The NFL Preseason Primer is aimed to highlight the top plays of the weekly cheat sheet to help you build a winning roster.
NFL preseason is by far one of the harder sports to project as no ones playing time is guaranteed. For a majority of the preseason, we will be focusing on rookie opportunity and roster bubble competitions. For week two we can expect conventional starters to see the field more than last week, though younger players will still lead snaps counts. This week we are focusing on rookies who should make the team as teams will use this as important field time for experience.
Kyler Murray, AZ – This pick could change closer to kickoff, but for now, one-to-two quarters of Kyler Murray is exciting for DFS reasons. The rookie signal-caller had a strong debut, completing six-of-seven passes. The Cardinals are going to have to expand Murray’s playing time sooner than later and though we see the biggest workload in week three there is a chance it is ramped up this week high enough to be DFS relevant.
UPDATE: There isn’t much news on his playing time yet as Kingsbury is keeping a tight ship. What we do know is that Brett Hundley will play more than him. I think the smart move is to move all Murray exposure directly to Hundley.
Trace McSorley, BAL – McSorley is still trying to prove that he is a backup quarterback and for fairness shouldn’t be considered a roster lock quite yet. McSorley has dual-threat upside and though he stats didn’t look great last week he did have a touchdown called back. The Packers defense isn’t that strong and Joe Webb had a nice showing against them last week. I expect McSorley to be one of the highest owned quarterbacks on this slate.
Nathan Peterman, OAK – If you wanted to take down a GPP last week, Nathan Peterman would have had to be your signal caller up top. His numbers weren’t earth-shattering by any means, but Peterman has always possessed dual-threat ability and it showed but rushing for 50+ yards. The Raiders are only carrying three quarterbacks so the playing time is more predictable and John Gruden has spoken recently that Peterman is “growing on him”. The interception trope will follow Peterman for the rest of his career, but he still has the most to prove out of almost any quarterback in the league right now. Peterman should see a majority of the second half.
Cody Kessler, PHI – This by no means is a flashy pick, but with the rumors swirling that the Eagles will shut down Carson Wentz for the preseason and Nate Sudfeld out with an injury, Cody Kessler and Clayton Thorson should be the only active quarterbacks for the Eagles. Neither quarterback looked strong in their debuts, but we need to consider the lock of playing time here for Kessler. I wouldn’t go crazy with ownership here, but the playing time is guaranteed as long as the Wentz rumor proves true.
Others to consider: Ryan Finley, Dwayne Haskins, Aaron Rodgers
Samaje Perine, WAS – Perine has gotten praise out of camps and saw six carries and a reception in last week’s preseason opener. I don’t see Adrian Peterson playing in this game and Derrius Guice is not yet cleared. Rookie Bryce Love is still recovering from a torn ACL and Chris Thompson isn’t our traditional running back. With using this knowledge we can safely assume that Perine should see plenty of work as he is still working to locking up a roster spot. Week two gets tougher with determining playing time since starters have a long leash, but Perine very well could default to the starter in this one. Also though it’s hard to really determine legitimacy, the Redskins play a Bengals defense that got absolutely shredded by the Chiefs.
Alfred Blue, JAX – The Jaguars will only have three active running backs tonight in Alfred Blue, Thomas Rawls, and Devante Mays. I expect all three to see work but Blue should still get his fair share if not near the entire first half. The Jaguars are sitting all their starters again for this one, so Gardner Minshew may be looking to his running back early and often for security.
Dexter Williams, GB – Williams was chalk last week and that is going to continue into week two. Williams rushed 14 times for 62 yards in his debut and with Jaamal Williams still banged up and the Packers starters only playing a quarter, Williams should equal out his week one numbers.
Trayveon Williams, CIN – Williams was the top play on the week one cheat sheet and he was bailed out with a touchdown as he only had five yards on five carries, however, he also left the game with bruised ribs which capped his upside. Williams has been practicing this week so it doesn’t seem like something that will keep him out of action. Both Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard will be available for Thursdays’ game, however, it’s still unclear if either play. If they are both ruled out, we likely get a good dose of Williams as the starting running back. Otherwise, we will have to wait until the second half to see him, which could benefit us from a fantasy standpoint against a weaker defense.
UPDATE: His status has been faintly spoken about so we can assume he will be playing. However, if ruled out Jordan Ellis is a direct replacement.
Others to consider: Justice Hill, Elijah McGuire, Alfred Blue, Brian Hill, Trenton Cannon
Tyler Boyd, CIN – Boyd only played one series against the Chiefs, but during that one series, he hauled in three passes on four targets for 25 yards. The chemistry with signal-caller Andy Dalton is certainly there and with AJ Green still on the mend, Boyd could open the season as Dalton’s top option. As long as we get a quarter out of Dalton-Boyd, Boyd is my top option on this slate. If you don’t have an interest in playing the “hope” game, Auden Tate and Stanley Morgan are deeper game targets from this game I will have exposure to.
Jake Kumerow, GB – The legend of Jake Kumerow continues to grow in Green Bay. The UDFA from a division three school in Wisconsin, Kumerow spent a season with the Bengals before signing on with Green Bay. Kumerow started off as practice squad fodder but quickly built a rapport with Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been outspoken on Kumerow’s practice performances stating that “the guy just doesn’t drop anything”. Kumerow seems like a roster lock at this point but a few more strong performances could solidify his role. Luckily for Kumerow, we are supposedly getting a full quarter of Aaron Rodgers against the Ravens. We will get more playing time out of Kumerow than that and we typically wouldn’t attack a tough Baltimore defense, but the volume should exist to make Kumerow a top wide receiver play this week.
Miles Boykin, BAL – Boykin led the Ravens receiving corps in targets and receptions, hauling in four passes for 39 yards. Boykin has gained a lot of praise in camp being labeled “the best receiver in camp right now”. Sometimes those words don’t translate to anything but it is encouraging to see the ball thrown Boykin’s way in the game as well. I don’t believe this is chasing a performance too much as Boykin should see equal opportunity to grow his game without many restrictions this preseason. This might end up being a pick that I ride throughout all four weeks.
Others to consider: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Auden Tate, Keesean Johnson, Andy Isabella, Russell Gage, Greg Dortch, J’Mon Moore
Robert Tonyan, GB – I don’t expect to see Jimmy Graham or Marcedes Lewis getting much run this week as the Packers are trying to determine if Tonyan will make the roster. The Packers will likely end up keeping four tight ends and the big body has impressed since mid last year. He should get a full half of work with Jace Sternberger still sidelined.
Hayden Hurst, BAL – This play is interchangeable with fellow tight end Mark Andrews. Once Lamar Jackson took over last season, Andrews led the team in receiving yards. Hurst missed the early parts of last season and is viewed as more athletic than Andrews.
Others to consider: Foster Moreau, C.J. Uzomah, Darren Waller, Jayden Graham
Philadelphia – The Eagles face a Jacksonville team that was just shut out by the Ravens. Not only was Jacksonville shut out, they only had 65 total passing yards and under 100 total rushing yards. Of course, they sat a lot of their starters, but with Nick Foles looking like he will miss this week, the Eagles defense should feast.
Others to consider: Baltimore, Washington