I know we keep saying football is back. But after all 32 teams finally logged a game over the past weekend, we can officially say ... football is back.
Now what we've gotten all of the hosannas out of the way, let's look back at each of this weekend's 16 games to find some takeaways that could help you put together a better fantasy football team. The preseason! It's where you learn stuff!
Cleveland Browns 20, New York Giants 10
Just in case you weren't sure, Saquon Barkley is actually good at football. Not that we need to repeat it but he's a first-round pick in all drafts. Baker Mayfield's performance was impressive but for now, it appears that the Browns aren't budging from their "Tyrod is the starter" stance. Considering how Taylor looked early in the game and the number potential weapons around him (hello, David Njoku!), I'm okay with the decision.
Carolina Panthers 28, Buffalo Bills 23
D.J. Moore is currently listed as Carolina's fourth receiver but he could be closing that gap after a strong training camp and an impressive opening preseason performance. Christian McCaffrey did get a carry inside the five-yard line but C.J. Anderson still looks to be the longterm goal line option. Nathan Peterman might have taken the lead in the Bills quarterback competition but the batt
Cincinnati Bengals 30, Chicago Bears 27
John Ross had just one catch for 20 yards but it's apparent that he'll be given every chance this season to work his way onto the field as Cincy's third receiver. He's still better as a best ball prospect than in any standard or PPR scoring leagues.
Pittburgh Steelers 31, Philadelphia Eagles 14
In case you thought JuJu Smith-Schuster might have been a fluke last year, he did his best to change your mind with a 71-yard touchdown for his only catch. Dallas Goedert will be stuck behind Zach Ertz on the depth chart but the rookie showed that he could be a decent replacement if the veteran tight end is unable to fulfill his duties for any reason in 2018.
New Orleans Saints 24, Jacksonville Jaguars 20
There weren't too many surprises from a Saints offense that give its starters light work. On the other side, it might be time to start giving Blake Bortles and the offense a little more credit. He led a nice touchdown drive to start the game, getting a lot of his receivers involved. If this game was any indication, it could be the start of big things for Leonard Fournette.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26, Miami Dolphins 24
In the battle to be Tampa's starting running back, it looks like Ronald Jones has some work to do to catch Peyton Barber. Ryan Tannehill made a successful return after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Kalen Ballage looks like he's a solid third on the depth chart behind Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore.
New England Patriots 26, Washington Redskins 17
The Patriots seem intent on settling their backfield by giving both Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee long looks. Cordarelle Patterson might not have a fully defined role in the passing game but it appears that he'll get opportunities. The loss of Derrius Guice puts a major damper on Washington's running game but could open the door for Samaje Perine or Robert Kelley to get more carries.
Baltimore Ravens 33, Los Angeles Rams 7
Forget just holding on to the starting job ... maybe we should start talking about Joe Flacco as a legitimate fantasy bounce-back candidate this year. Lamar Jackson was once again unremarkable, minus a couple of highlight plays. Breshad Perriman showed well in what's become a make-or-break year for him. John Kelly looked good for the Rams but he'll strictly be a backup to Todd Gurley.
Green Bay Packers 31, Tennessee Titans 17
The biggest question going into this game was which of the Packers backup quarterbacks would stake a claim to being Aaron Rodgers' No. 2. The answer: we're still not sure. Neither Brett Hundley nor DeShone Kizer separated himself from the other. The wait continues. Marcus Mariota put in light work but it was promising for anyone believing in the signal-caller's breakout.
Houston Texans 17, Kansas City Chiefs 10
San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys 21
Jimmy Garoppolo was underwhelming in his preseason debut but the bigger issue for the Niners was health. Four different players -- including running back Matt Breida (shoulder) -- left the game with various issues. Combine that with Jerick McKinnon's knee injury in practice (though it's being called "minor") and San Francisco is already looking for relief. Michael Gallup made an impressive touchdown catch and could start moving up draft boards.
Indianapolis Colts 19, Seattle Seahawks 17
Andrew Luck was the big story as the Colts quarterback looked sharp in his return after a two-year absence. That will only boost confidence and excitement for not just the quarterback but the offensive weapons around him. The downside was the season-ending knee injury to standout rookie receiver Deon Cain. In the first salvo of the Seahawks running back battle, Chris Carson appears to have a decided advantage. Watching Seattle's offensive line reminds you that if Russell Wilson goes down, this whole unit will fall apart.
New York Jets 17, Atlanta Falcons 0
If you thought the Sam Darnold hype was loud before, it's about to become deafening. The rookie did enough to earn the majority of the first-team snaps at subsequent practices and is expected to start the next two preseason games. This shouldn't overshadow the quality work done by Teddy Bridgewater, who is likely showcasing himself for another team in 2018.
Oakland Raiders 16, Detroit Lions 10
It won't appear in the box score because of a holding penalty, but Marshawn Lynch's long touchdown rumble evoked memories of the old Beast Mode. The Lions appear to be setting up a running back rotation between LeGarrette Blount and Kerryon Johnson, though Ameer Abdullah did his best to inject his name into the conversation. Right now, however, it appears that Abdullah is the odd man out.
Minnesota Vikings 42, Denver Broncos 28
This was a matchup with two teams starting new quarterbacks -- and getting pretty opposite results. All three of Kirk Cousins, Trevor Siemian and Kyle Sloter looked comfortable behind a solid Vikings offensive line. The same couldn't be said for Denver's duo of Case Keenum and Paxton Lynch. Dalvin Cook didn't see the field but his backup, Latavius Murray, looked effective with 43 yards on four carries.
Arizona Cardinals 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17
David Johnson is back, y'all! For anyone who doubted his credentials as a top five (top three?) pick in drafts, he should have settled it with a pair of big runs. A suspect Cardinals offensive line is a concern that can't be ignored. There are few concerns with Arizona's quarterbacks, even if they were unremarkable in this game. The Chargers didn't play many of their starters but it does look like Geno Smith is slotted to be Philip Rivers' backup.