What We Saw: Preseason Week 1

Catch everything you missed from a weekend chock full of football

Jaguars @ Cowboys

Final Score: Jaguars 28, Cowboys 23

Writer: Justin Mello (@JustinMelloNE on Twitter)


The Jaguars and Cowboys battled in Arlington during their pre-season debuts. The Jaguars briefly previewed their high-powered offense as the starters struck early with an 8-point possession. The Cowboys kept it close throughout; however, and showcased young talent on their second and third string offense. In the end, the Jaguars were able to secure the victory after scoring two late touchdowns. Now let’s take a deeper dive into the action and all the fantasy implications.


Jacksonville Jaguars




Trevor Lawrence: 5/6, 37 yards, TD, INT


In addition to the stats listed above, Lawrence also converted on a two-point conversion by finding Zay Jones in the back of the end zone. It was a rough start to the game for the third-year QB. On just the second play from scrimmage, he tossed up an ugly interception downfield while rolling to his left. I’m still not entirely sure if it was Calvin Ridley or Evan Engram who he was trying to target near the sideline, or if it was just a failed attempt at a throw-away, but it was a disastrous play regardless.

Luckily, Lawrence rebounded on the team’s second drive where he went 4/4 with a touchdown. He showed great patience in the pocket on the drive’s final play to eventually find Christian Kirk for six. Lawrence figures to be a relatively safe top-12 option at QB this season.


C.J. Beathard: 6/13, 80 yards | 3 carries, 3 yards, TD

Nathan Rourke: 9/17, 153 yards, TD | 6 carries, 20 yards, TD, 1 fumble (lost)


Running Back


Travis Etienne Jr.: 5 carries, 22 yards


Etienne is the unquestioned RB1 in Jacksonville, and it’s no surprise that he exclusively worked with the first-team offense. There’s nothing too spectacular or noteworthy to report in regards to the third-year RB’s performance on Saturday, but he did look good in space as expected. He should be a solid RB2 option for fantasy managers in 2023.


  • He struggled to fight for extra yards when met by a defender near the line of scrimmage.
  • He looked quick and agile when he was able to get to the second level of the defense.


Tank Bigsby: 9 carries, 52 yards


It is a great sign that the rookie was already operating as Jacksonville’s second RB on Saturday. However, the Auburn product left something to be desired in short yardage situations. He was stuffed by fellow rookie DeMarvion Overshown on a third and short carry in the first quarter, and then he was again denied near the goal line in the second quarter. Bigsby’s best play of the night came on a 34 yard stretch play to the offense’s right where he demonstrated great speed. Although JaMycal Hasty may be the preferred third-down option after Travis Etienne, Bigsby should be the better handcuff option overall in Jacksonville’s backfield.


Missed Opportunities

  • Struggled to convert on short yardage situations.


D’Ernest Johnson: 5 carries, 31 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards

Snoop Conner: 7 carries, 15 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Calvin Ridley: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards


It’s been far too long since we’ve seen Calvin Ridley play football. In very limited action on Saturday, he looked to be the same crisp route-runner that we remember from a couple years ago. He managed to create great separation on two of Trevor Lawrence‘s six drop-backs, and that resulted in 21 easy yards through the air. Ridley offers top-12 WR upside this season if he and Lawrence are able to continue to build a rapport.


Christian Kirk: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 12 yards, TD


The Jag’s top receiver from last year got involved early with a designed screen pass on the first play from scrimmage. The highlight of his night was obviously his seven-yard TD reception on fourth down though, where he impressively was able to beat his defender and sneak behind a safety lurking in the middle of the field. Kirk should continue to see enough volume in the passing game to be a viable fantasy option.


Evan Engram: 1 target


Engram went two drives without a reception, but he was credited with a target via Trevor Lawrence‘s ugly interception toward the sideline. The sample size is too small to overreact, but it is fair to question what Engram’s role in the offense will be in 2023 now that the Jaguars added another great weapon in Calvin Ridley. Nonetheless, the top-5 TE from just a season ago (in PPR leagues) should be in starting lineups come Week 1.


Zay Jones: 2-point conversion


The former Bill and Raider only saw one reception which came in the form of a two-point conversion attempt. Jones was able to make a very impressive leaping catch in the back of the end zone and keep both feet in bounds. He figures to be the clear WR3 for the Jaguars this season but is probably only worth a late round flyer in most formats.

Jaray Jenkins: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 32 yard

Seth Williams: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards

Quadree Ollison: 1 target, 1 reception, 21 yards, TD

Brenton Strange: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards



Dallas Cowboys




Cooper Rush: 10/12, 83 yards, sack


The long-time Cowboys backup looked solid. The offense struggled to find its rhythm through the first few drives, but Rush eventually found his groove and operated efficiently from the pocket. Despite a decent performance on Saturday, Rush can be left on waivers unless Dak Prescott needs to miss time for any reason.


  • Rush almost threw a pick six in the second quarter, but it appears to have been more of a communication issue with his receiver than an errant throw.

Missed Opportunities

  • Rush almost had a passing touchdown, but Rico Dowdle fumbled on the 1-yard line.


Will Grier: 22/31, 199 yards, 2 TD, INT | 1 carry, 14 yards


Running Back


Rico Dowdle: 6 carries, 21 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 33 yards | 1 fumble (lost)


Dowdle got the start on Saturday with Tony Pollard sitting out. His best play of the day was ironically his worst as well. After catching the ball out of the backfield, he successfully managed to weave and slip through defenders in an Alvin Kamara-esque fashion. However, he fumbled the ball at the 1-yard line which cost the Cowboys points. Despite being the RB2 for Dallas on paper and looking decent against the Jags, he probably isn’t worth drafting in most formats.


Deuce Vaughn: 8 Carries, 50 Yards, TD | 3 Targets, 3 Receptions, 6 Yards


The sixth-round rookie didn’t see his first offensive snap until the second half, but boy did he look explosive. Vaughn is undersized at 5’5″, but he has a high motor and was highly efficient at Kansas State. He certainly looked the part in the second half on Saturday as well. He will need to win the backup job in Dallas to have any fantasy relevance though.


  • He is extremely explosive, but also demonstrated good patience as a runner against Jacksonville.

Missed Opportunities

  • He was unable to shed a tackler after catching a flare pass which could have resulted in a TD in the third quarter.


Malik Davis: 4 carries, 3 yards | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 19 yards



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Jake Ferguson:3 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards


Ferguson has become one of my favorite deep TE sleepers. It is a little curious that he played as deep into the first half as he did given that most of the other starters sat the entire contest, but I don’t think that’s worth overanalyzing. Ferguson’s most impressive play was a diving catch down the middle of the field with a defender draped all over him. In limited action, he looked like a starting NFL tight-end. If Dak Prescott can develop chemistry with Ferguson and utilize him in a similar way as he did Dalton Shultz, Ferguson is a very intriguing late-round flyer for those who wait on tight-end.


Jalen Tolbert: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards, TD


The second-year WR was irrelevant as a rookie. He looked great in the first half of Saturday’s contest though. Operating as the WR1, he was able to beat defenders on multiple occasions. His best play was ultimately wiped out by a penalty, but it is worth noting that he made an incredible contested catch on the sideline that would have resulted in a huge gain and a red zone opportunity. Tolbert appears to be the lead candidate for WR4 duties, but it would take an injury to someone else to make him an asset for fantasy purposes in the short-term.

John Stephens Jr.: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 56 yards, TD

Dennis Houston: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 33 yards

Simi Fehoko: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 27 yards

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.