Many call Week 3 of the preseason "the dress rehearsal," and for some teams, that's true. However, other teams prefer to hold starters out or give some players a cameo, so predicting playing time is the best chance to mine DFS gold.
To understand my reasoning in making these lineup decisions, here are my criteria (and not all players can meet all of these) in order of importance:
1. The player has already had at least some successful preseason action in the first two games.
2. The offense the player is on has either played well during this preseason or is a unit with a lot of cohesion expected to carry over from 2018.
3. The coaching staff has made some type of comment about the starters seeing significant playing time..
Deshaun Watson (Texans at Cowboys) - In last week's game, Watson was on fire, completing five of seven passes for 60 yards and a TD while chipping in seven yards on the ground. Assuming he gets a full half of work with the starters, there's nothing like going with a great QB when things are rolling for him.
Honorable mention: Sam Darnold (Jets vs. Saints)
Ty Montgomery (Jets vs. Saints) - With Le'Veon Bell expected to be kept in bubble wrap all preseason, Montgomery should see a full half of action with the Jets' starters, and this is a unit that's played well each time they've been on the field this summer. When given seven carries last week, Montgomery responded with 36 yards and a score, and with the Jets using quite a bit of 11 personnel, there should continue to be room to run.
Darrell Henderson (Rams vs. Broncos) - We know that Todd Gurley won't be on the field this week, and we may not see much of the starting offense as well, so Henderson should continue to see plenty of volume. Despite only gaining 16 yards on six carries last week, his work in the passing game is what makes him a strong DFS play — he caught all six of his targets for 38 yards last week. It would be a surprise if he didn't see double-digit touches again this week.
Honorable mention: Tony Pollard (Cowboys vs. Texans)
DeAndre Hopkins (Texans at Cowboys) - As noted with Deshaun Watson, the Texans have been humming on offense, and in very limited action last week, Hopkins caught two passes for 17 yards and a TD on three targets. Should he play throughout the first half, he wouldn't need many targets to put up big numbers.
Tyreek Hill (Chiefs vs. 49ers) - Even though Hill caught just one pass for six yards last week, he was targeted only three times in limited action. Even if he played just a few series, he'd only need a couple catches to have a chance to put up 100 yards and a score.
Tyler Lockett (Seahawks at Chargers) - With Russell Wilson throwing nine passes last week, it was great to see him throw four passes to Lockett, and even though the duo didn't connect on a big play, Lockett did post 27 yards on three catches. If they're given at least a few drives together, we saw last year that the chemistry between Wilson and Lockett can result in a TD at any time.
Honorable mention: Quincy Enunwa (Jets vs. Saints)
Jordan Thomas (Texans vs. Cowboys) - Sure, he did much of his damage with second-stringers on the field, but when a TE gets five targets in the preseason, it's worth noting. Not only should Thomas get some work with the starters, but he'll likely see additional time with the subs, and volume is what we're looking for at TE.
Honorable mention: Travis Kelce (Chiefs vs. 49ers)
Colts (vs. Bears) - Since the Bears are on record as saying they'll rest their regulars, the Colts become the best default play this week.
Honorable mention: Vikings (vs. Cardinals)