Preseason Week 2 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Saturday's games

2RHY9AT Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) runs for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Freed)

Dameon Pierce could have an expanded role: Pierce played every snap on the first two drives, including those on medium or long third downs.

De’Von Achane remains fifth on the depth chart: Miami still has four running backs who are ahead of him, between those who played before him and those who had the game off.

Jaylen Warren scores a 62-yard touchdown: Warren is beginning to play more on early downs in the preseason, which could lead to more time in the regular season.

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Detroit Lions

Tank Bigsby is a clear second on the Jaguars’ depth chart: Bigsby started the game ahead of JaMycal Hasty and played well against the Lions’ second-team defense.

  • Travis Etienne Jr. had the game off along with the rest of the starters. Bigsby started the game and played the first eight snaps before Hasty took the field.
  • Bigsby received a handoff on five of those eight plays and gained 41 rushing yards. He ended the day with 13 carries for 70 yards.
  • Hasty took over late on the team’s second drive for three plays, but then Jacksonville went back to Bigsby. Hasty also played the last few minutes of the half after Bigsby’s day was done.
  • Hasty replaced Bigsby two more times in the first half, but only for a play or two each.
  • The first preseason game suggested Bigsby would play in short-yardage situations and Hasty in some passing situations. In this game, the running backs were given several plays in a row rather than being used by situation.
  • Jacksonville could certainly go back to Bigsby taking short-yardage snaps and Hasty taking passing downs in the regular season, but this leaves the door open for Bigsby to be the primary backup in all situations.
  • This game was generally a good sign for Bigsby’s fantasy value, as it made it clear he’s generally ahead of Hasty and could surpass him on third downs. It would have been more ideal if Bigsby was among the important players who sat out the game, as Jahmyr Gibbs did for the Lions.

Lions rest rookies Jahmyr Gibbs and Sam LaPorta: Detroit rested its starters as well as key backups. Both players made the cut and were rested despite being rookies.

  • David Montgomery joined Gibbs among the rookies with the day off.
  • Montgomery has yet to play in the preseason, so we haven’t been given any indication of how he and Gibbs might rotate.
  • Craig Reynolds started the game. He’s been the RB3 for the team the past few seasons, and it appears that will remain true this season.
  • LaPorta was the only Lions tight end who had the day off, with his primary backup Brock Wright starting for the team.
  • The rookie tight end played 100% of snaps with the starters last week in 11 and 12 personnel. He’s turned into one of the best sleeper options at the position this season.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Detroit Lions third-round rookie quarterback Hendon Hooker remains on the non-football injury list.
  • Wide receivers Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams suffered injuries in practice Wednesday. St. Brown’s injury is not expected to be serious and he very likely would not have played even if he was 100%. Williams is expected to miss the rest of the preseason.
  • Lions quarterback Jared Goff and wide receivers Marvin Jones Jr., Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond were also among the veterans not playing. All of the rookie wide receivers who played in Week 2 are fighting for the WR5 spot while Williams serves his suspension.
  • The Jaguars similarly rested quarterback Trevor Lawrence, their top four wide receivers in Calvin Ridley, Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Jamal Agnew, as well as their starting tight end in Evan Engram.
  • Luke Farrell started at tight end for Jacksonville, but second-round rookie Brenton Strange was consistently playing on third downs, often lining up out wide or in the slot. Strange would be an intriguing option if Engram were to suffer an injury at any point this season.

Miami Dolphins @ Houston Texans

Dameon Pierce takes every snap on the first two drives: Pierce could have a bigger role in the Texans’ offense this season.

  • Pierce was consistently on the field for first and second downs last season — but off the field on third down.
  • He played 3% of snaps last season on third- or fourth-and-5-plus and took four snaps in those situations on the first two drives.
  • This could simply be Houston allowing him to gain more experience there and changing strategies in the regular season. We have seen a few teams not have a rotation of players in the preseason only to rotate once the regular season starts.
  • If anything, this is good news because it leaves the opportunity open for Pierce to have that role in the regular season — even if it’s not guaranteed at this point.
  • Pierce played only two drives, with Devin Singletary taking over on the third drive while most of the starters kept playing.

Texans wide receivers become a little more clear: Robert Woods, Nico Collins and Noah Brown were the clear starters for this game.

  • Robert Woods and Noah Brown were among the veterans who had last week off.
  • Nico Collins started ahead of Brown, but there were several two-receiver sets where Brown was in instead of Collins.
  • John Metchie III was the slot receiver in Week 1 but didn’t play in this game until the third drive while Brown took a drive off. Brown returned for the fourth drive to end the half.
  • Tank Dell warmed up for the game but was in street clothes by kickoff. Per coach DeMeco Ryans after the game, Dell was feeling some tightness but there are no long-term concerns.
  • It’s hard to draw any major conclusions about Woods, Collins or Brown without knowing how much a healthy Dell would have played. The only clear conclusion is that Brown is ahead of Metchie for the slot role.

Dalton Schultz’s playing time could be limited: Teagan Quitoriano started for the Texans instead of Schultz.

  • Schultz consistently played in 11 personnel, but he was always off the field when either Andrew Beck or Dalton Keene were on the field with Quitoriano.
  • Houston also had a 12-personnel package with both Schultz and Quitoriano, which the offense used for multiple plays on the first two drives.
  • The Texans started mixing in some backups on the third drive, which included a play with Dalton Keene and Nick Vannett at tight end even though Schultz was still playing.
  • This shouldn’t be too big of a problem for Schultz in terms of volume, but it could be an issue for his touchdown total.
  • Houston’s first drive consisted of four plays where they were six to seven yards away from scoring, and Schultz was on the field for only half of those plays.
  • He should be a borderline fantasy starter this season, but his upside will be limited.

De’Von Achane is still low on the depth chart: He remains fifth on the depth chart and didn’t see his first offensive snap until the middle of the second quarter.

  • Raheem Mostert started for Miami. Salvon Ahmed also took snaps with the starters.
  • Jeff Wilson Jr. has missed both preseason games and is presumably ahead of Achane, while Myles Gaskin started the preseason last week before Achane received an offensive snap.
  • While Achane is not in danger of losing his roster spot thanks to his special teams ability, it’s starting to seem like we might not see much of him on offense early in the season.
  • Considering his talent, there is certainly a chance he earns more playing time as the season progresses and could become a starter. However, the odds of that are getting lower as long as players like Ahmed are still involved.
  • It was reported that Achane was carted off the field and to the locker room in the third quarter. His injury will be one to keep an eye on. Even if he is out for only a few weeks, it may further delay when he could start seeing time with the starters.

The Dolphins’ wide receiver depth chart becomes clearer: Miami had more wide receivers available this week, allowing for more information about how the depth chart will shake out.

  • Cedrick Wilson Jr. and River Cracraft started the first preseason game and Braxton Berrios came in for three-receiver sets. Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and Robbie Chosen weren’t playing that game.
  • Hill and Chosen started this game, showing that Chosen is ahead of both Wilson and Cracraft on the depth chart.
  • Once Waddle is ready to play, he will be taking Chosen’s spot in the starting lineup. But Chosen should see plenty of playing time when Hill or Waddle needs a break.
  • Berrios continued to consistently be the third player in three-receiver sets but didn’t play in two-receiver sets. He seems locked into that third role when everyone is healthy.
  • Not that many receivers in Miami will have fantasy value outside of Hill and Waddle, but Berrios is the most likely to have standalone value among the backups, while Chosen will be the top handcuff option.
  • Wilson didn’t play any snaps with the first team in this game. The Texans would face a lot of dead money and little cap relief if he doesn’t make the team, but that is certainly possible.

Miscellaneous Notes

Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Jaylen Warren scores a 62-yard touchdown: Warren played only two offensive snaps with the starters but made one of the biggest plays of the preseason on his lone carry.

  • Najee Harris started the game, similar to last week, and gained six yards on two carries.
  • Warren entered on the first third down, as expected, but stayed on the field for the following first-and-10 before breaking off his touchdown run.
  • He played only 23% of first-and-10s last season, and that number is up to 33.3% with the starters over the Steelers’ first two preseason games.
  • It’s a small sample of three drives, but it could be an indication that Warren will be more involved on early downs this season.
  • He could also gain more playing time on early downs as the season progresses if he continues to make big plays.
  • He should be one of the top late-round draft pick options, assuming his average draft position doesn’t increase too much.

The James Cook hype train should continue: Cook played the vast majority of snaps with the starters for a second straight week.

  • The only snaps he missed occurred on the second drive after he played nine straight snaps to begin the drive. It’s relatively normal for a running back to get subbed out after handling that many plays.
  • Cook ran the ball just three times for three yards, but we shouldn’t be all that concerned due to the small sample size.
  • His average draft position should continue to rise. As long as it only gets a little higher, he will remain a good value.

Deonte Harty continues to be the primary slot receiver: All of the Bills’ top wide receivers played in this game, and it was clear Harty was third on the depth chart.

  • Harty didn’t play any snaps in two-wide receiver sets but played eight of 10 snaps in three-receiver sets.
  • The other two plays included Stefon Diggs lining up in the slot with Khalil Shakir on the outside.
  • There were a few plays where Harty lined up on the outside in a three-receiver set with another player lined up inside of him.
  • Trent Sherfield also appears to still be the primary backup behind Gabe Davis and Stefon Diggs.
  • The fact that six players played with the starters isn’t a great sign for Harty having fantasy value this season. But there is at least a chance, considering how important the Bills’ slot receivers have been in the past.

Dalton Kincaid leads the Bills in receiving early: He caught three passes for 45 yards on four targets.

  • Dawson Knox missed this game with a finger injury, so it’s still early to know how much playing time Kincaid will receive this season.
  • Most of Kincaid’s catches occurred once the second team was on the field. He caught his one target from Josh Allen for eight yards.
  • He played 90% of snaps in 11 personnel with the starters and 100% of snaps in two-tight end sets. He left the field late on the Bills' nine-play drive and whenever they went into 21 personnel.
  • Kincaid played one snap in the backfield, five at a traditional tight end position, six from the slot and one lined up out wide.
  • He remains one of the best high-upside tight ends in the league, but this game shouldn’t increase his value.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Allen Robinson II continues to be the primary slot receiver for Pittsburgh. He took five snaps from the slot with the starters, compared to one for George Pickens and one for Calvin Austin III.
  • There was a little concern about Pat Freiermuth’s playing time with the starters last week, but he played every snap with the starters this week, which should help ease those concerns.
  • Damien Harris did not play for the second straight week with a knee injury.

Chicago Bears @ Indianapolis Colts

Josh Downs appears on track to start for Indianapolis: He played ahead of Isaiah McKenzie and should stay ahead of him.

  • McKenzie was a free-agent addition from the Buffalo Bills. He played the entire first quarter of their first preseason game alongside Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce.
  • He was the primary slot receiver in the game, playing 19 snaps from the slot.
  • Downs took over in the second quarter and took the second-most snaps from the slot in that game.
  • This week, it was Downs who got the most snaps from the slot. McKenzie followed.
  • The third-round rookie began the game and played until the second quarter when McKenzie took over.
  • Typically when a rookie is playing ahead of a veteran in the preseason, it means they will keep that job.
  • It’s unlikely Downs plays in two-receiver sets anytime soon — as he didn’t in this game — but he should consistently play in three-receiver sets to start the season.

The Colts’ running back battle became more complicated: Deon Jackson started this game after Evan Hull started in Week 1.

  • Jackson received all of the snaps on the Colts’ first drive and began the second drive.
  • Hull started rotating in early on the second drive.
  • Kenyan Drake joined the rotation on the third drive. He is a recent free agent addition who only played late in the third and fourth quarters last week.
  • The three combined for eight carries for 22 yards in the first half. Jackson stood out the most — but as a receiver, with two receptions for 15 yards.
  • They are all fighting to be the backup behind Jonathan Taylor and Zack Moss, assuming both are available in Week 1.
  • The backup situation is likely one to avoid unless you’re in a deep league. Any one of the three could win the job, and even if Taylor misses time, we could see a big rotation of players.

Khalil Herbert takes another step toward being a clear starter: Herbert was among the starters who didn’t play in the game.

  • This is another sign that Herbert is clearly ahead of the other running backs on the depth chart after he played every snap with the starters last week.
  • D’Onta Foreman played the entire first quarter.
  • Roschon Johnson joined in the second quarter. He was fourth on the depth chart last week, also playing behind Trestan Ebner.
  • Ebner missed this game with an injury, so it’s possible Johnson is still fourth.

Miscellaneous Notes


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Jets

The battle for the Bucs' WR3 spot: Russell Gage suffered a season-ending injury during a joint practice at the New York Jets' facility on Wednesday, opening a four-player battle in Tampa Bay.

  • Mike Evans and Chris Godwin sat out both last week and this week.
  • Gage started Week 1 with 2022 undrafted player Deven Thompkins.
  • 2022 undrafted receiver Kaylon Geiger was the third wide receiver in that game, followed by 2023 sixth-round rookie Trey Palmer and veteran David Moore.
  • Greiger and Moore started against the Jets, with Thompkins playing in three-receiver sets.
  • Palmer started rotating in during the second drive.
  • Palmer produced the most notable play, a 33-yard touchdown to end the second quarter. It was the only touchdown by either team in the half.
  • The rookie seems to be the favorite to win the job, given the draft capital spent on him. However, he’s clearly not there yet, considering his absence during the first drive.
  • It’s also possible the Buccaneers will look for someone not currently on the roster to take Gage’s place.

Zonovan Knight fights for his roster spot: Knight started the game while Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook and Michael Carter all had the night off.

  • The Jets have five running backs with a realistic shot at making the roster, but it might not make sense for them to keep all five.
  • Hall's and Cook’s spots are locked in, while Israel Abanikanda will likely keep a roster spot after getting drafted in the fifth round.
  • This makes it seem like Carter and Knight are fighting for one roster spot.
  • Tonight was Knight's chance to show he deserves the job, but he gained only 33 yards on eight carries and lost a fumble.
  • This is the second preseason game Carter got to sit out. If the Jets were considering letting him go, they likely would let him fight for his job or have already cut him.
  • Knight might be the one on the way out, although they certainly would bring him back to the practice squad if no one else picks him up.
  • Abanikanda needed help getting off the field in the fourth quarter. If his injury is serious, that would also impact Knight’s odds of making the roster.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Chase Edmonds are in a competition to take the Bucs' backup running back spot behind Rachaad White. White was among the starters who had the night off, while Edmonds missed this game with an injury, so we are no closer to knowing the backup running back.
  • The Jets started Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman Jr., with several wide receivers taking the night off. It was good to see they are willing to have Hardman play in two-receiver sets.
  • Jason Brownlee is an undrafted rookie who started the week ninth on the Jets' depth chart, but he was the third receiver in 11 personnel in the first quarter. This means he is in contention for the sixth wide receiver spot or could be the favorite at this point. He caught three passes for 39 yards in the first half to lead the Jets in receiving yards.
  • The Jets continued to use both Tyler Conklin and C.J. Uzomah with the starters, which meant Uzomah took pass routes away from Conklin. They are both tight ends to avoid in fantasy.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals

Michael Wilson earns a starting job for Arizona: Wilson started the game and played all but one snap with the starters.

  • All of Arizona’s notable wide receivers played in this game, so it seems likely that Wilson will hold this job until the regular season. 
  • He and Marquise Brown played in two-receiver sets, with Rondale Moore joining for three-receiver sets.
  • Zach Pascal gave Brown and Wilson a little time off in the first quarter and took over for Brown a few snaps before other starters left the game.
  • Wilson stopped playing when Arizona's starters left the game.
  • It’s also worth noting Greg Dortch didn’t play any snaps with the first-team offense for a second straight week. He is a clear fifth on the depth chart.
  • Wilson is worth a late-round pick, as any full-time starting wide receiver is. There is at least a chance he can break out as a rookie.

Keaontay Ingram appears to be the Cardinals' backup running back: James Conner played most of the snaps with the starters, with Ingram playing significant snaps before Corey Clement entered the game.

  • Ingram received a few snaps with the starters and was the clear lead running back for the second quarter.
  • He ran seven times for 28 yards and a touchdown.
  • Corey Clement was expected to be Ingram’s primary competition. Clement played the first 20 minutes of Arizona’s first preseason game while Ingram sat the game out.
  • Clement primarily played in the fourth quarter, with undrafted rookie Emari Demercado was the running back in the third quarter.
  • Ingram should be Conner's handcuff going forward.

Kansas City’s wide receiver competition heats up: Only four wide receivers played with Patrick Mahomes last week. This week, it was six.

  • Kadarius Toney was the only noteworthy wide receiver not to play in this game.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s role in the offense is secure. He played 80% of snaps with the starters, but he is a deep threat who doesn’t see a high target share, so he’s not the best fantasy asset despite the snap count.
  • The Chiefs heavily rotated the other two spots in three-receiver sets, but Skyy Moore played 100% of snaps in 12 personnel, giving him the clear lead over the other wide receivers.
  • He should be the favorite on the team to lead the wide receivers in fantasy points.
  • Justin Watson’s playing time declined in this game, while other players got more playing time with Mahomes than in previous weeks.
  • Richie James’ value rose the most in this game, playing a few snaps on all three drives.
  • Justyn Ross played only on the third drive with the starters.
  • Valdes-Scantling was the only receiver to leave the game at the same time as Mahomes and Travis Kelce, reaffirming that his job is the most secure and everything else could still be up for grabs.
  • This means Moore, Toney, Rashee Rice, James and Ross could all be worth late draft picks, as any one of them could end up exceeding expectations.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Isiah Pacheco was the only noteworthy Chiefs skill player not to play in this game. He’s still been recovering from surgery but is expected to play in Week 1.
  • Zach Ertz was fully cleared for football activity after tearing his ACL and MCL, but that didn’t mean he was ready to play for the Cardinals in this game.

New England Patriots @ Green Bay Packers

Luke Musgrave is Green Bay's clear top tight end: He played every snap with the starters last week and got even more playing time this week.

  • Josiah Deguara was the Packers' third tight end last week. He was Musgrave's biggest competition for the starting job.
  • Musgrave played every snap with the starters last week, but Deguara missed that game with an injury.
  • Deguara played in this game, but that didn’t stop Musgrave from playing 100% of snaps with the starters again.
  • It’s been a long time since Green Bay had a tight end whom they were willing to play significantly in both run and pass situations.
  • Musgrave also led the Packers starters in targets, bringing in two passes for 13 yards.
  • Deguara did take snaps away from third-round rookie Tucker Kraft, who fell to third on the depth chart for this game.

Kendrick Bourne remains third on the depth chart: Bourne consistently played in three-receiver sets on their first two drives.

  • Demario Douglas has received a lot of hype recently but didn’t play the first two drives.
  • Rhamondre Stevenson and two-fifths of the offensive line left after those drives, but several starters kept playing.
  • Douglas started mixing in the third drive with Mac Jones still playing. He received three snaps on that drive, and Kayshon Boutte played one snap.
  • Parker, Smith-Schuster and Bourne were all done playing by the fourth drive.
  • Bourne has a history of playing both out wide and in the slot, but he will play almost exclusively out wide with Smith-Schuster taking the slot snaps.
  • There is certainly a chance Douglas can receive more snaps with the starters over time, but for now, it is Bourne’s job to lose.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Aaron Jones played the first snap for the Packers and called it a night for the second straight preseason game.
  • Jayden Reed continued to dominate snaps in the slot like he did last week. He ran six routes from the slot, compared to two by Romeo Doubs and one by Christian Watson. He caught a 19-yard pass for a touchdown from the slot.
  • Ezekiel Elliott didn’t play aftly signing with the Patri recentlyots, while Mike Gesicki missed this game with a shoulder injury. We weren’t able to gain more information about the running back or tight end rotations without them playing.

Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings

Chigoziem Okonkwo’s playing time increases, but only slightly: A season ago, Okonkwo ranked first at his position in most rate stats, making his playing time this season a big question mark.

  • The Titans made several changes at tight end this season. They released Geoff Swaim and Austin Hooper, added Trevon Wesco and drafted Josh Whyle.
  • The good news is that Okonkwo played 100% of the 11-personnel snaps with the starters. He played only 17.7% of snaps from that personnel grouping last season, so this is a dramatic increase.
  • He played only four of nine snaps out of 12 personnel after playing 51.7% of those snaps last year. That is a slight decrease, but it would have just taken one more snap for him to be slightly up.
  • Tennessee ran more out of 12 personnel today than they did last season, so it’s also possible he was kept out of 12 personnel more often today because they were running more.
  • Ideally, Okonkwo takes 100% of snaps from 11 and 12 personnel, but this is a big step in the right direction for Okonkwo’s fantasy value.
  • He was targeted on 33.3% of his pass routes, catching one pass for 19 yards from Malik Willis.
  • He should be a borderline fantasy starter but has more upside than the rest of the tight ends with a similar ADP.

Monitor the health of Kyle Philips: Philips suffered a knee injury and was deemed questionable to return.

  • The Titans didn’t have DeAndre Hopkins or Treylon Burks for this game.
  • Philips is expected to be the third receiver in 11 personnel — as he was last season when he was healthy.
  • Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chris Moore started the game, with Philips taking his only snap on the Titans' first third down.
  • Mason Kinsey took over as the primary slot receiver with the starters.
  • If this were a regular-season game with Hopkins and Burks, it would likely be Westbrook-Ikhine taking over in three-receiver sets. Westbrook-Ikhine led the team in snaps from the slot last season at 381.
  • The Titans have loved targeting Philips when he’s healthy, but staying healthy has been a struggle.

The Vikings' battle for the fifth wide receiver spot heats up: Jalen Reagor and Brandon Powell seem to be in competition for the fifth receiver spot.

  • Justin Jefferson, K.J. Osborn and Jordan Addison had the night off, while Jalen Nailor missed the game with an injury. Nailor is expected to be fourth on the depth chart.
  • It is generally a positive sign that Minnesota sat Addison.
  • Reagor was fourth on the depth chart last season and played 82 offensive snaps. He was also the team’s punt returner.
  • Powell was a free-agent addition from the Los Angeles Rams. He is also capable of returning punts and was the punt returner in this game.
  • Reagor started for Minnesota and played nearly every snap in the first half. Powell played only in three-receiver sets, but his night was done on offense after just four drives.
  • Powell caught one pass for 11 yards, while Reagor caught two for 10.
  • We still don't know who will get the fifth job, but it did make it clear there is competition.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Hassan Haskins is in a battle with Tyjae Spears for the backup running back spot behind Derrick Henry. Haskins wasn’t practicing earlier in the week, so he didn’t play in this game. Spears could have taken the lead after a 33-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and 24 yards on his six other runs.
  • Ty Chandler is expected to be the backup and has the clear edge over DeWayne McBride, but we still haven’t seen Kene Nwangwu play in the preseason yet, and he was second on the Vikings' first unofficial depth chart.

Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers

Javonte Williams returns to the Broncos: Williams played his first game after tearing his ACL early last season.

  • Williams started the game and split time with Samaje Perine.
  • Williams played 12 snaps to Perine's five on first and second downs while Perine played six of the seven third-down snaps.
  • Despite Perine taking the receiving back role, Williams was targeted five times. He caught four for 18 yards.
  • First off, it is great news that Williams is back and a good sign he will be able to play in Week 1.
  • Williams could certainly see more playing time as things progress, but it is at least a little concerning that the two running backs’ roles were clearly defined.
  • This suggests Perine might keep the passing down role long term. That would put a cap on Williams’ ceiling, as those third-down targets are a big part of some running backs' production.
  • Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler both had 20-plus receptions on third downs last season, which is part of why they are the top two running backs.
  • Typically, the third-down back also gets to play during the two-minute drill, where both McCaffrey and Ekeler had over 150 yards and two touchdowns each in those situations.
  • This will be a situation to monitor, as Williams is certainly capable of being a receiving back as well as a rusher.

Marvin Mims debuts at third on the Broncos depth chart: Mims was one of three Broncos wide receivers to play on the team's' first two drives.

  • He only played in three-receiver sets, joining Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy. Sutton and Jeudy played in every two receiver sets while Sutton took the snaps in one receiver set.
  • Mims was expected to be a slot receiver, but Jeudy took 10 snaps from the slot in 11 personnel compared to Sutton's three by and Mims' one. It appears Mims will be an outside receiver this season.
  • Mims saw some additional playing time with the backups on the fourth drive, but he continued to play on the outside even with the backups.
  • The third-round rookie is worth a late-round draft pick in case he breaks out in his first season and becomes the Broncos’ top outside receiver.

Greg Dulcich’s snaps remain limited: Adam Trautman and Dulcich continued a similar tight end rotation to last week. 

  • Trautman played on first and second downs while Dulcich took third downs and they would share two tight end sets. 
  • Trautman took a third-and-short and Dulcich took a second-and-10. 
  • Both players stopped playing after the second drive when other starters exited the game.
  • Chris Manhertz still isn’t playing, and he will likely impact the rotation and hurt Dulcich’s fantasy value even more.

The 49ers third running back battle continues: Jordan Mason appeared ahead of Tyrion Davis-Price last week, but Davis-Price started this week.

  • Davis-Price played all of the offensive snaps with Brock Purdy.
  • He only ran the ball four times in the game but gained 22 yards on his carries.
  • Jordan Mason took the second drive for San Francisco. He ran eight times over the game for 24 yards.
  • Neither was much of a factor in the passing game.
  • Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell will be the top two backs once the regular season hits, making it unlikely either sees significant playing time outside of blowouts.
  • It is possible that both players end up making the 53-man roster.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • 49ers third-round rookie Cameron Latu didn’t start playing until the 49ers' fifth drive and is currently fifth on the depth chart, but he did catch three passes for 46 yards and a late touchdown from Trey Lance.
  • Seventh-round rookie wide receiver Ronnie Bell played most of the 49ers' first preseason game and did so again this week despite not playing on the first drive. He joined Austin Watkins as the only wide receiver with 100-yard games this preseason.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Los Angeles Rams

Michael Mayer makes his debut: Mayer played more on the Raiders' first drive, but it’s unlikely he will find much success in fantasy football early in the 2023 season.

  • Austin Hooper also made his Raiders debut.
  • On the first two drives, Mayer played eight snaps and Hooper played six. Mayer played 100% of 21 personnel snaps while Hooper played 100% in 11.
  • The two continued to play throughout the first half. Mayer would continue to play all of the snaps in 12 personnel, which led to 10 run blocks, one pass block and one pass route.
  • He did receive a few snaps in 11 personnel throughout the half, leading to four pass routes and one run block.
  • Hooper on the other hand played 20 snaps in 11 personnel, leading to 16 pass routes.
  • Typically,11 personnel is more pass-heavy while 21 is more run-heavy, so Hooper will likely run significantly more routes than Mayer as long as the two keep these roles.
  • The Raiders oddly never ran a play out of a two-tight end set in the first half.
  • Hooper could be a sneaky sleeper who could have success earlier in the season, but over time, we should expect Mayer to chip away from Hooper’s playing time.

Jakobi Meyers also makes his Raiders debut: Meyers took every snap on the Raiders' first drive before his day was done.

  • This included playing in 21 and 11 personnel groupings. 
  • He will likely see more snaps on the outside than in the slot this season due to how much the Raiders play with only two wide receivers on the field.
  • Las Vegas only ran three plays out of 11 personnel on the first drive. Meyers lined up along in the slot one play, the middle wide receiver with three wide receivers on the same side on one play, and on the outside on one play with DeAndre Carter in the slot.
  • We don’t know exactly how much he will be in the slot once Hunter Renfrow is playing, but it seems pretty clear he will almost always be on the field.

Puka Nacua appears to win the fourth wide receiver spot: The fifth-round rookie was among the several Rams not playing in this game.

  • He played in the first half last week along with Demarcus Robinson and Ben Skowronek while Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and Tutu Atwell had the day off.
  • Kupp, Jefferson and Atwell had Saturday night off as well, with Nacua joining them.
  • This is a good sign he’s won the fourth spot, which is particularly good considering he was picked in the fifth round.
  • While he might not see enough playing time in his rookie season to be a fantasy starter, he’s definitely moving up dynasty draft boards.
  • This means that one of Demarcus Robinson and Ben Skowronek is unlikely to make the Rams' final 53-man roster.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Davante Adams only played the first play for Las Vegas before calling it a day.
  • Ronnie Rivers remains a clear third on the Rams' depth chart with Royce Freeman fourth. This means sixth-round rookie Zach Evans could be in danger of not making the roster.

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

Zach Charbonnet starts for the Seahawks: DeeJay Dallas started over Charbonnet last week, but this week it was the reverse.

  • The second-round rookie took every snap on the first drive outside of the third-and-8 to end the drive.
  • The two split snaps on the second drive, with Dallas taking the majority of the snaps on the third drive after Geno Smith stopped playing.
  • Charbonnet’s day was done after the third drive.
  • Dallas took every snap when it was third-and 5-plus.
  • This likely means that Dallas will still be Seattle's third-down back, at least to begin the season.
  • It’s not surprising that Charbonnet was able to work his way up the depth chart past Dallas on early downs, but it’s still a good step in the right direction for him.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s role with the Seahawks expands: Smith-Njigba only took snaps out of 11 personnel last week but received more responsibilities in this game.

  • He took all seven snaps out of 11 personnel on the first three drives, which included two snaps with Tyler Lockett. The two lined up on the same side of the field for both plays, with Lockett in the slot for one and Smith-Njigba in the slot for the other.
  • The rookie also took 50% of snaps in 12 personnel and all four snaps at wide receiver out of 13 personnel.
  • The only personnel grouping he wasn’t a part of was the one snap Seattle played in 21 personnel.
  • He stopped playing after Seattle’s third offensive drive.
  • His increased role meant only five of his 14 snaps on the first three drives came from the slot.
  • He caught three passes for 58 yards in his limited time.
  • The increased role and great stats are a great sign for him going forward.

The Seahawks' tight end room remains unchanged: Noah Fant, Colby Parkinson and Will Dissly will continue to battle for playing time all season.

  • None of the tight ends ran a route on over 50% of the team's pass plays with the starters.
  • All three tight ends continued to play once Geno Smith’s day was done, and Fant even played on the fourth drive late in the second quarter.
  • This tight end room might have the most depth in the NFL, but as long as all three are healthy, they will prevent each other from being fantasy relevant.

Rico Dowdle starts for Dallas: Malik Davis was the starter last week while the two battle for the backup role.

  • Davis started last week, but the two went back and forth throughout the first half of that game.
  • The two similarly battled throughout the first half of this game.
  • They both played 19 snaps in the first half and ran the ball eight times each, with Dowdle gaining slightly fewer years at 38 to 32.
  • Dowdle was more involved in the passing game, catching two passes for nine yards and a second-quarter touchdown.
  • Deuce Vaughn remained fourth on the depth chart. He didn’t play until the second half but quickly scored a 14-yard touchdown.
  • This remains a situation to avoid until a clear second player emerges. It’s also possible there is never a clear second player, leading to all of the running backs seeing a little bit of playing time in a normal game while splitting time if Pollard ever suffers an injury.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Jake Ferguson has emerged as a tight end sleeper. He started last week and was among the starters that had the night off in this game.
  • Tyler Lockett played two offensive snaps for Seattle. Typically, when a veteran only plays a snap or two, it’s at the beginning of the game. In Lockett’s case, it was at the end of Seattle’s first drive.

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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