The 2016 NFL preseason was supposed to start this past Sunday night, where the Green Bay Packers were slated to face off with the Indianapolis Colts in this year’s Hall of Fame game.
Bad field conditions had other plans, however, and the game was subsequently cancelled.
BREAKING: The Hall of Fame game between the Packers and the Colts has been cancelled because of field condition. pic.twitter.com/hCUZCP4nvP
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 7, 2016
Football is Back
That pushed on the wait for pro football’s return, but we finally get some real, live NFL action this Thursday night when 12 teams take the field for six entertaining games.
Well, hopefully entertaining. These are still preseason football games we’re talking about, and we’re probably not going to see much (if any) of the star players for the 12 respective franchises.
Still, that’s six games we can scout and potentially even bet on, which could make our Thursday a lot more interesting. Should you plan to watch, bet on or take your hand at DFS fantasy football, we’ve got your full week one NFL preseason guide when it comes to Thursday night’s action. Let’s break it down by game and see what you should consider for NFL betting and daily fantasy football purposes:
Buccaneers @ Eagles
The highlight of this game without a doubt will be rookie quarterback Carson Wentz, who is scheduled to play the entire second half on Thursday night. That makes Wentz a fun DFS play on paper, especially since he’ll be taking on Tampa Bay backups for his first NFL action.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 9, 2016
The Bucs look like the poor bet here when it comes to preseason NFL betting, and Vegas agrees, as they come in with a +3 line per Bovada. They’re on the road and Philly (-3) is stacked with competent quarterback play, with Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Wentz all seeing action. We’d take the Eagles here and try Wentz with maybe Josh Huff and/or Nelson Agholor in daily fantasy football preseason leagues.
Just make sure any and all guys you use in preseason DFS games are active, and keep in mind that not everyone will play normal snaps in an exhibition game.
Redskins @ Falcons
This game offers the same line, with the Redskins hitting the road as the underdog (+3) against the Falcons (-3). This one is a total toss up, as both teams are balanced enough to put up some points early, but neither have an obvious edge in the depth department.
It will be interesting to see how long the starters stay out, but it’s tough to imagine guys like Jordan Reed, DeSean Jackson and Julio Jones playing much. We’ll have to give ATL the mild edge here, simply because they’re at home and maybe partially because Ric Flair got them going recently in practice:
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) August 9, 2016
For daily fantasy football purposes, keep your eye on Rashad Ross, who is Washington’s primary return specialist, but also destroyed opposing defenses as a wide receiver last preseason.
Panthers @ Ravens
Since it’s the first preseason game of the year, we can’t expect to see much out of the starters from either side. Cam Newton is a historically slow starter, too, so even if he stayed out there a bit, I’m not sure I’d be enamored with him against a healthier Baltimore defense.
It may be about the backups in this one, and Baltimore may have the depth edge under center and in the offensive backfield. The Ravens are also playing in front of their home crowd, so we like them as the -1.5 favorite.
— 4for4 Football (@4for4football) August 5, 2016
Due to Baltimore’s deep running back stable, you could pick and choose one to use out of their lineup. Terrance West has had a great camp and could be worth a look.
Jaguars @ Jets
This could be a nightmare game for the Jets, who probably won’t push Ryan Fitzpatrick out with the starters for too long. If that’s the case, we may see way more of Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg that we ever wished to. They haven’t exactly torn it up and camp and Hackeberg has been specifically brutal, so you’ll want to avoid Jets passers entirely in this one.
Take this fwiw, but I’ve heard from a couple reliable sources at #Jets camp that Christian Hackenberg has been brutally bad.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) August 8, 2016
Matt Forte has also been banged up, so New York will be operating well under 100% offensively in this one. This all could give the Jaguars (+3 underdogs) a shot at pulling off the mild preseason upset (is there such a thing?), while their defense could be the one to target in daily fantasy football games due to the matchup.
Saints @ Patriots
This may be the best preseason game on Thursday night, as we may see Drew Brees and we’ll definitely get a decent dose of Jimmy Garappolo. The rest of the Pats’ top offensive players are either going to sit or be limited, while #1 receiver Julian Edelman just got hurt again in practice.
Julian Edelman took himself out of practice in what appears to be an injury to surgically repaired left foot.https://t.co/gDlLyY9MOh
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 9, 2016
Needless to say, as attractive of a DFS flier as Jimmy G figured to be for Thursday night, he may be a tough sell. Still, New England could offer some DFS upside on the ground, where Brandon Bolden could see a solid amount of touches. Aaron Dobson is also still trying to carve out a spot with New England, so he’s another guy to consider.
New England plays host and comes in as the -3 favorite, but with injuries and possibly inactives, we like the Saints as an upset pick in week one.
Broncos @ Bears
The last game of the night pits the Broncos against the Bears in a true pick’em at Bovada. That figures, since we know very little about a Super Bowl champ that has a shaky quarterback situation and a Bears team that keeps getting rid of star offensive talent with each passing year.
A lot of questions should begin to be answered on both sides, as Chicago looks for a new starting running back, a new starting tight end and hopes second-year receiver Kevin White can rise up and snag a big role. That could put Bears tight ends, White and any of their running backs in play against Denver in daily fantasy football leagues.
The real interest for DFS purposes is on the Broncos’ side, however. Paxton Lynch is locked into the entire second half, which gives us certain playing time.
Broncos will start Mark Sanchez in preseason opener with Trevor Siemian scheduled to play 2nd quarter and Paxton Lynch 2nd half.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2016
If he can connect with guys like Cody Latimer and Jordan Taylor – two able bodied receivers – he could be a fun DFS play. We’re also interested in Denver tight end Virgil Green and running backs Devontae Booker, Juwan Thompson and Kapri Bibbs.
Overall, Denver has the more interesting talent and the deeper roster (other than quarterback) so we’ll take them on Thursday.
Got a different take when it comes to preseason daily fantasy football or Thursday’s preseason bets? Tell us all about it in the comments below!