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DFS Impact

Preseason Week 1
By Armondo Marsal

It finally feels like football season. Much like right after Thanksgiving Day it begins to feel a lot like Christmas, the beginning of training camp and the preseason makes it feel like the football season is officially here. Despite reading about football pretty much year round, there’s nothing like being able to have practices, depth charts, camp battles, and so forth. This is the time we as fantasy owners are paying attention to which players are looking good in camp, which ones are struggling, and heading into the season we keep notes on who is heading into the season coming off a strong camp. These are all noteworthy things and may have a good amount of emphasis on the day of your fantasy draft. Another key element of training camp is injuries. These happen all the time, sometimes they aren’t significant and a player will be ready for the start of the season, while other times an injury may keep them out for a substantial amount of time and even for the season. As DFS (daily fantasy sports) players, however, long term injuries don’t affect our decision making for the first week of the season like it would in a seasonal league. Being that every week you’re selecting new players, your attention should solely be on injuries that affect the first week of the regular season. Below I’ll go over a couple of the injuries in camp thus far and the DFS impact they may have.

Arian Foster underwent groin surgery and is expected to miss four to six weeks. He is expected to be back before mid-season, but he will definitely be out in Week 1. Alfred Blue and Chris Polk are the two backs that will be fighting for the top spot at running back on the Texans depth chart to begin the season. At this time, Blue is listed as the team’s starting back, but that can always change. He is just $3,600 on DraftKings, while Polk is at the bare minimum of $3,000. Blue got a couple of starts last season during Foster’s absence, but only received 20+ carries once. In that game, he rushed for 156 yards on 36 carries. In Week 1, the Texans play against the Chiefs. This is a defense that allowed the fifth most rushing yards in the NFL last season and surrendered 127 rushing yards per game. They did however, keep running backs out of the end zone, but at this low price it wouldn’t take much for Blue to hit value. This is definitely a battle to monitor throughout the preseason, because barring a committee, the starting back for the Texans to kick off the season could provide some salary cushion for your DFS teams and decent value.

Michael Floyd dislocated three fingers on his left hand and underwent successful surgery. His timetable to return isn’t certain at this moment, but he’s currently hopeful to be ready to play in Week 1. In the meantime, John Brown is the player to keep an eye on in the preseason. The second year receiver is currently listed as the team’s number two receiver. As a rookie, Brown showed some serious potential. He’s a speedster that can get behind the secondary and not look back. He was already on my players to watch list, but with Floyd’s injury he’s someone I may be seriously considering in Week 1. Brown is just $4,500 on DraftKings in Week 1 and has a favorable matchup. The Cardinals face the Saints to start their season. The Saints defense struggled against receivers last season. They surrendered 4,207 receiving yards and 262 receiving yards per game. Quarterback Carson Palmer showed confidence in Brown last season and kept his eye on him. Brown scored five touchdowns last season, all were in the first 10 weeks, prior to Palmer’s season-ending injury. If Floyd ends up sitting the season opener out, Brown could be a very good tournament play as he offers a good amount of upside at a great low price. Keep a close eye on Floyd’s status heading into week one.

There are other teams to monitor, such as the Dallas Cowboys running back situation, the Rams running back situation, and the Browns running back situation. Some of these backs may be set to start at the beginning of this season and have a very low salary. While it’s not always wise to select a player just because he’s the starter, there are instances where you should. These prices came out weeks before the season started so there’s a good chance that you will find value in several players as the season kicks off. Keeping a close eye on camp and the preseason could potentially help you find some great plays, and maybe even help you win some cash early on in the season.