Preseason Bottom Line: August 13


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Preseason Bottom Line: August 13


Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Bills at Lions (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

Josh Allen has carried his ridiculous play from last season that earned him a six-year, $258 million extension — $150 million guaranteed — over to training camp. But word has been passed along that he will not play on Friday night. In fact, Allen, Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Ryan, and Jared Goff are expected to play minimal snaps or sit entirely.

Snaps will be distributed among Mitchell Trubisky, Davis Webb, and Jake Fromm. Trubisky fell out of favor in Chicago after stretches of erratic play overtook the memories of his promising early-career success. Webb and Fromm are in a battle for third on the depth chart. As a former 2017 second overall pick, Trubisky is essentially a lock to be Allen’s backup. However, HC Sean McDermott and OC Brian Daboll will want to see him lead their offense against an actual opponent before anointing him as anything.

The Bottom Line: Trubisky just did not play well enough to be the starter for the Bears. It was abundantly clear on tape and supported by the analytics. That said, he did offer the occasional fantasy-worthy performance in the right matchups. Guess what? Trubisky will not only face the team with the most porous secondary in 2020, he’ll face the Lions during the preseason while second- and third-stringers are plugged into the game. Trubisky should be 100% rostered on Friday night.

Tim Boyle, QB, Lions vs. Bills (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

Some of the most valuable compliments are not those supplied by superiors, peers, or, in sports, by surrounding teammates. Many times, the moment an individual is no longer affiliated with that company/team, those same individuals tell quite a different story. The most important compliments come from former superiors, peers, and teammates. So, the following really provides valuable insight into the professionalism of Tim Boyle:

As for “The Legend of Tim Boyle” mentioned above, it’s in reference to his outstanding preseason success with Green Bay. In four career starts, he’s averaged 139 passing yards and 1.5 TD passes (zero INTS). In 2019, he threw six TDs without an INT. And, when the Packers failed to extend him a tender to make Boyle a restricted free agent, it was one of the decisions that infuriated Aaron Rodgers.

It certainly hasn’t taken Boyle long for Detroit's coaching staff to take notice of his talents. He may only ever manage to be a backup NFL QB, but that is far from a condescending distinction. He is currently locked in a camp battle with David Blough to fall in second behind Goff. We have the following to measure our expectations of his playing time:

The Bottom Line: If Boyle were set to face the first-string Buffalo defense, as is the case for a long list of starting QBs, we would look elsewhere. The Bills have one of the most dominant coverage defenses in the NFL. But that quality does not extend to the depths of their second- and third-stringers. Boyle may no longer have the same personnel he had with the Packers, but the extended playing time, and tremendous preseason history are too much to pass up.


Logan Woodside, QB, Titans at Falcons (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

Running Backs

Rico Dowdle, Cowboys at Cardinals (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

In addition to cutting the number of preseason games from four-to-three, another new wrinkle calls for teams to carry out roster cuts after each of those games. That places infinitely more pressure on every player teetering on the roster bubble to perform. Some feel Rico Dowdle has already secured his roster spot. The following words seem to support that narrative:

No matter what those in management feel about your work, there is never an appropriate time to become complacent. The lifespan of an NFL player is scary short, even shorter for RBs. A pair of rookies behind Dowdle on the depth chart, JaQuan Hardy and Brendan Knox, will both be doing everything they can to unseat Dowdle before it’s too late.

The Bottom Line: Ezekiel Elliot will be inactive. Tony Pollard may play five-or-so snaps. Dowdle led the RBs in snaps (21), touches (10), and total yards (59) in the Hall of Fame game. And he managed those numbers facing a much better defense. Dowdle is my RB1 on the slate.

Jonathan Ward, Cardinals vs. Cowboys (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

You’ve gotta feel for the UDFAs from the 2020 draft pool that were unable to crack an NFL team’s lineup. Since none of the declared prospects were able to show off their athleticism to NFL scouts at the Combine or a Pro Day, most of the attention focused on players inside the Power Five conferences. And, for those who found a way to actually draw the attention of teams, very few managed to crack a 53-man roster since the preseason was canceled. Jonathan Ward is one of the individuals who has fought through those challenges:

Ward managed to stick with the Cardinals throughout the ‘20 season, promoted to the active roster on three separate occasions. He ended up playing four offensive snaps, turning his lone touch into an 11-yard receiving TD. And he is far from satisfied being labeled as camp depth:

The Bottom Line: Ward and Eno Benjamin have an excellent opportunity to carve out a role as the RB3 behind Chase Edmonds and James Conner. The next step toward one of them taking that role will be on Friday night when the starters are expected to see limited time. Ward was a college fantasy beast while playing for Central Michigan, and he has the type of traits that could bink a GPP with enough touches.

Antonio Williams, Bills at Lions (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

The vast majority of the team that aided the Bills on their successful ‘20 season returns. One of the results of that luxurious distinction is, with everyone so focused on carrying out business as usual, minimal information is provided on players lower down on the depth chart. One of those is Antonio Williams:

We definitely shouldn’t forget what Williams did in Week 17 last season. Facing a Dolphins’ team desperately needing a win to qualify for the playoffs, Williams turned 12 carries into 63 rushing yards, two TDs, and took his lone target for 20 receiving yards. By all accounts, Matt Breida has turned in an outstanding camp. And he’s elevated himself to third on the depth chart. That tells us that Williams will have some work to do to keep his spot on the 53-man roster.

The Bottom Line: It’s being reported that Breida and Williams are “to be the featured backs Friday night.” Both are worthy of our DFS attention. The starting defense for the Lions proved to be one of the worst against the run last season. It’s safe to say their second- and third-string run defenders fall further behind in quality. Easy call.


Qadree Ollison, Falcons vs. Titans (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

Dedrick Mills, Lions vs. Bills (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

Mekhi Sargent, Titans at Falcons (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Lions vs. Bills (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

It’s finally here! When Amon-Ra St. Brown fell to the 112th pick, I was left speechless. My extensive evaluation of his collegiate tape resulted in a belief that he deserved to be in the Day 1 discussion. With all of the opinions passed around calling the fast Pro Day 40-times into question, it confounded me that similar arguments questioning some of the slower times weren’t made. Based on reading identical reports while attending USC, the following came as no surprise whatsoever:

St. Brown entered his true freshman season at USC as an unvarying professional. He was instantly plugged into the starting lineup, promptly returning that trust with results. After two weeks of training camp, we are seeing that exact same determination stand out with the Lions. His work ethic is second to none and he will have his first opportunity on Friday to begin his reign of terror on each of the franchises that chose to pass on him. The following will certainly help on Friday:

The Bottom Line: St. Brown is my WR1 on the Friday slate. He should be the most targeted on Detroit’s offense, potentially playing with Goff, Boyle, and David Blough.

Malik Turner, WR, Cowboys at Cardinals (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

The only WR who played more snaps in the Hall of Fame game than Malik Turner was ‘21 fifth-rounder Simi Fehoko. It’s true that Fehoko offers plenty of athleticism, but he is as raw as they come. The WR with the most impressive camp, by far, has been provided by CeeDee Lamb. If he and Dak Prescott remain healthy, Lamb is going nuclear this season. The most exciting detail surrounding his camp is that Lamb has been doing a lot of his work on the outside, kicking Michael Gallup into the slot. Gallup’s direct backup inside happens to be Turner, and he’s had quite a good camp, as well:

When facing the Steelers last week, Turner led the team with five targets and 47 yards. And then Pittsburgh's Justin Layne stripped the ball out of his hands after he converted a 4th-and-15. Just when it seemed Turner’s big night had been deflated by that turnover:

The Bottom Line: If McCarthy is happy, we should be happy to plug him into our lineups. With multiple folks saying how easily Turner has been able to free himself from physical coverage, facing off with the Man-heavy Cardinals’ defense places him into a situation to succeed.

Marcus Johnson, WR, Titans at Falcons (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

You might begin to notice a theme. The Titans will unleash an offense consisting of Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, and Julio Jones this season. Some questions along the O-line are concerning, and the defense is a work in progress. But the starpower they’ll pack along is quite intimidating. They signed Josh Reynolds and drafted Dez Fitzpatrick and Racey McMath. Yet it’s been Marcus Johnson who’s drawn the attention on offense:

It would be ideal if Tannehill were throwing him the ball. When Matt Barkley is under center, the chances of the two connecting on the deep stuff is decreased. However, when Logan Woodside is under center, Johnson’s fly routes will be in full effect.

The Bottom Line: Since Woodside is the acting backup and Johnson has been the hottest WR in camp, the two will see plenty of snaps together. All we need from Johnson when Barkley’s in the game are a few targets to pump up his PPR numbers.

Jake Kumerow, Bills at Lions (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

During his five NFL seasons (25 games) since signing with Green Bay as an UDFA out of Wisconsin - Whitewater, Jake Kumerow has assembled 22 receptions, 367 yards, and three TDs. During his four NFL preseasons of action (12 games), he’s collected 23 receptions, 421 yards, and three TDs. He first emerged in a pair of games during the 2018 preseason with 3/76/1 and 3/114/1 lines. Kumerow remained with the Packers in 2019 until being released during final roster cuts in 2020. He joined the Bills, was waived, claimed off waivers by the Saints, waived again in January, re-signed with the Saints four days later, released five days later, and was finally signed with the Bills again eight days later. And, while Aaron Rodgers has stated his wish of still having Kumerow on the roster, his stay in Buffalo may be an extended one:

The NFL life is a strange one indeed. One minute you’re simply referred to as a camp body, barely hanging onto your roster spot. The next, a light goes on in response to coaching and preparation, and you become the talk of training camp:

The Bottom Line: Nobody is telling you to start making waiver claims/blind bids/trade offers in dynasty for Kumerow. He is at the very bottom of the WR rotation. But he is going to see plenty of run against the defense with the worst starting secondary and the worst secondary depth in football.


KeeSean Johnson, WR, Cardinals vs. Cowboys (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

Cedric Wilson Jr., Cowboys at Cardinals (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

Chad Hansen, WR, Lions vs. Bills (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

Tight Ends

Sean McKeon, TE, Cowboys at Cardinals (Spread: Cardinals -1.5 | O/U: 39.5)

It’s guaranteed that we won’t see Blake Jarwin play. Sean McKeon was already shaping up as a strong option after leading Dallas’ TEs in snaps (27), routes (17), and targets (4) in the Hall of Fame game. Then this news dropped:

I have my serious doubts that the Cowboys will push Dalton Schultz here. We may see a bit more of Jeremy Sprinkle and rookies Nick Eubanks and Artayvious Lynn. But none of those three have been turning heads in camp:

The Bottom Line: The chances are minimal that we will even see a single TD pass from the trio of QBs currently being rotated by Dallas. OC Kellen Moore apparently envisions one separating himself enough to land the backup role. But we only need them to look McKeon’s way a few times to provide us with some value.

Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons vs. Titans (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

and Anthony Firkser, TE, Titans at Falcons (Spread: Falcons -1 | O/U: 38.0)

You don’t need me to tell you why Kyle Pitts or, to a lesser extent, Anthony Firkser are good at football. And we would normally look directly past these two for preseason DFS. That said, looking at the options at TE, you’ll notice our options are bare bottom blank. If you don’t feel confident in McKeon — who I feel should be the highest owned on the slate, then maybe you can try your hand with Jacob Hollister’s recent return from injury. You could also toss T.J. Hockenson into the mix with Pitts and Firkser, but I feel he’ll only see a handful of snaps as the most important player on Detroit’s entire offense.

The Bottom Line: Let’s face reality. If we manage to juice 3-5 points from our TE, it should be considered a win. I really don’t think Pitts or Firkser will play more than a quarter. Be that as it may, that could be all they will need to give us the minimal production, and end up pacing the position.


Jacob Hollister, TE, Bills at Lions (Spread: Lions -1 | O/U: 36.5)

With a dedicated focus on studying game film and a faithful commitment to metrics & analytics, Huber’s specialties include DFS (college and NFL), Devy & Dynasty formats, and second-to-none fantasy analysis of high school prospects.