No rhyme or reason to preseason football. But here’s where my money goes this week.
Cincinnati +1 vs. Kansas City:
Ok, yes I’m betting NFL preseason. And while I think Patrick Mahomes will be the League’s best quarterback in five years, Cincinnati wins at home.
Pittsburgh +2.5 vs. Atlanta
Looks like Josh Dobbs will start his second game for the Steelers. He’ll look better, perhaps not great, but able to build off of his in-game growth last week. Atlanta will also be without Devonta Freeman.
New Orleans @ L.A. Chargers OVER 42.5
When a game projects high, take the over. Oddsmakers intentionally keep the totals low to get juice on both sides. The Saints got stuck at 14 points in their preseason opener, the Chargers at 17. Both teams will put up bigger totals this week.
Bonus fantasy football picks:
The Falcons will not be as good as they were last season and defensive coordinators have worked tirelessly studying Julio Jones all offseason. This is not to say Jones will have an unproductive season. He’s still a top wide receiver with a top quarterback. But I plan on taking Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Mike Evans before Julio Jones.
Until I see Brandin Cooks be a successful target for Tom Brady, I’m not sold that he’s a top-7 wide receiver. In spite of New England’s adulation, the Patriots’ system that has provided five Super Bowls doesn’t provide for Cooks’ skill set. Brady’s arm is far from what it used to be. Last season he ranked 24th, behind Blake Bortles and Carson Wentz, in “air yards,” which calculates total yards minus yards after completion. That by itself is fine since yards are yards in fantasy football. But Cooks is a burner who thrives on go routes. He clocked in at No. 8 in “yards at catch.” That’s nearly 100 yards more ground he covered before receiving the football than the Patriots’ Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Martellus Bennett covered combined.
TL;DR – Tom Brady is the League’s second or third best quarterback. But his system doesn’t fit with Cooks’ skill set.
Undervalued picks I’d take a look at include Kenny Stills, as Jay Cutler might be the best thing that ever happened to Miami’s wideout. Marquise Lee, as the rest of Jacksonville’s receivers fail to stay healthy. And a late, late round chance on Samaje Perine out of Oklahoma.