FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Preseason Helper: Saturday 8/19/17
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 eight-game slate. (Note that in the preseason, all FanDuel salaries are $6,000.)
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Head coach Andy Reid said Alex Smith would get the first half in this game. But, it is worth noting that Patrick Mahomes wasn't supposed to play until the third quarter in the last game, and after Smith led the first-team offense to a scoring drive, Tyler Bray, and consequently, Mahomes, came in much earlier than expected. With Mahomes moved up to the two spot ahead of Bray, he will be playing with a better offensive line than last week, and could potentially spend time with the first-team offense. In this game last year, Andy Reid allowed his number-two quarterback, Nick Foles, to run with the ones for one possession, while also playing more than any other quarterback (46%).
Mahomes completed 7-of-9 pass attempts for 49 yards and 1 touchdown, while also having a 40-yard completion to Demarcus Robinson called back. He didn't finish with a rushing attempt, but the young signal-caller's scrambling ability was also clearly on display. The risk is certainly there that he only plays the third quarter, but if he sees anywhere near the 46% of snaps Foles got in this game last season, he has the upside to be the highest scoring passer on the slate.
Sean Mannion, Los Angeles Rams ($6,000) -- Sean Mannion was excellent in the Los Angeles Rams' first preseason game, completing 18-of-25 passes for 144 yards and playing 77% of the team's snaps (second-most of all quarterbacks). Jared Goff, on the other hand, attempted just four passes, and while head coach Sean McVay expects his playing time to increase this week, it sounds like he will still get less than traditional starting quarterbacks do in this game. McVay was quoted to say he'd like Goff to "play through a series into the second quarter," which should again leave plenty of time for Mannion, whose only competition for playing time is Dan Orlovsky.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England Patriots ($6,000) -- Since Tom Brady refuses to age, the preseason is Jimmy Garoppolo's only real time to shine. He played 68% of the New England Patriots offensive snaps last week and finished 22-for-28 line with 235 yards, and 2 touchdowns, good for 17.4 FanDuel points. Garoppolo was given 63% of the snaps in this game last season, a number that should be within reach tonight, even with rumors that New England's first-team offense could see some time. If they do end up playing their first-team, it'd be surprising to see Brady out there for more than a couple series, potentially allowing Garoppolo to benefit from additional time with the first-stringers.
De'Angelo Henderson, Denver Broncos ($6,000) -- The Denver Broncos have raved about their sixth-round pick, De'Angelo Henderson, for all of training camp, and they took the opportunity to showcase their talented rookie in the first game of the preseason. Henderson shined in his starring role, leading Denver running backs with a 44% snap count share, and turned his 7 carries into 54 yards and 1 touchdown. And if not for two runs being called back for holding penalties, he would have finished with around 70 yards.
Denver gave C.J. Anderson just 21% of the snaps last week and 18% of the snaps in this game last season, so it's unlikely he sees significant work. Instead, they gave 62% of the work in their second preseason game of 2016 to their third- and fourth-string backs, which bodes well for Henderson. With Devontae Booker, his main competition heading into the preseason, still sidelined, Henderson should have every chance to continue performing.
Tarik Cohen, Chicago Bears ($6,000) -- Both Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford will miss this game, which could mean lots of opportunity for the Chicago Bears' fourth-round emerging playmaker, Tarik Cohen. While not the traditional sized running back at 5'6" and 180 pounds, Cohen was not handled like a scat-back in his first appearance with Chicago, carrying the rock on 7 of his 8 offensive snaps, good for 39 rushing yards. Here's to hoping the dude they call "The Human Joystick" gets more than 10% of the offensive snaps in this one, because he has the shiftiness and speed (4.42 40-yard dash) to take any play to the house.
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- As mentioned earlier, the Kansas City Chiefs are expected to play their first-team offense for most of the first half, so Spencer Ware is also a viable play. He showed in last week's game that his involvement both on the goal-line and in the passing game make him a valuable asset. However, after trading up for Kareem Hunt in the third round and then spending all offseason hyping the rookie up, it would make sense for Kansas City to look to get him more than the one touch he logged last week.
After the running game struggled as a whole, the Chiefs have been open about putting more emphasis on the run this week, which should benefit both Ware and Hunt. They have also singled out Hunt as a player they want to get more involved, as offensive coordinator Matt Nagy said, “He is a physical back that can do a lot of things, so hopefully this coming week, he gets a few more touches.”
Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts ($6,000) -- Marlon Mack, the Indianapolis Colts fourth-round rookie, missed Indy's opening preseason game, and the Colts are eager to see what they have in their big-play back. Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski stated: "We’ll get him in and we’ll give him plenty of action to see what he can do and see how far we can take him." His ability as a home-run hitter-type back, as well as his receiving skills, make him an intriguing tournament option.
Alfred Morris, Dallas Cowboys ($6,000) -- Darren McFadden has been handling first-team reps for the Dallas Cowboys this week, so it is expected that Ezekiel Elliot will again sit out. Dallas has played it very cautious with their first-team players thus far, and it would be surprising to see them give much of a workload to a seasoned veteran like McFadden, especially considering his injury history.
However, Alfred Morris handled 54% of the team's snaps in this game last season, so Dallas has proven they won't be hesitant to ride him. Outside of McFadden, his only real competition for touches are Rod Smith (who is also a decent tournament dart throw) and Ronnie Hillman. It isn't very often that you find a player with three seasons of 1,000-plus yards under his belt have the potential for over half of his team's snaps in the second week of the preseason. Morris is a fine play in any format.
Dwayne Washington, Detroit Lions ($6,000) -- Perhaps no Detroit Lions player helped their case more than Dwayne Washington in last week's game. He led the team in rushing yards, while his primary competition, Matt Asiata, rushed five times for six yards. With Theo Riddick still wearing the red no-contact jersey, Detroit doesn't have many backs left that are realistic threats to Washington's playing time. He led the team in running-back snaps in this game last season, and it would be surprising if he didn't do so again this time around.
Austin Carr, New England Patriots ($6,000) -- After a strong camp and an impressive first preseason game, Austin Carr has given himself a real chance of making the roster, which might not seem that impressive until you look at the ridiculous depth New England has at wide receiver. As such, Carr will need to keep making plays to prove his worth, as he did last week and should have every opportunity to do so -- New England showed a dedication to giving Carr a good, long look. His 88% snap count share was higher than any other skill position player, per Seth Yates of Rotogrinders.com. He turned that playing time into 5 catches on 7 targets, good for 44 yards and 1 touchdown. With plenty still to prove, expect Carr to be featured once again tonight.
Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams ($6,000) -- Finally healthy, Josh Reynolds owned the week in practice and should get plenty of game time to show off the big-play ability that made him a fourth-round selection. While the Rams will surely want to show off their new weapon in Sammy Watkins, they played it safe with their starters in this game last season, not allowing any to see more than 32% of the snaps. They did, however, allow several reserve receivers near 50% of the snaps, which is a realistic number for Reynolds. He is an exciting prospect and could put up some big numbers if he sees an extended look.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions ($6,000) -- In case you missed it, Kenny Golladay, or "Babytron" as the hipsters are calling him these days, is the second coming of Calvin Johnson (thus the nickname, in case you're reading this on Saturday morning and are feeling a bit... slow after Friday night). The 6'4" third-round selection put his red-zone prowess on full display in Detroit's first preseason game, catching 3 of his 4 targets for 53 yards and 2 scores.
He played 42% of the snaps last week and spent this week taking first-team reps. It is worth noting that Detroit only played their first-string receivers 29% of the snaps in this game last year, and Golladay's value is largely tied to finding himself holding the ball in the end zone, which can bring some variance to the table. However, on a slate without a ton of obvious receiver plays, it feels like nitpicking. Plus, let's be honest -- it's way more fun to just ride out the Babytron hype train. All aboard!
Alex Erickson, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000) -- Alex Erickson again finds himself battling for a roster spot this preseason, although he appears to have an early leg up on his competition -- the Cincinnati Bengals gave him 51% of the team's snaps last week, catching three of his four targets and finishing with 50 yards receiving. He played 38% of the offensive snaps in this game last season and could be looking at a similar number tonight. He should again be heavily involved in the passing game, and his potential contributions in the return game make him that much more enticing.
Tanner Gentry, Chicago Bears ($6,000) -- Gentry was a camp standout for Chicago and played 34% of the snaps last week, but saw just two targets. With Markus Wheaton and Josh Bellamy both out, Gentry could have another chance to show he is more than just a training camp warrior. Give him a look as a low-owned tournament flier.
J.J. Nelson, Arizona Cardinals ($6,000) -- Speaking of tournament fliers, let me introduce you to J.J. Nelson. If you're a real football junky, you should already recognize the name, as the speedster enjoyed a mini-breakout last season, in which he caught six touchdowns. Nelson played 68% of the snaps in this game last preseason and could see plenty of playing time tonight for an Arizona Cardinals team looking for anyone other than Larry Fitzgerald to step up in their receiving corps.
Another name to keep in mind is Marquis Bundy, who caught 3 of 5 targets for 73 yards while playing 78% of the team's snaps last week. Nelson is more of the boom-or-bust tournament option, while Bundy is more viable in cash formats.
James Hanna, Dallas Cowboys ($6,000) -- All the rage in Dallas (other than actual rage about that whole Zeke situation) has been about Rico Gathers, but the tight end is now in concussion protocol. Unfortunate as that is, it opens up a lot of playing time for James Hanna and Geoff Swaim, who are the only healthy tight ends left for Dallas not named Jason Witten.
While neither Hanna or Swaim come close to matching Witten's career pedigree, one of them does come close to matching his dad-running ability, and it ain't Hanna. In fact, playerprofiler.com has Hanna's 40-yard time (4.49) in the 99th percentile for the position and his SPARQ score in the 97th percentile. If taking a chance on a tight end, going with a player locked into as much volume as Hanna is your best bet.
Darren Fells, Detroit Lions ($6,000) -- Darren Fells finds himself in a similar situation to Hanna, as the Lions had four tight ends sitting out practice on Wednesday. As a result, Fells is the only healthy tight end left on the roster with any actual NFL experience under his belt.
Choosing a preseason kicker should be simple simple: take the ones who will get 100% of the opportunities. According to ourlads.com, Adam Vinatieri, Dan Bailey, Mason Crosby, Dustin Hopkins, and Stephen Gostkowski stand out as some of the best options.
The Indianapolis Colts will be playing without Andrew Luck and put up just 10 points in their first preseason game. With a trio of uninspiring quarterbacks in Scott Tolzien, Stephen Morris, and Phillip Walker set to take snaps for Indy, the Dallas D/ST stands out as a strong play.