ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: How do you wish NFL teams handled preseason games?
Great question! The problem with preseason games is the hype that happens when Player X looks great against scrubs from the other team. The purpose of the preseason games is to determine which players that they want to keep. That's pretty much it. So if they know they want a player on the roster, then playing them in a preseason game just shortens the assessment time for the slew of guys that are on the fence. I like the format that almost all teams use -- try out players to determine the final roster in all games and then go live in the first half of game three. You just have to resist buying into the over-hype that happens after preseason games make players look better than they really are.
Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.
The easy, popular answer is to rest all starters to avoid injuries. But, I'll take a contrarian viewpoint. Most preseason injuries happen on the practice field, not in a game. I'll reference Cam Akers and JK Dobbins as the two biggest preseason injuries from last year -- neither injury occurred in a game. But also, it's always helpful to see potential fantasy players on the field, even if it's in base offenses against second-string defenses.
Charchian is the CEO at GuillotineLeagues.com. Guillotine Leagues are a new way to play in which the lowest-scoring team each week gets chopped from the league, and all the players go to the waiver wire. Charchian was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
I wish teams played all of their starters a little bit. I wish each team started their first team starters for the first quarter of every game. That way we could get a feel for who was winning the camp battles etc. But I know that is unrealistic in this fast-paced, physical game of football. I also wish the NFL played a game every night of the week and that I had a slush puppy drink machine with a bottomless supply of raspberry and cherry drink....
Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 30-year fantasy football veteran who participated in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.
It’s all Sean McVay’s fault. I think he’s the guy who popularized the idea of simply not playing anyone in the preseason. I would prefer to see a lot more notable players getting a lot more playing time. There are some coaches, however, who’ll play their guys a decent amount. Josh McDaniels, for example, gave Josh Jacobs a surprising number of touches last week. McDaniels says he’s a believer that running backs need to get some actual game action. McDaniels comes over from New England, and they have the same approach.
Allan co-founded Fantasy Football Index in 1987. He and fellow journalism student Bruce Taylor launched the first newsstand fantasy football magazine as a class project at the University of Washington. For more than three decades, Allan has written and edited most of the content published in the magazines, newsletters and at www.fantasyindex.com. An exhaustive researcher, he may be the only person in the country who has watched at least some of every preseason football game played since the early 1990s. Allan is a member of the FSTA Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame.
With only three games on tap for the preseason, it would be preferred for all teams to play their starters for 1+ quarters in Week 1, 2+ quarters in Week 2, then reduce back to 1+ quarters for Week 3, but I understand the injury concerns. Some teams like the Chargers plan to play ZERO stars/starters in the preseason, which makes their preseason game boring to view and tough to analyze. Unfortunately, it is what it is...
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc, celebrating 25 years online! His company offers a preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, a multi-use fantasy drafting program including auction values, weekly in-season newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site, www.ffmastermind.com. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. He's also won nearly $30K in recent seasons of the FFPC High Stakes Main Event. Nazarek can be reached via email at email@example.com.
With 3 preseason games, it would be great to see a mix of starters and veterans in the first game. Definitely like to see starters in the second game for the first half, maybe into the third quarter. Game 3, even though it would be nice to see the starters for at least 2 series, I can see teams not risking injuries and benching them all -- and I'm OK with that.
With 2 perfect seasons and multiple league championships to his credit, Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, featuring LIVE Talk & Text Advice. He is a 3-time Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Auction League, as well as a previous Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll.
In a perfect world, as an analyst, I wish coaches started their Week 1 starters on both sides of the ball, had them play a single snap, and then rested them. That way we know how position battles are playing out but all but remove the risk of unnecessary preseason injuries.
Wood is Senior Editor at Footballguys.com and has been with the company since its start in 2000. For more than 20 years, Footballguys has provided rankings, projections, and analysis to help fantasy managers dominate their leagues.
I'm fine with teams holding out irreplaceable franchise players in games. Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers are getting daily work with their new receivers in practices, we don't need to see it happen and risk seeing some overzealous defensive lineman fighting for a roster spot falling on their ankle or something. Star wideouts and running backs, hey, I wouldn't play those guys either. But rookies and guys in camp battles, or guys headed for clear, expanded roles -- those players need to get in some game action. So basically I want at least one half of one of the games to be played with most starters, so those guys can get their feet wet and we can see how the offense might look (while allowing it's Chad Henne or Jordan Love at quarterback, and with running backs like Aaron Jones also in street clothes).
Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.