The preseason schedule gets underway with a bang tonight with a whopping 12 games (out of 16) being played tonight. It’s the first preseason game so you can expect the starters to play a limited number of snaps–likely a quarter or less depending on the individual and experience/health levels. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t find some interesting things. Here is something to watch for in each, whether your interest is in gaining fantasy information or just wanting to watch the league.
Browns at Giants
Baker Mayfield’s debut highlights this one. It’s also Saquon Barkley’s unveiling, but the guess here is he will be very limited in the preseason, particularly in week 1, as the Giants preserve him for a stout workload once the season arrives. The Browns have several areas worth watching, including the wide receiver depth battle as Josh Gordon’s status remains uncertain.
Texans at Chiefs
Deshaun Watson could play tonight, and we will get a brief glimpse of where he is at in his recovery from the knee injury. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes starts at Arrowhead amid much anticipation and excitement, and should play the entire first quarter. The Chiefs are replacing several veterans on a defense that collapsed last year, and J.J. Watt is trying to bounce back after two injury-filled years.
Colts at Seahawks
Andrew Luck will take the field for the first time in over 18 months. Marlon Mack is expected to be the lead back, and the Colts are significantly younger at that position after Frank Gore has moved on, and rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are behind Mack on the depth chart.
The Seattle running back rotation is a key one to watch. They used the first round pick on Rashaad Penny, but Chris Carson has been more impressive so far in camp and is back from his lower leg injury that cut short a promising rookie year last fall.
Cowboys at 49ers
Jimmy G will probably last for less time in this game than a Kiara Mia scene. But you get to see how Jerick McKinnon will be used early, and Matt Breida is a second-year player I want to see more of. Dallas, meanwhile, has had complete turnover at the skill positions. No more Dez or Jason Witten. What looks like a complete mess at WR and TE, and we will see who is first up in the rotations tonight.
Buccaneers at Dolphins
Tampa Bay coaches have had plenty of praise for Chris Godwin, and DeSean Jackson’s spot as a starter isn’t completely safe. We’ll see who is in the wide receiver rotations early. Meanwhile, Ronald Jones II is the expected starter at running back after being drafted in the second round, and we’ll get a first glimpse.
For Miami, Ryan Tannehill is expected to play in the opener, after missing all of last year with the knee injury. Meanwhile, the team is replacing Jarvis Landry and his gazillion catches. Holdovers Devante Parker and Kenny Stills are joined by Albert Wilson (from Chiefs) and Danny Amendola (from Patriots) and we can see how those rotations shake out early in the game.
Panthers at Bills
The Panthers will be working first-round pick D.J. Moore into the lineup and we’ll see if he is with the starters at the outset (Torrey Smith is also now with Carolina, though Moore is expected to be ahead of him by the time it matters).
Buffalo, of course, has the riveting quarterback situation. Rookie Josh Allen has been working with the third string unit, which means he might actually get to play quite a bit. Expect GIFs.