NFL Preseason Daily Fantasy Helper: Friday 8/12/16
Regular season football games are still over a month away, yet you're here reading a preseason daily fantasy football article. So I'll assume that you're a huge football fan? Oh, perhaps you're just a person who likes easy money. If that is the case, then preseason daily fantasy football is for you.
If you're new to preseason DFS, let me introduce you to the beautiful opportunity it presents. This tweet almost perfectly encapsulates what it's all about.
Out of 15,686 teams 5120 have one or more players in HOF game or didn't submit a LU. 33% pic.twitter.com/LC5V41jsMI
— Seth Yates (@SethayatesDFS) August 8, 2016
What that means, is that 33 percent of the field was playing without a full lineup on the last slate. Simply by paying attention, you already had an advantage on a third of the field! There will also be a surprising amount of the field that rosters veterans based off of name recognition, even though they likely won't play more than one series.
With every player listed at the same price tag, it really comes down to being able to identify which players will see the most playing time. If you are willing to dig deep and find those players, you have a huge advantage.
The purpose of this article is to help you identify which players possess the right combination of talent and opportunity on each slate and give you an edge over your opponents.
Quarterbacks to Target
Landry Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers -- It has already been announced that Ben Roethlisberger will be rested for Friday's game, meaning Landry Jones should play at least two quarters for Pittsburgh. With Le'Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams also both sitting, Pittsburgh likely will struggle to run the ball and instead focus on getting their talented young pass-catchers involved. Considering the pure amount of volume Jones saw last preseason (120 pass attempts in five weeks, including 46 in Week 1), it's not tough to envision him leading the slate in pass attempts on Friday.
Ryan Nassib, New York Giants -- At this point in his career, the preseason is the highlight of Ryan Nassib's season each year. He has attempted 177 passes over the past two preseasons, totaling 1,199 yards and compiling a 7:0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He has embraced his role and is again expected to see a large portion of New York's pass attempts in Week 1. Nassib also will benefit from a very talented bunch of pass-catchers, including rookie standout Sterling Shepard, late-season breakout Will Tye, and training camp sensation Tavarres King.
Marquise Williams, Green Bay Packers -- Aaron Rodgers is unlikely to suit up in Week 1, and backup Brett Hundley's status is still very much in question, meaning Marquise Williams and Joe Callahan will likely split all of the reps at quarterback for the Packers. Callahan is certainly worth a look based purely on volume, but Williams is the much more attractive option in terms of upside. Williams really shined in his final season at North Carolina, passing for 3,068 yards and 24 touchdowns on a career-best 8.6 yards per attempt. What should get you excited to roster him is his rushing ability. Williams combined for 1,736 rushing yards in his final two seasons, as well as 26 rushing touchdowns (in just 27 games). In preseason daily fantasy, where the most volume a passer gets is likely two to three quarters, any additional points picked up on the ground are huge. Williams is one of the most interesting risk-reward options on the slate.
Designed runs w/ #Packers QB Marquise Williams could be a thing we see here and there on Friday vs CLE. https://t.co/DlUh1Q68iy
— Zachary Jacobson (@ZachAJacobson) August 10, 2016
Running Backs to Target
Zach Zenner, Detroit Lions -- If you played preseason DFS last year, you have likely waited all year for the opportunity to roster Zach Zenner again (oh, I'm the only one that's been looking forward to preseason DFS for a year?). After his 2015 performance though, my excitement is certainly justified. Zenner saw 10.1 touches per game last preseason, the highest of which came in Week 1, when he was given the ball 14 times. He also averaged 62.3 yards, and 0.75 touchdowns. He provided a tremendous floor, never scoring below 6.6 DraftKings points, while also displaying a ceiling of 19.1 points and eventually finishing as the top-scoring fantasy running back. On top of it all, a large preseason workload could be in store for Zenner this season.
Terrell Watson, Cleveland Browns -- Watson balled out in four years at Azusa Pacific, rushing for 79 touchdowns and nearly 6,000 yards, and then followed that up by running a 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the size of 6'1", 240 pounds. He has reportedly had a strong offseason after following Hue Jackson over from Cincinnati and has a leg up for the third-back gig in Cleveland. The impressive size-speed combo back should get every opportunity to prove himself this preseason, starting in Week 1 against the Packers.
Isaiah Pead, Miami Dolphins -- Isaiah Pead, once considered a frontrunner to start for the Rams (I'm sorry to recount those dark days), now finds himself fighting for a roster spot in Miami. With Arian Foster already declared out for Week 1 and Kenyan Drake questionable, Pead may end up getting plenty of opportunities to show what he has to offer. He's one of the few backs who has made big plays at camp thus far, and with Daniel Thomas likely his only competition for carries behind Jay Ajayi on Friday, Pead is worth a look based on volume alone.
DeAndre Washington, Oakland Raiders -- DeAndre Washington, a fun fantasy sleeper this season, is a talented all-purpose back, who likely profiles as Oakland's pass-catching back this season. Oakland beat writer Jimmy Durkin speculates that Latavius Murray won't get a ton of work and that Washington should see the ball plenty. He is easily the most exciting back Oakland has, and it seems likely they'll make it a priority to see what they have in their fifth-round investment this preseason. His ability to catch the ball makes him even more interesting in preseason DFS, as he can reach value on just a few catches.
Wide Receivers to Target
Eli Rogers, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Sammie Coates is believed to be the more talented player and will likely draw more attention from daily fantasy players, but it has been Eli Rogers who has really grabbed the attention of Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh coaching staff. Some believed Rogers would have a breakout season last year for Pittsburgh, but he instead missed the entire season with a broken foot. Rogers used that time to learn and refine his game, and it has apparently paid off, as he has gained rave reviews this offseason. With Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton both sitting this game, Rogers should get every opportunity to make plays and further solidify himself as an option for the slot receiver role. He is also a fun player to stack with Landry Jones, if you choose to go that route.
J.J. Nelson/Chris Hubert, Arizona Cardinals -- Both J.J. Nelson and training camp standout Chris Hubert are interesting plays for the Cardinals on Friday. Nelson is one of the most electrifying (4.28-second 40-yard dash) play-makers in the league, as evidenced by his 299 yards and 2 scores on just 11 catches in 2015. He is the risk-reward option of the two, as he was just recently cleared to practice again. Hubert is more of the cash game play, as he should see plenty of snaps and has player very well in training camp.
Ricardo Louis WR, Cleveland Browns -- The Browns will be without Josh Gordon, Corey Coleman, and Andrew Hawkins in this game, and Terrelle Pryor is banged up, meaning there is a ton of opportunity for the Cleveland receivers. Some names to monitor are rookies Ricardo Louis (fourth-round pick), Jordan Payton (fifth-round), and Rashard Higgins (fifth-round), as well as third-year receiver Taylor Gabriel. If choosing one of the bunch, I'm going with Louis, who is working to separate himself from Cleveland's other receivers. Louis has moved ahead of all the previously mentioned receivers on Cleveland's depth chart, and his size-speed combo (6'2" and runs a 4.4-second 40-yard dash) makes him an intriguing upside play.
Tavarres King, New York Giants -- Tavarres King, a former fifth-round pick by the Broncos with 4.4 speed, has impressed this offseason and is reportedly ready to take that next jump according to head coach Ben McAdoo. He should get plenty of chances to make his case for the fifth receiver role with Odell Beckham already entrenched in his role and Victor Cruz sitting out with a groin injury. He's also stackable with Nassib.
Tavarres King slipping by defenders! #GiantsCamp pic.twitter.com/2aoCJuloHT
— New York Giants (@Giants) August 10, 2016
Johnny Holton, Oakland Raiders -- After watching Oakland turn other undrafted receivers such as Rod Streater and Seth Roberts (who is also an interesting play) from practice squad players into legitimate NFL receivers, news that they have another undrafted training camp standout in Johnny Holton should pique the interest of daily fantasy players. Holton has been impressing the coaching staff daily at camp and is in line for plenty of opportunities in Friday's game, making him a very interesting under-the-radar play.
Tight Ends to Target
C.J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals -- With the current injuries to Cincy's depth chart, C.J. Uzomah and John Peters are left as the only two standing, so both are fine plays on Friday. Uzomah is the one who has been turning heads at camp, though.
Cole Wick, Detroit Lions -- The Lions are also dealing with injuries to the tight end position, as they will be without Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew tomorrow. Veteran blocking tight end Matthew Mulligan is listed as the next tight end on the depth chart, but rookie pass-catching tight end Cole Wick has impressed at camp. He should get ample opportunities to show what he can bring to the table.
MyCole Pruitt, Minnesota Vikings -- MyCole Pruitt, or last year's Hall of Fame Game Hero, has emerged as one of Teddy Bridgewater's favorite targets this offseason. The 2015 fifth-round pick followed up an impressive final college season (861 yards and 13 touchdowns) by being a top performer at the combine, posting a 4.58-second 40-time and 38-inch vertical, along with impressive hands. He doesn't have the guaranteed playing time of Uzomah or Wick, but his upside keeps him in play as one of the more interesting tight ends.
Defense/Special Teams to Target
Cleveland Browns -- This one is going to feel really gross, I know. I mean, it's the Browns against the Packers. However, this isn't the usual Packers squad, as they will be without Rodgers, backup quarterback Hundley, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb. I like Marquise Williams a lot, but it seems inevitable that Green Bay turns the ball over at least once while playing with their third- and fourth-string quarterbacks.
Detroit Lions -- Another pretty meh defense against a good offense. Welcome to Week 1 of the preseason! The Steelers will be without Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Le'Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, and Markus Wheaton in this game, or 82 percent of their passing offense, 90 percent of their rushing offense, and 91 percent of their receiving offense from 2015. Once again, I don't mean to contradict the previous recommendations -- Landry Jones is still a fine quarterback due to the amount of volume he'll see. It's just hard to see Pittsburgh moving the ball very effectively with the offense they'll trot out in Week 1.