This article is part of our DFS NFL series.
The NFL preseason continues Saturday with a 10-game slate that begins at 1 p.m. EDT. With teams giving their starters various amounts of playing time, crafting effective preseason DFS lineups is tricky, as you need to strike a balance between talent and time on the field. Since there is no variation in pricing between players, the usual lineup building strategies can be thrown out the window in favor of purely targeting whichever players you believe will play the most and perform best. Most of the options below are youngsters looking to prove themselves and/or players in job battles with the opportunity to pull ahead.
Sam Ehlinger, IND at MIN: Ehlinger's expected to start this game and should see a significant chunk of playing time — likely the entire first half — as he continues to battle Jacob Eason in arguably the league's most intriguing backup quarterback competition given the uncertainty over Carson Wentz's (foot) Week 1 status. The rookie sixth-round pick threw for 155 yards in the second half of the Colts' preseason opener and showed a willingness to use his legs, with 30 rushing yards on eight attempts. Ehlinger's dual-threat ability and expectation of extensive playing time make him an appealing option against a Vikings team that took a 33-6 shellacking from the Broncos last week.
Tyler Huntley, BAL at CAR: As mentioned last week, the Ravens simply don't lose in preseason. With Lamar Jackson unlikely to play more than a drive or two if he suits up and Trace McSorley (back) out for the remainder of the preseason, Huntley should see most of the work under center for a team that will be playing to win while many others are just looking to evaluate talent. The much less mobile Kenji Bahar is the only other quarterback option for Baltimore, so Huntley should get an extensive opportunity to showcase his understanding of an offensive scheme that relies on significant rushing contributions from the quarterback and prove himself ready to take over as Jackson's backup should McSorley's injury linger into the regular season.
DeeJay Dallas, SEA vs. DEN: Dallas turned five carries and two catches into 69 scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Seattle's preseason opener, putting him in the driver's seat for the third-string running back job in Seattle. The Seahawks have little reason to add much mileage to starter Chris Carson's legs in the exhibition season, while perennially injured backup Rashaad Penny is questionable due to a thigh injury and Travis Homer (knee) is on the PUP list. Given that context, Dallas should continue to get most of the work in Seattle's backfield over the likes of Alex Collins, who got only two touches in last week's loss to the Raiders.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, TB vs. TEN: Vaughn's firmly buried at fourth on the Buccaneers' depth chart behind veterans Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones and Giovani Bernard, so the 2020 third-round pick can ill afford to slip any further, lest his spot on the 53-man roster come up for grabs. Vaughn put some distance between himself and the options behind him with 37 scrimmage yards and a touchdown on 13 touches in the preseason opener, earning praise from the coaching staff with his effort. The players ahead of Vaughn don't need an extensive preseason workload, so he should once again work as the leading man in Tampa Bay's backfield and has the skills to produce in that role.
Terrace Marshall, CAR vs. BAL: Marshall's an explosive talent who would be getting a lot more fantasy buzz for the regular season if he wasn't behind both DJ Moore and Robby Anderson in Carolina's wide receiver pecking order. The rookie second-round pick had an impressive debut last week with three catches on five targets for 88 yards, and Marshall will be the top dog in Carolina's receiving corps with both Moore (back) and Anderson (hamstring) expected to sit out.
Trinity Benson, DEN at SEA: Benson caught touchdown passes from both Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason opener against the Vikings. That performance likely moved him from just another camp body to a player who's in the mix for one of Denver's final roster spots. If nothing else, Benson should at least get plenty of opportunities to see the field for the remainder of the preseason so the coaching staff can evaluate whether the two-touchdown performance was a one-off outburst or a sign of more production to come from the 24-year-old receiver out of East Central University.
Chris Conley, HOU at DAL: Conley's Texans tenure is off to a quietly strong start. The former Chiefs and Jaguars wide receiver has thus far earned a starting role on the outside, and he solidified his hold on that spot with four catches for 51 yards in Houston's first preseason game. Three of those catches came on the only drive played by starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, suggesting Conley is Taylor's favorite target at this stage. Taylor likely will see more action in this second preseason game, plus Conley's deployment last week suggests the receiver may remain in the game even after some other starters are done for the night.
Foster Moreau, LV at LAR: Most teams find it hard enough to get solid receiving production out of their starting tight ends over the course of a full game, much less doing it in just a few series or relying on their backups. Moreau is one of the few options at the position who should offer a solid mix of skill and playing time. The Raiders reached deep down the depth chart for the preseason opener but should use more regulars in Week 2 of preseason. Darren Waller likely will play sparingly, if at all, having recently returned from an ankle injury, leaving Moreau as the top tight end in an offense with a playbook that heavily features the position in the passing game. Moreau has displayed decent receiving chops with seven touchdowns over his first two NFL seasons, and coach/GM Jon Gruden has been gushing over the 24-year-old's development throughout camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT vs. DET: Detroit's starting offense likely will be among the league's worst given the team's lack of receiving talent for subpar starting quarterback Jared Goff. Things only get worse from there as you drop down to the backups, and Detroit mustered just three points through three quarters in their preseason opener against the Bills before tacking on 12 in the fourth against Buffalo's backups' backups on defense. Conversely, the Steelers boast an elite defense top to bottom, allowing 19 points in two preseason games after holding opponents to 19.5 points per game in the 2020 regular season.
Others: New York Jets (NYJ at GB), Indianapolis Colts (IND at MIN)