The first slate of preseason games gives us our first chance to see some concrete evidence of how teams are viewing their depth charts, which is the main value they provide from a Fantasy Football perspective. Of course, that first look into the depth chart isn't actually chiseled into concrete, which is important to remember. It's more like a snapshot of a moment in time.
Take the case of Breece Hall, who came off the bench for Michael Carter and played on just two of the nine snaps Zach Wilson played before getting hurt – at which point the Jets mostly stopped using their starters. What that suggests is, right now – at this very moment – Carter might be a bit ahead of Hall on the depth chart.
Which probably doesn't matter. Carter has a year of work in this system under his belt, so he gets a bit of veteran deferral. If you thought Hall was going to step onto the field for the Jets and immediately dominate playing time, this is probably a concern. But your assumption all along should have been that Hall would be splitting work -- that's how things work in the modern NFL, and this Jets coaching staff comes from the Kyle Shanahan tree, where multiple backs are often featured.
Of course, that doesn't mean you should expect Hall to come off the bench or serve as a complement to Carter; the exact opposite, in fact. And this game doesn't necessarily mean that Hall is even behind schedule to start come Week 1. The Jets have two more preseason games and a month to go until Week 1, and I'm betting at some point in the intervening time, Hall will lock up that No. 1 role.
Of course, I'm a bit skeptical of Hall at his price as a late-third-round pick, because I don't necessarily expect him to dominate touches, and I think this offense might still be pretty bad. So, if his price starts to fall because of this, well I wouldn't complain. But, I won't be discounting him because of this.
I can't say that for the rest of the players in this piece. Here are the biggest losers from Week 1 of the preseason, with snap count and playing time data coming from ProFootballFocus.com.
I've been skeptical of reports that Gibson's role might be at risk, but it's become a lot harder to justify that skepticism after watching how that first preseason game went. Gibson got the start and was out there on first and second down on the first two drives with the first-team offense, but he came off the field for third down in each of his first two series. But the worst part of it was that after he fumbled on his second carry, rookie Brian Robinson came in and played with the first team – and he ultimately played 11 of 22 snaps alongside Carson Wentz, compared to just five for Gibson, who ultimately didn't see the field again until the second-string offense was in. Gibson fumbled six times last season, so he may not have the coaching staff's trust in that regard. I still think he's the lead back in Washington, but it's clear that he has plenty of competition for touches in this offense. There's upside here, but there's so much risk here too, especially if you draft him as an RB2. Gibson is probably going to fall out of the first six rounds in most drafts, and even that might be giving him more credit than he deserves at this point.
Burks entered camp with concerns after he struggled with his conditioning in minicamp, but the bigger concern here might be that he didn't even play until the third drive of the team's preseason opener despite Robert Woods and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine being inactive. That means Dez Fitzpatrick, Racey McMath, and Kyle Phillips all saw the field before Burks – for what it's worth, Phillips has garnered some camp buzz, though that's only relevant for those of you in very deep leagues for now. Burks was playing deep into the game when even the likes of Fitzpatrick and McMath were on the bench, so he's clearly fighting for a spot on the depth chart at this point. You shouldn't draft Burks with the expectation he'll be helpful early on, but he's still worth drafting for your bench as someone with upside.
Jones didn't even see the field until the second quarter, and he was the fourth running back for the Chiefs, behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jerick McKinnon, and Isiah Pacheco. He's largely been a non-factor in the passing game in his career, so a two-down back who is buried on the depth chart doesn't need to be rostered. Isiah Pacheco does, though.
Camp reports indicated that Joshua Kelley was dominating the non-Austin Ekeler time with the first team, and that's mostly what we saw Saturday, with Kelley getting nine of 16 snaps with starts, while Larry Rountree got seven. That means Spiller didn't see the field until the starters were done. Kelley is enough of an established player that we know not to expect much from him, but he's clearly ahead of Spiller at this point and would probably be the first man up if something happened to Ekeler. Spiller can still be a late-round target, but I'm moving him outside of my top 100 until we see a sign that he's climbing the depth chart.
I guess most of the mid-round RB sleepers were losers this weekend, which I guess isn't so much of a surprise – it's their first training camp, after all, and they went at a point in the draft where your expectation should be a minimal rookie year contribution. Still, it was disappointing to see Allgeier behind Cordarrelle Patterson, Damien Williams, Qadree Ollison, and Caleb Huntley; I guess it wasn't too much of an exaggeration when they listed him as the eighth back on the depth chart. As for White, while he has some appeal as a potential pass-catching option for the Buccaneers, he was behind both Giovani Bernard and Ke'Shawn Vaughn with Leonard Fournette out. Neither is a massive obstacle – his path to playing time is clearer than Allgeier's at this point – but he has work to do.
We'll group these two, fittingly. Okwuegbunam has drawn praise recently in camp, but on a night when most of the team's starting skill players rested, Okwuegbunam was still playing deep into the second quarter. Fant was in a similar spot, playing 20 of 28 snaps with the ostensible starters, but he ran just 11 routes and even split some time with Colby Parkinson in one-TE looks. We expected both of these guys to be key pieces of their offenses, but if they're in any kind of split, it's going to be hard to trust either. I'm not moving them down yet, but it's worth watching.