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Fantasy Football: Utilization takeaways from Preseason Week 2

Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson (8) runs with the ball as Carolina Panthers cornerback Chris Westry (39) defends during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills RB Devin Singletary is in the driver’s seat, while James Cook and Zack Moss battle for second-string reps.

Houston Texans RB Dameon Pierce got the night off and appears to be the No. 1 option in the backfield.

Miami Dolphins RB Chase Edmonds was heavily used on the ground and in the air; he is a high-priority target in Round 7 of fantasy drafts.

Brian Robinson is the new starting running back for the Washington Commanders.

Seattle Seahawks TE Noah Fant is stuck in a three-way committee.


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ARIZONA CARDINALS

The Cardinals rested most of their starters.

  • Running back: Eno Benjamin started the game but rotated with Darrel Williams and stayed in the game after Williams. Unlike last week, Benjamin played a couple of LDD snaps and was on the field in one SDD situation. Keaontay Ingram played into the fourth quarter and is no higher than No. 4 on the depth chart.
Takeaways:
  • The battle to claim the No. 2 role behind James Conner could tip toward Benjamin, but the most likely outcome seems like a committee approach.

ATLANTA FALCONS

The Falcons played most of their starters for one drive.

  • Running back: Cordarrelle Patterson took the first snap at wide receiver before retiring for the night. The Falcons are protecting one of their top weapons. Damien Williams started with Patterson and left the game after two drives. Tyler Allgeier was the next man up after serving as the RB4 in Week 1; he didn’t play in the second half.
  • Wide receiver: Drake London didn’t play due to injury. Bryan Edwards returned to action as a starter after missing Week 1 with a shoulder injury.
  • Tight end: Kyle Pitts played the first three snaps and lined up from three positions (in-line, slot and wide). He beat Jets cornerback Bryce Hall for a 52-yard gain lined up wide.
Takeaways:
  • The Falcons will use a rotation at running back this season, but Patterson is the guy the team wants to protect in the preseason and should see the high-leverage snaps.
  • Williams looks like the No. 2 option and has proven passing-down chops, making him an attractive late-round dart in fantasy leagues that roster more than 15 players.
  • Allgeier moved up one spot on the depth chart but could be stuck in a committee as an early-down grinder on a questionable offense. He isn’t a priority target in fantasy drafts.

BALTIMORE RAVENS

The Ravens rested most of their starters.

  • Running back: Mike Davis started and shared time with Justice Hill over the first four drives with the starters for the second week in a row. Both backs played on passing downs. Tyler Badie was the third man up again.
  • Wide receiver: Devin Duvernay and James Proche rested again, reinforcing that both are considered in contention for the WR2 and WR3 roles. Duvernay is expected to play outside currently while Proche handles slot duties.
  • Tight end: Isaiah Likely rotated with the starters but was on the field for 77% of the pass plays with Tyler Huntley in the game. The rookie posted a 96.9 PFF receiving grade to go along with his 83.6 from Week 1. Likely rested after the second quarter while the other tight ends continued to play.
Takeaways:
  • Davis appears to be the No. 2 option behind J.K. Dobbins and could handle a Gus Edwards-type role early in the season. He is a late-round option in leagues that roster 15-plus players.
  • Likely is the clear-cut handcuff to Mark Andrews and appears ready to make an impact if needed. He isn’t a great blocker, so it will be tough to get on the field often enough with Andrews to matter in most formats.

BUFFALO BILLS

The Bills played their starters.

  • Running back: Devin Singletary handled 100% of the snaps in the first quarter, but the Bills didn’t face an LDD or two-minute situation; Zack Moss was the next back in and rotated with James Cook throughout the second quarter. Both backs played in obvious passing situations.
  • Wide receiver: Isaiah McKenzie played the first drive and was on the field for 100% of the passing plays as the slot receiver. Jamison Crowder took over the slot position after Josh Allen left the game.
Takeaways:
  • Singletary appears locked in as the No. 1 option on the depth chart.
  • Cook will need to lock down the passing-down work to pay off his current ADP. He is still a priority target, but fantasy managers shouldn’t reach, as it could take some time before we trust him in starting lineups.
  • McKenzie is a Round 13 selection in FFPC drafts, which is a fair price for the starting slot option in a pass-first offense. Crowder is still worth a late-round pick in deep leagues.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Panthers rested their starters.

Takeaways:
  • Hubbard and Foreman split the backfield duties similarly to Week 1 of the preseason. We will likely see a rotation if anything happens to Christian McCaffrey. Hubbard has a slight edge on passing downs, but neither back is a priority in drafts.

CHICAGO BEARS

The Bears played a mix of starters and backups.

  • Quarterback: Justin Fields doesn’t have a designed rushing attempt over the first two preseason games.
  • Running back: Khalil Herbert handled the first drive with the starters and played every down with David Montgomery resting. Like Week 1, he struggled in pass pro with a 16.9 PFF pass-blocking grade.
  • Wide Receiver: Equanimeous St. Brown started with Darnell Mooney. Velus Jones Jr. played in 11 personnel on the first drive with the starters. However, Byron Pringle did not play due to an injury.
Takeaways:
  • The Bears might not want to tip their hand on how they will use Fields on designed rush attempts in the preseason, but it sure would be nice to see.
  • For the second week in a row, Herbert’s utilization suggests he is the every-down handcuff to David Montgomery.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Bengals rested their starters.

  • Running back: Samaje Perine rested with the starters for the second consecutive week. Chris Evans started the game and played the first half.
Takeaways:
  • Perine should be considered the No. 2 option behind Joe Mixon.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

The Browns rested their starters.

  • N/A
Takeaways:
  • N/A

DALLAS COWBOYS

The Cowboys rested their starters.

  • Wide receiver: In a repeat of last week’s events, Noah Brown rested with the starters while Jalen Tolbert started and played into the third quarter. Tolbert led the team in targets.
Takeaways:
  • Brown could start Week 1 with Michael Gallup out. Brown hasn’t done much with his opportunities historically, but he is a deep sleeper.
  • Tolbert could still be a Week 1 starter, but his extended playing time with other starters resting creates doubt about his position in the pecking order. He is fine after Round 12, but don’t reach.

DENVER BRONCOS

The Broncos rested their starters.

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