Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 12:00pm
Titans rookie running back Bishop Sankey is now the No. 2 running back, still behind Shonn Greene but now ahead of Dexter McCluster. All three will be part of the rotation and game plans and matchups will do a lot to dictate their usage.
Depth charts don't always mean a lot this time of year but it's at least a little good news Sankey is climbing. We eventually think he's the clear RB1 at some point, but for now it could be a committee or game-driven situation. It's probably best to wait things out with Sankey if possible. He's ranked 39th for Week 1 in what is a good matchup against the Chiefs.
Falcons RB Steven Jackson may be the player most amped for Sunday's contest.
"I'm extremely excited for Week 1," Jackson said. "It's been a training camp that I missed the majority of the time, but I've been working hard physically and mentally to prepare for this coming Sunday; I feel good about it."
Jackson is the only active running back in the NFL to record at least 10,000 rushing yards and 3,500 receiving yards, just one of 10 players in NFL history to accomplish that feat; he's quick to credit Marty Lauzon, the Atlanta Falcons Director of Sports Medicine and Performance, and his staff for allowing him to get back on the field to add to those stats, helping his team.
Despite limited reps in preseason practices, Jackson spent extra time not only with Lauzon and his staff, but also in the film room, where he took plenty of notes on the New Orleans Saints defense, hopefully providing an edge Sunday. Jackson is ranked 27th on our list of RBs, making him a low-end RB3 in 10-team leagues. We project him for about 12 carries this week in what's an average matchup.
Rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins said his injured ribs were feeling “just about normal” after completing practice Monday.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” Watkins said after the Bills started preparations for Sunday’s season opener at Chicago. “Had a great practice today. Felt normal. Felt pretty good out there.”
The Bills aren’t required to provide an update on how much Watkins participated in practice until Wednesday, and didn’t say if he has been cleared to play.
In Watkins’ mind, though, he’ll be ready to make his NFL debut.
“Of course. That’s a winner’s mentality,” he said. “I’m hoping I’m going to be out there on the field playing, getting reps with the guys and go out there and try to fight for a win.”
We have Watkins ranked 44th this week among our WRs in an average matchup against the Bears. Watkins may feel OK, but it's hard to believe he's completely healed as rib injuries can be difficult to play with. It may be best to go another direction at least in Week 1.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:48am
The Patriots bracketed and sometimes double-covered Clay in that second meeting. Clay had caught seven passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers the week before the New England game. He caught one pass for six yards against the Patriots.
If that's the direction the Pats go, Dolphins OC Bill Lazor expects WRs Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson to step up if the Patriots decided to erase Clay. The Pats were actually the 6th best team allowing fantasy points to TEs last year, so it wasn't just Clay they shut down last season. Clay ranks 13th on our TE list for Week 1, and owners should be aware it could be a long day for Clay.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:41am
So when his football family said take unlimited time off two weeks before the season to be with his son, T.J., as he underwent open heart surgery for the third time since being born with a severe congenital heart defect in 2012, it was a relief.
"It's made life a lot easier, and it's not something I take for granted," Olsen said on Monday after returning to practice for the first time in seven days. "You would hope that it would be this way everywhere, but sometimes people aren't quite as understanding."
"I haven't felt a ton of pressure to be two places at once, and I've been able to handle my family and that priority first," he said. "But also realize, this is a priority for me, too. It's important for me to be here.
And the Panthers will need Olsen. He led the team in catches last season with 73. He is a big part of a two-tight end set Carolina plans to implement in an attempt to diversify the offense and take pressure off a new group of wide receivers.
Olsen was quoted as saying his wife and family understand and that he has a job to do, and that's helped him focus on the football aspect without added stress. Olsen is expected to be ready Week 1 against Tampa Bay barring anything unexpected. It's an OK matchup with Tampa ranked 13th in allowing fantasy points to TEs last year. Olsen is ranked 7th on our list.
For years, we have seen the headaches of what should be a dream job: catching passes from Tom Brady. How many times have you heard someone say something like this about Brady:
"He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be every route. Not a yard off, not a yard too deep, not a yard too short. He expects you to be exactly where he wants you to be because he's going to put the ball placement exactly right."
That quote comes from wide receiver Brandon LaFell, but it could easily have come from any receiver to walk through the halls of Gillette Stadium. Learning the Patriots offense can be difficult for receivers because of the heavy verbiage, the importance of understanding coverages, and the range of factors that can determine a receiver's assignment on a given play.
"First things first, you've got to learn formations," said LaFell. "Man, we've got a million formations, and we've got a million personnel groups. I was just trying to get all that down pat, because at least if I know where I'm lined up, I can kind of figure out what everybody else is doing based on the concept of the play. And second, learning the terms of the plays that we use and different code words we use, because one play I can be the X receiver and if we go to a hurry-up offense, depending on where the ball is spotted, I can be the Z receiver the next play. I have to know the whole play, but first, learning the formations, personnel groups, second, learning the plays and the concepts and just go from there with it."
It could be why predicting success in terms of fantasy is often difficult with the Pats offense in general. The story went on to say that receivers can be asked to carry out multiple assignments based on alignment, coverage, personnel groupings, where the ball is spotted, and myriad other factors. That's why last year was such a struggle for then-rookies Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Josh Boyce. You can even throw in Danny Amendola into that mix, who was a free agent but then got hurt early in the season. Knowing all of this should increase the fantasy value of any of these WRs, but now it's waiting to see who gets how many snaps. It also could mean a bigger year for Brady.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 9:18am
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer threw 22 interceptions last season. When Bruce Arians was hired in January 2013, he talked about having six "bullets" on his play sheet, meaning he wanted to take six downfield shots every game.
As the season wore on, he didn't call as many long passes as he intended, but Palmer still led the NFL with 145 passes of 15 or more yards. He also led the league with 13 interceptions on such throws. While 13 seems like a lot -- especially when they account for 59 percent of his total picks -- they only amounted to about 9 percent of his passes of 15 yards or longer being intercepted. Still not a bad rate.
He also finished 17th in yards per attempt and 29th in touchdown-to-interception ration on deep passes.
Palmer can be a decent QB2 option in the right matchups and this week could be one of them. He's ranked 15th on our list with a pretty nice contest against the Chargers who were 23rd in allowing fantasy points to QBs last season. Palmer certainly has some playmakers to throw to in WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, so don't be surprised if he again throws a lot of 15-plus yard passes.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 9:18pm
Instead, safety Earl Thomas will drop a little deeper than usual and wait to catch the ball. Then run with it.
Coach Pete Carroll made the disclosure to reporters on Monday, with a simple, one-word answer to the question of whether Thomas will return punts.
“Yeah,” Carroll said.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 9:17pm
Seahawks running back Christine Michael was among five players who did not practice Monday for the Seahawks. Michael strained a hamstring at practice last week and did not play in the final preseason game at Oakland Thursday night.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 8:16pm
The word "unofficial" is right there at the top of the page that contains the depth chart in the Green Bay Packers' weekly press release.
So why believe it when starting receiver Randall Cobb is listed as the No. 1 punt returner? Because special teams coach Shawn Slocum says so.
"He's been there all along," Slocum said Monday.
Slocum said both Cobb and safety Micah Hyde, who finished last season as the primary return man, will handle punt returns to start this season. Running back DuJuan Harris is expected to return kickoffs with Hyde and rookie receiver Jeff Janis as possibilities.
It's a nice, added bonus for Cobb owners if you get special team TD returns added to your fantasy points. Whether Cobb goes back for every punt is another story, he could very well just be used in certain punt situations, like if the Pack has an opponent pinned deep in their own zone. Head coach Mike McCarthy was quoted as saying he wanted to get away from the thinking of not using star players on kick or punt returns.
Schaub missed three days of practice leading up to the preseason finale against Seattle. Carr completed 11 of 13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns as the Raiders had touchdowns in all four of his possessions. Schaub was away from the facility Friday because of a “personal issue.” Carr out-played Schaub who really struggled at times in the preseason. As a result, the Raiders say this isn't a week-to-week situation with Carr, he's going to be the starter for the long haul. Carr has much more upside, but is likely going to make his share of mistakes. It's not a great first matchup against the Jets, however they ranked just 25th in allowing fantasy points to QBs last season. Look for the Raiders to try to get the running game going early to take pressure off Carr, however the Jets are expected to again be good against the run.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 6:10pm
It's like Robinson won't see a ton of snaps between all the time he's missed and that he's a little buried on the depth chart. He's very risky for fantasy lineups, but we'll have to keep an eye on his role in Week 1.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 6:01pm
Andrew Luck and A.Q. Shipley started getting reacquainted at Monday's practice.
The cram sessions could take all week.
While this isn't how the Colts envisioned opening the season Sunday at Denver, plugging in yet another potential new starter at center, injuries have left them with no choice.
"Going through today, taking every snap with the first group out there, he was pretty much flawless," coach Chuck Pagano said. "It's not easy, but we can help him on our end."
The Colts are banged up on the O-line so protecting Luck is going to be key this year. It also could affect the running game with so many new pieces coming and going. Just another thing to keep an eye on if you're a Luck owner.
Monday, September 1, 2014, 5:56pm
In Keenum, the Rams are getting a third-year player with some actual game experience, something current backup Austin Davis lacks. The Rams will have to make a corresponding roster move but it seems unlikely Davis would leave so Keenum could arrive. Having Davis allows the Rams to have a backup who knows coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's offense. It would also allow for Keenum to take his time getting acclimated in St. Louis.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo hasn’t practiced more than two consecutive days since training camp began.
That’s about to change. Romo practiced Monday. The players are off Tuesday. But head coach Jason Garrett said he anticipates the quarterback will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as the Cowboys prepare for their regular season opener with San Francisco.
“We anticipate a full week of practice,’’ Garrett said. “But again, we’ll monitor how he does with the work we give him.’’
Garrett reiterated that he believes Romo has looked more like himself over the last two weeks as he puts more distance between himself and offseason back surgery. Romo ranks 13th on our QB list and also has a tough fantasy matchup against the 49ers. If you have a better play it may be best to go that direction.
- Page 1