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NFL, NFLPA 'still working' on drug policy

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 6:31pm

Indianapolis Star - [Full Article]

The NFL Players Association had hoped the league's revised drug policy would be finalized on Saturday in time for a handful of suspended players to be rejoin their team's active rosters.

It didn't happen.

Despite a unanimous vote from 32 NFL player representatives Friday evening on a term sheet of the comprehensive new drug policy, the process stalled when the policy was returned to the NFL and union's lawyers.

"We're still working on it," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told USA TODAY Sports in an email Saturday afternoon.

That leaves players like Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick and Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan still on their teams' suspended lists. Players must be on an active roster by 4 p.m. Saturday to be eligible to play.

Fantasy Impact:

Welker is the one of the bigger fantasy names affected by the delay, but it appears he could be able to play Week 3. Whenever the new policy - which will include HGH testing, higher marijuana thresholds, increased penalties for drunk driving and neutral arbitration for appeals - is finalized, the NFLPA will have a full list of players who will receive "adjusted discipline," the union said in statement on Saturday. The new policy will be retroactive to March 11, 2014, the first day of the NFL year, the story says.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014, 4:31pm

WR Josh Huff (shoulder), T Matt Tobin (ankle)

RB Chris Polk (hamstring), WR Brad Smith (groin), CB Jaylen Watkins (hamstring)

LB Jerrell Freeman (hamstring), G Joe Reitz (ankle)

DT Josh Chapman (ankle), C Khaled Holmes (ankle), DT Arthur Jones (shoulder)

RB Ahmad Bradshaw (not injury related), S Sergio Brown (shoulder), CB Gregory Toler (rib), WR Reggie Wayne (not injury related)

Fantasy Impact:

For the Eagles, Chris Polk is probable and could steal some carries from both LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, but probably nothing too significant.

For the Colts, Ahmad Bradshaw and Reggie Wayne appear as probable ( both not injury related) and practiced fully on Friday and Saturday. Bradshaw is expected to split carries with Trent Richardson and Wayne has a great matchup against the Eagles secondary.

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 1:43pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

It's been a quiet two games for Ravens rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro since leading the NFL in preseason rushing yards.

With zero carries so far with one pass thrown in his direction for an incompletion against the Cincinnati Bengals, the fourth-round draft pick from Coastal Carolina says he's remaining patient and waiting his turn.

Taliaferro ranks third on the depth chart behind starting running back Bernard Pierce and backup Justin Forsett and has been active for each game, primarily operating on special teams. Pierce rushed for a game-high 96 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Forsett scored a touchdown against the Bengals as he gained 70 yards and had a 41-yard run against the Steelers.

"I don't know what my role is going to be," said Taliaferro who rushed for 243 yards and one touchdown on 65 carries during the preseason. "I just know I'm ready for whatever it is. I can't control any of that. All I can control is what I do when my number is called in that moment."

Fantasy Impact:

Taliaferro is a power runner with a fairly upright running style at 6-foot, 226 yards. Taliaferro was the Big South Offensive Player of the Year last season when he rushed for 1,729 yards and 27 touchdowns, the story says. One has to think his time is coming with Ray Rice now out of the picture. Pierce was much improved Thursday night against the Steelers but a lot of questions still remain with this Raven RB group.

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 1:35pm - [Full Article]

In desperate need of good news, here's some for the Giants and WR Victor Cruz. The Giants top wide receiver appears likely to avoid what some consider the NFL's top cornerback.

Arizona's Patrick Peterson is a Pro Bowl and All-Pro player. And while he has in the past slipped inside to guard receivers in the slot -- where Cruz resides on a regular basis -- he's unlikely to do it on Sunday when the Giants welcome the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener.

When asked about it this week, Peterson told Cardinals reporters that Cruz was "an inside guy." He then went on to explain that he didn't expect to move around until Arizona plays the 49ers and top wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

"Now next week when we play San Francisco, not to jump ahead, when we get to those guys, that's when you'll start to see a little matching up, here and there," Peterson said.

Fantasy Impact:

The Giants had trouble getting Cruz the ball in the opener. He had two receptions 24 yards on Monday night in Detroit, and expressed a need the following day to get the ball earlier and more often, even if he did drop a pair of passes. Both he and Rueben Randle didn't appear on the same page as Eli Manning several times when Manning changed the play. The bad news is Peterson will be on someone, perhaps Randle, on Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 10:59am - [Full Article]

While the loss of the talented second-year tight end Jordan Reed will hurt, Washington OC Sean McVay believes that the Niles Paul and Logan Paulsen tandem will remain effective in place of Reed.

“Well you just know that you’ve got those two guys that have played a lot of football for us and have done a nice job,” McVay told the media on Friday about adjustments without Reed in the lineup. “Obviously, Jordan brings a unique skillset, but we’ll continue to use those guys similarly to how we would if Jordan was going.

“But Logan and Niles will spell each other and we feel good about what they bring to the table for us.”

Fantasy Impact:

It sounds like both TEs will see time trying to make up for the loss of Reed. It's a good matchup vs. the Jags, but there seems to be a lot of uncertainty with putting one or the other in your fantasy lineup. Probably best to just go with another option, but based on last week, Paul may be an emergency option.

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 9:41am

ESPN - [Full Article]

The other effect missing RB Adrian Peterson has on the Vikings, of course, is how much attention he commands from defenses.

Six of his 21 carries came against eight-man fronts last week; only the Baltimore Ravens' Bernard Pierce had more carries against an eight-man front in Week 1, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Vikings faked handoffs to Peterson on Cordarrelle Patterson's two jet sweeps last week, and without Peterson on the field, defenses can devote more attention to Patterson and possibly avoid committing an extra defender to the run.

The Vikings have still managed to average 4.57 yards per carry in games Peterson has missed since 2007, according to ESPN Stats & Information, but there's little doubt their offense will take on a different configuration Sunday.

Fantasy Impact:

RBs Matt Asiata and rookie Jerick McKinnon will get most of the rushes, but Patterson could see more touches in that capacity. The Pats have proven to be very good at taking away a player on offense they deem most dangerous, and that now becomes Patterson. But at the same time, the Vikings could try to get Patterson a few more touches as he's now their most explosive player. Patterson's fantasy value should go up a bit with Peterson out of the picture.

Bears will use 'every minute' before game to make decisions on WRs

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 9:28am

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will not know who his options are at wide receiver for Sunday night's game with the San Francisco 49ers are until shortly before kickoff.

''We'll see where we are closer to the game,'' coach Marc Trestman said. ''We've got up to 90 minutes before the game to make those decisions and we're going to use every minute of it to make sure we make the right decision in the best interests of the team, and certainly for the player.''

Trestman said he has no overall policy about using a player who hasn't been able to practice during the week, calling it a ''player to player decision.''
''The No. 1 thing I want to be sure is that the player is healthy enough to play the game and can be safe out there,'' he said.

Fantasy Impact:

As we had in our injury reports, WR Brandon Marshall didn't practice Friday while WR Alshon Jeffery did do some work. Owners probably shouldn't expect a decision until right before the game, based on this story, which puts owners in a tough spot. Obviously QB Jay Cutler's value takes a huge hit if both guys are out so he's a very risky start in what already isn't a great matchup. Cutler owners may just want to go another direction while Marshall and Jeffery owners need a backup plan in place.

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 9:16am

Miami Herald - [Full Article]

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the 24-year-old WR Kelvin Benjamin, who started just one year at Florida State before turning pro after his sophomore season, needs to learn the important nuances of the NFL game.

Specifically he said Benjamin failed to release outside of the numbers on one play, a strategy used to pull an extra defensive back his way and free up a teammate on a passing play.

Rivera also said Benjamin "bent in" a post route when he should have kept running — an error that resulted in an incompletion instead of a potential Carolina touchdown.

Benjamin also was flagged for a block in the back.

Fantasy Impact:

Rivera added Benjamin needs to be more involved in plays that are not designed for him. But his patch catching skills are already pretty impressive. This week Cam Newton is back throwing him the ball, and Newton's mobility could give Benjamin more room to get open. Consider Benjamin a nice WR3 option in your lineup with the potential to be much more.

NFLPA approves new drug policy

Friday, September 12, 2014, 8:06pm - [Full Article]

The NFL Players Association has approved the league's drug policy proposal after a vote by player reps, the union announced Friday. The new policy will institute human growth hormone testing for the first time and offers sweeping changes to the league's drug policy. The threshold for positive marijuana tests was raised and offseason amphetamine-positive tests will go from the performance enhancing drug policy to the substances of abuse policy.

Update: NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello tweets, "We have not yet reached an agreement with the union on revisions to our drug program. There continue to be significant unresolved issues." This is clearly still a fluid situation.

Fantasy Impact:

Mike Garafolo is reporting the NFLPA isn't yet confirming the names of players who will be cleared to return to action but a source says it's in the range of 20.

It's widely expected Wes Welker could theoretically play this weekend once the league officially signs off on the term sheet (expected Saturday). However, we wouldn't hold our breath that a player who missed practice all week would suit up on Sunday.

It is widely being reported that Josh Gordon's suspension will be reduced to 10 games, but nothing has been made official and that result does not entirely make sense. The official release from the NFLPA can be found here. If the 10 game suspension turns out to be correct, it leaves owners with a tough decision: tremendous upside when he returns for your playoff push or an extra roster spot to use until then.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Rams QB Shaun Hill (thigh, questionable) returned to take limited reps Friday after missing practice earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 2. Hill is supposedly the starter if healthy, so we’ll have to wait until Sunday to see if he’s active and starting. If he misses the game, Austin Davis will get the start. Either way, the Bucs defense looks like a strong play this week.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Panthers QB Cam Newton (ribs, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 2. Newton is good to go for a date with a historically inept Lions pass defense. Detroit did a pretty good job against Eli Manning and Co. on Monday night, but that’s not saying much at this point.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (right shoulder, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 2. Per HC Bruce Arians, Palmer has a “nerve thing” and hasn’t thrown much all week. We believe he will play, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday morning. The Cardinals play in the early round of games this week.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 2. Romo is a go for a not-so-great matchup with the Titans. He didn’t play well in Week 1, so his owners are hoping for a bounce back in Week 2. We’re not terribly optimistic that will happen, though Dez Bryant remains a must-start.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Titans RB Jackie Battle (neck, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 2.

Friday, September 12, 2014, 7:30pm

Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (not injury related) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week. We feel that Bradshaw is the best fantasy start of the Colts running backs despite his limited role alongside Trent Richardson.