Preaseason DFS Week 1

By Jen Ryan
Jen Ryan In terms of research, preseason daily fantasy is much different than daily games during the regular season. The first week is tricky in particular because there is not much to go off of other than depth charts and the musings of beat reporters. Teams are at the point right now where they are evaluating players for cuts that need to be made. While Week 1 is a bit of a crap shoot, digging deep into depth charts and following some of the buzz generated by the beats feels like the way to go when constructing a lineup. The fun thing about the preseason is that salaries are fixed for all players at $5,500. Below is a DraftKings lineup I have entered in a few contests for tonight’s six game slate.

QB – Paxton Lynch
There are no sure things in preseason DFS, but Gary Kubiak came out and said Lynch will play the entire second half and that is good enough for me. I’ll pass on one quarter of Mark Sanchez and one quarter of Trevor Siemian for a double dose of the rookie. If the Chicago defense is as soft (they are) as they were in 2015, Lynch could potentially make some noise in carving up their third and fourth stringers.

RB – Tyler Gaffney
Gaffney’s first two seasons with the Patriots were derailed by injury and now injuries ahead of him could see him get an opportunity to show off his skill set this week. After receiving reps with the first team this week Gaffney could have higher ownership than I anticipated. He is buried deep on the Patriots depth chart and they could use this first game to take a good look at him.

RB – Brandon Wegher
Wegher is another player buried deep on his team’s depth chart, but he has an opportunity to notch a fair amount of playing time this week. Carolina will not be giving Jonathan Stewart a single rep and it is not likely Cameron Artis-Payne will get much work either. Veteran Fozzy Whitaker is a lock to make it through the first round of cuts at the very least. This leaves Wegher for the coaching staff to at least give some carries to. It also helps that he has been returning kicks at camp.

WR – Kenny Bell
Bell, who has yet to take an NFL snap, appears to be fighting for the WR4 job and maybe a roster spot in Tampa Bay. If the former fifth rounder is on the roster bubble he will fall into the category of players who could see time for evaluation. The hope in this choice is that Bell takes the reps in the preseason that Vincent Jackson would normally be taking in the regular season. Tampa Bay has a decent match up against a less-than-stellar Eagles’ secondary.

WR – Josh Huff
I like to experiment with play opposing receivers in games with higher point lines and that is exactly what I am doing with this Josh Huff play. The Tampa Bay/Philadelphia game has the second-highest point total of the slate with 37. That was enough for me to bite on Huff, who according to the beat reporters, has been abysmal so far during the offseason with drops. I am looking for guys who are fighting for a job this week and Huff is one of them.

TE – Austin Hooper
I do not expect Jacob Tamme to take many snaps in the first preseason game. With Levine Toilolo dinged up, the third round draft pick could be in line for more work tonight. I am looking for Hooper to get a few looks, particularly in the red zone. He is a boom/bust tight end that is more on the boom side than the bust side.

Flex – Justin Hardy
Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu probably will not play outside of the first series. I am doubling-down on Falcons this week in flexing Justin Hardy. I expect the Falcons to take it easy with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and am anticipating a pass happy group of second and third stringers. I could do worse than throwing a flex dart on a second-year player who is battling for the WR3 job.

DST – Jaguars
There is not a ton of analysis to provide with a defense in the first game of the preseason, but here goes. The Jaguars will be facing the New York Jets who are a hapless bunch outside of their first team. We will see very little, if any of the first team tonight. Geno Smith will get some time and is more likely to throw a pick than he is a touchdown. Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg will get some work also. The Jaguars defense will have their chances to create turnovers and put up a few defensive points.

We can try to analyze game situations for the first preseason game but the truth is we do not know much other than there are players fighting for a roster spot before the first round of cuts. By taking a look at the depth chart and paying attention to beat reporters we can assemble a roster with thought behind it, which is what I attempted to do here.