News & Analysis

Top DFS plays from the first preseason slate of the season

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Tight end Ifeanyi Momah #80 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the preseaon NFL game against the Denver Broncos at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Broncos 38-17. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The 2017 NFL season will be ushered in on Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals in the annual Hall of Fame Game. We were deprived of this game last year due to poor field conditions, but it’s back — and it brings with it the “slate” of NFL DFS for the year.

This slate features just two games: The Hall of Fame game and Houston vs. Carolina next Wednesday night. It’s an odd slate with two far-from-meaningful games, but it’s a slate nonetheless.

Need help preparing for the games from a fantasy perspective? You’ve come to the right place. Below are my DFS musings for the Hall of Fame slate.

Quarterbacks

I’m mostly locked in on Blaine Gabbert for this slate, which is probably the first and last time I will ever type those words in that order. Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton won’t play, and Gabbert will play for the entire first half. You could go with Trevor Knight to be a bit different — he’s set to play the entire second half — but Gabbert at least has experience in the league already.

We’re still almost a week out from the Carolina game, so this advice could change based on news as the game gets closer, but I’m on board with playing Joe Webb. The Panthers won’t give Cam Newton much time in the first preseason game; I’d expect a drive, at most. Webb completed 37 of 67 passes for 472 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in last year’s preseason. He also had 10 rushing attempts for 35 yards.

Running backs

I like Cameron Artis-Payne for the first preseason game. He’s behind Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey, and it’s hard to fathom Carolina giving either of those players much run in the first game. Artis-Payne has been on the roster bubble for a while, and I expect him to get a decent amount of snaps in the first game.

Akeem Hunt has apparently been impressive in early camp practices. I’m not sure I’m going to roll the dice with a Houston running back this week — there’s eight of them to choose from this — but if I’m picking one, it’s Hunt. He’s far enough down the depth chart that he should see work.

Wide receivers

The Cardinals have about a million wideouts to choose from, so it’s a bit risky, but my favorite in this slate might be Brittan Golden. He’s high enough up the depth chart to get work with Gabbert to start the game, and he’s not so low on the depth chart that he’d only play for a series or two.

Want a tournament play at wideout? Take a look at Lance Lenoir. Reports out of Cowboys camp say that Lenoir’s routes have been crisp and he has been finishing plays better than his in-camp competition.

Will Fuller broke his collarbone, which leaves the No. 2 spot in Houston open for Jaelen Strong or Braxton Miller. I’m okay with both of them in this slate, as I’d expect Houston to give them decent run in the game as they sort out their depth chart.

Tight ends

Tight end is a mess in this slate, but you should consider Ifeanyi Momah. He’s behind Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas on Arizona’s depth chart, but his snap count will be significantly higher than it is in the regular season. Consider this: Momah caught eight passes for 89 yards in last year’s preseason, but he had just two receptions in the regular season.

They might only play one series — two if we’re lucky, and none if we aren’t — but C.J. Fiedorowicz and Greg Olsen are worth a look. Even with just one or two series, they’d be a better bet for a touchdown than any of the other tight ends on this slate. Pay attention to the news as the week goes on to see if we know how much either of these players will be on the field.

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