Over the course of the 2018 daily fantasy football preseason, I probably came close to breaking even, if coming away with mild profit. The first couple of weeks produced lineups that cashed, but the last two weeks got a little more complicated with a lot of starters being scratched or getting insane run.
The latter actually threw a wrench in a lot of my planning, as I got on players I normally wouldn’t have and faded others I usually would consider. I’m about ready for the real games to start up, so Thursday night’s crazy 16-game NFL DFS preseason slate is a welcomed site.
This slate is crazy, but it is wide open for bench guys trying to win a role or earn a roster spot. It also is the final week of preseason play and means we’re just one more week away from the real thing. I can’t wait, but there’s still NFL DFS action at our feet and there is money to be made. Let’s see if we can’t score a big win to wrap up the month of August:
QB: Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns ($6k)
Originally I was looking at Taysom Hill, but now that the Saints traded for Teddy Bridgewater, I can’t know for sure what will happen with them. That gets me on Baker, who is poised to start this fourth preseason game and play a good amount. It’d be nice if he could just get the whole game, but if he can get up to two quarters I think he pays off nicely.
I’m also heavily interested in Nick Boyle and Deshone Kizer in Green Bay. With Brett Hundley being traded to Seattle, both figure to split the workload tonight. Kizer will probably be pretty popular, assuming he starts. That might make Boyle an excellent pivot play.
RB: Senorise Perry – Miami Dolphins ($6k)
Miami has their top three running backs set in stone. They’re not going to risk any of those guys for long (if at all), so Perry figures to see a lot of work. He’s not even a lock to make the team, so while he’s flashed nice ability, he’ll need to continue to prove himself. I think he gets a nice workload and pans out tonight.
RB: Roc Thomas – Minnesota Vikings ($6k)
The same goes for Thomas, who has flashed great quickness and explosiveness, but is still very clearly the third back in Minnesota, at best. He’s another talented player that isn’t assured a thing, so he should play a bit as he tries to hammer home a role for 2018.
At the running back position, I’m also looking at Chicago’s Ryan Nall, San Fran’s Joe Williams and Green Bay’s Joel Bouagnon. There are so many more options to at least consider, but this five-pack heads the list for me.
WR: Kevin White – Chicago Bears ($6k)
I also like Tanner Gentry here, but the Bears probably want to see if it’s worth keeping White and handing him a bigger role in 2018. He showed his explosiveness with a touchdown in his last preseason game, so provided he gets solid playing time again, he’s a real threat to put up some numbers on Thursday.
If we catch wind White has already earned his keep and won’t play much, pivot to Gentry. He’s had a good summer and will also be looking to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster.
WR: Aldrick Robinson – San Francisco 49ers ($6k)
Robinson is no lock to make the cut for the Niners, but he still had deep speed and can make plays down the field. He should be out there trying to state his case to make the team and he brings upside to the table.
WR: Ameer Abdullah – Detroit Lions ($6k)
I also don’t hate J’Mon Moore or Antonio Callaway here. Whoever you go with at quarterback, be sure to at least consider stacking them with a guy they might be throwing to. I’m going to snatch up Ameer, though, as he’s on Detroit’s roster bubble and figures to get the chance to prove he deserves to stay with the Lions.
Even if he ultimately gets cut, this is a chance for Abdullah to prove to the rest of the league he can be of use. He’s a dynamic runner and return man, so assuming he’s out there a good deal tonight, he feels like a good play.
TE: Maxx Williams – Baltimore Ravens ($6k)
Tight end is tricky, as there are a boatload of backups to consider on this huge slate. Most of the top starters and even their backups will be out, so you’re looking for a talented tight end who has some red-zone chops and may be fighting for a roster spot.
Williams may have his ticket to the regular season locked up with expected starter Hayden Hurst banged up, but it’s possible he still has to prove himself. As long as he’s active, he’s one of my favorite NFL DFS preseason picks for Thursday night.
I’m also looking at Tampa’s Antony Auclair, Kansas City’s Jace Amaro and Big D’s Rico Gathers.
FLEX: Johnny Holton – Oakland Raiders ($6k)
Again, there are just so many ways to go on this slate. One interesting option is doing a few teams or breaking this big slate down into a few different slates (main, express, late). Personally, given the volatility of preseason play, I’m just using this roster and moving along.
I’ll cap my skill players off with Holton, who has issues with drops but is absurdly fast. He is a serious deep threat, but the Raiders have a slew of wide receivers ahead of him. He’s been disappointing, but he will look to lock up a roster spot and he should get plenty of chances to do so this week.
I mentioned Tanner Gentry, while guys like Braxton Berrios, Tyler Boyd and Phillip Lindsay could be worth a shot in this FLEX spot as well.
DEF: Atlanta Falcons ($6k)
Pricing isn’t an issue and there are literally 32 NFL defenses to choose from on this massive slate. Given the fact that most starters will be out or extremely limited, I’m targeting the worst crop of quarterbacks you can find.
Miami is certainly up there, as the Falcons will face the likes of Brock Osweiler, Bryce Petty and David Fales.
That doesn’t make Atlanta a lock to be the top defense, but the matchup works. Arizona could see a lot of Paxton Lynch and Seattle could see a good amount of Connor Cook and E.J. Manuel, putting both of those defenses very much on the map as well.