FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Preseason Helper: Week 3, Friday

Week 3 in the preseason is often considered the game that matters for starters. For DFS players, that means extended run for starting-caliber talent rather than for third- and fourth-string options.

Not every team approaches Week 3 the same way, however, and we'll still need to study up on what teams are expecting to do tonight for the two-game slate.

Quick Slate Notes

We have two games to examine: Cleveland at Tampa Bay and Buffalo at Detroit.

For the Browns, coach Freddie Kitchens won't be playing the starters in Week 4, so this is the last chance for Baker Mayfield and company to get reps. Mayfield wants to play a half, but Kitchens won't confirm playing time for anyone. Odell Beckham is out, and tight end David Njoku may miss as well.

Bruce Arians likewise isn't committing to playing time for Tampa Bay's starters, saying that playing time will depend on success. If they light it up early, Jameis Winston and the Bucs' first-team could be limited. Mike Evans is out.

The Bills' starters will play at least a half, so that's big news for a two-game preseason slate.

Matt Patricia has been hush about the plan for Matthew Stafford and has said that playing time plans can change right up until kickoff. Woof.


Josh Allen - Allen is slated to play at least a half, according to reports, and that's the most optimistic we can be about a quarterback's playing time. Passers need some volume to post strong fantasy outings, and by default, Allen should be considered the QB1 for tonight. Allen has averaged 7.6 yards per attempt on 22 passes in the preseason, as well as an average depth of target of 9.6 yards.

Ryan Griffin - Griffin has played 68 and 38 snaps so far, and even with Winston getting some reps, we're looking at about a half from Griffin, who has thrown for 330 and 201 yards.

Baker Mayfield - Mayfield has the second-best claim to playing time among the starters and has just six pass attempts through one start. Even without Beckham and possibly Njoku, Mayfield -- by default -- is in play on Friday night.

Josh Johnson - Both Johnson and David Fales are in play if Stafford sits, as they should split the game. Johnson ran 3 times on 33 snaps last game, which isn't anything amazing but rushing is extremely valuable in a small sample for quarterbacks. Detroit has given Fales 34 snaps in both games, and Johnson played 33 last week.

Others to Consider: Jameis Winston, David Fales

Running Backs

Dare Ogunbowale - Buccaneers beat writer Greg Auman considers both Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber likely to play tonight. That would be disappointing because it should eat into Ogunbowale's workload. However, it stands to reason that Ogunbowale gets the second half to work. Ogunbowale has 23 carries and 3 targets through two games while playing 71 snaps.

D'Ernest Johnson - The volume may be limited for Nick Chubb, who played four snaps last week, via FantasyData. I still like Chubb's low volume while working with an efficient first-string offense. That gives him touchdown equity, and Chubb has run three pass routes (via ProFootballFocus) on four snaps in the preseason. The receiving volume and high-equity work should keep him near the top of the list. However, he may sit, and Johnson's snaps climbed from 17 to 32 last week. If we're seeking safe, second-half volume, Johnson stands out.

Ty Johnson - Johnson has run 19 pass routes in the preseason, and he has led the Lions' running back trio in snaps (30). With his receiving work, he gets a boost relative to the other backs on a mostly weak slate.

Others to Consider: Devin Singletary, Kerryon Johnson (GPP)

Wide Receivers

Justin Watson - Watson has run 64 pass routes in the preseason, second-most among all wide receivers, and he has played 52 and 57 snaps. His role is about as good as you can ask for in a preseason receiver. Watson has been targeted by Griffin nine times, second-most among teammates playing tonight.

Rashard Higgins - Higgins has played 40 and 22 snaps so far and has drawn an average depth of target of 11.5 yards. He's the type of player who should work with both the first-team and the second-team, and that increases the value of his targets.

Jaelen Strong - Strong, another Browns receiver, leads the team in routes and has played at least 33 snaps in both games. He's not a high-ceiling player with his usage -- his longest of five targets has been five yards.

Zay Jones, John Brown, and Cole Beasley - The Bills' starters will see work, so we can look to stack someone with Josh Allen. His most common target has been Beasley (6 of 24 attempts), followed by Jones (5). Brown has two targets from Allen, one of which was 22 yards downfield.

Brandon Powell - Powell leads the Lions with four deep targets this preseason, and he played 31 snaps last week. Andy Jones and Travis Fulgham each have two deep targets and clocked 35 and 29 snaps, respectively, last week.

Others to Consider: Jarvis Landry (if no Beckham and Njoku), Anthony Johnson, Bobo Wilson, Scotty Miller

Tight Ends

Tanner Hudson - Hudson has run 38 and 29 pass routes (67 total). No other tight end on the slate has run even half as many. Hudson should benefit from an offense that won't commit to playing its starters for a full half. O.J. Howard is in play for Tampa, too, and he should be able to do more on limited snaps than Hudson on extra work. No quarterback-receiver duo on the slate has more targets than Griffin-to-Hudson (11).

Tommy Sweeney - The Bills' tight end situation is pretty depleted. Tyler Kroft is still recovering from a foot injury, and Dawson Knox and Jason Croom haven't played yet in the preseason. Sweeney has played 34 and 31 snaps so far and leads the team in pass routes run (32).

Others to Consider: O.J. Howard, T.J. Hockenson