NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 3 DFS plays of the week

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs (87) catches a pass during training camp on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis. Gpg Training Camp 08012022 0003

• Rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs has asserted himself as Green Bay’s alpha wide receiver, scoring touchdowns in the first two preseason games. Expect him to make his case for a starting role by going for the hat-trick this evening.

• The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling to a $30 million contract his offseason, but fellow free agent signee Justin Watson has outplayed him thus far. With a strong finish, Watson could steal the starting role.

San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Danny Gray has added a downfield element to the 49ers offense that has been missing for years, averaging 25 yards per reception through two preseason contests. Though the Houston Texans’ pass rush has been stout, Gray can seemingly get loose against anyone.

Welcome to the NFL Preseason Week 3 DFS plays of the week. All players and defense/special teams units on this list come with a DraftKings salary of $5,500. From chalk plays to contrarian options, this list has you covered.

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WR Romeo Doubs, Green Bay Packers

Draft Kings salary: $5,500

The Green Bay Packers have opted to rest veteran wide receivers Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb through the preseason, and rookie Romeo Doubs has taken the opportunity to steal the show. Through two weeks, the 2022 fourth-rounder has produced a PFF receiving grade of 65.3, second best among all Green Bay pass catchers with at least four targets

Through the first two contests, the rookie out of Nevada has been targeted on 45.5% of his routes, second in the NFL among all players with at least four targets.

Doubs’ 2.61 yards per route run rate shows top-tier efficiency and paces all Packers pass catchers with at least four targets by almost one yard. And fantasy managers should be heartened by the fact that Doubs maintained that efficiency despite leading the team in targets by a margin of six. 

Green Bay requires their youngsters to earn the right to play alongside quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and Doubs has risen to both occasions. As a result of his impressive performances, Doubs has continued to rise in PFF’s Draft Rankings+Projections

Expect Doubs to conclude his case with a triumphant finish in Preseason Week 3.

WR Justin Watson, Kansas City Chiefs

Draft Kings salary: $5,500

With JuJu Smith-Schuster coming off of a knee injury, Mecole Hardman returning from a groin injury and Marquez Valdes-Scantling yielding inefficient outings, free-agent signee Justin Watson should get an extra-long audition to compete for the downfield Z-receiver role. 

After playing well past Smith-Schuster and Valdes-Scantling in Preseason Week 1, Watson was treated as a near-starter in Week 2, tallying 18 receiving snaps in the second contest — all of which were with quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the field. 

Valdes-Scantling played just one fewer receiving snap. Through two games, Watson ranks first on the team in targets (9), receptions (7) and receiving yards (98). He is second in both receiving touchdowns (1) and yards per route run (2.45, among players with at least four targets) and boasts a respectable 22.5% targets per route run rate. 

Last preseason, head coach Andy Reid drastically varied his starters’ snap counts and was unhappy with the results. Reid has kept things more stable this year, with Mahomes playing 11 and 15 snaps in Week 1 and Week 2 of the preseason, respectively.

With the Chiefs quarterback logically in line to play between 15-20 snaps, Watson should have a fair number of high-quality downfield targets coming his way. And there is always the potential for a full complement of snaps if Reid is curious to see whether Valdes-Scantling should be handed the starting job on a silver platter.

Defense/Special Teams, Houston Texans

Draft Kings salary: $5,500

The Houston Texans’ defense/special teams unit (D/ST) offers contrarian intrigue against the San Francisco 49ers. Through two preseason games, the 49ers’ offensive line has allowed a pressure rate of 33.8%, 11th-best in the NFL, while Houston’s front seven has generated a PFF pass-rush grade of 76.5, tied for second-best. 

The Texans are No. 2 in total pressures (48) and No. 1 in sacks (11). Derek Rivers, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Demone Harris have keyed Houston's performance, combining for 28 total pressures.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has been tight-lipped about how long the San Fran starters will play, if at all, but Texans head coach Lovie Smith let Houstonians know that their starters will play meaningful snaps. Adding defensive line veterans Maliek Collins and Jerry Hughes to the mix can only help this scrappy bunch.

RB Dameon Pierce, Houston Texans

Draft Kings salary: $5,500

Rookie running back Dameon Pierce entered the Preseason Week 1 contest vs. the New Orleans Saints as Houston’s No. 3 running back and exited as the team’s likely starter. 

Pierce ran with authority, forcing two missed tackles on five carries, and demonstrated explosiveness through contact with a gargantuan 8.4 yards after contact per rush attempt. 

Pierce entered the NFL as a polished receiver, but his overeager attitude in pass protection left questions about his technique and discipline. Pierce erased concerns over the latter with a perfectly executed blitz pickup against a New Orleans linebacker that sent the pass-rusher flying. 

Head coach Lovie Smith kept Pierce inactive in Preseason Week 2 — a promising sign — and Smith recently indicated that Houston’s starters would play extensively in the final dress rehearsal. 

The PFF Fantasy Draft Guide has Pierce rated as a bonafide sleeper this year. Bank on the breakout-in-waiting with a potential two-quarters worth of work in this one.

WR Danny Gray, San Francisco 49ers

Draft Kings salary: $5,500

Rookie wide receiver Danny Gray has had both a gaudy and efficient preseason. While Gray tops the team in targets (9) and receiving yards (125), he is also the team leader in explosive pass plays of 15 or more yards (3) and sits No. 2 in yards per route run (2.96) and receiving first downs converted (3). 

Houston is expected to play their starters extensively, but San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan has expressed hesitancy with the idea of his Week 1 men racking up high snap totals this week. 

Deebo Samuel had a long history of injuries, and Brandon Aiyuk has turned heads with his training camp performances. Shanahan knows what he has in those two and is likely to protect them. Houston should be able to put up points with their starters playing up to two full quarters, which sets the table for both snap share and game script to fall in Gray’s favor. He’s a good bet on DraftKings this week.

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