Preseason Showdown: Eagles-Patriots


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Preseason Showdown: Eagles-Patriots

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.

Eagles’ Passing Game

There has been very little in the way of an indication on how much time players are going to see on either side of the ball. Some teams may treat this week like Week 3 of the preseason and get some good run in for their starters. However being that there is an extra week between preseason and the regular season, it’s conceivable they keep that playing time for the real Week 3. Either way, it’s safe to say that we’ll probably see a bit of an increase in starter playing time this week.

Jalen Hurts should see more snaps than Week 1 and he has the running ability to tack on a few extra points that could be pivotal in the preseason. Joe Flacco will probably go over-owned due to his big performance last week. He’s in play, but I think we saw his ceiling last week and he’s probably not going to play as many snaps as he did last week. Nick Mullens looked absolutely dreadful in Week 1, throwing interceptions and just looking generally lost.

The receiver I’m most excited about this week is Jalen Reagor. He has reportedly been lights out in camp and joint practices, making dazzling grabs and leaving defensive backs twisted in coverage. He and Hurts getting a little extra run together should be a good thing. Also in Hurts lineups, we can slot in Travis Fulgham, or tight ends Dallas Goedert/Zach Ertz. Despite playing a healthy amount of snaps, Fulgham didn’t see a target last week. It seemed as though Hurts favored his tight ends last week and I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the most heavily targeted pass-catchers again.

There are a couple of receivers battling for a spot on the back end of the depth chart. Guys who have been around like John Hightower and JJ Arcega-Whiteside are interesting pivots to Quez Watkins. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll have Quez in lineups, he’s just too explosive to completely exclude him. However, I think throwing Ward or Fulgham in as a flier in a few lineups makes a lot of sense. Even JJAW is in play though I think he’s not very good. The Eagles are most likely keeping Watkins, in fact, it looks like he’s pushing for the WR3. My favorite is Greg Ward as I have the most faith in the former Cougar quarterback. Arcega-Whiteside has been below average his entire career and Hightower is coming off a groin.

Richard Rodgers should get extra run with Tyree Jackson injured. Jackson was a preferred target in the first preseason game for good reason. Now, it may be Rodgers that gets the extended run with Flacco and Mullens. It’s possible Ertz gets some extra snaps too as there is speculation he is on the trade block.

Eagles’ Running Game

Miles Sanders status is up in the air, we’ll have to see around kickoff if he’s dressed (though that may not even be a true indication). I don’t think I’ll have much of Sanders because we probably won’t get a true answer if he is playing or not. Boston Scott and Jordan Howard will get more run than they did last week only seeing a handful of snaps. It really depends on Sanders availability though If Sanders is out I’d bump up my exposure to those two a tad.

Kenny Gainwell has my attention once again. He played the most snaps of any Eagles’ RB last week and I wouldn’t doubt if we see more of the same this week. Kerryon Johnson has been waived and Elijah Holyfield should get run after not playing in the team’s first preseason game, but it probably won’t be much. Jason Huntley is banged up with ribs but it looks like he should play. He’s a solid pass-catcher and will most likely get a look on special teams for the potential double dip. The double dip is something I’m not paying attention to in regular season, but when that player is also playing a quarter at running back, it makes it more intriguing.

Patriots’ Passing Game

I expect the split to be somewhat similar to last week with the exception that Cam Newton gets an extra series or two, then we see Mac Jones for a good bit, then Brian Hoyer gets mop up duty. I think I’ll lean towards Cam in this instance. He has the rushing touchdown upside and should be playing a bit more than he did last week. Jones is obviously in play, but he’s being anointed for his 80-yard performance and I think that’ll drive ownership a bit. Roster them both, but Cam has a bit better ceiling in my opinion.

Devan Asiasi is the only healthy tight end the Patriots have on their roster and that is a massive advantage in preseason. He will be a heavy part of my player pool. He had success last week amidst a more crowded tight end rotation, so this week should be solid.

N’Keal Harry has been great in camp and practice, but failed to earn a target in Week 1. He has said to be working in more of a TE role this week with all the injuries at tight end. Lining up in the slot a bit more in this game could potentially help his target share. I like the fact that he was non-existent last week to keep his ownership somewhat at bay.

Jakobi Meyers has been the best Pats’ receiver and is a smart pairing with Cam in this showdown slate, but Nelson Agholor has also been stretching the field nicely in joint practices. Eagles’ defensive backs were jawing at Cam that he can only throw checkdowns, so you know he’s going to try to uncork one downfield, my guess is to Agholor early in the contest.

The back of the depth chart for the Pats’ is lead by Kristian Wilkerson, he’s my main target for the late first half/second half. Mac Jones is particularly fond of him it seems. You could also sprinkle in Gunner Olszewski. He’s in the mold of a Danny Amendoal and will be targeted underneath with an occasional deep shot.

Patriots’ Running Game

JJ Taylor and Rhamondre Stevenson will be my highest-owned players, but I do think there is merit to going easy with Stevenson. Like Quez Watkins, he is going to be over-owned relative to his expectations. He had a decent game last week, before breaking off a 90-yard touchdown run to make it a slate-breaking performance. Pats’ coaches could be heard telling him to slide down after he broke through the line. If he had, his ownership would be much lower this week. I like going in on Taylor a bit more hoping it’s his turn to shine.

As for the starters, Damien Harris makes sense on teams without Cam. if he has a big first quarter, it’s more than likely that Cam and the passing game did not. James White on the other hand directly benefits from checkdown cam. Sony Michel is in no man’s land. He could get extended run to prove himself, or his fate could already be determined, we just don’t know. I think the Pats’ know what they have in him though and would rather see Taylor and Stevenson after the starters exit.

K and DST

As always, both DSTs are recommended. You can have lineups with one or both, and even captain them. I would advise against playing lineups without at least one DST. Quinn Nordin and Jake Elliott very much in play as well as the only kickers on the roster. Kickers for an entire game are often as, if not more, valuable as skill player for 15 snaps. Just be careful with Elliott, he has an ankle injury and may be rested.

Pat began playing fantasy football 20 years ago. In 2012 he started the fantasy football site which opened the door for him to become a DFS contributor at several sites and is the newest DFS Contributor for Fantasy Points.