Thursday night brings two exciting things: pro football in the form of NFL preseason games and a clear sign that the 2016 NFL regular season is upon us.
With a fully loaded 15-game schedule, we have 30 of 32 NFL teams on tonight’s docket, meaning we get to see a ton of young talent compete for a roster spot. A ton of star players will naturally be sitting tonight out to rest up for week one of the regular season, but some are expected to suit up and others could see ample playing time in the final week of preseason play.
Let’s go over which players and situations we should be focusing on the most as we tackle the top six reasons to tune into tonight’s NFL preseason finale:
Betting and DFS
The first thing we think of when preseason football hits center stage is how can we make some money off of it? Tonight we can do that easily two different ways, by either betting on individual NFL preseason games or creating a roster over at DraftKings in their preseason daily fantasy football leagues.
Neither of these are easy, as the spreads and Money Lines are understandably weak with such little information and strategy involved in these games. Take away most of the star players from the majority of these games, and we’re truly left in the dark. There are a few things that could help you out, however. For instance, if you look closer at tonight’s Jets vs. Eagles contest, New York figures to give raw rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg a good amount of field time. Due to his erratic play, the Eagles could make for a fun DFS defense and Philly in general may have the betting edge, as well.
If you can sniff out small advantages like that, you can possibly help distance some of the betting and DFS opportunities. In that same breath, preseason NFL DFS and betting are both very volatile – even more than regular season. We wish you luck, but we don’t condone heavy betting with such little concrete information to aid you.
All Eyes on Paxton Lynch
The second biggest reason to watch the NFL preseason slate on Thursday night is Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch. The former Memphis product has had his ups and downs all summer, but with Trevor Siemian officially the 2016 starts under center, the team is going into Thursday with the full intention of giving Lynch the entire game.
— Denver Post Broncos (@PostBroncos) September 1, 2016
Lynch will not only be fun to watch, but depending on how he performs, could also be one of the top daily fantasy football options on the night. The fact that he’s a borderline lock to see all four quarters of action makes him more reliable than most of the other quarterback options.
A Whole Lotta Tom Brady
With Jimmy Garoppolo set to start the New England Patriots’ first four games of 2016 thanks to a Tom Brady suspension, it looks like we’ll see a lot of ol’ Tom Terrific tonight. Brady doesn’t need to rest up much considering he’ll be doing a lot of sitting over the next month, so the Pats will want to get some good work in for him. He’s going to end up being rusty come week five, but at least we get to see him for a bit tonight.
Colin Kaepernick’s Next Move
What about Colin Kaepernick isn’t interesting right now? From the start of his game when we can see if he does or doesn’t sit during the National Anthem, to his actual play on the field, everyone will be watching this dude.
If you can find an online betting site that is giving odds for whether or not he sits/stands tonight, that could be an added element to checking his game out, too.
Alex Collins Gets His Chance
One of the better young running backs vying for work in the preseason, Seattle Seahawks rookie rusher Alex Collins figures to see ample work on the field tonight. Collins has thus far been disappointing, but Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll suggested he’d give Collins plenty of chances to prove himself on Thursday night.
Collins has the skill-set and college production to be viewed as a future feature back in Seattle, so Seahawks fans will both want to pay attention to how he does, and also hope he performs well. Given Thomas Rawls ankle injury last year and the erratic play of backup Christine Michael, it might not be crazy to think Collins could see a big role at some point in 2016.
Cuts, Baby, Cuts
The biggest aspect of preseason isn’t really who wins or loses or star players putting up big numbers. Instead, it’s the rookies and lesser known talents that are trying their hardest just to survive in the league. There are guys who flat out don’t belong and are playing probably their last down ever. There are players who probably shouldn’t make it but over achieve like crazy and you find yourself rooting for them. And there are also pedigree guys like Oakland receiver Max McCaffrey (his pops is Ed McCaffrey) that you want to watch to see if they can follow in their father’s footsteps.
Whatever the player, team or situation, it all boils down to week four. The guys that don’t know for sure if they’ll be playing in the NFL a week from now have that final 53 in mind and they’ll be playing their hearts out. Add some preseason NFL betting, preseason daily fantasy football and these other situations we’ve touched on, and Thursday night should be one heck of a ride.