Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Football Game Recap: Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs

2RM1ENC Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones (11) catches a pass for a first down as Kansas City Chiefs safety Bryan Cook (6) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

• Isiah Pacheco returns to the Kansas City Chiefs: Pacheco received his first preseason action, with all three of the Chiefs top running backs playing two snaps each.

Richie James surpasses Rashee Rice on the depth chart: James played nearly every snap on the first drive before his day was done, while Rice didn’t start playing until the second drive.

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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.

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Cleveland Browns @ Kansas City Chiefs

Isiah Pacheco makes his preseason debut: Pacheco had been dealing with a shoulder injury that held him out most of training camp and the first two preseason games.

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire started the game and played the first two snaps. 
  • Jerick McKinnon played on third down and made a 23-yard catch. He also played on the following third down on the drive.
  • Pacheco took the fourth and fifth offensive snaps of the game, taking a carry for zero yards on one of those plays.
  • Kansas City shifted more toward backups for its second drive, leaving all three running backs with two offensive snaps.
  • It’s not overly concerning that Edwards-Helaire started ahead of Pacheco because it’s likely due to his injury, but it will be worth monitoring early in the season.
  • This could be more of a three-man backfield the first few weeks of the season until Kansas City feels Pacheco is back to 100%.
  • This shouldn’t have a major impact on where Pacheco is drafted, but it could impact if he should be in your starting lineup in Week 1.

Richie James sees significant playing time early: James is the one wide receiver who has clearly worked his way up the depth chart throughout the Chiefs three preseason games.

  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s job has been the most secure among the Chiefs wide receivers this preseason. He led the wide receiver room in offensive snaps among the starters the first two weeks in addition to joining Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce among the veterans not playing in this game.
  • Skyy Moore and Justin Watson have consistently played as starters during the preseason in each of the preseason games. They played on the first drive Saturday and then their day was done.
  • Rashee Rice had been fourth on the depth chart among healthy players. He was the only other wide receiver to play with the starters in the first week of the preseason and played in eight of 20 snaps last week, but he didn’t see an offensive snap on the Chiefs' first drive.
  • James went from only playing with the backups to playing six snaps with the starters last week and playing with the starters this week.
  • It was notable that his day was done at the same time that Moore and Watson stopped playing, which also happened last week.
  • Justyn Ross took one snap with the starters this week and two last week. Rice and Ross played much later than the rest of the Chiefs wide receivers both last week and this week.
  • It’s worth remembering that Kadarius Toney has been injured throughout the preseason and will likely push most of these players down one spot on the depth chart.
  • This means James could start the season fifth on the depth chart while Rice is sixth.
  • Typically, a wide receiver picked early could work his way up the depth chart as a rookie, but we saw the exact same thing with Skyy Moore last year. He started the season fifth on the depth chart, and never really surpassed anyone.

Jordan Wilkins complicates the Browns' RB3 battle: Wilkins went from the bottom of the depth chart last week to starting this game.

  • The competition had been between John Kelly Jr. and Demetric Felton Jr., with Kelly starting each of the last two preseason games.
  • Wilkins didn’t see his first offensive snap until late in the third quarter last week, which is generally not a good sign for a running back’s chance to make a roster if they aren’t a rookie.
  • Wilkins started this game and was the only running back to take a snap on Cleveland’s first and third drives. He also started the fourth drive.
  • Felton took every snap on the second drive while Kelly didn’t start playing until 13 plays into the game.
  • It’s possible any one or two of these players end up making the 53-man roster, but Cleveland could also be a team to watch who might add a player off waivers on Wednesday to take the third spot.

Cleveland wide receiver rotation becomes a little more clear: Cleveland was diverse in its personnel groupings unlike most teams in the preseason, allowing us to see how the players might be used in the regular season.

  • Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Elijah Moore took most three wide receiver snaps, to no one's surprise.
  • Peoples-Jones and Cooper were almost always the two wide receivers in 12 personnel last season. They were the primary players in that personnel grouping in this game, but Elijah Moore did take a few snaps from Cooper here.
  • Peoples-Jones remained the primary player in 13 personnel similar to last season, which is the primary reason why his snaps were higher than the other wide receivers.
  • David Bell received snaps with the starters while third-round rookie Cedric Tillman didn’t, but his snaps came when they needed a slot receiver while Tillman has played almost entirely on the outside. Tillman might only see significant playing time this season if Cooper or Peoples-Jones suffers an injury.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Nick Chubb was Cleveland's only skill player with the day off. He hasn’t played in the preseason since the first week of 2019 where he only played three snaps.
  • Backup running back Jerome Ford missed another game due to a hamstring injury. Wide receivers Anthony Schwartz and Jaelon Darden as well as tight end Harrison Bryant were among the players on the 90-man roster out with injury.
  • Browns wide receivers Marquise Goodwin and Michael Woods II remain on the non-football illness and non-football injury lists respectively.
  • Jakeem Grant Sr. tore his Achilles last season missing the entire season. He missed the Browns’ first three preseason games this season but took the opening kickoff today. He injured his knee on that play, had an air cast put on and was carted off the field.

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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