NFL Preseason Week 1 Recap: 16 Must-Know Facts

Aug 15, 2022
NFL Preseason Week 1 Recap: 16 Must-Know Facts

It’s tough to get too excited about preseason football games, especially when they take place on weekend nights during the final days of summer. Week 1 usually offers a series from first-team players, maybe two if we're lucky. But fantasy players need some clarity before the bulk of drafting starts, so that's where I come in. Here's a position-by-position look at how Week 1 went down, so managers can plan and adjust accordingly for the onslaught of upcoming drafts.


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Note: All ADP mentioned is courtesy of 4for4’s Underdog ADP Tool.

Quarterbacks

Zach Wilson and the Jets avoided a catastrophic start to 2022: According to ESPN's Rich Cimini, the NY QB suffered a bone bruise and meniscus tear in his right knee on Friday night and will only miss two to four weeks after surgery for a partial repair. The Jets hope to have him back by Week 1 and I’m certainly no doctor, but with such a short recovery, re-injury should be a concern.

Tyler Huntley is still a really good backup: The Ravens’ QB proved highly accurate on Thursday night going 16-for-18 (88.9%), with a well-thrown 14-yard TD pass. Huntley also showed his rushing prowess with a 14-yard physical run to convert a fourth down. If you’re in need of a late-round dart in a deep 2QB or superflex league, Huntley could be your man again if anything were to happen to Lamar Jackson in 2022.

It was a rough return to football for Deshaun Watson: On the field for the first time since 2020, Watson played for the entire first quarter and completed just 1-of-5 passes for seven yards. The Browns failed to muster up a single first down with Watson at the helm, and to make things worse, center Nick Harris was carted off the field due to a right knee injury.

Trevor Lawrence appears to be benefiting from a legitimate football coach: The Jags played most of their starters against Cleveland, and the sophomore QB made some solid plays, ones we didn’t see much of in 2021. Lawrence completed 6-of-12 passes and a touchdown and looked poised and more confident.

Despite a scary late hit on Jalen Hurts, he had a perfect outing: The Eagles QB went 6-for-6 for 80 yards and a touchdown in his lone series, showcasing the ability to both create and execute plays in this first preseason game.

The future looks bright at QB for Pittsburgh: Kenny Pickett was impressive in his first real NFL action, showcasing his mobility and ability to throw the ball on the move. The rookie led the game-winning drive, topped off by a 24-yard TD strike to WR Tyler Vaughns.

Running Backs

Don’t write off Miles Sanders for pass work: The fourth-year RB has fallen to the early eighth round in Underdog drafts this summer due to the perception that Philly will lean more pass-heavy with A.J. Brown on the roster, among other things. Sanders worked solely in target volume on Friday night, catching both balls from Hurts for a total of 20 yards.

Fumbling may still be an issue for Antonio Gibson: After a six-fumble 2021 season, the 24-year-old lost the ball on his second carry of the night, while rookie Brian Robinson impressed on the next series. Robinson rushed six times for 26 yards in the contest including an eight-yard TD run, with two additional catches for 15 yards. Gibson has fallen to the seventh round as RB25, while Robinson is currently being drafted as RB53 in the 15th.

Rookie Dameon Pierce was a bright spot: The start to Saturday’s contest was fairly underwhelming for Houston, but when Pierce entered the game in the second quarter, he brought a jolt with him. The 22-year-old broke out for 20 yards on his first carry, ending with 49 yards on five rushes. For now, Marlon Mack is considered the starter, but it may not take too long for Pierce to earn the role if he continues to make those explosive runs. The rookie is currently being drafted as RB39 at spot 118.6

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown looks to be picking up where he left off last year: One of the more compelling WRs this season at ADP, the now fifth-rounder had a solid start in both volume and efficiency on Friday night. The Detroit first team only played for one series, but St. Brown caught both of his targets for 29 yards.

Rookie Drake London left during the game’s first series with a knee injury: It doesn’t appear to be too serious for London which is great news for the Falcons and those investing in the Atlanta wideout this season.

It was a mixed bag for Packer rookie Romeo Doubs: After a summer of hype, Doubs has climbed 64.1 draft spots since July 1st and is now leaving boards as WR68 in the 13th round. Doubs caught three passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, but also dropped a pass and had one stripped for an interception. His ADP will most likely continue to rise as long as Aaron Rodgers or whoever is under center feeds him the ball this preseason.

I’d like to introduce you to Arizona WR Greg Dortch: This is actually the Wake Forest product’s fourth year in the NFL as mostly a practice squad and special teams guy with stints for the Jets, Panthers, Rams, and Falcons. He may remain there for the Cardinals in 2022, but the speedster put on quite a show against the Bengals on Friday night making a case for the 53-man roster, and WR work. Dortch was the target leader with eight, hauling in four of those for 53 yards. He’s not draftable in regular season-long leagues but perhaps think about a last-round sprinkle in your remaining best ball drafts.

George Pickens is healthy and really good: The UGA wideout was impressive on Saturday night, catching three of five targets for 43 yards and a score. His ADP is currently 140.5 as WR64, but will likely ascend after his performance against the Seahawks. The Steelers' target distribution is still a question mark heading into the regular season, but Pickens has the talent and potential opportunity to outproduce his current fantasy WR5 draft designation.

Tight Ends

Evan Engram could be that late-round guy we’ve all been drafting him as all summer: Sure, it was just one catch for a 9-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play, but it’s encouraging to see the connection forming between Engram and Lawrence. The former Giant is currently a 16th-round pick as TE23 for all you bargain basement TE shoppers.

Philly capped their opening drive with a TD strike to Dallas Goedert: This isn’t super noteworthy, but TE news is scarce and fantasy managers have been skittish of Goedert’s potential volume this season. He caught his only target for a 22-yard score which is encouraging at his current TE8, early ninth-round ADP.

Kicker

It was business as usual for Money Mac: Evan McPherson picked up right where he left off in 2021, nailing three field goals for 23, 58, and 56 yards.

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