Editor’s note: Thursday’s analysis has been moved to the bottom of this article to prioritize Ian Hartitz’s picks for Friday’s and Saturday’s slates.
Thursday’s 11-game slate in the books, but the NFL preseason keeps rolling on Friday and Saturday with two and three games, respectively.
What follows is an analysis on the optimal daily fantasy strategy and picks for the Preseason Week 1 DraftKings slate.
For Sean Koerner’s complete DFS projections for Week 1 of the preseason, check out our NFL Models.
General Preseason DFS Strategy
Action Network NFL expert Chris Raybon wrote an incredibly helpful and actionable piece titled The Definitive Guide to Crushing Preseason DFS that tackles some of the unique nuances of preseason daily fantasy football.
Some of Raybon’s key takeaways were:
- Fade starters/weekly regulars outside of Week 3.
- Target players who are considered in the running for a spot on the 53, but without much prior tape of live NFL game action.
- Feel free to target undrafted players at running back, wide receiver and/or tight end, but quarterbacks who post top-10 preseason results tend to be drafted more often than not.
- Experience is not a big factor at quarterback. Less experience has also been better at running back and wide receiver. Experience has historically meant the most at tight end.
- Running backs have had a slight edge as flex options, but wide receivers have been similarly productive. The tight end position should generally be avoided in the FLEX and faded completely in one-game contests.
- Target teams with only one kicker on the roster and don’t hesitate to use a kicker or D/ST in the 1.5x spot in one-game contests.
- Limit quarterback stacks to one pass catcher on large slates.
- Stack DSTs with running backs or wide receivers vying for return jobs.
- Don’t overrate Vegas odds.
- Be aware of preseason coaching tendencies.
- Local team beat reports are key.
- Preseason lends itself to tournaments.
As you’ve probably realized by now: Evaluating opportunity is more important than ever compared to discerning talent gaps when it comes to preseason DFS.
Friday and Saturday Slate Breakdowns
The following players are my top picks for Friday and Saturday slates. We’ll run through important injuries to note shortly after.