Fantasy notebook: Kenjon Barner could be RB sleeper

Week 2 of preseason gets underway. Coaches start making their initial decisions on which players will fall into the first cut grouping, and fans continue to revisit and tinker with their best tailgating techniques. Week 1's regular season  will be here before you know it. With that in mind, let's take a look at how to monitor tonight's preseason games while wearing our fantasy goggles.

Falcons @ Ravens

  • Will Atlanta's first-team offense be able to put together a touchdown drive? Granted, no coach wants to expose his entire playbook during preseason. But it's still debatable whether Atlanta's first-string offense was really that bad or Cincinnati's first-team defense was really that good last week as Atlanta was held to just a field goal at halftime. Matt Ryan went 6-for-9 for 89 yards against the Bengals, which was a nice workman-like performance by preseason standards, but he'll be a little happier whenever he connects his first TD pass of 2013.
  • Will Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark stay on the field longer in order to become more acclimated to the offense? The more interesting parts of the offense may come when backup QB Tyrod Taylor steps onto the field. Will the Ravens run the zone read they have reportedly test driven during a few practice sessions?

Lions @ Browns

  • Will the Lions defense continue their solid play? Granted, not much is expected from the Jets offense this year, so we can't look too deeply into Detroit's first outing for answers. Cleveland's offense should provide a more thorough examination of Detroit's defense, although I still can't really give anyone a solid reason to be starting Detroit's D/ST each week. On the offensive side of the ball, Calvin Johnson is going to miss tonight's game with a knee contusion. Hmm. 
  • I covered this more in depth yesterday, but Trent Richardson is probably the main guy to watch out of everyone. He's going to make or break a lot of fantasy seasons, and I think he'll either be boom or bust without much middle ground. As for the rest of the Browns offense, can Brandon Weeden continue to play impressively and prove me right that he's a highly undervalued fantasy option heading into 2013?

Panthers @ Eagles

  • Keep a close eye on Kenjon Barner. The rookie from Oregon looked impressive, carrying the ball nine times for 37 yards last week. If Jonathan Stewart can't get healthy by Week 1, I like Barner's potential a lot if he's given the opportunity to even split carries with DeAngelo Williams (who is dealing with injury issues of his own).
  • Did Chip Kelly and the Eagles find any semblance of something called a defense? Last week, the Patriots ran the ball on every play and scored an easy touchdown on their opening drive, then Tom Brady went to work and dissected Philly's defense for the rest of the time he was on the field. In one sense, that's a good thing for fantasy owners of offensive Eagles. Philadelphia will likely find themselves trailing by a decent amount each week, which should lead to plenty of opportunities for garbage points.

Chargers @ Bears

  • Who will Philip Rivers find as a primary target now that Malcom Floyd's status for 2013 is uncertain? I don't ever remember seeing an NFL roster have this many spots up for grabs heading into a season. Some receiver will emerge as a fantasy option in San Diego, even if by default. Fozzy Whittaker had 14 carries for 38 yards last week. It's hardly newsworthy by itself, but will he somehow work his way into getting reps with the first team if San Diego's coaching staff grows impatient with Ryan Mathews?
  • It'd be silly to get discouraged by Matt Forte's one carry for a negative yard in the opener, but it'd also be nice to see him produce a little better numbers than that during his second go-around. I realize Marc Trestman doesn't want to give everything away, but is it too much to ask to see just a sneak preview?

John Juhasz is a fantasy editor at Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJuhasz

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