The final game of the preseason is all about roster battles, and the biggest remaining battles are at wide receiver. For DFS players, finding the player who maximizes his opportunity to make his case usually translates into profitable evenings. Some teams will be playing some starters on Thursday, but for fantasy purposes, we are looking for the high-volume guys at receiver. Here is our take on this final preseason slate.
Washington-Tampa Bay Buccaneers "Postponement"
For those who might be unaware, an impending tropical storm moved the game back to Wednesday, taking them off the slate on sites like DraftKings. If you have players from this game still in your lineups, get them out immediately.
As for the receivers ...
Robby Anderson (New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles)
While guys like Tajae Sharpe and Will Fuller have been garnering the receiving headlines this preseason, Anderson has quietly led the NFL in receiving yards with 203. He was targeted nine times last week against the Giants and has touchdowns in each of his past two games. All that, and he returns to Philly, where he starred at Temple. Narrative Street! Get him in there.
Aldrick Robinson (Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
Robinson trails Anderson by 1 yard for the preseason lead and he has been as consistent a performer as anyone in the league this preseason. The Falcons will probably be throwing much more than normal in this one because they have just one healthy running back on the roster for this game.
Walter Powell (Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions)
Powell has been among the most prolific pass catchers this preseason with 12 receptions for 189 yards. He is making a case for himself to crack the Bills’ roster, and with injuries at receiver he should remain very much in the mix against the Lions. Powell was dealing with his own injury after last week’s game, but he is expected to play. He also returns punts, giving him the potential for a special teams touchdown and added value. He makes for a fine play.
Paul Turner (Eagles vs. Jets)
Turner has caught 11 of 14 targets this preseason and his chances of making the Eagles’ roster improved this week when Rueben Randle and Chris Givens were cut. Turner has seen his production dip a bit each successive week this preseason, but with the starters sitting, the opportunities should be there in bunches in this one.
Chris Hubert/Jaxon Shipley (Arizona Cardinals vs. Denver Broncos)
There are a few sets of tandems that should draw DFS interest. Among the most intriguing are Hubert and Shipley, who are both fighting for roster spots and have shown flashes this preseason. Hubert had a bit of a breakout game last week and is probably the better choice this week, but Shipley has already had one game this preseason with 10 targets, so he is always a threat to rack up production.
Braxton Miller/Jaelen Strong (Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys)
Another position battle between two productive preseason receivers, with the added bonus of playing in a game that should produce points. You can pretty much flip a coin on these two and probably won’t be disappointed with the outcome.
Brice Butler (Cowboys vs. Texans)
Butler only had two receptions last week against the Seahawks, but has had a decent preseason and should get a chance to make a final impression against the Texans. Jameill Showers is now in line as the backup QB with Tony Romo out, and he’s going to need to prove he can be an effective passer, so a guy like Butler could be busy.
Sammie Coates/Eli Rogers (Pittsburgh Steelers at Carolina Panthers)
Coates has been the headliner among the young receivers for the Steelers, but Rogers has been coming on in recent weeks as he fights for a spot on the roster. Both should see plenty of reps in this one as the Steelers are still trying to figure out where both of these guys fit in their receiver sets.
Jeremy Butler/Breshad Perriman (Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints)
Another set of position-battle guys equally capable of putting up decent numbers in the same game. Perriman is making his season debut for the Ravens, so he has a chance of getting several targets as the team looks to see what he can do. Butler has been a consistent performer for the Ravens and is no lock to make the team.
Josh Gordon (Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears)
The only "starter" we are going to consider this week. The Browns are one of a handful of teams who will play their first-teamers in the first quarter and Gordon is the one player capable of outscoring every other receiver with just a handful of series. If he puts up a 2-80-1 line, he’s going to be among the night’s top performers. He’s worth a look as long as he takes the field.
Tajae Sharpe (Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins)
The Titans starters are expected to play one series, then sit down. Sharpe has already proven his ability through three games and could well be part of that first team that finishes up early. He is not worth the risk with so many other talented receivers likely to get significant playing time.
Will Fuller (Texans at Cowboys)
Fuller is in a similar boat as Sharpe. He has little left to prove, and with guys like Miller and Strong still in a position battle, there is little to be gained by playing Fuller much if at all. Like Sharpe, he will still be a popular pick, which makes him even less attractive.