Fantasy News & Analysis

Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams

2RH1A8N Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Ben Skowronek (18) makes a catch during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Tutu Atwell appears to be the Los Angeles Rams WR3: The Rams rested several players, and generally those rested players are on the top of the depth chart.
  • Joshua Kelley leads the Los Angeles Chargers backup running backs: Kelley was the primary backup last season, and he’s still holding off Isaiah Spiller.
  • Quentin Johnston makes his NFL debut: Johnston caught a touchdown and dropped passes, but we won’t know his status on the depth chart until other starters play.
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Los Angeles Chargers @ Los Angeles Rams 

Tutu Atwell is the favorite for the Rams WR3 job: Atwell was among the three Rams wide receivers who had the night off.

  • Cooper Kupp and Van Jefferson seem to have a strong hold on the top two starting jobs. Both players also received the night off.
  • Atwell was listed among the starters on the unofficial depth chart earlier in the week.
  • His top competition comes from Ben Skowronek, free agent addition Demarcus Robinson and fifth-round rookie Puka Nacua.
  • Those were the three receivers that started the game for the Rams tonight.
  • This is somewhat surprising considering Skowronek led the Rams wide receivers in offensive snaps last season with 698 while Atwell only played 308 snaps.
  • Atwell was the second-highest-graded wide receiver last season, so it’s good to see he will be seeing more opportunities.

Joshua Kelley is currently ahead of Isaiah Spiller: Kelley started the game before the two rotated in and out.

  • Most backup running back battles are between an incumbent and a new player or two, but this is a battle between two returning players.
  • Kelley was the primary backup last season with 271 offensive snaps.
  • Spiller only played 53 snaps as a rookie, mostly in the middle of the season when Kelley was injured.
  • Both running backs looked good, but they were playing against a lot of the Rams' second- and third-string defenders.
  • The competition seems like one that Kelley will win, but it’s not entirely out of the question the Chargers look to add a running back to take the backup job.

Quentin Johnston makes his NFL debut: Johnston played the entire first half and scored the Chargers’ first offensive touchdown.

  • The Chargers had Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Josh Palmer take the night off while Jalen Guyton remains on the PUP list.
  • This game doesn’t say much about where Johnston sits on the depth chart, as it’s very common for teams to play rookies in the preseason even if they are high on the depth chart.
  • Johnston was the clear favorite target on the offense but ended up dropping two passes. He’s also reportedly been dropping passes in training camp.
  • Dropped passes aren’t necessarily an indication of future dropped passes. Ja’Marr Chase dropped four passes in his rookie preseason, and statistically, we haven’t seen dropped passes be a consistent thing for receivers.
  • Johnston consistently lined up on the outside, which is unsurprising given his height, and Keenan Allen’s status as the Chargers’ slot receiver.
  • This all adds up to us not learning all that much about Johnston at this point, but we should learn more once starters are playing.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Cam Akers and Kyren Williams were both given the night off. Ronnie Rivers and Royce Freeman are both currently ahead of sixth-round rookie Zach Evans, but there is plenty of time for that to change.
  • The Chargers didn’t have a clear-cut No. 2 tight end last season between Donald Parham Jr. and Tre’ McKitty, and that remains true. Parham had a slight edge for playing time tonight, but there were still plays where McKitty was on the field and Parham was off.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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