Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Football Recap: Immediate takeaways from every game

2RM1C2P Kansas City Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco (10) runs past Cleveland Browns defensive end Za'Darius Smith (99) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

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The Jaylen Warren hype doesn’t stop: Warren continues to mix in significantly with the starters, a sign he will see similar playing time in the regular season.

  • Najee Harris took the field for two plays at a time at most before Warren came in for a third play.
  • The NFL Network pregame show talked at length about how the Steelers said this would be more of a running back duo this season — like a classic thunder-and-lightning running back pair — and that the team would restrict Harris’ playing time.
  • We began to see this transition late last season.
  • Harris took 30 first-down snaps on the first drives of games from Week 1-14 last year, compared to two by Warren and two by other backups.
  • This changed over the last four weeks, with Harris taking 13 compared to Warren's four. Over the preseason, Harris has played eight and Warren has played four.
  • Harris will likely remain the leader in early-down work when healthy, but Warren has slowly but surely cut into his playing time.
  • If Warren continues to take all of the passing-down work and a third of the early-down work, he could have standalone value this season, while Harris won’t be worth one of the top-20 running back spots.

Calvin Austin III gets more work with the starters: The former fourth-round pick has worked his way back from his Lisfranc injury and has moved up the depth chart.

  • In the Steelers' first preseason game, Gunner Olszewski and Cody White played a snap with the first team. Austin didn’t start playing until Pittsburgh’s second drive, which is when the backups came in.
  • The following week, Austin and Olszewski received a snap each with the starters, with Austin taking a fake end-around.
  • Austin was the only backup wide receiver to play a snap with the starters against the Falcons. He received two snaps, including a handoff on an end-around for 3 yards.
  • Considering all three Steelers starting wide receivers are capable of playing on the outside, it’s possible Austin could see the field in three-receiver sets anytime one of the three starters needs a play off.
  • It’s not out of the question that Austin takes over for Allen Robinson II as the Steelers' primary slot receiver at some point in the season.

Falcons TE Parker Hesse is on the roster bubble: The Falcons rested several other skill players who will make the roster, but Hesse was stuck playing in this game.

  • Hesse led the Falcons tight end room in offensive snaps last season with 646.
  • He was primarily used as a run-blocker, catching one pass per game at most.
  • At a minimum, he's fallen below Kyle PittsJonnu Smith and MyCole Pruitt based on preseason usage in all three games, as well as fullback Keith Smith.
  • John Fitzpatrick was the primary receiving tight end in this game, so if Atlanta wants to keep a fifth player who is more of a receiver than a blocker, Fitzpatrick could make the roster.
  • If Atlanta chooses to keep five tight ends/fullbacks, then Hesse’s job is likely safe, but the fact that he’s playing at all in this game isn’t a great sign.

Miscellaneous Notes


Deon Jackson starts for the second straight week: Jackson appears to be in the lead for the Colts' backup job.

  • Jackson took every snap with the Colts starters over the first two drives, which ended with a 3-yard touchdown run.
  • Evan Hull, who started the first preseason game, took over on the third drive. His drive also ended in a touchdown run.
  • Jackson rejoined the starters for Indianapolis’ fourth and fifth drives, splitting time with Hull.
  • Veteran Kenyan Drake signed with the Colts three weeks ago and played in the first quarter last week, but he didn’t receive a snap with the starters tonight.
  • Jake Funk received his first snaps on offense before Drake, which puts Drake on the roster bubble.
  • Jonathan Taylor has been given permission to explore a trade and is still on the PUP list, while Zack Moss remains out with a broken arm.
  • This means Jackson could be the Week 1 starter for Indianapolis.

Josh Downs starts for the Colts: Downs was the slot receiver with the first-team offense.

  • Indianapolis stayed in 11 personnel for nearly every snap over the first three drives. Downs took 100% of the snaps out of 11 personnel and didn’t take a snap out of 12 personnel.
  • It seemed clear that he would start in the slot last week. Indianapolis didn’t play their primary starters, but Downs played in the first quarter last week while his primary competition, Isaiah McKenzie, didn’t start playing until late in the second quarter.
  • McKenzie played in this game, but not until the second half with the backups.
  • We can expect Downs to get significant playing time for the Colts in Week 1 and beyond.

Multiple Colts tight ends make their preseason debuts: Both Drew Ogletree and Mo Alie-Cox took their first snaps of the preseason.

  • Indianapolis used a three-man rotation with Mo Alie-CoxKylen Granson and Jelani Woods last season. Ogletree was a sixth-round pick who was on a trajectory to be in that rotation before he tore his ACL, costing him his rookie season.
  • Granson was the only one of the four to play this preseason. He started the first game and was among the key players who sat out in Week 2.
  • How the Colts use their tight ends this season is particularly interesting because they have a new coaching staff. They’ve tended to have talented players in recent seasons, but the constant rotation of players has made it impossible to trust anyone for fantasy football purposes.
  • Ogletree started the game. He either led the team in offensive snaps on each of the first three drives with the starters or was tied. Granson wasn’t far behind.
  • Alie-Cox was a clear third on the depth chart tonight, although he also received snaps with the starters. He had just returned to practice on Wednesday, so his limited snaps in practice could have contributed to his playing time.
  • Woods has the most upside of the tight ends, but he has missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury.
  • The goal was for one tight end to emerge in Indianapolis, but it instead looks like we could be stuck with another rotation. It’s too early to be sure until Woods is back and fully healthy.

The Eagles are likely keeping all four running backs: Philadelphia rested their starters and key backups, which included all four running backs fighting for the starting job.

  • D’Andre SwiftKenneth GainwellBoston Scott and Rashaad Penny all had the game off.
  • The preseason gave us little indication of how they will be used outside of Penny being the likely fourth on the depth chart.
  • Swift, Gainwell and Scott all sat out two of three games and received single-digit snaps in the one game they did play. Penny played 33 snaps over two games.
  • The running back rotation with the starters was always one player playing several snaps and their night was done, giving no indication of the situations in which any of the backs might be used.
  • How the Eagles use their running backs in Week 1 might be the biggest highlight of the fantasy recap for that game.

Miscellaneous Notes


Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo lead the Panthers: Adam Thielen caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown over the Panthers' first two drives.

  • The Panthers are dealing with a number of injuries at wide receiver: D.J. Chark is out with a hamstring injury, Terrace Marshall Jr. with a back injury, and Laviska Shenault Jr. is in the concussion protocol. Those three pass-catchers make up three of the top five wide receivers on the depth chart.
  • Adam Thielen and Jonathan Mingo unsurprisingly started this game, with Derek Wright joining them. Shi Smith is more likely than Wright to make the roster, but Smith backs up Thielen in the slot, while Wright is a backup outside receiver.
  • The Panthers have used their starters extensively in the preseason, and there has been no indication of who Bryce Young’s favorite target was until tonight. Thielen appears to be the early favorite, given this stat line.
  • Thielen did spend a few plays in the medical tent, but he was able to return to the game, which is a pretty clear sign he is okay.
  • Mingo caught his only pass on the game's first offensive play, but there was positive news regarding how Carolina used him.
  • Carolina had run only three snaps outside of 11 personnel with the starters in the first two games. Mingo had played only one of those three snaps out of 12 personnel.
  • However, Mingo played all of the 12 personnel snaps and the only snap out of 13 personnel with the starters today.
  • This is great news for his playing time during his rookie season. Now, he just needs more targets.

Slow the hype for Hayden Hurst: Hurst didn’t dominate offensive snaps with the starters like he did during the Panthers' first two preseason games.

  • The former Cincinnati Bengals tight end took all 11 snaps with the starters in their first game and all but three snaps in the second game.
  • The three plays he missed last week came late in a 15-play drive, and they were all run plays, so that wasn’t too concerning.
  • On both drives tonight, Hurst played the first four or five plays and then took the following three plays off. He was replaced by Ian Thomas.
  • He ended up playing 72.7% of offensive snaps with the starters, similar to his playing time with the Bengals last season and with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020.
  • He’s only received one target over the three preseason games — a 5-yard reception, which came in the first week of the preseason.
  • Hurst is still the clear starting tight end for Carolina, but his upside is very limited if he’s not seeing targets and not playing over 80% of offensive snaps.

Panthers' third running back spot heats up: Raheem Blackshear started this game for Carolina.

  • Miles Sanders returned to practice this week, but the team still held him out of this game. Backup Chuba Hubbard was also held out after injuring his ankle last week against the New York Giants. Hubbard also returned to practice this week, but the team is being cautious.
  • Blackshear had been the team’s third running back last season. He typically played between three and 11 offensive snaps a game over the second half of the season.
  • Spencer Brown appeared to be in the lead for the third spot with the new coaching staff.
  • Brown took over for Hubbard in the first preseason game. He played 20 snaps in the second and third quarter to Blackshear's three snaps, with Blackshear taking over in the fourth quarter.
  • Brown similarly took 20 snaps to Blackshear's nine in the first three quarters last week, with Blackshear again playing the entire fourth quarter.
  • Blackshear started, but it was a heavy rotation between the two players.
  • Blackshear has been the primary returner for Carolina this preseason after being the primary returner last season. His job on the roster is safe, whereas Brown will only be safe if Carolina keeps four running backs.

Lions competition for the fifth receiver spot: Detroit rested its top five wide receivers, but someone who played today will be their fifth receiver with Jameson Williams suspended.

  • Undrafted rookie Chase Cota seems to be the favorite over Antoine Green and Dylan Drummond for the next wide receiver spot.
  • He was one of two wide receivers to start last week and the only one who played last week who stopped playing before the fourth quarter.
  • He similarly started this week and was the only one playing 100% of snaps over the first quarter. Every other wide receiver was rotating in and out.
  • Cota led the Lions in receiving yards in the first preseason game with 60 yards. He caught the Lions' only touchdown in the second game and caught a 21-yard pass late in the first quarter of this game.
  • The only other player who could be in contention is Maurice Alexander, an undrafted rookie in 2022 who played seven offensive snaps last season and scored a touchdown on a 95-yard punt return in the first preseason game. His roster spot seems safe, especially after running back/returner Justin Jackson retired.

Miscellaneous Notes


Kayshon Boutte’s roster spot is safe: Boutte played the first drive, and then his day was done.

  • JuJu Smith-SchusterDeVante Parker and Kendrick Bourne are locked in the top three spots on the depth chart. All three played in the Patriots' second preseason game and had the other two games off.
  • Sixth-round rookie Demario Douglas received three snaps with the starters in that game — two more than Boutte — but Douglas has been dealing with a shoulder injury.
  • Tyquan Thornton is also dealing with an undisclosed injury. Thornton’s roster spot is only safe if New England keeps six wide receivers.
  • Ty Montgomery has also got work as a wide receiver and is listed as a receiver on the depth chart, but he’s missed the entire preseason. He returned to practice earlier this week and might be on the outside looking in for a roster spot.

Patriots' third running back spot remains wide open: There is no clear winner between Pierre StrongKevin Harris and J.J. Taylor.

  • Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott sat this game out and are the top two running backs on the roster.
  • The three rotated in and out throughout the entire first preseason game. Strong started and rotated by drive with Harris, while Taylor took most passing situations.
  • Strong missed the last game after spending time in the concussion protocol.
  • Harris and Taylor took snaps over the first four drives for New England, with Strong not entering the game until the middle of the second quarter. However, his fall on the depth chart for this game could be due to his missed practice time.
  • Most recent 53-man roster projections by Patriots beat writers have put Strong on the roster with Harris and Taylor off.
  • As mentioned with the wide receivers, Ty Montgomery could also factor in here as a receiving back and serve as the third running back if he makes the roster.

Tyjae Spears remains the favorite to be the backup running back: Spears took every snap for the Titans on their first two drives.

  • He’s dominated first-quarter snaps over the three preseason games. He's played 38, compared to eight by Hassan Haskins and seven by Julis Chestnut.
  • Haskins has not been practicing over the last two weeks for undisclosed reasons. He was reportedly arrested on an aggravated assault charge a month ago, which could be a factor. Most Titans beat writers have left the former fourth-round pick off their projected 53-man rosters.
  • Julius Chestnut seems set as the Titans' third running back.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki both sat this game out due to injury. Henry was banged up after Wednesday’s practice, while Gesicki recently returned to practice but was held out as a precaution. We have yet to see the two tight ends play together in the preseason.
  • DeAndre Hopkins was among the Titans veterans who had the night off, while Treylon Burks and Kyle Philips missed the game with injuries. Chris Moore appears to be the favorite to start if Burks misses Week 1, while Westbrook-Ikhine will likely take slot duties if Philips misses Week 1.
  • Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and tight end Trevon Wesco are the expected starters who played in this game, but they played only on the first drive before taking the night off.
  • Sleeper tight end candidate Chigoziem Okonkwo was among the players with the night off.


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 receiver 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 AllenMike 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.


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 CooperDonovan 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.


Greg Dortch remains a clear fifth on the Cardinals' depth chart: This has been clear through the preseason and remained true in this game.

  • Dortch didn’t start playing until the middle of the second quarter last week, which wasn’t until after Marquise BrownMichael Wilson and Rondale Moore stopped playing.
  • The Cardinals rested their top four wide receivers today which meant Dortch started.
  • Some teams would start some key veterans but only play them a drive or two, but Dortch continued to play into the second quarter.
  • The only good note is he also played in 12 personnel rather than just playing the slot in three-receiver sets, so he isn’t just Rondale Moore’s backup.
  • Dortch is still clearly ahead of anyone lower on the depth chart, so his job isn’t in jeopardy.

Jalen Reagor’s roster spot is in jeopardy: Minnesota rested their top five wide receivers for this game.

  • Free agent addition Brandon Powell appeared to surpass Reagor on the depth chart last week, and that remained clear in this game.
  • Powell didn’t play while Reagor started with other players at the bottom of the depth chart.
  • His job could be safe if Minnesota elects to keep six wide receivers, but Trishton Jackson is also an option for the sixth receiver spot.
  • Reagor stopped playing at the end of the first quarter while Jackson kept playing into the second quarter, which is a good sign Reagor is still in the sixth spot.

Miscellaneous Notes


Roschon Johnson becomes the third-down back: Johnson took both third-and-long snaps on the Bears’ first two drives.

  • Khalil Herbert took the first- and second-down snaps on both of those drives.
  • D’Onta Foreman took over on the Bears’ third drive, following the tradition of Chicago playing one back on the first two drives and another back on the third drive.
  • Both Herbert and Johnson returned to action later in the game even though some backups had already begun playing.
  • This included Herbert taking a second-and-19 as well as a third-and-16 on the third drive in addition to Roschon Johnson taking early down snaps on the fourth drive.
  • This means the roles for the running backs aren’t set in stone despite the clear trends in the first quarter.
  • Herbert is still the running back to target on this team, but it seems a little less likely he will fully take David Montgomery’s role now compared to last week considering Johnson’s playing time with the starters.

Cole Kmet finds competition from the other tight ends: Chicago used all three of their tight ends for the first time this preseason.

  • Kmet took 100% of snaps in 11 and 12 personnel but only took one of the three snaps in 21 personnel.
  • Marcedes Lewis made his Bears debut, taking two snaps away from Robert Tonyan in 12 personnel and taking the other two snaps out of 21 personnel.
  • Lewis is known for his run-blocking at this point of his career, so it’s unsurprising to see him take snaps out of that personnel grouping.
  • Kmet has taken 83% of the 21 personnel snaps last season, so the Lewis addition could lead to Kmet playing fewer offensive snaps this season.
  • He caught eight passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns last season out of 21 personnel. He was the only tight end last season with over 100 yards and multiple touchdowns in that personnel grouping.
  • Kmet is spending another season as a sleeper tight end who is among the top backup options in fantasy leagues, but this could hurt his upside.

Damien Harris makes his Bills’ debut: Harris missed the first two preseason games but gained some playing time with the starters.

  • James Cook took the first nine offensive snaps with the Bills with Harris taking over once they hit the red zone.
  • Harris took the next four snaps including a two-yard touchdown.
  • Cook similarly took the first six snaps on the second drive followed by Harris taking two.
  • This was at a point in the game where three of the Bills starters were taken out of the game, so it was a little surprising Cook was still playing.
  • Harris played on second-and-15 followed by third-and-15 on the second drive. Harris only took 13 snaps from those situations in his three years with the New England Patriots.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if Cook sees the majority of the volume all season long, but Harris is brought in to close drives. This could be a problem for Cook's ability to score touchdowns. He might need to break a few long runs in order to get on the scoreboard.
  • Latavius Murray has been third on the depth chart but he likely earned a spot on the team and is the oldest halfback currently on a roster at 33 years old, so it’s unsurprising he didn’t play.

A peak into the Bills tight end rotation: This was the most extensive work Dawson Knox received all preseason giving us our best look at how he and Dalton Kindcaid could be used.

  • Knox played over the first two drives. He and Kincaid were on the field together for five plays.
  • This included two plays with Kincaid out wide, one play with Kincaid in the slot, one play with Kincaid in line while Knox was in the slot, and just one play from a more traditional two-tight-end set.
  • The Bills took two snaps out of 21 personnel — one with Knox and one with Quintin Morris.
  • Knox took eight snaps out of 11 personnel compared to six for Kincaid. The difference is Buffalo passed the ball 100% of the time with Kincaid in 11 personnel, and 50% of the time with Knox.
  • This left Kincaid running a pass route on 10-of-15 pass plays and Knox on eight-of-15.
  • It’s at least possible for someone to be a top-10 fantasy tight end running a route on 66% of pass routes, but it’s difficult.
  • New Orleans Saints tight end Juwan Johnson ran a route on 69% of the Saints' pass plays last season and was TE8 in part thanks to his seven touchdowns, which ranked third among tight ends.
  • Kincaid can follow a similar route of catching a lot of touchdowns and being a headache for fantasy managers each week. In order for him to reach his potential, he will need to run more routes.
  • The rookie kept playing into the Bills' third drive at a point where Knox stopped playing.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Chase Claypool was the only notable Bear to miss this game with his hamstring injury, but he is expected to be back for Week 1.
  • It’s been clear Deonte Harty is the Bills' slot receiver in 11 personnel all preseason and that remained true this week, although Khalil Shakir was out with a rib injury for this game.


Jayden Reed sticks with 11 personnel: Romeo Doubs missed this game due to a hamstring injury, which could have been a perfect chance for Reed to see snaps in 12 personnel.

  • Undrafted rookie Malik Heath started the game in Doubs' place, an indication that he has passed Samori Toure on the depth chart and could have earned a roster spot.
  • The Packers mostly stayed in 11 personnel, as they’ve been doing all preseason, but they took four snaps in 12 personnel in the first quarter.
  • Christian Watson unsurprisingly took all four of those snaps on one side, with Heath taking three snaps and Toure taking the fourth on the other.
  • Reed also didn’t play a snap in 12 personnel in any of the other 43 times they ran from that formation in the first two preseason games.
  • This is a pretty clear indication that Reed will not be passing Romeo Doubs on the depth chart anytime soon.
  • He continued to take the vast majority of his snaps out of the slot, which is a good sign for his fantasy value even if he’s not playing in 12 personnel.

DeeJay Dallas continues to play on third downs: Zach Charbonnet started for Seattle, but Dallas remained the third down back.

  • Charbonnet took every snap on first and second down in the first quarter as well as a third-and-3, but Dallas took the snaps on third-and-long.
  • Seattle also ran some plays in the first quarter with both running backs on the field, including Dallas at fullback and Dallas at wide receiver.
  • Dallas took over as the primary halfback in the second quarter.
  • We don’t have a great idea of how Seattle’s running backs will rotate once everyone is healthy as Kenneth Walker III and Kenny McIntosh remain injured, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Dallas still has a role as the third-down back even when others are healthy.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs is dealing with a hamstring injury, which is why he didn’t play.
  • Packers running back Aaron Jones took the first snap of the first preseason game and the first snap in the second preseason game as his only preseason snaps of the year. He did not play in this game.
  • Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave continued to play close to 100% of the team's snaps with the starters, as he’s done the last two preseason games. This should carry on into the regular season.
  • It’s possible none of the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers who played in this game end up making the roster, as they are all seven on the depth chart or lower, although Dee Eskridge is suspended to start the season.


Randall Cobb starts for the Jets: Cobb joined Aaron Rodgers in making his New York Jets debut.

  • Cobb was expected to be fifth on the depth chart heading into training camp, but Corey Davis surprisingly retired earlier in the week.
  • Allen Lazard missed practice earlier in the week with an AC joint injury, which kept him out of this game. He is expected to be fine for Week 1.
  • This left Garrett WilsonMecole Hardman Jr. and Cobb as the top wide receivers for Saturday’s preseason finale.
  • It was surprising to see Cobb start over Hardman, considering both were free agent additions signed to one-year deals and Hardman makes more than Cobb.
  • Since Hardman played 28 snaps over the first two games, it’s possible the Jets wanted Cobb to see more playing time in this game.
  • There were some two-wide receiver sets with the starters where Wilson and Hardman were on the field instead of Cobb.
  • Hardman’s value is still better than where it was a week ago without Davis, but it could be complicated if Cobb is a big part of the offense.
  • Hardman continued playing late into the first half and ended up injuring his hand, so he left for the locker room early. His injury will be one to keep an eye on, as Cobb could end up third on the depth chart if the injury is serious.
  • This potentially means Cobb could have some good games this season as well, which probably won’t help anyone in redraft unless another Jets wide receiver suffers an injury. But it could be helpful in DFS.

Eric Gray doesn’t start for the Giants: Gray had been a clear third on the depth chart, but both Jashaun Corbin and James Robinson received offensive snaps before him.

  • Gray played most of the first half in the Giants’ second preseason game, playing behind Matt Breida. He stopped playing by halftime, while Corbin played from late in the second quarter until the end of the game. Robinson only received snaps in the fourth quarter.
  • The three running backs were the only ones to play in this game, with all three seeing their first snaps in the first quarter.
  • Gray is very likely to make the roster, given the Giants spent a fifth-round pick on him, but it’s surprising he didn’t start the game.
  • It’s possible the Giants are looking to keep a fourth running back on the roster and, as such, gave them more opportunities in this game. But, ideally, if this was the case, Gray wouldn’t have played at all.

Miscellaneous Notes


Cole Turner is locked in as the Commanders’ TE2: Turner has been ahead of John Bates and others throughout the preseason.

  • Turner played 245 offensive snaps last season, third among Commanders tight ends. He finished behind Logan Thomas (680) and John Bates (510) but ahead of Armani Rogers (158).
  • He got significant playing time from Week 5-7 when Logan Thomas was out with a hamstring injury and John Bates was dealing with a hamstring injury.
  • He caught his only two career passes in Week 6, the one game in that stretch that Bates didn’t play.
  • Turner then suffered a concussion and missed time. Once he was back, he was used as a blocker almost exclusively.
  • New offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has favored Turner over Bates, starting him in all three preseason games. Turner has typically stopped playing in the first half, while Bates has typically played into the fourth quarter.
  • Rogers suffered an Achilles injury in May and is out for the season, so Turner hasn’t needed to worry about staying ahead of him.
  • Thomas is expected to be the starter but has missed the entire preseason with a calf injury. There is no guarantee that Thomas will get his job back.
  • Bieniemy has plenty of experience when it comes to having an elite fantasy tight end in the offense with Travis Kelce, so it’s at least possible that Turner starts this season and is a big part of the Commanders offense.

Cincinnati Bengals crowded wide receiver room: Nine wide receivers are fighting for six or seven roster spots.

  • Ja’Marr ChaseTee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are locked into the top three spots. Trenton Irwin was the top backup last year, and he received the night off tonight, making him the likely fourth wide receiver for 2023.
  • Trent TaylorStanley Morgan and Kwamie Lassiter II all got some playing time last year and are still on the roster, while Cincinnati drafted Charlie Jones in the fourth round and Andrei Iosivas in the sixth round.
  • Trent Taylor and Iosivas started last week and this week, making them the likely fifth and sixth players on the depth chart.
  • Jones has been the primary punt returner throughout the preseason. And given his pedigree as a fourth-round pick, he seems likely to make the roster.
  • Taylor was the punt returner last season, but he was the fourth-lowest graded punt returner among those with at least 20 returns last season.
  • This means that Lassiter and Morgan are likely the odd men out in a few days.

Miscellaneous Notes



The Buccaneers’ quest for their third wide receiver continues: It’s still not fully clear who will be the team’s third receiver after Russell Gage landed on injured reserve.

  • Tampa Bay has four wide receivers in contention. Veteran David Moore, 2022 undrafted free agents Kaylon Geiger and Deven Thompkins and sixth-round rookie Trey Palmer.
  • Tampa Bay rested both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin last week.
  • Geiger and Moore started last week’s game and played into the third quarter, while Thompkins and Palmer also saw playing time in the first quarter and were done by halftime.
  • Godwin played for two drives and started with Moore and Thompkins. Geiger and Palmer began mixing in on the second drive.
  • Moore and Palmer have played primarily on the outside, while Geiger and Thompkins have played primarily in the slot this preseason.
  • Considering Godwin is the starting slot receiver most of the time, it’s likely that Moore and Palmer might be best suited to take the third receiver spot.
  • It wouldn’t be surprising if Moore, who is the most senior of the group, receives the most playing time of the four in Week 1 but Palmer slowly takes over.
  • This also might not be a black-and-white situation. All four wide receivers could see a little bit of playing time.
  • None of the four have stood out from the rest in terms of statistics or PFF grade.

Justice Hill remains a top-three running back: Hill played only on the first drive.

  • All four plays on his drive were passes to wide receivers or tight ends, so Hill didn’t show up on the stat line.
  • He played ahead of Gus Edwards in the first preseason game, but Edwards had the second game off while Hill played.
  • It might not matter who the primary backup is, as Edwards will probably be the backup in running situations and Hill in receiving situations.
  • Melvin Gordon III is unlikely to make the roster unless the Ravens keep four running backs. Gordon is 30 years old, and there is at least a chance this was the last game of his NFL career.
  • Undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell has received plenty of praise but seems destined for the practice squad.

Miscellaneous Notes



Tank Bigsby takes 36% of snaps with the starters: Bigsby continued to cut into Travis Etienne Jr.’s playing time.

  • The Jaguars used their starters for two long drives. Etienne started each drive, but Bigsby would replace him after three or four plays.
  • Etienne played 100% of snaps on third and fourth down and dominated snaps out of 11 personnel, 10 snaps to four.
  • Snaps were closer to balanced on first and second down, at 13 to nine in favor of Etienne. The same was true for snaps out of 12 or 13 personnel, on which Etienne led six to five.
  • Bigsby averaged 6.2 yards per play compared to 4.9 by Etienne, but Bigsby lost a fumble.
  • Jacksonville had just two plays in short-yardage situations, and Etienne received both of those snaps.
  • Bigsby seeing this high of a percentage of snaps and a high percentage of carries is not a good sign for Etienne’s fantasy value.
  • This is already a significant increase from the first preseason game when Bigsby played only one snap with the starters,
  • His playing time is at 36% now, but rookie running backs tend to gain more playing time as the season progresses. We could reach a point where Bigsby is leading the team in carries.
  • Etienne is still the favorite to score the most fantasy points out of the Jaguars’ backfield, but he has the 11th-highest ADP for a running back, according to FantasyPros, compared to 49th by Bigsby. They should be getting drafted closer together.

Jacksonville’s wide receiver rotation becomes a little more clear: Zay Jones will likely see more offensive snaps than Christian Kirk, but it won’t be a significant difference in pass routes.

  • The Jaguars played their starters in the first preseason game, in which Jones took both snaps in 12 personnel instead of Kirk.
  • Jacksonville used its starting offense more extensively in this game, giving us a better picture of how snaps outside of 11 personnel will be distributed.
  • The Jaguars took nine snaps out of 12 personnel, with Jones and Kirk each seeing four snaps.
  • Jones ended up with three more snaps because he played both snaps the Jaguars ran out of 13 personnel, and Kirk took one snap off out of 11 personnel with Jamal Agnew replacing him.
  • Both Zay Jones and Tim Jones took nearly every snap out of 13 personnel last season, so this won’t be much of a change compared to last year. Plus, 13 personnel is typically a rushing formation, so it won’t matter much for fantasy football.
  • This kind of usage still means fewer snaps out of 12 personnel for Kirk this year compared to last, but it’s not as significant as it could have been.

The Dolphins’ backfield remains unsettled: Miami has five halfbacks who could make the roster, and they could also sign a running back.

  • Raheem Mostert started for the second straight preseason game with Jeff Wilson Jr. out. Mostert and Wilson split snaps when they were both healthy last season.
  • Myles Gaskin had appeared to be ahead of Salvon Ahmed on the depth chart, but Gaskin missed last week’s preseason game and Ahmed saw his first offensive snaps before Gaskin in this game.
  • Ahmed also broke a 42-yard run in this game.
  • Miami spent a third-round draft pick on De’Von Achane, who was consistently fifth on the depth chart when healthy in the preseason. Although he is injured, he’s assured a spot on the roster, given the draft capital spent on him.
  • Miami has been among the front runners in a potential trade for Jonathan Taylor, which would leave one less spot open on the roster.
  • We will see at least one of these five players off the roster in the next few days, if not two.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Dolphins announced ahead of the game that quarterback Mike White, running backs Jeff Wilson Jr. and De’Von Achane, wide receivers Jaylen Waddle and Braylon Sanders and tight end Eric Saubert would not play in this game, presumably all for injury reasons.
  • Tyreek Hill played the first three snaps before being pulled.
  • Braxton Berrios has played 100% of snaps in 11 personnel in the first quarter this preseason. He is very likely the third wide receiver for Miami, with Robbie Chosen as the primary backup to both Hill and Waddle.
  • Second-round rookie Brenton Strange is clearly third on the depth chart currently, but he did receive one snap with the starters in 11 personnel, which is a sign his role could expand rather than his only playing in two- or three-tight end sets.


Jalen Tolbert wins the fourth wide receiver spot: The 2022 third-round pick had a disappointing rookie season, but things are looking up for his second year.

  • Tolbert was inactive in three of his first five games and all of his last five in 2022.
  • He reached double-digit routes run in only two games, leading to two receptions for 12 yards over his entire season.
  • Dallas made minimal changes to its wide receiver room this season, swapping out Noah Brown for Brandin Cooks and adding Jalen Brooks in the seventh round of the draft.
  • Tolbert, Brooks and KaVontae Turpin played the entire first half of last week’s preseason game and were the primary options for the fourth receiving spot.
  • There were reports earlier this week that Tolbert had locked down the role, per Stephen Jones, and his sitting in this game further cements that.

DeAndre Carter appears locked into the WR4 role for Las Vegas: Carter was among the veterans who didn’t play in this game.

  • Las Vegas tended to rest some older players and play younger ones, regardless of where they were on the depth chart. However, Carter rested while veterans Phillip DorsettKristian Wilkerson and Keelan Cole Sr. played, showing Carter is ahead of those players on the depth chart.
  • Carter appeared to be ahead of those players after last week’s game. He saw playing time within the first minute of the game and was done playing around the start of the second quarter. Dorsett was the only other player who wasn’t a starter and stopped playing sometime before the fourth quarter.
  • It’s interesting that Carter is locked in, considering three of the top four players on the depth chart are known for playing in the slot.
  • Jakobi MeyersHunter Renfrow and Carter all played at least 55% of their snaps in the slot last season, all for different teams.
  • Third-round rookie Tre Tucker is also very likely to win a roster spot, leaving Dorsett, Wilkerson and Cole fighting for one roster spot, if that.

Miscellaneous Notes


Lil’Jordan Humphrey could be the favorite to replace Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy primarily played in the slot. Marvin Mims Jr. will take Jeudy’s snaps in 12 personnel, but those snaps in the slot seem up for grabs.

  • Jeudy was carted off of practice on Thursday and is expected to miss several weeks with a hamstring injury.
  • Humphrey and Kendall Hinton seemed best suited to take those slot snaps. They joined Jeudy as the wide receivers with 20-plus snaps in the slot this preseason, while no other reached double-digits.
  • Humphrey played in the second quarter last week, while Hinton didn’t enter the game until the second half.
  • He was also the Broncos' slot receiver on their first three-receiver set in the game today. Hinton didn’t play his first offensive snap until late in the first quarter.
  • Humphrey caught four passes for 57 yards in the first half.
  • Mims consistently lined up in two-receiver sets over the first two drives after not seeing any snaps in two-receiver sets with the starters last week.

Zach Evans appears unlikely to make the Rams roster: The sixth-round rookie remains at the bottom of the Rams' running back depth chart.

  • The Rams have basically done the same thing all three preseason games at running back.
  • Cam Akers and Kyren Williams have sat out all three games, as they are locked into the top two spots on the depth chart.
  • Ronnie Rivers has started all three preseason games and has taken 21 of 25 snaps over the first two drives of each game. He appears locked into the third running back spot.
  • Royce Freeman has taken the other four snaps and has also been given significant playing time in the first half of games.
  • Evans has taken only two snaps in the first half of any preseason game, both coming in the first week of the preseason.
  • Rivers has consistently been done playing by halftime, whereas Evans has dominated snaps in the second half of games.
  • If the Rams were considering keeping him on the 53-man roster, then he would have received at least some playing time in the first half.
  • There is still a chance that he will make the practice squad.

Miscellaneous Notes


Dalton Schultz is unlikely to be a fantasy starter: The Texans aren’t using Schultz enough in specific situations, which will hurt his fantasy value.

  • Schultz hasn’t started the last two preseason games. Teagan Quitoriano has taken most first-down snaps.
  • Schultz has played 100% of the 11-personnel snaps with C.J. Stroud this preseason but only 38% of the snaps when there is another tight end or fullback on the field.
  • Typically, he’s been on the field for passing situations and off the field for run plays. 
  • He’s been on the field for 76% of passing plays with Stroud on the field this preseason, down from his 80% rate in Dallas last season. That doesn’t include the two games he missed and one when he was injured, but it does include games in which he was eased back into action.
  • The biggest concern is what the Texans have been doing when they are within 10 yards from scoring, as they’ve typically opted for two-tight end sets or a tight end with a fullback, so Schultz has played only 33% of snaps within 10 yards compared to his 86.1% in Dallas.
  • Most of his fantasy value came from his ability to score touchdowns, with  11 of his 17 career touchdowns coming from plays where Dallas was 10 yards or less from scoring.
  • This also doesn’t take into account that Brevin Jordan has missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, and he could also factor into the passing game.
  • Schultz is still the clear receiving tight end for Houston and should have a number of games with a decent amount of yards, but his playing time and lack of snaps in the red zone could severely limit his upside.

Jimmy Graham makes his case to make the roster: Graham was the most impressive skill player for New Orleans early on. He made several impressive plays, including a 3-yard touchdown catch.

  • Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau and Taysom Hill are all locked into roster spots, but the Saints will likely keep four tight ends.
  • Jesse James was signed as a free agent but has dealt with injuries all training camp and hasn’t played in the preseason. That will make it pretty difficult for him to make the roster.
  • That leaves J.P. Holtz or Lucas Krull as the other options.
  • The Saints presumably want someone who can impact the running game, but none of the three have ever graded well as run-blockers.
  • While Graham is unlikely to have fantasy value on his own, he will be able to limit Johnson's fantasy value.
  • Johnson has never recorded more than 70 yards in a game. He has surpassed 50 yards only twice, and he's been held under 15 yards five times.
  • Having Foster Moreau was already going to complicate his playing time, but Graham could take away his touchdowns.
  • The main reason Johnson was in the conversation among sleeper tight ends was his seven touchdowns last season, but Graham could be used specifically near the red zone. This would limit Johson’s touchdowns this season.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The Saints rested their starters and key backups, including quarterback Derek Carr, running backs Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams, wide receivers Chris Olave and Michael Thomas and tight ends Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau and Taysom Hill.
  • Rashid Shaheed has missed all of the preseason with an injury, but he did dress and warm up with the team, which is generally a good sign for Week 1.
  • Texans wide receiver John Metchie III didn’t play. He wasn’t in uniform for warmups or the game but was seen catching passes pre-game. There was no clear reason why he sat the game out as of this writing. While Houston played at least some starters in each game, we haven’t seen all five of their top wide receivers play in the same game.
  • Fullback Andrew Beck missed practice this week for personal reasons, which is likely why Dalton Keene received so much playing time.
  • Texans running back Dameon Pierce played 100% of snaps over the first two drives for a second straight week, including a third-and-7. This is generally a positive sign, but he’s also not going to play 100% of snaps in the regular season.

Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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