We have officially reached the first full week of NFL preseason games. As we kick off this week with a two-game slate with the New England Patriots facing off against the Washington Football Team and the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on their in-state rival the Philadelphia Eagles. In this article, I am going to break down my top plays at each position. Be sure to join us in our Free Discord to stay up to date for any changes as the news breaks throughout the day.
Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer, Taylor Heinicke are my top plays at the QB position tonight. Cam Newton is unlikely to play according to reports, Ryan Fitzpatrick may only play a series or two if that, and with Kyle Allen also unlikely to play this will leave Heinicke to play a ton tonight for Washington. We have seen what Heinicke can do.
The Steelers look to be running out the same rotation as they did last week at QB with Mason Rudolph to start, then Dwayne Haskins will close out the first half and potentially play into the 2nd half. Then Josh Dobbs will follow him and close out the game. If you are running out 150 lineups then I would get some exposure to Haskins and maybe Dobbs but otherwise this is a situation to just fade tonight.
An intriguing spot to monitor at QB is the Eagles’ situation. What are they going to do with Jalen Hurts? Technically speaking this is his first time to get in preseason reps in his career as there was no preseason last year and he did not make his first start until late in the season. If we hear news about Jalen potentially playing a quarter or more then I will want to get some exposure to him in tournaments as he could do well because of his ability to run. I would expect Nate Mullens to play the most though as I don’t think Flacco plays much.
The Patriots are very high on Rhamondre Stevenson who their running backs coach has compared to LeGarrette Blount. Damien Harris and James White are the starters here and the Pats could look to get Stevenson a lot of snaps to see what they have here.
Najee Harris is going to play in every preseason game the Steelers play this season according to Tomlin. He also mentioned this week that he has “no plans of holding harris back” in the game this week. So, if we were to decipher coach speak then this could be Harris will play more this week. We also need to monitor the status of Benny Snell and Kalen Ballage as both did not practice on Tuesday. If both are out this could secure Harris more playing time at the very least during the first half of the game. Leaving Anthony McFarland, Trey Edmunds and Jaylen Samuels (who did have 11 carries last week) to spilt the work in the 2nd half of the game.
If you are playing cash games, just play Harris and move on. In tournaments, I don’t mind taking shots on a McFarland, Edmunds or Samuels in hope someone falls into the end zone at low ownership to put them in the optimal lineup.
The only other back I am interested in is the Rookie Kenneth Gainwell from the Eagles. I would expect the Eagles to want to see what they have in the rookie as they know what to expect from Miles Sanders and Boston Scott.
Much like the Pittsburgh QB situation, I am going to more than likely fade the Washington RB situation. We know Gibson and McKissic are the main backs here but after them there are just too many mouths to feed here. Lamar Miller, Jonathan Williams, Peyton Barber, and Jaret Patterson could all see playing time at one point or another.
Wide Receiver is such a hard position to predict in the preseason. For example, the Steelers last week targeted 18 different guys last week. Cowboys targeted 24 different guys with no one having more than 5 targets. Our goal is to target situations where a WR group may be thin due to injuries or just a team is sitting all their regulars giving the 2nd and 3rd stringers plenty of snap opportunities because the starters won’t be taking them away by playing a drive or two.
The Pittsburgh Steelers WR group is a situation where we have injuries from Chase Claypool to monitor, is Ju-Ju going to even play, what is the status of James Washington and Ray-Ray McCloud after not practicing much earlier in the week. Not to mention James Washington has reportedly requested a trade. This is going to leave guys like Anthony Johnson very much in play as he was 2nd in targets last week with three. That was only behind Claypool’s four targets.
For the Eagles, top pick Devonta Smith is out. We will need to monitor how the workload of Jalen Reagor and Travis Fulgham will be monitored but they could be in play tonight. For someone deeper on the depth charts, there is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside who may be fighting for a roster spot now. The Eagles could provide him with a lot of playing time to help decide what they are going to do with him. Quez Watkins, John Hightower, and Hakeem Butler are other names to look out for.
For the other game between the Pats and Football Team, I will be targeting the backups again with the likes of Dyami Brown, Antonio Gandy-Golden from Washington. For the Patriots, N’Keal Harry is my top target.
I am going to make this short, Pat Freiermuth. Friermuth looks to be good to go this week and should see plenty of opportunities tonight. This is a weak position, and I don’t plan on getting cute here.
Finally, for the defenses, all four are in play and right now I would rank them, Washington, Pittsburgh, New England, Philadelphia. In MME, I would get exposure to all four teams. In cash or SE I am going to be looking at Washington and Pittsburgh. Don’t be afraid to play your defense against your starting QB.
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