Matthew Freedman’s Preseason Week 2 Takeaways (2022 Fantasy Football)


When it comes to fantasy football, the NFL preseason matters. Sure, production is overrated and now more than ever starters don’t play much (if at all). But watching what happens, who plays when and who gets rest at the same time as other entrenched starters 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 the NFL preseason games.

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Matthew Freedman’s NFL Preseason Week 2 Takeaways

Bears at Seahawks

  • WR Equanimeous St. Brown played on 100% of QB Justin Fields’ snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. The Bears offense is unlikely to be a strong source of pass-catching production, but St. Brown — and not veteran Byron Pringle or rookie Velus Jones — could be the No. 2 wide receiver in Chicago.
  • TE Noah Fant played only 15 of QB Geno Smith’s 29 snaps and ran a route on just 10 of his 20 dropbacks. Fant is not a full-time player.

Panthers at Patriots

  • Backup RB’s Chuba Hubbard (11 photos of the first team) and D’Onta Foreman (8) are still battling for the #2 spot.
  • The building hype for RB Ty Montgomery as a third replacement for retired James White is real. Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson played for him, but of the three full-backs, Montgomery played the most first-team snaps (10), walked the most first-team routes (6), saw the most first-team targets (1) and earned the most first-team carries (4), one of which was a goal-line touch that he converted into a two-meter hurried touchdown.

Saints at Packers

  • For the second week in a row, the Saints used a committee at the end, so none of these guys are likely to make a big fantasy contribution — but it’s worth noting that for the second week in a row, Juwan Johnson led the position in the first-team snaps ( 10, 14) and first team routes (7, 8) and saw even more use this week than last week. He could be a late round best-ball flyer.
  • With veterans Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins resting, rookie WR Romeo Doubs played 100% of QB Jordan Love’s snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. Doubs looks like the number 4 wide receiver on the team.

Texans at Rams

  • RB Dameon Pierce clenched in Week 1 (5-49-0 rushing) – and then he played none in Week 2, while veterans Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead did. Bottom line: The Texans no longer need to evaluate Pierce in the preseason because they already know they like him, and they don’t want to risk him getting injured in the preseason because they know he will be a major part of their offense at week 1.
  • Undrafted rookie wide receiver Lance McCutcheon dominated for the second game in a row (5-87-2 received on 6 goals last week, 5-96-0 on 6 goals this week). It seems unlikely that McCutcheon will beat backup WRs Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell and Jacob Harris for a roster spot, but his chances of making the team are likely higher now than they were in July.

Broncos at Bills

  • On the plus side, TE Albert Okwuegbunam ran a route on 80% of the first team dropbacks. On the negative side, Okwuegbunam was the only apparent starter in skill position of the team to play in Week 2. Translation: He doesn’t look like a ‘real’ starter.
  • WR Gabriel Davis played on 100% of QB Josh Allen’s snaps and ran a route on 100% of his dropbacks. And closing receiver Isaiah McKenzie (7 first-team snaps, 4 first-team routes) played well before the acquisition of free agent Jamison Crowder (2, 1). Davis and McKenzie are strong favorites to play alongside No. 1 WR Stefon Diggs in sets of three.

Lions at Colts

  • The Lions rested their skill position starters in Week 2. Nothing to report except WR Kalif Raymond (14) and RB Craig Reynolds (11) leading their respective positions in first team snaps. If someone in front of them on the depth map sustains an injury, they will likely be elevated to the starting grid.
  • While RBs Jordan Taylor and Nyheim Hines were at halftime, veteran Phillip Lindsay easily led the backfield with 10 first team snaps, which he used in four carries and five routes. If Taylor or Hines suffer an injury, Lindsay could be put to better use than expected.

Commanders at Chiefs

  • WR’s JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Mecole Hardman (groin) both sat out Week 2, and in their absence, veteran backup Justin Watson led the position by playing on 22 of QB Patrick Mahomes’ 25 snaps and a route to run on 17 of his 19 relapses. With that playing time, he set a strong 2-53-0 receiving line on three goals. An athletic freak (4.44-second 40-yard dash at 6-2, 215 pounds), Watson finished his college career (at the University of Pennsylvania in the Ivy Leagues) with three consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards receiving. Watson will probably never get the chance to become an NFL starter, but if he does, he could be the Jeff Janis who really lives up to his potential.
  • First-round rookie WR Jahan Dotson tied veteran Terry McLaurin with 18 first-team snaps and 10 first-team routes. He is the incarcerated number 2 recipient.

Pirates at Titans

Raiders with dolphins

  • Rookie RB Zamir White (11 photos of the first team) is still ahead of veteran Kenyan Drake (7), who now looks unbearable.
  • “Starting” TE Mike Gesicki (9 first team snaps) played on a committee with Durham Smythe (10). Gesicki was able to struggle with his inline-heavy role in new HC Mike McDaniel’s attack.

49ers at Vikings

  • For the second week in a row, sophomore RB Trey Sermon (9 first team snaps) played for rookie Tyrion Davis-Price (1). If veteran Jeff Wilson loses his role as the #2 back, Sermon could find himself the thunderbolt complement of starter Elijah Mitchell’s lightning.
  • Backup RB Alexander Mattison (8 first-team snaps) played well ahead of third-stringer Kene Nwangwu (1). If starter Dalvin Cook misses time this year – and Cook has never played a full season – Mattison will likely reprise his league-winning power handcuff role.

Steelers at Jaguars

  • Even though TE Evan Engram split first-team snaps with inline blocker Chris Manhertz (26 vs. 20), Engram ran a route on 20 of QB Trevor Lawrence’s 24 dropbacks. He only had one target – but that kind of route use is enough to make Engram a viable fantasy option.
  • Rookie WR George Pickens (21 first team photos, 17 first team routes) played for 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 first team position (20 of 21 last week, 16 of 18 this week). Starter Dalton Schultz plays on the franchise tag and veteran backup Jeremy Sprinkle (Achilles) is battling an injury and signed a cheap one-year contract. If Sprinkle gets cut, Ferguson could be No. 2 from the tight end this year. And if Schultz leaves free, Ferguson could be No. 1 from the tight end next year.
  • Once again, veteran RBs Larry Rountree (13 first team snaps) and Joshua Kelley (11) played well ahead of rookie Isaiah Spiller (2). I still believe Spiller is the most talented and complete of the three full-backs, but he is likely to impress early in the regular season.

Data from PFF

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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