This article will cover the Thursday slate of 11 games, and our main goal will be to identify players who will a) see quite a bit of playing time and b) who have a chance to excel. There are two important things to remember before finalizing your lineup:
1. Players are frequently deactivated, and often for no reason, 90 minutes before kickoff. This article will be written many hours before the inactive list comes out. It is recommended that you check the latest news page on RotoWire an hour before kickoff to make sure you players are active.
2. All salaries are the same for players during preseason.
Especially in Week 1 of preseason, the expectation is that the third-string QB will see the majority of playing time, making him the most likely QB on his respective team to post useful stats.
Tyler Bray (Bears vs. Panthers) - In last year's preseason, Bray led the league in passing yards with 652. He's back in the third-string role and the Bears have a number of wide receivers buried on their depth chart, like Tanner Gentry, Javon Wims and others who'll give him some good weapons as well.
Chad Kelly (Colts vs. Bills) - When Kelly was bounced from Denver, it was because of off-field issues, but as third-string QBs go, he's very talented. He'll also get to run Frank Reich's system, that'll let him throw high percentage passes that also could create run-after-the-catch production.
Joe Webb (Texans vs. Packers) - Webb is physically gifted athlete who's a great runner. Any type of rushing yardage by a QB in preseason games is an unexpected bonus, and Webb might be able to provide fantasy owners with that.
Detrez Newsome (Chargers vs. Cardinals) - Not only is Newsome the fourth-string RB, but in the same role last year, he was a preseason superstar, totaling 150 yards and two TDs on the ground along with 10 receptions for 60 yards, which was one of the best preseasons by any RB in the league. That's enough of a reason to use him this week.
Jordan Scarlett (Panthers vs. Bears) - Scarlett is near the bottom of the depth chart for the Panthers, but with a good preseason, he realistically can win the job as Christian McCaffrey's primary backup. Also, don't worry about the vaunted Bears' defense — when Scarlett's on the field, it should be against the deep reserves.
Corey Grant (Packers vs. Texans) - Grant is a very fast runner, and as the fourth-string RB, he should get a fair number of carries, and all he'll need to cash in for fantasy is to bust off one long run. Against the Houston backups, it's a good gamble.
Javon Wims, Tanner Gentry (Bears vs. Panthers) - Wims is the Bears' fifth WR while Gentry is ninth. Both should see quite a bit of playing time, so both could be used, but if you want to pick one, Gentry is likely to see more snaps. Both of these players were among the top performers in the 2018 preseason, and both are capable of making big plays.
Trent Sherfield, Chad Williams (Cardinals vs. Chargers) - With the Cards putting in their new air raid offense, they should throw plenty in the preseason opener. Not only are both of these WRs buried on the depth chart, but they both have NFL experience, and both are capable of dominating defenders who are unlikely to have jobs in a few weeks.
J'Mon Moore (Packers vs. Texans) - Not only was 2018 mostly a lost season for Moore, but he enters preseason buried on the depth chart. Look for him to see plenty of work as he tries to prove himself to the coaching staff. He's physically talented enough to take advantage of a great opportunity.
Ben Braunecker (Bears vs. Panthers) - Chicago tight ends lit up the preseason last year, when Daniel Brown and Braunecker combined for 234 yards and a TD. With Brown no longer with the team, Braunecker is the third-string TE, and he has receiving ability. There's a solid chance he can pick up where he left off last preseason.
Ben Koyack (Jaguars vs. Ravens) - The Jaguars have one of the smallest depth charts at TE with just four players, and Koyack is in the last spot on the chart, so he should see plenty of action. Also, he's seen regular season playing time, and although he's not a special receiver, he could be a reliable target for his QB.
Browns (vs. Washington), Jets (vs. Giants) - This is obviously the biggest crapshoot of them all, so we'll target a couple of defenses at home, who are playing offenses that project to be terrible when the regular season rolls around. Because if the starting offense is supposed to be bad, we know what that should mean about the backups.