There are only three games Friday, so the options arenít outstanding, but a lot of rookies will still be looking to make their marks. The Chiefs are the biggest favorite against the 49ers, and Iíll be backing them more than others. However, while the Giants are favored, Iím not confident in them just yet with Geno Smith seeing ample time.
Patrick Mahomes II, KC vs. SF ($6,000): Andy Reid wants to get Mahomes as many reps as possible in the preseason with the hopes heíll take over for Alex Smith sooner rather than later. That means at least 20 pass attempts could be in the cards against a suspect defense. The Chiefs may not be a great passing team, but Reid will want to air it out with Mahomes.
Kareem Hunt, KC vs. SF ($6,000): While the Chiefs may air it out, I still expect Hunt to see a lot of work, including screens. Heís gotten plenty of hype in early camp and is reportedly fighting for the starting gig with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West.
Joe Mixon, CIN vs. TB ($6,000): Speaking of rookies who should get plenty of playing time, Mixon is on that list. The good news is that he was listed with the third-team offense a few days ago and the Bengals already know what they have in Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Mixon should get close to two quarters to work on his pass protection in addition to some carries.
Demarcus Robinson, KC vs. SF ($6,000): Robinson could turn out to be Mahomesís top receiver in the preseason. He saw work last year in the regular season and could be one of the starters in the first quarter with Tyreek Hillís playing time unknown.
Cody Core, CIN vs. TB ($6,000): Hereís another second-year wide receiver who could be a top guy in the preseason. With A.J. Green not needed and John Ross nursing an injury, Core should start against the Bucs and see close to two quarters of work with A.J. McCarron.
Juju Smith-Schuster, PIT at NYG ($6,000): Smith-Schuster will get plenty of time to shine in the preseason and it only helps that the experienced Landry Jones is throwing to him. And even if itís Josh Dobbs, he and Smith-Schuster have reportedly been a great duo in training camp. Either way, Smith-Schuster will see the field.
Xavier Grimble, PIT at NYG ($6,000): Iíll try and bank off Jones and Dobbs having success in the opener and hoping that some balls go to Grimble too. The tight end is fighting for a starting spot and should get some work throughout the game.
Roberto Aguayo, TB at CIN ($6,000): Iíd take Kansas City kicker Sam Ficken, but heís not listed, so Aguayo is the choice. Aguayo will be fighting to hold his spot on the roster this preseason and will get plenty of opportunities to do so against Nick Folk.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. SF ($6,000): Going against one of the worst trio of quarterbacks in the league, I'll roll with the Chiefs defense. Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley will split time early, while C.J. Beathard should play in the second half, and he wasnít considered good on the college level at Iowa. That said, Barkley and Beathard are apparently in a race for the backup job. That could be either a good or bad thing for the Chiefs defense.