Fantasy News & Analysis

Fantasy Football Recap: Key takeaways from Week 2 of the 2021 NFL preseason

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (1) celebrates with fullback Alex Armah (40) after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The second full week of the 2021 NFL preseason kicked off and the focus remains on the five first-round rookie quarterbacks. For the only time in the 2021 season, we have five straight days of NFL football.

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2021.

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Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Jacksonville Jaguars New Orleans Saints
WR WR
Marvin Jones Jr. – 17 snaps Marquez Callaway – 16 snaps
Phillip Dorsett – 16 snaps Deonte Harris – 14 snaps
Laviska Shenault Jr. – 13 snaps Ty Montgomery – 8 snaps
Collin Johnson – 2 snaps Lil'Jordan Humphrey – 2 snaps
Laquon Treadwell – 1 snap
TE TE
Chris Manhertz – 11 snaps Adam Trautman – 7 snaps
James O'Shaughnessy – 10 snaps Nick Vannett – 6 snaps
Luke Farrell – 2 snaps Juwan Johnson – 6 snaps
Ethan Wolf – 3 snaps
QB QB
Trevor Lawrence – 18 snaps Jameis Winston – 16 snaps
HB HB
Carlos Hyde – 8 snaps Latavius Murray – 8 snaps
James Robinson – 7 snaps Tony Jones Jr. – 8 snaps
Travis Etienne – 3 snaps
Total – 18 snaps Total – 16 snaps

Draft Marquez Callaway ahead of his current 10.07 ADP: The former undrafted player out of Tennessee has risen up draft boards recently due to injuries to the Saints wide receivers and Callaway’s good plays. His ADP will climb a few more rounds after this game with how well he played. Over time, the Saints wide receivers will get healthy, but Callaway should, at the very least, be the third receiver in 11 personnel when that happens.

Don’t overreact to the Jaguars' RB snap count: The Jaguars used James Robinson for two drives, then Carlos Hyde for two, and finally Travis Etienne to start the fifth drive. The first-round rookie suffered a foot injury and didn’t return. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious. If it is, Robinson will shoot up draft boards.

If it’s not serious, then it’s not time to panic on Etienne yet. It’s very rare for a team to rotate its backs by drive in the regular season as several teams do in the preseason. They could use their backs in the roles that utilize them best when the games count, which would mean third downs for the former Clemson Tiger.

Don’t draft any Saints tight end: The Saints put their tight ends in certain roles last season, with a clear every-down tight end in Adam Trautman, a clear run blocker in two-tight end sets in Josh Hill, and a clear third down or second-and-long tight end in Jared Cook. Eight teams had a similar strategy at tight end last season, and none produced a top-16 fantasy tight end.

Nick Vannett took Hill’s role, and Juwan Johnson took Cook’s in the first preseason game. Trautman suffered an injury early in this game, but that just led Vannett to take Trautman’s role, and Ethan Wolf to take Vannett’s. Hopefully, Trautman’s injury isn’t serious, but even if it is, this offense is unlikely to produce a top-16 tight end.

Draft Tony Jones Jr. instead of Latavius Murray: The Saints' backup running back is one of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy football because of how much New Orleans uses its backs. Murray was an elite fantasy back any time Alvin Kamara was injured. Jones seems to have surpassed Murray on the depth chart after starting this game and reports out of training camp.

Don’t use a late-round flier on Collin Johnson: Johnson started the Jaguars' first preseason game, but Phillip Dorsett started this game. The second-round receiver didn’t start rotating in until around the time Marvin Jones Jr.‘s night was done in the second quarter. Even if Johnson can surpass Dorsett on the depth chart, D.J. Chark Jr. will likely start once he’s healthy.


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San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Trey Lance: 5-for-10, 67 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT (88.9% adjusted completion percentage with starters)
  • Joshua Kelley: 7 carries, 9 yards (-6 yards before contact, 15 yards after); 2 targets, 2 rec., 12 yards

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

San Francisco 49ers Los Angeles Chargers
WR WR
Brandon Aiyuk – 24 snaps Jalen Guyton – 35 snaps
Trent Sherfield – 22 snaps Josh Palmer – 22 snaps
Mohamed Sanu – 21 snaps K.J. Hill – 21 snaps
Deebo Samuel – 19 snaps Tyron Johnson – 12 snaps
Richie James Jr. – 3 snaps John Hurst – 2 snaps
TE TE
Charlie Woerner – 28 snaps Stephen Anderson – 26 snaps
Ross Dwelley – 10 snaps Tre' McKitty – 19 snaps
Matt Sokol – 5 snaps
QB QB
Trey Lance – 18 snaps Easton Stick – 36 snaps
Jimmy Garoppolo – 16 snaps
HB HB
JaMycal Hasty – 19 snaps Joshua Kelley – 28 snaps
Wayne Gallman – 15 snaps Larry Rountree III – 10 snaps
Total – 34 snaps Total – 36 snaps

Draft Josh Palmer: The Chargers used Palmer and Jalen Guyton in two- and three-wide receiver sets throughout the first quarter. Guyton might be the favorite to land the third spot in Week 1, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Palmer takes over. Palmer has more upside and could quickly become one of Justin Herbert‘s favorite pass-catchers.

Draft Trey Lance: Jimmy Garoppolo played one unsuccessful drive as the 49ers quarterback and then Lance got the rest of the time with the starters. The fact that San Francisco is willing to give Lance this many opportunities is a good sign of him potentially playing sooner rather than later. Once he starts, he should be a top-10 fantasy quarterback.

Remember Trent Sherfield if a 49ers WR gets hurt: General manager John Lynch said before the game that the 49ers would mix some of the starters and backups to allow different players to play together. This happened with the 49ers outside receivers, with Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Sherfield rotating in and out. Sherfield would likely be an every-down starter if there is an injury, but he has little value when everyone is healthy.

Draft Mohamed Sanu in deeper leagues: Sanu was consistently the third receiver in three-receiver sets despite the constant rotations at outside receiver. He should see significant playing time during the season and could carve out a nice role for himself as defenses focus on the team's other star players.

Don’t draft Larry Rountree III: The Chargers didn’t have their top two running backs, and Rountree was a clear backup to Joshua Kelley in this game, leaving him fourth on the depth chart. It would take an Austin Ekeler injury and Rountree outperforming both Kelly and Justin Jackson for him to have value this season.

Don’t draft Wayne Gallman: The 49ers didn’t use their top two running backs for this game. JaMycal Hasty got the start and was constantly ahead in the rotation. Gallman is likely on the roster bubble as the fourth running back on the depth chart.


New York Giants at Cleveland Browns

  • Devontae Booker: 6 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD; 2 targets, 2 rec., 13 yards (4 total first downs)
  • D’Ernest Johnson: 4 carries, 36 yards; 5 targets, 4 rec., 23 yards (2 missed tackles forced)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

New York Giants Cleveland Browns
WR WR
Dante Pettis – 13 snaps Rashard Higgins – 21 snaps
David Sills – 11 snaps Donovan Peoples-Jones – 15 snaps
C.J. Board – 9 snaps KhaDarel Hodge – 13 snaps
Alex Bachman – 4 snaps JoJo Natson – 6 snaps
Davion Davis – 3 snaps
TE TE
Kaden Smith – 15 snaps Connor Davis – 17 snaps
Rysen John – 9 snaps Jordan Franks – 16 snaps
Nakia Griffin-Stewart – 1 snap
QB QB
Mike Glennon – 16 snaps Case Keenum – 25 snaps
HB HB
Devontae Booker – 16 snaps D'Ernest Johnson – 14 snaps
Demetric Felton – 11 snaps
Total – 16 snaps Total – 25 snaps

Draft Donovan Peoples-Jones in deeper leagues: Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins are fighting for the Browns' third receiver spot and saw extensive playing time on Sunday. Peoples-Jones has made more plays over two preseason games, and his 17.0-yard average depth of target last season makes him an intriguing big-play option in fantasy if he continues to improve.

Keep an eye on Demetric Felton: The 212th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft split playing time with D’Ernest Johnson at running back, with each back playing several snaps in a row before rotating. Felton was the Browns' primary slot receiver with the starters last week. He currently has both WR and RB eligibility on Yahoo — if both Browns starting RBs get hurt, Felton could be a primary running back with WR eligibility. 

Don’t overreact to the Giants' HB snap count: Devontae Booker is clearly the backup running back for the Giants, but we don’t know if he will play closer to 50% or closer to 100% of snaps if Saquon Barkley misses time. Corey Clement has been the better receiver among the two backups and could very well get third-down snaps if the two split time.


Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Rams

  • Jake Funk: 6 carries, 37 yards in the first half (two explosive runs).
  • Tutu Atwell: 5 targets, 3 rec., 15 yards in the first half (8.8 aDOT).

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Las Vegas Raiders Los Angeles Rams
WR WR
Zay Jones – 11 snaps J.J. Koski – 37 snaps
Keelan Doss – 11 snaps Tutu Atwell – 36 snaps
Willie Snead IV – 10 snaps Landen Akers – 33 snaps
Jeremiah Haydel – 1 snap
TE TE
Derek Carrier – 11 snaps Kendall Blanton – 28 snaps
Matt Bushman – 1 snap Jacob Harris – 8 snaps
Brycen Hopkins – 5 snaps
QB QB
Nathan Peterman – 11 snaps Bryce Perkins – 37 snaps
HB HB
BJ Emmons – 7 snaps Xavier Jones – 19 snaps
Trey Ragas – 4 snaps Jake Funk – 18 snaps
Total – 11 snaps Total – 37 snaps

Move Xavier Jones down your rankings: It seemed like Jones was the favorite to win the backup job for the Rams a week ago, but now Jake Funk seems equally likely to be the main backup. Funk was the early-down back and Jones the late-down back. Jones caught up in playing time when the team passed a lot late in the first half. The offense was finding some success, so the Rams didn’t have many third or fourth downs. Jones could see a lot of third downs once the regular season hits, but it’s hard to see him getting a huge boost in value if Darrell Henderson gets hurt.

Don’t draft any Raider who played today: Las Vegas not only rested its starters but also several key backups. It’s unlikely any of these players see significant playing time even with an injury. Multiple players would have to be out for any of these players to see fantasy value this season.

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks

  • Royce Freeman: 8 carries, 20 yards, (50% stuffed rate), 6 targets, 5 rec., 44 yards.
  • Jerry Jeudy: 2 targets, 2 rec., 40 yards (3.1 YPRR).

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Denver Broncos Seattle Seahawks
WR  WR
Jerry Jeudy – 20 snaps Aaron Fuller – 25 snaps
K.J. Hamler – 19 snaps Cody Thompson – 24 snaps
Kendall Hinton – 11 snaps John Ursua – 19 snaps
Cade Johnson – 5 snaps
TE TE
Noah Fant – 21 snaps Dominick Wood-Anderson – 20 snaps
Eric Saubert – 18 snaps Cam Sutton – 12 snaps
Andrew Beck – 9 snaps
Austin Fort – 3 snaps
QB QB
Teddy Bridgewater – 23 snaps Alex McGough – 28 snaps
Drew Lock – 3 snaps
HB HB
Javonte Williams – 15 snaps Alex Collins – 15 snaps
Royce Freeman – 11 snaps Rashaad Penny – 15 snaps
Total – 26 snaps Total – 28 snaps

Move Javonte Williams slightly down your rankings: The Broncos didn’t have Melvin Gordon III or Mike Boone for a second straight week. Williams only played a slight majority of snaps, as he split time with Royce Freeman. The Broncos have consistently used two backs where one, at most, sees 60% of playing time. If they’re only willing to give Williams a slight lead over their fourth-string back, it’s hard to see him playing over 60% of snaps when the other running backs are involved.

Draft Rashaad Penny as a sleeper running back: Penny wasn’t quite ready to play in the Seahawks' last preseason game but was good to go for this one. Seattle didn’t play its starters, including Chris Carson, today, so Penny got the start. The Seahawks rotated between him and Alex Collins. As Penny gets more practice in, he should see a higher percentage of snaps if these two play again. Carson has missed a few games each season, so the primary backup is likely to have value in a few games.

Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings

  • Zach Pascal: 4 targets, 4 rec., 31 yards (1.5 aDOT)
  • Nyheim Hines: 6 carries, 17 yards, 1 target, 1 rec., 18 yards (0 first downs rushing)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Indianapolis Colts Minnesota Vikings
WR WR
Michael Pittman Jr. – 21 snaps K.J. Osborn – 15 snaps
Zach Pascal – 20 snaps Chad Beebe – 10 snaps
Parris Campbell – 12 snaps Adam Thielen – 4 snaps
Michael Strachan – 1 snap
TE TE
Mo Alie-Cox – 13 snaps Irv Smith Jr. – 15 snaps
Farrod Green – 12 snaps Brandon Dillon – 10 snaps
Kylen Granson – 4 snaps
Jordan Thomas – 1 snap
QB QB
Sam Ehlinger – 21 snaps Kirk Cousins – 15 snaps
HB HB
Nyheim Hines – 11 snaps Ameer Abdullah – 13 snaps
Marlon Mack – 10 snaps Alexander Mattison – 2 snaps
Total – 21 snaps Total – 15 snaps

Don’t draft Parris Campbell: Campbell only played in three-receiver sets for the second straight preseason game. Even more concerning is that Zach Pascal took the snaps in the slot rather than Campbell even though the former second-round pick typically plays there. Once T.Y. Hilton returns to the lineup, it’s possible Campbell will only be a backup.

Don’t draft a Colts tight end: It seemed like the Colts might rely on a two-man tight end rotation with Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox. But Farrod Green appears to be making this a three-player rotation. Green played more than Alie-Cox in two-tight-end sets and took some of the snaps in 11 personnel. If three tight ends are going to be taking passing snaps, none will be fantasy viable.

Monitor Adam Thielen and Alexander Mattison: Thielen was on the field for four of five plays on the first drive but limped off the field and didn’t return. Hopefully the Vikings were just being cautious and Thielen is OK. Mattison played the first two plays of the game and didn’t return. Most preseason starters see a few more snaps than this, so there's a chance Mattison also had an injury.

Don’t move Nyheim Hines or Marlon Mack in your rankings: The two backs split time, with Hines generally playing late downs and Mack early. Jonathan Taylor will eventually take some of Hines' role and most of Mack’s. Hines' ADP is much higher than Mack’s because of this, even though it looks like they share the backup job as far as snaps go. 


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Houston Texans at Dallas Cowboys

  • Mark Ingram II: 7 carries, 24 yards, 1 TD (1.1 yards before contact per carry)
  • Tony Pollard: 5 carries, 20 yards, 2 targets, 2 rec., 16 yards, 1 TD (2 receiving first downs)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Houston Texans Dallas Cowboys
WR WR
Brandin Cooks – 13 snaps CeeDee Lamb – 15 snaps
Chris Conley – 11 snaps Amari Cooper – 13 snaps
Keke Coutee – 4 snaps Michael Gallup – 11 snaps
Alex Erickson – 3 snaps Cedrick Wilson – 2 snaps
TE TE
Pharaoh Brown – 9 snaps Dalton Schultz – 12 snaps
Antony Auclair – 6 snaps Blake Jarwin – 10 snaps
Jordan Akins – 4 snaps
Paul Quessenberry – 2 snaps
QB QB
Tyrod Taylor – 13 snaps Garrett Gilbert – 10 snaps
Cooper Rush – 6 snaps
HB HB
Mark Ingram II – 6 snaps Tony Pollard – 16 snaps
Phillip Lindsay – 4 snaps
David Johnson – 3 snaps
Total – 13 snaps Total – 16 snaps

Believe the CeeDee Lamb hype: All three Cowboys starting receivers were available in a preseason game for the first time. Lamb played 75% of the snaps out of 12 personnel after only playing 6 of 79 snaps in the formation in 2020. His ADP has risen throughout the offseason with the expected increase in playing time, and it’s good to have more evidence the rise will happen. Lamb played mostly in the slot in 11 personnel despite Michael Gallup playing there last week.

Monitor the Cowboys tight ends: Both of the Cowboys' potential starting tight ends were available for the first time. They both played in 12 personnel and roughly split playing time out of 11. They also saw a close split in terms of pass routes vs. run blocks, along with playing time by down. If neither tight end takes a clear lead for the starting job, then neither will have much fantasy value. The Cowboys have had a top-10 fantasy tight end each of the last two seasons, so a clear winner would be useful for fantasy.

Avoid the Texans running backs: The Texans used a three-player rotation and no one saw over 50% of the offensive snaps. Mark Ingram II and Phillip Lindsay split time on early downs, while David Johnson took the third-down snaps. The only bright side is that free agent addition Rex Burkhead only worked with the second team rather than joining the first-team rotation.

Don’t draft Jordan Akins: Akins was the primary receiving tight end for the Texans last season, although he didn’t hold much fantasy value. He didn’t get much playing time in this one amid a heavy tight end rotation. Akins played two snaps out of 11 personnel on third downs and another two snaps in three tight end sets. Any tight end who doesn’t play in 12 personnel will have a hard time finding fantasy value.


Tennessee Titans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Tennessee Titans Tampa Bay Buccaneers
WR WR
Josh Reynolds – 7 snaps Scotty Miller – 12 snaps
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine – 7 snaps Tyler Johnson – 11 snaps
Chester Rogers – 5 snaps Jaelon Darden – 9 snaps
TE TE
Anthony Firkser – 4 snaps O.J. Howard – 12 snaps
Tommy Hudson – 3 snaps Codey McElroy – 4 snaps
Luke Stocker – 1 snap
QB QB
Logan Woodside – 7 snaps Blaine Gabbert – 12 snaps
HB HB
Jeremy McNichols – 7 snaps Ke'Shawn Vaughn – 8 snaps
Giovani Bernard – 4 snaps
Total – 7 snaps Total – 12 snaps

Slow down the Giovani Bernard hype: The Buccaneers didn’t play Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, but that didn’t increase Bernard’s role at all. The Buccaneers only used Bernard and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the first half. Vaughn played every first and second down outside of a short two-minute drill, while Bernard played every third and fourth down. The only way for the former Bengal to live up to his sleeper potential is by taking at least a few first- and second-down snaps. After tonight that appears less likely.

Don’t draft Anthony Firkser: The Titans used Firkser, Tommy Hudson and Luke Stocker throughout the first half. Tennessee never used Firkser in a two tight end set — mostly just on third downs. He could see a few good weeks throughout the season, but they will be very unpredictable.


Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Najee Harris: 4 carries, 10 yards, 3 targets, 2 rec., 53 yards (1 first down)
  • Pat Freirmuth: 3 targets, 2 rec., 19 yards, 2 TD (3.2 YPRR)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Detroit Lions Pittsburgh Steelers
WR WR
Breshad Perriman – 21 snaps JuJu Smith-Schuster – 16 snaps
Quintez Cephus – 21 snaps Diontae Johnson – 15 snaps
Amon-Ra St. Brown – 11 snaps James Washington – 15 snaps
Tom Kennedy – 4 snaps Anthony Johnson – 1 snap
Victor Bolden Jr. – 1 snap
TE TE
Darren Fells – 16 snaps Eric Ebron – 9 snaps
Alize Mack – 10 snaps Zach Gentry – 4 snaps
Brock Wright – 1 snap Pat Freiermuth – 4 snaps
QB QB
Tim Boyle – 22 snaps Ben Roethlisberger – 16 snaps
HB HB
Dedrick Mills – 11 snaps Najee Harris – 15 snaps
Jermar Jefferson – 11 snaps Anthony McFarland Jr. – 1 snap
Total – 22 snaps Total – 16 snaps

Consider Pat Freiermuth in deeper leagues: The Steelers stayed in 11 personnel for the first three drives with the exception of one play. The second-round rookie didn’t see much playing time with Ben Roethlisberger on the field, but it was promising that Freiermuth played the majority of third downs. He ran roughly half the pass routes as Eric Ebron both with Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph at QB, and that should only increase as the season goes on.

Don’t draft Amon-Ra St. Brown: St. Brown’s value took a hit last week when the Lions chose not to use him in two-receiver sets. That trend continued this week, but St. Brown didn’t even play every snap with the starters in 11 personnel. Second-year receiver Quintez Cephus played in every personnel group and was at times taking St. Brown’s role as the slot receiver. When all of the Lions receivers are healthy, St. Brown might not see over 50% of offensive snaps.

Don’t read into the playing time of the Lions starting wide receivers: The Lions had Tyrell Williams and Kalif Raymond as the starting wide receivers with Breshad Perriman and Quintez Cephus out. This week it was the opposite. Ideally, all of them will play next week to get a better sense of how these receivers will be used in season.


Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins

  • Myles Gaskin: 6 carries, 27 yards, 1 TD, (1.8 yards after contact/carry), 4 targets, 4 rec., 44 yards, 1 TD
  • Jaylen Waddle: 4 targets, 3 rec., 21 yards (0.8 aDOT)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Atlanta Falcons Miami Dolphins
WR WR
Tajae Sharpe – 22 snaps Mack Hollins – 33 snaps
Christian Blake – 21 snaps Malcolm Perry – 18 snaps
Chris Rowland – 15 snaps Jaylen Waddle – 17 snaps
Juwan Green – 5 snaps Robert Foster – 12 snaps
Jakeem Grant – 11 snaps
Kirk Merritt – 4 snaps
TE TE
Parker Hesse – 19 snaps Mike Gesicki – 20 snaps
John Raine – 14 snaps Adam Shaheen – 15 snaps
Durham Smythe – 15 snaps
Hunter Long – 3 snaps
QB QB
A.J. McCarron – 13 snaps Tua Tagovailoa – 37 snaps
Feleipe Franks – 11 snaps
HB HB
Qadree Ollison – 18 snaps Myles Gaskin – 19 snaps
Caleb Huntley – 6 snaps Salvon Ahmed – 13 snaps
Malcolm Brown – 5 snaps
Total – 24 snaps Total – 37 snaps

Lower Myles Gaskin in rankings if you didn’t last week: Gaskin playing mostly with the second team offense was arguably the biggest story in the fantasy football world last week. He started this game and made a few highlight plays against the Falcons' second-string defense. It’s good to see him start and play the majority of snaps, but the Dolphins still used him less than a typical game last season. He seems destined to be the starter all season, but the backups will still see a lot of work.

Take a late-round gamble on Salvon Ahmed: Ahmed put up the least impressive numbers of the three backs, but it was good to see him receive so much playing time. He was the highest-graded runner of the three last season and saw four targets in the pass game. The Dolphins are expected to use the hot hand, which most expect to be Gaskin. It could easily be Ahmed at times. 

Take an even later-round gamble on Qadree Ollison: Everything out of camp made it clear Ollison was the backup running back in Atlanta, and the preseason has confirmed this. If anything happens to Mike Davis, Ollison would be the starter. If the free agent out of Carolina underperforms, we could also see more of a split in playing time.

Ignore the receiving stats for the Dolphins: Jaylen Waddle was heavily involved in the pass game early, and Mike Gesicki also had two big receptions. This was against the second-team defense, as Atlanta rested their starters. Miami also didn’t have several of their pass catchers. Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker are expected to be starters and didn’t play. Albert Wilson had a strong training camp and was also out. The target shares of the receivers and backs will be very different with these players in the lineup.


Baltimore Ravens at Carolina Panthers

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Baltimore Ravens Carolina Panthers
WR WR
Devin Duvernay – 15 snaps Terrace Marshall Jr. – 7 snaps
James Proche – 15 snaps Robby Anderson – 6 snaps
Jaylon Moore – 8 snaps David Moore – 1 snap
Binjimen Victor – 4 snaps Brandon Zylstra – 1 snap
Tylan Wallace – 3 snaps
TE TE
Josh Oliver – 14 snaps Ian Thomas – 7 snaps
Eric Tomlinson – 4 snaps Dan Arnold – 4 snaps
Colin Thompson – 1 snap
Giovanni Ricci – 1 snap
QB QB
Tyler Huntley – 18 snaps Sam Darnold – 7 snaps
HB HB
Gus Edwards – 10 snaps Chuba Hubbard – 7 snaps
J.K. Dobbins – 8 snaps
Total – 18 snaps Total – 7 snaps

Slightly lower J.K. Dobbins in your fantasy rankings: There is some optimism around Dobbins because of his potential to see more receiving work this season. He and Gus Edwards split time over the first three drives in this one. Edwards outplayed Dobbins in the run game and played on more third downs, leading to more overall snaps. There is a large ADP gap between Edwards and Dobbins, but they should be much closer if Edwards receives even 40% of the third-down work.

Remain cautiously optimistic on Terrace Marshall Jr.: The second-round rookie continued to play in every personnel group for Carolina even with Robby Anderson playing in this preseason game. Marshall will likely be limited to 11 personnel once D.J. Moore is also on the field, but it’s becoming very clear that Marshall is among the top three WRs on the team.

Monitor Dan Arnold: The free agent signing from Arizona is a sleeper tight end candidate. The snap count in the first drive wasn’t promising, but that’s because Carolina largely used two tight end sets, which Arnold wasn’t always in for. In the second drive, Arnold took all of the snaps in 11 personnel over Ian Thomas. The former Cardinal can still be a sleeper candidate, but it will be harder if his snaps are limited in 12 personnel.


New York Jets at Green Bay Packers

  • Corey Davis: 6 targets, 4 rec., 70 yards (66.7% threat rate)
  • A.J. Dillon: 4 carries, 28 yards, (5.0 yards after contact per carry) 2 targets, 2 rec. 12 yards

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

New York Jets Green Bay Packers
WR WR
Jeff Smith – 19 snaps Reggie Begelton – 6 snaps
Corey Davis – 15 snaps Amari Rodgers – 6 snaps
Jamison Crowder – 9 snaps Malik Taylor – 6 snaps
Vyncint Smith – 3 snaps Damon Hazelton – 2 snaps
TE TE
Chris Herndon – 11 snaps Bronson Kaufusi – 4 snaps
Trevon Wesco – 10 snaps Daniel Crawford – 4 snaps
Tyler Kroft – 9 snaps Jace Sternberger – 4 snaps
QB QB
Zach Wilson – 19 snaps Kurt Benkert – 8 snaps
HB HB
Tevin Coleman – 10 snaps A.J. Dillon – 7 snaps
Ty Johnson – 9 snaps Kylin Hill – 1 snap
Total – 19 snaps Total – 8 snaps

Draft Corey Davis: Most of these fantasy recaps just focus on how players are used with the starters in terms of snaps in different formations and how players are rotated in and out. It’s hard to ignore just how much Zach Wilson has relied on Davis through two preseason games. He’s been targeted on 10 of 13 routes. That rate will decrease significantly once the regular season starts, but Davis could be among the league leaders in targets this season.

Move Tevin Coleman up draft boards and Michael Carter down: The Jets used a two-player rotation with Coleman and Ty Johnson with the first team, while Carter didn’t play until Zach Wilson’s day was done. The rotation was every few plays rather than by situation. Carter will likely work his way into a rotation at some point in the season, but it will take a patient fantasy manager to potentially get value from him in 2021. 

Don’t draft Keelan Cole: Cole has reportedly been the starting wide receiver opposite Corey Davis for all of camp, but Jeff Smith played ahead of him during the first three drives. On the fourth drive, the Jets used a mix of starters and backups, which included Cole. Second-round rookie Elijah Moore didn’t play in this game, and he is also part of the competition opposite Davis.

Don’t draft Amari Rodgers: Rodgers’ ADP has already dropped after the Packers traded for Randall Cobb, but at this point he should be off the radar. Green Bay didn’t have six of their top seven wide receivers on the depth chart, and  Rodgers still mostly only played in 11 personnel. Reggie Begelton and Malik Taylor played in 12 personnel throughout the first half. This means it’s unlikely Rodgers sees a significant role in the Packers' offense even if there are a few injuries.

Don’t draft Chris Herndon: Herndon is another player falling down draft boards for good reason. The Jets have only used him in two tight end sets, with Tyler Kroft coming in anytime they use 11 personnel. Kroft would be the one Jet tight end to have in very deep leagues. He caught two touchdowns in this game, but it’s very difficult for a tight end who plays on only third downs to be a fantasy starter.


Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Buffalo Bills Chicago Bears
WR WR
Jake Kumerow – 28 snaps Damiere Byrd – 11 snaps
Gabriel Davis – 28 snaps Riley Ridley – 10 snaps
Isaiah McKenzie – 26 snaps Rodney Adams – 4 snaps
Duke Williams – 4 snaps Darnell Mooney – 2 snaps
Tanner Gentry – 1 snap Marquise Goodwin – 1 snap
Chris Lacy – 1 snap
TE TE
Dawson Knox – 22 snaps Jesse James – 9 snaps
Jacob Hollister – 10 snaps Jimmy Graham – 4 snaps
Nate Becker – 6 snaps Scooter Harrington – 1 snap
Jesper Horsted – 1 snap
QB QB
Mitchell Trubisky – 33 snaps Andy Dalton – 11 snaps
HB HB
Devin Singletary – 21 snaps Damien Williams – 11 snaps
Zack Moss – 12 snaps
Total – 33 snaps Total – 11 snaps

Draft Darnell Mooney: The Bears have largely been without their starters at skill players in the preseason. Those who have seen time have only taken a few snaps. Mooney has played five snaps over two games, with four of them coming from the slot. Anthony Miller was traded a month ago, creating an opening for the slot position. Mooney’s fantasy points per route run in the slot was 0.46 last year compared to 0.24 out wide. Mooney should still be on the outside in two-receiver sets but in the slot in 11 personnel. Increased slot use would be great for his fantasy value.

Don’t take anything away from Bills RB snap counts: The Bills have six halfbacks on the roster, and two were held out with injury. Taiwan Jones has played 33 offensive snaps over the last four seasons, as he has mainly been a special teams player. Zack Moss is coming back from injury, so they likely wanted to limit him. This meant Buffalo had to use their four backs over the whole game even though three will likely see time with the starters in the regular season.

Monitor Marquise Goodwin: The Bills didn’t play David Montgomery, Allen Robinson II or Cole Kmet today and limited Darnell Mooney and Jimmy Graham to a few snaps each. Goodwin only played the opening snap today after sitting last week. This could indicate that he will be the third receiver for Chicago.

Don’t draft Jacob Hollister: Bills tight ends had the fourth-fewest receiving yards last season. That was only likely to change this year with an upgrade at tight end. They added Hollister as a free agent, but it looks pretty clear that Dawson Knox will remain the starter. The Bills will likely use a lot of four wide receiver sets, so Knox shouldn’t be drafted, either.


Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team

  • Antonio Gibson: 7 carries, rushing 28 yards, 2 targets, 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards (-4.0 ADOT).
  • Ja’Marr Chase: 3 targets, 0 receptions (3 drops).

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Cincinnati Bengals Washington Football Team
WR WR
Tee Higgins – 10 snaps Terry McLaurin – 18 snaps
Tyler Boyd – 9 snaps Dyami Brown – 12 snaps
Ja'Marr Chase – 9 snaps Cam Sims – 11 snaps
Auden Tate – 2 snaps Adam Humphries – 8 snaps
Stanley Morgan Jr. – 1 snap Dax Milne – 4 snaps
TE TE
C.J. Uzomah – 8 snaps Logan Thomas – 23 snaps
Drew Sample – 5 snaps Ricky Seals-Jones – 8 snaps
John Bates – 5 snaps
QB QB
Brandon Allen – 11 snaps Ryan Fitzpatrick – 23 snaps
HB HB
Samaje Perine – 6 snaps Antonio Gibson – 13 snaps
Joe Mixon – 5 snaps Jaret Patterson – 6 snaps
J.D. McKissic – 4 snaps
Total – 11 snaps Total – 23 snaps

Move J.D. McKissic down your draft rankings: Washington has continued to use its running backs similarly to last season, as Antonio Gibson largely played on first and second down while McKissic played on third. The receiving back spent time this offseason bulking up in hopes of playing more on early downs. When Gibson needed a rest, Washington turned to undrafted free agent Jaret Patterson. This makes it unlikely for McKissic to have the expanded role he hoped for, even if Gibson gets injured. This is also a bad sign for Peyton Barber’s chances of making the roster.

Draft C.J. Uzomah in deeper leagues: Uzomah is returning from injury after missing nearly all of last season. He missed three plays with the first-team offense, but each one was a run play. Uzomah is the clear receiving tight end for Cincinnati.

Monitor Dyami Brown: The third-round rookie didn’t receive any snaps with the first team last week but played in nine of 10 plays where Washington had one or two receivers on the field. He rarely played in three-receiver sets with the first team. It’s good to see him receive at least some playing time with the starters, but that playing time will likely decrease when Curtis Samuel joins the lineup.

Don’t worry about Joe Mixon: Mixon played the first five snaps of the game, touched the ball three times for 12 yards and called it a night. The Bengals haven't given any indication of just how much playing time Mixon will receive during these preseason contests.


Kansas City Chiefs at Arizona Cardinals

  • Mecole Hardman: 8 targets, 4 catches, 39 receiving yards, 1 TD (27.6% threat rate).
  • Rondale Moore: 5 targets, 3 catches, 15 receiving yards (1.8 ADOT), 1 carry, 9 rushing yards.

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

Kansas City Chiefs Arizona Cardinals
WR WR
Mecole Hardman – 29 snaps Christian Kirk – 9 snaps
Demarcus Robinson – 26 snaps Rondale Moore – 9 snaps
Byron Pringle – 20 snaps A.J. Green – 8 snaps
Marcus Kemp – 5 snaps KeeSean Johnson – 1 snap
A.J. Richardson – 1 snap
TE TE
Travis Kelce – 26 snaps Darrell Daniels – 6 snaps
Blake Bell – 13 snaps Ross Travis – 1 snap
Noah Gray – 5 snaps
QB QB
Patrick Mahomes – 32 snaps Kyler Murray – 9 snaps
HB HB
Darrel Williams – 10 snaps Chase Edmonds – 7 snaps
Jerick McKinnon – 9 snaps James Conner – 3 snaps
Darwin Thompson – 8 snaps
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – 5 snaps
Total – 32 snaps Total – 9 snaps

Draft Mecole Hardman: Kansas City had all of its starters in the first preseason game, and Hardman played in 11 personnel but not in 12 or 21 with the starters. The Chiefs didn’t have Tyreek Hill tonight, which led to an increased role out of Hardman. He played in every formation, including two-receiver sets instead of Byron Pringle. Even if Hardman plays nearly every snap in just 11 personnel, that will be a significant increase to his role compared to last season. He appears clearly ahead of Pringle on the depth chart through two games.

Continue to move Rondale Moore up your rankings: Moore was used extensively in the Cardinals' first preseason game, but they didn’t have their top two wide receivers. A.J. Green played in this game while DeAndre Hopkins continued to sit out. Moore played seven of his nine snaps out of the slot while the other receivers played two or fewer snaps in the slot. Christian Kirk was reportedly going to see snaps in the slot this season, but the Cardinals haven’t tried him there yet this preseason. There is a chance Kirk is the odd man out of the lineup once all of Arizona's receivers are active.

Be cautiously optimistic about Chase Edmonds: Free-agent addition James Conner missed the first preseason game but played in this one. The Cardinals had three-and-outs on each of their first three drives. Edmonds took every snap on two of the drives and the third down on the other drive. Both running backs were in for one third down. Conner could carve out a bigger role after more practice with Arizona but even if Edmonds plays only half of the early downs and all of the third downs, his fantasy production should beat his ADP.

Ignore the Kansas City running back snap counts: Kansas City let Clyde Edwards-Helaire play the first five snaps of the game but moved on to Darrel Williams, Jerick McKinnon and Darwin Thompson in succession. They didn’t use the backs situationally at all, giving us no indication of how they will be used in the regular season. Obviously, Edwards-Helaire is the starter, but the big question is how much work he’ll see on third downs. Coach Andy Reid revealed postgame that Edwards-Helaire suffered an ankle injury in the game, and the subsequent tests should reveal the injury's severity. Williams was taken out of the game and is now in concussion protocol. Hopefully, he has a speedy recovery if he did suffer a concussion.

Don’t worry about Travis Kelce: Kelce didn’t see his usual playing time with the starters, but this was also just a preseason game. He even continued to see some snaps after Patrick Mahomes‘ night was done. He should see close to 100% of the snaps when games start to count.


New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

  • Jakobi Meyers: 3 targets, 3 rec., 56 receiving yards, 1 TD (3 first downs)
  • Damien Harris: 6 carries, 14 rushing yards, 1 TD (-1 yards before contact, 15 yards after contact)

SNAP COUNTS (STARTERS ONLY)

New England Patriots
Philadelphia Eagles
WR WR
Jakobi Meyers – 15 snaps Quez Watkins – 6 snaps
Nelson Agholor – 14 snaps DeVonta Smith – 4 snaps
Kendrick Bourne – 10 snaps J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – 2 snaps
N'Keal Harry – 7 snaps Jalen Reagor – 1 snap
TE TE
Devin Asiasi – 10 snaps Dallas Goedert – 4 snaps
Zach Ertz – 3 snaps
Richard Rodgers – 3 snaps
QB QB
Cam Newton – 17 snaps Joe Flacco – 6 snaps
HB HB
Damien Harris – 8 snaps Miles Sanders – 4 snaps
James White – 5 snaps Jordan Howard – 2 snaps
Sony Michel – 4 snaps Kenneth Gainwell – 1 snap
Total – 17 snaps Total – 6 snaps

Move Damien Harris down your rankings: Harris played in just under 50% of offensive snaps in a distribution that looked similar to last season. It’s concerning that Sony Michel saw snaps with the first team after not playing with the ones last week. It’s also worrisome that James White had four snaps on first and second downs.

Move Dallas Goedert down the rankings: Goedert, again, was off the field for some plays with the starting offense. He played in 66% of snaps instead of the 50% he saw last week, but it’s concerning that Richard Rodgers and Zach Ertz each saw a snap in 11 personnel with the starters. Geodert is a borderline top-10 fantasy tight end at this point.

Draft Quez Watkins: Watkins turned heads last week with a 79-yard touchdown and another potential big play. We couldn’t get too excited because his status on the depth chart was unclear. His night was less eventful this week, but he was the clear starter with DeVonta Smith. He’s worth a late-round flier in case he can put up more big plays like last week.

Don’t draft Jalen Reagor: Reagor started the game as the Eagles' kick returner but didn’t see an offensive snap until the starting running backs and tight ends days were done. Reagor is still likely to be with the starters in three-receiver sets, but it could be part of a rotation. It’s also worth noting Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward didn’t see any time in the first half.

Monitor the Eagles RBs: Miles Sanders saw his first preseason action after missing last week but had an early exit from the game. The Eagles are expected to use more of a running back by committee this season, but it’s hard to tell if that was true in this game without a third-and-long for the first team. The Eagles using Jordan Howard over Sanders on two plays is reason for concern. It’s also worth noting rookie fifth-round pick Kenneth Gainwell was in for a two-back set, which was his first action in the preseason with the first team.

Don’t draft N’Keal Harry: Harry fell to fourth on the depth chart with the return of Nelson Agholor, who saw playing time with the starters mainly because the Patriots only had one healthy tight end. This led to three snaps out of 10 personnel — a formation New England is unlikely to use much of in the regular season once Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are healthy.

Sigh of relief for DeVonta Smith and Nelson Agholor: Both players missed last week but were inserted right into the starting lineup this week. Agholor took a few plays off on long drives while Smith only came of the field when 13 personnel was deployed. The first-round rookie and the rest of the Eagles starters continued to play for a few more drives after other backups came in.

Don’t worry about Jalen Hurts: Hurts didn’t play in the game due to a non-COVID-related illness. The Eagles were likely just being cautious, and we can expect Hurts to start the next preseason game assuming the starters are playing at all.

Know tomorrow, today. Western Southern Financial Group.
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