Preseason Week 2 Recap: Fantasy Winners & Losers, Plus Notes on Every Team

Preseason Week 2 Recap: Fantasy Winners & Losers, Plus Notes on Every Team

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

I've officially watched more preseason football than is healthy for any human. Let's start things off by listing some of the big winners and losers from Week 2, before moving on to team-by-team recaps for those who care to sift through the madness with me (it's worth it... and ctrl+f is your friend).


RB Dameon Pierce

RB Brian Robinson

RB Josh Jacobs

RB Zack Moss

RB Samaje Perine

WR Jahan Dotson

WR Isaiah McKenzie

WR Nico Collins

WR Joshua Palmer

TE Isaiah Likely



RB Ronald Jones

RB Antonio Gibson

WR Treylon Burks

WR Skyy Moore

WR Jamison Crowder

WR Jalen Guyton

TE Albert Okwuegbunam

TE Mike Gesicki


Random Backups Who Impressed

QB Sam Ehlinger

QB Sam Howell

RB Craig Reynolds

WR Lance McCutcheon

WR/RS KaVontae Turpin

TE Brycen Hopkins

TE Jake Ferguson


Team-by-Team Recaps/Notes

Arizona Cardinals (vs. BAL)

  • The Cardinals held out anyone we care about, apart from the backup RBs.
  • Eno Benjamin started and got most of the first-half snaps, with Darrel Williams briefly subbing in (after not playing the previous week) and Jonathan Ward also getting some touches (before he suffered a shoulder injury).
    • Benjamin took five carries for 14 yards. 
    • Williams didn't have any touches and barely played
    • Ward scored two TDs and had a 27-yard catch but left with a shoulder injury.
    • Rookie Keaontay Ingram didn't play until the second half but did pick up 45 yards and a TD on nine touches (two catches).
      • I'm not sure what to make of this backfield behind James Conner. You could argue that preseason usage hints at Williams being the favorite for the No. 2 spot, but it's also possible he played less because he's a veteran. The Cardinals likely will use some kind of committee if/when Conner misses time.
  • Rookie TE Trey McBride played a lot but finished without a catch on two targets.


Atlanta Falcons (at NYJ)  — MNF



Baltimore Ravens (at ARI)

  • The Ravens held out starters for a second straight week, and for a second straight week it was rookie TE Isaiah Likely serving as the top weapon for backup QB Tyler Huntley.
    • Likely caught each of his four targets for 44 yards in the preseason opener, but also had two holding penalties. In this one, he erupted for 8-100-1 on eight targets, with the broadcast mentioning that fellow TE Mark Andrews expects Likely to have a role early on.
      • Likely isn't likely (sorry, had to do it) to poach many snaps from Andrews, but the Ravens could use two-TE formations rather than three-wide for a lot of their pass plays. Their WRs aren't great, to say the least.
  • Mike Davis started at RB for a second straight week, with Justice Hill second into the game and splitting snaps in the first half. 
    • The Ravens playing Davis a bunch suggests they either aren't sold on him as the No. 2 back or are confident J.K. Dobbins (ACL) will be healthy Week 1. I'd lean toward the latter, considering Davis clearly ran ahead of Hill and others in both preseason games. Davis is still set up well to get some Week 1 touches, though Hill might as well.


Buffalo Bills (vs. DEN)

  • Josh Allen played one drive and completed each of his three passes, including a 28-yard TD to Gabriel Davis.
    • Davis finished 2-47-1 on three targets. Stefon Diggs was 2-33-0 on two. Case Keenum led the Bills to three straight TDs after Allen left, entering halftime up 28-6.
  • Devin Singletary took three carries for 25 yards on the opening drive. He played all six snaps on that drive and the first four snaps of the second drive, before Zack Moss subbed in.
    • Moss and James Cook both got snaps toward the end of the second drive, with Moss eventually punching in a TD from one yard out.
      • Moss then scored another one-yard TD on the next drive, shortly after he had a three-yarder called back. So Moss went 3-for-3 at the goal line, just as reports have emerged that he looks much better this year and could push the Bills toward a three-way backfield committee. Singletary is still the lead guy, but with Cook a threat to take routes/targets and Moss a potential goal-line vulture. We'll need to keep a close eye on this Week 1, and quite possibly beyond.
        • This doesn't necessarily make Singletary a bad fantasy pick. He did play well last year, took the first 10 snaps Friday night (and played well) and is cheap enough in drafts to pay off his price even in a committee.
  • Isaiah McKenzie saw only one target (a 10-yard catch), but he was the No. 3 receiver early on, with Jamison Crowder subbing in as the No. 4 (and McKenzie sometimes staying on to take snaps outside).
    • Remember that Crowder played in the preseason opener, while McKenzie was rested along with other starters.
    • Crowder did catch both his targets for 21 yards in this one, though he also may have been responsible for an illegal formation penalty. 
  • RB Raheem Blackshear took seven touches for 79 yards, and Duke Johnson had a 9-55-2 rushing line. Neither seems to have a shot at Buffalo's top three without an injury to Singletary/Cook/Moss, but both could catch on with other teams after cuts are made.
  • Fifth-round rookie Khalil Shakir looks good! He caught each of his three targets for 59 yards. He's now 8-of-8 for 151 yards this preseason. 
  • O.J. Howard scored a TD late in the first half, but he didn't get much playing time on the first few drives, even with Dawson Knox out for personal reasons. 


Carolina Panthers (at NE)

  • The Panthers rested starters and other key players, including both Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold.
    • P.J. Walker started at QB and played the first and third quarters.
    • Rookie Matt Corral took the second and fourth, but Walker came back in (and turned the ball over twice) late in Q4 after Corral hurt his foot.
  • The backup RB battle was really the only thing worth noting for most fantasy leagues.
    • D'Onta Foreman started, after Chuba Hubbard got the start last week.
    • Both got run with the starters again, and neither made much of an impression, though it's worth noting that Carolina's second-string O-line got ran over by New England's starting defense.
      • Foreman has 10 carries for 21 yards this preseason.
      • Hubbard has 10 carries for 33 yards and one catch for a loss of four. Not much to get excited about, but I think he looks a bit better / more comfortable than last year. The Panthers gave him the third-down snaps early in Friday's game, even after he was awful as a pass catcher and blocker last year. That's one area where guys can really improve with experience, so it's worth keeping an eye on. I may have been too quick to dismiss Hubbard previously.


Chicago Bears (at SEA)

  • The Bears played most starters, with the highlight being Cole Kmet catching two of three targets for 31 yards (one TE screen, one catch further downfield). 


Cincinnati Bengals (at NYG)

  • The Bengals held out all their key guys for a second straight week. They also held out RB Samaje Perine again.
    • Chris Evans took eight carries for 11 yards. An ugly stat line for the second straight week, though he did have two nice runs (including a 40+ yarder) called back on penalties the week before. Evans did have a 73-yard kick return, after a 41-yarder the week before. He should be the kick returner and No. 3 back, ahead of Jacques Patrick and Trayveon Williams, though both had nice nights Sunday and scored TDs.


Cleveland Browns (vs. PHI)

  • The Browns held out most starters and other key players.
  • D'Ernest Johnson started at RB and had three touches for 29 yards on the opening drive. 
  • WRs Anthony Schwartz and David Bell, third-round picks in the past two drafts, both got a lot of playing time in the first half with QB Joshua Dobbs (the Browns held out both Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett).
    • Bell caught three of four targets for 46 yards, with Schwartz bringing in two of three for 20 yards and adding a four-yard carry.
    • Note that Donovan Peoples-Jones didn't play — perhaps a sign he's the No. 2 receiver.


Dallas Cowboys (at LAC)

  • The Cowboys held out most starters and other key veterans, including RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
    • Rico Dowdle got the start and had a 13-44-1 rushing line with an eight-yard catch on his lone target.
  • Rookie WR Jalen Tolbert started and caught two of four targets for 25 yards.
    • Simi Fehoko and Dennis Houston joined Tolbert for most three-wide sets early in the game, though Noah Brown (toe) might've been out there instead of Houston if he were healthy.
      • Fehoko caught one of three targets for 11 yards. Houston wasn't targeted.
      • Still hard to say what the Week 1 WR alignment will be for Dallas, beyond CeeDee Lamb as the top dog.
  • QB Easton Stick started and bounced back from a slow start, but he was outplayed by Chase Daniel for a second straight week (Daniel started the preseason opener). It looks like Daniel is ahead for the backup job.


Denver Broncos (at BUF)

  • The Broncos' second-string offense held its own against Buffalo's first-string defense, but the Denver defensive backups got absolutely steamrolled by both Josh Allen and Case Keenum (to be fair, Keenum was working with a lot of starters).
  • Albert Okwuegbunam played again while other likely starters rested. It makes you wonder if he's still a likely starter, though I figure he still is given Denver's obvious lack of other options. Rookie third-round pick Greg Dulcich is out with a hamstring injury, again, while Eric Tomlinson is a blocking specialist and Andrew Beck a special teams player to this point in his career.
    • Okweugbunam at least played reasonably well, catching four of five targets for 32 yards, including a couple challenging grabs.


Detroit Lions (at IND)

  • The Lions rested nearly all their starters.
  • Craig Reynolds may have locked up the No. 3 RB job. He's reportedly been running ahead of Justin Jackson, Jermar Jefferson and others at camp, and Saturday afternoon he was the starter and took seven carries for 37 yards in the first quarter. 
    • Jefferson was the second back into the game and took nine touches for 23 yards. Jackson was third into the game and had seven carries for 54 yards.


Green Bay Packers (vs. NO)

  • The Packers rested starters, including RBs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon.
  • WR Romeo Doubs scored a TD for a second straight week, this time for four yards out on Green Bay's third drive. He obviously wasn't among the starters rested, but he could be the next guy up if anything goes wrong with Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins or Randall Cobb (what could possibly go wrong with that group???).
    • Doubs finished with 3-24-1 on five targets.
  • Patrick Taylor got the start at RB and most of the snaps early on, with Tyler Goodson subbing in some and Dexter Williams not playing until later.
    • Taylor is the favorite for the No. 3 RB job, though Kylin Hill (PUP) could eventually come back from his ACL rehab to mount a challenge.
  • 2021 third-round pick Amari Rodgers played into the fourth quarter and finished with two carries for 15 yards and two catches for five yards on five targets. He hasn't taken advantage of the opportunity at WR in Green Bay, and may not even make the team.
  • TE Josiah Deguara played and caught one of two targets for 11 yards. Not sure if he's really a "starter", but he should have a role this year, especially early on if Robert Tonyan (ACL) is absent or limited (which seems very likely at this point).


Houston Texans (at LAR)

  • The Texans played most starters, and the Rams didn't. It looked like it was the other way around, until the final moments before halftime when a pair of miraculous catches and a 15-yard penalty saved Davis Mills from a hideous stat line (he had 50 of his 96 passing yards in the final 14 seconds of the first half).
  • Rookie RB Dameon Pierce was rested, while Marlon Mack got the start and Rex Burkhead took passing-down snaps with the first-team offense.
    • Many have suggested this means Pierce is ahead of Mack, after the rookie stood out in Houston's preseason opener with five carries for 49 yards.
  • WR Brandin Cooks was rested.
  • WR Nico Collins was really the only bright spot for Houston's offense, catching four of six targets for 48 yards and a TD.
    • His TD was from 18 yards out at the very end of the half, on a strange play where you could make an argument it was a catch, an interception or an incompletion. He also saw the first target of the game, and was responsible for Houston's only two first downs through the first 27 minutes of action.
    • WR Chris Conley and TE Brevin Jordan were the other starters with the first-team offense, while WR Chris Moore typically came on as the third receiver (and ultimately saw more snaps and targets than Conley). The three combined for 14 yards on eight targets, while Phillip Dorsett came off the bench as the fourth receiver and made a spectacular 32-yard catch to set up Collins' TD.
      • Between his solid play late last season and so far this preseason, Collins presumably is the No. 2 behind Cooks. After that, Conley obviously has the most experience, but it could depend on who is most comfortable working in the slot and who complements Cooks/Collins best.


Indianapolis Colts (vs. DET)

  • The Colts rested most of their starters, but not all. WRs Parris Campbell and Alec Pierce both played. TE Mo Alie-Cox didn't. TE Kylen Granson did.
    • Pierce, Campbell and Dezmon Patmon were the top three receivers. Campbell wasn't targeted. Pierce made a tough nine-yard grab on his lone target. Patmon went for 5-106-1 on six targets, but with his 50-yard TD coming in the second half alongside third-stringers.
    • It looked like Pierce mostly played over Campbell in two-wide formations.
  • RB Nyheim Hines didn't play, after taking all the first-team snaps last week when Matt Ryan and Michael Pittman suited up.

Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. PIT)

  • The Jags and Steelers both played starters, including their top players, for most of the first half. 
  • Travis Etienne got the start and took eight carries for 29 yards, with undrafted rookie Snoop Conner subbing in and taking eight touches for 29 yards. (James Robinson didn't play.)
    • Conner seemingly would enter Week 1 as the No.  2 back (and get some touches) if Robinson were deemed not ready to play. Robinson does appear on track, however.
  • Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones and Zay Jones got almost all the WR snaps early, with Laquon Treadwell and Jamal Agnew making brief appearances.
    • Kirk caught five of eight targets for 54 yards.
    • M. Jones caught three of four targets for 40 yards.
    • Z. Jones caught one of three for 12 yards.
  • Apart from punt returns, where he muffed a ball, Laviska Shenault didn't seem to play until late in the third quarter.
  • Evan Engram was on the field for nearly all of Lawrence's pass attempts but often was subbed out for Chris Manhertz on run plays. In the regular season, it'll also mean missing out on some routes if he's splitting time with Manhertz, though there's no question Engram would still be the team's top receiving TE.
  • Lawrence completed 14 of 21 passes for 133 yards, with two carries for 13 yards and one sack for a loss of five. His four drives produced two long FG attempts, one short attempt and one turnover on downs, with each series covering at least seven plays and 24 yards.


Kansas City Chiefs (at WAS)

  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire got the start, with both Jerick McKinnon and Isiah Pacheco mixing in on the first-team offense. Ronald Jones didn't play a snap in the first half.
  • Patrick Mahomes played two drives, with both spanning 12 plays and 80-plus yards and ending with TDs.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Mecole Hardman (groin) missed the game with seemingly minor injuries.
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Justin Watson were the top two wide receivers, with Skyy Moore coming on as No. 3 with the first-string offense. The Chiefs ran a bunch of two-TE formations even with Travis Kelce's snaps held back, using backup TEs Noah Gray and Jody Fortson.
    • Moore was held without a catch on one target. The usage obviously isn't promising in terms of his Week 1 role, but keep in mind that rookies tend to be more productive later in the season. Moore can start out fourth or fifth on the depth chart and work his way up, especially when MVS, Hardman and Watson are the guys ahead of him.
  • MVS saw five targets from Mahomes, and while he only caught two for 14 yards, there was a near-miss on a deep ball on the opening drive.
  • Kelce and Watson saw three targets apiece from Mahomes, with Fortson and Pacheco both getting two.
    • Fortson, seemingly the No. 3 TE, caught both of Mahomes' touchdown passes.


Las Vegas Raiders (at MIA)

  • The Raiders rested starters and some other key players for a third straight week. The group included RBs Josh Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah, same as the week before.
    • Zamir White started at RB, and was spelled by Kenyan Drake, who may not have a roster spot soon. Neither did much in terms of yardage, but White scored a two-yard TD on the opening drive.
    • Abdullah seems to be the preferred passing-down back.
  • WR Mack Hollins was a healthy scratch, seemingly, after the Raiders released Demarcus Robinson earlier in the week. Does this mean Hollins is the No. 3 receiver alongside Davante Adams and Hunter Renfrow?
    • Keelan Cole and Tyron Johnson are also candidates, and got most of the WR snaps/targets early in Saturday's game. Cole finished 3-44-0 on five targets. Johnson was 4-32-0 on seven targets.
    • It's not a role that figures to entail many targets unless the Raiders are crushed by injuries.


Los Angeles Chargers (vs. DAL)

  • The Chargers held out starters and key players for a second straight week.
  • INJURY: Rookie RB Isaiah Spiller left with an ankle injury.
    • Before that, Spiller worked behind both Joshua Kelley (the starter) and Larry Rountree.
      • Kelley started for a second straight week, but was held to seven carries for 18 yards after a solid showing in the opener. Fortunately for him, Rountree and Spiller didn't do much either.
  • Josh Palmer started for a second straight week, and after going 0-for-4 on targets in the preseason opener, he was the star of Saturday's game with a 3-75-1 receiving line (on four targets again).
    • Jalen Guyton also started, and caught one of two targets for 16 yards. He has 22 yards on four targets this preseason.


Los Angeles Rams (vs. HOU)

  • The Rams rested starters, and also key backups.
  • 2020 fourth-round pick TE Brycen Hopkins caught each of his six targets for 41 yards.
    • Blanton is the No. 2 TE this year. Kendall Blanton, who started in the Super Bowl, was released less than 24 hours after Friday's game.
      • You might remember Hopkins also caught four passes in the Super Bowl, while Blanton wasn't targeted (Tyler Higbee was out with an MCL injury)
  • Rookie fifth-round pick Kyren Williams has been practicing after starting camp on the PUP list due to a foot injury, but he was held out Friday night. With Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson also held out (and reportedly dealing with minor injuries), Jake Funk got the start at RB for the Rams but took only two touches for a loss of one yard.    
    • The broadcasters for Friday's game said Williams is expected to play a bunch in the Rams' preseason finale. He may still have a shot at the No. 3 spot to start the season.


Miami Dolphins (vs. LV)

  • The Dolphins played a lot of starters, but not Jaylen Waddle (undisclosed) or Tyreek Hill (healthy scratch) or Raheem Mostert (healthy-ish scratch). That left Cedrick Wilson and Trent Sherfield as Tua Tagovailoa's top two receivers early in the game, with River Cracraft coming on as the No. 3
  • Gesicki saw the four targets early, but he also came off the field in favor of Durham Smythe some, and continued playing after a lot of other starters (including Tagovailoa) had been pulled. Gesicki finished with 3-27-0 on six targets, so at least he still saw the ball while playing more in-line snaps in Mike McDaniels' offense. TBD if Gesicki ends up a decent fit for an offense where he's asked to be more of a traditional tight end and less of an oversized slot receiver.
    • After the game, Gesicki said he's "learning a whole new position" and can use "any reps I can get." (per Yahoo).


Minnesota Vikings (vs. SF)


New England Patriots (vs. CAR)

  • RB Damien Harris played all three snaps on the first drive, including a third-down sack where he probably could've done more as a blocker (the guy he chipped then sacked Mac Jones about a half-second later while Harris was trying to go out for a route).
    • RB Rhamondre Stevenson then played all three snaps on the second drive, including a third-down target (incomplete, with Jones throwing before Stevenson looked up for the ball).
    • Ty Montgomery then took all 10 snaps on the third drive, including a two-yard TD run. He looked good, too. Five touches for 18 yards might not sound impressive, but three of those went for either a touchdown or first down, and another was a six-yard run that set up a 3rd-and-4 (which Montgomery converted with a short catch).
  • Mac Jones was pulled after three drives, but other starters got some work with Brian Hoyer, including DeVante Parker, Jakobi Meyers and Damien Harris.
    • Parker and Harris got a degree of redemption for earlier mistakes (Parker had an early drop), with the former  on a play that the latter caught for a 17-yard gain. Harris also had a couple nice gains on the ground later in the drive, finishing with three totes for 18 yards.
  • No. 3 QB Bailey Zappe came in for the fifth drive, with Rhamondre Stevenson in behind him at running back. Note that both Harris and Montgomery got more work with the starters than Rhamonster.
    • Montgomery also got some work alongside Zappe, handling a two-minute drill at the end of the first half.
  • Meyers and Parker were the starting receivers, with Nelson Agholor coming on as the No. 3 and Tyquan Thornton also mixing in.
    • Kendrick Bourne was held out, seemingly because he's in Bill Belichick's doghouse.
    • And Thornton suffered a collarbone injury, likely ruling him out for the next couple months. Maybe Agholor bounces back from his ugly 2021?


New Orleans Saints (at GB)

  • First-round pick Chris Olave got a lot of run in the first half with QB Ian Book and other backups. The rookie caught two of three targets for 28 yards, including a 20-yard TD late in the second quarter. And he might've had another TD if Book had seen him open downfield.
  • Saints beat reporter Nick Underhill suggests Tony Jones is "pulling ahead" in the competition for the No. 3 RB spot. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara both were rested Friday, along with most other starters.
    • Jones got the start and most of the first-half snaps, taking four carries for 19 yards and three catches for 20 yards.
    • Devine Ozigbo also got snaps in the first half, and he finished with seven carries for 40 yards and two receptions for seven yards.
    • Rookie UDFA Abram Smith didn't get touches until the second half and finished with only 30 yards on 12 touches.
    • Dwayne Washington didn't play. The Saints kept him as their No. 3 RB in the past, mostly for special teams reasons, but now it looks like Jones is making his case there as well...or maybe Washington has a spot locked up? In any case, Jones might be the next guy up behind Ingram for snaps on offense even if he's technically kept on the practice squad while Washington gets a roster spot for special teams.


New York Giants (vs. CIN)

  • The Giants played some starters, but not all. Saquon Barkley was rested. Kadarius Toney (leg) was out with a minor injury.
  • Kenny Golladay played a bunch, yet finished without a target. It was him, Collin Johnson and Wan'Dale Robinson, David Sills and rookie TE Daniel Bellinger running most of the routes early on.
    • Johnson looked good for a second straight week, catching three of four looks for 41 yards. He could get a chance to replace Golladay eventually if twitter is right that Kenny G is washed (TBD).
    • Bellinger caught two of three targets for 10 yards. He's played a ton of snaps with Daniel Jones and the starters this preseason but hasn't done much.
    • Robinson had three catches for minus-three yards on three targets.
  • With Barkley held out and Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell both out due to injuries, Antonio Williams got the start at RB and had a 5-26-0 rushing line and 7-46-0 receiving line.
    • Maybe a good sign for Barkley that Williams saw all those targets? Though a bunch were in the second half after Daniel Jones left.
  • QB Davis Webb and WR Alex Bachman absolutely lit it up in the fourth quarter. They connected for 80-plus yards and two TDs between the Giants' final two drives. Bachman finished with 11-122-2 on 14 targets.... seemingly all in the second half. Not often you see that kind of line in the preseason.


New York Jets (vs. ATL)



Philadelphia Eagles (at CLE)

  • The Eagles rested starters, after playing most of them the previous week.
  • RB Boston Scott got the start and took the entire first drive, but Kenneth Gainwell also got plenty of snaps and carries while QB Gardner Minshew was still in the game (Minshew played the first half, spanning three very long drives, and completed 14 of 17 passes for 142 yards.
    • Scott got four short-yardage carries on the first drive, with two successful, including a one-yard TD. He finished with 10-33-1 rushing and one catch for 11 yards.
    • Gainwell scored a two-yard TD on the second drive, also getting multiple short-yardage carries. He finished with 11-46-1 rushing. Not ideal that Scott played first, but it probably doesn't matter much, as both are likely to get snaps behind Miles Sanders (hamstring) this year. TBD if it's the same rotation as last year or something different.
  • Quez Watkins, Jalen Reagor and Zach Pascal got most of the WR snaps early. None reached 20 yards, but Watkins did catch both of his targets for 19. Watkins was the No. 2 receiver by the end of last year and should be No. 3 this year, though Reagor and Pascal are also in the mix for snaps, perhaps.


Pittsburgh Steelers (at JAX)

  • Both teams played most starters for the entire first half, though Mitchell Trubisky was replaced by Kenny Pickett after three drives, giving the rookie a pair of series to work with starters at the end of the first half.
    • Pickett started with a 3-and-out but then executed a perfect two-minute drill (really a one-minute drill) to finish 6-of-7 for 76 yards and a TD.
      • Pickett's day was done after that, with Mason Rudolph playing the second half.
  • RB Najee Harris was held out again, with Benny Snell getting the start and nearly all the snaps on the first few drives.
    • Jaylen Warren was the second back into the game, and Anthony McFarland also got a bit of playing time in the first half. 
    • Snell lost two yards on three carries but had an 11-yard receiving TD shortly before halftime. The other backs all finished with three rushing yards or fewer, with Warren at least catching three passes for 24 yards to have some contribution.
  • Diontae Johnson, Pat Freirmuth and George Pickens all played the vast majority of first- half snaps. Chase Claypool was out there too, more often than not, but he came off the field more than the others.
    • Claypool mostly worked from the slot, and had a 29-yard catch over a defender early on, plus another gain of around 15 wiped out by a penalty. It's not ideal if he loses two-wide snaps to Pickens, but the Steelers haven't run much two-wide stuff in recent years anyway. The bigger concern, as always, will be Pittsburgh's QB play and Claypool's focus.
    • Pickens managed only two catches for six yards on two targets. Claypool technically had just one target, the 29-yard catch, while Diontae Johnson caught two of four passes for 33 yards (with two others wiped out by penalties, including a TD).
    • Freiermuth saw both of his targets late in the first half from Pickett, and caught both for a total of 35 yards.


San Francisco 49ers (vs. GB)

  • The 49ers held out starters, and also Jeff Wilson, who may have the No. 2 RB job locked up.
  • Trey Sermon started, but JaMycal Hasty and Tyrion Davis-Price also had touches within the first four snaps (TDP was stuffed on a fourth-down try).
    • Sermon finished with six touches for 12 yards, while Davis-Price bounced back with 11 for 47.


Seattle Seahawks (vs. CHI)

  • Drew Lock (COVID-19) was scheduled to start but couldn't play. 


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at TEN)

  • The Bucs played a mix of starters and backups initially, with their superstars, injured guys and older players held out while some of the mid/lower-level starters played.
    • Leonard Fournette was one of the guys who played, kicking things off with gains of 10, four and four on Tampa's first three snaps. He appeared to play every snap on Tampa's first three drives (all short ones) before giving way to Rachaad White.
  • White was the second back into the game and took six carries for 19 yards and one catch for 16 yards. I thought he looked pretty good, and so did Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who was third into the game and ran 10 times for 54 yards.
    • Giovani Bernard (ankle) didn't play. Even if healthy, it isn't clear he'd take third-down snaps from Fournette at this point. The Bucs could instead use Vaughn on early downs or White on either early/late downs.
  • None of the top four WRs played, including a healthy Julio Jones.
  • TE Cameron Brate also didn't play, despite seemingly being healthy. Kyle Rudolph did, and seemed to play every snap early on, with rookie Cade Otton coming on as the No. 2 TE.


Tennessee Titans (vs. TB)

  • QB Malik Willis started, but the Titans did play some of their probable starters, including TE Austin Hooper and WR Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.
    • Willis made a few brilliant plays but again spent way too much time running around and not enough time trying to complete passes. He finished seven of 17 for 80 yards, with five carries for 42 yards and three sacks for minus-12 yards.
  • Last week I noted that Westbrook-Ikhine and RB Dontrell Hilliard were rested along with the starters because they had roles locked up. This week both played, with Hilliard getting the start and exiting after one drive. NWI played a bit more, catching one of two targets for 21 yards.
  • Rookie WR Treylon Burks got some snaps early on, but he also played deep into the second half (same as last week) and finished with only one catch for four yards on three targets. His preseason remains encouraging, while Tennessee's depth chart remains underwhelming. 
  • Rookie slot man Kyle Phillips caught only one of four targets for 11 yards, but he got most of the slot snaps with the first-team offense and had a couple nice punt returns. He could be the No. 3 receiver right out of the gate, while NWI and Robert Woods (knee) are favorites for the top two jobs. We'll see how Woods comes along in his rehab, and if Burks or Racey McMath can push Westbrook-Ikhine for perimeter snaps.
  • RB Hassan Haskins, a fourth-round pick, worked ahead of fellow rookie Julius Chestnut, a UDFA, though both got plenty of work alongside Willis. Last week, Chestnut was the first guy up and lost a fumble early but also had a long run. In this one, both had similarly mediocre stat lines (10-12 carries for 35-39 yards and two catches for 8-10 yards).


Washington Commanders (at KC)

  • Brian Robinson got the start at RB in a game where the Commanders seemingly played all healthy starters.
    • Antonio Gibson returned the opening kickoff, then worked behind Robinson with the first-team offense in what's usually J.D. McKissic's role.
      • McKissic was out with a groin injury, and the Commanders didn't seem to miss him with Gibson catching three of four targets for 37 yards. Maybe the lack of confidence in Gibson on early downs is what finally inspires Scott Turner and Co. to realize that McKissic is basically useless (he's not good at running or blocking, and is only good at receiving by RB standards... I've joked many times that any failed slot receiver could do what he does with a bit of elbow grease.)
  • Jahan Dotson ran with Terry McLaurin in two-wide formations, while Curtis Samuel came on as the third receiver.
    • Dotson took a screen pass for 12 yards on Washington's second snap, later adding an 11-yard gain on his only other target.
    • Samuel caught two of four targets for 10 yards, though he didn't get much help from QB Carson Wentz, who played behind a mix of starters and backups on the O-line and nonetheless finished with an okay stat line (6-of-9 for 64 yards and one sack, but with three punts in three drives).
    • McLaurin caught both his targets for 27 yards.
  • The Commanders have nobody healthy at tight end, allowing rookie Armani Rogers (a college QB) to play with the starters for a second straight week. He caught his lone target for 15 yards, after being targeted by Wentz on four straight plays the week before (gotta love the Wentz / Scott Turner combination... nothing but brilliance lies ahead!).
  • Taylor Heinicke was 4-of-9 passing for 21 yards and an interception, while rookie Sam Howell was 9-of-16 for 145 yards and ran for two TDs. There's probably not a competition there in terms of the Week 1 backup job, but don't rule it out later on if Howell also looks good in practice.


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Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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