2022 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Week 3 Game Report: Saints 27, Chargers 10
I’m not sure what way to interpret this game…
The Saints ran their 1st-team offense, with the debut of Jameis Winston, and he blew right through the Chargers 2nd/3rd-team defense. Was it an efficient Saints offense or a ‘checked out’ Chargers backup defense…or some combination?
I have to credit the Saints to some degree -- you want the 1st-team offense to go ram it down the weak, backup opposing defense’s throats…and they did.
I don’t want to worry about the Chargers yet because they basically are ‘not playing’ this preseason…always the backups and the backup’s backups, and it doesn’t look great…to no surprise. The Chargers subscribe to the McVay school of not caring about preseason games for the starters, or for ‘winning’. However, there is such a lack of fire for LAC in the preseason…coming off a disappointing 2021 where they have a ton of talent but not a lot of grit. You want to see some of that grit, even with the 2nd-team/3rd-team, etc., and it’s not there.
The ’grit’ was there with the Saints this game…but not with LAC. A harbinger…or just a meaningless preseason event? We’re about to start to find out in a week or so. The Rams don’t care about the preseason…and they just won the Super Bowl, so…
Dynasty/Fantasy Player Notes…
-- Jameis Winston (4-4 for 59 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) debuted and was very sharp, looked fine/in shape/ready to go for the 2022 season.
Granted he had little pressure in the pocket…but he did what he needed to do; he ran through the soft defense with ease. He played one series, led a scoring drive, completed a couple nice downfield/medium passes.
I usually am critical of Winston, but I have no critiques from his brief appearance. He looks like the best, most in-shape version of himself ever.
-- We got to see the Saints 1st-team backfield in action for a bit, and got to see the rotation/pecking order…
Alvin Kamara (2-19-0, 1-5-0/1) looked in midseason form…and looks bigger/beefed up…he’s a top 5 FF PPR RB if not suspended. The more the Saints do nothing at RB, transaction-wise, the more I assume they are not worried about any suspension or NFI list placement...then the more I’m into Kamara as a slick FF pick, a great value around pick #12-18 overall.
Mark Ingram (9-34-2) looked solid enough. He is the #2.
Tony Jones (8-23-0, 2-12-0/2) ran well, ran hard…he will be the #3.
Abram Smith (13-35-0, 1-16-0/1) didn’t look great, again. He appears headed to the practice squad.
-- The Chargers backfield has settled upon it’s #2 RB… Joshua Kelley (6-40-0, 1-1-0/1) looks better than any time in his NFL journey to-date, and everyone sees it in and outside of the organization. It’s been a mild shock, but the LAC coaches are pleased and going with it -- we’ll see Kelley working with Ekeler right off the bat, in like a 75/25 split.
Rookie Alexander Horvath (1-1-0, 1-8-0/1) has not made a dent in the backfield depth chart, nor has he been used in interesting ways -- he’s headed to fullback. Rookie Isaiah Spiller (DNP) is hurt and has lost a ton of momentum at this stage, but he will fight Kelley all season for those #2 touches. Right now, it’s Kelley’s show.
-- Notes of Saints receivers from this game…
We got our first Jarvis Landry (2-35-0/2) as a Saint sighting. He looked fine/ready to go. Had a nice little connection with Winston…but Michael Thomas was out/nowhere to be found (as usual).
Chris Olave (1-19-0/1) looks fine. I haven’t seen enough of his action to get a great feel, but he looks like he belongs -- but in FF 2022, he might be the 3rd in the pecking order for targeting behind Thomas-Landry.
Kirk Merritt (4-32-1/4) is making this team…or he deserves to. He’s in fantastic shape and really honing his craft. I think he makes the squad and Tre’Quan Smith gets released. BUT Smith has a contract to deal with…one that makes him not as easy to cut. Someone has to go unless the Saints carry seven WRs.
Thomas-Landry-Olave will start. Callaway-Harty-Smith/Merritt are the next group. Some team should slice in and acquire Harty, a great WR prospect buried…but no one in the NFL hardly notices.
Rookie UDFA TE Lucas Krull (4-24-0/5) has shown well this preseason and in this game, but he likely headed to the practice squad…but I wouldn’t be surprised if another team claims him before the Saints can stow him.
-- Kudos to LAC 2021 UDFA WR Michael Bandy (3-30-0/5)…he capped off an excellent preseason, one that should have him making the 53-man roster over Joe Reed or Jason Moore. If Keenan Allen goes down, I think Bandy will move to that slot WR role and do some Cole Beasley type work.
-- One last note, a link to a story on Juwan Johnson that really got my attention/warmed the heart…makes me curious about his career path from here -- rising or just and eternal backup?
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