FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Preseason Helper: Wednesday 8/9/17
Football is back -- sort of.
It's the preseason, and FanDuel is offering up some DFS slates. You might be thinking that preseason DFS isn't for you, but really, you can have a lot of success if you're tuned into the news and expected workloads for players.
At the very least, it'll give you a reason to tack on an extra four weeks to your football-viewing season.
Here's what you should know for today's two-day slate, which features a matchup between the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers tonight, and then meetings between the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins and the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills Thursday. (Please note that in the preseason, all FanDuel salaries are $6,000.)
Joe Webb, Carolina Panthers ($6,000) -- Joe Webb is no stranger to the role of "preseason hero," combining for an eight-to-one touchdown-to-interception ratio over the past three preseasons, while also displaying some entertaining rushing skills that viewers don't normally get from third-string quarterbacks. With Cam Newton out for the preseason opener, Derek Anderson will take the start. Entering his age-34 season, Anderson will likely only be called upon to play a few drives, leaving the majority of the game to be split between Webb and Garrett Gilbert.
Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans ($6,000) -- Deshaun Watson will likely be the highest-owned quarterback on this slate, so if you're a member of #TeamGameTheory, there certainly could be some merit to fading him for the likes of Webb, Nathan Peterman, or even Brandon Doughty of the Dolphins. However, it wouldn't be surprising to see Watson end up being one of the highest scoring quarterbacks on this three-game slate.
Houston had some quarterback controversy heading into last season, and used this week to give their second-string quarterback a long look. They ended up giving Tom Savage, this year's first-string quarterback, a whopping 62% of the snaps, which was more than any other team on this slate gave to one quarterback in Week 1 last season. If Watson sees even close to that much playing time, he should put up some quality numbers.
Nathan Peterman, Buffalo Bills ($6,000) -- Buffalo only gave Tyrod Taylor six percent of the snaps in the first week of the preseason last year, and it would be surprising to see him play more than a drive or two in this one. After "TyGod," the Bills have just T.J. Yates and Peterman on the depth chart. Buffalo knows what they have with Yates, who has been around the league for some time, including time spent playing for current offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, in Houston.
Speaking of Dennison, it was Peterman, not Yates, who has impressed the OC during camp. It wouldn't be surprising for Peterman to get most -- if not all -- of the second half.
Bishop Sankey, Minnesota Vikings ($6,000) -- Bishop Sankey refuses to go away. With Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon both dealing with injuries recently, as well as C.J. Ham moving to fullback, the Vikes are left with prized rookie Dalvin Cook, Sankey, and undrafted rookie Terrell Newby to carry the load in this game. With their backfield already banged up, it would really be surprising to see Cook get significant work, as the more logical move would be to let Sankey and Newby handle the bulk of the load as they battle for roster -- or more likely -- practice squad spots.
Brian Hill, Atlanta Falcons ($6,000) -- Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman both saw limited work in this game last season, and that will likely be the case again this time around. Atlanta instead gave 70% of the running back snaps to their fourth- and fifth-stringers, which means Hill, their talented 2017 fifth-round selection, could be looking at a sizable workload.
Terron Ward has spent a few years with Atlanta and is more likely to see carries in next week's game, while Hill's other main competition in camp has been B.J. Daniels, a former quarterback-converted receiver, who Atlanta apparently is now trying to turn into a running back. If taking a chance on any of their backs, my money is on the back who averaged 5.5 yards per carry in college while setting several rushing records for the Wyoming Cowboys in just three years.
Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins ($6,000) -- Usually, a player as high as Kenyan Drake on the depth chart isn't someone we want to be targeting at running back in the first week of the preseason, but Drake is an intriguing case. With Jay Ajayi dealing with concussion symptoms, Drake has split first-team reps with long-time Miami backup, Damien Williams. After a disappointing 2016, he has had a strong camp and is expected to see significant work in this game. He might not see quite the volume of someone like Sankey or Hill, but Drake has plenty of talent and is a strong pass catcher, making him one of the top options on this short slate.
Leonte Carroo, Miami Dolphins ($6,000) -- Leonte Carroo played 75% of the snaps in this game last season, which is more than any other receiver on the slate. Since then, the former third-round pick has done nothing to improve his standing with Miami. In fact, he finds himself in an identical spot on the depth chart to where he was at this time last season, so it wouldn't be surprising to see him handle a big workload once again. With several reports out that he has been making good progress at Dolphins camp thus far, Carroo is one of the most exciting players on this slate.
Michael Floyd, Minnesota Vikings ($6,000) -- Michael Floyd has had a strong camp for the Vikes as he tries to work his way back into relevancy. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen already have secure roles in the passing game, so they likely won't see much time in the opener, while Laquon Treadwell is banged up heading into this game and not expected to play. This leaves Floyd, who is suspended for the first four regular season games, to dominate the second-team work. His combination of talent and potential workload make him one of the most attractive plays on the slate.
Rod Streater, Buffalo Bills ($6,000) -- Rod Streater continues to impress at Bills camp in his attempt to revamp his career and should play a large role in this game. Streater hasn't been able to make it work at the NFL level so far, but he profiles well athletically, standing at 6'3" with an 89th-percentile SPARQ-x score. Talented rookie Zay Jones is an exciting prospect for Buffalo and isn't a bad play tonight, but with Sammy Watkins and Anquan Boldin unlikely to play much, if at all, Jones will likely work exclusively with the first team. Last year, Buffalo's starting receivers played just 17% of the snaps in this game, so Jones' time to shine might not come until later in the preseason. If pairing Buffalo receivers with Peterman, Streater and/or preseason hero Rashad Ross are the way to go.
Stephen Anderson, Houston Texans ($6,000) -- The Texans' first two tight ends, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin, are already solidified in their roles, leaving Stephen Anderson, their athletic reserve tight end who caught a touchdown in this game last season, as the most likely to get targets in this game.
Bucky Hodges, Minnesota Vikings ($6,000) -- If taking a chance on a tight end, give me the guy who is 6'6" and runs a 4.57 40-yard dash with a 39-inch vertical. Hodges was a sixth-round pick for the Vikings this offseason and has been showing progress while battling with Kyle Carter for the third tight end spot. He should get plenty of looks in this game, although it is worth noting that he was dealing with an injury earlier in the week.
Buffalo's Steven Hauschka ($6,000) and Miami's Andrew Franks ($6,000) are the only two kickers who don't have another kicker listed on their depth charts, according to ourlads.com. Choosing a preseason kicker is about as mind-numbing a task as there is, so make it simple and the ones who will at least get 100% of the opportunities.
The Miami D/ST ($6,000) will get an extended look at turnover machine Matt Schaub, while the Houston D/ST ($6,000) is one of the deepest units on the slate and will face the Cam-less Panthers. Picking preseason defenses is really down to who can get turnovers, and on this three-game slate, these two teams stand out as the most likely to do so.