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  • Writer's pictureAaron Clanton


With the Hall of Fame game in the rearview mirror and the first “real” preseason games upon us, it’s time to have the discussion about these games. First off, let’s be grateful that football games, regardless of the competition on the field, are back. Despite that caveat, these games are essentially not all that important. For 90% of NFL teams, these games are about getting work in for starters for 1-2 drives and then allowing them to sit back and relax on the sidelines while the 2nd and 3rd stringers compete for roster spots. For the other 10%, these games may determine who the starters will be at key positions, and they may let us fans in on how they actually feel about players. While the title of this article may be a little misleading because I won't be explaining how to find the games on TV, it will discuss how we should be viewing the games as fantasy football fans and players as well as what to take away from them.

I’d like to get this out of the way off the top; these games will be bad compared to most regular season games. Anytime you have 2nd and 3rd string players at any level of competition, there is going to be a drop-off in entertainment level. This doesn’t mean don’t watch the games or that you should enjoy the games less, but just be aware that things will look sloppy and sometimes just downright bad. Therefore, if you see your team’s 7th round rookie running back rush for 150 yards, that doesn’t mean they have what it takes to be the starter. They just may be significantly better than the backups on the opposing team. With that being said, there are always preseason standouts that make the roster and have an impact on the team’s season, but good luck picking them this early.

The most important part of the preseason is how teams distribute playing time with their quarterbacks. For example, it was announced Thursday that Justin Herbert wouldn’t play at all in the preseason. This is intriguing, not because Herbert wasn’t the clear-cut starter, but because the Los Angeles Chargers more than likely believe he’s ready to go and want to make sure they take absolutely zero risks with his health. This is a typical move with a veteran quarterback to make sure they start the season healthy while also allowing the backup quarterback to get valuable reps. It’s also important to see what the playing time is for quarterbacks who are battling for a number 1 spot. For instance, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said Thursday Justin Fields would “see plenty of action” in his first preseason game. When I see this for rookie quarterbacks, I like to believe it’s the coaching staff’s way of letting the rookie play his way into being the Week 1 starter. The Denver Broncos, however, have announced that Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock would be splitting playing time, which leads me to believe that the preseason will be the actual determining factor as to who the starter will be there. These are the games to watch if I were trying to determine late round targets at quarterback and wide receiver.

The final piece of advice is to not take the results of the games too seriously. For some context, the 2008 Detroit Lions, the team that would end the season 0-16, went 4-0 in the preseason. The results of these games don’t matter, and unless a team loses by 40 every game, I'm not going to worry about the outcomes. These games are for NFL owners to make more money and for teams to get a better look at players outside of individual drills in practice. Enjoy them for what they are, an exhibition game that shows us enough watchable football to hype fans up for the regular season.

While I'm not typically a preseason watcher, this year has certainly piqued my interest. There are plenty of interesting position battles and quarterback competitions to pay attention to that will have major fantasy football implications come the regular season. Also, if I'm being honest, I just miss football and anything that resembles football at this point of the year has me excited and pumped up for the regular season. Thanks for reading and as always, stay dreamin’!

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