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Preseason NFL DFS Preview: Thursday Night DraftKings and FanDuel Slates



As the calendar inches closer to September we know that football season is coming. We got our first bite of some preseason DFS action last week during the Hall of Fame Game. If you read my article from last week, you probably cashed and are looking to play more preseason DFS on DraftKings and FanDuel. Make sure to read my article for the best strategies to use in preseason DFS as well. We are going to go through each of the 11 games on the slate for this Thursday and prepare you to take down Week 1 of the NFL Preseason.

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Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills

We start by diving headfirst into Buffalo. Currently, the game via the FanDuel Sportsbook is favoring the Colts at -1, and the under/over line is set at 34.5. At the quarterback position, Andrew Luck will not be playing. But the quarterback for the Colts should be faded in Week 1 regardless. Jacoby Brissett will play about a quarter Thursday night in Buffalo along with wide receiver Deon Cain. Several starters will sit, including running back Marlon Mack per head coach Frank Reich via Zak Keefer on Twitter. Don’t get overly excited for Cain though, as even though he is playing, expect only a quarter to a quarter and a half from him. Overall do not expect much from any Colts starters in this game.


At the wide receiver position, the player to target seems to be receiver Daurice Fountain especially with injuries elsewhere at the position. In terms of the running back position, it’s hard to imagine newly acquired D’Onta Foreman getting significant reps right out of the gate in the preseason. Jordan Wilkins and Johnathan Williams look to see the most work in the first preseason game, as they are battling for that backup spot to Marlon Mack along with Foreman. Worth noting Wilkins did not practice on Tuesday and has been dealing with injuries so Williams could see the majority of carries on Thursday. 

On the Bills side, this is where things could get very interesting for quarterback Tyree Jackson. He has been getting in more reps at training camp in preparation of Thursday night’s game. He offers a lot of upside as a mobile quarterback with a big arm that should significant playing time. Outside of Josh Allen, the only other quarterback on the roster is Matt Barkley.

For running backs the splits are really unknown at this time. LeSean McCoy is out, meaning a time share between Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, Devin Singletary, Marcus Murphy, Senorise Perry, and Christian Wade is what we will see on Thursday. Murphy saw the most work last season in the first week of the preseason, as the fourth-stringer. This backfield needs to be faded. Too many options.

At receiver for the Bills, Duke Williams is an intriguing target for someone who is definitely fighting for a roster spot.



Jacksonville Jaguars @ Baltimore Ravens

Next, we head to Baltimore with the Ravens favored at -4 with the under/over line set at 32.5. With Robert Griffin III on the shelf with a thumb injury, it is going to be the Trace McSorley show for the Ravens. His mobile upside makes him an ideal quarterback to target for DFS and he is sure to play a ton as the only other healthy quarterback.


At tight end, Hayden Hurst is someone to target. Currently third-string on the depth chart. Hurst flashed in the preseason last year before going down with an injury. Remember Hurst is 6’5, 250 pounds and can run 4.5 40 so the upside is there. As for receivers, Miles Boykin seems like the best bet. He is not entrenched as a starter but all signs point to him being the best receiver at training camp.

On the Jacksonville side, they have four quarterbacks who could all play and have an extremely deep receiving corps. D.J. Chark has a lot to prove from last year and has that big-play upside. At running back Thomas Rawls and Ryquell Armstead are both dealing with injuries so Benny Cunningham could be a solid running back to target with pass-receiving upside.

New York Jets @ New York Giants

Now in New York, we have the Jets favored at -1.5 with the under/over line set at 33.5. Quarterback Daniel Jones will be making his first appearance for the Giants on Thursday night. And he will surely be the primary focus. Head coach Pat Shurmur has not been silent in terms of opting for healthy starters to rest. When speaking of Jones, Shurmur said he was going to be a guy who was going to play for sure. 

With the Jets aggressive defense run by Gregg Williams on the other side, they could be a potential defense and special teams unit to roster against the rookie quarterback who has yet to see a live pass rush.

Le’Veon Bell will go through warmups but will not play in the game, according to a source. This makes Elijah McGuire a very nice play as a running back with a three-down skill set to utilize. 

The interesting play comes at the receiver position for the Jets. Tim White, Charone Peake, Deontay Burnett, and Greg Dortch are among those fighting for roster spots. Dortch is a great player to target for DFS purposes because he has the dual-threat ability in the special teams return game. If your lineup features the Jets you can double dip if Dortch takes a punt or kick to the house. He and White have Charles Robinson from Yahoo excited.

At the tight end, the name to know here is Trevon Wesco. He is a rookie from West Virginia and has excelled in the blocking game throughout camp. That should garner him snaps on Thursday, making him worthy of lineups.

Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins

Now for the second time, we have the Falcons as underdogs against the Dolphins, who are favored at -3.5 with the under/over line set at 35. What we do know is that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be the starter in this game. Head coach Brian Flores hasn’t set a play count for players during Thursday’s preseason game. 

The better quarterback option comes from the Falcons side where Matt Schaub is likely to play a ton because Kurt Benkert was placed on injured reserve. The only other quarterback the Falcons have is newly acquired Matt Simms, who spent time on the team’s practice squad. I would also strongly consider heading back to the well with players that performed well in the Hall of Fame Game. That includes Brian Hill, Christian Blake, and Olamide Zaccheaus.

For Miami outside quarterback which is up in the air for total playing time, the player to target here is a wide receiver, Preston Williams. Apparently, Williams has developed some nice chemistry with Josh Rosen.

New England Patriots @ Detroit Lions

Next, we head to Detroit, where have the Patriots favored by -1.5 this time with the under/over line set at 36.5. 

The hype in training camp for the Patriots has seen mixed reviews from the wide receiver position in regards to first-round rookie pick N’Keal Harry. He has flashed at times, most notably making a one-armed catch from rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham on Tuesday. However, Harry must have tweaked something as he lightened his load after that. Make sure he is healthy before you decide to put him in your lineup. As for the other receivers making noise at camp Jakobi Meyers needs to be on your radar. He has seen extensive first-team reps and has repeatedly flashed. He gets open and is catching everything. 

For the Detroit Lions, expect rookie running back Ty Johnson to get a ton of looks as a possible replacement for the departed Theo Riddick. The only notable other running back outside of the established trio of Kerryon Johnson, C.J. Anderson and Zach Zenner is Mark Thompson. Thompson is a big-bodied runner, standing at 6-2 and 230 pounds, who can use his strength to make up for his lack of initial speed and agility. Johnson has more upside in the passing game.

Denver Broncos @ Seattle Seahawks

Next, is the second Broncos game in Seattle, with the Seahawks favored by -1 with the under/over line set at 36. News out of training camp here is that we could see a large chunk of playing time for Paxton Lynch. #Revengegame anyone? Either for Lynch or the Broncos defense? In an update, Wednesday Geno Smith will start but likely in a limited capacity because he is dealing with an injury. Either way, the Broncos defense should be a nice play.


D.K. Metcalf will be making his NFL debut, but be careful with him as he had an injury flare-up earlier in training camp. Pete Carroll made it clear that he wants his focus to be on the young guys in this preseason game.

The Broncos still continue to struggle with injuries at the tight end position. Austin Fort led the team in tight end snaps during the Hall of Fame game (31), followed by Troy Fumagalli (14), then Noah Fant (12). Fort also led tight ends in targets (4) albeit turning it into just two receptions for -1 yard. Both are legitimate options with Joe Flacco making the start at quarterback in the Broncos’ second preseason contest.

There are too many quarterbacks on the Broncos roster to confidently select one, but for the skill positions at running back and wide receiver, I would go back to the Hall of Fame Game recommendations. Guys like Khalfani Muhammed and Juwann Winfree.

Tennessee Titans @ Philadelphia Eagles

On to Philly, with the Eagles favored by -3.5 with the under/over line set at 37. Quarterback Nate Sudfeld won our DFS hearts last season by throwing for the most yards in the preseason in 2018. Head coach Doug Pederson has said he wants to get a long look at Sudfeld who hardly has the backup role locked up.  A solid stack with Sudfeld would definitely be receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside or former AAF receiver Charles Johnson, who should both see playing time.


For the Titans, they have been quiet when it comes to revealing their plans for Week 1. But we have some receivers. that could see some significant snaps. Wide receivers Kalif Raymond and Anthony-Ratliff-Williams. At running back there is a real shot Jeremy McNichols gets work in with the starters out.


Washington Redskins @ Cleveland Browns

Redskins favored by -2, with an under/over line set at 35.5. What we do know is that quarterback Colt McCoy will not play on Thursday night and that Dwayne Haskins will play. According to beat reporter Craig Hoffman, there’s a strong chance you could see up to three quarters from the rookie.

From a DFS perspective, the wide receiver you will want to stack in your preseason lineup would be Terry McLaurin. McLaurin played with Haskins at Ohio State, and he has been stirring buzz since OTAs. The chemistry is already there with Haskins so he’s a great target, especially with his skill set to make big plays.


On the Browns side head coach Freddie Kitchens has not provided much insight into playing time. But at quarterback don’t expect to see much of Baker Mayfield, but rather Garrett Gilbert and David Blough. The two are competing for a spot in the Browns quarterback room along with 12-year NFL veteran Drew Stanton. Overall too many questions marks to have confidence in any Browns players especially with a new head coach we have not yet seen in the preseason.


Carolina Panthers @ Chicago Bears

Home team Chicago Bears at -3 with a 36.0 under/over. You are going to want to fire up David Mongomery across your lineups. Head coach Matt Nagy stated that we will be seeing their top rookie running back. He said on Montgomery that, “He is really fired up. He’s ready to put the pads on, do some thumping and play a real game.”

At the receiver position, this is also a friendly reminder that Javon Wims led the NFL in receiving yards in the preseason from a season ago. Tight end Ellis Richardson has also flashed at times. He is buried on the depth chart as a fourth-string tight end so he will surely find himself on the field on Thursday night. Tight end is going to be big for Nagy in the preseason.


For the Panthers, Kyle Allen will get the start at quarterback but will split time with rookie quarterback Will Grier. At home, the Bears defense needs to be considered with the potential for facing a rookie quarterback. Do not expect much from the Panthers’ offense. If you target a specific player look for backup tight end Ian Thomas, who has flashed at times in place of Greg Olsen, who will not be playing on Thursday night. Thomas has also shown some chemistry with Allen through training camp.


Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers

The Pack is back! And better yet coming home as -2 favorite with an under/over at 35.5. For the Packers, you could actually see a large workload from running back Corey Grant. During the NFL preseason in 2017, as part of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Grant led all AFC ball-carriers in rushing yards. Currently, the top of the Packers’ running back depth chart is dealing with injuries (Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams).

Grant is the only running back with actual NFL experience over guys like Dexter Williams, Tra Carson and Darrin Hall. Grant is also super familiar with the offensive system coming from Jacksonville, the previous home of Nathaniel Hackett, the new Packers’ offensive coordinator, who worked as the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator during Grant’s three seasons there. Matt LeFleur knows he is really fast.

The other player in this game with speed is on the other side of the field: Running back Damarea Crockett. With the release of D’Onta Foreman, the running back No.2 spot is up for grabs in Houston. The upside is definitely there for Crockett. You’ll also definitely want to have Joe Webb as your quarterback with the news of the A.J. McCarron injury. Webb has the dual-threat ability at the quarterback and will see a massive workload. Though the Texans just added another quarterback, I can’t imagine he plays a lot right away.


Los Angeles Chargers @ Arizona Cardinals

Well, we know for one thing that Kyler Murray is going to play in this game, but the question is for how long? The Chargers come to Arizona, and the Cards are favored -2.5 with an under/over at 36. Kliff Kingsbury has a specific number of snaps in mind for Murray but added that playing time could be adjusted depending on how the game is going. He claims that he wants Murray to leave the game with a positive outlook and feel accomplished. If this is the case then Murray seems like an easy fade because he will probably be somewhat chalky being the number one overall pick, even though his playing time might be limited.

At the skill position, players looking at include KeeSean Johnson, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Chase Edmonds. Johnson has flashed the most during camp, Seals-Jones offers the most upside at tight end in the receiving game, and Edmonds looks to see the most work as the primary backup running back.

On the Chargers’ side do not forget about Tyrod Taylor! The guy can easily rack up points with his running ability. At wide receiver, Artavis Scott has made some noise surrounding him and flashed during the preseason last year. He was set to make the 53-man roster before he got injured. For running backs with Melvin Gordon continuing to sit out, Detrez Newsome should lead this backfield in carries like he did last year in the preseason.


Andrew has come a long way as a fantasy football writer. After graduating from Roger Williams University where he received a degree in marketing he began to write his own fantasy blogs via He used to call himself the Fantasy Football Master. Nowadays, he is slightly more humble. He has worked with Pro Football Focus as a base data analyst along with bringing head writing experience from Gridiron Experts and FantasyData. He is an absolute die-hard Patriots fan and will never forget his first fantasy football team. In his first-ever fantasy football league he drafted the Bears defense in the 1st round. He then proceeded to win the entire league. #DefenseWinsChampionships

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