The all-important week three has come and gone, leaving us with no more football until the regular season begins. With roster cuts due in tomorrow by 4:00 PM Eastern time, we’re going to see a lot of activity in the coming days with surprise releases, some possible trades and some depth chart battles being settled. Let’s run down the games from week three and decipher what we learned from the results.
Chiefs 17, Packers 10
Well, Aaron Rodgers is clearly not going to be threatened by Jordan Love any time soon. Love completed just 16-of-26 passing for 148 yards and one interception in this one as Rodgers sat. It’s clear to anyone watching that Love looks nothing like a former first round pick or future starter in the league. It was nice to see a solid game from rookie Samori Toure, who posted six catches for 83 yards. The running backs and most of the starters were put on ice for Green Bay in this one as AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones both watched from the sidelines – the distribution of carries from those two is a massive story to watch.
For the Chiefs, speculation continues to build indicating Ronald Jones could be cut. He was fine in this one with 43 yards on eight carries, but Isiah Pacheco (52 yards on ten carries) is on a cheaper contract and seems to have beaten him out for the backup job.
Texans 17, 49ers 0
The big story for the Texans (and possibly in dynasty leagues) has been the play of rookie running back Dameon Pierce. He started in this pivotal preseason game and responded with 37 yards and a touchdown on just six carries before being put back in bubble wrap. It would be stunning to see anyone else start on opening day. Marlon Mack was solid with 55 yards on ten carries, but his late push is likely to come up short. This offense could very well revolve around Pierce this year as Davis Mills threw for a touchdown, but also could only produce 58 yards and threw an interception on his ten attempts.
Trey Sermon is clearly in the crosshairs this week. The 49ers have said all the right things about how hard he’s worked, but it just isn’t showing up on the field. In what was his biggest stage to make an impression, he had just twenty yards on eight carries. This backfield looks like a 1-2 punch of Elijah Mitchell and Jeff Wilson to start the year. Tyrion Davis-Price (four carries for -3 yards) just likely hasn’t done enough to be in the mix.
Panthers 21, Bills o
Baker Mayfield sewed up the starting job earlier in the week and was solid, going 9-of-15 for 89 yards and two scores. To make things even more clear, Sam Darnold left on a cart with a high ankle sprain that’s going to cost him at least a month of action. This is Baker’s world now and we’re all just living in it. We’ll see what this offense looks like with Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore and Mayfield on the field together – something we really haven’t seen quite yet.
The Bills rested most of their starters, though it was noteworthy to see James Cook take a few carries as Devin Singletary and Zack Moss sat out. It’s evident to anyone who has followed the Bills that this is going to be a backfield that’s very, very muddy unless someone really emerges as a clear-cut better option than the other two. In reality, it’s a great problem for the Bills to have. In fantasy, this is shaping up to be a hot mess in cold Buffalo.
Cowboys 27, Seahawks 26
Seahawks fans rejoice! Geno Smith is your new starting quarterback. The former Jet, Giant, and Charger will be under center to face off against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos for the Monday Night Football opener. He played limited snaps in this one, completing 3-of-6 passes for 43 yards. Drew Lock faceplanted in extended time, completing 13-of-24 passes for 171 yards, with one touchdown and THREE interceptions. The Seahawks offense may be one of the worst in football this year and folks with DK Metcalf or Tyler Lockett may be destined for a long season.
As for Dallas, they sat virtually every player of note.
Saints 27, Chargers 10
There wasn’t much learned in this game as both the Saints and Chargers rested most of their players, though Jameis Winston did complete all four of his passes for 59 yards. Joshua Kelley also showed well again with 40 yards on six carries. While much of the attention has been on rookie Isaiah Spiller, Kelley has been more impressive this off-season and looks like a better complement to Austin Ekeler, at least for the time being.
Raiders 23, Patriots 6
There has been a ton of talk about Mac Jones (9-of-13 for 71 yards and an interception) taking a massive leap forward this season. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen it thus far in the preseason. You can’t read too much into this, but he just hasn’t been that impressive so far. The running back situation continues to be a mess. This week was Kevin Harris‘ time to shine as he posted 54 yards on just four carries. This just looks like something to totally avoid for the first part of the season until we can see some kind of usage trends be established.
As for the Raiders, Zamir White scored another touchdown. The Raiders (much like the Patriots) have an unsettled running back room and it’s really hard to say just what they have planned for Josh Jacobs this season. With Josh McDaniels at the helm, it could be very, very messy. The window to trade Jacobs in your dynasty league could be closing quickly.
Falcons 28, Jaguars 12
The Jaguars had seen enough of their starters, so there really isn’t much to note there. On the Atlanta side, Desmond Ridder (14-of-21 for 185 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions) was up and down. Caleb Huntley made a solid case to make the roster with 86 rushing yards and a touchdown. He’s a deep, deep sleeper with the state of Atlanta’s rushing attack. Whoever leads this team in carries will have some decent fantasy upside this season.
Bengals 16, Rams 7
Much like many other teams in the league, the Rams and Bengals both rested most of their key players. However, Bryce Perkins continues to impress. He capped off a solid preseason by completing 14-of-19 passes for 143, while adding 33 more yards and a touchdown on the ground. He just may not fit the exact scheme the Rams want to play, but it’s hard to see him making his way to their practice squad and clearing waivers after a very impressive preseason.
Bears 21, Browns 20
We finally got to see Justin Fields get some extended time and while he played against mostly Cleveland backups, he finished 14-of-16 passes for 156 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. While this is not going to be close to a big play offense, that was a very positive step for Fields and should give Bears fans and dynasty owners of Bears skill players at least a glimmer of hope.
On the Browns side, it’s pretty clear Josh Rosen is going to be looking for yet another team here soon. Joshua Dobbs has looked solid all preseason and there’s little chance Rosen has made a strong enough case for a roster spot. Cleveland could keep three quarterbacks to start the year with Deshaun Watson serving his suspension, but the fact Rosen was severely outplayed all Summer by Dobbs tells you all you need to know about where his career is headed.
Titans 26, Cardinals 23
The story for the Titans all preseason has been the play of quarterback Malik Willis. He completed 15-of-23 passing in this one for one touchdown and one interception. He also rushed for an additional 79 yards on just four carries. While he’s putting no heat on Ryan Tannehill at the moment, Tennessee could have something to think about should their team start to sputter at any point this season.
The surprise for the Cardinals this Summer has been the backup running battle. Darrel Williams was though to have the inside track on it, but it looks like he could be cut. Keaontay Ingram has been used sparingly and Eno Benjamin looks like the best bet for backup touches at the moment. This will clearly be something to monitor as James Conner has never been the picture of health.
Dolphins 48, Eagles 10
Another sleeper running back named Huntley (this time it’s Jason) showed well with 93 yards and a touchdown. Kennedy Brooks has been very disappointing for the Eagles and looks like a practice squad candidate.
As for the Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa looked sharp, going 6-for-7 with 121 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Sony Michel hasn’t looked good at all. It’s going to be really interesting to see just which running backs the Dolphins elect to keep tomorrow and they are going to have some choices to make.
Ravens 17, Commanders 15
The Ravens won, of course, so please let us know what the preseason championship parade looks like in Baltimore again this year. In all seriousness, there wasn’t much of note outside of the fact Demarcus Robinson (who was cut by the Raiders just last week) made a strong case for a roster spot with a 4/135/1 game. If he makes the team, Robinson could have sneaky value on a team looking for receivers.
The news for the Commanders really has nothing to do with the game. New starting running back Brian Robinson was shot multiple times in a robbery attempt over the weekend. While all the details have yet to emerge, the injuries are reportedly not life threatening and Robinson could return to play at some point this season. Still, this is huge news for Antonio Gibson, Jaret Patterson and the rest of the running back group because Robinson was gearing up to take a huge number of snaps. Gibson may just get one last chance to prove his worth.
Colts 27, Bucs 10
A lot of attention has been placed on the backup battle at running back behind Leonard Fournette. In the end, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Rachaad White have looked very ordinary. It’s fair to wonder if the Bucs would hit up the free agent market if Fournette was to get hurt. Those still drafting White ahead of Dameon Pierce should likely re-evaluate.
It was telling to see both Phillip Lindsay and Ty’Son Williams play in this one. Neither has separated themselves or looks like any kind of factor behind Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines. Lindsay is starting to look like more name than game now and could be a true roster clogger.
Broncos 23, Vikings 13
At this point, it’s going to be surprising to see Kellen Mond or Sean Mannion make the roster. The Vikings seem set with Kirk Cousins and Nick Mullens at the helm. Neither of these two likely did enough to warrant them going in another direction. The writing was on the wall when the Vikings traded for Mullens last week. With Cousins’ long-term future in Minnesota in doubt, it’s pretty obvious the future signal caller for Minnesota is likely in college at the moment.
Denver took a very interesting path this preseason by basically playing nobody noteworthy. We really have no idea what this offense is going to look like and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the likes of Russell Wilson, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon to really get going.
Jets 31, Giants 27
The Giants and Jets both let their extraordinarily explosive (tongue in cheek) offenses take the night off. To say this year is pivotal for both teams would be an understatement. On a side note, it really looks like Kenny Golladay could be a surprise cut this week. His signing has been an absolute disaster and any change in scenery would give him a second lease on fantasy life.
Steelers 19, Lions 9
The quarterback battle in Pittsburgh has been fun to watch. Mitchell Trubisky did nothing to lose the job and that’s good because Kenny Pickett seems pretty ready. This may be a situation where Trubisky simply needs to win games to keep the job – any kind of losing streak would likely send the Steelers to look at Pickett. Jaylen Warren (11 yards) cooled off at the end of the preseason, but still looks like the backup to Najee Harris.
As for the Lions, the running back depth chart is deep behind D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams with Justin Jackson, Craig Reynolds and Jermar Jefferson all showing flashes. There just isn’t going to be enough room for all of them.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a running blog for cutdown day!
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