Preseason Week 3 Notes
Green Bay Packers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Packers sat QB Aaron Rodgers, RBs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon, WRs Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb and Christian Watson and TE Robert Tonyan.
If you believe earning targets is a skill, WR Romeo Doubs had an awesome preseason. He saw another 3 targets on 10 pass routes in this game, giving him an elite 38.5% target per route run rate this preseason. Doubs might open the season as Green Bay's #4 WR, but we'd expect him to climb into the top 3 before long.
The Chiefs held out QB Patrick Mahomes, WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and TE Travis Kelce.
RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire got the start, played the first 2 snaps and was done for the night. He'll open the season as Kansas City's lead early-down back.
Ronald Jones was the next back to hit the field for the Chiefs. He had a solid outing, toting it 8 times for 43 yards. RB Isiah Pacheco also worked in with the "starters," while RB Jerick McKinnon handled passing-down snaps. This looked like a potential trade showcase game for Jones. We're still betting against him being on the Chiefs' Week 1 roster. McKinnon is in line to open the season as the passing-down back.
Mecole Hardman and Justin Watson were Kansas City's top 2 WRs in this one. WR Skyy Moore played in 3-WR sets with the "starters." The rookie won't be an early-season fantasy option but remains a fine upside bench stash.
San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans
Not the most encouraging final tuneup for 49ers QB Trey Lance. He completed 7 of 11 passes for just 49 yards (4.5 YPA) across 3 series. Pass protection was a serious problem, and Lance also missed a couple of open receivers. Neither Lance nor HC Kyle Shanahan was happy with the showing.
WR Jauan Jennings operated as the #3 WR behind Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Rookie WR Danny Gray has flashed this summer but figures to open the season as a situational #4.
With RB Elijah Mitchell out with his hamstring injury, RB Jeff Wilson got the start and played all 11 snaps over the first 2 series. RB Trey Sermon was next to hit the field, followed by RB Jordan Mason. RB Ty Davis-Price didn't get his first carry until the 4th quarter.
The Texans sat WR Brandin Cooks. TE Pharaoh Brown remains sidelined with an injury.
QB Davis Mills played the 1st half plus the 1st series of the 2nd. He finished 6 of 10 for 58 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Mills connected with WR Chris Moore for this 16-yard score on his final throw of the night.
RB Dameon Pierce got the start and had another excellent showing, taking 6 carries for 37 yards and a score. Here's video of all of his carries. It's worth noting that Pierce gave way to RB Rex Burkhead in passing situations. But the rookie is set to open the season as Houston's early-down and goal-line back.
RB Marlon Mack didn't play until the 2nd half, after Pierce, Burkhead and RB Royce Freeman had all seen the field. Mack had a nice showing, carrying 10 times for 55 yards. But it doesn't look like he's a big part of Houston's plans.
Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers
The Bills sat all their notables besides RB James Cook, WR Khalil Shakir and TE O.J. Howard. It's not surprising that the team would want to get rookies Cook and Shakir some more reps. But Howard playing seems like bad news for his standing. He's well off the fantasy radar.
The Panthers held out RB Christian McCaffrey and WR Robbie Anderson. WR D.J. Moore played just 2 snaps.
QB Baker Mayfield racked up 89 yards and 2 scores on 9-of-15 passing across 3 series. He looks comfortable in this offense heading into Week 1.
WR Terrace Marshall made his preseason debut in this one after missing the first 2 contests with a hamstring injury. He played 43 snaps but finished catch-less on 1 target. Marshall is off the redraft radar at this point.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys
QB Geno Smith got the start for Seattle and completed 3 of 6 passes for 43 yards on a 9-play FG drive. QB Drew Lock took over from there and played into the 4th quarter, finishing with a classic Drew Lock stat line: 13 of 24 for 171 yards, 1 TD and 3 INTs. HC Pete Carroll named Smith his Week 1 starter after the game.
TE Noah Fant continued to play in a rotation with TEs Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. It'd be coaching malpractice if that continues in the regular season, but we wouldn't put it past Carroll. Fant won't be a bankable Week 1 fantasy play.
The Cowboys sat QB Dak Prescott, RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, WRs CeeDee Lamb and Noah Brown and TE Dalton Schultz.
It looks like Brown will open the season as Dallas' #2 WR behind Lamb.
WR Jalen Tolbert played 33 snaps in this one, finishing with 2 catches on 5 targets for 9 yards. He averaged an ugly .83 yards per route run this preseason.
Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints
The Chargers sat QB Justin Herbert, RB Austin Ekeler, WRs Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Josh Palmer and TE Gerald Everett.
With RB Isaiah Spiller out with his ankle injury, RBs Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree split 1st-team work. Rountree actually drew the start in this one, but Kelley was better. He took 6 carries for 40 yards, while Rountree mustered just 12 yards on his 6 attempts. We're expecting Kelley to open the season as the Chargers' #2 RB.
Saints QB Jameis Winston made his 2022 preseason debut in this one and looked sharp. He went 4-of-4 for 59 yards on a 9-play, 75-yard TD drive. Winston connected with WR Jarvis Landry for 20- and 15-yard gains and found WR Chris Olave for 19 yards. That foot injury that cost Winston a couple of weeks earlier this month looks like a non-issue.
RB Alvin Kamara also played in this game after sitting out the first 2 exhibitions. He played 7 snaps on that Winston drive, taking 2 carries for 19 yards and catching his lone target for 5 yards. Kamara also had an 18-yard run called back by an illegal shift penalty.
New England Patriots at Las Vegas Raiders
It was another tough outing for QB Mac Jones and the 1st-team offense. Jones completed 9 of 13 passes for 71 yards (5.5 YPA), 0 TDs and 1 INT across 4 series. The possessions went: 3-and-out, INT, 3-and-out, FG.
The Patriots held RB Damien Harris out of this one, and RB Ty Montgomery left in the 1st quarter with an ankle injury. RB Rhamondre Stevenson ended up playing 16 of 25 snaps with QB Mac Jones, finishing with 5 carries for 22 yards and 0 targets.
TE Hunter Henry made his preseason debut in this one and split routes 9 to 9 with TE Jonnu Smith alongside QB Mac Jones. Henry caught both of his targets for 23 yards, while Smith caught his only look for 5. If that route split continues into the regular season, though, neither guy will be a reliable fantasy play. Smith generated some positive buzz in camp.
The Raiders sat all their notables besides rookie RB Zamir White, who played 10 snaps and totaled 17 yards and a score on 5 carries.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Atlanta Falcons
The Jaguars sat QB Trevor Lawrence, RBs Travis Etienne and James Robinson, WRs Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones and Zay Jones and TE Evan Engram. All those guys -- except Robinson, who's coming back from the Achilles injury -- are set to open the season with big roles.
The Falcons held out QB Marcus Mariota, RBs Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams, WRs Drake London, Olamide Zaccheaus, Bryan Edwards and KhaDarel Hodge and TE Kyle Pitts. It looks like those guys are atop the depth chart at their respective positions heading into Week 1.
QB Desmond Ridder got the start and played well with a bunch of backups. He tossed an INT on his 1st pass but settled in after that, finishing 14 of 21 for 185 yards (8.8 YPA), 1 TD and 2 INTs. The rookie wraps up the preseason with a 61% completion rate, 7.7 yards per attempt, 3 TDs and 2 INTs.
RB Tyler Allgeier started this game and got extensive run. He tallied 26 yards and a score on 8 carries and also scored a 2-yard receiving TD. The rookie seems to be 3rd on Atlanta's depth chart to open the season.
Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals
The Rams, as usual, held out all their notables. That included rookie RB Kyren Williams, who HC Sean McVay said afterward is an "integral part of the plan this season."
WR Lance McCutcheon had his 3rd straight big preseason game, catching 5 of 8 targets for 76 yards. He racked up a 15-259-2 line across 3 exhibitions and earned the 2nd best Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 62 qualifiers. McCutcheon is still off the redraft radar but might be worth stashing on deep dynasty rosters.
The Bengals sat out all their notables other than RB Chris Evans. That suggests that Evans remains 3rd on the depth chart heading into Week 1, behind RBs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine.
Washington Commanders at Baltimore Ravens
The Commanders held out all their notables.
Rookie QB Sam Howell played the entire game, completing 24 of 35 passes for 280 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. He added 62 yards on 8 carries. Howell isn't a good bet to see the field this season, but this was a glimpse at his long-term upside.
The Ravens sat most of their notables. That included rookie TE Isaiah Likely, who is expected to open the season with a real role.
RB Mike Davis got the start, played 5 snaps and was done for the night. He's heading into Week 1 looking like Baltimore's #2 RB behind a still-recovering J.K. Dobbins.
Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
QB Justin Fields had his most impressive outing as a pro, completing 14 of 16 passes for 156 yards, 3 TDs and 0 INTs. The scores went to TE Ryan Griffin, WR Dante Pettis and TE Cole Kmet -- a reminder of Fields' uninspiring supporting cast. But he remains a super intriguing talent that could produce in spite of that supporting cast this season.
RB David Montgomery out-snapped RB Khalil Herbert 20 to 2 with Fields. Pass routes were 8 to 2 in favor of Montgomery. Despite buzz that this could be more of a committee backfield under a new coaching staff, it looks like Montgomery will open the season as Chicago's clear lead back.
TE Cole Kmet caught all 3 of his targets from Fields for 36 yards and a score. He ran a route on 76.5% of Fields' drop backs. He has a shot at TE1 production on that type of usage.
QB Jacoby Brissett played almost the entire 1st half, finishing 13 of 23 for 109 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT. Brissett's target distribution (WR Amari Cooper didn't play):
Anthony Schwartz - 6
David Njoku - 4
Donovan Peoples-Jones - 3
David Bell - 3
Demetric Felton - 2
Harrison Bryant - 2
D'Ernest Johnson - 2
Johnny Stanton - 1
TE David Njoku ran a route on 18 of Brissett's 23 dropbacks -- a 78.3% route rate. He has a shot at TE1-level production with that usage.
Philadelphia Eagles at Miami Dolphins
The Eagles held out QB Jalen Hurts, RBs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott, WRs A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal and TE Dallas Goedert.
RB Kenneth Gainwell notably played, which suggests he'll open the season 3rd on the depth chart behind Sanders and Scott. We still expect Gainwell to have a role -- but he won't be a bankable Week 1 fantasy starter.
WR Jalen Reagor also played, so it looks like he's no higher than 5th on the depth chart.
QB Tua Tagovailoa played 3 series, completing 6 of 7 passes for 121 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. The highlight was this 51-yarder to WR Tyreek Hill.
RB Chase Edmonds got the night off, which is seemingly confirmation that he'll open the season as Miami's lead back. RB Raheem Mostert got the start and played 6 of 8 snaps across the first 2 drives. RB Myles Gaskin was the next man in for the Dolphins, followed by RB Sony Michel. It looks like Mostert is 2nd on this depth chart. Michel's roster spot might not be a lock.
TE Mike Gesicki played 11 of 17 snaps (64.7%) with Tagovailoa and ran a route on 5 of 8 dropbacks (62.5%). It's been a worrisome August for Gesicki, who opens the season as a lower-end TE2 in fantasy football.
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans
The Cardinals sat QB Kyler Murray, RB James Conner, WRs Marquise Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, A.J. Green and Antoine Wesley and TE Zach Ertz.
RB Eno Benjamin got the start but rotated with RB Darrel Williams. We consider Benjamin the slight favorite for the #2 spot on the depth chart, but it's a murky situation. It'd likely be something close to a 50/50 split between these 2 guys if Conner misses time this season.
QB Ryan Tannehill, RB Derrick Henry, WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and TE Austin Hooper did not play for the Titans.
WR Robert Woods played 5 snaps -- his 1st action since last November's ACL year. He'll likely open the season as Tennessee's #1 WR.
It was an up-and-down night for WR Treylon Burks. He drew the start, briefly exited with a wrist injury but then returned to catch this 14-yard TD. It's unclear how big a role the rookie will have out of the gate, so he can't be trusted in Week 1 fantasy lineups. But Burks is an upside bench stash.
RB Dontrell Hilliard got the start in this one and was followed by Hassan Haskins, Trenton Cannon and Julius Chestnut. It looks like Henry, Hillard and Haskins are 1, 2, 3 on this depth chart.
QB Malik Willis had another tantalizing performance. He threw for 131 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT on 15-of-23 passing and ran for 79 yards on 4 carries. Willis racked up 159 rushing yards across 125 preseason snaps (about 2 games worth). He'll likely need a Tannehill injury to see the field this season, but Willis' rushing ability gives him exciting fantasy upside.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Indianapolis Colts
QB Tom Brady made a brief cameo, completing 6 of 8 passes for 44 yards on an 11-play FG drive. His best throw was this 20-yard hookup to WR Julio Jones.
RB Leonard Fournette played all 11 snaps with Brady. He's locked into a workhorse role to open the season.
TE Cameron Brate ran a route on 5 of Brady's 8 dropbacks. TE Kyle Rudolph ran a route on the other 3. Brate is the top fantasy option heading into the season, but he'll be a shaky play if he's splitting routes like this.
The Colts held out RBs Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines but played the rest of their starters.
QB Matt Ryan went 5 for 7 for 59 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs on 3 possessions. He targeted WR Michael Pittman on 3 of his 7 throws.
WR Parris Campbell played over WR Alec Pierce in 2-WR sets in this one. Pierce got those snaps in the 2nd preseason game, so it's unclear who will be the #2 WR to open the season.
TE Mo Alie-Cox ran a route on 8 of Ryan's 9 dropbacks. He'll wind up being a big value in fantasy drafts if that usage continues into the regular season.
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
The Vikings sat all their notables. That included RB Alexander Mattison, who remains locked in as the Dalvin Cook handcuff.
The Broncos held out QB Russell Wilson, RBs Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, WRs Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton and, most notably, TE Albert Okwuegbunam. It was a strange preseason for Albert O, but getting the night off in this one is a good sign that he's still atop the depth chart.
WR K.J. Hamler played for the 1st time since tearing an ACL and dislocating a hip last September. He caught 3 of 5 targets for 18 yards on 25 snaps. Hamler looks ready to open the season as Denver's #3 WR.
New York Giants at New York Jets
The Giants held out QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley and WR Kadarius Toney.
Kenny Golladay, Wan'Dale Robinson and David Sills operated as the Giants' top 3 WRs. WR Darius Slayton remains a cut/trade candidate.
RB Matt Breida got the start and appears to be #2 on the depth chart heading into the regular season.
RB Michael Carter continued to play slightly ahead of RB Breece Hall. Carter out-snapped Hall 12 to 9 with the 1st-team offense. ESPN's Rich Cimini pointed out that both backs got a snap in a 3rd-and-long situation. This looks like a true committee backfield to open the season.
WR routes on 12 QB Joe Flacco dropbacks:
Elijah Moore - 11
Corey Davis - 9
Braxton Berrios - 5
Garrett Wilson - 3
We expect Wilson to climb into the top 3 before long, but he won't be a Week 1 fantasy option.
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Lions sat QB Jared Goff and RBs D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark and Josh Reynolds operated as Detroit's clear-cut top 3 WRs.
Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky got the start and played the entire 1st half. He finished 15 of 19 for 160 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. Trubisky was good enough this preseason to hang on to the Week 1 starting job.
QB Kenny Pickett had another nice showing, completing 10 of 14 passes for 90 yards, 0 TDs and 0 INTs. He finishes the preseason with an 81% completion rate, 7.3 yards per attempt and 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs.
RB Najee Harris made his preseason debut after missing some time in August with a Lisfranc sprain. He played 85% of the snaps with the 1st-team offense, tallying 4 carries and 3 targets.
Jaylen Warren was the only other RB to get snaps with the starters. It's still unclear whether Warren or Benny Snell is Pittsburgh's #2 RB.