Preseason Week 1 Notes and Usage


It's my Rotoworld debut -- at least as an NFL full-timer -- so I opted to go all out with this one. Hopefully it's enough to earn a follow on Twitter (@HaydenWinks). Anyways, here are my notes on how players were used and how they looked during the first week of the preseason:

Arizona Cardinals

Did Not Play (DNP): Andy Isabella, Charles Clay

Kyler Murray played 11 snaps if we include penalties. All 11 of them were in shotgun, and 10-of-11 were three-receiver sets. I think the shotgun is here to stay, but I anticipate the Cardinals using more four-receiver sets during the regular season. Murray looked insanely athletic scrambling and he creates a ton of velocity on passes with very little effort. … David Johnson played the first seven snaps before coming off the field after a big gain on *wait for it* a screen. Kliff Kingsbury is going to get Johnson involved in the passing game. I'm fine with Johnson as the No. 4 overall pick in fantasy drafts for as long as Zeke is holding out. … The Cardinals rotated their receivers, including Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald, a lot in the preseason opener. I'm not convinced that's how it will be in the regular season, but it's worth monitoring during the next two preseason games. … With Andy Isabella back at practice, we should get a better look at how the depth chart is looking next week. Some camp reports have KeeSean Johnson as the No. 3, but Isabella is my bet as long as he shows that he is healthy. … Maxx Williams weirdly played almost every first-team snap, but he's primarily a blocker. Ricky Seals-Jones rotated in and made a nice catch. There's theoretical upside in this offense for Seals-Jones, but I'm worried about his snap totals.

Atlanta Falcons

DNP: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu, Devonta Freeman

The Tevin Coleman role (if that still exists) is up for grabs. Ito Smith received the "start" and scored on his second goal-line carry, but Brian Hill also mixed in on the first drive. There isn't anyone behind Freeman that I'm targeting late in drafts.

Baltimore Ravens

DNP: Mark Ingram, Marquise Brown

Lamar Jackson played 16 snaps, and he looked like, well, Lamar Jackson. There were some obvious misses, but he made some good throws and is arguably the most explosive running quarterback in NFL history. Jackson has a ton of upside at ADP. … With Mark Ingram sitting, the Ravens opted to give Gus Edwards the veteran nod as the starter, but Justice Hill showed flashes of brilliance. He made a wonderful catch-and-run on a dump-off. Hill needs to climb ahead of Edwards before the preseason ends to have any shot of becoming a fantasy asset, but I'm betting on that happening. I like Hill in the double-digit rounds. … Miles Boykin looked like the athlete he is. He made back-to-back-to-back clutch catches at one point, which should be enough for Boykin to climb ahead of either Seth Roberts or Chris Moore on the depth chart. … Mark Andrews is one of my favorite dart-throw tight ends, but he was only on 6-of-16 first-team snaps. Basically, the Ravens don't trust him as a blocker, so he'll be subbed in on passing downs unless things change. Not the worst thing ever but definitely not ideal. Nick Boyle played on 10-of-16 snaps, while Hayden Hurst (what a first name) saw six snaps.

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Buffalo Bills

DNP: LeSean McCoy, basically all of the tight ends

Josh Allen played 18 snaps. Here are the receiver snaps: John Brown (17), Cole Beasley (13), Andre Roberts (11), Zay Jones (9), and Isaiah McKenzie (1). Brown and Beasley have their starting spots locked up, but there's a battle for the WR3 gig. Unfortunately, it looks like intriguing deep threat Robert Foster is not included in the hunt. … LeSean McCoy didn't play, but we got our first look at Devin Singletary. To me, Singletary showed some wiggle -- he had a college football leading 42% broken tackle rate last year -- but didn't have the juice to pick up extra yards. Of course, it was a very, very limited sample, but that was my fear after he ran a 4.66-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Carolina Panthers

DNP: Cam Newton, Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jarius Wright, Greg Olsen

The first-team offense didn't play, so there's nothing to gain here. We did get to see Will Grier, who was one of my favorite picks in the 2019 NFL Draft. Grier completed 9-of-16 passes with an interception and touchdown each. We'll see more of him in the next preseason game.

Chicago Bears

DNP: Tarik Cohen, Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton

Mitchell Trubisky only played three snaps and there were a handful of starters sitting, so snap counts aren't that telling in this case. Late-round sleeper Mike Davis drew the "start" but third-round rookie David Montgomery looked better than the backups he was playing against. Montgomery had a few of his signature cutbacks that led to missed tackles and caught all three of his targets. Montgomery will have to continue to show well to steal snaps from Cohen and Davis.

Cincinnati Bengals

DNP: Joe Mixon, Giovani Bernard, A.J. Green, John Ross, Tyler Eifert

Andy Dalton played 15 snaps, but Tyler Boyd was the only skill-position starter to join him. … Trayveon Williams hopped into the starting lineup with Mixon and Bernard sidelined, and he was able to find the end zone on a goal-line carry after getting stuffed on his first attempt. He's nothing more than a low-end dynasty hold with two veterans ahead of him.

Cleveland Browns

DNP: Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt

Nick Chubb played the first four snaps, running routes on the three snaps he didn't receive a handoff. Chubb even lined up in the slot on the first play. After a 12-yard run, Chubb was subbed out, and Dontrell Hilliard came in. He caught two Mayfield-thrown passes out of the backfield on his first two snaps and was ultimately targeted six times during the game. I don't expect Hilliard to completely take over the Duke Johnson role, but he's a player worth monitoring for the next two preseason games and could be a cheap PPR target in deep leagues.

Dallas Cowboys

DNP: Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Jason Witten

Dak Prescott played nine snaps, and Michael Gallup was on all of them. Once Prescott left the field, Gallup followed. That's a good sign that he's fully expected to be a starter in 2019. Gallup is someone I don't mind grabbing in the double-digit rounds. … Late-round rookie RB Tony Pollard, who also saw tons of time in the slot in college, was the starter with Zeke and Alfred Morris not suiting up.

Denver Broncos

DNP: Emmanuel Sanders, Jeff Heuerman

Joe Flacco played 11 snaps. Running back snaps between Phillip Lindsay (7) and Royce Freeman (4) were similar to last year's percentages and their specific roles appear to be the same, too. Lindsay was in on all six first-team passing-down snaps, while Freeman handled 4-of-5 short-yardage snaps. … Noah Fant started and caught his two targets for 14 yards.

Detroit Lions

DNP: Matthew Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola

Most of the starting lineup didn't play, so not a lot to learn here, but first-round TE T.J. Hockenson wasn't targeted and didn't start. Look for Hockenson's reps to increase over the next two preseason games.

Green Bay Packers

DNP: Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, Jimmy Graham

Not a ton to learn from the Packers' first preseason game, but Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both starting and being subbed out after eight snaps was confirmation that they are the No. 2 and No. 3 options behind Davante Adams. … Day 3 rookie RB Dexter Williams received extra looks with others sitting, and he looked pretty good. Williams rushed for 62 yards on 14 carries and also picked up 18 yards on a screen. If Aaron Jones were to miss time, I'd be looking to pick up Dexter, not Jamaal Williams.

Houston Texans

DNP: Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, Lamar Miller, Duke Johnson, Jordan Thomas

Most of the starting offense didn't suit up, but Keke Coutee did. Unfortunately, he left with "not major" ankle injury. His timetable for a return is unknown. Duke Johnson would benefit if Coutee were to miss any time. … Taiwan Jones started over rookies Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon, but Crockett did convert a goal-line carry for a touchdown. Some reports have Crockett as a goal-line vulture. Something to watch moving forward.

Indianapolis Colts

DNP: Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell, Eric Ebron, Jack Doyle, Marlon Mack

The entire starting offense, minus Devin Funchess, sat this one out, so there was little to learn. The obvious thing to watch moving forward is Andrew Luck's (calf) health.

Jacksonville Jaguars

DNP: Nick Foles, Leonard Fournette, Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley

Most of the starters didn't play, so we saw our first look at Day 3 quarterback Gardner Minshew, who looked to be making most of the correct reads but didn't have the arm strength to finish the throws.

Kansas City Chiefs

DNP: Damien Williams

Patrick Mahomes dropped an absolute dime to Travis Kelce before coming out, but the Chiefs' rookies were the MVPs. … Sixth-round rookie RB Darwin Thompson was insanely explosive. He broke tackles, ran by defenders, and showed major bunnies when he hurdled his own teammate. Thompson, who was an analytics sleeper with a 39-inch vertical, looked the part. Now he needs to move ahead of Carlos Hyde, who received the "start" with Damien Williams sitting out. Thompson has league-winning upside and is essentially free in fantasy drafts. … Second-round rookie WR Mecole Hardman showed off his 4.34 speed on a 17-yard touchdown. It's going to be tough to defend all of the Chiefs' speed, but Hardman is still a low-volume even if he looked exciting in the preseason opener.

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Los Angeles Rams

DNP: Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Gerald Everett, Tyler Higbee

None of the starters played, but we did get a first look at second-round rookie RB Darrell Henderson, who is definitely one of my draft crushes. Henderson, however, didn't have the best game while running in the Rams' zone scheme for the first time. I found this video breakdown from @JMoyerFB very interesting. Henderson still has a ton of fantasy upside as a pass-catcher and explosive runner, but this may be a little bit of a work in progress. Hopeful we see positive steps in the second preseason game. I'll certainly be paying close attention.

Los Angeles Chargers

DNP: Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon, Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin

Austin Ekeler played on 12-of-17 first-team snaps, and basically only came off the field after big runs. Ekeler saw the first two inside-the-five carries, but he did fumble the second one. Fumbles have been Ekeler's Achilles heel, so the Chargers gave Justin Jackson the next goal-line carry, which he converted for a touchdown. If Melvin Gordon were to miss games, then Ekeler looks like a near full-time player with Jackson helping out on short-yardage situations. Their ADPs are far too rich for me right now, but I am scooping up a lot of Melvin Gordon in the third round. … Hunter Henry played 12 snaps, lining up all over the formation while catching both of his targets. The Chargers wouldn't be playing Henry in the first preseason game unless they were fully comfortable with his knee.

Miami Dolphins

DNP: Albert Wilson

Kenyan Drake operated as the clear-cut starter. Drake played on 9-of-13 snaps with Ryan Fitzpatrick, while Kalen Ballage rotated in for 4-of-13 first-team snaps. If this holds up, Drake is a post-hype buy in the middle rounds with his ADP falling. However, it is worth noting that Ballage scored a one-yard touchdown against the Falcons' second defensive unit. … Ryan Fitzpatrick drew the start, while Josh Rosen was given the second-string offensive line. It was a disaster. Rosen needs some protection help if the Dolphins are going to get a proper evaluation on him before they start eyeing Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm in next year's NFL Draft. … Undrafted rookie WR Preston Williams played really well, catching four passes for 97 yards on five targets. Williams has starting-caliber talent if he can stay focused. At Colorado State, he played like a Day 2 or early Day 3 prospect, but character concerns dropped his draft stock.

Minnesota Vikings

DNP: Dalvin Cook

The first-team offense played nine snaps. Adam Thielen had another insane catch that led to an easy one-yard receiving touchdown for third-round rookie RB Alexander Mattison. At Boise State, Mattison operated as a three-down workhorse, one that showed off plus-hands for a bigger-sized back. Mattison can be drafted as a handcuff.

New England Patriots

DNP: Tom Brady, Sony Michel, James White, Damien Harris, Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas

The Patriots opted to not expose second-round RB Damien Harris, despite being paper-thin at the position going into the evening. Harris essentially being treated as a veteran in the opener could be a sign that Bill Belichick likes what he's seen from him so far. We should learn more about how Harris will be used in the Patriots' second and third preseason games, but him not playing in the opener was encouraging. … N'Keal Harry made two really nice grabs in tight coverage. Harry's biggest question mark is his separation skills, but if he can routinely make in-traffic catches and can pick up yards after the catch, then I don't see it as a major issue. After Harry made his second catch, he looked a bit injured and reports say he may miss some practice time. … Matt LaCosse started over Benjamin Watson, who will miss the first four games.

New Orleans Saints

DNP: Drew Brees

The "first-team" offense had a long field goal drive to start the game. Alvin Kamara played on nine of those snaps with Latavius Murray subbing in on three of them. Kamara saw 3-of-4 1st and 10 snaps and was given the carry from the two-yard line, which he would have converted if not for the holding call. The "starters" went out for another drive, while Kamara stayed on the sideline. It's hard to completely tell what the plan is here with Kamara and Murray, but this looks like a Kamara/Ingram type split. … Ted Ginn Jr. ran ahead of Tre'Quan Smith, who had a bad drop in the first quarter. Rishard Matthews retired following this game.

New York Giants

DNP: Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram

There were too many starters out to learn much about the offense, but Daniel Jones looked pretty good in the opener, going 5-for-5 for 67 yards and a score. He was playing against backups, and I'm not sure if a couple of those touch passes would've been completed against starting-caliber talents, but it was an encouraging sign regardless. The Eli Manning hot seat just got warmer.

New York Jets

DNP: Le'Veon Bell

The Jets' starters opened the preseason with a seven-play drive, topped off with a passing touchdown to slot receiver Jamison Crowder. The Jets used a three-receiver set on 7-of-7 plays, with Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Quincy Enunwa playing on all seven of them. Expect Anderson to be used underneath more in 2019 -- he only was targeted behind the line of scrimmage once last year -- and expect Crowder to see a healthy amount of targets as a potential fantasy WR4. If Sam Darnold takes off in his second year, Anderson and Crowder will easily exceed their ADPs. It's a cheap team to stack in Best Ball. … With Bell out, Ty Montgomery played on 7-of-7 first-team snaps. Montgomery looks to be ahead of Elijah McGuire, Bilal Powell, and Trenton Cannon on the depth chart, making him a reasonable late-round target purely as a handcuff to Bell.

Oakland Raiders

DNP: Derek Carr, Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller

The starters didn't play, which was really unfortunate because that meant multiple drives with Mike Glennon. When Glennon was done throwing interceptions, it was time for Nathan the Peter Man, who somehow broke off a 50-yard run. That was amazing. … Late-round rookie WR Hunter Renfrow has received a lot of buzz from camp, but he was only targeted once and didn't start.

Philadelphia Eagles

DNP: Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz

Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders rotated pretty randomly in the first quarter. Both saw first- and third-down snaps, but Howard was on the field for the first play and ultimately out-snapped Sanders, nine to six on the 15 total snaps before Josh Adams took over. With so many first-teamers not playing in the opener, I'm not putting too much stock into the snap distribution here, but it's safe to say Sanders is not the unquestioned starter at this point. … Dallas Goedert (calf) left the game but looked as good as advertised before departing. He's expected to miss the remainder of the preseason. The plan is for Goedert to be ready for the season opener.

Pittsburgh Steelers

DNP: Ben Roethlisberger, James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Donte Moncrief, Diontae Johnson, Vance McDonald

James Washington was the only receiver competing for a starting spot to play in the preseason opener. Washington has reportedly struggled in camp, but he showed out this weekend, catching 4-of-5 targets for 84 yards and one touchdown. … Day 3 rookie RB Benny Snell played extensively, but he only picked up 26 rushing yards on his 13 carries. There are legit concerns with his burst and speed.

San Francisco 49ers

DNP: Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida, Jerick McKinnon, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor

Dante Pettis could've been given a day off like Goodwin and Taylor, but coach Kyle Shanahan wanted Pettis to go compete. Not the greatest sign for his clear-cut No. 1 receiver status, especially when rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd were making plays in the preseason opener. Pettis was so good as a rookie last year, however, so I'm going to buy low if his ADP drops. … Samuel and Hurd played more snaps than any other Niners' pass-catcher, and it paid off. Samuel made a nice grab downfield before he exited as the leading receiver. Hurd was equally good, if not better. The do-all rookie truck-sticked his way into the end zone on a crossing route for his first touchdown and then scored a second one on a jump ball in the corner of the end zone. If Trent Taylor (Jones stress fracture) misses games, Hurd has an opportunity to play meaningful snaps. He's a rookie worth monitoring.

Seattle Seahawks

DNP: Russell Wilson, Chris Carson, Tyler Lockett

D.K. Metcalf was targeted five times (including penalties) and all five of his routes were on a vertical line. Two were double-move go routes, two were curls, and one was a screen. Not a whole lot of horizontal movement in the opener, but he was able to get some separation on those double moves.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


The first-team offense played 12 snaps, enough play for us to pull out some valuable info. Nothing was bigger than receiving confirmation that Chris Godwin will slide into the slot in 11 personnel. Godwin kicked inside on all four of the Bucs' three-receiver sets, plus scored a touchdown on a screen to finish off the drive. He's about to eat this season. … O.J. Howard played on all first-team snaps, while Cameron Brate came in on six of them. The Bucs will use some two-tight end formations in 2019, but this is clearly Howard's offense. … Peyton Barber was on the field for the first seven first-team snaps, then Ronald Jones played the next four snaps before Barber came back in when the Bucs were inside the 10-yard line. This looks like a full-blown timeshare.

Tennessee Titans

DNP: Derrick Henry, Corey Davis, A.J. Brown, Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith

Most skill-position starters sat out, so not a whole lot to learn here. Though Marcus Mariota was outplayed by Ryan Tannehill. Of course, Tannehill was playing against backups, but his line (12-of-16 for 130 yards and two touchdowns) looks a lot better than Mariota's (4-of-8 for 24 scoreless yards). It shouldn't be a big surprise if Tannehill makes late-season starts when the Titans fall out of the playoff picture.

Washington Redskins

DNP: Colt McCoy, Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis

Case Keenum started the game, completing 4-of-9 passes for 60 yards and one touchdown. And then it was Dwayne Haskins time. The first-round rookie had some really nice throws but also had two interceptions, one badly underthrown and one badly overthrown. The Redskins need to get him a lot of reps throughout the rest of the preseason. … Trey Quinn (thumb) might be limited the rest of the preseason, but he's projected to open the season as the starting slot receiver.


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