Preseason Week 1 Notes
New York Giants at New England Patriots
QB Daniel Jones and the Giants 1st-team offense played 18 snaps across 2 series. Jones finished 6-of-10 for 69 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs, adding 1 carry for 6 yards.
WR Wan'Dale Robinson played 13 of 18 snaps and ran a route on 9 of 12 pass plays. It's confirmation that the rookie is the Giants' #3 WR.
Fellow rookie TE Daniel Bellinger played 16 snaps and ran 9 pass routes. TE Ricky Seals-Jones remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury. But if this kind of usage continues for Bellinger in the regular season, he'll have a shot at spot-start value.
The Patriots rested most of their starters, including QB Mac Jones, RBs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, WRs Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor and TEs Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. RB Ty Montgomery also sat, which might mean that his roster spot is safe.
RB J.J. Taylor played with the "starters" and was followed by rookie RBs Kevin Harris and Pierre Strong.
Good news, bad news for Patriots rookie WR Tyquan Thornton. Good: He scored this 2-yard TD. Bad: He played into the 2nd quarter. Thornton has some depth-chart climbing to do.
Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, RBs Derrick Henry and Dontrell Hilliard, WRs Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and TE Austin Hooper did not play.
Rookie QB Malik Willis flashed all the tools that make him an intriguing dynasty stash. He connected on a 48-yard bomb, had this Mahomesian sidearm completion and scored this 7-yard rushing TD. Willis might not be ready to lead an NFL team, but he's ready to score fantasy points.
Undrafted rookie RB Julius Chestnut got the start for Tennessee. RB Hassan Haskins entered on the 3rd series. With Henry and Hilliard getting the night off, Haskins might be 4th on the depth chart right now.
Rookie WR Treylon Burks didn't hit the field until Tennessee's 3rd series, behind WRs Racey McMath, Dez Fitzpatrick and Kyle Phillips. Burks has work to do over the next few weeks if he's going to be an early-season fantasy factor. He finished this game catch-less on 1 target.
The Ravens rested QB Lamar Jackson, WR Rashod Bateman and TE Mark Andrews. RB J.K. Dobbins didn't play, either, while RB Gus Edwards remains on the PUP list.
RB Mike Davis got the start for Baltimore. RB Justice Hill also played on the 1st drive. They were followed by RBs Tyler Badie and Corey Clement.
Rookie TE Isaiah Likely has reportedly had a strong camp and turned in an impressive preseason debut. He caught all 4 of his targets for 44 yards, highlighted by this contested grab. Likely is a nice dynasty stash and would be the pickup if Andrews misses time this season.
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Lions QB Jared Goff played 10 snaps in this one. WRs Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark played all 10; WR Josh Reynolds played 9. Those guys look locked in as Detroit's top 3 WRs at least until rookie Jameson Williams is ready
RB D'Andre Swift played 6 of those 10 first-team snaps, carrying 4 times for 20 yards, including this 9-yard TD. RB Jamaal Williams played the other 4, finishing with 2 carries for 12 yards.
Falcons QB Marcus Mariota capped his only drive of the night with a 6-yard rushing score. He totaled 23 yards on 3 carries and completed both of his passes for 36 yards.
Here was the 24-yard catch on which WR Drake London suffered what's believed to be a minor knee injury.
QB Desmond Ridder had a solid debut with his arm, completing 10 of 22 passes for 103 yards and 2 TDs. He also looked like a real threat with his legs, finishing with 59 yards on 6 carries.
Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars
It was an inauspicious return to the field for Browns QB Deshaun Watson, who finished 1 of 5 for 7 yards across 2 series. Two of those incompletions were drops, though.
TE David Njoku played all 9 snaps with Watson and ran a route on all 5 pass plays. Very encouraging.
RB Jerome Ford was the most impressive player on the field in this game. The rookie ripped off this 41-yard run, scored a 3-yard TD later that drive and posted a 4-45-1 receiving line. Ford is still a long shot for 2022 fantasy value in a loaded Browns RB room, but stash him in dynasty.
Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence played 3 series and completed 6 of 12 passes for 95 yards and a TD to TE Evan Engram. Lawrence added an 11-yard rush.
Lawrence’s target distribution:
Zay Jones - 4
Travis Etienne - 3
Evan Engram - 2
Laquon Treadwell - 2
Chris Manhertz - 1
Jacksonville had no issue giving RB Travis Etienne a heavy workload in this one. He played 22 of the 25 first-team snaps, rushing 9 times for 23 yards and catching 1 of 3 targets for 10 yards. Etienne looked explosive on this run.
The TD was nice, but more encouraging for TE Evan Engram was his usage. He ran a route on 10 of Lawrence's 12 drop backs. If that rolls into the regular season, he'll be a good bet for TE1 production.
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals
The Cardinals sat QB Kyler Murray, RBs James Conner and Darrel Williams, WRs DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and A.J. Green and TE Trey McBride. TE Zach Ertz is still sidelined with his calf injury.
It's perhaps noteworthy, then, that RB Eno Benjamin played in this one. He split "1st-team" snaps with RB Jonathan Ward (10 for Benjamin, 8 for Ward). The Arizona media believes Benjamin is #2 on this depth chart, but we'll need to continue to monitor the situation.
The Bengals also sat their key starters, including RB Joe Mixon, WRs Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and TE Hayden Hurst. QB Joe Burrow is still working his way back from an appendectomy.
RB Chris Evans played into the 3rd quarter, while RB Samaje Perine did not play. That suggests that Perine is still #2 on this depth chart. Evans lost 3 yards on 8 carries -- but had this explosive run called back by a penalty.
New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
RBs Breece Hall and Michael Carter rotated with the 1st-team offense. Hall finished with 5 carries for 15 yards and 0 targets. Carter took 3 carries for 5 yards and caught his only target for 7 yards.
Rookie WR Garrett Wilson was 4th in line with the 1st-team offense, behind WRs Elijah Moore, Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios. We're expecting Wilson to move into the top 3 by Week 1, but it's a situation to monitor. He caught 2 of 3 targets for 25 yards in this one.
It took Eagles QB Jalen Hurts just 1 drive to find the end zone. He completed all 6 of his passes for 80 yards, capped by this TD to TE Dallas Goedert.
Goedert ran a pass route on all 7 of Hurts' drop backs.
RBs Kenneth Gainwell (hip) and Boston Scott (concussion) did not play, so we can't take anything from RB Miles Sanders' usage. Sanders didn't receive a carry on his lone series but caught both of his targets for 20 yards.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers
The Packers sat QB Aaron Rodgers, RBs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon and WRs Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb. WR Christian Watson and TE Robert Tonyan remain sidelined with their knee injuries.
QB Jordan Love had an up-and-down night, completing 13 of 24 passes for 176 yards, 2 TDs and 3 INTs in 1 half of action.
WR Romeo Doubs continued his strong August with this 33-yard TD on Green Bay's 2nd possession. Love missed an open Doubs on a deep ball earlier that drive. The rookie finished with a 3-45-1 line on 7 targets.
QB Trey Lance played 2 series, capping the 2nd with this 76-yard bomb to rookie WR Danny Gray. Lance finished 4-of-5 for 92 yards and the score, plus a 7-yard run.
RB Elijah Mitchell sat with his hamstring injury, and RB Jeff Wilson was held out. RB Trey Sermon played all 11 snaps with Lance. RB Ty Davis-Price didn't enter until the 2nd-team offense was on the field. The rookie appears to be 4th on the depth chart right now.
Kansas City Chiefs at Chicago Bears
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes played 1 series, completing 6 of 7 passes for 60 yards and a TD to TE Blake Bell.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire got the start and played 7 of Mahomes' 11 snaps. RB Isiah Pacheco was next to hit the field and played 3 snaps with Mahomes. RB Jerick McKinnon got the other. RB Ronald Jones only played with the backups. This seems to confirm everything we've heard coming out of Kansas City: Edwards-Helaire is the starter, Pacheco is making a strong push for the #2 job, and Jones isn't a lock for the final roster.
WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both ran a route on all 7 of Mahomes' drop backs. WR Mecole Hardman ran a route on 3 of the 7. WR Skyy Moore did not play a snap with Mahomes. The rookie has some depth-chart climbing to do before he's a fantasy factor.
The Bears sat RB David Montgomery, WR Velus Jones and TE Cole Kmet.
RB Khalil Herbert played all 16 snaps with Fields and the 1st-team offense. He carried 7 times for 20 yards and had a couple of drops. Not a great showing, but he's the clear-cut #2 RB in Chicago right now.
Carolina Panthers at Washington Commanders
QB Baker Mayfield got the start, just a little over a month after joining the Panthers. He went 4-of-7 for 45 yards on his lone possession. QB Sam Darnold replaced Mayfield and completed 2 of 3 passes for 16 yards and a score on 2 series. Mayfield remains the favorite to win the Week 1 starting job.
With RB Christian McCaffrey getting the night off, RBs Chuba Hubbard and D'Onta Foreman split snaps (6 and 6) with Mayfield. Neither was effective: Hubbard carrying 4 times for 11 yards and Foreman 3 times for 5 yards. There's no clear or attractive handcuff to McCaffrey.
It wasn't a good day for RB Antonio Gibson. He fumbled on his 2nd carry and didn't re-enter the game until Washington had pulled its starters.
RB Brian Robinson, meanwhile, got extensive run with the 1st-team offense in Gibson's place. The rookie finished with 26 yards and a score on 6 carries, plus 2 catches for 15 yards. The gap between Gibson and Robinson on the depth chart might be even smaller now than it was before this game.
WR Jahan Dotson played all 22 snaps with QB Carson Wentz. WR Terry McLaurin played 19 of the 22; WR Curtis Samuel 17. Dotson is set to open the season with a significant role. Per Pro Football Focus, he played 15 snaps out wide in this game with the other 7 coming in the slot.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills
The Bills sat QB Josh Allen, RB Devin Singletary, WRs Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis and Isaiah McKenzie and TE Dawson Knox.
WR Jamison Crowder played with the "starters" -- but actually played fewer snaps than WRs Khalil Shakir and Jake Kumerow. Crowder might not be a lock for Buffalo's final roster. Shakir had a nice day, catching all 5 of his targets for 92 yards.
RBs Zack Moss and James Cook rotated with the "starters." Moss carried 3 times for 37 yards and caught 2 of 3 targets for 5 yards. His highlight was this 27-yarder. Cook totaled 5 yards on 3 carries and caught his lone target for 5 yards.
Colts QB Matt Ryan played 4 series, completing 6 of 10 passes for 58 yards.
Ryan's target distribution:
Michael Pittman - 3
Alec Pierce - 2
Parris Campbell - 2
Nyheim Hines - 2
Kylen Granson - 1
Campbell played over Pierce in 2-WR sets. If that remains the case, Campbell will be the more reliable fantasy play to open the season.
Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers
RB Rashaad Penny, WRs D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett and TE Will Dissly did not play for Seattle.
QB Geno Smith got the start and finished 10-of-15 for 101 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs in 1 half of action. QB Drew Lock played the 2nd half, completing 11 of 15 passes for 102 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs. Consider Preseason Week 1 a draw in this battle.
RB Kenneth Walker operated as the early-down back with the 1st-team offense, finishing with 19 yards on 5 carries. He was pulled for RB Travis Homer in most passing situations, though. Homer caught 2 of 3 targets for 33 yards. Walker snared his lone target for 11 yards.
TE Noah Fant surprisingly played 20 snaps in this one and ran a pass route on only 11 of those snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. We're not adjusting our projections for Fant just yet, but we'll keep a close eye on his usage over the next couple of weeks.
The Steelers sat RBs Najee Harris and Benny Snell, WRs Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool and TE Pat Freiermuth.
WR George Pickens followed a buzzy start to camp with a 3-43-1 line in this one. He made this 26-yard TD look easy.
Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Dolphins rested QBs Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater, RBs Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert and WRs Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.
At RB, Sony Michel got the start and Salvon Ahmed was the 2nd man in. They were followed by RB Myles Gaskin, who seems to be in danger of missing this final roster.
TE Mike Gesicki notably played, despite Miami resting key offensive starters. And he ran a pass route on only 5 of his 9 snaps (55.6%), per Pro Football Focus. By comparison, Gesicki ran a route on 70.3% of his snaps last year.
QB Tom Brady, RB Leonard Fournette, WRs Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Julio Jones and Breshad Perriman and TEs Cam Brate and Kyle Rudolph did not play for the Bucs.
RB Gio Bernard got the start for Tampa but exited with an ankle injury. RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn was next to hit the field, followed by RB Rachaad White. The rookie has some work to do to climb the depth chart and be the Fournette handcuff.
New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans
The Saints sat QB Jameis WInston, RBs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, WRs Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry and TE Taysom Hill.
TE Adam Trautman played but notably played fewer snaps and ran fewer routes with QB Andy Dalton and the starters than TE Juwan Johnson. With Taysom Hill sitting this one out, Trautman's spot on the depth chart is murky right now.
WR Brandin Cooks and RB Rex Burkhead did not play for the Texans.
It was RB Marlon Mack on early downs and RB Dare Ogunbowale in passing situations on QB Davis Mills' 2 possessions.
RB Dameon Pierce didn't hit the field until the 2nd quarter but looked explosive on his way to 49 yards on 5 carries. We'll see if the rookie gets 1st-team snaps in the 2nd week of the preseason.
Dallas Cowboys at Denver Broncos
Dallas rested QB Dak Prescott, RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, WRs CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown and TE Dalton Schultz.
That seems to be confirmation that Brown is locked into a starting job to open the season.
The Broncos sat QB Russell Wilson, RBs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon and WRs Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler.
It was a bit strange, then, that TE Albert Okwuegbunam played. More strange is that Okwuegbunam ran fewer routes with the starters than TE Eric Tomlinson. We'll be keeping a close eye on him over the next couple weeks. TE Greg Dulcich, did not play in this game as he works his way back from a hamstring injury.
Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers
The Rams sat all their notables.
Undrafted rookie WR Lance McCutcheon was the star of this one, hauling in 5 of 6 targets for 87 yards and 2 scores. The highlight was this 60-yard TD. We'll see if McCutcheon can earn a spot on the Rams' final roster.
QB Justin Herbert, RB Austin Ekeler, WRs Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and TE Gerald Everett did not play for the Chargers.
RB Joshua Kelley drew the start for the Chargers, while RB Larry Rountree rotated in with the "starters." Rookie RB Isaiah Spiller didn't hit the field until late in the 2nd quarter. The Athletic's Daniel Popper believes Kelley is in the lead for the #2 RB job.
Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
The Vikings sat QB Kirk Cousins, RB Dalvin Cook and WRs Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. TE Irv Smith is out after undergoing thumb surgery earlier this month.
Alexander Mattison got the start for Minnesota and seems safe as the #2 RB. But RBs Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chandler both looked good in this one. Nwangwu carried 7 times for 41 yards and caught both of his targets for 18 yards. Chandler ripped off 50 yards on 5 carries and had this big kick return.
Vegas rested QB Derek Carr and WRs Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow. TE Darren Waller continues to nurse a hamstring injury.
After tallying 5 carries and 2 targets in the Hall of Fame Game, RB Josh Jacobs did not play in this one. RB Ameer Abdullah also got the day off. RBs Zamir White and Kenyan Drake split work with the 1st-team offense. We're reading tea leaves here, but it's worth remembering that insider Albert Breer believes Abdullah is set to play the "James White role" in HC Josh McDaniels' offense.