When it comes to fantasy football, the NFL preseason is big. Of course, production is overrated, and now more than ever newbies aren’t playing much (if at all). But watching what’s happening, who’s playing when, and who’s resting alongside other entrenched newbies can help you project roles and, ultimately, value in fantasy football.
Matthew Freedman is here to share his best takeaways from the second weekend of NFL preseason games.
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Matthew Freedman’s NFL Preseason Week 2 Takeaways
Bears at Seahawks
- WR Equanime Saint-Brown played on 100% QB Justin Fields‘ snaps and traveled a route on 100% of his dropbacks. The Bears’ offense is unlikely to be a major source of assist production, but St. Brown — not a veteran Byron Pringle or beginner Velazquez Jones — could be the No. 2 wide receiver in Chicago.
- THE Noah Fan played on only 15 QBs Geno Smith‘s 29 snaps and has walked a route on just 10 of his 20 dropbacks. Fant is not a full time player.
Panthers at Patriotes
- Backup RB Chuba Hubbard (11 shots of the first team) and Onta Foreman (8) are still battling for the No. 2 spot.
- The building hype for RB Ty Montgomery as the third replacement for retired James White is real. Damien Harris and Rhamander Stevenson played in front of him, but of the three backs, Montgomery played the most first-team snaps (10), covered the most first-team runs (6), saw the most first-team targets (1) and won the most first-team matches. carries (4), one of which was a goal-line touchdown that he converted into a two-yard rushing touchdown.
Saints at Packers
- For the second week in a row the Saints have used a tight committee, so neither guy is likely to be a big fantasy contributor – but it’s worth noting that for the second week in a row Juwan Johnson led the position in first-team snaps (10, 14) and first-team routes (7, 8) and actually saw more use this week than last week. It could be a late-round best-ball flyer.
- with veterans Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Samy Watkins rest, rookie WR Romeo Doubs played 100% of the QB Jordan love‘s snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. The Doubs looks like the No. 4 wide receiver on the team.
Texans at Rams
- RB Dameon Pierce played in Week 1 (5-49-0 on the floor) – then he played none in Week 2, while veterans Marlon Mac and Rex Burkhead did. Inference: The Texans don’t need to rate Pierce anymore in the preseason because they already know they love him, and they don’t want to risk him getting hurt in the preseason because they know he will be a big part of their offense in Week 1.
- Undrafted rookie wide receiver Lance McCutcheon dominated for the second game in a row (5-87-2 received on 6 targets last week, 5-96-0 on 6 targets this week). McCutcheon looks unlikely to beat backup WRs Ben Lark, Atwell tutu and Jacob Harris for a spot on the roster, but his chances of making the team are likely higher now than they were in July.
Broncos at Bills
- On the positive side TE Albert Okwuegbunam walked a route on 80% of first-team dropbacks. On the negative side, Okwuegbunam was the team’s only ostensible first-team starter to play in Week 2. Translation: He doesn’t look like a “real” starter.
- WR Gabriel Davis played on 100% QB Josh Allen‘s snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. and slot receiver Isaiah McKenzie (7 first team snaps, 4 first team routes) played long before free agent acquisition Jamison Crowder (2, 1). Davis and McKenzie are big favorites to play alongside the No. 1 WR Stefan Diggs into three wide sets.
Lions at Colts
- The Lions rested their starters in skill position in Week 2. Nothing to report except that WR Kalif Raymond (14) and RB Craig Reynolds (11) led their respective positions in first-team snaps. If someone ahead of them on the depth chart suffers an injury, they will likely be high in the starting lineup.
- With RB Jordan Taylor and Nyheim Hines rest, veteran Philip Lindsay easily led the backfield with 10 first-team snaps, which he exploited in four runs and five routes. If Taylor or Hines suffers an injury, Lindsay could enjoy better-than-expected use.
Commanders at Chiefs
- WR Ju Ju Smith Schuster (knee) and Mecole Hardman (groin) both missed Week 2 and, in their absence, a backup veteran justin watson led the position by playing on 22 of QB Patrick Mahomes‘ 25 snaps and run a run on 17 of his 19 dropbacks. With that playing time, he put up a solid 2-53-0 receiving line on three targets. An athletic monster (4.44 seconds on 40 yards at 6-2, 215 pounds), Watson finished his college career (at the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy Leagues) with three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons. Watson will probably never get the chance to be an NFL starter, but if he does, he could be the Jeff Janis who lives up to his potential.
- First round rookie WR Jahan Dotson veteran bound Terry McLaurin with 18 first-team snaps and 10 first-team routes. He’s the #2 locked receiver.
Buccaneers at Titans
- Rookie RB Zamir White (11 shots in the first team) is still ahead of the veteran Kenyan drake (7), which now seems undraftable.
- TE “start” Mike Gesicki (9 snaps in the first team) played in committee with Durham–Smythe (ten). Gesicki may struggle with his heavy line role in attacking new HC Mike McDaniel.
49ers at Vikings
- For the second week in a row, sophomore RB Sermon Trey (9 first team snaps) played in front of rookie Tyrion Davis Price (1). So veteran Jeff Wilson loses role as No. 2 fullback, Sermon could end up as Thunder’s complement to starter Elijah Mitchellit is lightning.
- Backup RB Alexander Mattison (8 first team snaps) played well past the third stringer Kene Nwangwu (1). If starter Dalvin Cook lack of time this year – and Cook has never played a full season – Mattison will likely return to his role as the league-winning electric handcuffs.
Steelers at Jaguars
- Even if TE Evan Engram split first team snaps with online blocker Chris Manhertz (26 vs 20), Engram ran a road in 20 from QB Trevor Lawrence‘s 24 dropbacks. It only had one purpose – but that kind of route usage is enough to make Engram a fantastically viable option.
- Rookie WR George Pickens (21 first-team snaps, 17 first-team runs) played past third-year starter Chase Claypool (16, 10) … but both saw only one target. volume magnet Diontae Johnson (25 first team snaps, 18 first team routes, 5 first team targets) is still the true alpha receiver.
Cowboys at Chargers
- For the second week in a row, rookie TE Jake Ferguson led the position in first-team snaps (20 of 21 last week, 16 of 18 this week). Hall Dalton Schultz plays franchise tag and veteran backup Jeremy Sprinkle (Achille) is struggling with an injury and signed a cheap one-year contract. If Sprinkle is cut, Ferguson could be the No. 2 tight end this year. And if Schultz leaves in free agency, Ferguson could be the No. 1 tight end next year.
- Again, veteran RBs Larry Rountree (13 shots of the first team) and Joshua Kelley (11) played well past rookie Isaiah Spiller (2). I still believe Spiller is the most talented and complete of the three backs, but he’s likely to make an impact early in the regular season.
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