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Quinton Patton made his first reception of the preseason against the Broncos on Saturday. He finished with eight yards.

Impact

Despite having little to no competition to stake his claim as the 49ers' slot receiver, Patton has been M.I.A. this preseason outside of a scoring a touchdown on a blocked kick. Bruce Ellington (leg) returned to action Saturday and was immediately more productive that Patton had been over the past three weeks. Patton will have to have a strong showing Thursday against the Chargers in order to restore faith in his coaching staff.

Bruce Ellington (leg) made his preseason debut Saturday, hauling in all three of his targets for a team-high 29 yards in the loss to the Broncos. He also gained 20 yards on his only kick return attempt.

Impact

Ellington was in danger of slipping way down the depth charts due to his inability to stay on the field. Saturday's performance was just what he needed to throw his hat back into the slot receiver race. Quinton Patton has been a ghost during the preseason despite being given every opportunity to seize the third receiver role and DeAndrew White - despite his best efforts - may be too unproven to be handed such an important role. That leaves us with Ellington, who has the best quickness of the bunch, and has decent hands as well. It's tough to say until an official announcement is made, but he has a strong chance at winning the job if he can finish the preseason strong Thursday.

Eli Harold started with the first-unit in Saturday's preseason loss to the Broncos. He finished with four tackles (all solo).

Impact

It was surprising to see Harold line up against Peyton Manning and the Broncos in the first half. While Harold seems like a well-rounded rookie linebacker, Aaron Lynch figured to start over him due to his pass-rushing skills. This could have simply been a case of coach Jim Tomsula wanted to get a look at both Harold and Lemonier against a top-tier offense so that he can better decide who will be a starter this season. Regardless of whoever wins the position battle, Harold has proved he deserves to make this team, even as a backup.

Corey Lemonier started with the first-unit defense Saturday, recording four tackles (all solos) and a sack in the preseason loss to Denver.

Impact

With one outside linebacker gone (Aldon Smith) and another facing legal troubles of his own (Ahmad Brooks), playing time has suddenly opened up on the edges in San Francisco. Coach Jim Tomsula started both Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold with the first-unit, likely to get a final look at both against a top offense before he decides who will start the year at one of the outside linebacker positions opposite Aaron Lynch. Lemonier figures to have a slight edge over Harold due to his experience and familiarity with the team's defense.

Rookie Eli Harold - not Aaron Lynch - took Ahmad Brooks' spot with the first unit during Saturday's loss to the Broncos.

Impact

Lynch was activated from the non-football injury list this week and was practicing with the first unit, but he didn't take the field until all the starters departed in the second half. While this could be a concern for those looking to target Lynch as a cheap source of sacks, it may not be doom and gloom for his playing time. Coach Jim Tomsula was likely looking to see how both Harold and Corey Lemonier fared against Denver's starters. Both Lemonier and Harold fit the mold of traditional outside linebackers, whereas Lynch's attributes best fit that of the former-49er Aldon Smith. Lynch will have his opportunities to get to the quarterback this season.

Jarryd Hayne turned in his quietest performance of the preseason against the Broncos on Saturday, failing to gain a yard on two carries and adding 12 yards on his only punt return.

Impact

One the most exciting stories of the preseason was - to the dismay of the entire country of Australia - pushed back down the depth chart when Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter made their preseason debuts Saturday. This shouldn't come as a surprise, as Hayne's skills as a true running back are still raw and unrefined. What was shocking was the fact that Hayne was not returning punts with the first unit. That role was reserved for Reggie Bush, who hadn't returned a kick since 2011. The 49ers had a plan to restore Bush's returning career when they signed him, but they couldn't have expected Hayne to be such a monster fielding punts. He was never going to make the team as a running back, and the chances of the 49ers keeping a player on the roster as a "backup return specialist" is slim to none. Now it is up to Hayne to prove that he is worth a spot on the roster in Thursday's final preseason game against the Chargers.

Mike Davis ran a team-high eight carries for 28 yards in Saturday's preseason loss to the Broncos.

Impact

This was a small step backwards for Davis, as he failed to break the 4.0 YPC mark for the first time this preseason. He is currently locked in a competition with Kendall Hunter (seven carries, 15 yards) and Jarryd Hayne (zero yards, 12 punt return yards) for the final third and possibly fourth running back spots on the 53-man roster. How those three running backs perform in Thursday's preseason finale against the Chargers will go a long way in determining who sticks around.

Blaine Gabbert was near perfect Saturday, completing 9-of-11 pass attempts for 96 yards in the second half of the loss to Denver.

Impact

Gabbert improved his preseason completion percentage to 82.1% through three games. This needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as he has been facing second-unit defenses and only attempting short and safe passes (6.71 YPA). Even with his exhibition success, there is little to no chance he surpasses the struggling Colin Kaepernick on the depth chart. However, Gabbert has secured his role as Kaepernick's primary backup.

Kendall Hunter (knee) made his preseason debut against the Broncos on Sunday, toting the rock seven times but only managing to gain 15 yards.

Impact

Hunter definitely looked like a player who had been sidelined for over a year. He was expected to come back and slot into the third running back role for the 49ers, but now that job may be in jeopardy. With most starters getting Thursday's final preseason game off, Hunter will have to stave off rookies Mike Davis and Jarryd Hayne with a solid showing against the Chargers.

Reggie Bush made his preseason debut Saturday against the Broncos, gaining 21 yards on his only carry of the night.

Impact

The 49ers finally unleashed the new weapon they acquired this offseason, and he demonstrated his playmaking ability on the only carry he received. It is interesting to note that Bush lined up as the team's primary punt return man Saturday. Many had assumed that rookie Jarryd Hayne had secured that position with his stellar performances in week one and two. That being said, Bush didn't do himself any favors when he misjudged a punt that ended up rolling and being downed deep in San Francisco territory. How this situation shakes out is important to Bush owners, because the boost in value he will receive in deep return yardage leagues could push him into flex territory.

Carlos Hyde carried the ball four times for 28 yards in Saturday's preseason loss to the Broncos.

Impact

The 49ers wanted to get a good look at their returning backs (Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter), so Hyde was given a light workload Saturday. He will begin the season as the team's primary back and goal line option, with Reggie Bush spelling him in passing situations.

NaVorro Bowman started his second game of the preseason Saturday, recording a game-high nine tackles (seven solo) to go along with two sacks in the loss to the Broncos.

Impact

Bowman recorded enough counting stats in one half that most IDP owners would be fine with from a player playing a full game. He was originally only supposed to play just 10 snaps Saturday, but coach Jim Tomsula saw that his linebacker was healthy and responding well to the increased workload. Last week's dominance was considered a small sample size (three tackles in three snaps), but this gave IDP owners all they needed to see before moving Bowman up the draft board.

Peyton Manning completed 14 of 21 passes for 124 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception in Saturday's preseason game against the 49ers.

Impact

Manning tossed an ugly interception in the second quarter, badly underthrowing Demaryius Thomas on a pass into the end zone. It's been an ugly preseason for the Denver offense, but the addition of G Evan Mathis should help, and there's simply too much talent for the team not to get going. The larger concern for Manning's value is the expectation that the Broncos will run more often this season under new head coach Gary Kubiak.

Colin Kaepernick completed two of five passes for 16 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Broncos, adding three rushes for 53 yards.

Impact

Likely done for the preseason, Kaepernick completed just five of 13 passes for 44 yards. The big area of concern for him is the lack of protection given by the unproven right side of the offensive line. It seemed like any time Kaepernick dropped back, he was immediately under pressure by the Denver pass rushers. He didn't complete his first pass until there was 30 seconds left in the second half. Kaepernick's prospects as a fantasy asset are the lowest they've been since he took over the starting quarterback job in 2012, and he won't be able to surpass the low expectations if he does not receive adequate protection.

Ladarius Green caught one pass (two targets) for 18 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Seahawks.

Impact

Antonio Gates (suspended) was also playing, which won't be the case for the first four games of the season. Green will finally get his chance to start for an extended period, but there's no guarantee he stays heavily involved once Gates returns. Green hasn't made much of an impression this preseason, with just two receptions in three games, albeit on very limited snaps.

Steve Johnson caught four passes (six targets) for 63 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Seahawks.

Impact

Though he's still No. 3 on the depth chart, Johnson should benefit significantly from his improved team context, after spending a year with the run-heavy 49ers. Not only do the Chargers make heavy use of three-wide formations, but also TE Antonio Gates is suspended for the first four games, likely freeing up some extra snaps and targets for Johnson out of the slot. Eddie Royal, the Chargers' slot receiver last season, put up a 62-778-7 receiving line on 91 targets, even with Gates playing a full 16 games.

Doug Baldwin caught his only target for an eight-yard gain in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers.

Impact

Assuming he won't play in the final contest, Baldwin had a quiet preseason, catching five passes for 36 yards in three games. No matter, he's locked in as the Seahawks' No. 1 wide receiver, albeit in a run-heavy offense that now features star TE Jimmy Graham.

Jimmy Graham caught two passes (five targets) for 24 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers.

Impact

The Seattle offense mostly struggled, with both Russell Wilson and the offensive line turning in disappointing performances. It was still encouraging to see Graham targeted frequently, and he ran over a couple of defenders on one Gronkowski-like play down the sideline. He'll undoubtedly have Wilson's full attention, especially in the red zone, but no team attempted fewer passes than the Seahawks last season.

Robert Turbin had five carries for 19 yards in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers.

Impact

Christine Michael gained 37 yards on seven carries, with UDFA Thomas Rawls chipping in 20 yards on six totes. Despite his underwhelming preseason, Turbin is the favorite to serve as Marshawn Lynch's top backup.

Marshawn Lynch gained six yards on two carries and three yards on one reception in Saturday's preseason game against the Chargers.

Impact

Lynch made his token preseason appearance, touching the ball on Seattle's first three offensive snaps, then cheering his teammates on for the rest of the night. The Seahawks' offensive line again looked shaky, but Lynch has pretty much everything else working in his favor. He'll sit out the final preseason game.