It’s technically not a holiday, but today is the first full slate NFL preseason Week 1 and, around these parts, that’s reason for celebration! Two games last night were nice, but now we have some decisions to make for daily fantasy football (DFS).
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DFS NFL Preseason Week 1 (Friday)
On Friday, we’ll see the following matchups take place: Packers at Bengals, Giants at Lions, Falcons at Dolphins, Steelers at Buccaneers, Commanders at Browns, and Broncos at Cardinals.
The “high pedigree rookie QB team wins and does especially good after he leaves” thing continues!
Since 2016: 6-1 outright, yet to lose a second half … https://t.co/my6ba83AaL
— Kyle Soppe (@KyleSoppePFN) August 11, 2023
We all held our breath when Joe Burrow pulled up lame on a practice scramble. And while everything sounds fine on that front, it’s safe to say that the Cincinnati Bengals are valuing backup Trevor Siemian more now than a month ago. That should pave the way for Jake Browning and Reid Sinnett to be on the field plenty against the Green Bay Packers.
Neither is all that exciting of a prospect, but Browning has been in Cincy’s system since 2021. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is familiar with him. The Bengals also have some size buried on their WR depth chart, along with a vet in Trent Taylor, who has 87 catches on his NFL résumé, giving this offense some upside.
The Miami Dolphins are another offense that has my attention. They brought in Mike White as Tua Tagovailoa insurance, so it’s tough to imagine either plays meaningful snaps against Atlanta. That leaves the door open for Skylar Thompson to play plenty. His 105 attempts last season is enough to assume he won’t be overwhelmed by NFL speed.
A Dolphin without NFL reps under his belt is De’Von Achane, the rare player that year-long fantasy managers are interested in that could matter this week. Raheem Mostert (31 years old) has appeared in more than nine games just three times in his NFL career, and Jeff Wilson Jr. has yet to clear 126 carries in a season. Why use those reps in the preseason?
Achane has some serious juice (6.4 yards per carry at Texas A&M) and a reasonable playing time expectation, a rare combination in Week 1 of the NFL preseason.
Other DFS Options
John Wolford (QB – TB)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a QB competition, but do we think they use Week 1 of the preseason to showcase that? Why not buy another week of practice reps and have Kyle Trask vs. Baker Mayfield next week?
If that’s the case, John Wolford (104 career NFL attempts) is a player with NFL reps that could see enough volume to matter on this big slate.
Nate Sudfeld (QB – DET)
The Detroit Lions enter 2023 with expectations, a rarity for this franchise and surly something they do not want to compromise in August. Jared Goff has no reason to play, and the team brought in Teddy Bridgewater — another veteran who is unlikely to put his helmet on tonight — this offseason to give them depth at the position if need be.
Detroit used a third-round pick in April on dual-threat Hendon Hooker, but he continues to recover from an ACL tear, thus making Nate Sudfeld the lone man standing.
Sudfeld hasn’t thrown a regular-season pass in two seasons, but the combination of projected reps and talented teammates — Denzel Mims is likely to play, and Dan Campbell hinted that Jameson Williams will be on the field plenty prior to his six-game suspension kicking in — make him a very appealing option in DFS tonight.
Demetric Felton Jr. (RB – CLE)
John Kelly Jr. was featured in the Hall of Fame Game (three carries, two targets, and a 19-yard catch that came back via penalty), but it was Demetric Felton that punched in the score and led Cleveland in rushing. Last season, we saw the HOF teams pivot from what they did in that game to the next game, so Felton could be force-fed early on.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. (RB – WAS)
The Washington Commanders are going to operate with a running back committee this season, a headache for fantasy managers but good news if you’re trying to find preseason usage.
I find it very unlikely that Brian Robinson Jr. or Antonio Gibson receive significant (if any) run, giving the team every opportunity to see what their sixth-round pick has. Chris Rodriguez Jr. is coming off a productive career at Kentucky (6.2 yards per carry), and the other option in this backfield is just an older version of him (Jonathan Williams).
Washington has lost four straight and five of six preseason games under Ron Rivera. I think he just wants to get these games over with, and running the rock keeps that clock running. In those games, six of the Commanders’ nine touchdowns came on the ground, and he’s shown a tendency to give double-digit carries to a single back.
What more could you ask for?
Collin Johnson and David Sills V (WR – NYG)
Like everyone, I’ve made jokes about the construction of the New York Giants WR room. And like everyone, I stand by it. But who is going to play significant snaps in this game?
Isaiah Hodgins is too valuable (what a world), while Darius Slayton/Parris Campbell carry health risks, and Sterling Shepard/Wan’Dale Robinson could open the season on the PUP list. After that, you have veterans like Cole Beasley and Jamison Crowder, that rarely play in early August.
With that in mind, Collin Johnson and David Sills V both have the role and size that put them very much on my radar.
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