Last Updated: July 8th at 5:45pm ET

Note 11:01am ET: Bumped Dontrell Hilliard slightly down in wake of Duke Johnson trade.
Note 2:51pm ET: Swapped Paxton Lynch with Geno Smith after confirmation Smith expected to get entire first half.
Note 4:06pm ET: Swapped Ryan Tannehill for Logan Woodside based on report Tannehill’s playing time will be limited.
Note 4:42pm ET: Moved up Dexter Williams in the wake of Corey Grant getting released Thursday afternoon.
Note 5:02pm ET: Added Rashad Ross with reports that Carolina will rest their top-5 wideouts.
Note 5:36pm ET: Jordan Wilkins has been officially ruled out, as expected.
Note 5:45pm ET: Bilal Powell has been ruled out. The Jets still have four RBs likely to play Thursday.
Note 6:04pm ET: Terrelle Pryor has been ruled out The Jaguars are really thin at RB and WR.
Note 6:39pm ET: Quincy Enunwa is warming up and looks like he will play. Downgrade other Jets WR’s slightly.

DFS is a game of partial information, and Preseason DFS takes that to an extreme. It is very difficult to be certain about playing time, particularly at wide receiver and tight end. What we do know is that playing time projections are the most important factor and an ability to do them well will separate winners from losers.

Below you will find our tiered options for Thursday’s main 11-game slate. These will always have a heavy emphasis on players we expect to get the most snaps, with a secondary emphasis on talent. The best way to project this playing time is by using our Team-by-Team Depth Charts to figure out where teams are thin.

While there are differences in the scoring systems between DraftKings and Fanduel, they aren’t as stark in preseason. The yardage bonuses DK awards almost certainly won’t come into play, and players rarely rack up more than 3-5 catches — therefore weakening the value of full PPR. That said, we will note when there is something site-specific.

Also note that playing time projections at quarterback and running back are far more accurate than at wide receiver and tight end. Due to the number of bodies at each position on a roster, we recommend a shallower pool of players at QB/RB vs. WR/TE.

You can see our Depth Chart Projections for this slate here, and our Live Show will begin around 5:45pm ET on Thursday night here.

 

QUARTERBACK
TIER 1
Joe Webb, TexansDeshaun Watson is expected to play 1-2 series at most and may not play at all. Backup AJ McCarron hurt his thumb Tuesday and is out. The Texans signed tryout-caliber QB Jordan Ta’amu on Wednesday, but we’re only projecting him for late-game handoffs and mop-up duty at most. That leaves old friend Joe Webb with a playing time projection of three quarters with upside for even more. Always a fantasy-friendly asset thanks to his legs, Webb also has torn through preseasons with his arm. Over the last three Augusts, he’s thrown for 1,167 yards and 9 TDs on 355 snaps. He’ll get 50+ snaps Thursday. 

 

TIER 2
Trace McSorley, RavensLamar Jackson probably won’t play more than a quarter, and No. 2 QB Robert Griffin III (thumb) won’t be active at all. Well-traveled camp arm Joe Callahan is the only other healthy quarterback on Baltimore’s roster. McSorley topped 8.0 yards per pass attempt and scored 30 rushing TDs at Penn State before blazing a 4.57 forty at February’s Combine. He has a shot at two-plus quarters of playing time Thursday night.

Tyree Jackson, Bills — We have it on fairly reliable word that Jackson will handle most if not all of Thursday’s second half against the Colts. Jackson earned 2018 Offensive MVP in the MAC and runs 4.59 at 6-foot-7, 249. Although his ball placement is frustratingly wild, Jackson’s physical tools will render him the best athlete on the field against third- and fourth-stringers.

Tyler Bray, Bears — Coach Matt Nagy has hinted the Bears’ starters will barely play this preseason, leaving battle-tested Chase Daniel and long-term project Bray as Chicago’s only remaining quarterback options. Bray dominated snaps in each of last year’s first two preseason games, averaging 30.5 pass attempts and showing enough rapport with Javon Wims that they qualify as a first-tier QB-WR stack on this year’s Preseason Week 1 slate.

Geno Smith, Seahawks — Russell Wilson is out, leaving only Smith and Paxton Lynch. Geno will start and is expected to play a full half. He gets the slight nod over Lynch as simply the better player, operating with higher-talent receivers and in more-likely first-half passing environment. Note Smith will have a “procedure” after the game, but it isn’t expected to affect him Thursday.

Daniel Jones, Giants — We don’t know exactly how the Giants will handle their QBs, but all reports indicate Jones playing a lot. The No. 6 overall pick showed rushing ability at Duke, carrying 406 times for 1,323 yards and 17 TDs in 36 games.

Logan Woodside, Titans — Marcus Mariota expected to play 1-2 series at most and latest reports have Ryan Tannehill not playing much either. That gives Woodside a legit shot at three quarters with a floor of 2.5. The former Toledo standout threw for 73 touchdowns in his final 27 college games.

 

TIER 3
Jarrett Stidham, PatriotsTom Brady will sit, leaving only veteran Brian Hoyer and Stidham. The fourth-round rookie out of Auburn has reportedly been lighting up camp and could get as much as three quarters in a best-case scenario. We don’t know how much Hoyer will play.

Tom Savage, Lions — This is only in play if Matthew Stafford doesn’t play at all. If that happens, we’re projecting Savage for the entire first half and David Fales for the second half.  

Drew Lock, Broncos — Looked dreadful and inept in Hall of Fame Game, but Broncos say he’ll play “a lot” Thursday. That likely means a bit of the second quarter and all of the second half.

 

 

RUNNING BACK
TIER 1
Bo Scarbrough, Seahawks — Injuries have decimated the second tier of the Seahawks backfield. CJ Prosise (hip) and Travis Homer (quad) are both out. JD McKissic (foot) is doubtful. Pete Carroll said he doesn’t want to play the starters much, which means we’re expecting limited action for Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. That left only second-year Alabama RB Scarbrough to carry the mail until Wednesday, when the Seahawks signed Xavier Turner off the street. But we’re not expecting Turner — who was cut by the Cardinals Friday — to play much considering he has 24 hours to get ready.

Dexter Williams, PackersAaron Jones and Jamaal Williams won’t play due to hamstring strains, and Tra Carson (neck spasms) looks doubtful. In-camp waiver pickups Darrin Hall and Keith Ford do pose some competition, but Corey Grant was cut Thursday afternoon. A sixth-round pick out of Notre Dame, Dexter Williams offers an above-par Speed Score with 4.57 jets at 212 pounds, and Packers beat writers expect him to lead the team in touches on Thursday night.

Jonathan Williams, ColtsMarlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins are out. Spencer Ware is gone. Nyheim Hines is not expected to play much. That leaves Jonathan Williams, D’Onta Foreman (just signed Monday) and Aca’Cedric Ware (just signed Wednesday). Coach Frank Reich has already said that Foreman is not expected to play much and we’re not projecting Ware for more than mop-up at best. Leaves a ton of meat on the bone for Williams.

 

TIER 2
Reggie Bonnafon, Panthers — Carolina is only carrying five RBs total. Jordan Scarlett (back) is out and Christian McCaffrey is expected to rest (along with Cam Newton). We’re projecting Cameron Artis-Payne for roughly 15 snaps, but even if he gets more there’s still at 2+ quarters for Bonnafon and Elijah Holyfield. Bonnafon is a pass-catching back who had six receptions in preseason Week 4 last season.

Damien Harris, Patriots — The Patriots list eight RBs on their depth chart, but in reality they have three. Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead are all out, and James Develin/Jakob Johnson are fullbacks. Special teamer Brandon Bolden will likely play 10-15 snaps, but this is a good spot for the Patriots to kick the tires on their rookie.

Elijah Holyfield, Panthers — As noted in the Bonnafon post, Carolina is extremely thin at running back. Holyfield has a slightly lower floor/ceiling combo as the weaker pass-catcher. He is indeed the son of famed boxer Evander Holyfield.

Nick Brossette, Patriots — We’re projecting Damien Harris and Brossette to handle a majority of the running back snaps for New England. Brossette is an unathletic UDFA out of LSU, but it’s likely he gets a lot of late-game work. The Patriots have no one else to burn carries at the end of the game.

 

TIER 3
Dontrell Hilliard, Browns — We originally had Hilliard in Tier 3 by himself, but the Duke Johnson trade means the Browns need Hilliard to be their No. 3 back in the regular season. That means he’ll likely play less Thursday. Still, the UDFA needs work and the Browns are thin at running back. We’re watching the status of Nick Chubb (possible rest) and Trayone Gray (just came off NFI Monday) closely. If they’re both out, the Browns will only have Hilliard, D’Ernest Johnson and A.J. Ouellette at RB.

Jeremy McNichols, TitansDerrick Henry (calf) and David Fluellen (knee) are not expected to play.  That leaves just four running backs left to carry the load. McNichols stands to be the main beneficiary with veteran Dion Lewis not expected to see much action.

Zach Zenner, Lions — Board member of #TeamPreseason always in play in August. If Kerryon Johnson and CJ Anderson rest, the Lions will only have three RBs. Zenner, Mark Thompson and Ty Johnson.

Ty Johnson, Lions — Flashy sixth-round rookie who has a 86th-percentile adjusted Speed Score via Player Profiler. His play reportedly one of the reasons Theo Riddick was let go. And the Lions could be thin at RB, as noted in the Zenner post above.

David Montgomery, Bears — The Bears are only carrying five RBs and we’re not expecting a lot of Tarik Cohen or Mike Davis. That leaves Montgomery, Ryan Nall and Kerrith Whyte. The concern is Matt Nagy views Montgomery as one of his starters and scales the workload back. In that scenario, Nall and Whyte become interesting.

 

 

WIDE RECEIVER
TIER 1
Javon Wims, Bears — A 6-foot-3, 215-pound plus-sized slot receiver with adequate speed (4.53) and an innate knack for winning contested catches, Wims led the NFL in 2018 preseason receiving yards (227) and did the vast majority of his damage with Tyler Bray, who figures to lead the Bears in preseason quarterback snaps once again.

Preston Williams, Dolphins — Originally a five-star recruit to Tennessee, Williams’ college career was severely derailed by multiple failed drug tests and a 2017 domestic violence charge, even after he transferred to Colorado State. Williams finally stayed eligible for a full college season in 2018 and went ham (96/1,345/14). He still went undrafted in 2019, landing in Miami. Practice reports have been consistently positive on Williams from OTAs through training camp.

Keelan Cole, Jaguars — Cole has caught 80 balls over the last two seasons.  He however finds himself a bit further down the depth chart than you would expect someone of his caliber as the Jags identified Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and DJ Chark as their starters. Cole has already proved he can produce in the preseason catching a 97 yard touchdown two years ago in his preseason debut.

 

TIER 2
Antonio Callaway, Browns — Callaway showed up to camp out of shape and has been stuck with the second-stringers ever since. Remember last year the Browns “punished” Callaway by making him play the entire game in preseason Week 1 and he recorded 3-87-1. The Browns have quality QB depth in Drew Stanton and AAF stud Garrett Gilbert behind Baker Mayfield. Even Mayfield is expected to play 1-2 series.

Artavis Scott, Chargers — We could make a case the Chargers have the thinnest WR depth chart on the slate. Keenan Allen (rest), Mike Williams (rest), Travis Benjamin (undisclosed) and Andre Patton (undisclosed) are all in serious doubt. And they started with only 10 wideouts on their depth chart. Scott has generated buzz in camp, following up last August when he caught eight balls in three games before getting hurt.

Brandon Powell, Lions —  During camp Powell has been receiving work as a running back giving him different ways to get involved in the offense.  Powell has already showcased he can have a productive preseason when last year he caught 16 balls in four games. If he can add a few interactions out of the backfield it can give him a floor other wideouts on this slate don’t have. 

Reece Fountain, Colts — Fountain has been one of the talks of Colts camp thus far.  He possesses a 99th percentile Burst Score and was a productive receiver in college at Northern Iowa catching 12 touchdowns his senior season. 

Terrelle Pryor, Jaguars — In all likelihood, this is 30-year-old Pryor’s final NFL shot after he flopped spectacularly with the 2017 Redskins and couldn’t stay healthy in 2018. According to practice reports, Pryor has formed an on-field bond with Jaguars rookie QB Gardner Minshew

Alonzo Russell, Giants — The 6-foot-4 WR has become an early favorite of rookie QB Daniel Jones. The Giants receiving core is fairly thin with Sterling Shephard (finger) out, Golden Tate doubtful and back-end roster guys Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Brittain Golden (groin) both questionable.  Russell sets up to see a healthy amount of playing time.

Derrick Willies, Browns — Cleveland is only carrying 11 WRs. If Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and Damion Ratley (hamstring) all sit, they’re down to eight. They also have a good quarterback situation, as noted above. So we’re willing to take shots on guys like Willies, who is having such a strong camp he’s reportedly in line for the No. 5 WR job.

DeVante Parker, Dolphins — We don’t know how much the Dolphins will play their starters, but they are in full evaluation mode. It’s possible that one quarter of Parker and Ryan Fitzpatrick is better than 2.5 quarters of some borderline combos.

Jaelen Strong, Browns — Another athletic Browns wideout. As noted above, this is a wideout situation we’re interested in.

 

TIER 3
Jakobi Meyers, Patriots — The Patriots could be without as many as five wideouts Thursday. They’ll still be nine-deep at the position and Jarrett Stidham is shaky, but Meyers has been lighting up camp and pushing up the depth chart. This is a chance for him to step on the throat of Braxton Berrios.

Jason Moore, Chargers — The Chargers’ receiving corps is one of the thinnest going into the slate. Moore has been talked up during camp as one of the candidates to replace Tyrell Williams‘ production. Moore caught 39 touchdowns in just 37 games at Findley College in Ohio. He has a 97th percentile Agility Score and 94th percentile Catch Radius, via Player Profiler.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Eagles Mack Hollins (hip) and Shelton Gibson (foot) are questionable. So if the Eagles sit those guys as well as DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor, this unit will suddenly be down to seven guys. JJAW is one of the better natural talents at wideout in play on this slate.

Greg Dortch, Jets — Dortch is just 5-foot-7 but was an extremely productive in college, catching 89 balls for Wake Forest last season. With Jamison Crowder unlikely to play much if at all it should open up quite a few snaps for Dortch in the slot.

Tim White, Jets — A onetime Ravens camp star, White has reportedly shown similarly well for the Jets this summer. As a 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver with 4.56 speed, however, White’s best chance to show out is in preseason rather than regular season games.

Dontrelle Inman, Patriots — The 30-year-old veteran receiver needs to make the most of these preseason opportunities to find himself on the 53-man roster. He has been running strictly with Jarrett Stidham and the third-team offense in practice meaning he should have some rapport with the rookie quarterback.

Geremy Davis, Chargers — As we’ve mentioned above, the Chargers are a wideout depth chart we’re focused on. Davis brings a 6-foot-3 frame and went 4-88-1 in last year’s preseason Week 1.

Reggie White, Giants — The Giants are currently thin at receiver due to injuries.  White is a rookie who caught 71 balls out of Monmouth and has been talked up quite a bit during camp.  As noted above this is a wideout situation that we have interest in.

 

TIER 4
Rashad Ross, Panthers — DJ Moore, Curtis Samuel, Chris Hogan, Jarius Wright and Torrey Smith are all likely to rest. Ross and Lord Aldrick Robinson stand out as core members of past #TeamPreseasons.

Hakeem Butler, Cardinals — Arizona is deep at WR, but Butler is buried on the depth chart and therefore should get plenty of run here. He’s reportedly shown good chemistry with fourth-string QB Drew Anderson.

Christian Blake, Falcons — Blake would be at least one tier higher if the Falcons’ quarterback situation wasn’t so bad. He’s still in play after following up a strong camp with a 5-46-0 line in the Hall of Fame Game.

Charles Johnson, Eagles — Johnson’s problem has never been talent; he’s been victimized by untimely injuries and circumstance. He was the best receiver in the short-lived AAF. On Thursday night, Johnson’s biggest obstacles will be playing time and quarterback quality.

Deontay Burnett, JetsSam Darnold’s go-to guy in his final season at USC, Burnett is running as the Jets’ second-team slot receiver in camp. He got some NFL experience as an undrafted rookie last year and should play quite a bit in the preseason opener.

Isaiah McKenzie, Bills — Electric with the ball in his hands, McKenzie returned five punts and one kickoff to the house at Georgia, then blazed 4.42 at the 2017 NFL Combine. McKenzie logged three games of four-plus catches last December. Now, he’s fighting for his roster life behind overpaid Cole Beasley and overrated Zay Jones

Duke Williams, Bills — Originally a five-star recruit to LSU and later Auburn, Williams wound up getting kicked out of school and resurfacing in Canada, where he led the CFL in 2018 receiving yards (1,579). Williams’ camp performance has generated mixed beat-writer reviews, but he’s going to be much bigger (6’3/225) and more experienced than his weak competition on Thursday night.

Ishmael Hyman, Browns — We continue to identify wideout options on the Browns. Beat writer speculation has Hyman playing in both the first and second halves Thursday.

Tre McBride, Jaguars — The Jags’ WR depth chart will be thinned out considerably if Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and DJ Chark only play 1-2 series. McBride was a former darling of the DraftNik community desperately trying to hang on in the league.

Christ Butler, Dolphins — Annually one of the league’s best deep threats in August, Butler is now trying to make the team in Miami. This is an 11-man WR depth chart but Albert Wilson (hip) and Jakeem Grant (hamstring) are not expected to play.

 

 

TIGHT END
TIER 1
Robert Tonyan, PackersJimmy Graham and Mercedes Lewis are both candidates to rest. Jace Sternberger (concussion) is not expected to play. That leaves a lot of room for Tonyan, who went 8-61-2 last preseason and had a 54-yard touchdown catch in Week 11 of the regular season. Tonyan ran a 4.58 at 6’5/236 at his Pro Day.

Hayden Hurst, Ravens — The Ravens weren’t afraid to overexpose 2018 first-rounder Hurst in last year’s preseason; he logged 78 snaps and ran 52 routes in three games before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. Baltimore knows what it has in field-stretcher Mark Andrews and blocker Nick Boyle. It’s up to Hurst to show he deserves to be a part of the tight end rotation.

Mo Alie-Cox, Colts — Alie-Cox is a former standout basketball player at VCU. The Colts are likely to be without Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, and Ross Travis on Thursday night leaving what looks like a great opportunity to get an extended amount of playing time.

Noah Fant, Broncos — In his first game Fant recorded only one catch for seven yards. However he received three targets (and a fourth on a defensive penalty) in just 12 offensive snaps. We expect Fant to see even more snaps this week and it was clear they were targeting him last week. He also gets the added benefit of better passers throwing him the ball with Joe Flacco and Kevin Hogan set to see time.

 

TIER 2
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins — Still one of the best raw athletes we’ve seen at the tight end position, Gesicki continues to struggle at the NFL level with physicality. We suspect the Dolphins will throw him to the wolves for serious playing time here, and Ryan Fitzpatrick/Josh Rosen is a fine quarterback tandem on this slate.

Tommy Sweeney, Bills — The Bills are a bit thin at tight end with Dawson Knox (hamstring) and Jason Croom (hamstring) not expected to play. Sweeney, a seventh-round rookie, has been a camp standout.

 

TIER 3
Anthony Firkser, Titans — With Delanie Walker (ankle) and Jonnu Smith (knee) not practicing in camp Firkser has seen playing time with all three offensive units.  His athleticism doesn’t jump off the page but reports out of camp indicate he is getting targeted often and is showing well as a pass catcher.

MyCole Pruitt, Titans — Pruitt has already shown he has the skill set to produce in preseason contests, the more athletic option of the Titans tight ends, he should get the first opportunity with Walker and Smith in doubt.

Stephen Anderson, Patriots — We’re not sure if veterans Ben Watson or Matt LaCosse will play. Lance Kendricks (knee) is out. The best pass-catching tight end remaining is Anderson, who had at least one catches in 13-of-15 games for the Texans last season.

Pharaoh Brown, Browns — This would be a straight depth chart play. Demetrius Harris and Seth DeValve are out with concussions and we’re not expecting to see much of David Njoku. Browns pass-catchers have plus quarterbacks with them in Drew Stanton and Garrett Gilbert.

Logan Thomas, Lions — The Lions tight end situation is a bit thin. Jesse James and T.J. Hockenson should not play much and they’re only carrying five tight ends total. Thomas has proven his pass catching ability already in the preseason catching at least two balls in 5-of-8 games over the last two preseasons.

Wes Saxton, Seahawks — Seattle just signed Saxton four days ago as an emergency. Will Dissly (knee), Jacob Holllister (groin) and Ed Dickson (knee) are all out. Saxton is an athletic tight end who caught 50 balls as a junior at South Alabama. He’d be much higher on this list if we were confident he was up to speed in the playbook and the Seahawks trusted him to run routes already. If Nick Vannett only plays a couple series, Saxton and Jackson Harris will get all the run. 

James O’Shaughnessy, JaguarsJosh Oliver (hamstring) is out and it’s unclear how much Geoff Swaim will play. O’Shaughnessy caught 24 balls in 14 games for the Jags last season and stands out as their only real pass-catching option at the position Thursday.

 

 

DEFENSES
TIER 1

Dolphins vs. Falcons — 38-year-old Matt Schaub is a pick-six time bomb. Matt Simms was just signed Sunday after a disaster stint in the AAF. They’ll get most of the QB snaps for ATL after Matt Ryan gets 1-2 series. 

Ravens vs. Jaguars — Ravens are the biggest favorites on the slate at -4 with a 31.5 total. Gardner Minshew, Tanner Lee and Alex McGough are the Jags’ QBs.

Seahawks vs. Broncos — If you watched Drew Lock play in the Hall of Fame Game, you know there will be opportunities for Seattle to generate big plays.

TIER 2
Patriots at Detroit — Tom Savage and David Fales will take all the QB snaps for the Lions.

TIER 3
Eagles vs. Titans — The Eagles have a lot of quality depth up front and will likely see Logan Woodside for at least a half.

Broncos at Seahawks — The Seahawks are not playing starters while the Broncos are. Geno Smith and Paxton Lynch are certainly turnover-prone.