Saturday, August 29, 2015

Another Look at Saturday's Preseason Games

Justin has already touched on some intriguing options for today's games and I want to add to the conversation with a quick look into my own personal process for the preseason and a list of some of the top guys I am planning to play in today's contests.

The first thing I'm looking at is which teams are favored by 3.5 points or more in Vegas. For preseason games, the default is generally for the home team to be favored by between 1 and 2.5 points and if there is a departure from that line, it tends to mean that there's a fairly strong feeling that one team will outperform the other. For Saturday's games, five teams pass the 3.5 point bar and standout as the best places to look for big fantasy numbers. Most of my rosters will be stocked primarily with players from these five teams.

Let's take a closer look at each of the five:

1. Denver The Broncos are favored by 6 at home and expected to play Peyton Manning for approximately 30 plays which should see him through the full first half. It's hard to go wrong with one half of Peyton Manning. With Emmanuel Sanders still nursing a minor injury, Demaryius Thomas and Cody Latimer stand out as top options. Thomas is reportedly rounding into form after a long holdout. Latimer has done well throughout the preseason but has recently been challenged by Gary Kubiak to prove he can make big plays in 50/50 jump ball situations. Expect Latimer to be given a couple chances to prove himself deep down the field today. At RB, it is hard to find much clarity in terms of expected touches between CJ Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball and Juwan Thompson. One may have a nice game, but it's tough to tell which one, so I'm focused on the passing game. Denver Defense is also one of the top targets for the slate.

2. Philadelphia The Eagles as big road favorites is mainly about what's going on in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers isn't expected to play much and the backup QB is out. Which leaves 3rd string rookie Brett Hundley to carry the load. And he'll be facing the Eagles' first string defense in the first half. Welcome to the NFL rookie...Eagles Defense is a top target. Sam Bradford should play most of the first half and Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews are both expected to receive extended playing time, especially with Josh Huff possibly inactive. At RB, Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray should both see touches. With Chip Kelly looking to limit Murray's wear and tear in the preseason, it's tough to count on either back in the preseason. Kenjon Barner is an interesting option and could have a strong second half. Barner has been a preseason star and looks to lead the competition for the 4th RB spot behind the four veterans.

3. Baltimore The Ravens are favored by 4 at home against Washington. It's been announced that Robert Griffin III is not playing and Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy will carry the load. That may or may not be a positive for the Ravens Defense depending upon your feelings about Griffin, but the Ravens Defense is a solid play. On offense, Joe Flacco will be looking to get on track and Washington's pass defense is questionable and should play the first half. Steve Smith leads the WR options though Darren Waller and others are potentially in play. The top play in the game should be rookie runner Javorius Allen. He will get plenty of touches with the first team and have an opportunity to win the backup job. Keep an eye on Terrence Magee as well who could own the 4th quarter.

4. Miami The Dolphins are 4 point favorites and the starters are expected to play into the 4th quarter. Ryan Tannehill is one of the top options on the slate at QB. He has had a nice connection with Jarvis Landry and while Landry doesn't have a lot of big-play potential, he is a safe option for production today. Kenny Stills is the big-play threat and could connect for a long touchdown. Lamar Miller and Damien Williams could have solid days against a mediocre Falcons run defense.

5. Cincinnati The Bengals are favored by 3.5 at home tonight and after a disastrous performance against Tampa look to get back on track. The first team offense should get an extended look so Andy Dalton, Jeremy Hill, A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert are all playable options for today's slate of games.

Sample Lineup- Peyton Manning, Javorius Allen, Joseph Randle, Demaryius Thomas, Cody Latimer, Nelson Agholor, Jimmy Graham, Jarvis Landry, Eagles D.


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