DFS Roundtable: Preseason Week 3

Several DFS staffers offer picks and strategy advice for dominating the Preseason Week 3 Main Slate

Austin Lee: Here's a chart of all the teams on the main slate showing how deep into the game they've played their starters during Week 3 of the preseason in 2016 and 2015.

How much starters have played in the past during Preseason Week 3

Who are your picks at each position for Week 3 of the preseason?




David Dodds

Jameis Winston: Tampa Bay will play their starters for at least a half, and it's an easy matchup.

Dak Prescott: The Cowboys will want to give him time to play sharp without Ezekiel Elliott.


Chris Feery: I’ll make final decisions as game time gets closer, but these are the players I have on my radar at the moment.

Matt Ryan and Derek Carr: Similar to the regular season, I’m scoping out games that could be potential points fests. Cardinals at Falcons and Raiders at Cowboys appear to fit the bill, and I’ll be zeroing in on signal callers from these games. You could make a case for any of the four starters, but I’m leaning towards Ryan at home and Carr on the road versus a porous Cowboys defense. I’ll be looking for clarity on how long the signal callers are expected to play for their respective teams in the dress rehearsal game, but I’m confident both Ryan and Carr can make some noise if they play a half each.


Devin Knotts

Jameis Winston: He's the chalk.

DeShone Kizer: Kizer has value running the ball. If he gets a rushing touchdown as we saw last week, he will exceed value. He's a player who the team was designing runs for, and I expect this to continue this week. The team wants him to practice plays he'll call during the regular season.

Jared Goff: He's a sneaky play. He was 16 for 20 with a touchdown last week. People won't be on Goff because there's a negative bias against him that he is a horrible quarterback based on his poor rookie season.


John Lee: The others have talked about the players who are most likely to see significant playing time on Saturday, so throughout this article I'll try to hit on a few GPP-only plays that could differentiate your rosters.

Trevor Siemian: Siemian is a quarterback who nobody likes to play, generally for good reason. This weekend could be a perfect time to get him into tournament lineups because his ownership will be low, but Siemian should get at least a half of snaps based on his preseason performance (14 of 18 for 144 yards and a TD) and Paxton Lynch's rapidly diminishing stock. The Broncos have scored 57 points across their two preseason games and will face a Green Bay defense that has historically played their first squad for only a few series in Week #3.

Chase Daniel: Daniel is another low-ownership option who should see significant playing time because Sean Payton rarely plays his starters beyond the first quarter in Week #3. There is still no word on whether Drew Brees will play against Houston, but it is probably fair to expect him to play about two series before yielding way to Daniel, who has vastly outperformed Ryan Nassib this preseason. Daniel has completed 11 of 18 passes (61.1%) for 107 yards and should get enough playing time in this game to compile similar numbers against the Texans, who have allowed 50 points through their first two games.

Running Backs


David Dodds

Darren McFadden: He needs reps with the first team to be ready while Ezekiel Elliott is suspended.

James Conner: Le'Veon Bell isn't reporting until September 1st and the Colts run defense is awful. The team needs to know if he can be a bell-cow running back.

Jonathan Williams: He should see some serious volume.


Chris Feery

Todd Gurley: The Chargers defense has looked shaky through the early going of the preseason, and I think Gurley will be legitimately pumped for the first Battle for Los Angeles.

C.J. Anderson: Going with the dress rehearsal theory, the Broncos are going to run the ball a lot this year, so I’ll be looking for Anderson to see a decent amount of work on Saturday.

James Conner: Conner delivered a nice return in preseason Week 2 despite looking uneven at times, and I see him delivering an even better performance against a shaky Colts defense.


Devin Knotts

James Conner: He's the obvious play as Le'Veon Bell is out and Conner had 20 carries last week. Just stick him into your lineup even in a GPP.

Javorius Allen: He should see extended minutes as Danny Woodhead is not expected to play.


John Lee

Jonathan Williams: The Bills enter 2017 in rebuild mode with LeSean McCoy being the most fantasy-relevant player on the team. Because of McCoy's value to the team's limited likelihood for success, we probably will not see more than one or two series with him on the field. He will give way to Jonathan Williams, who has seen some time with the first team during practice this past week. Williams enters his second season in the NFL firmly behind McCoy, which places him in a good spot to get substantial playing time behind the Bills' starters on Saturday. The matchup against the Ravens is somewhat questionable, but more value should be placed on playing time than implied matchup when making DFS decisions in preseason.

Javorius Allen: Danny Woodhead has a hamstring issue and will not suit up on Saturday, which likely generates some additional opportunity for Javorius Allen. Terrance West will get the start, but Coach John Harbaugh tends to pull his starters early during Week 3 of the preseason. Allen should enter the game sometime in the first quarter and play into the second half, eventually yielding to Taquan Mizzell. If Allen gets double-digit carries again this week, he should find the endzone against a Bills front seven that has allowed three rushing touchdowns in their two preseason games.


Wide Receivers


David Dodds

Dez Bryant: I expect a touchdown from either Darren McFadden or Bryant as the first team offense attempts to get on track without Ezekiel Elliott.

Zay Jones: Injuries to the other Bills wideouts should make him a high volume guy

Amari Cooper: Oakland will play their starters for the entire first half.


Chris Feery

Mike Evans: Evans will be on the field as long as Winston is, and that means he’ll see a bunch of footballs headed his way.

Martavis Bryant: Bryant saw his first live game action last week, and I would expect the Steelers would want to continue getting him up to game speed.

Amari Cooper: I’m liking the Raiders chances to put up some points on Saturday, and Cooper should have a hand in the festivities.

Sterling Shepard: I’m assuming the Giants will take a cautious approach and hold Odell Beckham Jr Jr - and perhaps Brandon Marshall as well - out of Saturday’s game. That opens up a ton of targets, and Shepard could be a preseason beast as a result.


Devin Knotts

Sterling Shepard: He's the only healthy wide receiver for the Giants as Odell Beckham Jr Jr and Brandon Marshall are not expected to play. The Giants are going to have to prepare for the world without at least Beckham for the first week of the regular season, so Shepard could be targeted early and often in this game. Roger Lewis could also be sneaky in this game as he is expected to take on a larger role with the Beckham injury.

Mike Evans: He'll be the most popular wide receiver on this slate and should be highly considered in your lineups this week.

Dez Bryant: At home in preseason games, Bryant has been terrific over the last two years. He should continue to build a rapport with Dak Prescott, which has been one of the key stories of the preseason.


John Lee: Here are some more GPP plays to differentiate your lineups.

Reggie Davis: The Falcons know what they have in Julio Jones, and given his injury history, they are unlikely to put him on the field during the preseason. That leaves a series of lesser receiving options including Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, and Davis. Davis will be less than 10% owned because he is an undrafted free agent rookie, but he has immense upside due to his ability to get behind the defense; at the NFL combine this Spring, Davis posted a 4.31 40-yard time, which was good enough for the third-fastest time of the 2017 class. In the Falcons' two preseason games, Davis has led the team in receiving yards (43 and 74 yards, respectively), played special teams as a kick returner, and displayed impressive playmaking abilities with six catches of 10 yards or greater. In his NFL debut, Davis caught a 48-yard touchdown that was nullified by a holding penalty, an event that would have placed him on everybody's radar heading deeper into the preseason. Take advantage of his relative anonymity while you can.

Tommylee Lewis: Lewis lit it up in Week 1 of the preseason with 10 catches on 11 targets for 124 receiving yards and a score. He followed it up with a clunker of a game last week where he was targeted four times but only managed a single reception for seven total yards. Recency bias will take effect this week, and Lewis' ownership should plummet in DFS contests. As discussed in the Chase Daniel write-up, Coach Payton tends to err on the side of caution with his starters, which should result in additional snaps for backup receivers like Lewis, who has built a nice rapport with Daniel during training camp. Assuming that Daniel gets the majority of snaps under center after Drew Brees makes his early exit, Lewis will be one of his primary targets and an excellent stack option for larger GPPs.


Tight Ends


David Dodds

Evan Engram: Resting most of the wide receivers, the Giants will get an extended look at the rookie.

O.J. Howard: I like him a lot if Mike Evans scratches.


Chris Feery

Hunter Henry: Henry is in line to take a leap forward this year, and the Chargers passing offense as a whole has a chance to be quite fruitful. I’ll look for Philip Rivers to lean on Henry as a tougher than advertised Rams defense tries to contain the plethora of wide receivers Rivers has at his disposal.

Evan Engram: Engram should see extra looks due to the aforementioned cautious approach by the Giants. The club will also be looking to increase the rookie's development as Week 1 approaches.


Devin Knotts

Evan Engram: He seems like the lock on this slate as with Odell Beckham Jr Jr and Brandon Marshall out. Engram will be asked to take on a larger role in this offense with the starting unit.


John Lee

Austin Seferian-Jenkins: The Jets released Marquess Wilson earlier this week, leaving them with the likes of Charone Peake, ArDarius Stewart, and Chad Hansen at the wide receiver position. With such little depth and a general lack of ability at quarterback, it would not be surprising to see Seferian-Jenkins get an opportunity to become the go-to receiver in the Meadowlands this season. He is a tremendous talent, who was compared to Rob Gronkowski when he was taken in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft; he flopped in Tampa Bay and will try to save his career with the Jets this season. It's the perfect combination of opportunity, incentive, and talent for Seferian-Jenkins to compile solid fantasy numbers.




David Dodds

New York Giants: They're playing the Jets.

Pittsburgh Steelers: They're playing the Luckless Colts at home.


Chris Feery

New York Giants: I’m circling the Giants defense and taking the easy layup. The Jets offense will be abysmal this year. We should get a sneak peek of how bad when it’s starters versus starters for the first half.


John Lee

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers will play host to the Indianapolis Colts, who are the biggest underdog of the Week 3 preseason slate. The Colts are a battered team, without their star quarterback and with an offensive line consisting of a series of second-stringers and rookies. There is not a single Colts skill player who should be on a DFS roster this week, which means Pittsburgh's defense is squarely in play. With 11 sacks and four takeaways through their first two games, the Steelers defense should feast upon this poor offensive line and Scott Tolzien.

New York Giants: It is no surprise that the Jets have barely surpassed 500 total yards of offense in their first two preseason games. In those efforts, they have posted a grand total of 13 points against the Tennessee Titans and the Detroit Lions, a pair of defenses that lack the type of defensive playmakers that the New York Giants will field in 2017. Jason Pierre-Paul will wreak havoc on the Jets' offensive line on Saturday and could force Christian Hackenberg to make rushed passes to avoid being sacked; Hackenberg struggles to make accurate passes when not under pressure so this could get ugly. With one of the most talented secondaries in the NFL, headlined by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, and Eli Apple, the Giants will have ample opportunity for a defensive touchdown this weekend.




David Dodds: I'm leaning towards Brandon McManus.


Austin Lee: You can't go wrong with Justin Tucker or Brandon McManus. Stay away from kickers who play for the Bills, Giants, Browns, Raiders, Cowboys, Rams, and Texans. All seven of those teams split kicking duties last week.


Jeff Pasquino: I mentioned my kicker on the Power Grid, but here is my reasoning to roster Phil Dawson in GPPs on FanDuel:

  1. Carson Palmer is old.
  2. Larry Fitzgerald is old.
  3. The Arizona Cardinals visit the Atlanta Falcons in a dome.
  4. I don't expect much from either David Johnson or Chris Johnson.
  5. Dawson is allegedly good from 60 yards. That might be a stretch, but 50+ is in range. He already hit a 52-yarder this preseason.
  6. I don't see any kicking competition for Dawson on Saturday.


Austin Lee: For more preseason strategy and Week 3 picks, check out the Power Grid show:

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