The first real week of fake games starts now. I’ll be watching as many games as possible, tracking all of them and keeping a running tab of observations and fantasy takeaways here. Check back often for updates.
* Bears RB David Montgomery was the most impressive skill-position player I saw on Thursday night. The rookie flashed his patented vision and tackle-breaking prowess and also looked smooth in the passing game. He finished with 3 carries for 16 yards and a score, plus 30 more yards on 3 catches.
* Cardinals QB Kyler Murray looked completely comfortable in HC Kliff Kingsbury's offense in his debut on Thursday night. The rookie didn't make any splash plays but showed good timing and accuracy, completing 6 of 7 passes for 44 yards. We even saw an RPO that resulted in a 1-yard completion to WR Larry Fitzgerald.
* Broncos RB usage on QB Joe Flacco's 1 series:
Phillip Lindsay - 4 carries, 1 target
Royce Freeman - 3 carries, 1 target
* Jets QB Sam Darnold was excellent on his lone drive, completing 4 of 5 passes for 68 yards and a TD to Jamison Crowder. Darnold showed impressive pocket presence and movement to buy extra time before finding his receivers. His target distribution:
Jamison Crowder - 2
Quincy Enunwa - 1
Chris Herndon - 1
Ty Montgomery - 1
* On Baker Mayfield's lone drive, Browns RB Nick Chubb carried once for 12 yards and caught his lone target for 14 yards. But RB Dontrell Hilliard was targeted twice, catching both for 28 yards. Hilliard has reportedly been impressing in camp and might soak up some of the targets Duke Johnson is leaving behind. It's a situation to monitor for the rest of the preseason.
* Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake played on starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's 1st series, carrying 4 times for 12 yards. RB Kalen Ballage played on Fitzpatrick's 2nd and final series, taking 1 carry for 2 yards and failing to haul in either of his targets.
* Bills QB Josh Allen's target distribution:
Zay Jones - 5
John Brown - 2
Cole Beasley - 1
Andre Roberts - 1
Frank Gore - 1
* Giants QB Daniel Jones was pin-point accurate on his lone drive, completing all 5 of his passes for 67 yards, including this TD to WR Bennie Fowler.
* Titans WR Adam Humphries was targeted on 6 of QB Marcus Mariota's 8 attempts.
* Bills rookie RB Devin Singletary was a tackle-breaking machine at Florida Atlantic. That carried over to his preseason debut. Singletary finished with 9 carries for 27 yards, plus 3 catches for 21 more yards.
* The Ravens were clearly running a vanilla offense in their preseason opener. But QB Lamar Jackson went 4-for-6 for 59 yards and this TD to WR Willie Snead in 3 series.
* Patriots WR N'Keal Harry did N'Keal Harry things in his preseason debut.
* After buzzing throughout training camp and reportedly running with the 1st-team offense this past week, Patriots rookie WR Jakobi Meyers racked up 6 catches for 69 yards and 2 scores in Thursday's night's preseason opener.
* Browns WR Rashard Higgins has been running ahead of WR Antonio Callaway in camp, and nothing that happened on Thursday night figures to change that. Higgins hauled in 5 of 6 targets for 98 yards, including a TD on QB Baker Mayfield's 1 and only drive. Callaway finished with 3 catches for 42 yards on 7 targets.
* Dynasty Alert: Stash Dolphins rookie WR Preston Williams. He was excellent in his preseason debut Thursday night, posting a line 4-97, including this contested catch.
* The Browns went hurry-up on QB Baker Mayfield's lone drive, moving 89 yards in 2 minutes and 13 seconds.
* According to Adam Levitan, Ravens TE Mark Andrews was on the field for only 6 of QB Lamar Jackson's 16 snaps (37.5%) on Thursday night.
* Bucs QB Jameis Winston was sharp on his 1 possession, completing 5 of 6 passes for 40 yards with this TD to WR Chris Godwin. He also broke off this 10-yard run -- a reminder of his sneaky rushing upside. Winston's target distribution:
Breshad Perriman - 2
Chris Godwin - 2
Peyton Barber - 1
Ronald Jones - 1
* On Winston's drive, Bucs RB Peyton Barber carried 3 times and saw 1 target. RB Ronald Jones received 2 carries and 1 target.
* Steelers WR James Washington had a strong preseason opener, hauling in 4 of 5 targets for 84 yards and a score. He caught a bomb from QB Josh Dobbs and a back-shoulder TD from his former college QB Mason Rudolph. It's worth noting, though, that Washington racked up 158 yards and 2 TDs last preseason before disappearing when the games started to count.
* Vikings QB Kirk Cousins completed all 4 of his passes for 65 yards and a TD to WR Adam Thielen on his only drive in Friday's night's preseason opener. Cousins' target distribution:
Kyle Rudolph - 2
Adam Thielen - 1
Alex Mattison - 1
(A 5th attempt to Stefon Diggs was negated by penalty.)
* Vikings RBs combined for 205 yards on 24 carries (8.5 YPC) in the opener against the Saints.
* Bengals QB Andy Dalton led his team on a TD drive on his only possession, completing 7 of 9 passes for 80 yards. Dalton's target distribution:
Tyler Boyd - 4
Josh Malone - 2
Auden Tate - 1
Trayveon Williams - 1
Cody Core - 1
* Confirmed: Chiefs rookie WR Mecole Hardman is fast.
* Strong debuts for 49ers rookie WRs Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel. Hurd caught 3 balls for 31 yards and 2 scores -- a physical run-and-catch effort and a nice contested grab in the end zone. Samuel tallied 2 receptions for 61 yards, including this deep ball.