FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Preseason Helper: Friday 8/25/17
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 two-game slate. (Note: in the preseason, all FanDuel salaries are $6,000.)
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($6,000) -- There are three quarterbacks who have the opportunity to play the entire first half tonight, and potentially see time in the third quarter. However, as we witnessed with last night's slate, these playing time situations can vary greatly depending on the flow of the game. Matthew Stafford is one of the top options, as Jim Bob Cooter allowed Stafford to chuck it 23 times in this game last season.
This is also a unique situation because all three of the quarterbacks in consideration face defenses that are ordinarily pretty tough. However, Stafford's opponent, the New England Patriots, have been pretty vanilla against opposing quarterbacks this preseason. In fact, no team has allowed a higher passer rating to opposing quarterbacks, for what it's worth. The quarterbacks (Tom Savage, Blake Bortles, and Chad Henne) who have faced New England's "first team" have some eye-popping numbers, completing 80% of their passes and averaging 12.7 yards per attempt. Stafford is head and shoulders above that trio of passers and should be able to find success in what will likely be a high-scoring affair against New England tonight.
Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Alex Smith is also a first-string passer that we could see in the second half, as head coach Andy Reid said the starters would play three quarters in their final preseason game, but also used the phrase "We'll see how it goes" four times in a 30-second clip of the interview. For anyone who has put their money on Smith this preseason (don't lie, there were a lot of you last week), you know how fluid Reid has been with playing time, as he's pulled Smith early after a hot start in both preseason games. While the Seattle Seahawks are not an easy opponent, Smith should see enough playing time to justify using him. He has been sharp this preseason, completing 80% of passes and posting a 125.3 passer rating.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks ($6,000) -- Russell Wilson completes the trio of quarterbacks looking at potentially a half or more of playing time tonight. He surprisingly saw 49% of the snaps last week, and he played 56% of the snaps in this game last season. So, we should see him out there for an extended period. Seattle's offensive line has been dreadful this preseason and Kansas City has one of the scarier defensive lines in the league, meaning Wilson could be under pressure often. Kansas City has also been very stingy against opposing starting quarterbacks this preseason, allowing Brian Hoyer and Andy Dalton to combine for a measly 47% completion rate and 5.9 yards per attempt.
Wilson is probably the best fantasy quarterback that will get extended run on this slate, so definitely get some exposure if you're making multiple lineups. However, Smith and Stafford seem to be in better spots tonight.
Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Spencer Ware saw just one snap last week, as the Chiefs used their second game to get an extended look at the likes of Kareem Hunt, C.J. Spiller, and Charcandrick West. However, with the starters expected to play into the second half, Ware, who is still their starting running back, should get plenty of playing time. He played 58% of the team's snaps in this game last season, a game in which he found the end zone and caught four passes. In fact, in the last four preseason games Ware has played significant snaps, he has 4 touchdowns and 11 catches. His unique combination of goal-line work and involvement in the passing game make him an intriguing asset, even in a tough matchup against Seattle.
Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Speaking of passing-game involvement, the Chiefs may have an even more talented pass-catcher in the form of rookie Kareem Hunt. Hunt played just 24% of the snaps last week, but was given the workhorse treatment when in there, touching the ball 11 times in 16 plays. The vision and shiftiness we've heard about all offseason were on full display, as he turned those touches into 63 yards.
Kareem Hunt with the HUGE Truck-Stick! 💪 #KCvsCIN pic.twitter.com/QlbT1HJuOF
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) August 20, 2017
He has been taking first-team reps at practice for a couple weeks now, and Kansas City clearly made an effort to get him some playing time with the starters last week. With the first-team players expected to play into the second half, he should see near the workload he got last week, which is enough to make him viable on a somewhat gross slate for running backs.
Eddie Lacy, Seattle Seahawks ($6,000) -- People are sick and tired of having Eddie Lacy in their fantasy lives, and it makes sense. He has looked atrocious once again this preseason, averaging 3.0 yards per carry, but he should see plenty of playing time in this one, with both Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise out. Rawls was a no-show for this game last year, and Seattle ended up giving 63% of the snaps to their second- and third-string backs, which could mean big work for Lacy and Chris Carson. Both are in play, based on volume alone.
Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots ($6,000) -- Mike Gillislee's playing time could end up being the "x-factor" on this slate, as there is a ton of ambiguity around the Patriots' running back situation heading into this game. Rex Burkhead posted a strong performance last week, but apparently wasn't seen at Patriots' practice this week, so his status is in question. Gillislee, on the other hand, returned to practice earlier than expected and declared himself 100%. If he is indeed ready to go, it would make sense for him to get a significant workload in this game after missing the first two weeks, especially if Burkhead is out. Keep a close eye on the situation leading up to lineup lock.
Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks ($6,000) -- Doug Baldwin didn't get much action last week, only playing 17% of the snaps, but that was enough for him to catch all four of his targets for a nice 69 yards. In Week 3 of the preseason last year, Baldwin led Seattle's first-team skill position players with 49% of the snaps. Seattle likes to move him around, too, often playing him in the slot, so he might not end up with as much face-time with Marcus Peters as one would expect. Also, unlike other top receiving options on tonight's slate, Baldwin doesn't have much competition for touches. Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett have yet to play a preseason game and are questionable tonight, while Rawls and Prosise are both out, which could leave Baldwin with as many targets as he can handle.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Tyreek Hill burned a lot of people last week, catching just one pass for nine yards. However, it was encouraging that Kansas City allowed him to play 39% of the snaps in a game in which they were in control from the get-go. They allowed Jeremy Maclin to play 55% of the snaps in this game last season, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Hill in there for the entirety of the first half tonight.
Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions ($6,000) -- Detroit played their first team for the entire first half and all three of their top receivers saw at least five targets in this game last season, so Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Kenny Golladay are all in play. If choosing one, Jones stands out as the top option. Despite seeing just 27% of the snaps last week, Jones led the team with five targets, which he turned into 4 catches for 34 yards and 1 touchdown. He should see a lot of playing time tonight and is a terrific pairing option with Stafford.
Chris Hogan, New England Patriots ($6,000) -- Most will go with the flashier option in Brandin Cooks, but it is worth noting that his playing time has been directly tied to Tom Brady's. Last week, both played 20% of the snaps. In Week 3 of the preseason last year, Brady played 25% of the snaps, and when he came out of the game, so did top option Julian Edelman. You know who didn't? Chris Hogan. He played 46% of the snaps in that game, seeing time with both Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, which led to 5 catches for 62 yards and a score. Hogan has been praised by head coach Bill Belichick for his improvement this offseason, and he will likely be given every opportunity to let that translate on the field tonight. If looking for a tournament play, Hogan is your man.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($6,000) -- Travis Kelce stands out as the clear-cut top tight end option on this slate, as Eric Ebron is hurt and Graham's status is up in the air. Kelce made his first preseason appearance last week and played 30% of the team's snaps, and in this game last year, he was given 54% of Kansas City's offensive snaps. As noted earlier, it is hard to bank on Reid's word when it comes to preseason playing time, but if Kelce indeed plays into the third quarter with the first-team offense, it will be hard for another tight end to outscore him.
Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots ($6,000) -- Rob Gronkowski stands out as one tight end who could outscore him, because while we don't know exactly how much he'll play, we do know he will be involved in the red zone if New England's first-stringers can put together some successful drives. He got his first taste of preseason action since 2012 last week, playing 18% of the team's snaps, and he should get at least a quarter of playing time with Brady tonight. He worth a look as a boom-or-bust option if looking to differentiate in tournaments.
Choosing a preseason kicker should be simple: take the ones who will get 100% of the opportunities. According to depth charts at ourlads.com, Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Prater appear to be the best on-paper options.
This slate is unlike most preseason slates, as nearly every team will play their starting offense into the second half and none of the starting quarterbacks are ones we want to pick on. As a result, the Seattle D/ST will likely be the most popular unit, due to their reputation and the fact that the Chiefs have the lowest implied team total. While Seattle certainly has the talent to be a decent play, we're choosing between four unspectacular options, so my money is going to be on the unit that has proven the ability to create big plays. That is the Kansas City D/ST, who face a slightly dinged-up Seattle squad.
The Detroit D/ST has looked spectacular this preseason, allowing just 16 points in two games, but there is a big difference between their opponent tonight (He wears number 12) and the likes of Christian Hackenberg and Stephen Morris, who Detroit faced in their first two games.