After three weeks of cashing with my preseason daily fantasy football picks, my last stop on the NFL DFS preseason train was horrendous. Josh Rosen was unsurprisingly chalky, but he did basically nothing in his Arizona Cardinals debut and I had a slew of gaffes beyond him.
I touched on my interest in Chad Kelly and he was the far better play between the two. I hopefully got you interested in a few other options (Royce Freeman, etc) that may have helped you cash. I wasn’t so lucky, but so far if you’ve been rolling with me, you’ve been seeing the green plenty.
The aim is to get back to the money again on Thursday, when six teams wage war on a nice three-game slate. Aaron Rodgers and some other star players are expected to hit the field, so starting with week two you can begin gauging their impact and considering using them.
Should you use A-Rod and other star players over quality backups, though? Let’s answer that with a look at some of my favorite preseason NFL DFS picks over at FanDuel for Thursday night:
QB: Mason Rudolph – Pittsburgh Steelers ($6k)
Quarterback will be very dicey this week. Guys like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers should make their 2018 preseason debuts, but I don’t trust them for a second. Either could thrive in limited action, but history suggests Rodgers won’t play enough to pay off here and a 41-year old Brady is also a risk.
Even Sam Darnold seems like a lock for major run, but it’s impossible to know for sure how much he’ll play with both Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater also vying for the starting gig in New York.
Mason Rudolph stands out as a guy locked into solid playing time, as head coach Mike Tomlin admitted Ben Roethlisberger won’t play and that the team will look to get certain guys acclimated.
After a respectable NFL debut a week ago, Rudolph could look to continue his development with more run. Facing Green Bay Packers backups probably won’t hurt his progress.
RB: Matt Jones – Philadelphia Eagles ($6k)
I’ve never trusted Jones due to fumbling issues, but he looks slated for a really big role on Thursday. Philly is unlikely to force top back Jay Ajayi onto the field for very long, while they have a rash of injuries on their running back depth chart.
For all of his flaws, Jones remains a physical and explosive rusher and he’ll be trying to audition for a chance in the league, either with the Eagles or with someone else. I like his prospects as far as his touches go and while I do like the Pats defense on this slate, he should be able to do enough to pan out for you.
RB: Joel Bouagnon – Green Bay Packers ($6k)
This dude’s name is a bit of a nightmare, but he looked rather spry in week one when he put up 25 rushing yards and a score.
Green Bay is unlikely to feed their top backs too much in this game, so there figures to again be touches to be had. After a solid first showing, Green Bay could hand the rock to Bouagnon even more as he tries to earn a roster spot.
I’m also looking at Trenton Cannon and Samaje Perine with this second RB slot.
WR: Jake Kumerow – Green Bay Packers ($6k)
Aaron Rodgers has praised his big target all summer and Kumerow responded last week with a long touchdown and a couple of nice plays. He has the size and ball skills to potentially make Green Bay’s roster, but given how stacked they are with young wide receiver talent, he can’t stop there.
I like him to continue to rack up stats as he tries to make it impossible for the green and gold to send him packing before the regular season starts.
WR: J’Mon Moore – Green Bay Packers ($6k)
While I love Kumerow, I also want exposure to at least one other Packers receiver. There are a few to consider, but Moore should go overlooked after failing to impress in week one.
The crazy thing is the guy absolutely has the size and athleticism to dominate in one-on-one situations. He just needs to find a way to actually come down with the ball. Don’t be shocked if he makes adjustments and ends up being one of the stars of the night.
WR: James Washington – Pittsburgh Steelers ($6k)
It’s usually pretty important to pair your quarterback with at least 1-2 options he can score with and fellow rookie James Washington should do the trick. The speedster is trying to carve out a key role with Pittsburgh’s first team offense, but he’s not quite there yet.
He’s also developed a rapport with Rudolph, so assuming the two get to play together tonight, I like the odds of them hooking up a few times.
TE: Jacob Hollister – New England Patriots ($6k)
Rob Gronkowski won’t play much (if at all) on Thursday night, which opens the door to major run for Hollister. Hollister got minimal action last year, but has worked hard all summer and has drawn rave reviews from pretty much everyone in New England’s camp.
That alone doesn’t guarantee he pays off in my NFL DFS preseason picks, but he should see solid field time. This is not a very enticing crop of tight ends on a small slate, so he figures to be one of the better options.
If you want to roll with a starter, Jimmy Graham, Zach Ertz and the aforementioned Gronkowski make the most sense. They are all simply at risk of playing only a few snaps or being inactive.
FLEX: Braxton Berrios – New England Patriots ($6k)
I have half the mind to slot a third Packers receiver in here. They were that good a week ago.
While that’s tempting, I’m instead using the two guys I like there that I feel will be a little more contrarian. Even more contrarian could be using Berrios, who has yet to really make his mark on an NFL field, but has certainly drawn praise throughout camp.
He could be a terror in the slot and the Pats will surely want to see what he can do with Julian Edelman on the shelf (suspension) to start the year. Given veteran receiver Eric Decker’s camp struggles, Berrios lighting up this game could go a long way in securing a roster spot. I don’t think that’s too outlandish to hope for.
DEF: New England Patriots ($6k)
New England isn’t an elite defense based on what we saw from them a year ago, but they did get better through free agency and the draft. More importantly, they should have a solid matchup as fa as preseason goes, as Carson Wentz is not expected to play in this game and Nick Foles should even be fairly limited.
That could mean the Pats see a whole lot of Nate Sudfeld, which probably works to their favor. I’m not expecting the world here, but the Pats do file in as my favorite defense on this tiny slate.