Updated: 8/24 at 10:37pm
Welcome to Week 3 of the preseason. Week 2 wasn’t quite as good for my column as it was the previous week, but I did double my entry fees on the lineups I built, so I hope your lineups turned our okay as well.
Week 3 is the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season and we will see a lot of the expected starters play three-plus quarters. I’ve heard from a lot of people leading up to this week, and most of them think Week 3 will be a piece of cake because we will know everyone that’s playing. Well, that is not the case at all, in fact, Week 3 is the hardest week of the preseason by far.
Sure, we know that most starters are going to play a good portion of the game, but where the difficulty comes in is in the pricing. Everyone is priced the same. Meaning, if you want Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Todd Gurley, Rob Gronkowski, and DeAndre Hopkins on your team, you can have them all. The problem is, so can everyone else. (not on this slate, but you get the point)
In the regular season, it’s possible to find those “value” guys that will allow you to pay up for the extra stud, or there will be a guy that you think is priced too high and will fade him. That strategy doesn’t work in preseason Week 3. Another popular way to make your picks in the regular season is by looking at the matchups but in the preseason the defense is so vanilla it’s hard to predict which defense will be good.
I will do my best to give you some good picks to build your lineups, but I can tell you from experience, everyone’s roster is going to look like a Pro Bowl roster. Play this week with caution.
As always, be sure to follow me leading up to lock as I will be monitoring the beat reporters for any late-breaking news. @geofflambert77
The DailyFantasyNerd DraftKings/FanDuel Picks for Preseason Week 3
Be careful with QB this week. Some of the veteran QBs won’t play as much as people would think. Last year Aaron Rodgers only played 14 percent, Cam Newton 15 percent and Eli Manning 35 percent. Tom Brady last year did play more than half of the snaps, but after the number of snaps he took last week, I’m not sure he will get as many this game.
Russell Wilson (SEA) @ MIN
Wilson will be the chalk QB. Head coach Pete Carrol has already said the Wilson will play into the third quarter and history proves that he will. Wilson played 62 percent of the snaps in Week 3 last year, and he will get the same type of volume this year. His running ability gives him a high floor, but I don’t think that coaches are going to let him run often.
Ryan Fitzpatrick (TB) vs DET
The Bucs gave Jameis Winston, their Week 1 starter last season, 62 percent of the snaps. With Fitzpatrick due to start the first three weeks, I would expect him to see the majority of the snaps. He also has the appeal from a strategy standpoint as he won’t be one the QBs everyone will be rostering. Low ownership could help you if Fitz plays well.
Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs SEA
The Vikings gave Sam Bradford 45 percent of the snaps last year, and he was their Week 1 starter before getting hurt and giving way to Case Keenum. I would expect the Vikings to play Cousins even more than the 45 percent Bradford received last year as Bradford’s injury history kept him from getting more last season. Cousins also offers up some of the best stacks on this slate with either Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs and/or Adam Thielen.
The trick to getting the right RB will be trying to find a “bell-cow” back that will actually be a “bell-cow” this week. For example, I would avoid the Jets backfield as Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell are expected to split snaps in the regular season and that should be on full display Friday. Dalvin Cook is a bell-cow, but he is coming off a major injury and the Vikings aren’t forthcoming with his playing time. Saquon Barkley, with his hamstring injury, won’t get any snaps. The Patriots’ snap leader last year was an RB that didn’t even make the team, so I’m not playing any Patriot RBs, and the Panthers have given Christian McCaffery a massive workload, relatively speaking, in the first two preseason games, I don’t think they give him much here.
Now that I’ve told you who not to play…
Chris Carson (SEA) @ MIN
Rashaad Penny is hurt, J.D. McKissic is hurt and C.J. Prosise is a walking injury waiting to happen. Carson will be the RB you want to own in this game with Prosise as a homerun hitter GPP play. Carson, however, will get the volume you will need this week to be successful. I have no issues with stacking Russell Wilson and Carson in the same lineup despite that tactic being a bit taboo during the regular season.
Wayne Gallman (NYG) @ NYJ
With Saquon Barkley nursing a hamstring injury, Gallman has played well in both the preseason games and in camp — so much so, the Giants may end up cutting free agent signee, Jonathan Stewart. I would expect Gallman to start this game and play well into the third quarter, the coaches are going to want to see if he can do what he has been doing all camp against a team’s No. 1 defense.
Kerryon Johnson (DET) @ TB
Johnson looked good in his first preseason game before struggling to get any going last week, however, he has looked like the best Lions RB in camp and will get the start. There will be some competition for snaps for Johnson, but as the rookie, the coaches will want to get a long look at him and see how he can hold up against good competition.
Ty Montgomery (GB) @ OAK
Both Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones are dealing with minor injuries and Jones is also going to miss the first two regular season games while he serves his two-game suspension. That leaves TyMont as the only “healthy” starting RB for the Packers.
There really isn’t a concrete strategy to choosing your WRs, but I would try to stack a WR with whoever you go with at QB.
Marcus Johnson (SEA) @ MIN
I know I whiffed on him last week, however, the potential was there. He had the most snaps of any WR last week and was tied for second on the team in targets (4). Unfortunately, he did nothing with them. Also of note, he started the game with Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Amara Darboh all out. Two of those three, Lockett and Balwin, are already officially ruled out of this game and I would expect Lockett to miss it as well. That should put Johnson back in the starting lineup with Russell Wilson. Most people will likely be on Jaron Brown as he had the big plays last week, but he only had two targets. He is, however, capable of having that one big play, but I really think this is Johnson’s week to shine.
Stefon Diggs (MIN) vs SEA
In Week 1 of the preseason, Cousins targetted Stefon Diggs on three of his four passes, including a one-yard TD. In Week 2, he targetted Adam Thielen on three of his eight attempts but was unable to connect on any of them. In other words, your guess is as good as mine when it comes to which one to play. The camp notes I’ve read seem to favor Diggs as the No. 1 target for Cousins (outside of Kyle Rudolph, but we will get to him). One of these guys is going to have a big game, but my money is on Diggs.
Quincy Enunwa (NYJ) vs NYG
This pick will depend on who starts this game at QB, Sam Darnold or Josh McCown. If it’s Darnold, then fire up Quincy as he has been the favorite target of the rookie QB since he returned from a thumb injury. It would also be a “feel good” story as Enunwa hasn’t played a real NFL snap since 2016. The Giants, for what it’s worth, was the last ranked pass defense last season.
Sterling Shepard (NYG) @ NYJ
The coaches have been mum on Odell Beckham seeing the field in this game, which leads me to believe he won’t see much if any, action Friday. Saquon Barkley as I mentioned is already ruled out. That means, at worst, Shepard is the No.2 option in this offense (Evan Engram).
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) @ WAS
I was all over DT last week and luckily I was able to switch him out right before lock when I found out he wasn’t going to play. He was back at practice and is expected to see some extended run in Friday’s game. DT has been Keenum’s go to in camp practices (when he has been out there), and I would expect that to translate to the games.
Mike Evans (TB) vs DET
Evans would be my stack option if you decide to risk playing Fitzpatrick at QB. Evans had more targets per game last season with Fitz as his QB then he did with Jameis Winston. This year has been no different as Evans dominates the targets in practice, however, it remains a mystery as to how much action he will see Friday.
Update: Jordy Nelson (OAK) vs GB
Not sure how is missed this narrative the first time, but of course the Raiders will try to get Nelson a TD against his own team.
O.J. Howard (TB) vs DET
The Bucs want Howard to be a bigger part of their passing game this year and he out-snapped his teammate TE Cameron Brate in last week’s preseason game 31-13. That snap count won’t be indicative of how the snaps will go in the regular season, but as the better athlete, Howard should be the one running more routes. If Winston were starting this game, I would lean Brate but Fitz has some chemistry with Howard as the two hooked up for what amounted to Howard’s best game as a pro when he caught six passes on six targets for 98 yards and two touchdowns in Week 6 of last season.
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) vs SEA
Rudolph is by far my favorite target on the slate at tight end. Kirk Cousins loves his TEs and I wouldn’t be surprised if he leads the team in red zone targets this season. Rudolph will score in this game and in the words of Smokey from the movie Friday, “Remember it, write it down, take a picture, I don’t give a F**K”.
Honorable Mention: Evan Engram (NYG) @ NYJ
Raiders DEF vs GB
As I mentioned above, Rodgers played only 14 percent of the snaps last season. I would expect a similar scenario in this game, so, even though the Raiders defense isn’t any good, it will be going up against a backup QB for most of the game.
Panthers DEF vs NE
Similar scenario here as I don’t think Brady and the No. 1s get a ton of run in this one after they played most of the half last week. I could be wrong on that, and I will continue to update this as the day goes on, but as of Thursday night when I wrote this, I don’t think he plays much.Download the Free GoingFor2 App by Clicking Here...