Bills v Browns
I think it’s plausible Tyrod Taylor gets a very long look in this game. The Bills quarterback situation is probably the murkiest in all of football and it’s essentially a battle right now between Taylor and Matt Cassell. All signs point to Taylor being the favourite and so it’s quite likely the coaches give him all the time he needs to succeed (i.e. score) in this game. Look for him to possibly play close to a half. Even if he’s not a great passer, it’s preseason and you know he won’t be afraid to use his legs since he’s battling for the starting job.
Cleveland’s quarterback situation is just as talentless, although it’s more settled. The veteran Josh McCown is the starter. I’m sure he’ll play a few more snaps than he did last week but still, look for the bulk of the playing time to go to Johnny Football. Even though McCown is starting the coaches there know he has limited upside and now is the time to see if Manziel can even be considered as an upgrade should McCown start stinking it up in the regular season (inevitable). Third stringer Connor Shaw is also out leaving only the well-travelled Thadd Lewis. I expect Manziel to get at least a half of football here and possibly more.
**Bryce Brown is now hurt too! Don’t use him
The Bills running back situation is horrible if you’re a Buffalo Bills fan, but great if you’re playing preseason DFS. The top 4 RBs on the Bills roster are all projected to be out of the lineup for this game with injuries. That leaves 5th stringer Bryce Brown to soak up plenty of carries and touches. Normally I wouldn’t get too excited about a 5th string RB but Brown is probably the most talented RB on this roster, and maybe top ten in the entire league. He’s had issues with coaches, personal issues and fumbling problems but the talent is there. He came through with a nice game last preseason and if he produces once again (he should) maybe he’ll even start getting considered for some regular season work. He’s the must play of the night for me in fantasy.
The Browns RB situation is much less intriguing. The top two backs, Terrence West and Isiah Crowell both stunk up the joint in week 1. I expect both will be given opportunities once again to carry the ball and show something. If I had to choose between one I’d probably go with West, but the margin is small between these two and they’re both mediocre talents. The back everyone wants to see, Duke Johnson is likely out for this game, although check back at game time as he is trending towards being healthy. A garbage time hero to consider here might be Jalen Parmele. He’s a journeyman who can produce when given carries and might see a lot of action in the second half against bad opponents.
**Marcus Easley is also out!
Percy Harvin is hurt for the Bills and that will likely open up some room for some of the lower tier receivers. I’m definitely interested in Chris Hogan in this game as he could be a benefactor of the Harvin injury. Hogan has again been the talk of Bills camp and I think he might get a few extra targets thrown his way here. I’m not in love with the Bills offense for passing but in preseason, on a very short slate you have to consider everyone. A sleeper who could also pick up some targets in garbage time is Marcus Easley, he’s more a of a special teams guy now but should get some play in this game at WR.
The Browns are equally thin at WR and don’t have a true number 1. Travis Benjamin has been getting good press for his work of late and needs a good preseason. He would probably be the player I’d target on the Browns. A sleeper though could be Josh Lentz who had reportedly developed some chemistry with Johnny Football. Lentz is a small, speedy wideout who could be good for a big play against the second/third stringers.
I’m not a fan of the Bills TE situation outside of Charles Clay. Clay might see a few more snaps/targets in this game then he did in the first. It’s plausible that in this more conservative ball-control offense he gets quite a few targets so on a short slate he’s worth the gamble, even though he might only play a quarter. Nick O’Leary, the former Seminole, is a decent pass catcher but not really athletic enough for the pro game. He could be good for garbage time in the preseason however.
There’s not much to like in Cleveland at tight end, but if I had to pick someone it would be Rob Housler. Housler’s got great speed for the position and is rare for a tight end in the sense he can actually get you yards after the catch. But he’s now third on the depth chart and only saw one target in the first game. He’s definitely the person I would target on this team if I had to choose someone, the potential is there but he’s started camp slow.
Detroit v Washington
Matt Stafford should see a few more snaps in this game but maybe not enough to warrant usage. The backups for Detroit are Dan Orlovsky and Kellen Moore. Neither of these players excite me even a little, although I would probably choose Moore if I had too. The issue is that they will be splitting time with each other and so both may have limited upside. I’d try to look elsewhere if possible.
In Washington, the likely scenario is that RGIII gets a little more playing time and possibly even close to a half before giving way to Kirk Cousins/Colt McCoy. RGIII is once again hearing people call for Cousins to play and so should be motivated to have a decent game. McCoy is supposedly going to play with the second team in this game. This might actually be better for Cousins though since he will get the third string defenses. It’s iffy either way but I might actually consider RGIII here as the possibility of a td is high and he’ll play no less than a quarter. If going with a backup I’d probably lean Cousins, both are actually decent choices in this short slate.
Everyone is going bananas over Ameer Abdullah so expect him to be highly owned. He looked great in the last game but he’ll probably be going against starters here so the upside might be limited. The player I’d really consider looking to target is Zach Zenner. He’s been practising with the first squad a bit as the power back (Joique Bell is out). Zenner is a solid prospect and could really mop up against second/third stringers and should get a little more playing time than the more popular Abdullah.
In Washington I’d once again recommend looking to target Matt Jones. Jones is a legit power back who I think is eventually going to take over as the starter in Washington. The Redskins could split carries a bit between their backups but if Jones gets most of his work against seconds and thirds he could really have a big game.
**Lance Moore last minute scratch to to new baby!
In the last game Golden Tate put on a show in his limited action. Tate’s numbers last year without Calvin Johnson in the lineup were insane but we may actually get to see a bit of Calvin soon. As of writing this I couldn’t confirm how much Calvin was slated to play, if any, but if he doesn’t play Tate might be worth gambling on again, 3-5 catches in his limited playing time is likely with Calvin out. A receiver down the depth charts who I might consider rostering is Lance Moore. Moore is familiar with OC Joe Lombardi’s scheme and should be given lots of time on the field as he competes for one of the final spots. I also like Ryan Broyles in this game (assuming he can stay uninjured) and he should get playing time here as well.
In Washington Desean Jackson is out for this game for the Redskins, as is rookie Jamison Crowder. My inclination would be to target Andre Roberts who is a very decent WR3 but is being pushed by some younger players. He should be inspired to have a another decent game here. There should be a lot of other targets to go around though and Ryan Grant and UDFA Reggie Bell might be the best bets to pick up the slack. Grant has looked pretty good in his time with the Skins and will be the one getting play against third stringers as the night progresses.
In Detroit, expect the Lions to keep trying to get former first round pick Eric Ebron involved. Ebron has looked pretty bad so far in his time in Detroit and so the Lions will probably want to use preseason to help him build confidence. Second stringer and red zone target Joseph Fauria could also see a few passes thrown his way, although don’t expect a bunch of targets, he’d be a td dependant play for fantasy.
In Washington, there’s not much to choose from in terms of TE. Jordan Reed is injured again with a hamstring issue and won’t play in this game, and both Logan Paulson (toe) Niles Paul (leg) are done for the year with injuries. UDFA Je’Ron Hamm is the next man up as far as pass catching TE’s go for the Skins and could see a lot of the field in this game. He’s probably not a bad target given the short slate and the scarcity at this position.