Week one of preseason football has finally arrived. Hopefully, I’ve provided you with a solid core of players to win some cash.
Madden 18 Giveaway:
LIKE AND RETWEET this preseason breakdown
Drawing will occur on August 20th around noon via Periscope.
Atlanta Falcons vs Miami Dolphins (pk, O/U 36.5)
Matt Moore: Ryan Tannehill is going to miss a significant amount of time after re-injuring his ACL in practice last week. The Dolphins brought in Jay Cutler to soften that blow but he has already been ruled out for Thursday night’s contest. That leaves the Dolphins with Moore, David Fales and Brandon Doughty at quarterback. I’ve started writing this on Monday, so the news on playing time isn’t quite out there yet. However, I would expect Moore to play nearly a half of football while Doughty and Fales play the third and fourth quarter respectively. We will need to keep an eye on the news, but if Moore gets a solid 15 passing attempts with a handful of starters and second-stringers, it would make him a more than viable option (no pun intended).
Matt Schaub: I googled Schaub’s name and the first thing that pops up is pick six, now I’m a bit concerned. I’m not going to let that scare me off the 12-year-veteran. When looking for a preseason daily fantasy quarterback I look for a roster that is only carrying three and with a veteran backup present, the Atlanta Falcons fit that exact mold. I expect Matt Ryan to come out and play roughly ten snaps before handing it over to Schaub. Week one of the 2016 preseason Schaub threw for 179 yards and 15 passing attempts against the Redskins. I expect a very similar workload this season making the veteran one of the top quarterback options for Thursday night.
UPDATE: The Falcons have four quarterbacks on the roster. I still expect Schaub to play nearly an entire half of football with an output of 13+ passing attempts.
Terron Ward: The Falcons only have six running backs currently on their roster and I would expect Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman to split a couple of carries before being yanked with Ryan and company. That leaves the Falcons with Ward, B.J Daniels and two rookies in Tyler Renew and Brian Hill. Ward and Daniels both have been receiving the third team reps ahead of Hill and I think Hill could garner more ownership because of his placing on the Ourlads depth chart. I’m projecting Ward to have around 10 touches with a reception or two, making him one of the better running back options on the entire slate.
Damien Williams: The Dolphins will most likely only suit up 5 running backs on Thursday night with Jay Ajayi nursing a concussion injury. Although the running back depth looks like a prime spot to target in preseason fantasy, there is still a bit of uncertainty revolving around the second and third team backs. Kenyan Drake has been receiving starter reps but the Dolphins still have Williams listed as their number two back behind Ajayi. Not to mention if the first or second team offense gets inside the ten yard-line, I would expect Williams to come into the game to try and punch the ball into the endzone. In PPR, you can make a case for Drake but I’m going to roll with Williams on a couple teams and hope for the touchdown.
Kenyan Drake: Ahhhh, I decided to go ahead and write him up. He will make a couple of my lineups because he will most likely get a handful of touches in the run game and a couple of targets in the passing game. Drake has the playmaking speed to house a kickoff or screen and I don’t want to miss out on a big one. I project Drake to end up with around 7-8 touches including 2 receptions.
UPDATE: B.J Daniels went down in practice with an undisclosed injury. The Atlanta Falcons have brought in Kelvin Taylor, who probably won’t be ready by Thursday Night. BUMP Brian Hill and Terron Ward.
It sounds crazy because I like Schuab, but I’m not too thrilled with the Falcons receiving options. You can make a case for Justin Hardy or veteran Andre Roberts but I prefer the Falcons run game in this one.
Drew Morgan: The former Arkansas Razorback is getting run with the second team and has impressed all training camp. He’s showed chemistry with Moore, Doughty and Fales. I would expect Morgan to get a long look on Thursday night and he could even start if they decide to rest a Kenny Stills or DeVante Parker. I’m hoping Morgan can come away with 3-4 receptions and 40 yards which is more than enough on a ppr site like DraftKings.
Leonte Carroo: Carroo is a talent that has always received praise from the fantasy, NFL draft, and NFL communities. However, I’m not so sure the Dolphins have been pleased with the development of their former third round pick. Could the Dolphins flaunt Carroo this preseason in hopes of trading him? I think it’s extremely possible. Assuming everyone suits up, Carroo should be the fourth wide receiver on the field Thursday night and Moore could pepper him with targets.
Thomas Duarte: Duarte is basically a wide receiver and can’t block to save his life. He will be utilized as a receiving tight end and could be a mismatch for linebackers and safeties. Unfortunately, he is kind of buried on the Dolphins depth chart but I wouldn’t expect veterans Julius Thomas and Anthony Fasano to play much, if at all. Tight end is tricky in the preseason but I expect Duarte to get some extended run and he could come away with 4-5 targets.
Jakeem Grant: Grant is fast and flashy and that means he probably is highly owned. However, Grant is on the roster bubble because of his hands or lack thereof. Even though he has the potential to be a great gadget player and return man, Grant will have to prove his worth this preseason. Because of the ownership, I’m going to take a wait and see approach with Grant and hope he only comes away with 2-3 points.
Anthony Fasano: We have sharp preseason fantasy players and then we have players who think they’re sharp by just peaking at the depth chart. Fasano has a recognizable name and is number two on the depth chart. That will be enough for some players to just plug him in. However, Fasano is a blocking tight end and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came away with 0 receptions, all while having a little ownership next to his name.
Minnesota Vikings vs Buffalo Bills (pk O/U 37)
T.J. Yates: Unlike most of the quarterbacks who play in the preseason, Yates actually has a list of players with experience who he will be throwing to. We will most likely see Yates for two whole quarters and he will be throwing to; Corey Brown, Rocket Ross, Andre Holmes, and Rod Streater. These aren’t elite wide receivers but they are guys with experience. I think Yates could come away with 15+ passing attempts and he won’t be throwing to complete garbage cans when we are talking about preseason football.
Case Keenum: We have ourselves another team with a veteran backup and only three active quarterbacks on the roster. I would expect Sam Bradford to get around ten snaps before turning it over (no pun intended) to Keenum. You don’t feel too excited about Keenum but when you factor in that he’ll be playing against mostly second and third-stringers you start to feel a little better about yourself. I’ll project Keenum for around 15+ passing attempts and that’s more than enough to throw him into consideration.
Bishop Sankey: This is a no-brainer play for me. Sankey is far and away the top running back option on this slate and I’ll probably have him in about 15 of my 20 lineups. With Latavius Murray on the PUP and Dalvin Cook listed as the starter, Sankey is firmly entrenched in the second and third-string role. Due to the Vikings only having four running backs active Thursday night, we could see a dozen or more touches from Sankey.
Rod Streater: Streater has always had the talent but his career has been hampered by a handful of injuries. Not only has he had an excellent training camp, he’s out performed Andre Holmes and Corey (Philly) Brown. I expect Streater to get a ton of run with Yates on Thursday night and he could end up with five or more targets in the passing game. The 6’3” receiver has the frame to be a factor in the redzone but also the speed to take a nine-route to the house.
Rodney Adams: Rodney Adams is the favorite to return kicks and punts throughout the preseason, but the rookie has also has shined on offense. The former South Florida Bull has the speed to take a kick, screen, or nine-route for a score. In deeper tournaments, I will have some exposure to Adams and paired with the Vikings D/ST.
David Morgan: I would expect Kyle Rudolph to get the veteran treatment on Thursday, leaving the Vikings with David Morgan as their best weapon at the tight end position. The 6’4”/262 pounds tight end has impressed at training camp and is currently slated to be the backup tight end in Minnesota. Morgan should get his run early and with two serviceable quarterbacks in Bradford and Keenum. I’ll have Morgan in a couple of lineups in hopes of a touchdown.
Michael Floyd: Although Floyd has been tearing up training camp, I have him on the fade list because he might not get the run you’d expect due to his suspension. If we get word that Floyd is set to play with the first and second-stringers, then you can go ahead and throw him into consideration. For now, I think I’m leaning more towards the fade side due to the ownership he will carry because of the name recognition.
Cayleb Jones: The sharp players will be on Adams and Stacy Coley, the depth chart watchers will take Jones. Jones has reportedly been outperformed by both rookie wide receivers despite ranking ahead of them on the first unofficial depth chart.
Jerick McKinnon: Let’s just face it, McKinnon is not that good and he’s been outperformed by Bishop Sankey all training camp. You’ll continue to hear me revert back to this but McKinnon is going to carry some ownership due to his name recognition and I’m not interested in a running back who gets pulled off the field around the goal-line.
Jacksonville vs New England (NE 4.5 O/U 40.5)
Jimmy Garoppolo: In the past, Garoppolo has played the entire first half and I wouldn’t expect much to change this Thursday night. The Jaguars have an up and coming secondary but I wouldn’t expect them to play for long. New England is grooming Garoppolo for life after Tom Brady and I would expect 15-18+ passing attempts on Thursday. Garoppolo is one of my top options at quarterbacks and is a no-brainer unless we hear otherwise.
UPDATE: As of August 5th, Garoppolo has an awful training camp. I hope this knocks the sharp ownership down, Garoppolo just isn’t a practice player.
Jacoby Brissett: If Brady doesn’t play, we probably get an entire half of Brissett against third-string Jaguars. In deeper tournaments where most of the focus is on Garoppolo, pivoting to Brissett isn’t a bad idea considering he could also see 15+ passing attempts in an uptempo offense with a high preseason total.
New England RBs: Someone is going to have a big night but we need more clarity on who is playing and the playing time they will receive. Dion Lewis has a nagging hamstring injury but it looks likes he’s been practicing in full. Mike Gillislee was slated to get most of the goal-line work this season but it looks like he’s been buried on the first unofficial depth chart. I would love to tell you that one of these running backs is going to get ten touches but I will need more clarity before getting behind a play in this crowded backfield. Follow @SteveDraft_ on Twitter for more updates on this situation leading up to Thursday.
UPDATE: It appears D.J. Foster has emerged as one of the top options on tonight’s slate.
Corey Grant: Tyler Gaffney sat out practice on Tuesday, August 8th. That leaves the Jaguars with five healthy running backs, one of which is a top five pick and the other is a veteran. I think you could make a case for T.J. Yeldon on Thursday night but Corey Grant has game breaking speed and should get a ton of second half looks as a rusher and receiver.
Devin Lucien: Despite being ranked behind K.J. Maye on the most recent unofficial depth chart, Lucien has had an excellent training camp. Many New England beat writers believe that Lucien is playing his way into a roster spot and he’s shown some solid chemistry with both Garoppolo and Brissett. Look for Lucien to get a handful of 2nd half targets against Jacksonville Jaguar training camp bodies.
Austin Carr: The Northwestern star is also having himself a nice camp out of the slot wide receiver position. He’s unique because he wins with a deep understanding of defenses despite being just a rookie. Carr will get most of his looks in the second half with Brissett and most of his routes will run closer to the line of scrimmage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Carr came away with 3-4 receptions, which is just enough in preseason PPR.
Jacksonville Wide Receivers: I’m not going to play any Jacksonville receivers across from Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore, especially with Blake Bortles throwing their way. In the second half, I don’t mind taking a shot on DeDe Westbrook or Shane Wynn, but that’s only in large field tournaments.
Ben Koyack: He probably will start and have targets funneled his way due to the New England secondary. I prefer other tight end options on this slate but Koyack will be somewhere in my rotation in hopes of 3-4 early catches from Bortles and Chad Henne.
Dwayne Allen: I would expect Allen to get most of the first and second team run on Thursday night and he’s been peppered with targets all training camp. Unless we get word that Allen isn’t playing, I actually feel really comfortable running him out there on multiple teams in hopes of catching a touchdown.
Washington Redskins vs Baltimore Ravens (BALT -1 (O/U 37.5)
I’m going to pass on quarterbacks from both teams in this game. I expect the Redskins to run Kirk Cousins out there for two series before handing it over to Colt McCoy for a little over a quarter. There could be some merit to starting Nate Sudfield or Ryan Mallett who are both slated to play an entire half but I would much rather play the more talented quarterbacks on this slate.
Javorius Allen: The former USC product is having another solid training camp. Terrance West is slated to start week one and Danny Woodhead will handle all the pass catching duties. Those two players have defined roles and I don’t think they’ll see much action on Thursday night. However, West isn’t untouchable and Allen could make a case to take that role with a huge preseason. I expect the Ravens to give him that opportunity and we could see close to ten touches against a Redskins team who has been scrutinized over the past few season for their defensive line depth.
Matt Jones: Look, Coach Gruden isn’t the biggest fan of Matt Jones and that’s no secret. However, there is some hope that Jones holds some value and they can get something in return for the third round pick. The only way that happens is if he has a huge preseason. Jones holds no value in Washington so they may feed the big back a dozen times in hopes of getting another team to bite for a draft pick. It’s a business and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Jones get 15 carries on Thursday.. or two carries. He’s strictly a tournament play but he’s a good one.
Brian Quick: With Josh Doctson, Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed already ruled out for Thursday night, look for Quick to be the third receiver in behind Terrelle Pryor and Ryan Grant. Quick has joined the Redskins on a non-guaranteed deal and he clearly has something to prove. Look for Quick to get run with Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy and he could even extend into the second half with Nate Sudfield. I’ll have a ton of Quick and I feel really confident in doing so.
Matt Hazel: I personally saw Hazel cut two times in Josh Norman’s blind spots and beat him on a route down the seam. I loved the Coastal Carolina product during the 2014 NFL draft process. He belongs on an NFL roster thanks to his nuanced route running and understanding of coverages. Hazel will have all the opportunity on Thursday night and should get early run as well as late run thanks to the injuries.
Griff Whalen: Similar to Rod Streater, Whalen is a receiver who always flashes when he is healthy. Jeremy Maclin doesn’t fix all of the receiving problems in Baltimore. They’re trying to replace targets distributed to Kamar Aiken, Steve Smith, and Dennis Pitta. Michael Campanaro just recently came off the PUP and I’m not sure he plays much, if at all, on Thursday night. Whalen will have some garbage cans throwing the football but he could be in line for two quarters worth of targets – something you can’t always say about talented preseason receivers.
Jeremy Sprinkle: Jordan Reed has already been ruled out and I expect Vernon Davis to receive the veteran treatment. Niles Paul should also be no stranger to the veteran treatment either as he is a valuable special teamer with an injury history. Derek Carrier and Sprinkle will be battling for that fourth tight end spot and I expect the 5th round rookie to prevail. Look for the 6’6” tight end to get peppered with targets from McCoy and Sudfield.
Nick Boyle: You won’t see a player listed as a starter in my preseason rankings often but due to injuries and depth, Boyle might be one of the top options on Thursday night. Boyle has emerged throughout camp and with Maxx Williams and Benjamin Watson coming off severe injuries, I think we could see Boyle play the entire first half on Thursday. Baltimore added Larry Donnell in late July but he’s been dealing with a couple leg injuries himself.
Denver Broncos vs Chicago Bears (PK O/U 35.5)
Trevor Siemian: New head coach Vance Joseph announced that Siemian would run with the starters for the first game. With Chad Kelly recovering from a knee injury, the Broncos have three active quarterbacks for Thursday night. I’m going to assume Siemian plays the entire first half and is one of our top choices on the entire slate. Paxton Lynch should get a quarter and then start the following game unless of course, Siemian runs with the job in week one.
Tarik Cohen: I’m not big on scat backs in the preseason because their touches have to be scheduled. However, it sounds like the Bears really like Cohen and are lacking depth right now at running back. Jeremy Langford has been sidelined with an ankle sprain and Benny Cunningham has been dealing with injuries of his own. I expect Jordan Howard to get a couple touches and Carey to soon follow but Cohen could get the immediate pass catching work as well as touches as a runner and returner. I will have some exposure in hopes of a big play by the speedy rookie.
This game possesses the lowest total on the slate. Other than Siemian, Derby, Gentry and Cohen I’ll have minimal exposure and allow others to soak up the ownership. You can make a case for Carlos Henderson, and Daniel Braverman but my exposure will be elsewhere.
A.J. Derby: Derby played in 10 games last year after flashing in the preseason with the New England Patriots. I think he is a prime candidate for a touchdown on Thursday Night.
New Orleans Saints vs Cleveland Browns:
Both teams are going to run out four quarterbacks each. I’ll pass and take the guaranteed playing time elsewhere.
Matt Dayes: The North Carolina State rookie has flashed all training camp and I know from studying his N.C. State tape that he can pass block. I expect Dayes to get the bulk of the second half carries and could even be targeted a couple times in the passing game.
Tommy Lee Lewis: Lewis is an undersized speedster who should get targeted a ton in the late first half. I’ll have a ton of Lewis because of his returning ability and the familiarity with the coaching staff and offense.
Seth Devalve: You can make a case for David Njoku but I like Devalve who is also an athletic freak. The former Princeton Tiger is a prime candidate for a redzone target or two if the Cleveland Browns can get down there.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Green Bay Packers:
Matt McGloin: Carson Wentz shouldn’t get a ton of run and Nick Foles might not even play with an injury. That would leave McGloin with nearly a half of football. McGloin has a chance to be one of the top options on the Thursday night slate.
Brett Hundley: Aaron Rodgers won’t play on Thursday night, leaving the Packers with three quarterbacks. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hundley played the entire first half. He’s played well in the preseason and offers some rushing upside with his athleticism.
Jamaal Williams: The bruising back from BYU has been a pleasant surprise so far in training camp. Williams should be the second back in behind Ty Montgomery and I expect him to get all the goal-line and short yardage work for the entire first half.
Corey Clement: Wendell Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount and Donnel Pumphrey could all miss this game with nagging injuries. Clement could get the early run and all the second half carries – he’s slowly become one of the best options on this slate.
Nelson Agholor: Believe it or not, the former first round pick could be fighting for a roster spot. Although he’s enjoying a nice training camp, we’ve heard this before. The Eagles could showcase Agholor’s talents as trade bait or even in hopes that he emerges into half the player they hoped he would.
Trevor Davis: This is a large field tournament flier – we know the Packers like Davis but he also has the speed to take the top off a defense.
Trey Burton: Trey Burton won me some money last year and I expect him to emerge as a budding star in this preseason. Honestly, I think Burton has more upside than Zach Ertz as a player and I think he could eventually push for that job. You’re looking at one of our top tight end options.
1.) Jimmy Garoppolo (NE)
2.) Brett Hundley (GB)
3.) Matt McGloin (PHI)
(In the 20 lineups, this might be my only QB exposures. I feel really confident in these three.)
1.) Bishop Sankey (MIN)
2.) Terron Ward (ATL)
3.) Jamaal Williams (GB)
4.) Corey Clement (PHI)
5.) D.J. Foster (NE)
6.) Matthew Dayes (CLE)
7.) Corey Grant (JAX)
8.) Matt Jones (WAS)
9.) Javorius Allen (BAL)
1.) Brian Quick (WAS)
2.) Rod Streater (BUF)
3.) Devin Lucien (NE)
4.) Drew Morgan (MIA)
5.) Austin Carr (NE)
6.) Nelson Agholor (PHI)
7.) Matt Hazel (WAS)
8.) Griff Whalen (BAL)
9.) Tanner Gentry (CHI)
1.) Nick Boyle (BAL)
2.) Thomas Duarte (MIA)
3.) AJ Derby (DEN)
4.) Trey Burton (PHI)
5.) Dwayne Allen (NE)
6.) Jeremy Sprinkle (WAS)