NFL Preseason Week 2 Picks: Garoppolo and Behold

Predicting the preseason is no easy task. Most of the expensive priced players will see limited-to-no time on the field. Therefore, an owner needs to mentally prepare themselves to leave a substantial amount of salary on the table and not feel tempted to use it. Backups and the backups’ backups will play for the majority of the game and score a majority of the fantasy points. The hard part is determining who will see the field and touch the ball in a game where coaches are more focused on evaluating players than winning the game. So without further ado, here are the players I envision seeing the field and ultimately producing on a difficult slate to predict:

Quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots, $13,600 – Typically starting QBs are not destined to play much in the preseason but Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t your average starting QB. Launched into the role because of Tom Brady and “Deflate Gate,” Garoppolo is trying to learn how to be a starter in the league on the fly. He attempted all of 27 passes in his rookie season and clearly the team believed he needed more seasoning because he attempted 30 passes in preseason game number one. Expect many more opportunities in preseason game number two where the projected total of 43 points ranks second among all games.

Brock Osweiler, Broncos, $11,100 – Sans John Fox, it’s not like the Broncos offense is going to become ultra conservative especially considering the fact they still have Peyton Manning and his weapons in the passing game. That being said, Manning is nearing the end of his career and the team has little reason to risk injury to the 39 year old. Just in case something happens to him, it would be smart to season his backup and that’s exactly what the Broncos did in preseason game number one. Brock Osweiler completed 15-20 passes for 151 yards and a TD. Trevor Siemian and Zac Dysert are competing for the third QB job but are likely to once again be delegated only a few opportunities due to the team wanting an extended look at Osweiler. The over/under of the game sits at 41, and the Broncos are listed as 2.5 point underdogs, but do not fear. With talented weapons such as Cody Latimer and Virgil Green, Osweiler should have plenty to work with even on the second unit.

Running Back

Kenjon Barner, Eagles, $8,300 – A plethora of factors are working in Kenjon Barner’s favor in preseason week number two. For one, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles all have a reputation for being injury prone. Consequently none of the trio should be expected to see much action. Secondly, Barner is competing for a roster spot with undrafted free agent Raheem Mostert and Chip Kelly is likely to play favorites considering Barner played for him at Oregon. Last but not least, Barner rushed for 29 yards and a TD in the first preseason game and also returned a punt for a TD. After producing in the first week, his coach (who seems to have a soft spot for players he has coached in the past), will probably give him another shot to succeed. Although this is the preseason, Kelly still coaches the team so the offense will move a quick pace. All who are granted a shot to see the field will enjoy the plentiful opportunities. If Barner is yet again presented the chance to both return kicks and see a fair share of carries, I am confident in his prospects to produce.

Branden Oliver, Chargers, $8,000 – The drafting of first round RB Melvin Gordon means Branden Oliver will slide down a spot on the depth chart this season. Oliver, who racked up 853 all-purpose yards and scored four TD as a rookie, will serve as a complimentary back to Gordon instead of being “the man” like he was for a stretch last season. Danny Woodhead possesses similar skills and likely catapults him as the main third down RB as long as he proves his health. Since he has been delegated to third string at best, it’s no wonder the team wasn’t shy to hand him a decent workload in his first preseason game. In the first game, Jahwan Edwards edged out Oliver for the team lead in carries, but Oliver proved to be more effective (5.3 yards per carry versus Edwards’ 4.8). Even if Oliver’s snaps are reduced slightly, he possesses the dual threat of rushing the ball and catching it out of the backfield. He was only targeted once in the first game but caught 36 passes in 14 games last season. I love that type of potential when roles are still unsure so I’m willing to take the gamble on him. UPDATE: Melvin Gordon is likely to miss the Chargers second preseason game with what is being deemed a minor ankle injury. This solidifies the playing time even further for Oliver. ANOTHER UPDATE: Melvin Gordon says he’s healthy and ready to play against the Cardinals now. I still doubt they push him very hard and all still applies to Oliver’s outlook.

Wide Receiver

Davante Adams, Packers, $14,200 – All-NFL QB Aaron Rodgers attempted 19 passes against the Patriots. If he sees a similar type workload, give a boost to all of the starters. The good news is Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb saw a combined three targets in that game and are likely to be the ones pulled early. Davante Adams on the other hand is a second year player out of Fresno State who could still use the experience and flashed his ability in his first NFL season. He led the Packers in targets in the first preseason game (seven). He has the advantage of playing both the slot with the first team and likely staying in the game some with the backups. In this offense, even if it is Scott Tolzien throwing to him, you have to love the upside.

Nelson Agholor, Eagles, $11,800 – Did I mention the Eagles offense runs at a fast pace? Clearly Vegas noticed this blatantly obvious trend as well because the Baltimore/Philadelphia game opened with the highest over/under of any game in preseason week two (44.5). The Eagles are favored by three points so that means their total is the highest projected of any team. Three Eagles saw at least five targets in the first preseason game: Eric Tomlinson, Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Tomlinson may be fighting a losing battle for a spot (although Zach Ertz is out for the preseason) and Matthews established himself last season. The way I see it, Agholor is a rookie likely destined for a substantial role in the offense this season so there’s plenty of motivation for him to see the field. He was the best chance to reproduce the target total from week one… a game in which he found the end zone (three catches, 57 yards and a TD).

BONUS: Devin Funchess, Panthers, $7,900 – With the ACL injury to Kelvin Benjamin, the Panthers are going to have to scramble to develop Devin Funchess into their top receiver. That mission will begin this weekend against the Dolphins and I bet he sees an extra serving of reps to speed up the process.

Tight End

Virgil Green, Broncos, $6,800 – If using Osweiler, you may as well stack him with either talented young receiver Cody Latimer or tight end Virgil Green. The two seemed to form some chemistry in the first game with the seven yard TD pass as the icing on the cake. Green finished with five receptions (REC) for 45 yards. Playing the aging Owen Daniels for an extended stretch remains unlikely so look for more of the Osweiler-Green connection in week two.

Nick Boyle, Ravens, $6,000 – 30 points the Ravens offense slung on the Saints in game one and they’re involved in the highest total game of week two (against the Eagles). Projected starter Maxx Williams caught two passes on three targets for 36 yards. Although Nick Boyle only accumulated 25 yards in the air, he led the team in both targets (seven) and REC (four). Having watched Williams in college, I doubt he has much to prove in order to lock down the starting role because he is a stud. It makes sense to instead get a look and see what Boyle can do in the passing game as he projects as a short yardage possession type receiver. That type of floor has value in the preseason because young QBs may look for their check-down receiver and Boyle is a gigantic target (6’4, 260 lbs).

DST

Minnesota Vikings, $5,400 – Minnesota/Oakland has the lowest total of any game in the second preseason week and the Raiders have the lowest projected point total of any team. Oakland’s QBs threw two interception last week while the Vikings managed three turnovers against Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers. There’s nothing scary about the matchup with Derek Carr and Matt McGloin so deploy this defensive unit with confidence.

St. Louis Rams, $5,400 – 38.5 is the total in this game and somehow, someway Jeff Fisher coached defense always seem to find a way to get it done. A Fisher coached defense has ranked in the bottom half among all NFL teams in points allowed just once in the past seven years. In other words, his defenses do not allow many points. During that same span, they have only ranked in the bottom half of defensive turnovers twice. The team managed two turnovers and three sacks in the first game against Oakland. I would expect more of the same against inexperienced QB Marcus Mariota this week.

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders

Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: RotoCurve and The Fantasy Fix. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has agreed to be a writer and representative for the FantasyDraft brand and serves as an ambassador to the site. He has no more access to the site than the typical user. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

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