2023 Preseason Fantasy Game Reviews: Week 1


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2023 Preseason Fantasy Game Reviews: Week 1

We are so back!

Preseason football is here, and the fantasy season is right around the corner.

I’m a big believer that coaches definitely do not always tell us the truth, but they do let us know how they feel about certain players based on their usage. It’s up to us to make sense of that information. This includes the preseason! It’s a new year, and every little edge matters when we’re rounding out projections for late-August and early-September drafts.

Preseason games are the one time of year when we can pause sifting through beat writer feeds and have games and data to analyze. It may be a small sample, but hey, if you want larger sample sizes – go watch baseball. At the end of the day, small samples are mostly all we have in the NFL.

This article is intended to review preseason action, usage, and how players performed.

Preseason Review Week 1


  • Tank Dell goes viral

  • CJ Stroud has a night to forget on two drives

  • Tyquan Thornton makes a nice catch, but is behind Pats WRs Parker, Smith-Schuster, and Bourne

  • Ty Chandler shows three-down skillset

  • Jahmyr Gibbs looks strong in pass protection

  • Bucs, Bengals RB2 spots remain open competitions

  • As expected, rookie TE Luke Musgrave is a full-time starter already

  • Greg Dulcich’s usage was a concern – he may be a part-time player

  • Khalil Herbert plays 100% of snaps with Fields, first-team

  • Tyjae Spears makes his case for Titans RB2

  • Khalil Shakir is now the Bills WR5 behind Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty

  • Do not listen to the noise on the Eagles backfield

Thursday, 8/10 Games

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots


Veterans that DNP Robert Woods / Dameon Pierce / Noah Brown

C.J. Stroud got the start and had a rough outing on his two drives – going 2/4 for 13 yards with 1 INT and one sack. Stroud’s INT was on 3rd and 21, and he was late on a comeback throw near the sticks, allowing the safety to easily read the play, drive on the ball, and make the pick. The following drive ended after five plays with a punt. Stroud should get extended playing time next week vs. Miami to shake off his rough debut.

With Dameon Pierce getting veteran rest, Devin Singletary started at RB and played on 9-of-12 snaps with the first-team offense (with Stroud). He took his 5 totes for 14 yards.

Tank Dell (11 snaps with Stroud), Nico Collins (9 snaps), Dalton Schultz (9), and John Metchie (7) were Stroud’s top-3 receivers. For now, Metchie is a slot-only receiver.

The big story of the night for Houston was Tank Dell (5/65/1 on eight targets), who made an unreal juggling TD catch that went viral. Dell is tiny (5’8”, 165 lbs) but was a monster producer for the Houston Cougars, tallying a casual 199 receptions, 2,727 yards, and 29 TDs across 27 games in his final two years.


All Patriots veteran starters rested

We didn’t learn much about the Patriots on Thursday night with all of their offensive starters resting.

Tyquan Thornton is clearly behind DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Kendrick Bourne, who all got the night off. So, while Thornton played with what is the Pats’ second-team offense – he was one of the few bright spots for their offense and had a nice 27-yard extension catch. Thornton has had a very quiet camp, according to all of the Patriots beat writers, so it was nice for him to get a splash play on the board.

The Patriots' offensive line was abominable and made their offense brutal to watch all night long. They opened up no lanes in the run game, and it doesn’t help that both Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris both continue to look like sub-replacement level runners. Meanwhile, Ty Montogomery (leg | DNP) can’t stay healthy. The Patriots will sign a free-agent RB, but Rhamondre Stevenson looks poised for a bell-cow workload.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks


All Vikings veteran starters rested

Nick Mullens got the start with Kirk Cousins resting, and the Vikings “second-team” offense got the entire first half to play.

Jordan Addison is obviously not a second-team player, but the rookie got extended run in his NFL debut. Addison (27 snaps) and Jalen Reagor (29) were the Vikings top two wideouts with Mullens (out of 29 snaps).

Addison got robbed of an incredible, toe-dragging reception that should have been reviewed and overturned. Later in the game, he made a nice 22-yard grab on a crosser off of play-action to open up the second quarter. Addison’s addition will give HC Kevin O’Connell maximum versatility because he can win in the slot and outside, which will free up Justin Jefferson even more.

I thought Ty Chandler looked ready for Sundays in his preseason debut. The Vikings' offensive line was not great, but Chandler ran with good pacing (to set up blocks), burst, and decisiveness. Chandler has 4.4-forty wheels and was a good zone-runner at UNC, which is what the entire Vikings run game is built around. He also displayed soft hands and quick feet in the pass game and had a few key protection pickups. Chandler finished with 11/41 rushing and 4/29 receiving and played on 76% of the first-half snaps.

Alexander Mattison’s job as the workhorse is 100% safe for now, but the Vikings must be thrilled with Chandler’s three-down ability on display.


All Seahawks veteran starters restedKen Walker (groin) remains week to week

Just like the Vikings with Addison, HC Pete Carroll got an extended look at the Seahawks' first- and second-round rookies Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet.

JSN played exclusively in the slot (all in three-WR sets, of course) on his 12 snaps, but earned four targets from Drew Lock and reeled in 3 for 26 yards. Smith-Njigba will absolutely shred underneath zone coverage this season, with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett taking the top off.

We also saw Zach Charbonnet, and his shoulder seemed completely fine (thanks Pete!) as he absolutely trucked Vikings S Lewis Cine not once but twice. Charbonnet ended his night with 4/14 rushing and 2/14 receiving.

While Ken Walker has resumed running/cutting and should be back in practice soon, Charbonnet is getting a ton of valuable practice reps with Geno Smith and the first team. He’s going to be a factor in the red zone and pass game, but the big question is to what degree?

The Seahawks love to rotate tight ends as Noah Fant (51% route share), Will Dissly (41%), and Colby Parkinson (31%) all split playing time on passing downs last season. It’s noteworthy that Fant and Dissly rested on Thursday while Parkinson played.

Drew Lock played the first three quarters and was in command, going 17-of-24 for 191 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. That was as sharp as I’ve ever seen him look in the big leagues.

Friday, 8/11 Games

New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions


Veterans that DNPDaniel Jones / Saquon Barkley / Darius Slayton / Parris Campbell / Darren Waller

The Giants treated this game like they wanted to see some of their depth options as second-string QB Tyrod Taylor only played two drives before Tommy DeVito took over at QB and played the 2nd-4th quarter.

It is definitely noteworthy that Isaiah Hodgins played 12 snaps with the second-team offense while Slayton and Campbell got the night off. Slayton and Campbell are the Giants' clear WR1 and WR2.

Rookie Jalin Hyatt (18 snaps) also got his first bit of playing time, but only got one target and that was a little flip pass that got destroyed by Lions rookie Brian Branch. For now, Hyatt is behind vets Slayton and Campbell but that should not be a surprise at all.

Vets Cole Beasley (10 snaps | 4/33 receiving) and Jamison Crowder (12 snaps | 2/32 receiving) both worked in the WR rotation on Friday night. Both are trying to make the 53-man and are likely fighting for one roster spot. Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) is still on PUP while Sterling Shepard is practicing but did not play vs. Detroit.


All Lions veteran starters rested

While we didn’t see Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, David Montgomery, or any of the Lions starting offensive linemen – HC Dan Campbell told us that we would get a long look at WR Jameson Williams this preseason. That’s exactly what happened on Friday night.

Williams got seven targets in the first half with Nate Sudfeld, but only reeled in two for 18 yards. He had a near-big play broken up by nice trailing coverage on what would have been a tough catch. I wouldn’t read into Williams’ playing-time at all. The Lions just want extended real game reps for Williams after he has barely played live ball since Alabama.

First-round rookie Jahmyr Gibbs also got solid work in about a quarter and a half of action, taking his six carries for 19 yards and adding 1/18 receiving. Gibbs’ big reception was on an improvised play and he added up some solid YAC. He didn’t see many rushing lanes behind the Lions backup offensive line, but Gibbs did look excellent in pass protection. He went 4-for-4 on protection pickups. The coaches will love that.

We also saw Sam LaPorta play on the first three Lions drives, although he failed to secure his lone target on a fourth down. It was a really tough catch to be made and the Giants defender was in perfect position to knock the ball out. With TE Shane Zylstra (knee) out for the season the rookie LaPorta will be a starter in Week 1 while Brock Wright will rotate on the field in 12-personnel (2-TE formations).

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The Steelers marched right down the field on their opening possession led by Kenny Pickett and the starters, capped off by a George Pickens explosive TD. I couldn’t believe my eyes when watching the game that Pickens caught a pass over the middle! OC Matt Canada is evolving. Pickett’s night ended with that successful drive (6-of-7, 70 yards).

While Pickens scored, he shouldn’t be overshadowed by Diontae Johnson – who knifed through the Bucs' coverage for 3/32 receiving and looked crisp in his route running.

Jaylen Warren (6 snaps) and Najee Harris (4) rotated on the opening drive, but I really wouldn’t read into this at all. The Steelers likely had a few designed plays they were working on for their RBs. Warren got 3 carries (while Harris got zero), so it’s also possible that they were not trying to risk Najee’s health. Warren had a nice 10-yard gain where he shook a free defender and got upfield in a hurry. He’s a very talented player, but it remains to be seen if Warren is capped in a “change-of-pace” role a la Tony Pollard early in his career.


Veterans that restedChris Godwin / Mike Evans / Rachaad White

He didn’t have any of his usual receivers, but Baker Mayfield looked pretty sharp in his four drives of preseason action. Mayfield played on 25 snaps and went 8-of-9 for 63 yards, and the third drive was capped off by an 8-yard TD pass to Trey Palmer.

The only starting receiver Mayfield had on the field was TE Cade Otton – who played on the first two drives and then got the night off.

Kyle Trask came in after Mayfield and played into the third quarter, going 6-of-10 for 99 yards and 1 INT. The interception came on a third and 19 when Trask was late over the middle on a throw to the sticks, allowing the defender to drive towards the ball. Trask got four drives just like Mayfield, but his next 3 possessions after the INT all ended in punts.

The Bucs are still searching for their RB2 behind Rachaad White, and that competition looks more wide open than ever with Chase Edmonds out-playing Ke’Shawn Vaughn vs. Pittsburgh. Vaughn played 14 snaps with Mayfield while Edmonds played 11, however, Vaughn could not find any room to run as his seven carries went for a total of 4 yards. Edmonds (6/19 rushing) wasn’t a lot more effective, but he showed decent burst in the open field. UDFA rookie RB Sean Tucker also worked in with the second- and third-team offense but couldn’t find any room either (6 carries, 10 yards). Ultimately, Tampa will likely be in the market for backup runners after roster cutdowns.

Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals


The Packers kind of played starters in their opening preseason game, as Jordan Love got the first two drives before being put on ice.

Love almost made the throw of the preseason (it’s early, I know) to Christian Watson on a deep ball before the Bengals safety made an insane pass breakup to deny a would-be TD. On the following play, Love missed a wide open Luke Musgrave on a crosser over the middle that would have gained 15+ yards and a first down with ease. The Packers had to punt.

Love’s second drive was crisp with a lot of quick, timing-based throws we have come to know from HC Matt LaFleur’s offense. The possession was capped off by a very nice touch pass to Romeo Doubs where Christian Watson drew double coverage on the crosser to open up the throw.

Packers RB Aaron Jones got the first touch of the game – on a little dart route – and gained six yards. That was his only snap! Jones hung out on the sidelines for the rest of the game while AJ Dillon played the remaining 11-of-12 total snaps with Love.

Snap counts with Love (12 plays):

  • Romeo Doubs (12)

  • Luke Musgrave (12)

  • Christian Watson (11)

  • Jayden Reed (7) – slot only

As we have known for months, Musgrave is a full-time starter already. He’s got explosive upside and has been a TE3 target in best ball all summer.


All key starters rested

Jake Browning got the start at QB for the Bengals while Trevor Siemian played the second half. The only thing I care about this preseason for Cincinnati is figuring out their RB2 situation and we learned nothing on that front on Friday night. Chris Evans got the start, and he and Chase Brown rotated drives. Outside of a 33-yard explosive run by Evans, the Bengals' run blocking was dreadful all night long. Brown had a nice 22-yard catch and run in the second half but was stone-walled on the ground (8 carries, 12 yards).

Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins


The Falcons rested half of the team as HC Arthur Smith wanted a long look at the Falcons' second, third, and fourth-teamers.


All key Dolphins starters rested

Miami’s offense was a tough watch on Friday night as Mike White started, Skylar Thompson came in relief, and neither QB mustered a TD drive.

At RB, Myles Gaskin (11 snaps) and Salvon Ahmed (3) played with Mike White, while rookie Devon Achane did not. This suggests Achane has some work to do to climb up the depth chart behind co-starter Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. Rookie RBs are forced to “earn it” every year, so I wouldn’t read too much into Achane’s usage just yet. I would only start to get concerned next week if Achane is still the RB5 behind Gaskin/Ahmed.

Achane didn’t find any running room on the ground, but he was the Dolphins leading receiver (4/41 on 4 targets). Two of Achane’s receptions came on quick screens out wide, one was a little out to the boundary, and the other target was on a 3rd & 7 angle route where Achane looked explosive out of his break. Achane could be a really great layer to the passing attack, but I’m skeptical of that being a role we can buy into weekly for fantasy with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle dominating targets.

Washington Commanders vs. Cleveland Browns


Veterans that DNPLogan Thomas (calf)

Washington played Sam Howell and most of their starters on offense for three drives (21 snaps) and then Jacoby Brissett came in with the second team.

Washington’s first two drives ended in a punt, but they got some rhythm going on the third drive. It got started by a nice run by Brian Robinson for 11 yards and was capped off by a nifty 26-yard TD by Jahan Dotson.

Howell’s night ended with 9-of-12 passing for 77 yards and the TD. These were the Commanders' snap counts (out of 21):

  • Jahan Dotson (21)

  • Terry McLaurin (19)

  • Antonio Gibson (14)

  • Curtis Samuel (12)

  • Brian Robinson (11)

Robinson started and got five of the first 6 snaps on the opening drive. Gibson got the second drive and the duo split third down snaps (3 to 2, in favor of Gibson). As expected, this looks like a 1A / 1B committee with Robinson getting slightly more work on early downs.

Brissett came in with the Commanders second-team offense and played pretty well. On his first drive, Brissett delivered a 32-yard dime to Byron Pringle, and the possession was capped off by a walk-in 12-yard scramble by Brissett. It’s a little interesting that Antonio Gibson stayed in for a few passing downs with the second-team while Brian Robinson was put on ice. Brissett’s INT came on the last play of the second quarter where he was hit while he was throwing into the endzone.


Veterans that DNPNick Chubb / Amari Cooper / Jerome Ford (hamstring)

Deshaun Watson and the Browns first-team offense only got one drive (11 plays) and they moved the ball very effectively, but the possession was stymied at the one-yard line on 4th and goal. Watson didn’t take any downfield shots as most of his reads were quick and it was a surprise to see him get outside of the pocket on three scrambles. Watson continues to show he has his usual skills in the pocket and extending plays.

These were the Browns snap counts with Watson (out of 11):

  • Peoples-Jones (11)

  • Njoku (11)

  • Tillman (10)

  • Moore (8)

  • Felton (6)

Elijah Moore got two designed plays right out of the gates, one on a quick out to the boundary and the other was an explosive 18-yard carry where Moore showed off his open-field ability.

Moore left the game shortly after with what seems like a minor injury to his ribs. X-rays were negative. Browns coaches, players, and beat writers have all raved about Moore’s talent on display this summer and this early usage is certainly promising. Moore should play the majority of his routes inside from the slot, but he has the skill-set to really align wherever the Browns need him. I’m in on Moore as a WR4/5 target.

Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals


Veterans that DNPJavonte Williams

Russell Wilson and most of the Broncos starters played four drives, the first two were largely uneventful and ended after two sacks of Wilson slowed the offense. Jerry Jeudy and Wilson connected for a nice first down on a shallow crosser on the second drive. Wilson’s third drive was up and down – he had a nice connection with Courtland Sutton and hit Adam Trautman on a screen.

Wilson and the Broncos were in rhythm on the fourth and final drive that was capped off by a beautiful TD to Jerry Jeudy where he absolutely shook the slot corner on an inside release. (This came right after a 3rd & 5 drop).

These were the Broncos snap counts on Wilson’s four drives (out of 20 plays):

  • Samaje Perine (20)

  • Jeudy (18)

  • Sutton (17)

  • Adam Trautman (15)

  • Marquez Callaway (13)

  • Greg Dulcich (10)

Note that Marvin Mims (undisclosed) did not play.

So this usage is a concern for TE Greg Dulcich and something to monitor over the next two weeks. Dulcich was only a part-time player with the first-team while Adam Trautman got three targets and got a few TE1 routes lined up in 11-personnel (3 WRs, 1 TE formation). Dulcich didn’t see the ball come his way.

Last year, Dulcich was a full-time starter as a rookie and ranked fifth among TEs in route share (76%) and that is in danger under new HC Sean Payton.


Veterans that DNPJames Conner / Marquise Brown / Trey McBride

The Cardinals rested pretty much all of their key starters – including backup RB Keaontay Ingram – so we really did not learn too much about them on Friday night.

Colt McCoy got the start and only played one drive (8 snaps)

Michael Wilson (8 snaps), Zach Pascal (8), and Rondale Moore (4) were the three starting WRs with Moore exclusively in the slot.

Wilson/Pascal/Moore all played on the second drive, too, but then rested for the game. Wilson got 3 targets, Moore saw 2, and Pascal got zero.

Saturday, 8/12 Games

Tennessee Titans vs. Chicago Bears


All key Titans starters rested

The Titans rotated drives between backup QBs Malik Willis and Will Levis all game long. Neither QB played particularly well and had a fair share of mistakes, but Willis was the better QB and showed improvement from where he was this time last year.

Tennessee’s RB2 battle is my main question this preseason.

Hasaan Haskins (six carries, 12 yards) started the game, but Tyjae Spears stole the show with six carries for 32 yards. Spears made defenders miss in the open field, showed great burst, and finished runs off with power. Talent-wise, Spears is unquestionably the best RB the Titans have had behind Derrick Henry in years. Spears’ injury history is well documented but he was healthy enough to handle 250 touches last season at Tulane.


Veterans that DNPChase Claypool (hamstring)

The Bears played most of their offensive starters in their first two drives, and well, it went about as good as they could have asked for.

D.J. Moore housed a quick screen for 62 yards on the first drive and then Khalil Herbert rumbled for 56 yards to the house on the following drive, again, on a screen.

The biggest takeaway of the weekend is that Khalil Herbert is the Bears clear “1A” runner. Their first-team offense only played 7 snaps because they scored so quickly, but Herbert was on the field for 7-of-7 plays. D’Onta Foreman was the second RB in rotation with the second-team offense while Roshon Johnson didn’t get his first carry until the third quarter. Coaches often make rookies “earn it” so I wouldn’t look into Johnson’s usage much, but it’s telling that Foreman didn’t get any snaps on the second drive with Fields.

New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers


Veterans that DNPAaron Rodgers / Garrett Wilson

Zach Wilson started and played the entire first half and played as well as he ever has in the NFL. There will always be ups and downs in his game, but Wilson is showing legitimate signs of improvement.

The Jets started some of their key wide receivers – like Corey Davis (17 snaps), Allen Lazard (15), and Mecole Hardman (11) – but all three did not play into the second quarter.

Michael Carter (4/19 rushing | 2/34 receiving) and Zonovan Knight (4/13 rushing) started the game and split snaps. Carter had a rough 2022 season, but he looked elusive on his six touches – bouncing off of would-be tacklers and showing some speed in the open field.

Izzy Abanikanda (12/56 rushing | 3/31 receiving) has some real juice and finishes runs extremely hard. He’s still behind Carter/Knight on the depth chart for now, but that could change this week after his performance. Abanikanda scored in the Hall of Fame game and nearly had another TD on this 26-yard run.


Veterans that DNPMiles Sanders

Bryce Young and most of the Panthers starting offense played the first three drives, all of which ended in punts. The second drive wasn’t their offense’s fault – they started the drive backed up at the Jets’ 1 yard line. Most of Young’s pass progressions were short of the sticks, mainly because the Panthers offensive line struggled against the Jets front. Young was sacked once and pressured twice on just 7 dropbacks.

Young and the first-team offense only played 11 snaps. Adam Thielen (8 snaps) and Jonathan Mingo (8) were the top-2 wideouts followed by Terrace Marshall (6) and Chark (5). However, Chark’s day was done after the first drive. My guess is Chark is the Panthers WR1 right now. Jonathan Mingo getting starter-like usage with the first-team is an excellent sign that he will start Week 1 in 3-WR sets. Terrace Marshall continued playing with the second-team offense after Young was put on ice.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys


Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense got the opening three drives, the first of which ended on the 2nd play after a brainfart INT by Lawerence. He had no business making this throw.

The Jags’ were backed up deep into Cowboys territory on the second drive and a failed 3rd and short carry by Tank Bigsby forced them to punt, but that was muffed and the Jags’ retained possession. A nice run by Travis Etienne and a quick out to Calvin Ridley set up the Jags’ for a nice TD pass to Christian Kirk on 4th and short inside-the-10.

These were the Jaguars snap counts on Lawrence’s 13 plays:

  • Calvin Ridley (12)

  • Evan Engram (12)

  • Zay Jones (11)

  • Travis Etienne (10)

  • Christian Kirk (7)

  • Luke Farrell (7)

  • JaMycal Hasty (2)

  • Tank Bigsby (1)

Bigsby’s only snap with the first-team was the failed third and short carry. Bigsby did rip off a few nice runs with the second-team offense, finishing with 9/52 rushing. It’s a good sign for his early-season role that Bigsby got on the field with the first-team, but Hasty mixed in on passing downs last season (26 targets on 17% route share) and it appears that will continue. Etienne played on 9-of-9 early downs.

Etienne projects as the lead back on 1st and 2nd downs while Bigsby will mix in as Etienne’s backup and on short-yardage situations. Hasty will have his small, but annoying (for fantasy) passing down role.


Most Cowboys starters rested

Technically, the only starting player (that we care about for fantasy) that played for Dallas was TE Jake Ferguson, who had a gorgeous 26-yard catch up the seam from Cooper Rush. Ferguson got 3 targets from Rush and hauled in all three for a total of 38 yards.

I continue to be very intrigued by Jake Ferguson as a last round TE dart.

The Cowboys RB2 role is obviously up in the air still and we didn’t learn much of anything on that front on Saturday. Malik Davis got the “start” but he and Rico Dowdle rotated drives. Davis (4 carries, 3 yards) and Dowdle (6/21 rushing) both couldn’t find much space.

The rookie Deuce Vaughn didn’t get his first carry until the second half, but he was a spark plug for the Cowboys third-team offense – totaling 56 scrimmage yards and a TD on 11 touches. There is a path for Vaughn to earn a small, Darren Sproles-like role in this offense.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills


Veterans that DNP – TE Jelani Woods / TE Mo Alie-Cox

Anthony Richardson made his much-anticipated debut as the Colts first-team offense played the entire first quarter (29 snaps in total).

Richardson’s day didn’t start great with an opening drive INT on a play where it looked like his intended WR Isaiah McKenzie ran the wrong route. The ball sailed on Richardson right into the safety's hands.

The Colts went very run-heavy on the second drive – Michael Pittman caught a nine yarder – but that possession ended on downs after a failed 4th & short run.

Richardson’s third drive should have ended with this 40-yard dime to Alec Pierce – but Pierce dropped what was a difficult catch.

On the Colts 29 plays, these were the snap counts:

  • Pittman (29)

  • Pierce (25)

  • McKenzie (20)

  • Evan Hull (16)

  • Deon Jackson (15)

Note that Josh Downs didn’t play with the first-team offense, so the coaches are making him “earn” the start slot job over Isaiah McKenzie.

Also, RB Kenyan Drake did not get onto the field until the fourth quarter. He is well behind Hull and Jackson.


Veterans that DNPJosh Allen / Stefon Diggs / Damien Harris (knee)

While Josh Allen did not play, we did see James Cook and Gabe Davis on the first two drives of the game. Dalton Kincaid (5 snaps) and Dalton Knox (4) both played a handful of snaps and then rested.

Cook got the ball on four of the Bills first 5 plays, cashing in a walk-in 8 yard TD after Richardson’s INT. Cook only played seven snaps, but made the most of them (4/20/1 rushing).

The only thing we learned about the Bills on Saturday is that Khalil Shakir is now the Bills WR5 behind Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty. Bills’ beat writers have said that Shakir has been very up and down this summer and it appears he’s been demoted because Sherfield and Harty both played with the first team. Shakir got onto the field on the third drive after Cook, Kincaid, and Knox were pulled from the game. He did have a very nice 20-yard catch over the middle in the second quarter.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens


Veterans that DNPJalen Hurts / AJ Brown / Devonta Smith / Dallas Goedert / Ken Gainwell

Let’s get this out of the way. I put absolutely zero stock in the Eagles playing Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift on Saturday while resting Ken Gainwell. Here are the words straight from OC Nick Sirriani’s mouth…

Now, could Gainwell have a much bigger role than most anticipated? Absolutely. But, let’s be very clear here – Penny and Swift were brought in as more talented backs. The Eagles wanted the new guys to shake the rust off. It’s as simple as that.

Swift started and had a nice 22-yard run, then was put on ice.

Penny entered the game on the first drive, too, and played into the mid-second quarter. Penny had a pair of nice nine-yard runs, the second of which was a patient read and knife up the field. Penny’s night was over after that play.

Trey Sermon played well into the 4th quarter and rushed nine times for 21 yards.


Veterans that DNPLamar Jackson / Mark Andrews / Odell Beckham / Rashod Bateman

The Ravens had a designed QB rotation and plan on Saturday with Josh Johnson getting the start while actual backup QB Tyler Huntley played in the third quarter but left early due to a tweaked hamstring.

Veteran RBs Gus Edwards and Melvin Gordon both shook off the rust, with Edwards taking his 4 carries for 21 yards while Gordon had 7 touches for 25 yards. Justice Hill got the “start” and had a nice 37-yard run.

Baltimore always does weird things in the preseason so I really wouldn’t put any stock into who came onto the field and when. To me, it seemed like the Ravens just wanted to get Edwards, Gordon, and Hill 10-15 snaps apiece to get some live game action.

Rookie Zay Flowers started and got two targets, one of which was booked as a backwards pass (which he gained one yard). The second target was in the endzone where the defender got flagged for holding. Flowers’ night was done after 10 snaps.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams


All Chargers veterans rested

Quinten Johnston got the start and played the entire first half, earning six targets but only hauling in three. Johnston dropped a tough contested catch at the sticks on the opening drive, but made up for it later in the game on this TD reception with a sick inside release from the slot.

Josh Kelley got the start at RB and played on the first seven snaps before Isaiah Spiller checked in.


All Rams veterans rested

Like always, the Rams do not play starters in the preseason.

After rewatching the game, Stetson Bennett was one of the best QBs over the first week of the preseason. The knocks against him are obvious – he’s tiny (5’11”, 192lbs) – but he displays good pocket poise and was throwing absolute darts all over the field – finishing 17-of-29 for 191 yards and 1 TD.

Sunday, 8/13 Games

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints


Veterans that DNPIsaiah Pacheco (shoulder)

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs first-team only played one drive (six snaps) and it was cut short by a 4th & 1 stuff near mid-field.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5) and Skyy Moore (4) led the WR group in snaps followed by Rashee Rice (3) and Justin Watson (3).

I thought it was notable that Rashee Rice and Justin Watson both came back out for the second drive with the second-team offense while MVS and Moore did not.

With Pacheco still gearing up for Week 1, Clyde Edwards-Helaire got the start and then Jerick McKinnon rotated in for three snaps.

Justyn Ross did not see the field until the Chiefs third drive, but he came up with a nice TD grab that made Scott’s year. The Chiefs will keep seven wide receivers (because of the latest Toney injury), so Ross will very likely make the 53-man team.


Derek Carr and the Saints first-team starters rolled down the field on the opening drive for a TD. Carr was sharp, dotting Michael Thomas over the middle for a nice gain while hitting Alvin Kamara twice on two designed quick throws. Carr’s TD throw to Keith Kirkwood was another dot.

On those 12 plays, these were the Saints snap counts:

  • Olave (12)

  • Thomas (12)

  • Kamara (10)

  • Juwan Johnson (9)

  • Keith Kirkwood (8)

  • Foster Moreau (5)

  • Jamaal Williams (2)

Kamara played on the first seven snaps before Williams subbed in. Kamara looked ready for Week 4, totaling 35 scrimmage yards on his five touches.

Jamaal Williams stayed in with the second-team and rushed for 9/28.

The big news of the weekend to monitor is RB Kendre Miller. He potentially re-injured his knee in the game.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Las Vegas Raiders


All 49ers starters rested

Trey Lance got off to a shaky start on his first two drives – he took 3 sacks – and continues to be very up and down. Lance’s release does look a little tighter but his accuracy continues to come and go. Lance’s TD should have been picked, but it was tipped up in the air and caught by 49ers TE Ross Dwelley. It was a horrific decision to throw the ball in the first place.


All Raiders starters rested

Josh Jacobs’ backup RB Zamir White got some significant run early in the game (20 snaps) and took his 13 carries for 43 yards and 1 TD.

On his 38 preseason carries over the last two years, White has plodded his way to 121 yards (3.18 YPC) with one gain of 10+ yards. The Raiders can’t be serious with him as their RB2.

Rookie Aidan O’Connell was the best QB this weekend, showing tremendous pocket poise and accuracy. O’Connell was throwing dot after dot and his day could have been even better if it were not for a few WR miscues on two separate third downs. The Raiders have something here. O’Connell finished 15-of-18 for 141 yards and 1 TD with just one sack in three quarters of work.

Graham Barfield blends data and film together to create some of the most unique content in the fantasy football industry. Barfield is FantasyPoints’ Director of Analytics and formerly worked for the NFL Network, Fantasy Guru, and Rotoworld.