The football gods have blessed us with preseason football at both 4:00pm and 8:00pm tomorrow.
In Week 3, many starters will play for up to a half and maybe even three quarters in some cases. Still, offenses and defenses alike will continue to rely on simplified schemes.
Let’s take a look at key storylines for tomorrow’s matchups.
- Cincinnati Bengals Moneyline: +100
- Buffalo Bills Moneyline: -120
- Over/Under: 41.5
- Kickoff: Aug. 26, 2018 – 4:00 p.m. ET
The Bengals have wisely rested Tyler Eifert through two preseason games, but he’s tentatively expected to be ready to go for Week 1. One of the league’s premiere touchdown scorers, Eifert has found the end zone 18 times in his last 23 games and accordingly worked among the league’s best fantasy tight ends.
Eifert is expected to be on a weekly snap count in an effort to avoid further injury. Still, the league’s TE5 in DraftKings PPG since 2015 is positioned to smash his current ADP (PPR TE14, 150.2 overall) if he remains healthy.
The Bills and Bengals have each received half of the public’s moneyline tickets, but 86% of the money has come in on the visiting Bengals.
It’s #JoshAllenSzn in Buffalo, as the No. 7 overall pick will get the start Sunday afternoon. Allen has demonstrated his next-level arm strength and underrated athletic ability through two weeks, but he’s also averaged a pedestrian 5.5 yards per attempt on 32 drop backs. An improved performance Sunday afternoon could very well land Allen the Week 1 starting job.
The more-concerning issue is Allen’s continued inaccuracy. He hasn’t posted a 60% completion rate at any level of football since high school, and he’s just 18-of-32 (56.3%) after two games. The public isn’t expecting a shootout in Allen’s first start, as 80% of tickets have backed the under.
- Arizona Cardinals Moneyline: -140
- Dallas Cowboys Moneyline: +120
- Over/Under: 40.5
- Kickoff: Aug. 26, 2018 – 8:00 p.m. ET
The Cardinals are expected to turn to captain-checkdown Sam Bradford or 10th-overall pick Josh Rosen for the majority of Sunday’s game. Both quarterbacks seem to possess the ability to challenge defenses all over the field, but Arizona’s leaky offensive line certainly won’t make things easy:
- 26th in adjusted sack rate in 2017 (Football Outsiders)
- 27th overall unit entering 2018 (Pro Football Focus)
- C A.Q. Shipley is already out for the season with a torn ACL
Additionally, Bradford and Rosen’s options beyond Larry Fitzgerald are incredibly raw.
- Second-round rookie Christian Kirk is presently working behind Fitz in the slot
- DFS cult heroes Brice Butler and J.J. Nelson have zero combined seasons with 600+ yards or 35+ receptions
- 2017 third-round pick Chad Williams had just five total touches as a rookie
The Cardinals-Cowboys’ total has dropped heavily since opening at 43.5 with 74% of public tickets and 93% of the money coming in on the under.
Both Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott are expected to rest Sunday night. The Cowboys have since fallen from -3 favorites, but it’s easy to see why the rest is warranted: Their all-world offensive line is currently in shambles.
- LT Tyron Smith is dealing with a hamstring injury as well as chronic back issues
- C Travis Frederick is out indefinitely with Guillain-Barré syndrome
- RG Zack Martin is dealing with a bone bruise and hyper-extended left knee
- RT La’el Collins has an ankle/calf issue
The offense is pretty much settled elsewhere – except at tight end. The likes of Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, and Dalton Schultz have all been dubbed the likely Week 1 starter at some point this offseason, but perhaps no receiver on the roster carries as much upside as Rico Gathers. The former Baylor basketball star is 6-foot-6 and 275-pounds of pure athleticism.