PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2022. This is only focused on the players who are relevant in fantasy football leagues.
Draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire: He’s been the only constant for the Chiefs this preseason. He took the first three snaps and his night was done — he’s the clear starter for Kansas City.
• Jerick McKinnon didn’t play on early downs, but he handled every third down on the first two drives. His role as the third-down back appears secure.
• Unlike the first two preseason games, Ronald Jones was the next man up on early downs instead of Isiah Pacheco. All four backs will likely make the roster. Pacheco still has upside, but his value should drop significantly knowing Jones is still a factor.
Mecole Hardman remains a clear WR3, Skyy Moore WR5: The Chiefs rested their top two wide receivers, while Hardman played the first eight snaps before his night was called to a close. Moore started the game but only played in three-receiver sets.
• Justin Watson remains WR4, playing all but one snap with the first team. He’s worth a late-round flier.
• Moore also stopped playing when the rest of the Chiefs starters stopped playing, so at least there is a clear gap between him and the wide receivers below him. He should definitely still be drafted, but don’t expect him in your fantasy starting lineup in September.
• Josh Gordon appears to be WR7, making him unlikely to make the 53-man roster.
Draft Romeo Doubs: The Packers haven’t played their starters all preseason and have given Doubs a chance to shine. He was taken out earlier in this game compared to previous weeks, showing the Packers are happy with him currently.
• Doubs will likely start the season as WR4 behind three veterans but should be given every opportunity to move up the depth chart.
• Second-round rookie Christian Watson has not played at all this preseason due to injury, making it less likely Watson will contribute early in the season.
Draft Dameon Pierce: The fourth-round rookie started the game for the Texans, playing every first and second down and even third-and-short on Houston's first drive. He could lead all rookie backs in carries this season.
• Pierce was the presumed starter after he didn’t play last week, as he was treated like one of the stars and given a day off.
• He earned the highest grade among running backs the first week of the preseason.
• Rex Burkhead took every third-and-long and was also the running back on early downs for the second drive. He is the handcuff instead of Marlon Mack, as Mack didn’t start playing until the second half. Burkhead is worth a late-round pick, while Mack should no longer be drafted.
• Royce Freeman received multiple snaps at fullback with the first team. The Texans recently released fullback Andy Janovich. Paul Quessenberry was expected to be the fullback, but both of his offensive snaps with the first team came at tight end.
Treat Jeff Wilson Jr. as the handcuff in San Francisco: Trey Sermon had served as the starting running back the last two games, but Wilson started this week and took every snap on the first two drives. He’s the favorite to take snaps on third downs and should be Elijah Mitchell’s backup.
• Sermon took over on the third drive and took every remaining snap while Trey Lance stayed in the game, including third-and-long snaps. He continued to play even after Lance’s exit.
• Kyle Juszczyk played only the first two snaps on offense before his night was done. There is a chance he could remain the third-down back, as he was for parts of last season.
• Undrafted rookie Jordan Mason was the next man up after Sermon. It will be difficult for him to make the 53-man roster.
• Third-round rookie Tyrion Davis-Price has typically been fourth on the depth chart while rotating in but wasn’t used that way tonight. That could be bad news, or it could simply be the 49ers giving players on the roster bubble a chance to play.
Draft the 49ers Skill Players: The 49ers played their starting receivers for the first time this preseason. They were used identically to last season.
• Jennings received most of the slot snaps, but all three receivers took multiple snaps there.
• George Kittle played the majority of snaps at tight end, including a few snaps in the slot.
Avoid the Panthers backup running backs: A Panthers backup running back might seem tempting, given Christian McCaffrey’s injury history, but Carolina has used both D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard significantly with the starters in the preseason. They could split snaps close to 50/50 if McCaffrey gets hurt again.
• Each of the backs has started for Carolina this preseason, with Hubbard starting against Buffalo.
• Both backs have rotated by drive rather than the situation. Both have been used primarily in the running game in years past, but they have been given receiving opportunities this preseason.
• Hubbard played five more snaps over the first two preseason games, but Foreman has graded better.
Panthers WR Shi Smith could finish fourth on the team in targets: Smith has consistently been the Panthers' slot wide receiver throughout the preseason. The 2021 sixth-round pick seems likely to maintain this role despite some bigger named backups on Carolina’s roster. He should only be drafted in deep leagues where you can start several wide receivers.
• Robbie Anderson played in previous preseason games but missed tonight with a hip/quad injury.
• D.J. Moore started the game but played only two snaps to give the backups more opportunities.
• Higgins took over for Moore on the second play of the game.
• Smith has been the slot receiver with whatever combination of Panthers receivers the team has used throughout the preseason, making him the most likely to join Anderson and Moore in the starting lineup.
Don’t Forget About Jamison Crowder: The Bills rested several key players, including Crowder, which is an indication of how they still value him. While he won’t be in their starting lineup in Week 1, he can still be a contributor to the offense.
• The Bills used Isiah McKenzie out wide at times in their last preseason game. This means Crowder can play not just in place of McKenzie but in place of the outside receivers, too. McKenzie can move to the outside, with Crowder in the slot.
• This won’t be enough for Crowder to have fantasy value on a week-to-week basis, but if there is an injury to a starter, he can be started in fantasy leagues.
Understand the risks before taking James Cook: Cook has consistently been third on the Bills depth chart this preseason, making it unlikely he will be a fantasy contributor early in the season.
• It’s clear Singletary will see a majority of snaps in Week 1, but it’s unclear how much he will get substituted out for the two backs.
• The Bills had rotated by drive rather than situation in the preseason, so it’s also uncertain if the backups will substitute by situation or by drive.
Jalen Tolbert didn’t start for the Cowboys, but that’s okay: Tolbert didn’t start the game, but he has been locked in as the Cowboys’ slot receiver all preseason. The team’s other receivers — both healthy and injured — primarily play on the outside, so Tolbert’s role in the slot should be secure regardless of who is healthy.
• Tolbert hasn’t played as much in clear run situations but was often in two-receiver sets in more pass/run neutral situations.
• Michael Gallup has been out injured but has historically been an outside receiver.
• James Washington is his top competition for snaps, but he’s also been out and is unlikely to win the job from Tolbert.
• Tolbert has run the most routes out of the slot in the first half of each preseason game.
Don’t Draft Noah Fant: The Seahawks continued to use a three-man rotation at tight end. None of them ran more than 50% of the team’s routes over the first five drives.
• Will Dissly started the game and took the majority of snaps over the Seahawks' first drive.
• The three tight ends were used interchangeably throughout the five drives.
Draft Dareke Young in deep leagues and dynasty leagues: The seventh-round rookie started the game with Tyler Lockett and D’Wayne Eskridge and led the starters in snaps. He could be the Seahawks' third wide receiver this season.
• Young typically played on the outside, taking all of the snaps in 12 personnel over Eskridge with Penny Hart across from him. He also played most of the snaps in 11 personnel.
• Freddie Swain was the slot receiver for Seattle last season but didn’t rotate in until Seattle’s second drive, making Eskridge potentially the favorite in the slot.
• The Seahawks could use Lockett out wide or in the slot, and how much they use him in each spot could determine if Young or Eskridge sees more playing time.
Avoid the Chargers' backup running backs: Larry Rountree III started tonight, unlike the previous two games Joshua Kelley started. Both players would receive some snaps if Austin Ekeler were to get hurt.
• The two players have rotated in and out significantly with the starters throughout the preseason.
• It’s unclear whether Rountree is now second on the depth chart or it was just his turn to receive the start.
• Fourth-round rookie Isaiah Spiller had been the third running back on the field over the first two preseason games. He missed tonight with an ankle injury that isn’t expected to be serious. He remains a clear fourth on the depth chart and is unlikely to provide any fantasy value early in the season.
• The Chargers backs rank last in my running back handcuff rankings.
Ignore the Chargers receivers tonight: The Chargers have consistently let their top few starters sit out in the preseason. Some players also missed tonight with injury, leaving little information to gain from this game.
• Joshua Palmer missed this game after coming out of the concussion protocol on Wednesday. There have been reports that he’s clearly ahead of Jalen Guyton on the depth chart, but there has been no evidence in preseason usage to support or refute this. Guyon played every snap on the first two drives and then only played in the third when the drive dragged on and the backups needed a break.
Slightly slow the hype on Chris Olave: Jarvis Landry and Marquez Callaway started the game for New Orleans, with Olave not playing until the fourth offensive snap. The rookie wideout might still be third on the depth chart, but Callaway is still a factor.
• Later in the drive, Olave joined Callaway in two-receiver sets with Landry on the bench.
• Callaway kept playing on the second drive, while Landry and Olave stopped playing with several other starters.
• Olave is expected to see extended playing time in the regular season, but it might not be as much as fantasy managers would like if Callaway is also rotating in.
• He will be just fine if Michael Thomas ends up missing extended time.
Ignore the tight end snap counts for the Saints: Juwan Johnson appeared to be the Saints’ clear receiving tight end, but that was only because Taysom Hill and Adam Trautman missed the game for undisclosed reasons.
Draft Rhamondre Stevenson: With Damien Harris resting, Stevenson started the game. Like last week, the Patriots continued to rotate by drive rather than situation, giving Stevenson more experience in passing situations.
• Harris left the Wednesday practice early, which is likely why he didn’t play. However, he did dress up for the game, which is a good sign his injury isn’t serious.
• Ty Montgomery took the second drive but left the drive early on a cart. Ideally, the injury isn’t serious, but if it is, that would increase Stevenson’s odds of playing in passing situations by even more.
• J.J. Taylor took the third drive and remains ahead of both rookie running backs on the depth chart.
Monitor the Jakobi Meyers injury: Meyers started the game and played each of the Patriots' first nine offensive snaps before leaving for the blue medical tent. He was spotted on the exercise bike after. There is a chance he will be just fine and was being held out as a precaution.
• Kendrick Bourne didn’t play his first offensive snap until Meyers left the game. All three healthy receivers saw some time in two receiver sets.
• Rookie Tyquan Thornton didn’t play, as he’s expected to miss eight weeks with a collarbone injury.
• Parker would be the clear Patriots wide receiver to draft if the Meyers injury is serious.
Buyer beware of Hunter Henry: Henry finished TE8 last season by dominating the Patriots' tight end room in routes. In all, he ran 403 compared to Jonnu Smith’s 158. However, they split routes 50/50 against the Raiders
• There was a slight tendency for Henry to play on late downs and Smith to play on early downs.
• Henry hadn’t played in any preseason game prior to tonight.
Ignore the Raiders snap counts: The Raiders have typically rested their star players this preseason. Tonight they rested even more players than usual.
• Zamir White had won the third running back spot over Kenyan Drake, who was released. It would have been good to see White used on third and long, but Las Vegas wasn’t in that situation in their first two drives.
Don’t draft the Jaguars who played: Jacksonville listed 27 players who wouldn’t play Saturday, including the starters and some key backups. This included two running backs, four wide receivers and two tight ends, meaning anyone who played was buried on the depth chart.
• Snoop Conner is the most fantasy-relevant player who took snaps, as he should see playing time while James Robinson isn’t 100%. He was the only running back to play for Jacksonville in the first quarter, making it crystal clear he’s among the team's top three backs.
• Lasviska Shenault only played in three-receiver sets in this game. He is unlikely to see much playing time this season without an injury, trade or release.
• Dan Arnold was the starting tight end last season but has fallen to fourth on the depth chart. He was restricted to two-tight end sets in the first half. He will make the team only if Jacksonville keeps four tight ends. Like Shenault, the best odds of him being worth a fantasy roster spot would come from ending up with a new team.
Avoid the Falcons' running backs: The Falcons rested both Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams while using a three-man rotation at running back throughout the first half. The situation will likely be unpredictable and ever-changing throughout the season.
• Williams appears to be the lead rusher to start the season, but he is 30 years old and not the long-term solution. The Falcons will likely try to involve any younger back they think is worthy of more playing time.
• Rookie Tyler Allgeier has graded the best among their six backs over the first two preseason games, and he started this game. He’s the favorite to take over at some point this season. He shouldn’t be in fantasy starting lineups for Week 1, though, and there’s also a chance he never takes over this season.
Making sense of a crowded Falcons receiving room: The Falcons rested four wide receivers on Saturday, making it clear who is at the top of the depth chart after a confusing rotation early in the preseason.
• Drake London sits atop the Falcons' depth chart. He took each of the first five snaps in their first preseason game before exiting with an injury.
• Olamide Zaccheaus has consistently been the slot receiver in the first quarter of the first two preseason games. He was among the starters not playing today. He’s worth a late-round flier in deeper leagues.
• Bryan Edwards and KhaDarel Hodge will likely split time on the outside across from London. They both took the outside snaps on the first three drives last week, and neither played Saturday. Because of the low expectations for the offense, snap splits and talent among other receivers, these two shouldn’t be drafted in most leagues.
Rams' Jacob Harris remains at wide receiver: The Rams released Kendall Blanton when they reduced their roster to 80 players. Some speculated the 2021 fourth-round pick might move back to tight end, but he remained at wide receiver against the Bengals.
• There is no guarantee Harris makes the 53-man roster, as the Rams rested their top five wide receivers.
Ignore the Bengals' snap counts: The Bengals have rested their starters all preseason, and that trend continued Saturday.
Treylon Burks moves up to top backup for the Titans: Burks started the game for Tennessee and caught two passes before suffering a wrist injury that kept him out for a few drives. It’s hard to know exactly what the plan would have been had he not hurt his wrist, but starting the game was a step in the right direction.
• Robert Woods got his first preseason action, playing on the first drive before his night was done.
• Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was one of several Titans starters who received the day off.
• Rookie Kyle Philips continued to solidify his role as the Titans' slot receiver. He took some snaps in two-receiver sets after Woods left the game, which is another positive sign for extended playing time in the regular season.
Treat Dontrell Hilliard as the Titans second running back: Hilliard started the game and only needed three snaps before his day was done. He remains ahead of the Titans rookies not just as the receiving back but also as the early-down backup.
• Hassan Haskins was the next back on the first drive. He is now clearly third on the depth chart.
• Undrafted rookie Julius Chestnut started the first preseason game but didn’t play until the second quarter today. Trenton Cannon also received snaps before Chestnut, which makes it less likely Chestnut makes the roster.
Eno Benjamin has a slight lead as the Cardinals' backup: The Cardinals running back usage in their first two games, but against the Titans, it was more straightforward. Benjamin started the game and rotated in and out with Darrel Williams for one drive.
• Benjamin received the first few snaps, followed by a few by Williams, and that pattern repeated.
• The two were used interchangeably. This gives no indication of who might be a third-down back if they decide to use a specific third-down back.
• Williams received the goal line snap and touchdown, but that was likely because it was his turn in the rotation.
• Both backs are only worth drafting in deep leagues, as these players would likely split James Conner’s role if he gets hurt this season.
• Sixth-round rookie Keaontay Ingram has consistently been behind all three players on the depth chart. He saw significant playing time after the first drive. He could also factor in at some point this season.
The Ravens told us things we already knew: The Ravens rested their starters and some backups. Other notable backups only played two drives before their day was done.
• Newly signed wide receiver Demarcus Robinson didn’t start the game but rotated in at wide receiver. He’s no guarantee to make the roster. Even if he does, he’s unlikely to factor in for fantasy football purposes.
• Tight end Isaiah Likely — who has dominated the preseason — was among the Ravens not playing tonight, further supporting the idea he will contribute to the passing game this season.
Armani Rogers could be a Week 1 starter: The Commanders have faced several injuries to their tight ends, which has allowed the undrafted rookie to take the vast majority of snaps for Washington in the first half of their games.
• Washington recently signed Kendall Blanton, but he didn’t receive any playing time until Rogers' day was done.
• There is a chance one of their usual tight ends will be ready by Week 1, but Rogers could have an extended role if their other tight ends are eased into action.
Raheem Mostert is a clear top-two back in Miami: Mostert played the majority of snaps on the Dolphins' first two drives, and then his day was done before several other Dolphins players.
• Mostert and Chase Edmonds have yet to play in the same game, so it’s unclear exactly how snaps will be distributed. Edmonds will definitely play third downs, but the two will fight for first- and second-down snaps.
• Myles Gaskin played the other snaps with the first team, as well as starting the third drive. Salvon Ahmed was the fourth back in the game, followed by Sony Michel. Michel had been the clear third on the depth chart before today. At least one of these three backs will be cut.
Trent Sherfield appears to be the Dolphins' third wide receiver: Sherfield surpassed Cedrick Wilson to start the game across from Tyreek Hill. Wilson didn’t play his first offensive snaps until after Hill exited the game.
• Wilson signed a three-year, $22.1 million contract, while Sherfield signed a one-year, $920,000 deal, making this preseason usage particularly alarming.
• Each of the Miami wide receivers is capable of playing in the slot, allowing the team to use their wide receivers interchangeably.
Buyer beware of Mike Gesicki: The Dolphins veteran had seen significant playing time in previous preseason games, raising some alarm. He played in the first three drives tonight but rotated with two other tight ends.
• Durham Smythe received the most snaps in the first three drives.
• Gesicki ran the most routes, but Smythe received some snaps in 11 personnel.
• Smythe played every two tight end sets, while Cethan Carter out-snapped Gesicki as the other tight end 7-5.
• Gesicki has lined up 24 times as an in-line tight end, compared to 14 snaps in the slot, four out wide and once at fullback throughout the preseason. He lined up 85% of the time in the slot or out wide last season.
Jalen Reagor’s roster spot could be in jeopardy: The Eagles rested all of their starters plus a number of key backups. This included five wide receivers at the top of their depth chart.
• Greg Ward has missed the preseason with a toe injury, so Reagor is potentially fifth on the depth chart rather than sixth.
• He left the game after the second drive, ahead of other players.
• Kenneth Gainwell was the only other skill player who left early, leaving after the first drive.
Demetric Felton is the Browns' starting slot receiver: The Browns used most of their starts, and Amari Cooper was the only notable wide receiver who had the day off. Felton was consistently the slot receiver ahead of rookie David Bell.
• Bell started the game but only because the Browns started with four wide receivers, one tight end and no running back on the first play.
• Felton and Bell are the only two wide receivers on the roster who have played double-digit snaps in the slot in the first half of Browns' preseason games.
• Felton can be drafted in deep leagues, but the Browns' frequent two tight end usage makes their slot receivers less valuable than other teams.
• Bell could eventually take over but might not have many games with multiple receptions this season.
• This could indicate the Browns are happy with Ford while Johnson is fighting for his roster spot. This would be surprising considering Johnson was one of the highest-graded running backs last season.
• It’s also possible that the Browns could trade Kareem Hunt if they are happy with both Johnson and Ford.
Move David Montgomery up your draft board: The Bears starting back saw his first preseason action. The Bears could have moved more to a two-man backfield, similar to what this coaching staff had with the Packers. Instead, Montgomery dominated the first-team snaps.
• Similarly, Khalil Herbert should be moved down the draft board. He remains a solid handcuff option, but it’s looking less likely that he can have standalone value, at least early in the season.
• Herbert saw some more work with the first team but only after Montgomery’s night was done.
• Herbert also played into the second half but didn’t have to rotate with any other back, meaning there is still a gap between him and everyone else below him on the depth chart.
Don’t trust Cole Kmet as your starting fantasy tight end: Kmet played in less than 70% of Chicago's offensive snaps over the first four drives. He never played under 70% of snaps in a game last season.
• Ryan Griffin made his preseason debut with the Bears. He joined Kmet in two tight end sets, played most of the snaps in 21 personnel and also took some snaps in 11 personnel from Kmet.
• James O’Shaugnessy also took snaps from Kmet in earlier preseason games but only played with the second string against the Browns.
• Kmet has been a high-volume, low-efficiency tight end the past two seasons. His volume of snaps will be lower this season. He will need both a higher target share and much higher efficiency to be a fantasy starter this season.
Slow the hype for Alec Pierce: Pierce had taken snaps in two wide receiver sets for the Colts last week with the starters over Parris Campbell, but the Ohio State product took those snaps over Pierce against the Buccaneers.
• There is a chance Pierce can regain those snaps in the regular season, or at least split them.
• Both players are worth late-round draft picks.
Monitor the Colts' tight ends: Mo Alie-Cox took every snap with the first-team offense. Typically, Indianapolis uses a three-man rotation with its tight ends, so this is a change from the norm.
• Ogletree suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
• Alie-Cox was among the starters to rest in their second preseason game while Ogletree split time with third-round rookie Jelani Woods.
• Woods didn’t see a snap with the starters tonight, suggesting this could be a two-man rotation now.
• Alie-Cox could now be worth a late-round flier. If this carries on in Week 1, then he could be a popular waiver wire target in two weeks.
If you draft a Buccaneers tight end, draft Cameron Brate: The Buccaneers played both of their tight ends for the first time this preseason, and Brate saw a clear majority of snaps.
• The Buccaneers used 11 personnel on every play with the starters, so they were never on the field at the same time.
• Both players stopped playing after their first drive.
• Kyle Rudolph only played on first and second downs.
• This was a relatively small sample size, and we could see more of a split when the Buccaneers are more diverse in their personnel usage. It’s probably best to avoid both tight ends.
K.J. Hamler‘s return: Hamler saw his first preseason action after tearing his ACL and dislocating his hip last September.
• The Broncos rested their starters. Hamler is expected to play in three-receiver sets this season. It’s unsurprising they gave him a few reps after not playing for so long despite being considered a starter.
• Hamler not only played in most plays from 11 personnel but also saw the vast majority of snaps in two-receiver sets as well.
• He lined up out wide 18 times compared to seven in the slot. This likely means the Broncos will let all three of their starters see some work in the slot.
• He’s an exciting late-round draft option.
Albert Okwuegbunam is among the Broncos who did not play: Denver has rested its starters every preseason game. Okwuegbunam started and played into the fourth quarter in the first two but didn’t play Saturday night.
• This is potentially a good sign the Broncos have liked what they’ve seen through the first two games.
• Third-round rookie Greg Dulcich has missed all three preseason games with a hamstring injury. The Broncos remain hopeful he is ready for Week 1.
• Eric Saubert took the snaps that Okweugbunam had been taking with the first team.
• Okwuegbunam still isn’t a great fantasy football option because he’s unlikely to play in two-tight end sets, and Dulcich could eventually take snaps from him.
Ignore the Vikings' snap counts: The Vikings rested their starters and key backups, including everyone worth drafting in fantasy leagues. The only way any of the players who played today will be worth a spot on your fantasy roster is if there are multiple injuries.
Move Michael Carter down your draft board: Carter started the game for the Jets and had more playing time than rookie Breece Hall, but the gap between them tightened compared to their first preseason game.
• Carter played seven snaps with the starters in their first game compared to two by Hall.
• The two both saw playing time on the first two drives, then Hall received the third drive and Carter the fourth.
• Neither back played once the backups came in.
• There was a tendency for Carter to play on passing snaps and Hall to play on rushing snaps, but Hall played on more third downs while Carter played on more early downs.
• Hall can be expected to see a higher percentage of snaps as time goes on, and the fact that Hall played more on third downs means he could take both the early- and late-down work.
Move Garrett Wilson down your draft board: Wilson remains a backup for the Jets. He saw some playing time with the starters but continued to play more when the backups came in.
• The Jets don’t use their wide receivers interchangeably like some teams. Instead, each backup wide receiver is a backup to a particular starter.
• Wilson was specifically Corey Davis’ backup in this game, only coming on the field with the starters when Davis came off.
• This is the same thing that happened in the first preseason game — Wilson’s only snap with the starters came when Davis missed a play.
• Davis took nine snaps in 11 personnel compared to two by Wilson. And similarly, Davis took eight snaps in 12 personnel to two by Wilson.
• Wilson will likely take more time from Davis as the season progresses, but he might never get the amount of playing time you would like to see from a fantasy starter in 2022.
Consider Tyler Conklin a deep sleeper: Conklin left the field only once with the Jets' starters and was the most targeted player among the starters.
• The Jets' offense would need to improve significantly this season for Conklin to be a fantasy starter, as he would need several touchdown opportunities.
• He appears to be seeing the amount of playing time needed to be a fantasy starter, at least.
• C.J. Uzomah ran plenty of routes out of two-tight end sets but wasn’t seeing enough playing time to be worth drafting in the majority of leagues.
The Giants showed us more of the same: The Giants played a number of starters in all three preseason games while resting players who were either too important or injured. They basically used their players the same way in all three games.
• Matt Breida remains the clear backup running back for the Giants. He played the first six offensive snaps and called it a day.
• Darius Slayton didn’t play on the first two drives but did later in the game. He could be among the Giants' roster cuts.
• Daniel Bellinger remains the unquestioned starting tight end. He did play longer than other starters, which could be slightly concerning, but he’s also a mid-round rookie making the extended playing time more understandable.
Monitor the Diontae Johnson shoulder injury: Johnson left in the first quarter after landing awkwardly on his shoulder and was ruled out of the game shortly after. The severity of the injury at this point is unclear, but it’s not surprising a starter with an injury didn’t return to the game, regardless of the severity.
• Olszewski played ahead of George Pickens on the first two plays out of 12 personnel, but Pickens played ahead of Olszewski for more snaps later in the game, including when Claypool was out. It probably doesn’t mean much, but it is worth monitoring.
Draft Najee Harris: There had been talk this offseason of a reduced workload for Harris this season. He was used similarly to last season in the first half, seeing the vast majority of snaps. He should continue to see a workload few running backs will match.
• Jaylen Warren was the only other running back to see playing time in the first half, suggesting he is the new favorite to be the backup. He also started the second half with the backups.
• The Steelers would likely use multiple running backs in the case of an injury, with the back who looks best receiving more playing time. All of the backups should be avoided in fantasy drafts.
Monitor the running backs the Lions keep: Craig Reynolds rotated with Jermar Jefferson in the first two preseason games, with Reynolds playing first both times. Jefferson started today, with Reynolds not playing until the third quarter.
• Former Charger Justin Jackson also played in the first half, at times coming in for Jefferson.
• Reynolds did play early in this game as a kick returner. He’s never played kick returner in the regular season but did so in the 2019 and 2021 preseasons. It’s possible the Lions wanted him to focus on returning for this game rather than rushing.
• This could be a sign that Reynolds lost his job as the third back or a sign they were more concerned about Jefferson and Jackson fighting for one spot.
• 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.