Here is a recap of up to the minute (Kelvin Benjamin!) NFL news and notes since our last update before Week 1 of preseason. We are still a day away from more game action but we’ll call it Preseason Week 2 news and notes. These will factor into our next projections and rankings changes, later today or tomorrow.
Free Agents of Interest
The team signed RB Chris Johnson to a one-year contract with minimal guarantees, heavier on the incentives. We’ll slot him in behind Andre Ellington and rookie David Johnson on the depth chart for now. We aren’t that interested in drafting CJ, unless ridiculously cheap with a roster spot to burn perhaps, but it’s a signal to be even less confident in the entire Cards RB corps.
WR Breshad Perriman continues to miss practice after practice (12 straight as of Tuesday). Twitter reports say he had an MRI and it came back normal, and the Ravens expect him back in about a week. The missed time does not inspire a lot of confidence Perriman will have a significant fantasy impact this season.
LeSean McCoy limped off the field Tuesday with a hamstring injury. MRI results were negative (or should I say results were positive?), but looks like he’s out for preseason and plans to be ready for a Week 1 return.
Fred Jackson, Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown and the latest, rookie Karlos Williams, are all missing practice due to injuries. Educated guess is Jackson is still the RB2 to own in this backfield. With all of these injuries Ray Rice’s name keeps popping up as a possible signing.
Listened to a Bills reporter Sal Capaccio on the radio Monday say the QB competition is quickly becoming a two-player race between Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor. E.J. Manuel is a distant third. None are worth drafting except in deep start two QB leagues at this point, of course.
I apparently can’t get this update written fast enough! Kelvin Benjamin went down during practice this morning (Wednesday) with an apparent knee injury. One of those didn’t touch anyone when it happened injuries, which are usually not good. Waiting initial results. Worst case, torn ACL and out for the year. Best case, simple sprain or tweak of the knee. Outcome could have a major impact on rookie WR Devin Funchess (who also tweaked him hamstring, by the way), Cam Newton and Greg Olsen.
Update August 20: Confirmed, Benjamin tore his ACL and is out for the season. We’ll distribute his hefty targets between rookie Devin Funchess, Jerricho Cotchery and Corey (Philly) Brown plus Greg Olsen, with the remainder falling into a generic “other player” bucket (like Ted Ginn, Jr. or Jarrett Boykin). Do not draft Benjamin. Funchess’ ADP will rise sharply. Cam down. Olsen a slight bump perhaps. He was already projected and ranked pretty high.
Rookie WR Kevin White is out for an extended period after requiring surgery on his shin due a stress fracture. He’ll go on regular season PUP at a minimum, missing at least the first six games, and his entire rookie season is in jeopardy. Do not draft.
Alshon Jeffery has a calf injury but it isn’t considered serious. There is a little risk here but on the plus side Jeffery’s targets could be off the charts with White out indefinitely.
RB Darren McFadden was removed from the PUP list this week, but pretty clear this is Joseph Randle’s job to lose at this point because McFadden is so far behind.
Reports are there is no clear backup or handcuff pick for starting RB C.J. Anderson between Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman. Both looked good in the first preseason game. Hard to imagine it will be Hillman when we hit the regular season.
Emmanuel Sanders is missing practice with the injury du jour, a strained hamstring. He is doubtful for their next preseason game.
Starting QB watch: Brian Hoyer started the first preseason game. Ryan Mallett will start the second. It is still a coin flip call with no timeline on a decision.
WR Marqise Lee continues to miss practice with a hamstring injury. Allen Hurns should start opposite Allen Robinson at the beginning of the regular season.
DeVante Parker appears 2-3 weeks away from returning to the team. He could make an impact this season and is worth the late pick in redraft leagues he currently costs as your second or third bench WR.
Damien Williams, not rookie Jay Ajayi, holds down the backup RB spot to Lamar Miller at this time. Ajayi only recently returned to practice.
The team lost RT Phil Loadholt to a torn Achilles’. While this didn’t prevent me from taking Adrian Peterson as the second overall pick in a recent moderate stakes redraft league, it isn’t good news for the Vikings running game and I thought worth mentioning.
New Orleans Saints
C.J. Spiller had knee surgery recently, described as a “maintenance” procedure to clean things up, and is expected to be out 2-4 weeks. That puts him in line to return for the start of the season, but it is an ominous sign for a RB with a bit of a track record being dinged up, and getting drafted relatively high on a team with other RB options. Moving down and marking Spiller as an “avoid” in our next rankings update. Khiry Robinson is one to watch, perhaps even target.
New York Giants
Rueben Randle is missing practice with knee tendinitis, while reports of Victor Cruz’s recovery continue to be positive. Cruz should be drafted ahead of Randle at this point. If Cruz is healthy enough to start the regular season, and it seems to be trending that way, then might as well leave Randle for the waiver wire in most leagues.
TE Zach Ertz required surgery for a sports hernia and will sit out the rest of the preseason. Strangely enough, this happened not long after my last news and notes update in which I expressed buyer’s remorse drafting Ertz. He is expected back for Week 1 (albeit that seems a little optimistic) and we already moved him down our rankings slightly and slapped an “avoid” icon on him.
The Redskins TE position is decimated. Niles Paul (ankle) and Logan Paulsen (toe) are both out for the season, while Jordan Reed is, as usual, missing time due to injury (hamstring). Reed is hopeful to play in the team’s third preseason game. He’s a nice late flier pick, but health is a major concern.