DraftKings NFL Lineup Advice: Preseason Week 1
Geoff Lambert breaks down Week 1 of the NFL preseason and gives you a few of his top plays for DraftKings.
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Who would have thought that preseason could be so interesting? DraftKings (and now FanDuel) has turned preseason into something to watch for us DFS’ers. In the past, we would watch the first few drives to see our starters and then tune out for the rest of the game. Now, we wait around to see that undrafted free agent running back from a small school get junk time carries in the fourth quarter. I’d be willing to bet that Google searches for, “NFL Preseason Snap Count” or “NFL preseason stats” has gone up three-fold over just a few short years ago. Here are a few players I’m looking at for my lineups…
*Wednesday Slate Only
Jimmy Garoppolo/Jacoby Brissett (NE) vs JAC
The biggest factor in preseason DFS isn’t ‘who is the best player’ but ‘who is going to play?’ We know with near certainty that Tom Brady is not going to play, and because the Patriots only have two other quarterbacks currently on the team, they will likely split the snaps evenly between the two.
Deciding between the two can be a little “chicken or the egg.” Garoppolo is likely to start and play the most reps with the Patriots first-team offense but will also see the Jags first-team defense. Brissett, on the other hand, will get to play against the second and third stringers but will not have as many weapons on offense to work with. Both can be rostered with confidence.
TJ Yates (BUF) vs MIN
The Bills aren’t totally sold on Tyrod Taylor as their QB of the future, but for at least this year, they don’t really have a choice. With Taylor’s injury history and his playing style as a running QB, the Bills likely won’t play Taylor much in Week 1 of the preseason, and the only two QBs behind Taylor are Nathan Petermen and Yates. Peterman has not taken many reps in camp thus far and I’d expect Yates to see the bulk of the snaps in the first game.
D’Onta Foreman (HOU) @ CAR
Rookie RB Foreman is likely to overtake Alfred Blue as the No. 2 RB behind Lamar Miller, but not before he shows what he can do in preseason. Texans RB Kenny Hillard led all running backs in carries last preseason and dominated the carries for the Texans overall as you can see from this stat:
Last season the Texans had 120 carries. Hilliard had 51 of them. Foreman is this years Hilliard. Next guy was Hunt with 30. Miller had 14
— Billy Harrell (@billsnake23) August 8, 2017
Look for Foreman to play the “Hillard role” this season starting with Week 1.
he’s flashed in a handful of practices w/no tackling. he’s playing. J.Stewart, though, hasn’t dressed for a preseason opener since ’12. https://t.co/BqyljcIjC8
— Bill Voth (@PanthersBill) August 8, 2017
Of course, everyone is in love with Christian McCaffrey, and I like him too, but I’m also worried the Panthers might already view him as a Week 1 starter and limit his touches in the first week of the preseason. It’s more a hunch than something based on actual reports, but if that is the case, Whittaker could get the lion’s share of carries.
Tarik Cohen (CHI) vs DEN
Jordan Howard will likely see only a few series, free agent addition Benny Cunningham (neck) is questionable, and Jeremy Langford (ankle) has yet to return to practice, leaving the door open for rookie RB Cohen to showcase his skills. Referred to as “a matchup problem” by HC John Fox, Cohen’s receiving ability and shiftiness make him a dark horse candidate to secure the passing-down role in this offense.
Rod Streater (BUF) vs MIN
Streater is having a strong camp and has been pushing for the No. 2 wideout spot this offseason. The signing of Anquan Boldin puts a damper on his chances to be anything more than third or fourth on the depth chart come the regular season, but it doesn’t hurt his preseason chance to shine. Boldin won’t be available for this game (and likely wouldn’t have played anyway), Sammie Watkins is an injury risk every time he steps on the field so I doubt he plays more than a few snaps, and Zay Jones is a rookie that might struggle in his first NFL game. The stars have aligned for Streater to have a good showing in Week 1.
Jaelen Strong/Braxton Miller (HOU) @ CAR
I liked these two before the injury to Will Fuller (collarbone), and now that he is out for an extended period of time, these two will be battling for the No. 2 spot next to DeAndre Hopkins. Strong has the inside track on that spot, but Braxton worked on his route running in the offseason and has shown well in camp.
Ryan Grant (WAS) @ BAL
The Redskins coaches have been talking up Ryan Grant this off season. Head coach Jay Gruden called him the “most consistent” WR in practice and wide receivers’ coach Ike Hillard said, “He’s always been the best pure route runner out of everyone, even with Pierre (Garcon) and D Jax (DeSean Jackson) here.”
That’s high praise for a guy that caught only nine passes in 2016, but with injuries to WR Jamison Crowder, WR Josh Doctson, and TE Jordan Reed, the Redskins are short on pass catchers for Week 1. Grant may get an opportunity to showcase himself to the Redskins coaches if not for another team.
Derek Carrier/Niles Paul (WAS) @ BAL
With Jordan Reed out and Vernon Davis questionable, the Redskins have four other tight ends on the roster. Both Carrier and Niles are good in the passing game and should get plenty of reps as they as they compete for a roster spot.
Others I like: Ed Dickson (CAR), RaShaun Allen (HOU)
Panthers vs HOU
Defense is nearly impossible to pick in the preseason, so I look at the opposing offense to see what they will have on the field. The Texans’ “best” QB looks to be Tom Savage at this point, and I say that with no disrespect, but he isn’t exactly Aaron Rodgers. Panthers will see a lot of rookie QB Deshaun Watson and career backup Brandon Weeden.
Broncos @ CHI
As bad as the Texans’ QB situation is, the Bears may be even worse. Mike Glennon has been a career backup and Mitch Trubisky is a raw rookie QB that will likely struggle this season. Advantage Broncos.