Terrance West struggled in the preseason, as can be typical with young backs, so it seems to have paved the way for Tate. The big issues with Tate is staying healthy, but he showed flashes with Houston when given a chance. Another problem is the Browns lack of a passing game and issues at QB. Tate ranks 24th coming into the season which makes him a decent RB3 or flex option. He's also ranked 24th for Week 1 against the Steelers, who were actually only ranked 20th against the run last year.
Wide receiver Martavis Bryant might be looking at the equivalent of a redshirt in his first NFL season.
Bryant left the Steelers’ final preseason game early Thursday night with an A/C sprain in his shoulder, and the injury is expected to sideline the fourth-round pick for an extended period.
Depending on the severity of the injury, which is a separated shoulder, the Steelers could place Bryant on the short-term injured reserve list after he makes the 53-man roster.
Bryant was battling for snaps behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore.
Despite some rust, Patriots WR Aaron Dobson moved well and did not seem cautious about pushing off of the injured foot. He was targeted nine times, and came up with three catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. Some of the missed connections were poor throws by Jimmy Garoppolo, others were bad routes by Dobson.
The important thing is that Dobson got on the field in a live game situation, and got off the field healthy. As long as that continues to happen, he should keep improving.
As a rookie, Dobson caught a respectable 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, but he flashed some big play ability in his 5-130-2 outing against the Steelers in early November. His FP/T (1.05) was average, but if he can beat out Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins for a starting job, he should produce with Tom Brady throwing the ball. He only played 63% of the snaps as a rookie. The foot injury has held him back this offseason, but now that he's healthy and playing, he looks ready to make a push.
Bills rookie Sammy Watkins didn't play against the Buccaneers last week after suffering a rib injury against the Steelers on Aug. 16. Watkins finally returned to action on Thursday, but he only lasted a total of nine plays before re-injuring his ribs.
The fourth overall pick in the NFL Draft was taken to the locker room in the first quarter after taking a hit from Detroit linebacker Ashlee Palmer. It looked like Watkins was going to stay in the game after taking the hit from Palmer, but after the officiating crew stopped the game to fix the clock, Watkins decided to head to the sideline.
The Bills confirmed that Watkins suffered a rib injury and the team also announced that he'd be spending the rest of the game on the bench.
Watkins' injury is troubling from the standpoint that the Bills pass offense hasn't looked very good and now he's going to miss more practice time leading up to Week 1. He has to be considered questionable at this point. Stay tuned.
The Boston Herald's Jeff Howe reported Thursday that Dobson traveled with the Patriots and is expected to make his preseason debut tonight against the New York Giants. It's uncertain how much playing time Dobson will see.
A return to action is the first step as Dobson tries to regain his footing as one of the Patriots' starting outside receivers. He's battling Kenbrell Thompkins and Brandon LaFell, both of whom have the early leg up. Dobson performed well down the stretch last season and possesses a brand of speed the Pats are currently lacking in the passing game.
As a rookie, Dobson caught a respectable 37 passes for 519 yards and four touchdowns, but he flashed some big play ability in his 5-130-2 outing against the Steelers in early November. His FP/T (1.05) was average, but if he can beat out Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins for a starting job, he should produce with Tom Brady throwing the ball. He only played 63% of the snaps as a rookie.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 8:23pm
Brown put up some awe-inspiring numbers: 110 receptions and a franchise single-season best 1,499 receiving yards.
While the spotlight will shine on Brown, there will be plenty attention given his supporting cast. Roethlisberger has spent much of training camp and the preseason adapting to several new faces, including free agent signees Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, and rookie Martavis Bryant.
Roethlisberger, too, will have a new starter flanked opposite Brown. Markus Wheaton, a second-year receiver who was slowed by a broken finger during his rookie season, seems to have settled in with the offense.
There still needs to be some balance in the offense with the running game. But if the Steelers are going to air it out, the new WR members will be challenged to duplicate the 2013 efforts of Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders. They combined for 113 receptions, 1,342 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns. We expect Wheaton to put up solid numbers as the Steelers WR2, and could provide some depth to your fantasy team.
Carolina's fourth-year quarterback is recovering from a hairline fracture to multiple ribs and says he's improving with each day.
Newton says, "I'm moving forward and trying to stay optimistic about this process."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he certain Newton will play in Week 1. Newton will travel with the team to Pittsburgh but will not play against the Steelers Thursday night in the preseason finale.
Our rankings will be a good indicator how you should treat Newton in your lineup. He appears to be a go, but how much will his hairline rib fractures, and even his ankle, limit him for Week 1 is going to be a big question. Both could hamper his rushing ability which is a big part of his game. However, Newton already said he doesn't plan to hold back.
Moral reasons? Please. This is not church.
They also would be the first team to fall on its own sword by doing so and violate the league’s collective bargaining agreement.
All anyone needs to do is look at what has happened in similar marijuana possession instances to know what will happen. The NFL will allow the legal process to play out and then Roger Goodell might issue at most a one-game suspension. He usually does that the following year.
So the idea that either the Steelers will act on their own or that the wheels of NFL justice will move so quickly Bell and Blount could lose a game to suspension anytime soon is folly.
Ed Bouchette's column came from someone asking him about the situation because of drafting Bell in a fantasy football league. Bouchette has been around a while so there is some stock to what he's saying, although it's not official. Others in your league may not realize if this is the case so both Bell and Blount could end up falling in your draft giving them a little better value. Keep in mind their situation is a bit unclear with recent news the two will split carries, however we still see Bell as the better back to own of the two.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 8:56pm
While most Steeler starters and veterans get the night off during the final preseason game, HC Mike Tomlin said Tuesday both running backs LeVeon Bell and LeGarrette Blount "absolutely" will play Thursday against the Carolina Panthers.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 8:25am
On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers coach reiterated that the duo would be punished by the team over the marijuana charges.
"Everything's on the table," Tomlin said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
The Ross Township, Pennsylvania Police Department confirmed to NFL Media last week that the running backs were pulled over last Wednesday around 1:30 p.m. ET, just hours before the team was to fly to Philadelphia.
Possession of marijuana charges were filed Thursday, the same day Bell and Blount returned to the field for preseason action against the Eagles. Bell faces an additional charge of DUI (marijuana).
While the NFL will likely wait until the legal process runs its course to hand down any suspension, Tomlin indicated the team might not wait to take action. However, he didn't reveal what type of action (suspension or otherwise) he's leaning toward.
"We don't do it in a reactionary fashion," Tomlin said. "We don't wait for something to happen. That's part of our culture here. You are going to have people who step outside the bounds of that and they're going to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately, more times than not in-house. But the bottom line is we don't approach that in a reactionary fashion. Our business is too late then."
If the duo is suspended, it likely won't come in the same week. However, owners of both players should probably expect at least a game suspension from the team. With the recent news the two could split carries, it's become a cloudy picture in terms of how Pittsburgh will use the two backs but we still see Bell having more value. Since he was behind the wheel, it's possible Bell's punishment is a little heavier. Stay tuned...
Marrone told reporters that Watkins returned to practice without limitations on Monday. The development comes nine days after Watkins, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, suffered bruised ribs in a preseason game against the Steelers.
Watkins will get a chance to play without limitations in three days. Marrone said he plans to play his starters in the preseason finale on Thursday night, the story said.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 11:09am
With Josh Huff, Barner’s former college teammate, also banged up, there’s a chance Barner could work into the mix in the return game as well.
Barner returned punts and kicks in college but hasn’t done it regularly since his freshman year in Eugene. He did have a 22-yard kick return against the Steelers and a fair catch on a punt.
Polk's status is very much in question at this point. He looked to be a sure handcuff to McCoy and the team's RB3, but that continues to be up in the air heading into preseason Week 4.
Sunday, August 24, 2014, 4:20pm
Until shuffling onto the mile-high stage, Sanders had not achieved the statistical milestones that separate prolific wide receivers from the vast pack of pass-catchers. Sanders had never posted a 1,000-yard season; his career high of 740 yards was accomplished last year. He'd never even had a 100-yard game; a six-catch, 98-yard effort in a 55-31 loss at New England last Nov. 3 was the closest he'd come.
But Sanders has raw tools: speed, quickness, and good hands. His production trended in the right direction during his four Steelers season. And his skill set could project to the outside or the slot, depending on how the Broncos used him.
Saturday brought tangible evidence that the projection will become reality. He exploded downfield and got open deep, catching touchdown passes of 67 and 29 yards.
Sanders could be in store for a bigger role with the news that Wes Welker has apparently suffered another concussion. He's ranked 27th on our list but we have him trending up. He's currently getting picked in the 7th round of 10 team leagues, but you may need to take him earlier than that.
Shane Vereen is the only Patriots running back with a cemented status as they wind down their preparations for the regular season, and he showcased why last night during a 30-7 victory against the Panthers at Gillette Stadium.
Vereen caught all five passes thrown in his direction for 57 yards and two touchdowns, and he added six carries for 18 yards. While Stevan Ridley appears to be the favorite to corral the bulk of the carries and James White is shaping up as a worthy backup, Vereen has unquestionably solidified his job as the back in charge of the pass-catching responsibilities.
For a team run by Tom Brady, those chances will be aplenty.
“He’s really had such a dependable role for us for the last few years and just done a great job,” Brady said. “When the ball is in his hands, good things are happening for our team. We’re going to try to just keep getting him the ball.”
Vereen is one reason why we're not at all opposed to drafting one or two wideouts at the 1/2 turn since he's often available around the 3/4 turn and is great in PPR formats. Last year, over the course of eight regular season games and two playoff games, Vereen averaged 10.7 touches (including 5.4 catches) for 76 yards and 0.40 TD, though his usage in the running game was limited once the Patriots decided to lean on LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley between the tackles. With Blount gone, Vereen’s role could increase. He should be a fringe RB2 (at least) in standard formats and a solid RB2 in PPR leagues, provided he stays healthy.
The Patriots don’t need a fourth preseason game. After two games of 30-point performances (yes, even in exhibition games) you can tell that Tom Brady and the gang are ready to kick tail this fall. On Friday, they racked up 405 yards of offense, 22 first downs, and ran 67 plays while Brady continued to be his super efficient, almost deity like self, completing 17 of 21 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns.
Brady only had his top target, Rob Gronkowski, in the lineup for seven games in 2013 and it led to a #15 fantasy finish, his worst since his injury plagued 2008 season. Over the past two seasons, Brady has scored 20.3 FP with Gronk in the lineup, and just 16.2 FP when the tight end is sidelined. This is something to monitor as the big tight end works his way towards Week 1. Owners who draft Brady may want to back him up with a quality passer (Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, etc) so they have a backup plan if Gronk is out.
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