NFL Preseason DFS Primer Week 2: Friday, August 16th
Our analysts break down the main slate in detail, setting you up for success in your daily fantasy football contests throughout NFL Preseason.
Editor’s Note: Looking for NFL preseason betting picks? We have you covered with our best NFL preseason Week 2 betting picks for Friday night.
Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers
Game Total: 40.0
Spread: CAR -3.0
The Bills used all three of Josh Allen, Matt Barkley and Tyree Jackson in the Preseason Week 1 game against the Colts, but have been quiet in terms of what their splits/game plan will be against the Panthers. Based on the notes from this week’s joint practices, it seems like Allen showed improvement, which was important considering he’s working with several new wideouts. My guess is we continue seeing a close split between the three quarterbacks, with none of them being priorities for me. Allen has the most rushing upside but it was Barkley who threw the lone touchdown last week. You can feel free to throw some darts on these guys but unless we get clarity on the expected split, I’ll likely be underweight here.
We probably won’t see much LeSean McCoy or Frank Gore in this game. It was actually Devin Singletary who led the team with nine carries last week, but Senorise Perry who vultured a touchdown last week on four carries. Based on upside, I’m mainly looking at Singletary here who showed some good vision. Sure, maybe Perry vultures another goal-line touchdown, but I’m going to bank on the younger and more talented Singletary.
One of the biggest battles in terms of roster spots is for the final wideout spot. Isaiah McKenzie shined in Preseason Week 1 with a 2-62-0 line, which led all Bills receivers in yards. He was then moved ahead of Ray-Ray McCloud on the depth chart in Sunday’s practice. Cam Phillips and Victor Bolden are still in the mix, while Duke Williams, David Sills and Nick Easley appear to be on the outside looking in. McKenzie and McCloud are the two I’m most focused on given the Bills are going to have to use this Preseason to figure out who to keep on the final roster, with Cam Phillips the darkhorse candidate to win the job. There’s also a note in this article from The Athletic mentioning offensive coordinator Brian Daboll giving undrafted rookie Nick Easley some praise. Easley worked with the second unit on Wednesday and could be a fit for the practice squad. He’s worth monitoring as a dart throw if you buy into the coach-speak.
My biggest problem with this receiving corp is that they will be catching passes from Josh Allen, Matt Barkley and Tyree Jackson. I’d get exposure here if multi-entering but the talent of this receiving corp mixed with the lack of talent from this quarterback group makes me skeptical about prioritizing these pass catchers.
The Bills remain thin at tight end because of injuries. Tyler Kroft and Dawson Knox remain injured. In the meantime, the Bills have been relying on rookie Tommy Sweeney (who only had one target last week) and should be getting Jason Croom back soon (he was a full participant in practice as of Monday). Sweeney remains my favorite target of this tight end group, but there’s not a lot to love here.
Cam Newton didn’t play in the Preseason Week 1 game against the Bears and I haven’t heard much speculation yet how much playing time he’ll get here either. Given the likelihood he’s either limited or doesn’t play at all, I’m mainly looking at the backups Will Grier and Kyle Allen. The two pretty much split time last week along with 4th stringer Taylor Heinicke getting some playing time. Beat writers are saying there is a genuine battle for the QB2 spot behind Newton, so I would think Grier and Allen continue to see the most playing time as the coaching staff sorts out that battle. Grier is the more interesting option of the two given his rushing upside, so he’s the one I’m prioritizing until we hear more information on what the team plans to do.
The Panthers have some decisions to make at running back. Christian McCaffrey is a lock, and Alex Armah is close to a lock as well. That leaves Cameron Artis-Payne, Reggie Bonnafon, Jordan Scarlett and Elijah Holyfield. Beat writers speculate Coach Rivera likes his vets enough where CAP should make the team, especially with his role on special teams. Scarlett has been hurt and that has allowed Holyfield to arguably surpass him on the depth chart, especially after Holyfield led the team with nine carries, 26 yards and a touchdown in last week’s preseason game in addition to a 7-yard touchdown catch. Scarlett is back at practice so it will be interesting if Scarlett is given a chance to show off his stuff this week. As for Bonnafon, he had a solid Preseason Week 1 with four carries for 23 yards and four receptions for 30 yards, but he’s also eligible for the practice squad and may have a larger role in Preseason Week 4 once rosters become more settled. I’m mainly looking at Holyfield here as an option for today’s slate, with Scarlett an interesting GPP dart throw in the event the Panthers give him some run to see what he can do to make up for the lost time.
Read any beat reporter or article, and you’re bound to hear about Curtis Samuel. He’s been called the MVP of Panthers camp so far, and it seems like he’s on the verge of potentially being the #1 receiver for Cam Newton. What does that mean for today? I’m not entirely sure. The camp buzz is likely going to get him some ownership, and I typically try to avoid a ton of starters in Preseason Week 2. I’m not going to list him as an option given he seems too important to play in this game, but monitor the beat reports.
With tight end Ian Thomas out with a rib injury and the Panthers unlikely to push Greg Olsen, there’s some buzz Chris Manhertz will take on a bigger role on offense for this game. There’s an article on him here speculating he could see his snaps increase for this game both in terms of blocking and pass catching. Given how thin tight end is on this slate, this speculation is very noteworthy. This is also a #revenge game for him, so you know that adds like 25%-50% more fantasy production.
Miami Dolphins vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Game Total: 43.5
Spread: TB -3.5
The Dolphins released their updated depth chart and no noticeable changes were made. With regards to the quarterback competition, beat writer Omar Kelly tweeted here it’s not really a competition, with Ryan Fitzpatrick likely to open as the team’s starter in Week 1 and Josh Rosen backing him up. Kelly did mention in that tweet we should expect to see a lot of Rosen in the Preseason, and that’s also consistent with the article here that mentions Fitzpatrick could start Friday’s Preseason game with Rosen seeing the “lion’s share” of snaps. Rosen is my preferred target over Fitzgerald, and I’m calling him a Core Option simply because of the expected playing time. I don’t think he’s very good, but this slate has a lot of uncertainty at the QB spot and if we can get 2-3 quarters of someone, I’m very interested.
Kenyan Drake is done for the preseason with an injury, which makes this situation somewhat messy. Kalen Ballage becomes the default starter and has been fantastic in camp, but you really have to wonder how much the Dolphins will risk him now that he’s even more valuable to the team. Ballage did have a 6-23-1 line on the ground last week, but fellow backs Mark Walton and Myles Gaskin also each had six carries apiece and also each found the end zone. Per this tweet, Gaskin was seen taking second string reps over Walton, which makes me think he may have an edge as the team’s RB2 for now. If you want to take some shots on Ballage and hope he gets a series or two, I get it, but I think I’m more likely targeting Gaskin here, followed by Walton. I can’t imagine the team will risk Ballage in this meaningless game, but it’s a spot I will be monitoring.
The talk of the town has been Preston Williams, who went off for a 4-97-0 line last week to lead the team. Given the camp hype and his solid first game, I’m expecting Williams to be a popular play once again on this slate. Williams worked with the starters this week and appears to be quickly rising in the rankings with his new teammates. There’s even talk here of him handling punts, which would be even better for his fantasy outlook. I’m also viewing him as a Core Option and don’t mind a Rosen/Williams stack.
Outside of Williams, the Dolphins wideouts are pretty thin. Albert Wilson is still injured and the hope is that he will begin practicing next week for a possible Preseason Week 3 debut. DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant are also not practicing due to injuries. The article here calls second-year wideout Isaiah Ford a sleeper as he’s been practicing with the starters due to these injuries piling up. The article also mentions Ford is expected to start tonight. He’s someone worth monitoring and could benefit if he gets to play some series’ with gun-slinging Ryan Fitzpatrick early on.
On the tight end from, both Mike Gesicki and Nick O’Leary caught a pass each in last week’s game, and are worth a look here. The same article I linked above calls O’Leary the team’s best catcher at the tight end spot, but the team is hoping Gesicki will improve offensively. They may continue to give Gesicki chances but given the notes haven’t been too positive, I’d prefer O’Leary right now if taking shots on this situation.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The best info I’ve found on the Bucs is this tweet by beat writer Greg Auman saying he expects starters to play a similar amount as Preseason Week 1 but a bit less than a normal Preseason Week 2 because of the practices they’ve put in. He’s suggesting a series or two, which really makes the starters hard to play here. In last week’s game, Jameis Winston went 5-for-6 with one touchdown before getting pulled. Blaine Gabbert went 6-for-8 and then it was the Ryan Griffin show, where he went 26-for-43 for 330 yards and a touchdown. If we expect something similar, I’m calling Griffin a Core Option and my favorite QB on the slate.
I’ll just mention that if the starters do just get one or two series’, that makes someone like Chris Godwin a tough sell. Yes, he did catch a touchdown last week on his one drive so you can certainly hope he repeats that performance, but he’s a GPP dart throw for me. I’m much more interested in the backups like Justin Watson (4-37-0 last week on 7 targets) and Spencer Schnell (7-119-0 on a team-high 9 targets last week). Even better for Watson and Schnell is that fellow wideout DaMarcus Lodge was not practicing as of Wednesday per this tweet, so it’s possible he’s dealing with an injury. I’m calling Schnell a secondary option and can even see the case as a borderline Core Option if you want to chase that Preseason Week 1, which I may end doing.
The Bucs picked up receiver Emmanuel Hall off waivers on Wednesday but this tweet by beat writer Greg Auman suggests we shouldn’t expect to see Hall on Friday given his lack of time with the team and playbook. It does seem next week is the more likely debut for Hall. Wideout Scotty Miller remains sidelined and per this tweet, it sounds like the 5th and 6th wideout spots are up for grabs. This could be good news for Bobo Wilson, who is buried on the depth chart but has been working out in special teams per this tweet as a returner. Maybe this is a sign they are trying to expand his role and see what else he can bring to the team? For now I’m really looking at Schnell and Watson, with Wilson someone I’m mixing in only if mass multi-entering.
Tight end Tanner Hudson finished with a 7-84-1 line last week on nine targets and with the team unlikely to give O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate too much of a workload here, we could see similar run for Hudson and fellow backup Antony Auclair.
The running back situation was dominated by Dare Ogunbowale last week where he finished with a team-high 10 carries and 2 touchdowns. I’m sure Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber will get some early work, but if the team continues to rely on the backups for this game, I have to think Ogunbowale sees another heavy workload with just Andre Ellington and Bruce Anderson behind him. I’m considering him a Core Option as well.
Overall, the Bucs are probably my favorite team and I can see it viable to stack them up and hope for a ton of offense.
Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants
Game Total: 42.5
Spread: NYG -2
The article here from The Athletic mentioned that the Bears ran a mock game in practice on Wednesday, and that we should not expect to see starters much in the preseason. The goal of the mock game was to run through scripted plays for his starters, and the article included quotes from Coach Nagy on his lack of love for preseason. There’s another quote here by beat writer Dan Wiederer saying Nagy likely holds out his key players tonight. I think it’s fair to say we should avoid playing any 1st stringer, including Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton.
Chase Daniel and Tyler Bray split last week’s game against the Panthers in half, and unless we hear otherwise, I’m going to assume a similar split. Neither found the end zone and it’s hard to get excited by them knowing the Bears don’t really have a desire to utilize the Preseason much. Both are GPP options assuming they each get two quarters, and I’m viewing both as secondary plays.
I want to play David Montgomery, but he only had three carries (with a touchdown) last week and given these comments by Coach Nagy, it’s fair to wonder how much they expose Montgomery to preseason play. Montgomery also caught three passes for 30 yards so there is upside here on PPR sites if he’s given playing time. I’m willing to call Montgomery a secondary play with the chance he continues to see some reps and can find the end zone. I do think further down the depth chart options like Ryan Nall and Kerrith Whyte are interesting. Nall had five carries and four receptions last week, while Whyte led the team with six carries and one reception. It would make sense for Whyte to see the majority of work in this backfield as it doesn’t seem like Montgomery will see huge work today. I’ll list him as a core option but this is purely based on expected volume – if Nall gets more work than expected that’s one route where Whyte could somewhat disappoint, so keep that in mind.
The Bears waived undrafted rookie Emmanuel Hall on Monday, as Hall continued to deal with injuries and didn’t suit up for last week’s Preseason game. This article suggests that the release of Hall and the emergence of Javon Wims in camp and in the Preseason has all but secured his spot on the team. That may make rookie Riley Ridley and 53-man hopeful Marvin Hall better targets in this Preseason Week 2. I’m less high on Wims for this game given it sounds like he’s growing in importance to the team. I will likely be underweight on Wims tonight.
Tight end Ian Bunting led all Bears receivers last week with a 3-77-0 line off four targets, but the big play was a 45 yard catch and he had some mental errors like a false start and holding penalty. I suppose he’s an option here with Trey Burton not likely to play, but I don’t see a reason we need to chase this outing. I’ll at least keep him on the GPP radar since we only have six teams on this slate.
New York Giants
Core Options: Rod Smith / Paul Perkins (potentially if Gallman & Hilliman get officially ruled out)
Secondary Options: T.J. Jones, Reggie White Jr.
Third Tier GPP: Russell Shepard, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Golden Tate
There’s an article here about the Giants making a conscious effort not to have Saquon Barkley take on unnecessary hits before the season starts, which makes me think he continues to see few, if any, snaps here (he didn’t play last week). Wayne Gallman missed practice on Wednesday with a foot injury so it sounds like we should see a lot of Rod Smith and Paul Perkins per this article, especially with Jon Hilliman also dealing with a concussion. It sounds like Smith has had the better camp, so I may slightly prefer him over Perkins. If Hilliman is out there’s a good case to prioritize one (or both) of Smith and Perkins given the lack of depth here.
There’s an article here by Patricia Traina who speculates the starters should see a little more run here and could get up to half a quarter of playing time, although again, it’s speculation. The Giants used all four quarterbacks last week, with Eli Manning getting in just three passes before giving way to Daniel Jones, who had five passes and a touchdown of his own. It sounds like they are slowly ramping him up as to not overwhelm him, so it’s likely we see a bigger workload but nothing like the 12 passes Kyle Lauletta and 19 passes Alex Tanney got last week. This is just a pretty messy situation and I’m likely going to be staying away. I get Jones will be hyped up, but it seems unnecessary to play him on this slate when he hasn’t been guaranteed a huge workload. This article has Manning quoted as saying he’s expecting a bigger workload for this game, so it sort of makes all four quarterbacks unplayable. This article also has Coach Shurmur saying all four quarterbacks will play.
On the receiving side, the article I linked above also mentions it’s unclear if rookie receiver Darius Slayton will play because of his hamstring injury, so I’m proceeding as if he’s out. We also know Golden Tate will be suspended for four games, and this article has Tate mentioning that T.J. Jones will help fill the void. It’s possible we see him get an extended look here again after he impressed with a 6-72-1 line on 6 targets last week. I also do think we may be able to target some of the starters like Russell Shepard, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer and Golden Tate in the event they also see some extended run with Manning. Fowler and Shepard did find the end zone last week for what it’s worth. Reggie White Jr. also had a solid 4-60-0 line and is worth a look in GPPs as he could get some solid second half run after the starters are out.
I really don’t love any of the tight ends here. Evan Engram may be interesting if we can get confirmation before lock he’s even playing, but there’s some risk here they hold him out again like they did last game so you may want to monitor Twitter or our Discord chat.