Houston v New Orleans
Starter Drew Brees is not slated to play much in this one and so you have to look at NO backups as a play. Luke McCown is probably going to get the most work but rookie Garrett Grayson could see a lot of time too. Those would be the two I’d consider for NO with McCown probably being the better play.
In Houston Brian Hoyer will start and probably get a long look. He’s the unquestioned starter right now in Houston and they’ll want him to get a good dress rehearsal in before he starts the regular season. Ryan Mallett missed practice last week and is out of favour with the coaches right now.
With New Orleans resting some starters I might consider Tim Hightower as a play. Khiry Robinson is confirmed not playing this week and I doubt Mark Ingram gets a ton of work. You might see Hightower get close to a starter’s workload in this one.
For Houston, expect to see the trio of Chris Polk, Jonathon Grimes and Alfred Blue all get work. Polk was heavily involved in the passing game last week and will probably see more of the second string defense so he would be my choice for use out of the three.
I wouldn’t expect to see many of the Saints starters play more than a quarter in this one. That means that Branden Coleman, who’s currently battling for the number 3 WR position might be in play. Both he and Nick Toon should see plenty of snaps and both make good plays. I’d probably lean Coleman if forced to choose but Toon could produce and has in preseason before.
In Houston the starters will probably see more playing time but it’s hard to say how much which one makes for a good fantasy play. DeAndre Hopkins is the most talented of the group and you could simply roll the dice that he plays over a quarter and gets you good production. The other option might be to use Cecil Shorts who already had a big TD this preseason and is a great runner after the catch.
I doubt the Saints will play veteran Ben Watson much if at all in this one and so Josh Hill should get an expanded role. Hill is the supposed Jimmy Graham replacement in this offense, but even if he doesn’t offer the same upside as Graham he should be a good play in this one and work with both the starters and second team for a bit.
Garrett Graham is the first stringer on Houston this year and has had a strong preseason. I’d expect him to get a longer look in this game. The starters for Houston sound as if they’ll be playing for entire half.
Cardinals v Raiders
It seems like Carson Palmer will only play a little in this game and so backups Logan Thomas and Drew Stanton will get more rope. Stanton is likely the higher upside play. Thomas has looked bad in his brief time in the NFL and reports are that he’s looked just as bad in practice as he has in games. Playing time might be hard to decipher for these three but I’d lean Stanton here.
Derek Carr sounds like he’ll get a lot more reps and so will many of the Raiders starters. The Play here looks to be to simply play Carr and hope he gets a full half or more of playing time.
Rookie David Johnson took the field last week and looked impressive. He ran with purpose, gaining over 60 yards on 13 carries and also showed off his great receiving skills. I doubt Andre Ellington will play much in this one and would definitely consider rolling out Johnson, he’s got ppr upside and has big pay potential.
In Oakland I’d expect we’ll see a decent dose of Latavius Murray. Murray has looked great all of preseason and is the unquestioned starter for the Raiders right now. He’s fully capable of getting you 40+ yards and a TD before leaving. The other option might be Roy Helu, who is returning from injury in this game and offers ppr upside. He projects as the third down-change of pace back and should see a decent amount of time. I like both players as potential targets.
If Arizona doesn’t play their starters a ton I might consider Jaron Brown. John Brown has been looking good playing with the starters and he might be worth considering although again, but his playing time might be limited. Jaron Brown though should see at least a half of work and play with the seconds, he’s had multiple receptions in both previous weeks and is a solid option. My suggestion is to go with Jaron over John this week.
In Oakland I’d expect to see a decent amount of targets for Amari Cooper. The rookie has looked good this preseason and seems to be quickly becoming Derek Carr’s favorite target. I might also consider giving Brice Butler a look. He’s an extremely athletic WR who is battling for a 3rd or 4th spot on this team at his position. He should see extensive playing time with the second team and might be good for a big play.
There’s just not much to consider from the Cardinals perspective at this position. They don’t use the TE much in the pass game and I’m not sure if a TE has recorded a pass in preseason. Look elsewhere.
For the Raiders Mychal Rivera is a favorite target of Derek Carr and the more Carr plays the more his stock goes up. He’s definitely someone you can turn to on this short slate with so few options at his position.