We are moving on to Week 3 of the NFL preseason. Week 3 is typically the week when starters get the most playing time in preseason, often playing a full first half and possibly further depending on development. Some veterans will stick to their normal quarter of service. Since DraftKings salaries remain the same at $5,500 per player, there are a lot of strong options to target. Playing time, however, is still the most important factor, so our main focus will be on high-upside players with maximized playing time. That means these rankings will not include veteran starters who likely will play only a quarter. The following picks span the Friday, Saturday and Sunday slates on DraftKings.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami: There are a lot of reasons to jump on the Tannehill hype train. The front office has surrounded him with talent that fits his offensive gameplan. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and Tannehill have seemed to gel perfectly in an offensive marriage. Lamar Miller and the Dolphins defense should finish in the top 10 at their respected positions. Not to mention the large contract he signed this offseason. Tannehill has looked strong this preseason, going 12-for-15 for 102 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. He added a rush for 11 yards. Coach Joe Philbin said that most of his starters will play the entire first half of Saturday's preseason game, with some seeing action into the third quarter. Safe bet is Tannehill playing the first half.
Scott Tolzien, Green Bay: The third preseason game is typically the game where the starters will see the most reps if needed. However, with the Packers down three starting offensive linemen, coach Mike McCarthy isn't taken any chances with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Backup quarterbacks Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard took first-team reps in practice Wednesday. After losing Jordy Nelson to injury last week, expect the Packers to play it safe and let Scott Tolzien play majority of the first half, if not start the game himself.
Jimmy Garoppolo, New England: With Tom Brady suspended to start the season, the Patriots are still trying to maximize Garoppolo's reps to get him ready for handling the first four weeks of the season as the starter for the Patriots. Garoppolo had a strong Week 2 showing against the Saints, completing 28-of-33 passes for 269 yards and a touchdown. This is a reassuring performance for Patriots fans, however there is still work to be done for Garoppolo and getting him live game reps is certainly on the forefront of the agenda for New England. Tom Brady should see about a quarter of action, leaving Garopollo the rest of the game.
Brock Osweiler, Denver: Like last week, reports are shaky coming out of Denver in regard to playing time for Peyton Manning. Early reports seem to indicate that Denver plans on taking it easy on Manning, letting him only see a handful of drives. That opens the door again for Osweiler to see majority of the rest of the game with the second unit. Osweiler hasn't shown anything flashy in the preseason, but he has managed the most consistent playing time.
Ryan Nassib, New York Giants: The Giants have no real reason to leave Eli Manning on the field for an extended time and the Giants also seem to be running with only two quarterbacks at this point. Manning could play up to a quarter to quarter and a half come Saturday, but the rest of the game would belong to Nassib. In Week 2 he attempted 35 passes, competing 19 for 217 yards and a touchdown. Nassib is in an interesting spot as he is somewhere between being the Giants backup and having a "open" audition for other teams. A strong showing in the preseason could make him a trade candidate if the Giants are willing to part with him.
Kirk Cousins, Washington: With Robert Griffin III leaving last Thursday's game with a concussion we were reminded of just how susceptible he is to injury. Cousins and Colt McCoy are battling for the backup spot, but Cousins seems to have a leg up on that competition. Griffin will start Saturday's game according to coach Jay Gruden, but should be limiting his on-field time to ensure health going into the regular season. Cousins looked strong last Saturday, with 91 yards and a touchdown.
Others to consider: Brett Hundley (Green Bay), Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo), EJ Manuel (Buffalo), Bryce Petty (New York)
Note: Only two starting running backs found the end zone in Week 2, Chris Ivory and DeMarco Murray. Both also only saw five carries. It is virtually impossible to predict touchdowns on limited reps, so backups are still the desired play at this position.
Melvin Gordon, San Diego: After missing last week with a minor ankle injury, Gordon is eager to get back on the field. It won't come easy, as the Chargers face a stout Seattle defense on Saturday. But with Gordon in line to be the lead back in San Diego he has a lot of on-field work to do to be polished for the regular season. Branden Oliver has solidified himself as the No. 2 in San Diego, so don't expect Oliver to see double-digit carries.
Ronnie Hillman, Denver: According to reports Hillman has climbed his way up the depth chart and eclipsed Montee Ball as the No. 2 running back in Denver. The combo of Anderson, Hillman and Ball might be one of the NFL's deadliest threesomes this year, but it still starts at the top with Anderson. Don't expect much out of the Broncos' starter in their third preseason game, but expect the battle for the two spot to continue. Hillman was impressive in Week 2, gaining 54 yards on eight carries.
Jeremy Langford, Chicago: The rookie out of Michigan State posted an impressive 80 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, all on nine carries. Langford is in a battle with Jacquizz Rodgers and Ka'Deem Carey for the backup job to Matt Forte. Carey may be the odd man out, as he is the former in an old system.
Josh Robinson, Indianapolis: The Colts are in no rush to push reps on veteran starter Frank Gore, and Dan Herron is penciled in as the sure fire backup. With that the Colts are letting their rookie from Mississippi State get his feet wet. Robinson saw a team-high 13 carries in the Colts' Week 2 loss against the Bears. He averaged 4.7 yards a carry. It is almost impossible to predict running back touchdowns in the preseason, but with 13 carries he vaults to the top of the rankings by volume.
Matt Jones, Washington: The third-round rookie looked strong last week, rushing for 44 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Jones saw time with the first team offense as Alfred Morris has been a non-factor this preseason. Jones has 82 yards on 13 carries.
Others to consider: Jonas Gray/James White (New England), Chris Ivory (New York Jets), Lamar Miller (Miami), LaMichael James (Miami)
James Jones, New York Giants: With Odell Beckham Jr. taking it easy this preseason and Victor Cruz held off the field due to a calf injury, the Giants are looking for who will step up to fill the void. So far that has been former Packers and Raiders wideout James Jones. Jones hauled in five catches for 83 yards on nine targets against the Jaguars. He was matched by rookie Geremy Davis, who had four catches for 43 yards on seven targets. Both will continue to battle, along with Corey Washington, to line up as the Giants' third and fourth wide receivers this season.
Jarvis Landry, Miami: Coach Joe Philbin said to expect his starters to play the whole first half, if not longer, so it is hard not to rank the Dolphins' No. 1 wideout. Landry saw five targets in limited action against the Panthers. One of Ryan Tannehill's favorite weapons should factor a lot into Saturday's matchup with the Falcons.
Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia: Agholor had a modest performance in Week 2, catching four of five targets for 49 yards. The Eagles spread the ball around a lot, with 18 receivers targeted. Reports indicate that Josh Huff and Zach Ertz will miss this game, leading to a bit more field time for Agholor with the first-team offense. The Eagles are still working back new starter Sam Bradford from an ACL injury that ended his 2014 campaign. The longer Bradford is on the field, the longer Agholor will be.
Justin Hardy, Atlanta: The rookie out of East Carolina is in a position battle with Leonard Hankerson to start at slot receiver this season, replacing Harry Douglas. Hardy saw six targets in Week 2, totaling four receptions for 53 yards. His six targets made him one of the most targeted receivers last week. Like with most rookies, expect Hardy to continue to get as many on-field reps as he can.
Jarrett Boykin, Carolina: Speaking of targets, Boykin was the far and away winner of that category in Week 2. The former Packer saw 12 targets, resulting in six receptions for 53 yards. With Kelvin Benjamin now shelved for the year, Boykin will need to step up in a wide receiver corps led by rookie Devin Funchess and second-year player Corey Brown.
Jeff Janis, Green Bay: With Jordy Nelson ruled out for the season with a torn ACL, Janis and Ty Montgomery will move into impact roles this season. Janis saw seven targets against Pittsburgh on Sunday and has an edge on the WR3 spot in Green Bay due to experience with the playbook. The Packers, who were early Super Bowl favorites, need their young corps to step up to continue that dream. Expect to see Janis and Montgomery on the field nearly the whole game.
Others to consider: Brandon Gibson (New England), Phillip Dorsett (Indianapolis), Brandon Marshall (New York Jets), Tyler Lockett (Seattle), Allen Robinson (Jacksonville)
Jimmy Graham, Seattle: At a position of weakness for preseason DFS, Graham might be the safest and highest upside pick. Graham is still working to find his comfort zone in a new system with Seattle and has seen a lot of his time as a blocker. Graham's production likely will take an offensive hit from years past, but his talent is undoubted. In Week 2, he caught three balls for 39 yards, but he remains the top red-zone threat in Seattle along with Marshawn Lynch.
Maxx Williams, Baltimore: I am going back to the well with a familiar name in these posts in Maxx Williams. Reps are hard to predict for tight ends since because their main focus is blocking. Williams has seen four or more targets in his first two games as a pro and that number should maintain, if not increase. The athletic tight end is second on the depth chart to Crockett Gillmore.
Richard Rodgers, Green Bay: As previously stated with Janis, it is "next man up" time in Green Bay with the loss of Jordy Nelson. A second-year tight end, Rodgers is expected to be a big part of the offense in 2015. He hauled in three catches for 30 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and is consistently a red-zone threat. Whether for season-long, or just preseason DFS, keep Rodgers name in mind.
Others to consider: Josh Hill (New Orleans), Martellus Bennett (Chicago)