This has to be the most bittersweet week of any fantasy sports lover’s year. We pretend to enjoy the snooze-fest that is fantasy baseball for months, all the while counting down the days until football returns, and this is the first taste we get. Trying to decipher exactly how many minutes Cooper Rush is going to play in the most meaningless game of the season.
All the same, fantasy football is back and we have a 12 game Thursday night slate on both FanDuel and DraftKings. We should at the very least get our first glimpse at some of the big name rookies from this year’s draft including rookies Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, and Josh Allen.
If you are willing to accept the risk and uncertainty that comes with the opening week of the preseason, then here are a few names we think should be on your radar.
We all know that the backup quarterback in New England tends to shred the preseason. When it’s a QB as seasoned and proven as Brian Hoyer it becomes a value lock throughout the preseason. All reports out of New England have had Hoyer looking extremely sharp throughout camp. Jimmy G threw for 250 yards in the first week of the preseason last season, we expect similar production from Hoyer tonight.
Sudfeld is going to get extended playing time tonight with both Wentz and Foles out. Philly runs one of the more QB-friendly systems in the NFL. Pederson will get the ball out of Sudfeld’s hands quickly, and even with the starters seeing limited action he will have plenty of weapons around him. Keep in mind that Sudfeld went 19-23 in live action against the Cowboys in week 17 of last season, so he does have experience running this offense in actual NFL action.
Also worth a look: Davis Webb, Deshone Kizer, Kevin Hogan
We are excited to see if Grant gets extended playing time for the Jags tonight. We know they are going to run it a bunch, as usual, and that Fournette will not be the guy getting the touches. Grant was so effective last season averaging 7.9 YPC and a crazy 14.3 yards per target. Grant was also uber-efficient at Auburn as well (135 / 1,040 / 7.7 / 9). He is exciting to watch, and should get plenty of work here in week one.
Another young running back that can catch the ball and hit a home run on every touch, Wadley is a guy that everyone in Tennessee itching to see play. Wadley was one of the undrafted rookies that Pro Football Focus named as guys they expect to have an immediate impact this season. We will see if that pans out as he has a pair of pretty solid RB’s ahead of him on the depth chart, if he’s going to make some noise it has to start tonight.
We always like to target the hall of fame game teams in this first full week of preseason action. They have a game under their belt and should be settled into the feel and pace of professional football. Outside of Alex Collins, Buck Allen, and Kenneth Dixon, Edwards looks like the clear leader to make the roster here and should get extended work once Collins and Allen get their series out of the way. Edwards had 58 yards on 11 touches in the Hall of Fame game, but we expect the entire Ravens offense to look a little cleaner here.
Also worth a look: Byron Marshall, Jonathan Williams
It’s no surprise to us that James Washington is turning heads in Pittsburgh… he was one of our favorite players in last season’s draft. He’s explosive, high point attacks the ball, and is a receiver that just shows up and works. He will be a perfect fit on this roster, and could see some time with his college QB Mason Rudolph at some point tonight.
Another rookie that is making headlines this preseason, the 49ers traded up to grab Pettis and he has not disappointed throughout camp. If Shanahan can find a way to get him isolated on one of Dallas’s backup corners you can bet he’s going to hit a home run.
We will be all over the combination of the big armed Davis Webb and the home run hitter Amba Etta-Tawo tonight. Etta-Tawo shredded the ACC his senior year going for 94/1400/14, has a year under his belt in the NFL, and is ready to make plays and make this Giants roster. The Browns defense is improved, but most of the secondary starters will be off the field quickly leaving Etta-Tawo to feast on their lack of depth.
Also worth a look: Leonte Carroo, Steven Mitchell Jr.
We are not positive how much playing time Goedart will see tonight. On one hand he will be a big part of whay Philly does this season, on the other they likely won’t play Ertz, may not be able to play Rodgers, and has only two other tight ends on the roster. Given the camp he has had and the role of the tight end in this offense, Goedart could be busy while he is on the field. Obviously it wouldn’t be a great matchup if Pittsburgh was playing their starters, but we don’t expect to see much more than a series of two out of the Pitt defense here.
Hollister has put together a solid camp, and could be busy tonight in an expanded role with Gronk not playing. He will get good QB play out of Hoyer, and McDaniels will obviously do what he does as a play caller. New England always scores points, that won’t change tonight and we consider Hollister one of the safer plays in this slate.
Also worth a look: Hayden Hurst