Ladies and gentlemen, football is back! Well, kind of… sort of… Preseason football is back at least, and with that, we have some fresh stats to analyze. And thus, fantasy implications.
Preseason wins are no doubt irrelevant. Preseason scores are useless. Preseason stats are meaningless. The preseason itself? Actually pretty important — well, at least if you’re a fantasy football player.
If — for instance — Darrell Henderson finishes the preseason playing on 90% of the team’s first-string snaps, you can expect him to catapult up our rankings. If he plays on just 20% of the team’s first-string snaps, he’d surely plummet down our rankings. If Josh Allen locks onto Isaiah McKenzie, targeting him twice as much as Gabriel Davis, that’s going to mean something to us and is going to impact our rankings.
Don’t watch preseason football? Or, rather, didn’t track first-team snap counts by hand? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. That’s what this article is for.
Preseason: Week 1
Zach Wilson suffers bone bruise (out 2-4 weeks)
Potentially disheartening usage from Breece Hall and Garrett Wilson
Travis Etienne: highest-end bell cow-usage without James Robinson
Lions and Eagles first-string offense looked flawless
Daniel Bellinger: Giants’ TE1
Disappointing debut from Treylon Burks
Encouraging signs from Amon-Ra St. Brown, less so for D’Andre Swift
Marcus Mariota’s underrated Konami-potential
Romeo Doubs scores a touchdown
Devin Singletary is RB1, Isaiah McKenzie is WR3 for Buffalo
Baker Mayfield, Mitch Trubisky, Geno Smith likely Week 1 starter
Alec Pierce is WR3 for Indianapolis, Mo Alie-Cox is TE1
Antonio Gibson bought the deed to Ron Rivera’s doghouse
Round 5 rookie QB Sam Howell impresses
Good vibes on Chiefs’ Isiah Pacheco, less so Skyy Moore
George Pickens just jumped 2-3 rounds by ADP
Bad vibes on TEs Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, Adam Trautman, Albert O.
No meaningful competition for Leonard Fournette
Giants vs. Patriots
Giants snaps with the starters tonight pic.twitter.com/A2gHMHkybo— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
The Giants first-string offense played exclusively in the first quarter. QB Daniel Jones completed 6 of 10 passes for 69 yards, through 2 drives.
Saquon Barkley played on 100% of the team’s snaps on the first drive, earning 4 carries and 1 target. He ended his day after that, giving way to RB Gary Brightwell. New York’s most-likely RB2 Matt Breida was inactive.
Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Wan’Dale Robinson (SWR) are New York’s starting WRs. (Sterling Shepard’s timeline recovery puts him at a Week 15 return. Toney missed this game due to a leg/knee injury, and was replaced by Collin Johnson.) Johnson played for four more drives after the starters exited, and ended his day (two full quarters of work) with 7 catches for 83 yards (on 8 targets). For what it’s worth, Golladay looked extremely dusty. If not for the fact he’s being paid the same amount of money as D.K. Metcalf, his job might be in jeopardy.
As Giants beat writers have tried telling us all offseason, rookie Daniel Bellinger is the team’s clear starting TE. He played on 89% of the team’s first-string snaps and remains one of the best late-round draft picks in best-ball leagues (Underdog ADP: TE35).
Patriots kept it simple with their "starters" tonight pic.twitter.com/Yfv4hnOHuJ— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
The Patriots gave the week off to their first-string offense, implying rookie WR Tyquan Thornton is likely behind all of Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and maybe also Nelson Agholor (although he’s a likely trade candidate). Thornton – a DFB favorite – continued to build on an impressive and buzz-worthy camp, scoring New England’s lone touchdown from the first-string offense. He also got wide open on a deep target but couldn’t haul it in (the pass was deflected and the ball was slightly underthrown).
We finally have confirmation – Matt Patricia is officially calling the offensive plays for the Patriots. Yikes.
Ravens vs. Titans
Ravens snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/op0ALkgufi— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
Baltimore sat all of their starters, so there are not many takeaways here.
I think, based on this usage, Mike Davis is the likely RB1 until J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return. Adam Caplan told me as much in private several weeks ago. Though he did go on to add that the team really likes rookie Tyler Badie and he has impressed, just that it’d be hard for him to earn that role by Week 1. However, Davis played so late into the game that it’s unlikely he’s 100% locked up that role at this point. Or at least that was John Proctor’s take.
Beyond that, Round 5 TE Isaiah Likely impressed, building on a much buzzed-about training camp. He caught 4 of 4 targets for 44 yards, including this highlight reel play. Likely profiled to me as a high-end Day 2 talent and a top-3 TE in the class, before getting seriously dinged due to athleticism concerns (sub-25th percentile SPORQ).
Some NFL teams had Likely TE2 prior to Combine. Would’ve gone Day 2 w/out testing.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 12, 2022
Treylon Burks 📉— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
Hassan Haskins 📉 pic.twitter.com/UVFbIE41rY
With Tennessee resting just about all of their starters, there are only a few takeaways.
For one thing, Round 3 rookie QB Malik Willis looked awesome, completing 6/11 for 107 yards, while adding 5-38-1 on the ground. He made this impressive throw…
…and also did this with his legs.
Malik Willis somehow avoids all the pressure and rushes in for a 7-yard TD— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) August 12, 2022
RB Hassan Haskins – the top Derrick Henry handcuff by ADP – played on only 5 of 14 snaps with the first-string offense. He was out-snapped by UDFA rookie Julius Chestnut with the first-string (7) and in the full game (14 to 12). Chestnut was also more efficient and more productive.
Rookie WR Treylon Burks wasn’t a starter and continued to play into the 4th quarter, well after Dez Fitzpatrick and Racey McMath came off the field. This isn’t a great sign, implying he’s at-best third on the depth chart behind Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, but potentially fifth. It’s still very early for the rookie, but this does seem to support all of the (mostly pessimistic) news out of camp, and our initial evaluation on Burks – that he’s not quite NFL-ready. He ended his day with zero catches on 21 routes run.
Lions vs. Falcons
Lions snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/QBjWdEVsxI— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
Detroit’s first-string offense looked impeccably sharp in their lone drive of work. QB Jared Goff completed 3 of 4 passes for 47 yards.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown earned two of those targets, catching both for 29 yards. This may support what Brett Whitefield told me, after having spent several days at Lions camp – “St. Brown is clearly Goff’s top target, earning something along the lines of a 33% target share at the practices I watched.” And this may support what Goff himself told reporters on Wednesday, “I'm looking for [St. Brown] when things break down, and I'm looking for him when we need a play. Right now, he's that guy."
RB D’Andre Swift rushed 4 times for 20 yards and a score. However, it’s notable Swift split the backfield 60/40 with Jamaal Williams (6 snaps to 4, out of 10). Swift played on 66% of the snaps last year, and I’ve been hoping he’d assume an even larger share of the work in 2022. In fact, I had already baked that into my RB5 ranking for him. I’d have to move him farther down if this number doesn’t improve in Week 2.
Falcons snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/FN4EjWmU6l— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 12, 2022
Starting QB Marcus Mariota looked very sharp, and might have more Konami Code-potential than we previously imagined. In just one quarter of work, Mariota completed both of his 2 passing attempts for 36 yards, while adding 23 rushing yards and a score on three carries. I’m 99% trolling in my tweet below, but I do think Mariota is a phenomenal late-round pick in best ball and superflex leagues.
Mystery QB1— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 12, 2022
* Ranked 2nd in FPG in 2020
* Averaged 35.7 fantasy points per 4 quarters in 2020
* On pace for 39.0 fantasy points per 4 quarters this preseason
+ ADP: QB30
* Only 24.6 FPG last year
* Zero fantasy points this preseason
+ ADP: QB1
Who you taking?
The Falcons employed a gross three-way committee backfield – Damien Williams and Qadree Ollison earned 6 (of 13 snaps) to Cordarrelle Patterson’s 1. It’s far too early to panic on the 30-year-old Patterson’s usage, but, on a team very likely to rank dead-last in wins and points scored, I don’t see much fantasy value here.
Round 1 rookie WR Drake London was targeted on Mariota’s second pass of the night, catching it and gaining 24 yards. Unfortunately, he also suffered a knee injury on the play, knocking him out for the rest of the night. But it seems like he’s going to be okay.
Browns vs. Jaguars
Browns snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/ihPvKuuH20— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Deshaun Watson was notably abhorrent in his first NFL action in over a year. Through three drives the team gained zero first downs, and Watson completed just 1 of 5 pass attempts for only 7 yards.
With the team resting at least the majority of their starters, there’s not many other takeaways. Although it’s at least interesting TE David Njoku played on 100% of the team’s first string snaps. He was at only 64% last year, and their TE1 Austin Hooper wasn’t much higher (68%).
Oh, and Round 5 RB Jerome Ford had a monster day. 10 carries, 57 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown, 5 targets, 4 catches, 45 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown. That’s impressive. But he’s still 2-3 injuries away from ever being on our redraft radar.
Jaguars snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/EGwDaIe4xM— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
Jacksonville’s first-string offense looked significantly improved in the one full quarter plus two plays of work they received. Trevor Lawrence went 6 of 12 for 95 yards, 1 touchdown, and 0 interceptions. This would be just the fourth time in 11 games Lawrence has recorded at least one passing touchdown.
RB Travis Etienne looked excellent as well, and so did his usage. On a whopping 88% of the team's snaps, he recorded 9 carries and 3 targets. James Robinson was notably inactive for this game, but hopefully Jacksonville continues to give Etienne the full-on bell cow-workload I think he deserves.
WRs Marvin Jones and Zay Jones were both full-time players (100%) with Laquon Treadwell mixing in on 3WR sets (17 of 25 snaps). Zay Jones was the most productive of the group, catching 2 of 4 targets for 47 yards.
Jacksonville showed signs of a TE-by-committee situation with Evan Engram leading the team in snaps, but at only 64% to Chris Manhertz's 56%. Dan Arnold played on only one snap with the first-team offense and should be fully off your radar.
Bengals vs. Cardinals
Bengals snaps with the "starters" pic.twitter.com/LsLy82rOaf— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
All of the starters and top backups earned the day off, so there’s no real takeaways from this game.
My only note would be that Chris Evans out-snapped Trayveon Williams 14 to 4 with the first-string offense, so he’s probably the RB3 behind Samaje Perine.
Cardinals snaps with their "starters" pic.twitter.com/FEQqid4TwA— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
All of the starters and top backups earned the day off, so there’s no real takeaways from this game.
But it is noteworthy that Eno Benjamin got some run with the “first-team offense”, while Darrel Williams (ADP: RB55) earned the day off. As I argued here, the RB2 in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense will always possess massive fantasy upside, should the starter – aka James Conner, the most injury-prone RB in football – suffer an injury. That RB2 would also possess underrated standalone value, even with Conner healthy, due to HC Kliff Kingsbury’s historical predilection towards a committee-backfield. Based on their usage tonight, we have to think Williams is the favorite for RB2 duties.
Jets vs. Eagles
Jets snaps with starters pic.twitter.com/rowCtKTySO— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
The key takeaway from the Jets’ side is the most important takeaway in this entire article – Zach Wilson suffered a non-contact knee injury on his 9th snap of the game. Unfortunately, Dr. Mark Adickes and Dr. David Chao both believe this is a season-ending ACL injury.
No one on the Jets needs to be downgraded if that is the case, but it will be worth monitoring the usage of rookies RB Breece Hall and WR Garrett Wilson moving forward. Their Week 1 usage implies that Michael Carter is the team’s bell cow RB, leaving only about 20% of the snaps for Hall, and that Wilson is only a part-time player, playing behind Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios. That seems dubious to me, but it is possible. Mostly, it’s still too early to worry, but it’s something we’ll continue to monitor over the coming weeks.
UPDATE: Per Adam Schefter, Wilson suffered a bone bruise and a partial meniscus tear. His status for Week 1 is in question, but shouldn’t miss much time beyond that.
Eagles one drive with the starters was enough pic.twitter.com/NTLTeVgRSl— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Jalen Hurts was excellent in his debut. He got only one drive to work, but he made the most of it, completing 6 of 6 passes for 80 yards and a score. (He also ran for a touchdown that was later called back due to penalty.)
Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert getting warmed up for some regular season TDs.@JalenHurts
RB Miles Sanders played on 100% of the team’s snaps, but it’s a little too early to draw any conclusions from that, especially with Kenneth Gainwell out.
TE Dallas Goedert scored a 22-yard touchdown on his lone target. He also ran a route on 100% of the team’s first-string dropbacks. This is further confirmation he will continue to receive the bell cow-TE workload he earned last season after the team traded away Zach Ertz.
Packers vs. 49ers
Packers snaps with the "starters" pic.twitter.com/qGGhfuFQhI— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
Just about everyone the Packers could sit, did sit. So there’s not really any meaningful takeaways.
QB Jordan Love was up and down, completing 13 of 24 passes for 176 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also added 24 rushing yards on 4 carries in two full quarters of work.
Expect the single most buzzed-about player this offseason – WR Romeo Doubs – to jump another round by ADP. He caught 3 of 7 targets for 45 yards and a score. But, based on Greg Cosell’s evaluation and his current ADP (WR86 on FFPC), he’ll still be well worth the cost, even if his usage tonight implies he’s a longshot to crack the team’s starting lineup by Week 1. At the very least, he’s clearly ahead of sophomore WR Amari Rodgers who played well into the fourth quarter. I drafted Rodgers in a handful of tournament-style (deep) leagues earlier this offseason, but that was clearly a wasted pick.
49ers snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/NiWsCxuByL— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Trey Lance was excellent with the first-string offense. San Francisco scored on both of the drives Lance was in. He completed 4 of 5 pass attempts for 92 yards and a score, while adding 7 rushing yards on one attempt.
RBs Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson earned the day off. RB Trey Sermon played on 11 of the team’s 11 first-team snaps, and then Round 3 rookie RB Tyrion Davis-Price came on in relief. That appears to be the current pecking order. But I’d bet it’s only a matter of time before Davis-Price pulls ahead. In any case, this is going to be a very muddied low-upside committee backfield for fantasy, and it’s not one I’m currently targeting in drafts.
I know it's preseason.... but..... Danny Gray could become a big problem as early as today in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Rookie or no, he can separate and blaze and will get reps this year.— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) August 13, 2022
Deep speedster and round 3 rookie WR Danny Gray was electric, catching 2 of 4 targets for 99 yards and a score. He shouldn’t really be on your redraft radar, but it’s possible he sees some action in Year 1 as part of a WR3-by-committee situation.
Chiefs vs. Bears
Kansas City snaps with starters pic.twitter.com/yVkgZgJe0C— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
The Chiefs kept telling us all offseason that they’re going to spread the ball around a whole lot more this season. QB Patrick Mahomes told reporters in May, “That’s what you’re going to see from this offense this year: It’s going to be everybody. Travis [Kelce] is still going to get a lot of completions, a lot of yards, but I think the whole receiving room is going to have big days. That can be something we can use to our advantage. I think this year we’ll become different where you’re not going to know where you’re going to get the deep ball from and the short pass from because we have a lot of different guys that can do it all. I think having all those guys will help us get more of those deep throws that we’ve been accustomed to.”
That’s exactly what we saw today, and it was incredibly effective – QB Patrick Mahomes completed 6 of 7 for 60 yards and a score, while targeting 5 different receivers.
As Kansas City beat writers have been telling us, even while hyping up Isiah Pecheco every chance they can get, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is clearly the team’s RB1. He played on all 7 of the team’s first 7 first-string snaps before giving way to Pacheco. Still, it’s highly encouraging Pacheco seems to already be the team’s preferred RB2, ahead of Damien Williams and (then) Ronald Jones. You’re typically better off fading offseason hype when it impacts ADP, but probably not Pacheco, who still feels mispriced by multiple rounds on ESPN, Yahoo!, and NFL.com.
Interestingly, Kansas City’s WR3 (Mecole Hardman) played on just 36% of the team’s snaps. And this is something I’ve been a little bit worried about. In addition to “spreading the ball around more”, I think we could also see Kansas City employ a WR- or at least WR3-by-committee. That’s a little bit of a concern for Skyy Moore (ADP: Round 9), if he can’t supplant JuJu Smith-Schuster (the team’s clear WR1) or Marquez Valdes-Scantling. His usage today implies he’s also behind Mecole Hardman, but he did look good, catching 3 of 3 targets for 23 yards.
Travis Kelce’s 55% snap-share is a little weird. But I’m just going to assume HC Andy Reid didn’t need to see too much from his 33-year-old veteran.
Bears snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/kGE9PdN4fq— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Justin Fields looked sharp, completing 4 of 7 passes for 48 yards, while adding 10 yards rushing on the ground (1 rushing attempt).
RB Khalil Herbert is clearly the team’s RB2, playing on 18 of 18 first-team snaps with David Montgomery out.
Commanders vs. Panthers
Commanders snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/4EYU2Q3F72— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Carson Wentz completed 10 of 13 for 74 yards, but Round 5 rookie Sam Howell (PFF’s pre-draft QB1) inevitably stole the show. As a known Carson Wentz skeptic, I wouldn’t be shocked if we see Howell start a few games late into the 2022 season.
Sam Howell in first preseason game— Ben Gretch (@YardsPerGretch) August 13, 2022
- 8/14 for 129 (9.2 per attempt)
- Two rushing TDs
- Passing 2-point conversion to take 21-20 and complete the comeback from 20-6
You'll never get me to understand how this dude fell to the fifth round
RB Antonio Gibson was the team’s starting “workhorse” to start the game, giving way to “scatback” J.D. McKissic on third-downs. That is until Gibson fumbled, and Robinson took over that “workhorse”-role, still ceding third-downs to McKissic. Gibson would later return to the game playing with the backups… Robinson looked good, by the way, turning 6 carries into 8.6 fantasy points and 2 targets into 3.5 fantasy points… Anyway all of this seems to confirm what I said a few weeks ago. Washington sort of hates Gibson, and we should expect a low-upside three-way committee moving forward.
WR Jahan Dotson is clearly a starter and a full-time player for Washington, which is exactly what HC Ron Rivera said he would be on the day he drafted him. He remains one of the best overall values in best ball leagues (ADP: WR65).
Washington utilized a bell cow TE last year (Logan Thomas or Ricky Seals-Jones) but ran a committee today with Armani Rogers and Curtis Hodges splitting first-team snaps 50/50. Thomas, still recovering from ACL surgery, isn’t expected back until Week 4. As such he’s not worthy of a draft pick, but he’s someone I’m going to want to have on a lot of my teams by Week 3 at the latest.
Panthers snaps with the starters. Note Anderson got taken out before the rest of the starters, rather than rotating in and out pic.twitter.com/NfQ1CkVMkK— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
QB Baker Mayfield earned the start today, which is the only real takeaway from this game – that he’s already the favorite to be starting Week 1. He completed 4 of 7 passes for 45 yards. Sam Darnold completed 2 of his only 3 attempts for 16 yards and a score.
RBs Chuba Hubbard and D’Onta Foreman split first-team snaps evenly (50/50), so we don’t yet know who the Christian McCaffrey-handcuff should be.
Colts vs. Bills
Colts snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/Zw5tRfbc0R— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
There weren’t too many takeaways from this game.
QB Matt Ryan completed 6 of 10 passes for 58 yards in his Indianapolis debut.
Michael Pittman, Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell all saw between 2-3 targets with the first-team offense. Pierce is looking like the WR3, and I’d bet on him making a substantial impact for fantasy in Year 1. Although he may never be worthy of your starting lineup in start/sit leagues, he’s undoubtedly a phenomenal value in best ball leagues (ADP: WR79).
Beyond that Mo Alie-Cox is the clear TE1, although he’ll remain stuck in a muddied committee similar to the one we saw last year.
Bills snaps with the starters. Note Crowder only played the first 2 drives in 100% of 11 personnel snaps, then Hodgins replaced him. pic.twitter.com/6TVQPDDiqY— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 13, 2022
With the Bills resting so many key starters there’s not really many key takeaways from this game. But that in and of itself is a key takeaway. Namely that Devin Singletary is the clear RB1, and that Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, and Isaiah McKenzie (SWR) are currently the team’s three starting WRs. But you should have known all of that already… Given all of the hype he’s been getting, and Cole Beasley’s three-season streak of 100-plus targets, McKenzie is looking like a phenomenal value at current ADP (NFL.com’s WR83).
Steelers vs. Seahawks
Steelers snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/DUBbMOAUex— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
Mitchell Trubisky (126.8 passer rating), Mason Rudolph (100.1), and Kenny Pickett (132.6) were all near-equally hyper-efficient. But Trubisky played first, giving way to Rudolph and then Pickett. So, Trubisky needs to be viewed as the heavy favorite to start Week 1, although (at least based on draft capital, if not his team-high passer rating) Pickett will probably overtake him at some point in the season.
RB Anthony McFarland earned the start, and was highly effective (7 carries, 56 yards). But, with Benny Snell out (knee), that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the presumptive Najee Harris-handcuff.
George Pickens is the rookie WR9 (dyno) or WR10 (redraft) by ADP— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) August 13, 2022
This was @gregcosell’s favorite WR in this class. Multiple NFL teams had a R1 grade on him but he fell to R2/WR11 due to “off the field concerns”
Don’t let your leaguemates steal him like Pittsburgh clearly did pic.twitter.com/IWI1VLVovQ
With Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool getting a day off, George Pickens – the team’s likely WR3 – caught 3 of 5 targets for 43 yards and a score. And, honestly, it ruined my weekend. Pickens has been a must-draft pick for me over the past several months, but, now – after making this ridiculous catch (see below), which comes after several weeks of non-stop hype from Pittsburgh beat writers – I’d bet his price is going to jump another 2-3 rounds within a week. But he’d still be a value at that price, so just hope it doesn’t jump another 3-5 rounds beyond that (like we saw with Elijah Moore one season ago).
Updated Seahawks snaps with starters. I had posted one earlier, but Seattle rotated some players back in that I thought were done. This covers the entire first half. pic.twitter.com/onRYrdSids— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
QB Geno Smith earned the start over Drew Lock, and, thus, has to be considered the favorite to start Week 1. Both QBs played exceptionally well, both got two full quarters of work each, and they both threw the ball exactly 15 times: Smith had 10 completions, 110 total yards, and 1 total touchdown. Lock had 11 completions, 104 total yards, and 2 total touchdowns. Smith may still be the betting favorite, but I’d bet it’s about as close as these numbers imply.
With RB Rashaad Penny out (groin), Round 2 rookie RB Ken Walker played on 7 of the team’s first 8 snaps, yielding just 1 snap to Travis Homer on 3rd and long. Walker turned 5 carries and 1 target into 30 YFS. Deejay Dallas and Travis Homer were both far more efficient and productive, but that’s nowhere near as important as the fact that Walker played over both of them. Still it’s a little too early to draw any meaningful takeaways. But I’m eager to see what this committee looks like next week when Rashaad Penny returns.
Weirdly, Seattle rested TE Will Dissly – who they made the 15th highest-paid TE in the NFL this past offseason – while playing TE Noah Fant late into the second quarter. This would imply Dissly should be viewed as the very likely TE1 (by snaps but not necessarily targets), but that’s almost a little too ridiculous for me to even fathom. Nonetheless, it’s something we’ll have to monitor in Week 2.
Dolphins vs. Buccaneers
Dolphins snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/LDWFRgJInd— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
With Miami resting so many of their key starters, there weren’t very many meaningful takeaways. But that, in and of itself, can be a meaningful takeaway.
For instance, it was at least interesting that the team started TE Mike Gesicki. And especially interesting that (per Nathan Jahnke) over 50% of his snaps came as an inline TE – he was at just 13% last year – rather than his typical role as, essentially, an oversized slot WR. As I’ve stated since the team traded for Tyreek Hill, I don’t see how he fits into this offense which already sports three starting-caliber slot-predominant WRs, not even including Gesicki himself. At best, he’s playing out of position this year (and a much less valuable position at that). He’s a very easy fade at current ADP (TE14).
Further, Sony Michel earned the start while splitting first-team snaps with Salvon Ahmed (55%/45%). This implies that Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert (who earned the night off) should be viewed as the team’s co-starters, and Michel should be viewed as the team’s RB3. But then again, hopefully you already knew that.
Buccaneers snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/cfhJZKAuXV— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
With Leonard Fournette earning the day off, Giovani Bernard played on 13 of the team’s 13 first-team snaps. He was immediately relieved by Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who was later relieved by Rachaad White. This sort of usage indicates the pecking order looks like this: Fournette (RB1), Bernard (RB2), Vaughn (RB3), and White (RB4). And this more or less corroborates what beat writers have been telling us all offseason [1,2]…. But I also don’t really care. If the Buccaneers legitimately think White isn’t the 2nd-best RB on their team, they’re simply wrong… But White isn’t really a target for me in redraft anyway. Instead, I think this is simply more good news for Leonard Fournette – a player I’m much higher on relative to the rest of the field.
Beyond that, there were no meaningful takeaways.
Texans vs. Saints
Texans snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/k8GA2zuuoy— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
Considering several starters earned the day off, the first-team offense played on only 7 snaps, and QB Davis Mills dropped back only 3 times, I’m not sure how many meaningful takeaways we can glean from today’s game. I will say, it’s at least very interesting TE Brevin Jordan played on 86% of the first-team snaps. And that it appears Nico Collins and Chris Conley seem locked in as starters in 3WR sets (after Brandin Cooks).
With RB Rex Burkhead getting the night off, Marlon Mack earned the start, splitting time (workhorse role vs. scatback) with Dare Ogunbowale. Round 4 rookie Dameon Pierce followed Mack, turning 5 carries into 49 yards… I really don’t want to keep giving too much away for free, so if you want to know my full thoughts on this Houston backfield, you’re going to have to read this article (scroll all the way to the bottom). Sorry!
Saints snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/vspnC1uAqs— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
I don’t think there are very many takeaways from this game, but it is a little interesting Adam Trautman played behind Juwan Johnson with the first-team offense, who also might be behind newly-converted-TE Taysom Hill who earned the day off. Trautman was never really on our radar anyway, but this could be a positive sign for Hill… Beyond that, usage suggests Olave is at best the Saints’ WR3 and at-worst WR4 behind Marquez Callaway. I’d bet heavily on him being their Week 1 WR3.
Cowboys vs. Broncos
Cowboys snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/pMhO6Z2Efi— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
There’s really nothing of note here, outside of the fact that Jalen Tolbert appears to be the team’s clear WR2 for however long Michael Gallup remains out. He led the WRs in first-team snaps, and he earned a whopping 5 targets on 9 routes run with the first-team offense (63% target share). That feels highly encouraging, even if he did very little with that good volume.
Broncos snaps in the 1st quarter. Stopped it once Mike Boone stopped seeing offensive snaps. pic.twitter.com/SNxfrFVSWa— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
My only takeaway is that it was pretty bizarre and very alarming that TE Albert Okwuegbunam actually played in this game (with rookie Greg Dulcich out, nursing a hamstring injury), let alone the fact that he only played on 8 of the team’s 14 first-team snaps (identical to TE Eric Tomlinson’s 8), and then continued to play alongside the third-string offense. And then, of course, the fact that he didn’t even see a single target in two full quarters of work. I always want to be careful not to overreact to Week 1 of preseason, but, yeah, this is very not good. At the very least, it implies we should be expecting a TE-by-committee situation in Denver, capping his fantasy upside. Though, I suppose, that was already implied by the team’s decision to draft Dulcich in Round 3.
Chargers vs. Rams
Rams snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/eMgg3TDjRA— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
There is literally not a single actionable takeaway from what we saw from the Rams tonight.
Chargers snaps with the starters pic.twitter.com/pMd7vZy5GD— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
There’s not much to glean here either, although based on the Chargers’ RB usage it appears Isaiah Spiller is currently the team’s RB4, behind Ekeler, and then Joshua Kelley, and then Larry Rountree. And, well, let’s just say I’m not really surprised.
Vikings vs. Raiders
Vikings snaps with the "starters" pic.twitter.com/0rdqg7z2pD— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
Nothing of note.
Raiders HB snap count after 1 drive— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) August 14, 2022
Zamir White 10 (100% of 1st and 2nd downs)
Kenyan Drake 4 (100% of 3rd downs)
Austin Walter 1 (A 2nd down with White)
Out of 10 plays
Believe Josh Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah aren't playing as they are the starting early down/3rd down backs
RBs Josh Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah earned the night off. Zamir White (workhorse) and Kenyan Drake (scatback) split the first-team snaps in their absence. This supports what I’ve suspected all offseason. In a best-case scenario, Jacobs is the team’s LeGarrette Blount and Abdullah is the team’s James White. In which case they are both excellent picks in best ball leagues (current ADP: RB22 vs. RB99). However, they’re both far less attractive in typical start/sit leagues. In a worst-case scenario, Jacobs is the team’s Damien Harris, White is the team’s Rhamondre Stevenson, and Abdullah is the team’s Brandon Bolden.