General Preseason Showdown Strategy
The overarching key is to do your best to highlight which players will be playing the most snaps. This can be gleaned by researching depth chart scarcity, coachspeak/press conferences, or beat reports.
The only position you can roster that will score fantasy points for the entire game is DST. With all other position players having their playing time limited to anywhere from a series to a half, DST becomes a key cog in roster construction. Despite the fact DSTs don’t normally end up as the highest scoring position on a normal slate, they can on a preseason slate. The ability for quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends to outscore DSTs is neutralized in preseason by only playing a portion of the game. Don’t be afraid to roster both DSTs in a lineup or in the captain spot, in fact it’s encouraged.
Don’t worry about negative correlation in preseason. QB v. opposing defense, too many WRs from the same team, or two running backs from the same team don’t carry the negative impact they would in the regular season. Oftentimes they won’t eat into each other’s production because they won’t be on the field at the same time, anyway.
The one correlation that does matter is trying to pinpoint which quarterbacks will be paired up with which skill players. It’s often arbitrary and unpredictable, but there are times when a unit will play all their snaps together. That increases your ceiling by having the QB in the same lineup as the RB/WR/TE he has the potential to throw touchdown passes to.
Prioritize wide receivers. Since playing time is limited, target positions and players that can hit a ceiling in one or two plays. Though running backs are in play, it’s unlikely you get a high-volume game where a runner grinds out the 100-yard bonus on 20 carries. When you do roster running backs and tight ends, it’s important to roster the ones that have pass-catching roles.
Panthers Passing Game
PJ Walker is going to play half the game. Walker is mobile and can tack on some points with his legs, but he’s a solid passer as well. Will Grier is going to enter after Walker to finish up the game. I like Walker more, but both are viable getting 2 quarters each.
DJ Moore and Robby Anderson don’t figure to play much, but not much has been said about Terrace Marshall Jr. I think he’ll get some run, being that he’s a rookie. Brandon Zylstra was a preseason hero for his hometown Vikings a couple years ago, he’s looking to earn a roster spot and by beat writer accounts is just inside the bubble. The wide receiver who has received the most buzz in camp is Ohio State walk-on CJ Saunders. Matt Rhule said a day hasn’t gone by that he hasn’t made a play. Shi Smith is a 6th rounder that figures to get some action as well. Omar Bayless is on the roster bubble and should play with Will Grier in the second half. The Panthers have way too many tight ends to rotate to think any of them are worth a play. Tommy Tremble would be the only last man in type player I would roster if I was running a big multi-entry group.
Panthers Running Game
With likely no Christian McCaffrey, Chuba Hubbard will get some work in this game with the first team. It looks like Rodney Smith and Reggie Bonnafon are nicked up, not sure if they will play very much and Trenton Cannon has moved to WR (he’s still in play, but won’t steal carries). That leaves me with some interest in Rod Smith. The former Cowboy should get a decent amount of run (just be careful you are selecting him and not Rodney.
K and DST
Joey Slye should be a staple in your rosters being he will most likely handle every field goal and extra point in this game. One or two field goals and some extra points will be enough to outscore most of the skill position players in this game being that they are rotating snaps so evenly.
Panthers DST will be able to score points for the entire game, which is the reason playing both DSTs in most of your lineups is a key strategy to preseason showdown.
Colts Passing Game
There is no Carson Wentz as he recovers from foot surgery. Jacob Eason will start the game and Sam Ehlinger will come in after him. The split isn’t very clear, or if Brett Hundley will play at all after Ehlinger. I only really like Ehlinger because it sounds like he can get upto two quarters. Ehlinger is a fullback basically. He loves to run the ball and that carries a lot of floor and ceiling upside.
Michael Strachan has been the subject of numerous beat writer tweets and articles as being the standout in camp. He’s developed a chemistry with the quarterbacks and should get plenty of run in this first preseason game. Frank Reich seemed like he wanted to rest starters, or at least not give them much time because they are fresh off a scrimmage with the Panthers. That leaves Ashton Dulin, Demichael Harris, Dezmon Patton, and Tarik Black can be cycled through if you are multi-entering.
Colts Running Game
This is kind of a mess, I don’t expect Jonathan Taylor or much of Nyheim Hines or Marlon Mack. Jordan Wilkins could get most of the first team or early reps. Deon Jackson is a former Dukie at the back of the depth chart that has pass-catching ability. I actually like staying away from the Colts running game, there are just too many guys that can get carries here.
K and DST
The Colts DST is a must for your lineups along with the Panters DST, but the kicking situation in Indy is a competition, so we can’t be sure who will take the kicking duties in this game which makes them risky propositions.