NFL 2017 Preseason Week 3 (FREE)
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This is the week that starters get the most run as it will be the last time that most, if not all, see action until the start of the season. Some starters will play a little over a quarter, some will play a half, and in rare instances they may play into the third. Keeping up on news on a day like today is very important and I know I say that every week, but it is something that plays a big role in preseason football.
Before we jump into some players to target on this slate, I want to go over what I look for in preseason. 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. These are the situations to focus on as they will get you ahead of the field and put you in a good spot. With that said, let’s jump right into some of tonight’s targets.
Derek Carr – OAK at DAL
I have high expectations for Carr this season and he displayed some of that last week, throwing for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 7-of-9 passing, accomplishing this in just three drives. He should play a little more in this contest and faces a Dallas defense that allowed 260 passing yards per game and a 94.1 QB rate to opposing signal callers last season.
Others I like: Jameis Winston – Buccaneers; Deshaun Watson – Texans; Jared Goff – Rams
Doug Martin – TB vs CLE
Martin played well in the second preseason game, scoring a touchdown while totaling 41 yards and two receptions. He gets a nice matchup against the Browns awful defense and should be able to have a productive outing against them.
James Conner – PIT vs IND
I know, I know, Conner is not the starter, however, Le’Veon Bell is not expected to report to the Steelers until next week, so Conner should see plenty of opportunities tonight. He leads all Steelers running backs in carries, rushing yards, and targets despite playing just one game this preseason. This is a Colts defense that surrendered 120.4 rushing yards per game last season and 4.7 yards per carry. In other words, they are awful!
Others I like: Taquan Mizzell- Ravens; Melvin Gordon – Chargers; Terron Ward – Falcons
Amari Cooper – OAK at DAL
Cooper was targeted four times in the Raiders last game, finishing with three receptions for 46 yards. Much like Carr, I have high expectations for Cooper this season and I expect these two to connect on Saturday against the Cowboys and give us a taste of what we can expect this season.
Dez Bryant – DAL vs OAK
Bryant caught both of his targets for 55 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ last game, despite playing just 17 snaps. He looked very good and could be in for another solid outing as he will likely play more snaps this week.
Chris Godwin – TB vs CLE
Mike Evans has missed practices this week and his status for tonight’s game is up in the air. If he misses, Godwin is in a good spot against a woeful Browns defense. After receiving just one target in the preseason opener, Godwin was peppered with five targets in the last game. He could be in for a solid outing in a plus matchup.
Others I like: Julio Jones – Falcons; Willie Snead – Saints; Sammy Watkins – Rams; Zay Jones – Bills; Sterling Shepard – Giants
Evan Engram – NYG vs NYJ
I do not mind eating some chalk with Engram here. Odell Beckham will not play in this contest and Brandon Marshall is unlikely to play. This means that Engram should see plenty of targets in tonight’s contest. He received four targets in the last game, catching three of those passes for 32 yards. This is a perfect example of keeping a close eye on news and understanding a situation where a player could be forced into extra opportunities.
Others I like: Cameron Brate – Buccaneers; David Njoku – Browns
Follow me on Twitter @Armando_Marsal and in the FanVice premium Slack for updates as more information is released throughout the day.