Training camps are in full swing and it is finally time to have football back in our lives again. Last Thursday the preseason opened up with the Hall of Fame game between the Ravens and Bears, but today’s 12 game slate will provide us with a much better opportunity to get that football fix and some Draftkings preseason sweats.
If you are scouring Twitter and the internet for training camp reports and information to narrow down your player pool it can be quite a grind, so I am going to identify some of the players I like to try and ease the burden. This article will also be written with the Draftkings scoring format in mind which is full point PPR.
Here goes nothing!
Cody Kessler – Jacksonville Jaguars
Kessler played his first two seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. He did get chances as the team’s starter but ultimately did not have much success. This year he seems poised to take the Jacksonville Jaguars QB2 job behind Blake Bortles.
Currently, the Jaguars depth chart only lists three quarterbacks; Blake Bortles, Cody Kessler, and Tanner Lee. Typically we only see a team’s incumbent starter only play a couple of drives, which should mean some increased playing time for Cody Kessler. It would seem wise to also target spots on the slate where there are not as many names on the depth chart as well. Many of the teams on the slate and in the preseason will list around four quarterbacks which only makes our decisions tougher.
Another reason I like Kessler is the NFL experience he brings to the table as I mentioned above. He is not a rookie that is yet to feel the speed of a real NFL game. His previous in-game reps should show through, especially in the preseason.
Nate Sudfeld – Philadelphia Eagles
Currently, the Eagles have four quarterbacks listed on their depth chart; Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, Nate Sudfeld and Joe Callahan. We can already cross one of those names off of the list knowing Wentz is hurt. Nick Foles is also unexpected to play in the preseason opener as there were reports of him having muscle spasms throughout the week. According to Rotoworld.com, Nate Sudfeld is likely to see the majority of the snaps in tomorrow’s first preseason game. Any time there is this much clarity on a playing time situation in the preseason, it cannot be ignored. Similar to what we see in NBA DFS, “Minutes = Money”.
Sudfeld also has some regular season experience although minimal as he played the Week 17 contest against the Dallas Cowboys. Hopefully, he can take what he learned in that regular season game and use it to his advantage in these preseason games.
Wayne Gallman – New York Giants
After sharing the running back duties with Orleans Darkwa last season, Gallman now finds himself not only behind Saquon Barkley, but also veteran Jonathan Stewart at the beginning of the 2018 season. I have a feeling Gallman will want to prove he still belongs and should get the opportunity to show he still does tonight.
Gallman totaled 476 yards on 111 attempts but also was effective in the passing game, which is a skill that is necessary to have in your lineups especially in the Draftkings PPR format. Just from week 14-16 alone, Gallman totaled 19 catches on 24 targets which are numbers we usually only see the elite running backs put up.
DJ Chark – Jacksonville Jaguars
On paper, the Jaguars actually have a better receiving corps than many might think. The group is led by Marqise Lee with two late standouts from last season in Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole behind him. They also signed Donte Moncrief, formerly of the Colts in the offseason, and drafted DJ Chark out of LSU in the second round a couple of months back.
With guys like Lee, Westbrook, and Cole having already proven their roles in the offense, I would expect them to play very little in this game. This should open up plenty of playing time for somebody like Chark. Another reason I am encouraged about Chark is his apparent rapport with backup quarterback Cody Kessler. Training camp reports have said they have both been impressive together and I am hoping that carries over into these preseason games. A Kessler to Chark stack is something I will be looking to get into a good bit of my lineups.
Riley McCarron/Braxton Berrios – New England Patriots
With the departure of Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell and the suspension of Julian Edelman, it will be interesting to see how the Patriots utilize their current and new receivers to start the season. Two names who could be in line for some more work than originally thought are second-year player Riley McCarron and rookie Braxton Berrios. There is no better way to get up to game speed than by playing in the actual games themselves which is why I expect McCarron and Berrios to get quite a bit of time tonight.
They will need to get as many meaningful reps as they can if they are going to be of any help to the Patriots in the early going of the regular season. For my lineups, I am probably going to favor Mccarron a little bit as he has already been on the Patriots practice squad for a year whereas Berrios is still fresh to the Patriots system.
Rico Gathers – Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys will enter the 2018 season without their longtime tight end, Jason Witten. The Cowboys also shed both Dez Bryant and Brice Butler in the offseason leaving behind what is now a wasteland of wide receivers. Enter Rico Gathers. Gathers flashed big time last preseason and looked like he was poised to carve out a role in the Cowboys offense. Gathers unfortunately sustained an injury that kept him out for about half of the season, and for some reason when he was ready to return the Cowboys decided to keep him off the field. Now it looks like they may have no choice but to play Gathers who clearly has major talent. Gathers is somebody I am definitely going to have a good bit of exposure to across my lineups.
Another reason I like Gathers is the quarterback that is going to be throwing him the ball in Cooper Rush. Rush has also played well in the preseason which encourages me even more about Gathers. It is always a positive thing when we can get a quarterback that already has experience and is up to game speed.
Picking your defense in the preseason is truly a roulette spin. Having said that, there is one defense I am liking a little bit as I look through the slate and that is the Carolina Panthers. The Bills are lacking major offensive talent outside of running back LeSean Mccoy. I am also not encouraged by any of their quarterbacks and I am hoping the Panthers could luck into a couple of interceptions tonight. If we are going to see a lot of Josh Allen, then I think we can fire up the Panthers in our lineups without hesitation.
That’s going to do it for my first round of preseason picks. Good luck building your lineups tonight and hopefully these guys can help get you some cash this week.