FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Preseason Helper: Friday 8/11/17
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 tonight's three-game slate. (Note that in the preseason, all FanDuel salaries are $6,000.)
Joshua Dobbs, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,000) -- Dobbs has a golden opportunity to start for Pittsburgh tonight, as Ben Roethlisberger will sit and Landry Jones is nursing an abdominal injury, leaving Dobbs to play the entire first half, if not more. He will play with a bit of a depleted group of weapons, but the Pittsburgh Steelers' fourth-round selection from this year is enticing enough of a prospect to make him a strong play in all formats given the reps he is expected to receive. On a three-game preseason slate in which you're really only hoping for 10-plus points from your quarterback, rostering someone with the explosive running ability to pick up chunks of points in a hurry is hard to pass up.
A.J. McCarron, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000) -- If not rolling with Dobbs, A.J. McCarron is the only other quarterback likely to see enough time to justify playing as anything other than a tournament dart-throw. McCarron has proven to be a capable, if not spectacular, option over the past two preseasons, totaling 887 passing yards and putting up a 4-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He played 45% of the snaps in this game last season, a game in which the Cincinnati Bengals split time between four quarterbacks. With just three mouths to feed in this one, including usual starter Andy Dalton, McCarron could be looking at nearly a half of playing time.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000) -- This is a gross slate for running backs. There are actually several exciting young backs on this slate that people are going to want to play (Joe Mixon, Paul Perkins, Kareem Hunt, Joe Williams, and Jeremy McNichols, to name a few), but there isn't a clear path to playing time for any of them. For Perkins, Hunt, and Mixon, it would appear that their expected roles this season means they won't see the second half. Williams has been the subject of lots of negative press lately and is playing for a San Francisco 49ers team that gave work to six different backs in this game last year, with none receiving over 25% of snaps. McNichols is the most likely to see the volume we need, but he has not seen positive reviews in camp, either.
If putting your money on any of these talented backs, the best bet is likely the one believed by many to be the most talented in the entire rookie class, Joe Mixon. Last season, Cincy gave just a combined 23% of the snaps in this game to Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in this game, and with Bernard coming off of ACL surgery, that number isn't likely to rise. As a result, there's a chance Mixon gets a surprising amount of work, who is currently listed as Cincy's number-three back.
Matt Breida, San Francisco 49ers ($6,000) -- While most Niners fans would have preferred it be fourth-round speedster, Joe Williams, to be the standout at camp, it has instead been undrafted free agent Matt Breida. He's an athletic specimen who posted the highest SPARQ score of any running back in this draft, should get plenty of opportunities to prove his worth as the preseason goes on, and is worth a look on a small slate such as this.
Terrell Watson, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,000) -- Head coach Mike Tomlin, who is excited to learn more about Watson, said that "he has shown a play demeanor that’s attractive and he’ll got more opportunities because of it.” With Le'Veon Bell not suiting up and James Conner unlikely to play, the Steelers will primarily split the running back work between Fitzgerald Toussaint, Knile Davis, and Watson. With Pittsburgh dealing with a myriad of injuries, it is tempting to load up on Steelers, and Watson is pair-able with the likes of Juju or Dobbs because he won't be playing with the first team.
C.J. Spiller, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- That's right, it is that C.J. Spiller! The dude that won you your fantasy league five years ago is now here to win you some cash in preseason DFS. Spiller has had an excellent camp for the Kansas City Chiefs, with many noting that he looks like the explosive player we saw pile up over 1,700 yards from scrimmage in 2012. When asked if he has lost a step, Spiller simply replied "I'm still the juice, man."
The Chiefs traditionally use the first week of the preseason to get an extended look at the guys on the roster bubble, as they did last season, when they gave 35% of the snaps to Knile Davis and only 19% to Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West, who seemed like locks to make the team. For this reason, it seems more likely that Spiller is the back featured tonight and not the likes of Ware, West, or Hunt, who have all split first-team reps throughout camp.
Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers ($6,000) -- In addition to having the coolest name of any player on the slate, Juju Smith-Schuster has a chance to be featured in this game. Antonio Brown won't suit up, and while Sammie Coates and Martavis Bryant are close to returning, they haven't practiced in full yet. Justin Hunter truthers also won't get to waste their money on him tonight because he hasn't practiced all week. This leaves the likes of Smith-Schuster, Cobi Hamilton, and camp standout Canaan Severin with plenty of opportunities to show what they're capable of. All three are viable tonight.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,000) -- Chris Godwin, this year's third-round pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has reportedly stood out at Bucs camp. Godwin is also a favorite of NFL.com's Matt Harmon, whose Reception Perception series has Godwin pegged as the most underrated wideout from this class. Last season, the Bucs gave Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson each just 18% of the team's snaps, which is likely what Evans and DeSean Jackson will be looking at tonight. As a result, the talented rookie should have every opportunity to show us what the hype is all about. He is an exciting, high-upside play.
Alex Erickson, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000) -- After carving out a role for himself last preseason as a weapon in the kick return game, Erickson once again has to battle for a roster spot this preseason. With an extremely deep Cincinnati depth chart at wideout, Erickson is essentially in a three-way battle with Cody Core and Josh Malone for two spots, unless the Bengals elect to be unconventional and hold seven wideouts. Any of the three aforementioned names are fine plays tonight, although Erickson might have a slight edge since he will likely be involved in both the passing game and the return game.
Darius Powe, New York Giants ($6,000) -- Like in this game last year, Odell Beckham will almost certainly not be suiting up, while Sterling Shepard is also unlikely to play as he continues to work his way back from last week's ankle injury. New York is also dealing with injuries to receivers Taverres Kin and Kevin Snead, leaving just a handful of wideouts to compete for playing time. Perhaps nobody in this group has been doing more to improve his stock than Powe, who has seen his arrow moving up during training camp. New York showed that they will give plenty of reps to receivers they're interested in last year, giving at least 48% of the snaps to three receivers in their first preseason game. Powe might not be a tantalizing talent, but his potential for volume makes him interesting on this three-game slate.
Gavin Escobar, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Gavin Escobar was drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys in 2013 to be Jason Witten's replacement, but after years of disappointing, Escobar was finally let go this offseason. Kansas City scooped up the talented pass-catching tight end, and he has really been stepping up in training camp with Travis Kelce spending a lot of time on the sideline.
Assuming Kelce doesn't suit up tonight, Escobar will likely split first-team reps with Demetrius Harris and should dominate the second-team reps. His 6'6" frame has allowed him to be featured in red-zone drills at camp, and he should be heavily involved when Kansas City gets within scoring distance tonight.
O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($6,000) -- First-round pick O.J. Howard continues to make 'wow' plays at camp, and while he might end up getting starter treatment and see limited playing time in this one, the Bucs will likely want to show off their new toy in his first game. On a small slate with few tight ends to feel confident in, Howard has the upside to make him worth taking a shot on.
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. Chris Boswell and Cairo Santos are the two that stand out on this slate, with Santos probably being the stronger of the two plays.
Brian Hoyer just can't seem to escape the Chiefs defense. After an embarrassing and potentially career-altering 30-0 playoff loss in which he turned the ball over five times, Hoyer had to face Kansas City again last preseason. The result wasn't quite as horrific, but he completed just 8-of-17 passes and his Chicago Bears put up just seven points. It wouldn't be surprising to watch a deep Chiefs defense dominate Hoyer and the Niners in this one.
If fading the Kansas City D/ST, there are two other terrific options, in the Pittsburgh D/ST and New York Giants D/ST. The two teams face off in what should be an ugly affair, as both teams are playing without most of their starters and rolling out unproven assets at quarterback.