We have a 6 game slate on tap tonight where we will get to see some of the guys we are more accustomed to seeing during the regular season. Preseason week 3 is widely known as the “dress rehearsal” game for all teams around the league. Typically we will see the starters for each team play at least the first half of their respective games with the possibility of a drive or two in the third quarter. With that in mind, this slate lends itself to more of a regular season feel. We also have to try and draw on some information from last season to help us find some weak spots on this slate.
For this week’s batch of articles, I am going to take a little bit different of an approach. I am going to break down a few situations I am looking to attack for each individual slate, rather than identifying picks at every position. Next week will be back to normal as the plays will have some more clarity around them.
Let’s get into it.
Head coach Matt Patricia has already come out and stated that he would like to get Matthew Stafford and the ones some extended time in this contest. If that is the case than the Lions 9th year signal caller and his weapons are in line for a fantasy-friendly matchup. Last year Tampa Bay’s defense ranked in the bottom third as a unit. Even after some nice additions to their defensive line this offseason, their secondary leaves a lot to be desired. Pro Football Focus recently ranked every team’s defensive units for this upcoming season and they currently have the Buccaneers as the 31st ranked secondary going into 2018. This should leave guys like Marvin Jones Jr., Golden Tate and second-year wideout Kenny Golladay with plenty of room to operate. I would like a little more clarity on the exact amount of time Stafford and the ones will be getting, so I will be monitoring this situation up until lock. If Stafford and the ones do indeed play an entire half against this porous Buccaneers secondary, I think we can expect a solid outing.
Ron Rivera has stated that the Panthers starters will be playing through the first series of the second half tonight. They are set to take on the New England Patriots who were another defense that provided some fantasy friendly environments last season. Although the Panthers did not meet the Patriots in the preseason last year, they had met in the preseason the previous three years. Cam Newton’s pass attempts in those games are as follows; 2014 = 12 pass attempts, 2015 = 28 pass attempts, 2016 = 29 pass attempts. The guaranteed playing time for Newton in addition to his unique combination of rushing and passing skills should make him a popular option on this slate. Pairing Newton with Devin Funchess is something I am starting to warm up to. Funchess seems to be the forgotten man in Carolina with the addition of rookie DJ Moore, even though he is very clearly still the WR1. With Kelvin Benjamin now totally out of the picture, Funchess could be in line for his best season yet. I think I will definitely have some exposure here as he should also see a nice helping of playing time with Cam Newton throwing the ball his way.
The Redskins were bitten early by the injury bug this year when their rookie running back Derrius Guice suffered a season-ending ACL injury. A couple of their other backs are banged up as well as Samaje Perine and Byron Marshall are both out with ankle injuries Chris Thompson will also probably not see any action until the regular season. This leaves Rob Kelley, newly signed Adrian Peterson and Kapri Bibbs to take care of the running back duties. Their matchup is not ideal as they will be facing the Denver Broncos, but I am intrigued by Bibbs a little bit. Bibbs will be doing his best to secure a roster spot in these next two games and I think he should some nice opportunities to do so. I think we could see him get the majority of the easier, second half work for the Redskins which also includes a pass-catching role. Add in the revenge factor Bibbs will be carrying with him when he takes on his former team, and we may have ourselves a nice GPP play on a night where people will be jamming in their favorite starters.
For me, this third week of the preseason presents an interesting puzzle. My best piece of advice for this slate would be that matchups are going to play a bit more of a factor here. With that in mind, it is also important to note that given the pricing on the preseason slates, this is the week where the starters are technically at their greatest discounts when you factor in their increased playing time. Each salary is not being generated on factors such as an easy or difficult matchup, previous production or Vegas implied totals. Although this may appear fairly obvious I think it is especially important to try and keep it in the back of our heads this week. As I said earlier I think it would also be wise to try and draw on some information from last year to try and find some weak spots for these starting defenses. I will be back tomorrow with a similar article highlighting some of the situations I like for the Saturday slate.