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NFL Preseason DFS Game Theory 08.13.2022

NFL Preseason DFS and niche sports disclaimer

Niche sports in DFS are interesting. They take a new age, statistics heavy approached numbers game back to the stone age. Before everyone had good projections and optimal builds. NFL Preseason requires a lot of attention to beat reports, a lot of deciphering coach speak and even more game theory. The winners of these contests understand chalk, leverage and ceiling more than the rest. Each position requires a different approach and takes different things into contests. Today I'm going to go over todays slate as an example with the objective to dissect based on game theory.

This post will utilize plays from David Hess' Cheat sheet pinned to the NFL channel in the Community Discord (Join for free right here).


Quarterback is extremely simple. Anyone that is going to play significant time is in consideration. Since most QBs won't go long in games at this point in the preseason, it represents a significant edge.

Important notes and plays:

  • Bryce Perkins – Stafford out, Wolford should see limited run, Perkins gets 2-3 Quarters
  • Mason Rudolph – Trubisky/starters play 1st Q, Rudolph/2nd team get 2nd and 3rd, Pickett finishes game. Can expect 1.5-2 Qs for rudolph
  • Cooper Rush/ Ben DiNucci – w Dak out, both QBs are supposed to get a half each.
  • Ian Book – Winston won’t play, Costello just signed 3 days ago leaves dalton and Book. Book could see anywhere from 1.5-3 Qs

Running Backs

Running backs take into account many of the same thing as QB's. Playing time, pass catching upside, opportunity and ownership. The biggest thing to remember for the preseason is that in limited playing time, the ceiling for most of these players is maybe 15 fantasy points outside of rare instances. So any advantage you can get is worth consideration. Attacking teams that are thin on the depth chart is a good strategy.

Important notes and plays:

  • Davis/Shampklin – Cowboys are shorthanded, Davis and Shamplkin should see about a  half each with Davis being more talented imo
  • Borghi/Boone – Another spot where outside of the starters these are the only 2 RBs on the team. Boone has a spot on the team already probably meaning Borghi plays more but Boone way more talented and could do plenty with 1-1.5 Qs
  • Jaylen Warren – Najee banged up, Snell out leave Mcfarland, Warren and Master Teague. Warren is the rookie and should get a chance to stand out but other 2 are playable instead
  • RaChaad White/ Keshaun Vaughn – the other guys on the roster are lenny, Gio Bernard and Kenjon Barner all vets. White and Vaughn should see the most time 
  • Dameon Pierce – 4th round rookie fighting for starter spot, has looked great in camp

Wide Receivers

Receivers generally have the lowest floor but the highest ceiling in football and preseason is no different, except maybe even more so. Many of these guys will only see 3-4 targets even the “safe” ones since they don't play much time. This is the best position to get different than the field.

Important notes and plays:

  • There are no top tier spots as of now, no injury riddled teams to take advantage of. Classic guesswork but these are my best guesses.
  • George Pickens/Calvin Austin – Not a for sure starter, has been great in camp should get run with more than 1 unit, Austin 4th rounder whos been making splash plays and should play a decent amount
  • Erik Ezukanma/ Preston Williams – Williams is of the past here, could be looking to showcase or just get some run, Ezukanma the opposite, 4th rounder who should play alot to see what they have 
  • Simi Fahoko/Noah Brown – These were the two standouts at camp, both are young and could see a lot of playing time with both units 
  • Travis Fulgham – nothing here to say he plays more than they are other 30 WWWRs, but his talent level is a cut above the rest. If he plays a good bit, should pop off
  • Ben Skowonek/ TuTu Atwell – In competition for the WR3 role, Harris is out which is the other and might lead to more playing time
  • DeAnde Carter – Actual NFL talent who should get some time today

Tight Ends

Tight end sucks. Rarely do we see a tight end have a good game in preseason.

Important notes and plays:

  • Jeff Driskel – QB that should play the entire game and is listed as a tight end. Don’t over think this. Just start with him and get different elsewhere!

For all of the players I like be sure to check out the player pool posted in the discord daily (Join for free here!). Remember that when you're playing large field contests like these it's better to try to figure out what happens when the chalk fails and benefit than to run out the same safe plays as everyone else. Use a combination of strategies to gain leverage on the field and maximize for ceiling, preseason is no different than other DFS sports, you just have less tools to rely on. Good luck on your lineups!

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