Rejoice! Today is the day we have been waiting on for months. We are back with our first full NFL slate of the season, and it’s a good one. If you’re new to Fantasy Sports (mainly Football DFS in general), be warned. NFL Preseason DFS is a completely different beast than the regular season. During the preseason, it’s less about the best players and more about knowing who is going to play. Countless hours of beat writer scrounging, snap count counting and depth chart analyzing lay ahead for you.
This is my attempt to be your middle man. I can at least give you a starting point to get ahead of the pack. For me, plays are listed in two categories. We have CASH plays that should be safer, albeit more chalky, that are good for 50/50 entries. Then, there are your GPP plays – plays that are good in larger fields to separate your team from others. This is something that maybe I see or envision that many other people don’t. These “plays” come with more risk, but also a higher chance of reward. A winning roster will likely require a mix of both of these kinds of plays.
The basic knowledge needed for week 1 may seem obvious but it is so important. Starters and veterans should be ignored. They will see a series, maybe two, and not give you enough upside to pay -off. The best lineups may sometimes feature players that 90% of casual fans have never even heard of. Fringe players hanging onto the edge of rosters or rookies playing for their chance to make a team. Don’t be fooled going for big names you recognize and becoming just another fish for the sharks to eat. With all of that said, let’s get into our week 1 plays.
Joe Webb (HOU): The Texans, at best, will have two QB’s, with the possibility of only Webb. AJ McCarron missed practice this week with an injured hand.
Trace McSorley (BAL): McSorley has improved in practice this week and is expected to see a lot of playing time with RG3 injured.
Dwayne Haskins (WAS): Colt McCoy will not play, leaving only Haskins and Keenum as eligible quarterbacks. Either of them could see 2+ quarters but I’m banking on the first-round pick Haskins to have the better outing.
Daniel Jones (NYG): Jones has been better than expected and is projected to get to play an entire half.
Tyree Jackson (BUF): The Bills currently have three quarterbacks on the roster and Allen isn’t expected to play much. Jackson is a dual-threat QB that has huge upside if he gets two (or more) quarters.
Ryan Tannehill/ Logan Woodside (TEN): Another team only carrying three quarterbacks. One of these two could play over a half and would automatically make them a great play. Especially if its former first-round pick Ryan Tannehill.
Matt Simms (ATL): Benkert was put on injured reserve after the Hall of Fame game, leaving Simms as the QB3. Schaub is terrible and Ryan isn’t expected to play much. We saw how the Falcons handled the rotation last week.
Will Grier (CAR): I hope you’re realizing the pattern for this NFL Preseason DFS slate. The Panthers carry three QB’s and Cam isn’t expected to suit up. I always lean the rookies in these situations.
DeShone Kizer (GB): Kizer has been inconsistent and has yet to fully earn the backup job. He and St. Brown have a college connection and it could be useful.
Reggie Bonnafon (CAR): McCaffrey and Scarlett are out this game, leaving Bonnafon, Artis-Payne, and Holyfield. Out of the three, Bonnafon has shown the most passing game promise and figures to get the “lion share” of the run.
Damien Harris (NEP): Burkhead and Michel are unlikely to play and White is expected to be used sparingly. Harris has an opportunity to shine as a lead back and the Patriots want to improve goal-line rushing situations. This could lead to a touchdown or two.
Ty Johnson (DET): Theo Riddick has been cut and now the Lions are looking for someone to fill that role. The Maryland speedster should be given the first chance and can take it to the house on every opportunity.
Damarea Crockett/Josh Ferguson (HOU): D’Onta Foreman has been cut and now the Texans now have a hole at the RB2 spot. These two will be battling it out this preseason. My personal preference is Crockett. He has shown the most promise in the passing game.
Dexter Williams (GB): Williams recently missed practice himself and he could be scratched. But, if he plays, he’s one of three active running backs and the one most likely to get goal-line carries.
David Montgomery (CHI): Cohen and Davis should sit out as vets, leaving only four running backs to suit up. They are led by rookie David Montgomery.
Bo Scarborough (SEA): Carson, Homer, and Prosise are expected to be out. Leaving only Bo and Penny as young unproven backs.
Samaje Perine (WAS): Gruden has talked him up all off-season and he is currently battling Marshall for the final RB spot.
Dontrell Hilliard (CLE): The Browns are expected to dress five running backs on Thursday and Hilliard has had an amazing week of practice.
Corey Grant (GB): One of only three healthy running backs on the Packers roster. Williams recently missed practice as well. Grant is a threat to go the distance every time he gets the ball.
Devin Singletary (BUF): I expect Gore and McCoy to sit, leaving only five active running backs. Singletary has been the most impressive throughout camp and coaches should want to see him in live game action.
Jeremy McNichols (TEN): Henry and Lewis are not expected to get a ton of run. The Titans will have only four backs left. McNichols has seen a ton of work in practice this week and should be the first man up.
Devante Mays (JAX): With Rawls, Armstead, and Cunningham sidelined Mays has been seeing the most snaps. With that said, he has also been prone to fumbling which makes him a boom-or-bust candidate for this NFL preseason DFS slate.
Terry McLaurin (WAS): I love the idea of stacking Haskins with McLaurin. College teammates are an underrated spot to look in NFL preseason DFS and head coach Jay Gruden should let the rookie get plenty of playing time.
Deon Cain (IND): Cain was a hyped fantasy wide receiver last season that never saw playing time due to tearing his ACL last August. He’s a second-year guy that needs all the live reps he can get. He should also get a lot of his playing time with Brissett.
Preston Williams (MIA): Rosen and Williams have really connected and will get plenty of playing time with the second-string offense.
Devin Gray (ATL): Gray disappointed in the Hall of Fame game but the opportunity was there. He played a lot and should play a good bit again this week.
Derek Willies (CLE): Willies is 6’4″ and super athletic. He’s made a strong impression during the summer and could play his way into the WR3 role with a strong preseason.
Javon Wims (CHI): Ridley, Miller, Hall, and Gentry haven’t been practicing. Wims has dominated with the first and second-team offenses and caught a touchdown from Trubisky in practice. Constant rave reviews from everyone involved and is one of my favorite plays on the slate.
Brandon Powell (DET): Powell has been seeing time in the Theo Riddick role as an experiment and I can envision a Percy Harvin-like role for him. Bevell was his OC after all. He has also been the most consistent backup wide receiver on the roster.
Josh Doctson (WAS): Doctson seems to not only be fighting for a starting spot but also a roster spot. This is a former first-round pick with all the talent in the world. If he plays significant time, I expect a huge stat line.
Andre Roberts (BUF): Roberts has been a standout as a deep threat and could get extended run on Thursday. I don’t expect the veteran treatment here.
Equanimous St. Brown (GB): ESB went to the same college as Kizer and I love exploiting those kinds of things in the preseason as stated before. The chemistry could pay off in a huge way with a downfield bomb or two.
Tommy Sweeney (BUF): Sweeney has been Barkley’s favorite target and has really improved as the starting tight end while everyone has been hurt.
Mo Allie-Cox (IND): Doyle and Ebron will probably sit putting Allie-Cox in a great position. He has shown chemistry with both QB’s throughout camp.
Chris Herndon (NYJ): Herdon is suspended for four games so this may be the only time you can play him until then. Head coach Adam Gase has stated that starters will play the first quarter so the upside is there.
Kahale Warring (HOU): Rookie tight end on a team with no depth at the position. I expect a good bit of playing time, but the results could be mediocre.
Pharaoh Brown (CLE): Harris and Devalve have been out and Brown has been sucking up all the extra snaps. There is potential for him to play with the first and second unit(s).
Isaac Nauta (DET): Reports show the second-team offense has been targeting Nauta as the main target. If he plays 2+ quarters, he could be a solid option for this NFL preseason DFS slate.
Currently, the Seattle Seahawks have the best match up. QB Drew Lock is expected to get extended run on Thursday. His atrocious debut last week makes the Seahawks my favorite defense to target.
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