Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

2REJ9Y7 Green Bay Packers' Luke Musgrave catches a pass during NFL football training camp Thursday, July 27, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

• The Green Bay Packers’ second-round rookies are high on the depth chart: Jayden Reed has already secured the third wide receiver spot, while Luke Musgrave appears to be the starting tight end.

• The Cincinnati Bengals’ backup running back battle: Chris Evans and Chase Brown rotated by drive in the fight to be Joe Mixon’s backup.

• The Bengals rested most starters: The Bengals rested all of their starters on offense and nearly all of them on defense, including their top two tight ends.

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Green Bay Packers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Jayden Reed is the established WR3 for Green Bay: The second-round rookie played 100% of snaps in 11 personnel with the starters.

  • Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs remain the clear top two on the depth chart, both in terms of playing time and targets.
  • Reed’s main competition for the third spot was Samori Toure, who played only one snap with the starters while Christian Watson took a play off.
  • It was expected that Reed would eventually secure the third spot, especially after positive training camp reports, but it was good to see his stranglehold on the job this early.
  • Reed continued playing with the second-string offense after Watson’s and Doubs' nights were done. He continued to stick with 11 personnel sets with the backups.
  • All but one of his snaps with the starters came from the slot, with his only out-wide snap coming in a bunched formation.
  • He can be worth a late-round flier in case he becomes one of Jordan Love’s favorite targets.

Luke Musgrave might be an every-down tight end: Musgrave took every snap with the starters.

  • The Packers traditionally employ a rotation of tight ends by situation. They could still do this in the regular season, but it was noteworthy Musgrave was ahead of third-round rookie Tucker Kraft on all 11-personnel snaps.
  • Robert Tonyan and Marcedes Lewis were leading that rotation last year, but both left for the rival Chicago Bears this offseason.
  • It was also noteworthy that both Musgrave and Kraft were already playing ahead of Tyler Davis, who didn’t see a single snap with the starters. Davis played 175 offensive snaps last season and 121 the year before.
  • Josiah Deguara is the only other player on the roster who could impact playing time for Musgrave and Kraft.
  • Deguara missed a week of training camp with a calf injury and recently returned, but the Packers still kept him out of this game.
  • If Musgrave plays anywhere close to 100% of offensive snaps, he should be considered among the league’s top sleeper tight ends.

The Bengals’ open running back competition: The Bengals rotated Chris Evans and Chase Brown by drive.

  • Joe Mixon was among the Bengals’ starters who rested.
  • Trayveon Williams seemed to be the favorite for the backup job, but he sprained his ankle and is week to week.
  • This gives veteran Chris Evans or fifth-round rookie Chase Brown a chance to win the job.
  • Evans started the game and broke a 33-yard run in the second quarter, so he is likely ahead of Brown.
  • The Bengals could very well add a veteran if Mixon ever suffers an injury, but there is at least a chance one of these players could be a fantasy starter this season if Mixon is hurt and the Bengals don’t look elsewhere.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Packers ruled out 2023 seventh-round rookie running back Lew Nichols and wide receiver Grant DuBose, as well as veteran tight end Josiah Deguara before the game. They were among the nine players ruled out for primarily injury reasons.
  • Aaron Jones played the first offensive snap of the game, caught a six-yard pass and then called it a night.
  • Trenton Irwin, Trent Taylor and Stanley Morgan Jr. were the Bengals' backup wide receivers last season, and they started Friday night.
  • Fourth-round rookie Charlie Jones is most likely to challenge for one of those spots, but he’s playing with a torn labrum. He was further down the depth chart than you would expect, but it was likely due to the injury.
  • Irv Smith Jr. was among the Bengals’ starters not playing, as was backup Drew Sample, who seems secure in the No. 2 job after missing most of last season.

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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