After a modest two-game slate on Thursday, followed by five games on Friday, we have six games to work with on Saturday, with some intriguing options at all positions from which to choose.
This article seeks to point out some of the best options for Saturday’s games, targeting starters in good positions and backups with opportunities for extended run against second- and third-string defenses. But as with any preseason game, roster decisions can be fluid, right up to kickoff. Be sure to check Twitter for late-breaking scratches and indications that certain players are expected to get heavy run.
That disclaimer out of the way, here are some options to consider when building your DFS teams on Saturday:
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears
Must play: Alex Smith
Might play: Jay Cutler
Stay away: Nick Foles
Notes: Smith was a solid producer last week, despite not playing as long as anticipated. He should legitimately get a full half this week, if not deep into the third quarter. He has the weapons to put up a nice number and is a solid play. Cutler is also expected to play at least a half and is always capable of putting up big numbers – or a dud. With many solid options on the slate, Cutler is a GPP play only against this defense.
Must play: Spencer Ware, Jeremy Langford
Stay away: Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West
Notes: With Charles and West not playing, it’s all Ware all the time. He will run the ball and catch passes. Play him with confidence. Langford returned to practice this week and should assume his normal role in the first half.
Must play: Jeremy Maclin, Alshon Jeffery
Might play: Kevin White, Tyreek Hill, Chris Conley
Notes: Maclin looked sharp last week and Conley was productive as well. Both receivers are in play tonight, but the nod goes to Maclin, who found the end zone last week. If you are using the Chiefs defense, Hill makes for a longshot play in a dual role as a kick returner. Jeffery is always a top option. Will White finally get a chance to make a splash? It hasn’t happened yet through two games.
Must play: Travis Kelce
Notes: Maclin got the receiving touchdown last week. Perhaps Kelce is the one to find the end zone this time as the Chiefs look to attack the Bears’ safeties. Touchdown or not, Kelce could be a busy man in this one.
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens
Must play: Matt Stafford
Might play: Joe Flacco, Dan Orlovsky
Notes: Flacco is expected to make his preseason debut in this one. But it’s hard to know how much he will play, making him a risky option. Stafford will likely play the first half, and with the Lions looking to establish an up-tempo style he could be throwing early and often. He makes for a decent option on this slate.
Must play: None
Might play: Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Justin Forsett, Terrance West, Kenneth Dixon
Stay away: Stevan Ridley
Notes: Check on Abdullah’s availability throughout the day, but if he makes his preseason debut, he might get enough run to be a viable option. With Ridley being cut, Abdullah might have a chance for extra carries. Again, monitor his status. If Abdullah sits, Riddick would figure to get a decent run. Forsett should play in this one, but West probably has the most upside as the goal-line back.
Must play: Marvin Jones, Jeremy Butler
Might play: Golden Tate
Stay away: Steve Smith
Notes: Jones and Tate are both solid options against the Ravens, but Jones has been more productive through two games and gets the nod if you’re choosing a Lions receiver. Butler has been the standout for the Ravens, and with Smith still out there’s no indication Butler’s production is going to decline.
Must play: Darren Waller
Notes: Waller is a sneaky play on this slate, after missing most of last week’s game with a jaw injury. He returned to practice last week and many DFS players will be off him. But Waller was terrific in Week 1 and is among the only healthy bodies at TE for Baltimore, so the volume should be there if he plays. Be sure to check his status.
Philadelphia Eagles at Indianapolis Colts
Must play: Sam Bradford
Might play: Andrew Luck
Notes: The Colts defense – specifically the secondary – is decimated by injuries. This is a great opportunity for the Eagles offense to put up big numbers and Bradford should be right in the middle of it. He won’t be super popular, but could end up the highest-scoring QB of the day. Luck should play at least a half, but the Colts’ coaches made it clear this week we won’t see a wide-open offense in this one. Luck was 8-for-8 last week, but it was almost exclusively short passes. He might not be a reliable option, even with decent volume.
Must play: Frank Gore
Might play: Ryan Mathews, Wendell Smallwood, Kenjon Barner
Notes: Revenge game? Gore was seemingly an Eagle before nixing a deal with Philly and signing with the Colts in 2015. With the starters expected to go at least a half, could Gore show the Eagles what they’re missing? Mathews will start and should play the majority of the first half, which could be long enough to find the end zone. Smallwood is the real intriguing option here, making his preseason debut and possibly getting a deep look in his battle for the No. 3 job with Barner. Barner has already displayed his talent, so Smallwood could out-touch him in this one as he needs to show the coaches what he can do.
Must play: Nelson Agholor
Might play: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, Paul Turner
Notes: If the Eagles are going to take advantage of the depleted Colts secondary, Agholor figures to play a prominent role in that effort. He has had a decent first two weeks of the preseason, but with extended playing time in this one, he has a chance to produce at a much higher level. Turner has nine catches over two games, so he is also in play as a low-owned, high-upside target. Hilton, who did not play last week, and Moncrief should get targets, but neither might do enough to warrant a roster spot this week.
Must play: Zach Ertz
Might play: Brent Celek, Dwayne Allen
Notes: Ertz also figures to get in on the passing game fun, after hauling in three passes against the Steelers last week. Celek was also on the field for a good chunk of the first half last week, but Ertz is the more reliable play. Allen was not a big factor last week, but if Luck is checking down again, Allen should be a beneficiary.
New York Giants at New York Jets
Must play: None
Might play: Eli Manning, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Stay away: Geno Smtih, Bryce Petty, Ryan Nassib
Notes: The Giants offense has looked terrible through two games, and facing a stout Jets defense doesn’t figure to change things. Manning is an easy fade. Fitzpatrick is expected to play the first half, then it gets interesting. There is a real battle between Smith and Petty for the backup role, but in this game, the upshot is that neither one should play more than a quarter, negating them as DFS candidates.
Must play: None
Might play: Matt Forte, Rashad Jennings
Notes: Forte makes his Jets debut in this game, and he could get a decent run as a ball-carrier and pass-catcher. It might not take him long to put up some decent numbers, and he might be low owned. Jennings is a pedestrian play and easily faded.
Must play: Brandon Marshall
Might play: Eric Decker, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
Stay away: Victor Cruz
Notes: With the Jets a little banged up at the back end of their wide receiver rotation, Marshall and Decker might be more active than you might expect in a preseason game. Marshall is always a solid play with Fitzpatrick getting him the ball. Cruz is expected to play for the first time since 2014, but don’t expect a ton of production. Beckham and Shepard should handle that just fine.
Must play: None
Might play: Larry Donnell
Stay away: Jace Amaro
Notes: Amaro hasn’t been practicing, so his availability is shaky, at best.
Tennessee Titans at Oakland Raiders
Must play: None
Might play: David Carr, Marcus Mariota
Notes: This is a strange situation for both teams, as the Raiders and Titans are going to play each other again in Week 3 of the regular season. With neither team willing to show their hand, play-calling wise, it could be a fairly pedestrian game for both QBs.
Must play: DeMarco Murray, Latavius Murray
Might play: Derrick Henry
Notes: The quarterbacks’ loss is the runners’ gain. If both teams choose to ground and pound, guys like the Murrays and Henry could rack up big chunks of yardage and maybe find the end zone. Henry makes a great play as he will see backup defenders.
Must play: Amari Cooper, Tajae Sharpe
Notes: Even if the play-calling isn’t exotic, Cooper and Sharpe should catch the ball. Sharpe has been the real deal for the Titans, but his ownership might be high for this slate.
Must play: None
Might play: Delanie Walker
Notes: This is not a place to find your tight end. Fade with confidence.
Los Angeles Rams at Denver Broncos
Might play: Trevor Siemian, Mark Sanchez, Case Keenum, Jared Goff
Stay away: See above
Notes: Both teams are a bit of a mess at quarterback right now and playing time for any of these guys is impossible to predict, making the entire lot of them fade candidates in this game.
Must play: Malcolm Brown
Might play: Todd Gurley, C.J. Anderson, Devontae Booker
Notes: Brown had 12 carries last week against the Chiefs. The other three Rams backs had 14 carries combined. Brown had 68 yards. The other three: 74. Brown had two catches and a touchdown. Play Brown.
Must play: Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders
Note: Regardless of who is throwing them the ball, Thomas and Sanders should see enough playing time to justify their use.
Must play: Tyler Higbee
Notes: Higbee missed last week’s game against the Chiefs, but the big tight end should be back for this one, and should be productive enough to earn your trust.