NFL 2017 Preseason Week 1 (FREE)
The NFL season, well preseason, has finally arrived and we have a nice seven-game slate tonight. Before we jump into some players to target on this slate, I want to go over what I look for in preseason and it is fairly simple, opportunity trumps all in the preseason. You want players who are going to be on the field and getting touches or targets. Being that there is a lot of variance in the preseason, targeting players who will receive more opportunities is the approach I like to take. I like to target players who are fighting for a role, backup spot, or even a job. In addition, there are certain teams with only three quarterbacks and the starter does not get much playing time in the preseason, leaving two quarterbacks with potentially a half each. Finding situations like these are ways to get ahead of the field and put you in a good spot. With that said, let’s jump right into some of tonight’s targets.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Patriots
It is very unlikely we see Tom Brady on the field on Thursday night against the Jaguars which means that we should see a fair amount of Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Last preseason, Garoppolo was sixth amongst quarterbacks who attempted at least 50 passes with 18 pass attempts per game. In 2015, he led all quarterbacks in the preseason in pass attempts per game. This is Jimmy G’s favorite time of the year, so I expect him to be out there for 40-50% of the game. He and Brissett are both firmly in play as these are the only two quarterbacks that I expect to play for New England tonight, but I’m leaning more towards Garoppolo.
Others I like: Paxton Lynch – Broncos; Brett Hundley – Packers
Jamaal Williams – Packers
Williams has been impressive during camp and some reports have popped up about him being a better pass protector than Ty Montgomery. Needless to say, Williams is pushing for a role on this offense and potentially a starting job. He should see a decent amount of snaps in the first preseason game, making him an interesting option on this slate.
Alvin Kamara – Saints
The Saints know what they have in Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram, so there is no need to play them much. However, the same cannot be said about rookie Alvin Kamara. So far, there have been nothing but good things said about him and the team has been using him as both a runner and pass catcher. This versatile back could see plenty of playing time on Thursday night against an awful Browns team.
Dalvin Cook – Vikings
With Latavius Murray sidelined, Cook has been taking all first-team reps in camp and so far it appears that the team is impressed. He has been praised for his pass protection, as well as demeanor on the field. I am really excited to watch him play on Thursday night and expect him to play well over a quarter which should be enough for him to do some damage.
Others I like: Donnel Pumphrey – Eagles; De’Angelo Henderson – Broncos; Semaje Perine – Redskins
Zay Jones – Bills
Jones impressed in the offseason program according to reports, while working in both the slot and the outside. Although the team recently signed Anquan Boldin, Jones still has a shot at the No. 2 duties for the Bills. A strong preseason would solidify that and I expect that the Bills will give him every opportunity to earn that spot this preseason, starting tonight.
Rashard Higgins – Browns
I expect the Browns to pass a lot during the preseason as they make a decision on their starting quarterback. This should create some target opportunities for the Browns former fifth-round pick as he attempts to increase his role on this offense.
Drew Morgan – Dolphins
I doubt we will see a lot of Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills, and Davante Parker on Thursday night. Morgan stood out in OTA’s and with injuries to some of the Dolphins receivers, he could see a significant amount of playing time. He has displayed good hands in OTA’s and has a decent shot of receiving plenty of targets out of the slot in this contest.
Others I like: Rod Streater – Bills; Marvin Hall – Falcons; Leonte Carroo – Dolphins; Ryan Grant – Redskins
Nick Boyle – Ravens
There are no healthy bodies in this group of tight ends which has opened the door for Boyle to get first-team reps in camp. There were reports of possibly switching him to full back, but so far that has not been the case. Boyle should see the field often on Thursday and get a chance to make a case for himself.
Logan Thomas – Bills
Thomas converted from a quarterback to a tight end and the transition has gone well according to reports. He has been running good routes and showing good hands. He is an interesting play on Thursday night as the team will likely give him plenty of reps.
Others I like: Bucky Hodges – Vikings