My first run through NFL DFS preseason picks went pretty well. It was for a one-game showdown contest on FanDuel, so there really wasn’t that much to work with. That being said, Lamar Jackson was super high owned and scored a touchdown, while I also got a score out of Tanner Gentry.
It wasn’t an amazing daily fantasy football roster, but it wasn’t awful, either.
Things open up considerably this coming weekend, as preseason daily fantasy football “officially” kicks off with the true first week of NFL preseason games. Take that, Hall of Fame game.
But seriously, you get a full schedule to work with and a ton of options to consider.
Personally, I’m largely avoiding star players and most starters unless you get firm reports they’re playing a quarter or longer. Andrew Luck might be the only guy I’d really target that fits that description, as he’s got to shake some rust off and the Colts are said to want to play him at least a full quarter.
You want playing time and upside, not big names who will either be scratched or play a series or two.
Keep that in mind as you build out your NFL DFS preseason roster. Remember, there are an insane amount of directions to go considering the long line of options, but these are my favorite daily fantasy football preseason picks:
Note: Tonight’s NFL DFS picks cover just the main Thursday slate, which features 12 contests.
QB: Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns ($6k)
I’m only considering a handful of quarterbacks on this slate. It’s week one, so the top stars will either not even start or they’ll play a very small amount. Some will pay off, but I’d rather obtain my fantasy value based on playing time.
Not every backup is worth a look, but Baker Mayfield is the #1 overall pick and is quite talented. I’m interested to see what he can do in roughly two quarters of work.
If you’re not infatuated with Mayfield, consider other backups that could see extended playing time and have appealing talent. The other quarterbacks I’d be looking at, beyond obvious starters, are Mason Rudolph, Josh Allen, Davis Webb, Lamar Jackson, Brett Hundley and maybe even Deshone Kizer.
Andrew Luck and Patrick Mahomes are two intriguing starters who are slated to get the entire first quarters of their games, so if you want a starter, they’d be two of the top guys I’d be looking at.
RB: Bo Scarbrough – Dallas Cowboys ($6k)
I don’t love taking chances on starting running backs in week one. They see so much contact up the gut that teams usually are pretty cautious. You can roll the dice on options that will have their quarterbacks also seeing a quarter of play, but I personally will opt for backups that are vying for a role or trying to make the team.
In their very first preseason game, I can’t imagine Dallas forcing Ezekiel Elliott onto the field very much, if at all. I like the idea of taking a crack at some of their backups and Bo Scarbrough could be one of the funnest options on the board.
The size and strength is there and as a 7th round pick, Scarbrough isn’t guaranteed a thing. He should see solid playing time late and could look to prove himself. If things go well, he’s potentially an elite late-game hammer to close out this slate.
RB: Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns ($6k)
It sounds crazy, but I like a few Browns guys to get the ball rolling in week one. Carlos Hyde should work with the first team offense, but the Browns will undoubtedly want to see what they have in rookie rusher, Nick Chubb.
Chubb was a stud at Georgia and was merely held back by injuries. He’s out to prove that won’t be the case in the NFL and if he shows well enough, there’s a chance he could unseat Hyde for the top rushing gig in Cleveland.
There are understandably a lot of directions to go at running back on this slate.
A few other guys I’m also looking at are Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Kalen Ballage, Samaje Perine, Derrius Guice, Ronald Jones and perhaps Saquon Barkley.
WR: Tanner Gentry – Chicago Bears ($6k)
I went to Gentry in the Hall of Fame game and he responded with a touchdown. He honestly looked pretty good and if it had not been for a down knee and a few poor throws, he could have had a much bigger night. He’s again going to have a solid role here as he tries to make the final roster, while the Bears don’t have many receivers worth getting exciting about beyond Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller.
Miller looks like a fine option here, too, but I can’t imagine the Bears playing Robinson much, if at all. Gentry is a big play threat who has exhibited nice route-running ability, so I’m interested to see him do more damage in game two for Chicago.
WR: Jake Kumerow – Green Bay Packers ($6k)
Aaron Rodgers has been hyping up Kumerow all summer. He could just be another Jeff Janis in the end, but there is no denying his fantastic size and elite ball skills. He hails from a smaller school, but so did Janis and he was a yearly preseason darling.
I can’t know if Kumerow will make the team, but I suspect he shows up during preseason play. He should get plenty of run and I’m calling my shot and saying he gets a touchdown.
WR: Rashard Higgins – Cleveland Browns ($6k)
If I’m using Mayfield with any amount of confidence, I should double-down and use a Browns receiver as well. Josh Gordon is away from the team, Jarvis Landry probably won’t play with Mayfield and Corey Coleman got traded. That leaves Higgins and little else, but he has shown nice chemistry with Mayfield and by all accounts has enjoyed a strong camp.
As you can imagine, there are even more wide receivers to consider on this slate than any other position. Other options standing out for me include John Ross, Chris Godwin, James Washington, Dede Westbrook, Austin Proehl, Braxton Berrios, Jordan Lasley and Equanimeous St. Brown.
You can’t use everyone, but outside of obvious starters, these guys are some of the best pivots off of the NFL DFS preseason picks I’ve provided at the wide receiver position.
TE: Hayden Hurst – Baltimore Ravens ($6k)
I’m not rushing out to draft Hayden Hurst in season long fantasy football leagues, but he looked quite nimble in the Hall of Fame game. Early signs indicate he has the leg up for Baltimore’s starting tight end gig and I’d say he absolutely should.
Hurt may lack the blocking chops of some of his competition on Baltimore’s roster, but he looks like a wide receiver when he runs routes and he’s very aggressive going after the ball. The Ravens aren’t sold on him just yet, though, so look for him to get a little run as he continues to attempt to hammer in a starting role.
Tight end is arguably the trickiest position during NFL DFS preseason play, but other options I’m not opposed to include Dallas Goedert, Mike Gesicki, Rico Gathers and Tyler Higbee. If you plan on using Andrew Luck, a roll of the dice on Jack Doyle or Eric Ebron isn’t the worst idea, either.
FLEX: Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys ($6k)
Oh, there is also Michael Gallup if you want another wide receiver option. I am going WR over RB here, just because it’s impossible to predict touch count in preseason and it’s so much easier for a wide receiver to rack up points.
Not only do they have the edge with 0.5 points for every catch compared to 0 points for every rush attempt, but they’re far more likely to gain chunk yardage or haul in a long score.
Feel free to turn to one of the other running backs I noted or even the other receivers, but I’ll wrap up my skill position players with Gallup. He gives me yet another late-game hammer to end with and with a big role possibly up for grabs, he’ll be looking to have a pretty nice outing.
DEF: Carolina Panthers ($6k)
I know Carolina’s starters won’t play much of the game, but they actually have a fairly deep defense and good coaching on that side of the ball. They’re also facing the Bills, who don’t have any semblance of a passing game. If any of A.J. McCarron, Josh Allen or Nathan Peterman torch them, I’d be fairly surprised.
More than anything, you’re going to want to make sure the guys you use are actually playing and that they’re not simply on the field for a handful of snaps. Any players that are for sure starting and are looking at a full quarter or more are firmly in play.
This is football and anyone can score and pay off on one huge play, but you always want to play the odds in DFS. This is my preseason daily fantasy football strategy and I think this has a chance at being a solid lineup. You can pivot as needed or use this lineup as it stands. Either way, good luck and enjoy the games!