For Sean Koerner’s complete DFS projections for Week 3 of the preseason, check out our NFL Models.
Week 3 of the preseason is the closest thing we’ll get to real NFL action before the regular season kicks offs. Expect to see plenty of starters play for at least a half, and some teams might even be feeling themselves enough to play their studs for up to three quarters.
What follows is an analysis on the optimal daily fantasy strategy and picks for Sunday’s single-game slate on DraftKings.
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.
Sunday’s NFL DFS Slate Breakdown
Everyone costs $5,500 on DraftKings this week, so there’s no need to concern ourselves with any pricing discrepancies. Now let’s dig into my favorite plays on the board for Steelers-Titans.
Marcus Mariota, Titans: Mariota is quite literally playing for his job and reportedly will have a short leash entering 2019 after the club signed Ryan Tannehill to be the backup. The offense has additional firepower this season after adding A.J. Brown and Adam Humphries while getting back Delanie Walker. Mariota seems aware that he should be giving his all for every preseason snap he gets.
And people think that NFL players don’t care about the preseason pic.twitter.com/3SM1lc4VIh
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) August 19, 2019
Jaylen Samuels, Steelers: Expect James Conner to get most of the work with Ben Roethlisberger and Co., but Samuels’ receiving ability won’t be completely ignored, and he’ll likely see some additional work alongside the backups. He’s converted seven touches into 56 total yards and a score this preseason.
Dion Lewis, Titans: Derrick Henry finally returned to practice this week. Still, it’d be surprising if the Titans’ bell-cow receivers many if any snaps come Sunday night. This means Lewis should continue to work as the offense’s featured back alongside Mariota and potentially even Tannehill.
James Washington, Steelers: Washington has posted 4-84-1 and 4-78-0 receiving lines during the past two weeks. He’s received plenty of work with both the starters and backups, as JuJu Smith-Schuster and Donte Moncrief are expected to work inside of the offense’s two wide receiver sets. Washington has received a preseason-high five targets of at least 20 yards.
Adam Humphries, Titans: Humphries is dealing with a leg injury and could potentially not suit up. Still, Mariota showed a massive willingness to feed him the ball in Week 1 of the preseason, and they’re facing a Steelers defense that literally tried to repeatedly cover Keenan Allen with a freaking linebacker during Week 13 of the 2018 regular season.