It's finally that time of year again! A few quick notes before we get started...
- There 100% is an edge in NFL preseason DFS if you take the time to research and keep up on the late breaking inactives, these articles will be a guide to constructing your rosters and i will update them to the best of my ability. Remember to check back a half hour before lock to assure i haven't made a key update!
- Lots of questions coming in about what you are looking for in players etc. Obviously volume is king here in preseason but you also need to know exactly how to judge the volume. One whole half of a guy playing with fourth stringers is not going to be as good as a guy playing a quarter with second stringers IN MOST CASES. It's really slate dependent and early on in the preseason the edge is incredible due to the amount of guys playing that the average fans have literally never heard of.
- The HOF game has some decent options but they are going to be MASSIVELY over owned in comparison to the Wednesday game. If I'm making one lineup i would almost fade the HOF game completely because it's going to be ugly (always is) and the second half will literally be run, run, run punt etc. I will update closer to lock on Thursday evening.
- Scoring in Preseason DFS is WAY SOFTER than regular season. You are literally hunting for 2-3x from your players and it will be extremely low scoring.
With that being said let's get on with the show!
Blaine Gabbert- Bruce Arians has already confirmed that none of the Cardinals starters will play in the HOF game and Gabbert will get the first half. I 100% expect Gabbert to be the chalk and for good reason, he's safe and we 100% know right now he will get a full half with mostly 2nd string guys. I originally was pretty bullish on him but the love has started to dwindle when i realized that everyone is going to be on him. If you are playing ONE lineup i would fade him, but if you're running multiple lineups i would have some (underweight) exposure.
Trevor Knight- Gabbert's teammate the UDFA Trevor Knight will take the whole second half this Thursday according to Arians. Watching highlights of this kid in college he looks insanely athletic and can throw the deep ball. My only concern is like i said before, this game is going to be UGLY especially in the 2nd half. The more i research the more i want to completely fade chalk Gabbert so if i were making rankings this week i would have Joe Webb 1st and Knight narrowly behind him. Knight is risky but i'm warming up to him at low ownership. I wouldn't play him if i was making one lineup but since I'm playing a book bit of volume i might load up on him and pray he doesn't just hand it off every play.
Joe Webb- Joe Webb is one of our favorite preseason heroes of years past and should get close to full half next Wednesday against the Texans. Obviously these Wednesday write-ups will need to be updated as more information becomes available closer to the game, but as of now Webb seems like the best play at the position. He will be extremely lesser owned in comparison to Gabbert and has a ton more upside due to his historical performances in the preseason and rushing ability. I don't see any reason why Cam would play and with his injury concerns they won't want to risk Derek Anderson so Webb SHOULD get 90% of the first half. Putting in Webb as a place holder and waiting to late swap is my favorite option for now.
Deshaun Watson- Watson is the wildcard of the group but may be in the conversation for your late-swap option next Wednesday. Tom Savage will start for the Texans but they are going to want to see what this kid can do and the buzz around Texans camp has been good. Obviously check back next Wednesday for the final decisions on Webb/Watson.
UPDATE #1: Cooper Rush has been getting a lot of buzz from the Dallas beats, doesn't seem like he can throw that well but is mobile and can run. He should get around 3 quarters of play and is close to Knight for my second favorite QB play now. I would rank them 1. Webb 2. Knight and 3. Rush keep in mind Gabbert is a fine play and is going to 100% be the highest owned QB on this slate. I will be fading him on MOST teams.
UPDATE #2: If you have any late swap QB options Joe Webb 100% is the top play with Cam Newton being shut down and the Panthers won't want to risk DA. Deshaun Watson should see "4-5" drives and is in consideration if you're running multiple teams. I prefer Webb greatly though.
Rod Smith- Smith has been well ahead of Alfred Morris this preseason and the buzz around Cowboys camp has grown with each day. We get the benefit of Dallas being a bit shorthanded at RB with Zeke/McFadden not going to play. I've heard multiple radio guys out of Dallas pretty much confirm that Smith will be the feature back on Thursday night and that seems pretty obvious to me. The only concern here is that newly signed Ronnie Hillman steals some looks but i see him more as getting the bulk of the 2nd half grind out the clock time. Smith is pretty much the safest option on the entire slate and is a lock for me on both sites, especially with no other backfield situation being clear.
Elijhaa Penny- Penny, like Rod, has been getting some good buzz from the Cardinals beat reporters over the last week. Some will remember Penny from last preseason and he should be in line for the majority of first half work for the Cardinals. Check back before lock on Thursday when we will have more information on inactive but i don't expect Ellington or newly resigned Chris Johnson to play along with DJ. Penny will have some competition in TJ Logan and Kerwynn Williams but he seems like the clear best option of the three as of right now.
CAR/HOU Running Backs- I really don't have that much information to go on as of now for these two teams so I'm going to avoid naming any players yet. Obviously you will lock in filler RBs from these teams so you can late-swap on Wednesday. Christian McCaffrey has been generating a ton of buzz in camp and will most likely be the highest owned player on the entire slate (outside Gabbert) so you will definitely want a late-swap spot on majority of your teams.
UPDATE #1: This stays pretty much the same for me. The HOF game seems to be where you should target your RBs and as of now McCaffrey is going to be crazy chalky next Wednesday but i don't even think he will play much. Hillman has been getting some love around Twitter today but i still prefer Smith and Penny a good deal more than him. If you're running a bunch of teams on DK you could mix in Hillman but it's not a necessity. 1. Rod Smith 2. Elijhaa Penny.
UPDATE #2: D'onta Foreman is expected to see a ton of work for the Texans and is my lock for a touchdown tonight (which is HUGE in preseason DFS). The Christian McCaffrey hype is in full swing and he will be super chalky. He should see close to a quarter and is in play but I still prefer Foreman. Jalen Simmons is the third option at RB tonight as he should see the bulk of the 2nd half work for the Panthers with CAP limited due to injury.
Brice Butler- Like Joe Webb, Butler is one of our favorite guys from preseasons past. He will (or should be) the highest owned WR on the slate and is a strong play. He has plenty of experience running with Kellen Moore and I'm almost 100% certain he will start the game.
Andy Jones- One of your better pivots off of Brice Butler and happens to be on the same team. The buzz around his guy in camp has been huge and if you will get him at way less ownership I am definitely interested. Brice is safer but if you're running multiple lineups i would look at possible being overweight on Jones.
Arizona WRs- Literally a mess until we get news on inactives so check back closer to lock on Thursday.
CAR/HOU WRs- Won't know until closer to Wednesday which is why this slate SUCKS to start out with. Lock in some place holder WRs from this game on your teams and wait to late-swap.
UPDATE #1- It seems like Butler has a pretty good lock on a roster spot and may not play much if at all. He's going to be popular just based off his name so I'm 100% fading Brice Butler now. Andy Jones is my favorite Cowboys WR and probably the only guy i would consider off their team. As far as Arizona...this is where it gets interesting. There have been reports about Chad Williams having strong rapport with Gabbert in practices and Arians lit him on fire earlier this week in the media (probably for motivation). There is also some buzz from the Cardinals beats that UDFA Krishawn Hogan is going to play almost the ENTIRE game. That means he will get looks with both Gabbert and Knight and he moves into play. I would rank them 1. Hogan 2. Williams (really close to Hogan. a toss up) 3. Jones but all are good options. I actually really like what I'm seeing for WRs in the CAR/HOU game so i wouldn't go overboard here if only making one lineup.
UPDATE #2: Bersin and Wendall Williams are the clear top two options tonight at WR if you have late swap options. I will try and update when I get some more news in about who is inactive but those two are the safest bet and I would lock them in.
Rico Gathers- Dallas should be without Witten/Hanna/Swaim on Thursday leaving Gathers are your chalk TE on this slate. He's a former basketball player for Baylor and is just a large mammal standing at 6'6 285 lbs. If they get into the red zone i don't see how he doesn't get at least one target but if he's going to be massive chalk i don't want to play him. Despite the ownership concerns he's a strong play and deserves consideration. If we get word that Swaim will play then that knocks Gathers down a good bit.
Ricky Seals-Jones- Former college teammate of Trevor Knight Ricky Seals-Jones is another freak athlete TE type. He should get decent burn in the 2nd half with his former college QB and he actually has some pedigree. You can buy into the narrative of him playing with his former QB but he is risky, especially playing in the 2nd half of the HOF game.
UPDATE #1- Nothing much here everything is pretty much the same. If we get news Swaim is out then Rico will be one of two active TEs for the Cowboys but he will be very chalky. I like RSJ a good bit but only if you are playing multiple teams because he is risky and you're banking on the 2nd half of an ugly game to begin with.
UPDATE #2: If you have a late swap TE just use Manhertz.
CAR/HOU TEs- Will update closer to Wednesday when i know more, if running multiple teams it's definitely smart to leave at least 50% of your rosters with a place holder to late-swap.
My general strategy for preseason defenses is to avoid the chalk team and cycle in different options throughout my lineups. If I'm making one lineup i would probably say lock in one of the Wednesday teams and then late-swap because the two HOF teams will just be massively owned because they are the first game.
UPDATE #1- Nothing much here, probably would fade the HOF teams based off ownership.
LOL at breaking down kickers in PRESEASON. Honestly not sure on this, i would just lock in a guy that i know will get the kicks for his team (guys not in competitions) but this will be interesting nonetheless. Dan Bailey chalk i assume?
UPDATE #1- Apparently Dallas is going to let this backup Irwin-Hill take some cracks so maybe fade chalk Bailey.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)