Fantasy News & Analysis

Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Football Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

2R36WC9 Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs a drill during the NFL football team's camp Monday, May 22, 2023, in Costa Mesa, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Quentin Johnston remains WR4: The Chargers have rested Joshua Palmer while playing Johnston each preseason game, which isn’t ideal for Johnston’s September production.

• The 49ers play their starters, but Jordan Mason shines: Mason gained 72 offensive yards on two drives, which helps his case for RB3. But he also lost a fumble.

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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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Don’t expect much out of Quentin Johnston early: Johnston has continued to see significant playing time in the preseason while Joshua Palmer rests.

  • Johnston was expected to win the third wide receiver spot, but Palmer is clearly ahead of him at this point.
  • The first-round rookie played 43 offensive snaps over the first two games. He caught six of nine passes on 27 routes for 47 yards and a touchdown in that time.
  • Los Angeles has been without the other four of their top five players on the depth chart, so it’s not surprising Johnston has seen 33.3% targets per route run in those games.
  • He caught two passes on six routes over the Chargers' first three drives to keep his 33.3% target share, and then he was taken out early in the second quarter before their fourth drive.
  • Johnston will very likely see some playing time in Week 1 and can earn more playing time as the season progresses. But if you were planning on starting him in Week 1, it might make sense to find a temporary alternative.
  • It’s worth remembering players such as Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave were playing behind Braxton Berrios and Marquez Callaway, respectively, in the third preseason week last season, so there is no reason for long-term concerns at this point — just in the short term.

Jordan Mason retakes the lead for the third running back spot: Mason took every snap on the 49ers’ first two drives.

  • Mason started the 49ers’ first preseason game, and Tyrion Davis-Price started the second.
  • Davis-Price generally saw more playing time in those games, but that included significant time in the fourth quarter in both outings. Mason, meanwhile, was consistently taken out before that point.
  • Mason ran the ball nine times for 59 yards and caught one pass for 13 yards within his two drives, but he also lost a fumble.
  • This battle isn’t as consequential as most, as the 49ers are expected to keep all four halfbacks on the 53-man roster, and the leader between Mason and Davis-Price could change as the season progresses.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • 49ers quarterback Trey Lance was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick just hours before this game, so Lance didn’t play.
  • The only starting skill player with the night off was Christian McCaffrey. His primary backup, Elijah Mitchell, was back at practice earlier this week, but he didn’t play in this game.
  • The 49ers’ wide receiver and tight end rotations were the same as last year. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel played in all personnel groups with Jauan Jennings in for three-receiver sets. George Kittle remains the every-down starting tight end, with both Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley seeing time in two-tight end sets.
  • Kittle played each of the first 12 snaps, and then his day was done before the rest of the 49ers’ starters.
  • The Chargers rested quarterback Justin Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler, wide receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Joshua Palmer, and tight end Gerald Everett — as they have all preseason.
  • Chargers backup wide receiver Jalen Guyton remains on the PUP list.
  • Donald Parham appeared to lock up the backup tight end job last week but missed practice Tuesday with an undisclosed injury. He returned to practice Wednesday, but was likely kept out of this game as a precaution.
  • Joshua Kelley played the first five snaps, broke a 75-yard touchdown run and his night was done. He’s locked into the backup job for Los Angeles.

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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