Preseason NFL games, at least statistically speaking, are almost entirely irrelevant to fantasy owners. However, now that training camps are underway and preseason games are just days away, we're finally getting daily news reports for the first time in months.
My best advice is to ignore the statistical accomplishments of players once the preseason games get underway, but that doesn't mean there isn't useful information to be gained by watching the games. Every preseason sees several players enter with question marks surrounding them -- usually due to injuries or uncertain roles -- and this is the first time we've had in awhile in which those players' values can change so quickly. As a result, as I do every preseason, I've compiled my list of eight players I'll be watching most closely, as they're among the most likely to see dramatic spikes in value before their teams' openers:
Tatum Bell, RB, Broncos: It's never easy to decipher coach Mike Shanahan's plans with the running-back spot, but as fantasy owners know, the winner of the starting job is always a rather attractive pick. As training camp gets underway, Ron Dayne appears the favorite for the job, but one has to wonder whether he's capable of being a workhorse, having carried the ball just 53 times last season. If he can't, who else could it be, Cedric Cobbs? Bell has been the one seemingly generating a buzz in early fantasy drafts, probably thanks to his youth and upside, but I'd like to see him getting more time with the first team and racking up encouraging performances in the preseason before trusting him as a No. 2 fantasy option. It's not going to be easy to get a read on that Denver backfield in the next month, but perhaps we'll at least get some of our questions answered.