Preseason Week 1 Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from every game

2R72GFM Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta runs after a catch during an NFL football practice in Allen Park, Mich., Monday, June 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023. You can find more information on why it’s essential to pay attention to the preseason here.

Check out PFF's 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit for even more content to help you dominate your league.

Jump to a game:


Random Image

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

Buyer beware on Devin Singletary: He seemed destined for the third down and primary backup role to Dameon Pierce, but he might only be a handcuff.

  • Pierce was among the few veteran players who were given the night off.
  • Singletary was the starting running back in this game and played the majority of the snaps with the first team, but he was consistently leaving the field on third downs.
  • This was typically in favor of Dare Ogunbowale, but for one play it was Mike Boone.
  • If the third down role was Singletary’s, he would be the one playing the third down snaps.
  • This suggests Ogunbowale might still have the third down job instead of Singletary.
  • On the Texans' third drive, they took out some of the players who started the game but not Singletary. He played a few plays with Davis Mills before leaving the game for Boone.
  • When the backups played, Boone primarily played out of 21 personnel while Ogunbowale primarily played in 11, making it more clear Ogunbowale is currently the receiving back.
  • This game made it clear Singletary is Pierce's handcuff, but his playing time might be pretty limited as long as Pierce is healthy.

Robert Woods and Noah Brown get the night off: It was exciting to see rookie Tank Dell receive multiple targets, but veterans appear ahead of him on the depth chart.

  • Robert Woods was reported ahead of time to have the night off, but Noah Brown also didn’t play in the game.
  • Returning starter Nico Collins and third-round rookie Tank Dell started the game. 
  • Dell caught five passes for 65 yards and a touchdown in the first half, but all five receptions came with the backups while Davis Mills threw to him rather than C.J. Stroud.
  • John Metchie III played in 11 personnel with the starters, primarily playing in the slot. Even when the backups started to play, Metchie would only play in three-receiver sets, suggesting he will at best be a slot receiver this season.
  • Steven Sims replaced Collins on a few plays with the starters and fully replaced him once Collins left the game.
  • Sixth-round rookie Xavier Hutchinson saw his only snap with the starters in a short-yardage situation out of 22 personnel — the only snap Dell missed with the starters.
  • This suggests Brown could be ahead of Collins on the depth chart despite what their official depth chart suggests.
  • Brown could also simply not be playing with an undisclosed injury, but he wasn’t reported among either the injured players not playing or the veterans.
  • If Brown is ahead, there is certainly time for younger players like Collins or Dell to surpass him on the depth chart.

Monitor Dalton Schultz’s snaps: Schultz was the Texans' starter , but it was slightly surprising he played at all, and he took a few early snaps off.

  • The fact that he played while other projected starters didn’t suggest the Texans might think Schultz needs more snaps in the offense.
  • Houston was also down two tight ends, with backup Teagan Quitoriano remaining on the active PUP list with a quadriceps injury while Brevin Jordan missed the game due to a hamstring injury.
  • Regardless, it was also surprising to see Eric Tomlinson in for Schultz on three of the first seven plays, which were all in 21 personnel. Typically, a fantasy tight end missing snaps in 21 personnel isn’t a big deal, but we could see a lot of that personnel grouping for Houston this season. Schultz played one snap out of 21 personnel with the first team.
  • Schultz was consistently in 11 personnel and 12 personnel with the starters and left the game before the other starters did tonight.

Patriots backup running back situation is wide open: The Patriots rotated Pierre Strong Jr., Kevin Harris and J.J. Taylor with Rhamondre Stevenson taking the night off.

  • The Patriots rotated Strong and Harris by drive with Strong getting the first drive while Taylor mixed in for clear passing situations.
  • New England has looked at several veteran running backs, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the team bring someone in considering it doesn’t have a clear No. 2 at this point.

Tyquan Thornton is down the Patriots depth chart: New England rested several starters, with Thornton seeing significant playing time Thursday night.

  • The Patriots had JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne all take the night off.
  • Sixth-round rookies Kayshon Boutte and Demario Douglas started the game instead of Thornton.
  • Thornton played significantly with the Patriots “starters” Thursday night but only in 11 personnel.
  • Douglas only played in the first two snaps and his night was done. He’s received plenty of praise during training camp, so this suggests Douglas has a strong hold on the fourth receiving job.
  • He led the Patriots in receiving yards in the first half with 31 off two catches, but the problem was that he was playing at all while several other players, including some new to the team, got the night off.
  • He stopped playing in the middle of the second quarter, which was before any of the other skill players were done but after some offensive linemen took their last snaps.
  • There have been reports throughout training camp that Thornton’s had a poor camp, and this further confirms that.
  • Thornton probably shouldn’t be drafted at this point while he’s fourth at best on the depth chart.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Patriots wide receiver/running back Ty Montgomery has been missing practice with a leg injury and was out for this game.
  • Patriots tight end Mike Gesicki was among the veterans who had the night off for New England, which is a positive sign considering his training camp reports haven’t been the best.
  • The Texans showed off their new offensive philosophy early, with fullback Andrew Beck playing on each of the first four offensive plays of the game.
  • Undrafted Patriots rookie Malik Cunningham received significant time in the middle of the game as a wide receiver while ending the game as the team's quarterback.

Minnesota Vikings @ Seattle Seahawks

Jordan Addison makes his debut with the Vikings: Addison started the game and played the vast majority of snaps with the “starters”.

  • Both Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn were among the veterans who had the night off while Jalen Nailor missed the game, as he’s been dealing with a leg injury. 
  • He’s among the top four on the depth chart, but this game gave no indication of where he is among those four.
  • He made a highlight-worthy catch on the sideline, but it was ruled incomplete and the play wasn’t reviewed. He made his first official catch to start the second quarter, which went for 22 yards.
  • His night was over after the Vikings’ first three drives, which was earlier than other players who started the game for Minnesota.
  • He consistently lined up as an outside receiver with Brandon Powell taking the snaps in the slot.
  • Addison is expected to essentially take Adam Thielen‘s role, and Thielen played 28.6% of his snaps in the slot.
  • The Vikings likely want Addison to focus on the outside for now, so he will likely eventually see some time in the slot, but for now, this could mean more slot snaps for Jefferson and Osborn.
  • Ultimately, the big catches were a good thing, but ideally, he gets some experience in the slot before the preseason is over.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba makes his debut with the Seahawks: Smith-Njigba started the game but was limited to snaps in 11 personnel.

  • Smith-Njigba was Dre Lock’s favorite target, catching three passes for 25 yards.
  • The Seahawks similarly rested most of their starters, including D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
  • Cody Thompson was in street clothes for the game, which was a surprise, and Dee Eskridge was injured on the opening kickoff.
  • Seattle came into the game planning to play Smith-Njigba in 11 personnel, as players like undrafted rookie Jake Bobo played in 12 personnel instead of Smith-Njigba.
  • The Seahawks ran three plays from 12 personnel on their second drive, and Smith-Njigba was off the field for all of them.
  • His night was done after the Seahawks' third drive.
  • This likely means Metcalf and Lockett’s playing time isn’t in danger, at least early in the season.
  • There is certainly a chance that Seattle expands Smith-Njigba’s role as the season progresses, but if the Seahawks wanted him to play in 12 personnel Week 1, this would have been a perfect time to get some practice.

Zach Charbonnet makes his debut for the Seahawks: The second-round rookie didn’t start the game but saw playing time early in the game.

  • Ken Walker III and Kenny McIntosh missed the game due to injuries.
  • DeeJay Dallas started the game. Charbonnet had missed some time during training camp due to injury, so we shouldn’t worry about Dallas starting above Charbonnet at this point.
  • Dallas took each of the first eight offensive snaps before his night was done.
  • Seattle had the same running back take several snaps in a row rather than rotating by situation. The Seahawks typically have a specific third-down back in the regular season, but this allowed their backs to get exposed to more situations.
  • Ideally, Charbonnet can get the start by the end of training camp assuming the other running backs remain injured. 

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Ty Chandler started the game at running back for the Vikings. Alexander Mattison was a veteran resting while Kene Nwangwu missed the game due to an injury. Nwangwu was listed ahead of Chandler on the “official” depth chart, but Chandler may have played well enough to earn the backup job.
  • Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson was another veteran resting. It was surprising to see Johnny Mundt play ahead of Josh Oliver in 21 personnel after Oliver gained a three-year, $21 million contract. Mundt has more experience in the offense, which may have contributed to their playing time.
  • Noah Fant and Will Dissly were the Seahawks tight ends who had the night off. It was slightly surprising Colby Parkinson didn’t also have the night off after playing 441 offensive snaps last season. This is a sign he is still clearly third on the depth chart.

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.

Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins

De’Von Achane has work to do: Achane currently sits at fifth on the Dolphins’ running back depth chart.

  • Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. were both given the night off with the rest of the starters.
  • Myles Gaskin and Salvon Ahmed were the only running backs to play for Miami in the first quarter.
  • The Dolphins started transitioning to more backups throughout the second quarter, particularly on the offensive line. This was when Achane started mixing in.
  • Gaskin put up a great performance, recording seven carries for 57 yards.
  • Achane continued playing into the third quarter but gained only 25 yards over his first 10 carries.
  • On the bright side, Achane did make a few nice catches. But he caught only one pass in the first three quarters.
  • Plenty of rookie running backs were far down the depth chart in the first week of the preseason last year, including Tyler Allgeier with the Atlanta Falcons and Rachaad White with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both worked their way up the depth chart quickly.
  • It’s far too early to give up on Achane for 2023, but this game hurt him more than it helped.

The Atlanta Falcons rested almost everyone: Atlanta didn’t use its top two quarterbacks, top three running backs, top three wide receivers and top two tight ends.

  • Interestingly, KhaDarel Hodge didn’t play. He was the Falcons’ fourth wide receiver last season.
  • Olamide Zaccheaus, Damiere Byrd and Bryan Edwards were all among the Falcons’ top five wide receivers last season and are no longer on the roster.
  • This implies Hodge is third on the depth chart, behind Drake London and free agent addition Mack Hollins.
  • It was also noteworthy that Parker Hesse played significantly in the first half after leading the Atlanta tight end room in offensive snaps last season with 619.
  • This means he is third on the depth chart, behind Kyle Pitts and Jonnu Smith.
  • His playing time could have just been due to a lack of healthy tight ends. The Falcons have six on the roster, and MyCole Pruitt was just added two weeks ago.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Dolphins announced ahead of the game that Tua Tagovailoa, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr., Alec Ingold, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Durham Smythe were among the starters not playing.
  • Wide receiver Braylon Sanders suffered a minor knee injury earlier in the week, so he was also among the 31 Dolphins ruled out before the game.
  • Dolphins free agent addition Robbie Chosen wasn’t among the players listed as not playing but was on the sideline in shorts. It’s unclear why he didn’t play, but based on training camp reports and the unofficial depth chart, it doesn’t seem like Chosen is an established starter

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jaylen Warren leads in snaps with Steelers starters: Najee Harris started the game, but Warren also played significantly.

  • Harris played each of the team’s first three snaps. Warren replaced him for second-and-11 and third-and-10, which isn’t surprising considering those were the kinds of situations Warren played in last season.
  • Warren stayed on the field for the following first-and-10 and was replaced by Harris for a first-and-10. Harris was then replaced by Warren for another first-and-10.
  • The Steelers turned to backups for the second drive, which included not just replacing Harris for the night, but also Warren.
  • We already anticipated Warren playing in passing situations this year, but this at least increases the possibility of him taking more snaps on early downs, too.
  • This could be enough of a reason to move Harris down the rankings at least a little bit until we see the Steelers’ starters again this preseason, if at all.
  • It’s also possible the Steelers were just trying different things with the offense. Harris never ran the ball but did catch a pass, whereas Warren was used more as a runner than a receiver — the opposite of what we’d typically expect.

Monitor the Steelers’ tight end rotation: Pat Freiermuth similarly saw fewer snaps than expected with the starters.

  • Freiermuth played five of eight snaps in 11 personnel and neither of the snaps in two-tight end sets.
  • Zach Gentry was the Steelers’ run-blocking tight end last season, which cost Freiermuth some pass routes out of run formations.
  • Pittsburgh drafted Darnell Washington, who is also a run blocker. If Freiermuth stops playing in 12 personnel, that might be enough to keep him from being a top-10 fantasy tight end.
  • The fact that Washington played three snaps in 11 personnel with the starters was also alarming.
  • With both the running backs and the tight ends, this could just be the team wanting to try things with Kenny Pickett on the field. But it could also be a sign of things to come.

Allen Robinson II might fight for the second receiver spot: Robinson played significantly with the starters, including in 12 personnel.

  • Diontae Johnson played both snaps in 12 personnel, one with George Pickens and the other with Robinson.
  • Robinson also played every snap in 11 personnel, while Johnson and Pickens both took a play off.
  • Pickens was rarely playing in 12 personnel in the first half of the season but played more than two-thirds of snaps there in the second half of the season.
  • The addition of Robinson wasn’t expected to impact Pickens’ playing time, but there is at least a chance it will.
  • Pickens caught a highlight-worthy 33-yard touchdown pass to end the first drive, so ideally, he can find a way to keep those snaps.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn has the early lead on the Buccaneers' backup job: Vaughn started the game and played the first several snaps for Tampa Bay.

  • The Buccaneers played Vaughn for a while, then Edmonds for a while and then back to Vaughn and back to Edmonds.
  • Tampa Bay similarly rotated its running backs by drive during the regular season late last year.
  • This could simply be a case of Vaughn having more experience in the offense, and it’s close given the similar snaps.
  • It’s unlikely that Rachaad White is playing more than 75% of offensive snaps once the regular season starts, so one of these running backs — not both — will see some significant playing time in the regular season.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Buccaneers announced Rachaad White, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, a few offensive linemen and several defensive players wouldn’t play before the game.
  • Undrafted rookie wide receiver Rakim Jarrett was also among the players ruled out before the game. He’s put together a strong camp, but even then it would be surprising if he’s already earned a day off.
  • Wide receiver Russell Gage is locked into the third receiver spot. While he wasn’t among the clear starters who didn’t play, he took snaps on the first drive only, and his night was done before the rest of the Buccaneers' “starters.”
  • Tight end Cade Otton similarly left before other players who started the game. He played the Buccaneers' first 14 offensive plays and then left mid-drive. While it was a little surprising to see him play considering he was the clear starter to end last season, it doesn’t seem like anyone will surpass him.
  • Steelers Calvin Austin III was a fourth-round pick last season but then missed the entire year with a foot injury. This was his first preseason game, and he caught a 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions

Sam LaPorta is already the Lions’ starting tight end: LaPorta played the clear majority of snaps with the starters over the team’s other top players.

  • While starters at several positions got the night off, there were no notable tight ends who didn’t play.
  • LaPorta played during the first three drives, taking 100% of snaps in 11 personnel and 100% of snaps in 12 personnel with Brock Wright.
  • Wright took 100% of snaps in 21 personnel.
  • Both tight ends were replaced after the third drive by James Mitchell and Daniel Helm.
  • This is the best-case scenario for LaPorta. He’s already ahead of everyone else, and the time the Lions plan to take him off the field is during likely run situations.
  • Typically, we shouldn’t read too much into rookies playing further down the depth chart, but when a rookie is starting in the first week of the preseason ahead of all veterans, they are very likely to have that role during the regular season.

Jameson Williams plays longer than expected: Williams played much later into the game than other notable Lions.

  • Rookies Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta played only the first three drives, as did veterans such as Brock Wright.
  • Williams continued to play into the third quarter of the game.
  • This might look like bad news for Williams, but it might have just been a case of the Lions lacking healthy receivers. While they could have wanted to simply see him play, they also probably needed him.
  • He officially caught two passes on seven targets for 18 yards, but most of those incomplete passes weren’t catchable.
  • He did drop a pass, but that doesn’t indicate he will drop a lot of passes in the future.
  • Williams brought in a nice two-point conversion in the third quarter.
  • It will at least be worth monitoring Williams more closely going forward, but this game for him may not have been as bad as it looked.

The Giants’ seemingly crowded receiver room wasn’t crowded: The Giants had three clear wide receivers, but the room will be more complicated soon.

  • Darius Slayton and Parris Campbell appeared to be among the starters who were given the night off, which should be good news for their fantasy value.
  • It was at least somewhat surprising that Isaiah Hodgins also didn’t receive the night off based on how well he played last season. It could have potentially been because of how few healthy receivers New York had.
  • Wan’Dale Robinson is still on the PUP list after tearing his ACL last season. Sterling Shepard returned from the PUP list two weeks ago, but given his injury history, it isn’t surprising he also had the night off.
  • This meant Hodgins and third-round rookie Jalin Hyatt were the starters, while Cole Beasley was in the slot.
  • Beasley stood out the most with four catches for 33 yards. Hyatt caught only one pass for -4 yards by halftime.
  • Former NFL starter Jamison Crowder played with the second-team offense and appears to be among the odd men out once everyone is healthy.
  • Collin Johnson also played with the second-team offense but suffered a knee injury and was quickly ruled out.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Lions first-round rookie Jahmyr Gibbs played every snap in the first quarter before taking the rest of the game off. It was good to see him on the field in every situation, but we can’t learn much without David Montgomery also playing.
  • Giants fifth-round rookie Eric Gray played on third downs with the second team. It’s possible Gray earns time in that situation in the regular season.
  • Giants backup running back Matt Breida and tight end Daniel Bellinger were among the players who played for only two drives before sitting out. Starters Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller were among the several Giants given the night off.

Washington Commanders @ Cleveland Browns

Monitor the Elijah Moore injury: Moore suffered a ribs injury on the Browns' first drive, but X-rays have already come back negative.

  • He played every snap on the Browns' first drive in three- or four-receiver sets but not in any of their one or two-receiver sets.
  • This suggests he will remain third on the depth chart behind Donovan Peoples-Jones and Amari Cooper, at least in terms of playing time.
  • He took two snaps out of the backfield and is the only wide receiver to take snaps at running back in the first quarter of a preseason game this year.
  • He took a carry out of this set for 18 yards.
  • Seeing some rushing production is a big bonus to his fantasy upside, making him an interesting late-round sleeper.

New offensive coordinator, same offensive trends for Commanders: Washington played its healthy starters, and the offensive snap trends were very similar to last season even though Eric Bieniemy is the team's new offensive coordinator.

  • Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson continued to split offensive snaps, as they did last season, with the general trend of Robinson playing more on early downs and Gibson playing more on late downs.
  • Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson were almost always the receivers in two-receiver sets while Curtis Samuel joined for 11 personnel sets.
  • While playing time was similar to last season, we already started to see more personnel diversity.
  • Washington never used 21 personnel last season, but the Commanders used it once with the starters Friday night. They also only used 20 personnel three times all of last season and already used it once with the starters.

Miscellaneous notes

  • Tight end Logan Thomas was among the few Commanders ruled out before the game. He’s dealing with a calf injury and the team is being cautious.
  • John Bates had been the primary backup tight end last season, followed by Cole Turner, but Turner played most of the snaps with the starters Friday night, suggesting there might be a new primary backup.
  • The Browns declared the following players out before the game: running back Jerome Ford, wide receivers Jakeem Grant Sr., Mike Woods II, Jaelon Darden, Marquise Goodwin, and tight end Harrison Bryant.
  • Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper also didn’t play, which was similar to last preseason.
  • The Browns started a game without a running back, and John Kelly Jr. took the first offensive snaps. Demetric Felton performed better, which probably means the battle for the third running back spot is still close.
  • Third-round rookie Cedric Tillman is clearly established as the team’s fourth wide receiver at this point, replacing Cooper among the starters instead of David Bell or Anthony Schwartz.
  • Jordan Akins missed the Hall of Fame Game but was healthy enough to play Friday night. He played in every two- and three-tight end set with the starters and took over as the primary tight end with the backups.

Denver Broncos @ Arizona Cardinals

Greg Dulcich’s playing time is in trouble: Adam Trautman was not just the Broncos starting tight end, but he played on all first and second downs.

  • Trautman caught two passes in the first half for 18 yards while Dulcich wasn’t targeted.
  • Dulcich only joined the field for third downs and two-tight end sets. Last season, he would play significantly on early downs and third downs.
  • Trautman has a history in Sean Payton’s offense, and he was consistently playing in over 80% of his team's offensive snaps the last time he was healthy with Payton as his coach.
  • Trautman was listed as the starter on the unofficial depth chart, so it wasn’t surprising to see him in 21 personnel, but the fact that he played in 11 personnel on early downs is a problem for Dulcich’s fantasy value.
  • If this carries on into the regular season, then Dulcich likely won’t be able to be a fantasy starter.
  • Chris Manhertz was a Broncos free agent signing who could also play in run-blocking situations. He was not in uniform Friday night, but he could take some of the snaps in 12 personnel away from Dulcich.
  • Payton did refer to Dulcich as a “Joker” in the offense, similar to Taysom Hill or Darren Sproles. The Broncos didn’t use Dulcich in these kinds of creative ways Friday night, but this could help his fantasy value even if Trautman is seeing significant playing time.

Marquez Callaway is currently WR3 for the Broncos: Callaway is another former Sean Payton player who saw played with the starters.

  • Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler being injured/off the roster have opened the door for Callaway to move up the depth chart.
  • While it’s not surprising to see Callaway ahead of Marvin Mims at this point of the preseason, it was surprising that Mims didn’t see a single snap with the starters in the team's first four drives.
  • Callaway also took some snaps in two-receiver sets in place of Jerry Jeudy.
  • Jeudy and Sutton were targeted more than Callaway to no surprise.
  • Lil’Jordan Humphrey, who is another former Sean Payton player, played a few snaps in Courtland Sutton‘s place on the Broncos' fourth drive, also ahead of Mims.
  • We can fully expect Mims to see play more as the season progresses, but it’s possible Callaway always stays part of the offense, potentially preventing Mims from seeing his potential as a rookie. 

Rondale Moore only played in the slot: The Cardinals, at times, used Moore in two-receiver sets, but he appears to mostly be a three-receiver set player this season.

  • The Cardinals typically used Zach Pascal and Michael Wilson in two-receiver sets instead of Moore.
  • He pretty consistently lined up in the slot when he was on the field.
  • The fact that he was playing while several other starters had the night off is another sign the Cardinals might not view him as highly as we thought.
  • The one piece of good news is Greg Dortch didn’t play until the third drive when several Cardinals starters were done, so Moore appears to be clearly ahead of Dortch at this point.
  • Pascal and Wilson are likely fighting for the other outside receiving spot across from Marquise Brown. There was no difference between them in playing time. Wilson caught two passes for eight yards.
  • There is at least a chance Brown plays at times in the slot with Pascal and Wilson out wide.
  • Moore can still be considered a late-round sleeper if he’s consistently in the slot in 11 personnel, but it’s a little less likely to work out based on Friday night.

Monitor Corey Clement‘s health: Clement took a big hit and went to the locker room after.

  • About 40 minutes later, he was spotted on the sideline with his helmet. His night would have likely been done by that point regardless, but he was kept out.
  • Clement is fighting with Keaontay Ingram for the backup job behind James Conner.
  • Conner was among the starters sitting Friday night out, while Ingram has been out of action with an abdomen injury.
  • This game didn’t tell us much about the Cardinals' backup running back situation, outside of Clement being ahead of Ty’Son Williams on the depth chart.
  • It wouldn’t be all that surprising to see the Cardinals bring in a free agent, especially after adding Marlon Mack before he landed on injured reserve a few days later.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Samaje Perine took every snap with the starters. This wasn’t surprising considering Javonte Williams wasn’t playing, but it was at least good to see they trust him in every situation in case Williams misses regular season time.
  • Trey McBride is the Cardinals starting tight end, but it’s unclear if he didn’t play because he’s that established of a starter, or if it’s because he missed some practice last week and early this week.

Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears

Khalil Herbert is the clear early favorite for the Bears’ RB job: Herbert played 100% of snaps while Justin Fields was also playing.

  • Free agent addition D’Onta Foreman only began playing on the third drive with the backups.
  • When a team in the preseason doesn’t have any kind of rotation, it typically means one player is ahead of the other on the depth chart.
  • Chicago consistently used David Montgomery on the first two drives and Khalil Herbert on the third drive last season, so in this particular case, it could mean Herbert will be the one playing on the first two drives this season.
  • Herbert graded very well as a runner but not as well as a receiver last season.
  • His 56-yard touchdown catch could lead the Bears to trust him more as a receiver.
  • Herbert’s ADP might be one of the biggest risers over the next week, given his playing time and highlight play, and it deserves to rise.
  • Trestan Ebner was the third halfback to see playing time late in the second quarter. 
  • Roschon Johnson also played late into the second quarter, but only after Ebner was helped off the field. This suggests he’s currently fourth on the depth chart.
  • There is plenty of time for Johnson to work his way up the depth chart, but he might not factor in much in September.

Tyjae Spears makes a statement in the Titans’ backup competition: Hassan Haskins started the game, but Spears made his mark on the first drive.

  • Spears outsnapped Haskins on the first two drives and ran six times for 32 yards, compared to two carries for five yards by Haskins.
  • Haskins eventually scored a touchdown, but it took him two goal-line tries. His efficiency remained low relative to Spears.
  • Typically, rookie running backs are decently far down the depth chart the first week of the preseason — for example, De’Von Achane with the Miami Dolphins — so the fact that Spears is already seeing significant time with the second team is a good sign.
  • It’s unlikely Spears has standalone value to start the season, but he’s trending toward being the handcuff for Derrick Henry.
  • Henry is also 29 years old and on a below-average team. If the Titans are off to a bad start this season, it’s possible Henry will get traded at the deadline, which could turn Spears into a fantasy starter.

The Titans' third wide receiver battle: DeAndre Hopkins and Treylon Burks both had the day off. Multiple other Titans wide receivers are fighting for playing time this season.

  • Chris Moore and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine started the game for Tennessee. Moore was a free agent from the Houston Texans, while Westbrook-Ikhine was a starter last season.
  • Moore caught a 30-yard pass on the team’s first scoring drive, and his day was done afterward, whereas Westbrook-Ikhine kept playing. This suggests Moore is ahead of Westbrook-Ikhine on the depth chart.
  • Kyle Phillips started last season as the Titans’ slot receiver but didn’t play much with how much 12 and 21 personnel the offense used.
  • He was still playing on the second drive but was done playing on offense after that point. This suggests the Titans also value him more than other players who played on the third drive and beyond.
  • It seems like Phillips is still the favorite to play in 11 personnel, but Moore should also see significant playing time when either Hopkins or Burks needs a play off. Moore is also the favorite to be a starter if Hopkins or Burks suffers an injury this season.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Titans tight ends Chigoziem Okonkwo and Trevon Wesco were among the veterans who had the day off. Rookie Josh Whyle was expected to be a receiving tight end primarily, but he was used often in two-tight end sets in rushing situations, as well. He’s clearly third on the depth chart right now and will factor in this season.
  • Malik Willis started for the Titans, but he and Will Levis rotated by drive. Willis had the advantage of playing behind the starting offensive line on the first drive. Tennessee switched to backup offensive linemen for the second drive.
  • D.J. Moore played every snap on the first drive, scored a 62-yard touchdown and called it a day before the rest of the Bears’ starters.
  • Chase Claypool didn’t play in this game due to a tweaked hamstring in practice Wednesday. It’s expected to be a minor issue, and he should be the Bears’ third wide receiver.
  • Robert Tonyan played in two-tight end sets with the starters and stopped playing when the starters were done. He should see significant playing time in the regular season, but there was no indication from this game that his playing time will be a threat to Cole Kmet’s snaps.

Indianapolis Colts @ Buffalo Bills

James Cook is unsurprisingly the early favorite for Buffalo: Cook played every snap on the Bills’ first two drives.

  • He ran on four of those six plays, gaining 20 yards and a touchdown.
  • This isn’t all that surprising, considering the Bills typically rotated their running backs by drive rather than situation and Cook is at the top of the depth chart.
  • Damien Harris missed this game with a knee injury.
  • Latavius Murray entered the game once Cook exited.
  • If anything, it’s surprising that a 33-year-old Murray is playing in the preseason.
  • Cook is a breakout running back contender, but this game shouldn’t move the needle on his fantasy value.

Deonte Harty is the early favorite for the slot wide receiver role: Harty was consistently the Bills' slot receiver in the first half.

  • Gabe Davis started on the outside as he did all last season, with Trent Sherfield taking Stefon Diggs’ spot opposite Davis.
  • The Bills used 12 personnel on their first drive and then switched to three-wide receiver sets on the second drive.
  • Harty was the third wide receiver. He played in the slot on two of those three plays, with Davis playing in the slot on the other rep.
  • The Bills subbed out several players who started after those two drives, including Davis and Sherfield.
  • Harty continued playing in the slot with the other backups, with Khalil Shakir and Justin Shorter playing on the outside.
  • This suggests that Harty will be the primary slot receiver this season with Sherfield joining when Diggs or Davis need time off.
  • Shakir seemed like an up-and-coming player for the Bills late last season, but it appears he has fallen back down to fifth on the depth chart.

Dalton Kincaid plays with the starters: Kincaid played all six snaps with Buffalo’s first team.

  • The Bills' first drive featured three straight runs out of 12 personnel. Kincaid and Knox lined up on the same side of the field for all three plays, with Knox on the outside and Kincaid on the inside.
  • The Bills used 11 personnel on the second drive with Kincaid on the field for all three plays. This could just be Knox exiting the game before others, which, given his experience, is a believable theory.
  • This could also mean Kincaid has already surpassed Knox as the top tight end in 11 personnel, which also wouldn’t be surprising.
  • Kincaid took one snap from a traditional tight end position on the drive but lined up in the slot for the other two plays.
  • The Bills could easily rest starters in other preseason games, so we might not know how much they will use Kincaid or Knox until after Week 1. What is clear is that Kincaid will see some playing with the starters immediately.

Evan Hull starts over Deon Jackson: Hull received the snaps on the first drive, with Jackson taking the second drive.

  • The two continued to rotate throughout the first four drives.
  • They played in place of Jonathan Taylor, who is holding out, and Zack Moss, who is dealing with a broken arm.
  • When two players are rotating like this in the preseason, it’s typically the veteran who gets the start. The fact that Hull started is a good sign he can remain ahead of Jackson on the depth chart.
  • Jackson put up better numbers rushing with the ball, but Hull caught two passes for 18 yards, compared to no targets for Jackson.
  • The Colts signed Kenyan Drake, who didn’t receive his first carry until late in the third quarter, but it wouldn’t be surprising for Drake to move up the depth chart, considering he’s been on the team for only a week.
  • Indianapolis also pursued Kareem Hunt a few days ago.
  • It’s fine to be cautiously optimistic about Hull because he received the start, but the biggest takeaway is that Jackson doesn’t seem to be a significant part of the team’s running back plans despite his big games last season.

Isaiah McKenzie is the third wide receiver for now: The former Bill played in three-receiver sets.

  • He caught three passes for 20 yards in his revenge game.
  • Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce started on the outside and played every snap with the starters, which was unsurprising based on how they were used last season and the lack of depth at the position.
  • McKenzie’s biggest competition will come from third-round rookie Josh Downs.
  • Downs played in the slot with the second team and caught two first-down passes for a total of 29 yards.
  • Downs was leading the team in receiving yards after the first three quarters.
  • The rookie is expected to take over at some point. It didn’t happen in this game, but it will be interesting to see if Downs gets opportunities with the starters over the next two preseason contests.

Miscellaneous Notes

New York Jets @ Carolina Panthers

The Panthers complicated wide receiver room: The Panthers used six different wide receivers during Bryce Young’s three drives.

  • D.J. Chark Jr., Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo started the game for Carolina.
  • Chark only played on the first drive before his day was done. That is a good indication his starting job is secure.
  • Thielen played on the first two drives. He was consistently playing in the slot in three-receiver sets. He only played 28.6% of his snaps in the slot last season with the Minnesota Vikings.
  • He graded better out wide than in the slot in addition to posting a better target share and yards per route run, so this move to the slot is a little surprising.
  • Mingo starting in his first preseason game as a rookie is a pretty strong sign he will be among the receivers in 11 personnel in Week 1.
  • The Panthers stuck with three-receiver sets on their first drive, so we couldn’t confirm he would be the odd man out in 12 personnel.
  • Mingo left for the second drive and returned for the third drive, so his job isn’t necessarily secure.
  • Terrace Marshall Jr. was expected to be a starter over Mingo early in the season given his experience, but this was a decent sign Marshall is fourth on the depth chart.
  • Laviska Shenault Jr. also received snaps on the second drive while Shi Smith played on the third drive.
  • Marshall, Shenault and Smith all continued to play once Matt Corral replaced Bryce on the fourth drive.
  • Chark, Thielen and Mingo are all worth late-round fliers in case they work out, but Marshall no longer seems worth the late-round pick.

Jets backup running back battle heats up: Michael Carter and Zonovan Knight split time with the starters with Breece Hall still sidelined.

  • Carter started the game, but the Jets rotated between him and Knight roughly every three plays.
  • Carter was the more impressive of the two.
  • Once the Jets switched to their second team for this game, rookie Israel Abanikanda took snaps out of the backfield.
  • Chances are both Carter and Knight would see significant playing time if Hall isn’t ready for Week 1, and the Jets don’t add Dalvin Cook.
  • It’s also possible one of these players doesn’t make the roster, as a healthy hall is assured one roster spot, and Abanikanda will likely take another.

A glimpse into the Jets wide receiver rotation: New York only used some of their receivers Saturday, but it was enough to gain some information about what to expect in September.

  • The Jets rested a number of starters, including Garrett Wilson, while Randall Cobb has been out with an injury.
  • This left Allen Lazard, Corey Davis and Mecole Hardman Jr. on top of the depth chart.
  • Lazard and Davis generally played every snap, outside of taking a little time off near the end of a 13-play drive.
  • Hardman was largely restricted to snaps out of 11 personnel.
  • He only played in two-thirds of offensive snaps without Wilson and Cobb, so chances are Hardman will see even less playing time when they are playing.
  • It’s fine to draft Hardman in best ball leagues for when he breaks big plays, but it will be difficult for him to make an impact in redraft leagues without injuries.
  • This also makes it pretty clear Davis will remain a major part of the offense. This could be implied given his $11.2 million cap hit, but Saturday gave me even more evidence.

The Jets tight end duo: Tyler Conklin was the tight end in clear passing situations, but C.J. Uzomah also saw significant playing time.

  • The two played together in two tight end sets, but on one-third of the plays with the starters, Uzomah was the solo tight end.
  • That kind of rotation will make it difficult for Conklin to be a fantasy starter.
  • The one piece of good news is second-year tight end Jeremy Ruckert didn’t start playing until the backups came in.
  • Ruckert’s had a strong training camp and was among the players who got to sit out the Hall of Fame Game.
  • This made it look like a two-man rotation at the top instead of three.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Miles Sanders tweaked his groin in practice earlier in the week. It’s not expected to be serious, but it was enough for him to sit this game.
  • Hayden Hurst was the starting tight end today, which was no surprise. It was good to see him dominate offensive snaps, giving him a chance to be a fantasy starter this season if he gains chemistry with Bryce Young.

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Dallas Cowboys

Christian Kirk restricted to the slot: Kirk was an every-down receiver last season, but the Calvin Ridley addition has reduced his role.

  • Kirk had played 89% of snaps in 12 personnel last season, with Zay Jones playing 65%.
  • Most expected Kirk to remain in 12 personnel with Ridley, but it was Jones playing in 12 personnel Saturday.
  • Both Ridley and Jones took snaps in 13 personnel, which was typically either Tim Jones or Zay Jones last season.
  • The Jaguars were around league average in how often they used 11 personnel last season, so this could result in a substantial decrease in snaps for Kirk.
  • Luckily, that decrease will mostly be on run plays, but it will also lead to fewer pass routes similar to this game.

Tank Bigsby played one snap with the starters: Bigsby has been one of the most hyped players during training camp, but that only resulted in one snap with the starters Saturday.

  • He played on a third-and-1, which was the only short-yardage situation with the starters.
  • This is a good sign he will take short-yardage situations in the regular season, which could snipe some touchdowns away from Travis Etienne.
  • JaMycal Hasty received more snaps with the starters in passing situations, but once the second team came in, Bigsby consistently saw offensive snaps.
  • The third-round pick ran nine times in the first half for 52 yards. That is the second-most rushing yards by a player in the first half this preseason thus far.
  • Considering the rookie running back who was picked before him (De’Von Achane) and the running back picked after him (Roschon Johnson) were fifth and fourth on their respective depth charts, any playing time with the starters this early is a good sign.
  • There is a good chance Etienne remains the primary starter all season, but everything is trending toward this being a committee rather than Etienne being a potential top-10 fantasy running back.

Jake Ferguson leads the Cowboys’ tight ends: Ferguson was Dallas' starting tight end and played the majority of snaps.

  • He received most early down snaps last season when Dalton Schultz wasn’t playing, so that part wasn’t surprising.
  • Peyton Hendershot was typically the tight end on third downs when Schultz wasn’t on the field, but Saturday, Ferguson saw the first third-and-long snap and took more of the third-down snaps.
  • This makes him a sleeper tight end considering how good Cowboys tight ends have done in the past in fantasy football.
  • It was a little concerning that the four plays Dallas took him off the field were all pass plays. This is worth monitoring and could limit his upside.
  • Dallas spent a second-round pick on Luke Schoonmaker, who had a foot injury coming into the league. He’s been limited throughout training camp which should keep him lower on the depth chart for now, but he could mix in more as the season progresses.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Jaguars second-round rookie Brenton Strange received three plays with the starters, but they all came in 13 personnel rather than Strange playing in place of Evan Engram or Luke Farrell.
  • Cowboys Malik Davis has the early lead for the Cowboys’ backup running back job, but they rotated by drive with Rico Dowdle playing more in the second quarter. Rookie Deuce Vaughn didn’t play until later in the game.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Baltimore Ravens

The Eagles backfield gets more complicated: Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott received the night off while D’Andre Swift started Saturday night with Rashaad Penny playing into the second quarter.

  • Swift and Penny both have ADPs among the top 35 running backs while Gainwell is at 52 on Underdog and Scott is going undrafted.
  • This suggests it should be Gainwell and Scott getting drafted early.
  • There were reports early in the week that Gainwell was playing like the feature back.
  • Swift played the first six snaps Saturday night, had a 22-yard run, and then Penny played for the next quarter’s worth of snaps.
  • An argument could be made that the Eagles know what they have in Gainwell and Scott after the last two seasons, but players like Olamide Zaccheaus, who is a new free agent addition, received the night off even though he should also be a relatively unknown for the team.
  • Penny seems like the most likely player to not make the roster if Philadelphia decides to stick with three running backs.
  • It’s worth noting the Eagles typically have different running backs play in different situations, which was not true Saturday night. Penny played in passing situations, which he typically never does, for example. This also happened last preseason, and the Eagles immediately went back to using running backs in situations once the regular season hit.
  • At this point, it’s probably best to not draft Swift or Penny at their current ADP and potentially draft Gainwell depending on how high his ADP rises.

Zay Flowers makes his Ravens debut: The Ravens rested several key players, but we got a taste of how the Ravens might use him.

  • Flowers didn’t have an official target, but he had one backward pass that counted as a one-yard run and two targets that led to defensive penalties.
  • The Ravens didn’t use Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman or Nelson Agholor. The fact that Flowers played doesn’t give us much indication of where he is on the depth chart.
  • It was interesting to see Baltimore use Flowers both out wide as well as in the slot.
  • Devin Duvernay was the primary slot receiver last season. He started this game but was consistently lining up on the outside. This could be just to give him more experience outside, or it could mean he’s no longer a slot player for them.
  • This probably hurts Duvernay’s chances of seeing significant playing time this season and helps the Ravens' young receivers and Beckham.
  • Tylan Wallace was the primary slot receiver to begin the evening, but he probably won’t be the primary slot receiver while everyone is playing.
  • While plenty of teams have restricted their rookie wide receivers to a specific role, seeing Flowers play multiple receiver spots and move around is probably a positive sign for what the team will ask him to do in the regular season.

Justice Hill starts for the Ravens: Hill received every snap on the first two drives before Gus Edwards received his first offensive snaps.

  • Edwards left Wednesday’s practice early, so there is a chance him playing after Hill if simply Hill has practiced more.
  • Not that we can take much stock in the official depth charts, but Edwards was listed first on the depth chart earlier in the week, followed by J.K. Dobbins and Hill.
  • There is also a chance Hill has legitimately passed Edwards on the depth chart as a better fit for the Ravens’ offense.
  • Hill broke a 37-yard run during his time, which could lead to more opportunities down the road.
  • For now, this is simply a situation to monitor.

Miscellaneous notes

  • Ravens’ tight end Isaiah Likely went to the locker room early, potentially with a lower-body injury. He left at a time when his playing could have been over regardless of the injury.

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.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints

The Kansas City wide receiver room becomes a little more clear: The Chiefs have seven wide receivers who could realistically see significant playing time this season, but only four played with the starters Sunday.

  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore and Justin Watson started the game, and second-round rookie Rashee Rice also saw time with the starters.
  • Kadarius Toney has been dealing with an injury, so he didn’t play.
  • Valdes-Scantling, Moore and Watson played only the first two drives. Rice continued to see snaps with the backups, with free agent addition Richie James and Justyn Ross also starting to see playing time.
  • Valdes-Scantling and Watson are both low-target-share players with high average target depths, making them unlikely options to be great fantasy players.
  • The wide receiver rotation was good news for Moore and Rice, as neither was losing playing time to James or Ross.
  • None of the three starting wide receivers recorded a target. James made a 43-yard catch and scored a touchdown on the same drive with the second team, so it’s at least possible he mixes in more going forward.
  • This situation could evolve throughout the preseason and regular season, but at the moment, Moore and Rice are both worth late-round gambles in case they can become a favorite target of Patrick Mahomes.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire starts for Kansas City: Edwards-Helaire started instead of Jerick McKinnon. Isiah Pacheco was out with hand and shoulder injuries.

  • In recent seasons, Kansas City has utilized a primary early-down back, a secondary early-down back and a receiving back. For much of last season, Jerick McKinnon handled the latter two roles.
  • Edwards-Helaire was the primary early-down back for the start of last season and at times was the secondary early-down back once Pacheco emerged.
  • If Edwards-Helaire regains that early-down role, it would reduce McKinnon’s snaps and make it harder to trust him for fantasy football purposes.
  • It’s also entirely possible Kansas City just wanted to limit the 31-year-old in the preseason, using him only for third downs.
  • Undrafted rookie Deneric Prince has also received his fair share of training camp buzz, but he didn’t see any playing time until after the starters were done. He does appear to be fourth on the depth chart currently, which isn’t bad for this point of the preseason.

Alvin Kamara takes most of the first-team snaps: The suspended running back remains the starter despite the additions of Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller.

  • Kamara took each of the first seven snaps for the Saints. Jamaal Williams then handled two plays before Kamara returned.
  • The former All-Pro stayed on the field near the goal line despite how well Williams played in those situations last season.
  • While this certainly isn’t bad news for Kamara, it also might not be as good as it seems.
  • The Saints traditionally make several substitutions from one play to the next, using players based on the formation and personnel.
  • New Orleans did this to an extent at tight end in this game, but they didn’t at wide receiver or running back. They similarly weren’t doing this in the first preseason game last season.
  • Chris Olave played every snap of the first drive of the preseason last season but played more than 77% of snaps only once in the regular season. He was back to playing every snap on the first drive this preseason.
  • This just means Kamara is ahead of Williams and Miller on the depth chart — not necessarily an indicator of what situations each player will play in.
  • Miller played his first snap late in the first quarter, joining Tank Bigsby as the only rookie running backs to play in the first quarter in a game where the starting running back also played. Although, unlike Bigsby, none of Miller’s snaps were with the starters.
  • We probably won’t know how the Saints will distribute their snaps among their three running backs until Kamara’s suspension is over.

Juwan Johnson remains the Saints’ receiving tight end: The Saints added several tight ends this offseason, but Johnson remains the primary receiver.

  • He and free agent addition Foster Moreau shared time with the starters, but Johnson was consistently on the field in clear passing situations over Moreau.
  • New Orleans also brought back Jimmy Graham, who didn’t see any playing time until the second team took the field.
  • Taysom Hill remains a tight end and might play a higher percentage of his snaps there this year after the Saints added more running backs. He also didn’t see any snaps until later in the game.
  • Johnson won’t see as much playing time as other receiving tight ends with how much New Orleans loves to rotate players, but that was true last season and was clear before this game.
  • He was targeted on two passes for 29 yards.
  • What happened in this game was the best-case scenario for Johnson, even though it won’t move him much in the rankings or in average draft position.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce played on the first drive for Kansas City and then sat out earlier than the rest of the Chiefs’ starters.

Second-year receiver Rashid Shaheed is expected to be the Saints’ third receiver over Keith Kirkwood, but he suffered a groin injury earlier in the week. He’s expected to miss a few weeks but should be ready for Week 1.

San Francisco 49ers @ Las Vegas Raiders

Zamir White is the clear favorite for the backup job: White was a major part of the Raiders’ offense in the first quarter.

  • He ran the ball nine times for 35 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. His carries were half of the Raiders’ offensive plays in the quarter.
  • The Raiders were replacing White with Ameer Abdullah in passing situations on third down, which is the role Abdullah handled last season.
  • The longer Josh Jacobs stays away from the team, the more likely it is White will see significant playing time in Week 1.

Jordan Mason is clearly ahead of Tyrion Davis-Price: Mason played on the first three offensive plays and then Davis-Price took most of the snaps for the rest of the game.

  • Mason came back for only one drive in the second quarter and a few plays just to give Davis-Price a break before other backups entered in the fourth quarter.
  • This is slightly surprising, considering Davis-Price was a third-round pick last season while Mason went undrafted.
  • Mason played 82 snaps last season and earned a 90.6 rushing grade, while Davis-Price played 70 with a 56.1 run grade.
  • It’s unlikely either sees significant playing time this season with Christian McCaffrey on top of the depth chart and Elijah Mitchell second.
  • Trey Sermon was drafted in the third round in 2021 and didn’t make the 49ers’ roster the following year. It’s possible Davis-Price is following in those footsteps.

Miscellaneous Notes

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.

Unlock the 2023 Fantasy Draft Kit, with League Sync, Live Draft Assistant, PFF Grades & Data Platform that powers all 32 Pro Teams

$31 Draft Kit Fee + $8.99/mo
$89.88/yr + FREE Draft Kit