Opportunity Awaits: NFL Week 2 Preseason Targets – Lock and Load

With the Thursday slate over, Saturday offers us a larger eight game slate on FantasyDraft. With preseason we often will not know who to play until closer to lineup lock, but this article will go over some players you can comfortably set in your lineup already, before filling spots in around them closer to the beginning of the games – the ‘Lock and Load’ players. Tomorrow, once we get closer to the start of the games I will go over the players that are flying a little more under the radar or are waiting for news to break in their favor to make them excellent plays.

If we have learned one thing through the first week and a bit of preseason, it is this – there is no such thing as a safe play. Coaches decisions, play calling and overall poor team play are some of the many things contributing to this. With that being the case, I am going to recommend some more high-risk, high-upside plays. With all of the plays being so risky, we might as well aim high with the picks!

This slate will cover the following games: KC at CIN, IND at DAL, GB at WAS, NYJ at DET, NE at HOU, LAR at OAK, CHI at ARI and DEN at SF. With that said, let’s get to the Lock and Load players for the slate!

QUARTERBACKS:

AJ McCarron, QB, Cincinnati

Despite being the backup on the Bengals, AJ McCarron is better than a few starting QBs in the league. He is likely not long for Cincinnati as they have their long-term answer in Andy Dalton, making these preseason games extra important for him and the Bengals. Not only is it the second week of preseason, where backups are the most important players, but he also needs to be showcased to the rest of the league as he is going to be traded at some point over the next year. Look for McCarron to shine here against the weaker competition of second-string defenses.

Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City

Coach Andy Reid has come out and said his QB rotation for Saturday’s game involves Smith getting the entire first half, followed by rookie Patrick Mahomes and camp arm Tyler Bray finishing the game. A full half of football is enough to make me want to play an unproven journeyman at QB, so getting an entire half out of an NFL starting quarterback in the second week is all I need to know!

Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver

Both Lynch and Trevor Siemian will get a quarter and a half of action against San Francisco on Saturday. I am going to give Lynch the edge here as he has had the best week of camp (surprisingly) and will be getting run with the first-team. Motivation is a powerful thing, and Lynch looks like he has finally begun showing signs of improvement in this QB battle.

 

RUNNING BACKS:

Tyler Ervin, RB, Houston

Ervin is one of those players who needs a good preseason performance to make his mark. He will earn a role on this team with his special teams work, but no doubt possesses the skills to play on offense as well. He is a jack-of-all-trades type, listed as a running back, but he will play as a receiver on multiple snaps in this game in addition to his running plays. I would not call him the safest play, but if you are trying to win a GPP on FantasyDraft, Ervin is the type of player who can get you there.

Benny Cunningham, RB, Chicago

There has been little to no chatter coming out of Bears camp in regards to who will see the field most on Saturday. At the conclusion of Friday’s practice, coach John Fox had yet to make any determinations on playing time, only saying that his expectation was that his starters play better. For now, the best bet to see playing time, and fantasy opportunities, is third-down back Benny Cunningham. He impressed last game and will again get a chance to shine. Cunningham excels in the passing game, increasing his floor with FantasyDraft’s point-per-reception scoring system. Make sure to follow the news on this one, but Cunningham is shaping up to be a great option.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Chester Rogers, WR, Indianapolis

Rogers was a desirable play in the first preseason week and will be the same again here. He has almost locked down the teams WR3 role ahead of the underwhelming combination of Kamar Aiken and Phillip Dorsett. The only thing holding him back is the quarterback play; without Andrew Luck there has been a massive dropoff in play. Rogers will not be short on opportunity in this game.

Ryan Grant, WR, Washington

Josh Doctson has returned to practice this week, but remains unlikely to play in Saturday’s game. This leaves Ryan Grant in to handle the starters, reps as well as spending some time with his usual backup crew. He came out with one reception for 17 yards in the first preseason game and needs to improve on that total here. A few reps with Kirk Cousins, followed by a few with Colt McCoy should be just what the doctor ordered!

Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles Rams

The rookie receiver missed the first preseason game with injury and has finally resumed practicing this week. He has impressed onlookers with his deep routes and his red zone ability – two skills that can give you exactly what you need to win a preseason GPP as they lead to big plays and touchdowns. Reynolds and Sammy Watkins will make the Los Angeles receiver rotation much different than last week and this is a perfect chance to take advantage of the uncertainty here. If the Rams can make it into scoring position, Reynolds has more touchdown equity than almost any other WR on the slate.

Jaydon Mickens, WR, Oakland

I love big-play hunting in preseason. You can make huge gains on the field anytime you roster a player at reasonable ownership levels who has one or two big plays in a game! Mickens definitely fits the bill if you want to play that way. He is an undersized, yet speedy, receiver who seems to have the inside track on landing one of the final roster spots for the Raiders. He has developed chemistry with EJ Manuel, who will be the QB on the field with him most Saturday. Mickens is a great GPP option on this slate.

Marqise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco

Yes, I am continuing to bang the drum for these high-risk, high-upside plays. Goodwin has great chemistry with starting QB Brian Hoyer and will be given the chance to try and get open down the field on the first few drives. Kyle Shanahan brought him to this team to utilize his speed, and these games are a huge opportunity for him to show it off.

TIGHT ENDS:

Jacob Hollister, TE, New England

Yes, Hollister will be chalky after his performance last week, but it is for good reason. He is a backup on the roster, which is what we target, and he is a TE who excels in the pass-catching area of the game while struggling some in pass protection. This may not help his case when it comes to making the roster, but it helps his case to make our fantasy rosters (I know, I know, not much of a consolation prize for him). Sometimes you need to eat the chalk, and at a position with limited options this could be one of those times.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE, Arizona

RSJ is a fantastic athlete with the ability to go up and grab a pass against anyone. He has shown this off at camp time after time and could offer serious value at a weak position this week. Yes, he can put up a zero and it would surprise no one, but he could also turn a couple of red zone targets into a couple of touchdowns in short order. Another high-upside GPP play!

These are some of the players who have a great chance to push your team to the top of a GPP on Saturday. They do not all have the safest floor, but there is no such thing as a floor in preseason football. LOCK them into your rosters, LOAD up with other high-upside players and shoot for the top! I will be back tomorrow with some more great plays for you as news develops and the best options rise to the forefront. Also, if you have yet to play on FantasyDraft, sign up through the FantasyDegens link so you can be eligible to participate in our exclusive Week 1 NFL contest, with an incredible VIP trip to Charlotte in October to take in a NASCAR race from a luxury suite! Follow the link here to join and you will also receive a free month of access to FantasyDegens.com: https://page.fantasydraft.com/landing/fantasydegens/

Cecil Peters

Cecil Peters

You can catch Cecil Peters at FantasyDegens.com where we love to chat all things sports and have great tools available to help you evolve your DFS game or on Twitter @cecpetes.

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