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Here it is, another week of NFL preseason games.  Hopefully your fantasy football players are more involved this week, so we might get a better idea about how each team will look like in the regular season.  It’s critical to keep up with the NFLkbenjamin changing landscape, because it gives you a jump on the waiver wire and possible trade scenarios.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions.  Here are some quick observations based on around the first three-quarters of each game:

Chiefs vs Panthers

The return of Cam Newton disappointed to say the least.  He looked a bit gimpy at times, especially when he rolled away from impending blitzers.  The quarterback’s upper body is still shows the power to throw the ball on a wire 50+ yards downfield without a solid base.  Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin got behind the defense a few times.  Once, Cam missed him with too much torque, but the second time Benjamin made the catch between three defenders.  It was a thing of beauty, because he caught the ball at its highest point and shielded the ball away from all three defenders.  Much injured Jonathan Stewart has some burst and power back, but how long will it last?   Good thing Carolina has one of the most dominant front seven defensive fronts in the league.

On the Chiefs side, everyone got to see the NFL’s most important backup running back, Knile Davis.  He has good power with a little explosion, but still can get strung out going east and west.  I also saw a lot of body catching, which limits his use to spell Jamaal Charles.  Rookie offensive weapon D ‘Anthony Thomas quieted down in this game, but still has that breakaway zu-zu that makes him a dangerous on returns and bubble screens.  Second year tight end, Travis Kelce, seems ready to take the NFL by storm.  He took another post route 40+ yards on the way to the end zone.  The tight end has soft hands and loose hips that he uses to shake off defenders.  Andy Reid loves tight ends, so if you own him, be ready for some happiness.

Dolphins vs Bucs

The Bucs futuristic or just ugly uniforms (I’m not judging much) certainly give the team the look of speed.  First round pick (both in fantasy and in the NFL), Mike Evans, looked rather ordinary for the first quarter of the game.  Of course, when he got targeted, Evans skied up to make the catch at its highest point.  The corner back covering him bounced off the rookie and Evans raced down the field for an apparent touchdown.  But hold on, the wide out bobbled the ball on the one yard line which caused a touchback.   Fellow rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ASJ) adjusted to the ball well mid-air, but is still catching passes with his body, not his hands.  The tight end is explosive enough to be a downfield and red zone threat in time.

When I watch the Dolphins play, my eyes are first taken to the mess at offensive line.  Lamar Miller did not have much room to run between the tackles.  The runner has to take the ball outside using his limited wiggle and quick feet.  Miller has soft hands, but didn’t get a favor from anyone blocking for him.  Third year quarterback Ryan Tannehill looks more confident and sure of himself.  He makes quick decisions and gets the ball out in a hurry.  There is still a lack of chemistry with Mike Wallace as they just missed on a rainbow throw early in the game.  Tannehill can throw the ball on a rope when he needs when he hit one of his receivers between three defenders.  Rookie wide out, Jarvis Landry, has the speed and burst to get open in the middle of the field.  I love the way he catches the ball in stride, but outside of Wallace and Brian Hartline, the receiving jobs are wide open.

Bengals vs Jets

The Jets’ offense struggled so much that they continued to play another quarter after the Bengals defensive starters had gone.  Second year quarterback, Geno Smith, has a strong arm, but lacks the necessary touch on the ball.  He has good pocket awareness and leaves when no one is open.  It appears that the young quarterback goes thru his progressions first and is improving his footwork.  Rookie Jace Amaro gives glimpses of good play getting open downfield and shielding the ball from defenders.  His blocking still needs a lot of work though.  Jeremy Kerley is now listed as a starter, but is more of a slot third receiver on a team that starves for offensive talent.  Chris Johnson looks to be their most impressive offensive weapon in the preseason, since we haven’t seen Eric Decker yet on the playing field.

For the Bengals, they look ready to rumble.  Second year rusher, Gio Bernard, seems poised for a breakout.  He runs silky smooth while making jump cuts on top of jump cuts.  This offensive weapon has good leg drive for a smaller back and uses his rare combination of great vision, speed, and quickness well.  BJGE got one carry before rookie Jeremy Hill got on the field, but I am not concerned.  Hill generates good power moving piles always getting low, but also has quick feet to make defenders miss.  The rookie back has soft hands for a back his size and steps up to block pass rushers in those situations.   Because of the foot injury to Marvin Jones, Mohammed Sanu got thrust into the second receiver role.  The third year receiver got behind his coverage for a bucket catch touchdown and is playing more physically than years past.  On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Margus Hunt is making the leap.  He pushed around the first and second team Jet o-lines all around the field.  This beast gets off the line quickly, uses his size, power, and leverage to toss people around.  Hunt’s biggest issue is keeping his body in control to get in position to make the play.  He might start the season as a situational rusher, but I think he will finish it as a starting defensive end.

Washington vs Browns

The excitement level of the Browns quarterback battle is similar to getting your first valentine from your mother.  The “leader” Brian Hoyer has poor timing with the receivers and could not manage to score a touchdown on two drives.  “Living legend” Johnny Manziel had as many obscene finger gestures as he did touchdown passes (one that was not against the first team defense).  The rookie is finding out that he cannot outrun eleven defenders just like college.  Manziel showed poor footwork, threw behind receivers, and needed to throw quickly to be effective.  The highlight of the Browns offense is their offensive line combined with the hard-running Ben Tate.  The former Texan ran with power, made good cuts, got low, and appeared to be the starter.

RG3 had a mixed night; the signal caller ran the ball more than the coach designed.  Then he made a bad decision throwing an interception.  On the bright side, tight end Jordan Reed seems to have a lot of Griffin’s attention.  The second year receiver snags the ball well, shows great balance, and lines up all over the formation to get him a free release.  Reserve rookie receiver Ryan Grant did a great job tracking the ball, ran crisp routes, and got behind the defense for a third quarter touchdown.  In deeper dynasty leagues, keep an eye on Grant, he is their fifth or sixth best receiver now.  This is the NFL, so a lot could change quickly.

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Thanks for reading.

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