NFL Preseason DFS Breakdown: Thursday, August 9th
Welcome to the official start of the 2018 NFL DFS season. Each day in which there are preseason games, we’ll be breaking down the games and recommending high potential targets across the landscape.
Please see the following other sources for additional information and discussion on today’s slate via RotoGrinders Premium Content:
New Orleans Saints vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Vegas Total: 34.5
Vegas Spread: JAC -2.5
Injuries to Watch: WR Brandon Coleman (released), WR DeAndre Smelter (undisclosed missed practice August 7th), the following players were reported limited on August 6th shorts only practice: WR Tommy Lewis, WR Austin Carr (DNP the day before in Shells either)
New Orleans Saints:
Drew Brees wasn’t a part of the 2017 Saints preseason week one game, and we shouldn’t expect him to be part of this year’s game either. That leaves the Saints back up quarterback battle at center stage. Statuesque Tom Savage has a 1.6% career touchdown rate and 2.2% interception rate. By contrast, Taysom Hill displayed 99th percentile speed for a quarterback and delivers slate winning capability via the “Konami code” of QB fantasy scoring: rushing TD equity. Hill is a top five GPP play, while rostering Tom Savage in a fun DFS sport like preseason NFL is a clear indication that your life needs more excitement.
Assuming we do not see any action from Alvin Kamara or Mark Ingram, and project four backs to see the field. The most likely contributors are Jonathan Williams and Boston Scott. All the Saints have done since acquiring Jonathan Williams is tell us they don’t care about him via the signings of Terrance West and Shane Vereen. I’m sure he’ll see work and he certainly has a chance, but hype machine fueled reports from Saints camp have me interested in using Boston Scott. He’s a small back but that might be a good fit for the matchup against Jacksonville. An agile speedster who can receive the ball might be the best chance at production.
Tre’Quan Smith is an exciting talent who has also been impressive at camp. The Jaguars aren’t the first group you’d like to leverage his skills against, but we can’t get too wrapped up in matchups. He should be on the field more than enough to be viable, and his slate winning upside is reachable in a single play. He’s on the GPP radar.
The Jaguars shouldn’t run too many plays with the starting group, and I believe the backfield may wind up spreading the love too thin to get enthusiastic about using them on a 12 game slate. Undrafted 24-year-old Tim Cook has reportedly had a solid camp and could prove to be an unlikely hero. I wouldn’t go crazy with that idea. I’m only projecting him for a little bit less than 1/3 of the work, which qualifies as a dart throw only.
Last preseason, Dede Westbrook was a bonafide hero. We can expect that to repeat, because there is a new hero in town. His name is D.J. Chark. He registered create-a-player caliber speed and burst in his pre-draft testing, and that has flashed more than a few times during camp. His status as a second-round selection coupled with a wide receiver room loaded with established skill players makes this game a primetime opportunity for the Jaguars to test drive their new sports car. He’s a high upside GPP play that would make my core with team confirmation of extended playing time.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Vegas Total: 33
Vegas Spread: PHI -3
Injuries to Watch: Nick Foles (day to day, neck, highly doubtful), Mike Wallace (tendonitis), Alshon Jeffery (PUP), Nelson Agholor (day off Tuesday, status not clear), Carson Wentz (not cleared for contact), Marcus Wheaton (undisclosed, Q), Vance McDonald (foot), Antonio Brown (hip flexor), Darrius Heyward-Bey (has been at practice but sometimes limited)
When Ben Roethlisberger was having immediate success in his rookie campaign back in 2004, Jaylen Samuels was eight years old. He’s a lot faster now than he was then, and that is allowed him to actually catch passes from a player he idolized growing up. He’s got some decent rapport with Mason Rudolph by some accounts, and I believe his pass-catching ability makes him an excellent option on the full PPR sites. According to our friends at PlayerProfiler.com, Samuels registered a 97 percentile college target share. Even a few receptions are extremely impactful in the highly variant world of preseason NFL. His paths to failure include higher than expected workloads for James Connor, Steven Ridley, and the other Steeler backs. I’m not presently banking on that but it’s worth knowing the risks.
A story by Mark Kaboly in the athletic compares James Washington to the Energizer Bunny. He’s making plays all over Steelers camp, and just keeps going and going and going… you get the idea. I have assigned him a somewhat lofty target projection slightly over four, which would imply he was on the field for at least a quarter and probably more. The Steelers only played six wide receivers a year ago in week 1, and for Washington not to be among a similarly limited corps this year would be a bowel-evacuating surprise. He’s a high-profile option.
We like simple math problems when trying to figure out playing time in DFS. We know that Carson Wentz and Nick Foles will not be available in all likelihood (they “cracked the door” for Foles but he won’t walk through). That leaves us two quarterbacks and once we assign playing time to one of them we automatically know the playing time for the other one. Simple math. Since Joe Callahan is a discarded jabroni hovering at the edge of the league and the QB4 for this team, it’s easy to guess that he’ll have the smaller playing time of the two. The resulting projection for Nate Sudfeld is enough to make him the highest floor quarterback on the slate. He might play more than Baker Mayfield, and will do so on one of the most progressive offenses in the league. Consider Nate Sudfeld a core play.
If I’m interested in the quarterback, I’m supposed to be interested in somebody else on the team at least right? Well the Eagles don’t have a crystal clear skill player that I feel comfortable banking a high % of exposure to. Backs like Wendell Smallwood, Donnel Pumphrey, and Josh Adams are on a roulette wheel in the absence of crystal clear information. Mack Hollins may be an interesting option but he too belongs as a number on a roulette wheel without something to hang the hat on. It seems like Naked Sudfeld could be a thing if the production gets spread widely enough.
One reason I won’t have 100% naked Sudfeld is Dallas Goedert. He was an extremely productive tight end coming out of South Dakota State and displayed well above average burst and agility and pre-draft testing. Ever since arriving at Eagles camp he’s been impressing everyone including Nick Foles, who named him as a player to watch in this game. The Eagles did despicable things to their opponents via athletic receiving tight ends during their championship run, and that’s no surprise with Doug Pederson in command. He’s a high upside pairing with Sudfeld that fills a lower upside position on the roster build.
Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants
Vegas Total: 35
Vegas Spread: CLE -1
Injuries: TE Seth DeValve (quad, Q)
Reports are absolutely everywhere that Baker Mayfield is expected to play quite a bit in their preseason opener. Sometimes fantasy analysts (including myself) want to make it a point to prove how smart they are with various stats and facts about why Baker Mayfield will be so good in this situation. I’ve got a simpler way of doing it: he is the number one overall draft pick with no visible warning signs of being a bust and is projected to play more snaps than most of the other players in the field. Our conversation is much better spent on projected ownership. This kind of crystal clear information on a player of his visibility is a dead giveaway that he’ll be the extreme chalk. The great news is that this is a 12 game slate and quarterback is typically one of the most spread out positions, so this is a situation where we just want to make our opponents prove it. If I had one lineup In a GPP I could see pivoting elsewhere, but thankfully I have many lineups. I’ll have my fair share of Mayfield.
We prefer to absolutely know that our players are getting big time snaps. However, in the case of Nick Chubb I simply don’t care. I assume he’ll get at least a marginal round of snaps, and my shares will likely live and die with whether or not he gets in the end zone. Because he’s a violent runner with good size and 91st percentile burst, I expect him to be a weapon in the red zone for the Browns for years to come. I would go as far to say I would be shocked if he did not receive a carry in the high-value area during this game, and at least a little surprised if he didn’t convert. Yeah that’s right… I’m calling a touchdown for Chubb. My lineups will have enough Chubb to reflect this confidence.
Antonio Callaway is with the team despite some crazy trouble with the law within the past week. Putting the potential ramifications of that aside… as long as he’s in the football game they will count his stats. By the looks of it, he’s an incredibly explosive football player and the Browns were comfortable trading Corey Coleman in part because of his play. We would like some kind of news on his status, but he’s likely viable in GPPs.
Baker Mayfield’s practice mojo with Rashard Higgins has been reported by multiple outlets. It’s hard to get super excited about a player who was disappointing at times with guys like DeShone Kizer under center, and his athletic profile is ugly. Nonetheless, I can project him to be on the field enough to consider him in play as a pairing with Mayfield.
New York Giants
I expect that underinformed fantasy players will take shots on Saquon Barkley. I do not outright dismiss the possibility that the player shows up and balls out in the relatively few series he should be expected to play. We would certainly like to get some news on him, but otherwise I consider him an underdog to help you win the week.
Wayne Gallman is a forgotten player but can be projected in the range of viability. It is not practical to assume significant work for Jonathan Stewart, and that would leave just two other backs beyond Barkley competing in the backfield. Gallman makes the most sense to get in the neighborhood of 7 to 8 carries on a median projection basis, with some upside for those to be high value touches near the goal. You can keep him in the player pool.
My current projections have Davis Webb as the fifth most frequent passer on the slate. We should not expect Eli Manning to receive significant snaps, and back up QB Kyle Lauletta has not flashed signs of being ready to take the number two job this season. That leaves Webb as a potential factor and a lower owned tournament option to hammer. There is no obvious pairing with Webb among the past catchers, which will only serve to further lower his ownership.
Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers
Vegas Total: 35
Vegas Spread: SF -3.5
Bo Scarbrough is a seventh-round power back we can expect to be an in between the tackles grinder. He had light mileage at Alabama which might be a good thing for a player of his archetype. I don’t think we can look at Rod Smith as a player the Cowboys will want to play significant snaps in a preseason setting, and he has the best chance of making the team and being a contributor for this club in the regular season. That’s a statement that screams evaluation snaps, and I think they carry projection of eight is fair though aggressive. That’s what I’m rolling with for now, and at that level, the chances of one of those being near the goal are high enough that we can leverage him in our player pool.
There are two players in the Cowboys WR group that we can consider. The first is rookie Michael Gallup. He’s a strong college producer that scored 21 times and brings a size-speed combo worthy of the NFL level. He figures to get as many chances as anyone to develop in the preseason and the Cowboys need somebody to develop quickly. Lance Lenoir was a pre-season star last year, and the situation has changed since I wrote my preseason preview. I said I would take the under on one touchdown this year but that was before the injury to Cedric Wilson and some banged up players like Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson missing practices. I can easily see Lenoir producing enough in this game to get the job done and that is reflected in his target projection approaching four.
You can use Blake Jarwin or Rico Gathers if you want. I’m not chasing this situation but acknowledge the viability. I am not clear on who the Cowboys trust, and it makes me think the answer is nobody.
San Francisco 49ers:
Joe Williams is a running back the 49ers that is competing for roster positioning and will get plenty of looks in the preseason. With competition like Mostert and McNichols hanging around plus the Brieda wildcard, I can’t elevate him to top play status. Feel free to speculate.
In our preseason grind video, Alex Dunlap was high on Kendrick Bourne and Victor Bolden thanks to some hands-on reporting from their team at RosterWatch. That makes me slightly skeptical of Dante Pettis getting massive volume, but the player seems to have the talent to produce if called upon. He’s a second-round draft choice which puts him in this weird range of guys young enough to require preseason workload but costly enough in draft capital that overuse is also unlikely. I’ll probably sprinkle a few Pettis shares into my mix but he won’t be primary. The guys mentioned by Rosterwatch are difficult to project for big volume and I would consider them dart throws.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins
Vegas Total: 34
Vegas Spread: MIA -1.5
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense of line injuries should be a concern for their running game in their preseason opener. Ronald Jones has not established himself as the clear top back in the off-season and may be viable anyway. Offensive line concerns duly noted, this team is not full of alternative developmental options and the Buccaneers figure to use valuable preseason tape on their second-round pick. I am waffling on his projection because of concerns about his blocking but will likely lean conservative. Just make note of the upside, as I do think the snap total will be there for him.
Rosterwatch sources suggested that Justin Watson and Bobo Wilson or were the speculation plays at the wide receiver position. In reviewing their wide receiver depth chart I couldn’t find any way to dispute this. The top of their chart is well-established and makes sense for these deeper options to get run. I can’t endorse them as top plays, but can say for sure that nobody will be on them if you were looking to get filthy and huge field tournaments.
Kalen Ballage is a fourth round pick that brings exciting 96 percentile height adjusted speed to the table. He has nice eyes and displayed in 82nd percentile target share in college. The Dolphins do have some other guys they could split the work with that no the Adam Gase system, and that includes street free-agent Jeremy Langford who they just signed. The receiving upside and all-around versatility of Ballage trump the risk factors for me, and I will be using him in some lineups.
Leonte Carroo is a possible dart throw to consider. He hasn’t yet emerged but seems to have some talent deep down to do so. They have four receivers clearly locked in to top positions on the roster and it just makes sense for the Dolphins to run him out there early and often in preseason play. This is especially true on weeks where the top WRs aren’t expected to see as much run.
Mike Gesicki is a sick freak athlete with red zone skills out the ass. His capability in that area of the field alone makes him appealing for use. I do expect him to get more than enough run to flash his upside more often than he doesn’t in this spot. I can’t wait to watch him. Note that he can’t block at all, and that could hurt in the regular season.
Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Vegas Total: 34
Vegas Spread: KC -2.5
Joe Webb is a running QB dart throw. I can’t easily project him for a large share of snaps in a relative sense, but I could pretty easily see a rushing touchdown happen or connection with a guy like a Sammie Coates on some sort of disgusting deep bomb. Speaking of Coates, he might be on the field long enough to accidentally catch a pass or three. It’s not an exciting recommendation, but when I have to make based strictly on the situation presented to us. Keke Coutee is out, and the balance of available options to evaluate with preseason snaps is thin at best.
Jordan Akins is an elderly rookie who made a brief pitstop in minor-league baseball before changing his career path of football. They really need to get him going quickly because of his age and I expect them to use the preseason to do it. Scouting evaluations have him pegged as a guy who can stretch the field and do a lot as a pass catcher. I like the combination of snap projection and talent. I’ll be using him.
Kansas City Chiefs:
I’m not excited about many of these Kansas City Chiefs. The running back situation is it crystal clear to me, but Damien Williams does seem like the highest potential Williams on the roster. He at least has some juice which is more than I can say for Kerwin Williams and Darrel Williams. I don’t expect Kareem Hunt to be involved much and the snaps have to go someplace. It’s a GPP option at best. Other than that, the wide receiver group is filled with dart throwing speedsters like Chris Conley, Demarcus Robinson, and Byron Pringle. You can go there if you feel like rolling dice but I won’t be joining you.
Chicago Bears vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Vegas Total: 35.5
Vegas Spread: CIN -1.5
Taquan Mizzell was a bust just like every other running back in the Hall of Fame game. It’s hard to slide enough snaps and targets the way of Tarik Cohen, Benny Cunningham, and Ryan Nall to completely cross Mizzell off my list this week. I don’t blame anyone for being off the spot and I myself won’t be looking to it often. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be interested in getting a piece of Matt Nagy’s group in game 2. Smoke Mizzell is the best GPP play in the backfield.
Everybody in our premium discord chat was victory lapping our love for Javon Wims in the Hall of Fame game. He has an outside shot to do it again against the Bengals. You can throw Kevin White into that mix purely based on the need to evaluate him but most of us already have. We’ve all decided he’s a bust and I don’t have any evidence I can present to the contrary. Perhaps the Bears new regime is more forgiving, and he is in play for enough target volume to matter.
Mark Walton failed his pre-draft athletic testing in several senses but mostly just because the numbers were no good. This kind of performance has me concerned about his viability in the NFL, but his status as a young player competing with only two or three other guys makes him easy to project for some volume. I expect he can produce in the passing game which makes him an intriguing option on full PPR sites. I have him projected for almost 2 targets which might not sound like a lot, but at that level for a running back, it propped him up closer to the top of the list than I thought he would be. He is squarely in play.
Auden Tate is a long-legged jabroni who isn’t going to amount to much in the NFL if his testing has anything to say about it. With that being said, long legged jabronis have a tendency to catch touchdowns when utilized in the painted area. I don’t expect him to be on my rosters often but I do expect his touchdown equity to keep him on the dart throw radar. Josh Malone is significantly more athletic and brings more to the table for an NFL team. That might end up hurting him in this equation since he’s probably going to make their roster, but that doesn’t exclude him from performing efficiently in lesser playing time. He too is a dart throw.
Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers
Vegas Total: 34.5
Vegas Spread: PK
Akrum Wadley is a 5’10’‘ undrafted player who comped to Kerwyn Williams on playerprofiler.com. So that’s not exciting, but the fact that his competition includes locked in starters Derek Henry and Dion Lewis should help make it easy for us to slide at least a minimal amount of volume his way. I won’t be all over this one but I can understand how it might work out.
The Titans ran all kinds of guys out with the first unit in training camp on the speculation basis. The player that received the most snaps among the deeper options was Nick Williams. Don’t expect me to endorse a 5’9’‘ 183 pound player with a 4th percentile college target share with passion. Do expect me to advise you of the facts, and the fact is a beat reporter charted him as somebody they are taking a look at. I probably won’t play him at all.
Green Bay Packers:
DeShone Kizer sucked badly in many respects and 2017 but will now get the chance to develop behind Aaron Rodgers. Assuming he is the quarterback that gets the most run in this game, he’s a deep tournament option with some talented pass catchers around him and the ability to produce with his legs.
The Packers basically don’t have any backs available, and they are not going to trot out Jamall Williams and Ty Montgomery for big snaps. Expect them to use Joel Bouagnon (no idea how to pronounce that so I’m gonna call him Baba Booey) a good chunk. They did pick up Akeem Judd to try to soften the blow at a thin running back position, but even if I give him 25% of the looks “Baba Booey” looks playable. He’s a very sneaky GPP option. Baba Booey!
J’Mon Moore is an exciting young draft pick who is had an up and down camp. Camp reports have Jake Kumerow outshining him and all the Packers young receivers. I have to acknowledge when Aaron Rodgers likes a guy because the fact that he didn’t like Jeff Janis proved to be his downfall. So with that being said I’ll be playing both Moore and Kumerow in big GPPs and praying DeShone Kizer or Brett Hundley can actually find one of them in the end zone. The rest of the Packers young talented receivers or darts throws who would be worth like 1 billion points in scrabble if you could play them there. That would be Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Carolina Panthers vs. Buffalo Bills
Vegas Total: 34
Vegas Spread: BUF -3
Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke are the deepest darkest GPP options I’m willing to open my mouth about. Gilbert is probably the better passer, but Heinicke has rushing upside. They will both play a lot in this game as they compete for back up duties.
Ron Rivera has some quotes in the off-season that makes me think they want to get some footage of Cameron Artis-Payne to evaluate. I cannot officially recommend him as a player, but I wanted to share this thought in case you wanted to research it further.
I have to mention D.J. Moore. At this point he’s likely to get the starters treatment as it could not be more clear that he is a stone cold stud. With that being said it’s very possible he goes out there on the first drive and destroys people. I might just pick up a share for the fun of it, but he’ll be over-owned as compared to his projection. His projection is low thanks to guys like Curtis Samuel and Damiere Byrd still commanding snaps to help them develop. It’s not impossible one of those two guys does something but I won’t be speculating on it.
Ian Thomas is one of my core players on the slate. He has a great story and can be expected to play as much or more than anyone else at the tight end position. He has the combination we are looking for of being a young player with demonstrated skills in camp. He is in need of playing time and has a clearly established veteran in front of him on the depth chart. I am locked into Ian Thomas for better or worse and will sleep like a baby no matter how it turns out.
I hope we get some news on Josh Allen. The guy has been completely railroaded by analysts across the board and essentially buried before his career has even started. In preseason DFS I’ll be playing quarterbacks a lot worse than him, and a playing time projection of a full half would be worthy of consideration despite his lack of weaponry. If you’re going to pair somebody with him, nobody is going to use the deepest options on this chart like Brandon Reilly, Ray-Ray McCloud, or Cam Phillips. Reilly is by far my favorite option of those guys and if you’re going into the dumpster you might as well go all the way down and get something at zero ownership.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Baltimore Ravens
Vegas Total: 36
Vegas Spread: BAL -3
Los Angeles Rams:
John Kelly is a Core Play on the slate if he’s facing a team less imposing on defense and the Ravens, who absolutely shut down the Bears last week. He still on the borderline for me and I’ll probably end up playing him as if he was Core. This is all about opportunity for the most part as the competing backs around him will not play that much. The bottom end of the chart is best described as satellite backs not worthy of bell cow workloads. The Rams figure to develop him in this spot via a generous allotment of carries and targets. He’s a top play.
I don’t think people are going to play Sean Mannion, but based on the Rams deployment of him last preseason, I can make the case that they won’t spend much time using Brandon Allen or Luis Perez. If that turns out to be true you’ll have a low owned QB operating one of the most capable offenses in football with quality weapons deeper down the depth chart. He’s a GPP play. Pairing options for him include Josh Reynolds, who would be a luxury if we got significant playing time attached to him. His skills might like him too high on the depth chart and there is risk of more limited snaps for him. Deeper down the chart you’ll find Mike Thomas and Steven Mitchell as dart throws. Temarrick Hemingway is also one of the more poetic dart throws at the tight end position.
Go ahead and run it back with the Lamar Jackson if you want. He probably won’t play as much but you’d have to be blind to watch that game last week and not see the upside with his legs. He’s a perpetual threat to score in that way. GPP dart throw for me.
We also saw Hayden Hurst it in the Hall of Fame game, and “Triple H” delivered the Pedigree all over people who didn’t roster him. This week we get the other talented young tight end back in the form of Mark Andrews. He could be here to spoil the Hurst party. I would expect both of them to see pretty good playing time and have a chance to score. For this reason they can both remain in your GPP player pool, with Hurst being chalky and nobody owning Andrews.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks
Vegas Total: 35
Vegas Spread: SEA -2
Injuries: Doug Baldwin (knee)
Nyheim Hines is an excellent pass receiver that is very viable on PPR sites like DraftKings. There is risk here in the form of Jordan Wilkins Christine Michael and to a lesser degree Robert Turbin. My playing time projection for him isn’t out of control but the existence of the targets really boosts him up, and having him get in the end zone would be a possible slate breaker if stacked on top of rushing and receptions. He’s a high upside option that also has a low floor.
Deon Cain has stormed into Colts camp and made a name for himself. He’s an 86th percentile speedster Who had issues getting open on shorter routes in college but otherwise has the tools to compete at this level. His upside is WR3 on this team right away, but he’s going to have to earn it. Preseason week one is the very first chance for him to do so. I am highly intrigued for tournaments with capable back up quarterbacks hurling him the ball.
I don’t mind taking shots on Rashaad Penny or Mike Davis. Penny is the draft choice they’re expecting to ascend to an immediate role on the team, but hasn’t done so in camp to date. That leaves him liable to play more than you otherwise might have. Davis refuses to quit on his NFL dream and has really shown up at camp according to reports. If those reports are shared sentiment with the coaching staff this would be an ideal time to get him The snaps on tape they would need to make a decision. The risks are present with both players thanks to C.J. Prosise and J.D. McKissic demanding work. For this reason they are just deeper options and not primary plays.
Will Dissly is a camp hype option at the tight end position that we can use if we’re feeling saucy. The Seahawks have a knack for delivering us unknown candidates at various positions throughout the years, and I suspect this is the 2018 edition of this movie. He doesn’t have great speed but does have some agility in his athletic profile. This is going to be a one or two in 100 dart for me. He mostly looks like a scrub.
Washington Redskins vs. New England Patriots
Vegas Total: 37.5
Vegas Spread: NE -3
The Redskins running back situation is interesting. Kapri Bibbs has been banged up lately but not injured. Derrius Guice and Semaje Perine are not expected to play that much. The same can be said for Rob Kelley. That leaves us squarely on the doorstep of Byron Marshall, who is a diminutive satellite back but will at least be on the field. I wouldn’t call his touchdown equity high and therefore I wouldn’t call his upside high. I would call him a player with a chance, and that might be all we need. I’ll be looking for news on this one.
Trey Quinn and Robert Davis are down the list receiver options on the slate. It’s not crystal clear to me that the volume will be there for either guy so I’ll break it down like this: “Mr. Irrelevant” Quinn has a higher floor and Davis has a higher ceiling via his athleticism and huge catch radius.
New England Patriots:
The Patriots are loaded with options for us on the slate. Brian Hoyer has a pretty wide range of snap projections so I can’t call him a top play. We can call him a GPP play based on the Patriots’ usage of the primary back up quarterback in years past in terms of snap totals, and the fact that Danny Etling hasn’t looked good at camp.
Update: We hashed this one out for a while in Discord chat, and I think I was convinced Etling has more upside to play a bunch than I originally thought. You can use him, and Hoyer probably a bit riskier than Initial thoughts.
I’m not sure anyone knows who Ralph Webb is yet and that could work to our advantage. Recent practices have things lining up in his favor and that includes the likely absence of Rex Burkhead, the plodding uni-dimensional nature of Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill, and a legit 0 need to play snaps for James White and Brandon Bolden. That leaves a healthy carry and target projection available in the New England offense for Webb, an undrafted rookie out of Vanderbilt. His highlight footage shows as a player who does not go down easily on Contacts and is small yet tough. His athletic measurables are well above average in many cases and his SPARQ-X score is in the 93rd percentile. He’s got the trifecta of playing time potential, athletic talent, and possibly low ownership. He’s my favorite candidate to be a week winner that too few people will see coming.
The Patriots wide receivers are also outstanding options because they will concentrate the volume more than other teams if they hold suit to what they’ve done in the past. The two players that are the easiest to project for volume are Braxton Berrios and Riley McCarron. Barrios is an 84th percentile agile athlete who is just 5’9’‘ and 184. He’s the Julian Edelman type. Mccarron is of a similar build only his speed and burst is even higher rated than that of Berrios. One of these two guys is probably going to get a decent amount of volume and that’s rare to say on a preseason slate. I’ll be mixing them both in.
If the wide receivers are to be evaluated in a role similar to Julian Edelman, I suppose that means Jacob Hollister will be evaluated in the receiving role held by Rob Gronkowski. Hollister is no Gronkowski, but what he will be is on the field a lot. People at Patriots training camp can’t stop talking about him and he was a darling of the preseason last year. I wouldn’t be caught dead with out exposure to Hollister in my lineup this week. He has huge upside and a relatively high floor and it’s close to as good of a play as Ian Thomas.