The first sizeable NFL Preseason slate of games is here and with that comes an end to the dreadful fantasy football-less weeks of the summer. Both DraftKings and FanDuel have included all 12 games on the posted main slates kicking off on Thursday, August 9th at 7 PM EST.
NFL Preseason DFS Strategy & Research
The most important data points for the preseason are drastically different from the regular season. While things like matchups, betting market data, and other more advanced metrics are the focal point of regular season DFS research, during the preseason there is one main data point that trumps almost everything else, at least early in the preseason: snap counts.
Snap counts will be projected based on two main factors: coaching tendencies and beat writer reports (this will be a common trend in preseason DFS.) Coaching tendencies from previous years give a solid foundation for conclusions regarding a coach’s approach to each preseason game. For example, some coaches want to see each unit play a bit in their initial preseason bout (see: Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay), while others prefer to ensure the health of their first team and play them for just a single series (see: Mike McCarthy in Green Bay).
Beat writers for each team will also provide invaluable insight regarding which players are making the most of their opportunities in training camp. These training camp standouts catch the eye of their respective coaches and this can lead to increased playing time along with a more reliable connection with others, boosting their fantasy value dramatically.
During the preseason, the focus should be pointed towards GPPs. Nothing is guaranteed in the preseason, as with sports in general, but the NFL preseason is a time for evaluation. The final score is far from the top of a coach’s list of priorities, which leads to inconsistent playing time for players and vague guidelines for how much each unit and player will play. Due to the inconsistencies in playing time, the inability to accurately project full-game matchups, and a lack of solid information available, the risk associated with NFL preseason DFS is high enough to warrant a GPP focus rather than a cash-game focus.
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