NFL Pre-Season DraftKings Picks:
Friday 8/26 Slate
Entering week three of NFL preseason, we should fully expect starters to play at least one full half of football. In some cases, starters will venture into the third quarter of games. In this article I’ll hone in on each teams starting players for Fridays slate.
BUF @ WAS 6:30p
LeSean McCoy, RB – Shaping up to be the Bills workhorse back, we could see McCoy play the first half here.
Rob Kelley, RB – Matt Jones injury and lack of depth catapulted Kelley into a starting role this week. Making him an elite RB play for today’s slate. Would be wise to have major exposure.
NE @ CAR 6:30p
Martellus Bennett, TE – With Rob Gronkowski not expected to play, Bennett makes for an exceptional play Friday night.
Cam Newton, QB – Newton is expected to play into the third quarter of Fridays game, making him the chalk QB for this slate. This is not something you should try fading, use him with confidence today.
CLE @ TB 7:00p
Josh Gordon, WR – Gordon making his preseason debut today against the Buccaneers. Should be exciting to see if he’s still got it after all that grass he’s smoked.
Mike Evans, WR – Evans has been roasting the Browns secondary this week in joint practices. Would fully expect him to do the same Friday night. He is my top WR play for the slate.
PIT @ NO 7:00p
Eli Rogers, WR – Most won’t know this, but Rogers is expected to win the starting slot WR job for the Steelers. He’s the only play I can get behind from Pitt this week.
Brandin Cooks, WR – Cooks was a healthy scratch for last weeks game. Hoping that’s indication he will play a good deal today.
GB @ SF 9:00p
I do not expect Green Bay to play their starters for more than a few series in this game. That in mind, I think you can dial up GB D/ST this week against a leaky 49ers QB core.
Carlos Hyde, RB – Showing flashes of brilliance last season, I’m excited to see an extended look at Hyde Friday. Could see his re-draft ADP rise or fall, following this game.
Good luck this Friday!
NFL Pre-Season DraftKings Picks:
Thursday 8/18 Slate
Entering week two of NFL pre-season, we need to be aware of the subtle changes that will take place. Varying from team to team, starters will see increased reps this week. Typically we’re not at the point of rostering many but it could warrant a few sprinkles. That being said, lets dig into week 2.
PHI @ PIT 6:00p
Weather worth monitoring, chance of rain and isolated thunder storms.
Chase Daniels, QB – With Wentz going down with injury and Bradford barely playing last week, we should get a hefty look at Daniels. Although his current weapons could be amusing there is one WR I like.
Paul Turner, WR – Tuner had the most targets (7) by any WR last week and produced six receptions for 34 yards. With Philly situation at wide out he’s worth firing up.
Daryl Richardson, RB – Had a very productive first week, with 13 touches for 60 combined yards. With only Bell and Williams ahead on the depth chart, expect his workload to stay the same or increase.
CIN @ DET 6:30p
Tyler Boyd, WR – Sign me up for some Boyd this week! With LaFell sidelined, Boyd played 40% of the teams snaps and had one catch for 40 yards. He is slated to be the starting slot WR for the Bengals and I fully expect his reps to increase the next two games.
Zach Zenner, RB – Clearly ahead of Stevan Ridley, he’s in control of his own destiny. Zenner will continue to get work in the Lions power-back role.
Cole Wick, TE – With injuries piling up for Detroit Wick has stepped into the top tight end role. The Lions have to get him reps, to make sure they don’t need a replacement.
ATL @ CLE 7:00p
Aldrick Robinson, WR – Should be a popular play, after showcasing his deep speed and long ball ability.
One team I’d expect starters to play longer.
Robert Griffin III, QB – He’s worth a look due to volume, but genuinely does not excite me.
Terrelle Pryor, WR – With Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon not expected to suit up, that leaves Pryor as RGIII’s top option.
CHI @ NE 7:00p
Josh Bellamy, WR – Coming of a 5 target game playing almost 70% of snaps, I would expect his role to be safe this week.
Kevin White, WR – Really didn’t do much last week. Must get worked in by Chicago more each week moving forward. He has to be ready for the Bears week one.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB – Should be major chalk Thursday. In this game last year he accounted for 33 pass attempts. Facing similar circumstances, his attempts should be close to those numbers.
Tyler Gaffney, RB – Was a lock for me last week. New England wants to see what they’ve waited on for the previous two seasons.
Aaron Dobson, WR – Although Malcolm Mitchell returned to practice this week (after that gruesome elbow injury), I can’t see him playing. If he’s out, than Dobson makes for a exceptional play after seeing 66% of snaps last week.
Patriots DST, – Denver destroyed Chicago last Thursday. It will attest to how dominate the Broncos defense is, or how bad the Bears OL will be.
OAK @ GB 7:00p
Deandre Washington, RB – Many will flock to George Atkinson, after he sparked off two long runs for touchdowns. However my moneys on Washington. Very effective with his opportunities compiling 75 yards on nine touches last Friday. Workload should increase as he makes a bid for the third down role.
Brett Hundley, QB – Should be the man this week! Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t play until week 3 and the Packers already saw the camp arms last week.
Jared Abbrederis, WR – Might be the player I’m most excited to see this week. It’s a homer pick for sure, but he has made a lot of noise thus far in camp. With Janis out of the picture, Green Bay needs an extended look at Abbrederis Thursday.
MIN @ SEA
Jerick Mckinnon, RB – In this game last year he piled up 15 touches. Makes sense he sees similar results this Thursday.
Laquan Treadwell, WR – Treadwell had four receptions for 41 yards in Friday’s preseason game. Much like Tyler Boyd, I expect these early round rookies to continue to see increased work.
Christine Michael, RB – In play again this week, coming of a strong performance against the Chiefs. Question is how many snaps he’ll play in this one.
Good luck this Thursday!
NFL Pre-Season DraftKings Picks:
Saturday 8/13 Slate
Football is finally back, FINALLY! Today we’re going to dig into the last slate of week 1. Slightly smaller than the first two days of pre-season, with only 4 games on tap. Let’s get it.
SEA @ KC 3:30p
Mostly fading Seattle in this one. The Seahawks are really hurting overall with depth at several key positons.
Christine Michael, RB – C Mike is the only real play I would consider from Seattle. Has looked great in camp thus far, and could have a decent run in this one.
Knile Davis, RB – Could get an extended look this afternoon, with the top three RB’s already entrenched on the roster.
Darrin Reaves, RB – Good chance he closes out the game. Which could mean two solid quarters vs a beat up Seattle defense.
Tyreek Hill, WR – My top wide out on the slate and favorite overall play. Has been a star in camp, getting rave reviews from coaches and beat writers. PLAY HIM!
Chiefs DST, – Already mentioned Seattle is banged and bruised, but I didn’t mention how awful Trevone Boykin has looked in camp. When I look for a DST in pre-season I first evaluate the back up QB position and go from there. This accompanied by Seattle playing safety’s at WR this week, makes for an exceptional defensive play.
IND @ BUF 6:00p
Weather permitting these are my plays.
Scott Tolzien, QB – Indianapolis looking to replace retired Matt Hasselbeck, need a solid look at Tolzien. Playing vs a banged up Bill’s D, I would expect him to get at least two full quarters of play.
Josh Ferguson, RB – Listed fourth on the depth chart, I would expect the rookie to get a long look tonight. Throughout camp he has consistently shown flashes of what could be a great third down back.
Quan Bray, WR – Since Brain Tyms was placed on IR, Bray has been making a case for himself as the Fourth or fifth WR.
Tyrod Taylor, QB – Just off a major pay day, Taylor could be sneaky here. I would only expect one quarter, but with his mobility he can produce in a hurry.
Jonathan Williams, RB – With Karlos Williams on SUS for the first four games, Jonathan could cement his role as the No 2 back.
DAL @ LA 7:00p
Dak Prescott, QB – Jerry Jones smiling for a chance to watch HIS back up QB today. Will there be a sudden urgency to find a replacement QB after this game?
Darius Jackson, RB – The nuts at RB today. Dallas has no depth right now at RB, so you should play this guy.
Jarred Goff, QB – Top overall selection in this years draft. Jeff Fisher might ease him in here, and give
Case Keenum the start. Still I would expect Goff to get some run.
Mike Thomas, WR – Underrated wide out from Southern Miss. Look for him to make some noise with the reps he’ll receive in this one.
Tyler Higbee, TE – Loads of positive reports on the fourth round rookie.
SD @ TEN 7:00p
Weather in this one should be fine, with a slight chance of rain.
Branden Oliver, RB – Expect to see him a decent amount, receiving ability a bonus.
Hunter Henry, TE – Head coach Mike McCoy, very excited to see what he has in his rookie. Mentioning in interviews, the difficultly for opposing defenses to defend Henry and Gates at the same time.
Dorial Green-Becham, WR – Falling backwards on the depth chart, he needs to make a statement as to why that’s a mistake.
Good luck Saturday!
Falcons running back coach Bobby Turner wants to decrease Devonta Freeman’s carries in 2016.
“It’s about growth,” Turner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Free had a good year, but I’m expecting even a better year. Well, you’re saying, how can it be better? It can be even better with less carries or less catches because I’d obviously like to get Tevin (Coleman) more involved and that also keeps Free fresher.”
That statement has created the wildfire effect on Freeman’s current ADP. Coachspeak, can misinform fantasy players and lead to painful fantasy decisions.
One thing that stands clear to me: When Devonta Freeman is not on the field, the Atlanta Falcons are not the same team. Although in a small sample size, Tevin Coleman was the dominant ball carrier week 11 and 12. He replaced Freeman who concussed early 1st quarter of week 11. Atlanta lost both games, and scored a combined 31 points. Coleman fumbled in each game, and clearly was a liability in pass pro. When running routes, Matt Ryan showed mistrust and often refused to look his direction.
In light of this, I wanted to take a look at why Free’s production fell off following his return week 13. I watched every single game, every single carry, and this is what I found.
Football is a game of trenches, and Atlanta was not winning. Negative plays did there part in dropping his YPC. Over the last 5 games the offensive line accounted for 24 negative plays netting minus 43 yards. Not seeming like a big deal, this lack of production dropped a 4.6 average to a 4.02. We should also note, Atlanta’s OL ranked 22nd in stuff rate (plays for zero gain).
Why does all of this matter you ask? Well quite simply I am trying to prove Freeman can attain a higher YPC average with better line play. The interior offensive line was key to Atlanta’s struggles. Newly signed center, Alex Mack reunites with OC Kyle Shanahan after their dominant days in Cleveland. “Alex is a three-time Pro Bowler and is an ideal scheme fit for our offense,” GM Thomas Dimitroff said. With this addition, the negative/stuffed plays should drop significantly. Clearly aiding in Freeman’s overall 2016 production.
Now lets get to the Tevin Coleman factor. Not only is Freeman the more reliable pass protector and receiving back (73 rec for 578 yards in 2015), he’s the superior red zone threat. Evident in his league leading 47 RZ attempts. Comparing the two backs inside the five, Free converted 5-of-11 runs into touchdowns. While upright and stiff, Coleman converted just 1-of-5. Tevin who was running gunner duties last season, averaged just below three touches a game while Freeman was the starter.
Bobby Turner’s words were, “keep Free fresher”. When factoring in what Freeman brings to the table, there’s one instance where Coleman’s playing time should increase. When Atlanta has a double digit lead, and wants to chew clock. This speaks to keeping their starter “FRESH”. Although based off Vegas odds, (Atlanta’s win total being 7 games) I don’t see this being a critical factor for Freeman owners.
Let’s not forget how good Freeman’s 2015 campaign was. As a Pro Bowler, in 14 full games he amassed 1,595 yards, 73 receptions and 14 touchdowns. That’s equivalent to 317 fantasy points or 22.64 FP/G! To give perspective, Le’Veon Bell’s marvelous 2014 season he averaged 23.15 FP/G.
Already showcasing his ceiling as the top RB last season. We can safely project Freeman’s carries to decline, but to think he falls off a fantasy cliff is absurd. MFL10 ADP data surely suggest the latter. As he is currently the 8th RB selected and 20th overall. We should thank our competitors and BUY Freeman while we still can. With a built in floor due to his passing game skills and red zone abilities, he’s one of the safest selections this season.
Projection: 257 att for 1,061 yards, 75 rec for 558 yards and 11 total touchdowns.
Running Back Target (Team) Rankings
When we look at the past two seasons, we must realize lots of change has taken place in the NFL. With such quick turnarounds including but not limited to, coaching staff, player personnel, scheme, and game flow we can evaluate each teams running back targets to the best of our ability. For example: when a coach like Marc Trestman leaves, I would fully expect RB targets to go down in Chicago and go up in Baltimore. When a player like Shane Vereen changes teams, I would expect the impending team’s RB targets to go up. Both examples are accurate as you will see below. I have the rankings in order, top to bottom from last season’s 2015/2016 statistics, and (2014/2015) will be in parenthesis.
By doing this we generate a solid base line of what teams to avoid and target in our PPR leagues.
1.Philadelphia Eagles: 178 (102) Offense based on quick reads.
2.Detroit Lions: 173 (165) Theo Riddick 99 targets last season.
3.San Diego Chargers: 172 (110) Shows the impact of Woodhead inj.
4.New England Patriots: 163 (108) Lewis/White combined 104 Tgts.
5.Baltimore Ravens: 160 (108) Trestman with CHI previous season.
6.New York Giants: 138 (100) Vereen in NE year prior.
7.Atlanta Falcons: 137 (133) Consistent numbers for Freeman.
8.Oakland Raiders: 126 (160) Drafted DeAndre Washington.
9.New York Jets: 125 (81) Numbers should go up with Forte/Powell.
10.Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 119 (94) Sims very safe play in PPR.
11.Cincinnati Bengals: 111 (121) Gio consistent value.
12.Cleveland Browns: 108 (48) Targets doubled when Duke arrived.
13.Chicago Bears: 105 (137) Numbers dipped when Trestman left.
14.Houston Texans: 104 (90) Lamar should be on everyone’s radar.
15.Miami Dolphins: 103 (102) Gase similar targets coming from CHI.
16.Washington Redskins: 102 (104) Keith Marshall super sleeper.
17.New Orleans Saints: 101 (166) Prior year leader -> Ingram.
18.San Francisco 49ers: 100 (64) Chip in town, Draughn value pick.
19.Arizona Cardinals: 98 (111) DJ avg 5.3 Tgts/G after taking over.
20.Indianapolis Colts: 97 (114) Ferguson potential 3rd down back.
21.Tennessee Titans: 97 (100) Dexter McCluster.
22.Minnesota Vikings: 96 (118) AP just 36 targets last season.
23.Green Bay Packers: 93 (90) Lacy 55 targets previous season.
24.Seattle Seahawks: 93 (74) Drafted C.J. Prosise.
25.Dallas Cowboys: 91 (92) Elliot every down back.
26.Jacksonville Jaguars: 89 (101) Yeldon to take over 3rd downs.
27.Los Angeles Rams: 84 (116) Gurley can increase his catch total.
28.Buffalo Bills: 81 (154) Targets cliff dived this past season.
29.Pittsburgh Steelers: 81 (132) Bell had 105 targets in 2014.
30.Denver Broncos: 79 (98) CJA avg 40 targets last two seasons.
31.Kansas City Chiefs: 76 (136) Charles critical to K.C. offense.
32.Carolina Panthers: 63 (68) Bottom 30 two years in a row.