After offering The Sports Geek readers a lineup for Thursday’s stand alone NFL game (boy, that game was ugly), I’m back at it for a bigger slate on Friday night. NFL preseason probably takes over the night, seeing as it’s week three and this is the most a lot of teams will play their starters.
You do need to be careful, though. Teams have flipped the script on that narrative this year, as some star players logged their run in weeks one or two and won’t see the field again until the regular season arrives. Do your best to get playing time confirmation ahead of time and then sprinkle in the spare players that make sense, but only as needed.
This slate could be a lot of fun, but only if you have a lineup full of active players that can actually accrue fantasy points. With that, let’s break this thing down by going over some of my favorite preseason NFL DFS picks for tonight at FanDuel:
QB: Matthew Stafford – Detroit Lions ($6k)
After reading around the league, week three is actually shaping up a a classic throwback week where a lot of star players will be in play. A slew of teams are slated to play their first team offense for the entire first half this week, but with no guaranteed playing time vouched for, I actually think Stafford will be quite contrarian.
Detroit has voiced the desire to get their starters in “regular season mode”, but they’ve stopped short of saying just how much Stafford and company will play. It’s a roll of the dice, but Stafford does tend to play well in the preseason and I think he might get about two quarters tonight.
Your other options figure to be Derek Carr, Cam Newton, Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, Case Keenum and Alex Smith. None of those options really jump out to me, so I’ll go with Stafford and bank on lower ownership.
Aaron Rodgers is also unlikely to play on Friday, so wrapping the slate up with Brett Hundley or Deshone Kizer may not be a terrible idea, either.
RB: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers ($6k)
I think we saw with some of the Chiefs a week ago and in Thursday’s Browns/Eagles contest that starters seeing an entire half of play doesn’t always make for good things. Carolina’s top guys are expected to play at least the first two quarters, though, so I’m game for rolling the dice on a couple of them.
I don’t need all of them just because of the would-be guaranteed playing time. The main guy I covet is McCaffrey, who has looked excellent all summer and should be in for a solid game. He’ll surely be chalky, but I don’t mind him being popular as long as I differentiate my NFL DFS preseason lineup in other ways.
RB: Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos ($6k)
Saquon Barkley probably won’t play on Friday, which could make Wayne Gallman pretty chalky. He’s a fine play or you can look to other starting running backs, but I don’t see anyone I have to roster.
Lindsay looked very spry in his last outing and has drawn rave reviews all summer. Denver might not give him much work until the second half, but I’m fine with that as long as he continues to get a chance to prove he belongs in the league (and he does).
Wayne Gallman is the safer play, but I’m hoping Lindsay comes in at way less ownership and keeps producing.
WR: Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings ($6k)
Minnesota didn’t look good at all in their last game, but that was against the Jaguars so I think I’ll give them a break. They should be out there for more work tonight against the Seahawks, but due to a lack of concrete information on their playing time, I think they could go a bit overlooked.
Stefon Diggs is really the only guy to connect with Kirk Cousins so far (also a good play), so I think it stands to reason that Minnesota will try to get the chemistry between Captain Kirk and Thielen rolling. He feels like a fun play against an overrated Seattle defense on this slate.
WR: Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions ($6k)
Again, I am risking it a bit with any Lions, as Detroit has not been very specific as to how much playing time their starters will get. Golladay did move into two-wide receiver sets in his last game, though, so if the Lions plan on giving him a bigger role they may want to keep testing it out a bit.
I want at least one guy to stack with Stafford and while you can certainly look to Marvin Jones or Golden Tate, Golladay is my pick tonight. Remember, you do want to eat some chalk in spots, but calculated pivots (and risk) are needed to ascend the ladder in GPPs. This is one of those.
WR: Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders ($6k)
Green Bay’s improved defense could be tested tonight, as they’ll be going up against a fairly explosive Raiders passing game. There isn’t any word yet as to how much Oakland’s starters will play on Friday, but considering most of them sat last week, this would be the time to pounce on them.
Cooper has been hyped up all summer, but has yet to really show the goods during the preseason. I like that there isn’t much chatter about him going into this slate, which will hopefully play into him being lower owned. Martavis Bryant is also worth a look for a quick score and Jordy Nelson will face his old team, but Cooper is the only silver & black player I covet.
TE: Evan Engram – New York Giants ($6k)
Greg Olsen is right up there with Engram, as these two guys figure to get really nice playing time. No other starting tight ends really jump out to me, but Olsen hasn’t had a great preseason and Engram may see extra opportunities with Odell Beckham Jr. likely sitting this game out.
New York is another team likely to play deep into the first half, so if Engram is projected to see a lot of field time, I’m down for using him here.
Olsen and Kyle Rudolph are two secondary options for me at the tight end position, while Jake Butt and Robert Tonyan stand out as backup players that could get some work late in their contests.
FLEX: J’Mon Moore – Green Bay Packers ($6k)
Here’s another sneaky play. I do want to load up on viable starters tonight, but there are still a couple of spots where I think you can exploit guys who should see work in the second half or will float under the radar.
Thanks to Green Bay’s top starters likely not suiting up on Friday, a lot of their backups will be interesting NFL DFS preseason picks. Moore is one of my favorites, as he has not converted many plays during the preseason and is plummeting down the depth chart.
Despite being a 4th round draft pick, it’s getting to the point where he may not even make the final roster. I still like his general talent, though. He has the ability to dominate corners on jumps balls and knows how to play the ball in the air. He just hasn’t converted those plays yet.
With preseason darling Jake Kumerow (shoulder) almost certainly out, I think Moore gets a ton of work and flashes what he’s capable of doing. He might be one of my favorite sneaky plays on the board.
You can always slide Wayne Gallman in here or grab another starter like Demaryius Thomas, but having 1-2 really contrarian plays that work out could end up being huge on this slate. Moore could be one of those.
DEF: Minnesota Vikings ($6k)
With so many teams playing their starters deep into games, I’ll take a shot on Minnesota. Russell Wilson is always tough to stop, but he’s still without top deep threat, Doug Baldwin. The Vikings aren’t an easy defense to score on, let alone move the ball against. They feel like as good of a play as any tonight.
Overall, I’d be a bit hesitant to fully buy every team shoving their starters out for an entire half, but some of these options are going to be too good to pass up. I will probably load up on mostly starters tonight, but I do want to take a few cracks at some backups that are looking to prove themselves.
Hopefully my preseason daily fantasy football picks help you out tonight. Whether you use a few picks or the entire lineup, I wish you luck tonight in your contests at FanDuel!