That was fun, wasn't it? We're just getting started, but even after the first night of action, there are some fantasy tea leaves to read.
Adam Rank is having a lot of fun on Twitter as he monitors fantasy overreactions, but the following isn't one of them. The Seahawks may have finally found a reliable backup for Marshawn Lynch. Rookie Christine Michael ran all over the Chargers for 89 yards on 16 carries in Seattle'spreseason opener. Last year, Marshawn Lynch went out of his mind and amassed 1,590 yards on the ground, which naturally delighted all of his fantasy owners. But nobody else on the roster was much help in the ground game, which likely did not sit well with the coaching staff. In fact, Russell Wilson was the team's second-leading rusher with 489, and no NFL coach can afford to put all his eggs into one RB basekt anymore.
Lynch is unquestionably still the featured back in this offense, but Michael's name should be appearing on your fantasy radars. With some huge question marks surrounding Seattle's passing game, I have a hard time believing Michael won't see a decent-sized workload this year. What does that mean in practical terms? Nothing is official yet, and anything can change on a moment's notice. But I'd expect Michael to log around 10 carries per game and maybe even get a few looks out of the backfield on screens.
Denver won't utilize the full pistol playbook for a few reasons. First, their offensive line isn't mobile (or healthy) enough to pull it off. Second, a large part of the pistol playbook gives the quarterback the option of whether to hand off, throw or keep it himself. Those of you who remember watching Colin Kaepernick at Nevada remember how often he'd just tuck the ball and take off to gain a big chunk of yardage. And none of you remember seeing Peyton Manning do it either in college or in the pros, because he may very well be the slowest quarterback in the league, which negates the threat of any QB run.
I half suspect the only reason John Fox is attempting to use is is because he's worried that Manning dropping back to pass from under center will take too much time, and he's worried that his offensive line may not hold up. Let's see if he keeps trying to use the gimmicky formation as preseason rolls on.
Friday's featured presentation
Trust me, you'll want to make it a point to tune into tonight's Patriots-Eagles game. If the NFL held its preseason games at Wimbledon, this would be the game chosen for Centre Court. Seeing what kind of offense Chip Kelly runs is the primary focus. How much zone read will he utilize? Will Michael Vick be able to run it efficiently? Will the offense be more run-oriented with limited receiving options? Can anyone step up and become a WR2? Will DeSean Jackson be able to carry the load of a WR1?
From the other side, Tom Brady has reportedly looked sharp in practice. Will that translate into preseason and ultimately regular season action? Will Danny Amendola be an effective WR1? Is rookie Kenbrell Thomkins worth monitoring as a potential deep sleeper option? How will the Patriots utilize their running game?
Plaxico Burress' season-ending torn rotator cuff injury leaves Pittsburgh's passing attack in a lot of trouble. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are not proven WR1s, and the depth behind them is highly questionable. Don't forget that Heath Miller is currently on the PUP list and may end up missing at least the first six games of the year, and the team is also becoming increasingly concerned about Matt Spaeth's recent injury that he picked up at camp. Everything you've been hearing about rookie RB Le'Veon Bell getting a big workload is looking more and more likely.