The Arizona offense really is light years ahead of where it was last year. Just watch the first two preseason games. The Cardinals were as efficient as they’ve been in some time, but that wasn’t just a show for the cameras. During practice, Arizona moved the ball with ease despite a defense knowing exactly what was coming most of the time. When Carson Palmer faced the scout defense this week, he looked almost flawless, using his battery of weapons to his advantage. What stood out most, however, was that the formation issues that plagued them last year were gone. This was an offense that knew what it was doing.
This bodes well for Palmer, who was the #22 QB through eight weeks, but was #6 from Week 10 to Week 17, after the team’s Week 9 bye. He said he felt much more comfortable in Bruce Arians’ offense down the stretch and his numbers reflect that. His receiving corps is good with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, who had a breakout season in his second year.
It's pretty clear how much the Giants have invested in running back Rashad Jennings. He took almost all the first-half snaps with the starting offense, and was the only Giants player to carry the ball in the first half. Jennings had 13 carries for 67 yards. Andre Williams, the trash-talking rookie, appears to be little more than an occasional fill-in/goal line option.
Rashad Jennings was the #6 RB from Week 9 to Week 15 (when he was playing starter’s snaps for the Raiders) and that included a missed game against the Jets in Week 14. In 13 career games where he has seen 15+ touches, Jennings has averaged 14.4 fantasy points, or solid RB1 numbers. Jennings will be 29 to open the season, so he’s close to the end of a running back’s prime. But given the limited workload he has seen for most of his career, there should be plenty of tread left on his tires.
Recent whispers about wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan possibly being cut should be completely tabled. Jernigan started and played most of the first half with the starters. He had three receptions (on four targets) for 22 yards. With Odell Beckham still injured, Jernigan is the heavy favorite to start Week 1 in Detroit.
Jernigan racked up 19 catches for 237 yards and two TDs in the final three games, making him the #2 WR in fantasy in that span. The arrival of Odell Beckham puts a damper on his 2014 outlook, but with Beckham sidelined, Jernigan could make some noise early in the season. The Giants will run a lot of three-wide sets.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 11:15pm
Tough break for Giants wide receiver Marcus Harris, who was knocked out of the game in the first half with a shoulder injury. He came back onto the field in the third quarter with his right arm in a sling. It could ultimately be the deciding factor on whether he make the final roster.
Quarterback Eli Manning looked to his top receiver Victor Cruz early and often. It was good to see. After a slow start to the preseason (0 official catches in three games), Cruz caught a pass from Manning on the first offensive play of the game. He was targeted seven times in the first half and finished with four catches for 61 yards. Cruz also had three receptions for 50 yards on the Giants' scoring drive to end the half. Cruz, Manning and the Giants can at least sleep a little better now heading into their season opener.
The Giants offense has struggled this preseason, but it's good to see Manning finally complete some passes to his WR1.
He's already nursing his ankle after surgery this spring. Newton's health is a real question mark heading into the season.
Moreno was expected to take over as the RB1, but offseason knee surgery and poor conditioning has delayed that competition. Lamar Miller currently sits atop the depth chart, but if Moreno looks good, the backfield could devolve into an ugly RBBC.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 6:04pm
Egnew caught seven passes for 69 yards over two seasons with the Dolphins, who selected him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Buccaneers rookie receiver Mike Evans is shown getting into a fight with bouncers outside a South Beach nightclub in a video posted at TMZ.com, but his agent said the incident took place in March and that no arrests were made.
The site initially reported that the brawl took place Saturday night — which would have been just hours after the Bucs' preseason game in Tampa against the Dolphins — but Evans' agent, Deryk Gilmore, said it happened in March, before the Bucs selected Evans in the NFL draft in May. TMZ later updated its report.
This will probably have no bearing on Evans' availability this season as no arrests were made.
It looks like Gordon's limbo will continue through another big draft weekend, so owners will have to continue to guess about his status for the time being. The decision on the appeal was supposed to come down in a "reasonable amount of time," but that isn't possible at this point. To our knowledge, no negotiations have taken place, so Gordon is still facing an "all" (16-game) or "none" (zero-game) scenario. We believe he's worth a shot in the 10th or 11th round, but his ADP is currently in the 9th round.
Jets HC Rex Ryan said this week that he doesn’t think “one guy is just going to carry the load,” but it’ll be tempting to leave the former NFL rushing champion (Chris Johnson) on the sideline if he gets into a rhythm.
There is a lot of hand-wringing about Johnson's workload in New York, but we believe he will get enough work to be a serviceable RB2. Considering he's the 26th RB off the board in the 5th/6th round, he offers good value at that point in the draft. He has six consecutive top 12 finishes in PPR formats and plays alongside one of the most injury-prone backs in the league (Chris Ivory).
Friday, August 22, 2014, 1:12pm
Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner is one of the longest-tenured and most creative playcallers in the NFL. The Vikings opened up their offense a little more in the second preseason game than they did in the first. Will the third game see even more Turner aggressiveness? Tight end Kyle Rudolph has looked reinvigorated in Turner’s scheme, coming off an injury, and second-year pro Cordarrelle Patterson appears to be taking an increased role in the offense.
Rudolph and Patterson are both intriguing picks at their current ADPs, but with all the mouths to feed (including Adrian Peterson and Greg Jennings), will the offense be productive enough under QB Matt Cassel? If so, Cassel will be a sleeper QB2/streamer type if he can hold onto the job.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 1:06pm
Going into the offseason program, Texans RB Jonathan Grimes was a long shot to make the team and was expected to be the fourth back at best behind Arian Foster, Andre Brown and rookie Alfred Blue. Grimes has developed into one of the team’s best surprises, impressing the new staff with his skills, work ethic and ability to pick up the new system. Brown was released, opening a spot for Grimes. He took advantage of Foster’s hamstring injury to start the first two preseason games and led the team in rushing with 81 yards on 19 carries (4.3 average). He has three catches for 25 yards (8.3 average). He’s improved as a pass protector. Grimes (5-10, 209) impressed the team as an undrafted rookie in 2012 and was placed on the practice squad but was signed by the Jets. He returned to the Texans in 2013 and saw some action near the end of the season.
Dating back to the beginning of the offseason program, Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins made the kind of improvement expected of young players entering their second seasons. His progress has been consistent and often spectacular. The best indication yet was during three practices with the Broncos. Working against Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib, Hopkins was physical getting off the line of scrimmage and attacking the ball. He didn’t let Talib frustrate him. He took the ball away from Talib more often than not, and the veteran corner gave him his proper respect. Hopkins has improved as a route runner. His ball skills are tremendous. He’s got quick, strong hands. His leaping ability is superb. Watching him work the sideline and the back of the end zone against the Broncos to make one catch after another was amazing.
Hopkins finished as the #50 WR in 2013, posting 52 catches for 802 yards and two touchdowns, a solid season for a rookie wideout playing along an established veteran like Andre Johnson. Since 2000, 1st round rookie wideouts with at least 700 yards receiving have increased their fantasy output by 33% in their second season. If Hopkins sees this kind of increase, he’ll be a very solid WR3.
Friday, August 22, 2014, 12:53pm
Through two preseason games, both kickers have proven what they can do. They’ve both hit every extra point (3-3) and are both perfect from field goal range.
“It’s like watching the World Cup,” HC Andy Reid said. “I love watching the competition, but they’re so close every day, it’s crazy. They’re both right there.”