivers, after a knock to the head, just thinking Williams is Vincent Jackson and the two just become a lethal duo on the field. Mark my words.
  • Obviously out of Arizona the two people to watch are Josh Rosen and David Johnson. Will Rosen be ready to play when Sam Bradford inevitably hurts himself walking to the water cooler during practice?
  • If David Johnson gains two yards on his first carry, I’m going to draft him number one overall. THE KING IS BACK!