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Week In Review

Preseason Week 1 Notes and Usage

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: August 15, 2019, 6:14 pm ET

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 JohnsonJordan 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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