After last week’s Hall of Fame game and last night’s Wednesday night showcase, the NFL is back tonight with the multi-game day. There are seven games lined up tonight to get Preseason Week 1 off to a strong start. As always, predicting preseason can be tricky since coaches are evaluating different players for different things. Especially in Week 1, starters tend to play very little with young players and players in a fight for a roster spot get extended looks. It’s great to have football back, though, and if you’re planning on jumping into the early fantasy football action tonight on DraftKings, here are some of the players I think you should be keeping an eye on tonight
Brett Hundley – GB vs. PHI – $5,500 – Don’t expect to see Aaron Rodgers on the field for the Packers since Mike McCarthy already announced Hundley will make the start tonight against the Eagles. Last year, Hundley missed most of the preseason with an ankle injury and threw just 10 passes once the regular season started. However, he’s still viewed as one of the most talented backups in the league, and he should get extensive work with the Packers top team and second unit tonight against the Eagles. Joe Callahan and Taysom Hill will handle mop-up work late, but Hundley should get a chance to shine early at Lambeau Field.
Ryan Mallett – BAL vs. WAS – $5,500 – The Ravens are hoping Joe Flacco is ready for Week 1 of the regular season, but tonight they’ll take a long look at Mallett who is the team’s primary backup quarterback at this point. Mallett had a horrible start to camp which led to the Colin Kaepernick drama, but he has played much better lately causing some Ravens’ folks to predict a breakout game for him tonight against Washington. The Redskins allowed the fifth-most DKFP to opposing QBs last season, so they’re a good matchup for Mallett to step up against and prove he can enter the season as Baltimore’s backup. Regardless of the quality of his play, he’s one of the safer plays of the night based on the quantity of time he’s expected to be in the game. Coach John Harbaugh has said he will start and play “pretty extensively” which makes him one of the QBs with the clearest workload tonight.
Other Options – DeShone Kizer ($5,500), Trevor Siemian ($5,500)
Ka’Deem Carey – CHI vs DEN – $5,500 – The Bears have a stud workhorse back in Jordan Howard and added veteran Benny Cunningham and draft pick Tarik Cohen for depth this offseason. That could leave just one roster spot for Carey and Jeremy Langford who served as Howard’s backups last season. With Langford out tonight, Carey should get a chance to showcase his potential against the Broncos. He was a punishing back in limited work (32 carries) last year averaging 3.0 yards after contact per attempt. He’s seen as a good downhill runner with potential in the passing game as well, so look for the fourth-year player out of Arizona to get a long look tonight.
Jonathan Williams – BUF vs. MIN – $5,500 – This preseason, Buffalo is looking for Williams to step up as the primary backup behind LeSean McCoy after letting Karlos Williams go last year and losing Mike Gillislee to free agency. McCoy may get a few reps early, but Williams should get most of the work in the first half in the Bills’ preseason opener against the Vikings. Last year, Williams had just 27 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown in his rookie year out of Arkansas. According to reports throughout training camp, he has looked fast and ripped off some nice runs making him a solid option to consider against Minnesota. He has struggled at times with ball security, but he will get a chance tonight to prove his fumbling issues are behind him and start the preseason strong.
Other Options – Kenyan Drake ($5,500), Matthew Dayes ($5,500)
Carlos Henderson – DEN @ CHI – $5,500 – The Broncos grabbed Henderson in the third round and the rookie out of Lousiana Tech is already pushing for the third-wide-receiver job. While Cody Latimer, Marlon Brown and Bennie Fowler have more NFL experience, Henderson has been offering some big-play potential in training camp so far. He will be on the field more than the more established veterans tonight in his first taste of NFL action and should be a great target for Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch to use as both developing QBs try to prove they are worth the starting job in Denver. Getting Henderson involved could be a key to either one of their success’ tonight.
Quincy Adeboyejo – BAL vs. WAS – $5,500 – Adeboyejo doesn’t have the draft pedigree of Henderson after joining the Ravens as an undrafted free agent, but he has had a similarly impressive training camp and could be pushing hard for a spot on Baltimore’s final roster. With Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace established as the team’s top two options and Breshad Perriman hurt (again), Adeboyejo should see the field plenty tonight as he looks to continue to his blend of size and speed to terrorize Washington’s secondary.
Other Options – Brandon Coleman ($5,500), Ryan Grant ($5,500)
Dwayne Allen – NE vs. JAX – $5,500 – He probably won’t play much tonight with his new QB, but Allen will make his Patriots’ debut tonight as New England hosts Jacksonville. Reports out of camp have Allen and Gronk making a potent one-two punch at TE for the Patriots while Allen is getting lots of work in the red zone. If Allen gets good playing time with both the first and second units, he could continue to get some nice buzz as a sleeper in an offense loaded with weapons.
Seth DeValve – CLE vs. NO – $5,500 – The Browns will need new weapons this year after losing Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge and Andrew Hawkins this offseason. Barnidge was one of the main targets in the offense at TE last year, and the Browns will try to replace him this year with DeValve and first-round pick David Njoku. Rookie TEs often struggle, and Njoku has done just that in camp so far which could open the door for DeValve to step in. DeValve is a second-year player of Princeton and caught 10 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns last year even though he only played 92 snaps. He should get a long look this preseason as he tries to claim his spot atop the TE depth chart.
Other Options – Jeremy Sprinkle ($5,500), Austin Hooper ($5,500)
Saints – NO @ CLE – $5,500 – Picking a D/ST unit in the preseason is always difficult since it depends on game flow, how much time each starting unit will get and what unit they’ll be playing against. The reports out of Browns’ camp on all three of their QBs have been mixed, though, so the Saints could definitely ballhawk some nice turnovers tonight against Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler and rookie DeShone Kizer.
Bills – BUF vs. MIN – $5,500 – The Bills will host the Vikings who will likely either rest Sam Bradford or play the fragile QB for just a few plays. With Teddy Bridgewater still working his way back from last year’s catastrophic injury, Buffalo should see plenty of Case Keenum and Taylor Heinecke tonight. Especially since they’re on the road, the Vikings will limit their starters’ reps making the Bills unit a solid option to roll with tonight.
Other Options – Patriots ($5,500), Packers ($5,500)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.