Another week closer to the start of the season as Week 2 of preseason is underway. Lets get this week’s projections and rankings update done prior to the weekend, for those drafting in the next few days.
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The Andre Ellington bandwagon is picking up steam on reports the Cardinals hope to get him 20 touches per game, and they aren’t going to play him much in the preseason. (Yes, I understand there is some hypocrisy where if some players don’t play = bad; others don’t play = good. It’s a tricky balancing act, just roll with it.) At any rate, we’ve got a butt cheek on the wagon and at this point I believe I would take him above Arian Foster, while rankings partner-in-crime Dave would not.
Ron Jaworski is excited about Cards rookie QB Logan Thomas. We love Jaws, but he does get overly excited at times. Nothing to see here for redraft, folks.
RB Steven Jackson continues to miss practice with a hamstring injury. He’s an okay bet as a third running back on your fantasy team. Similarly, rookie Devonta Freeman is an okay bet as a rookie and handcuff who may be thrust into more opportunity than planned when the Falcons drafted him.
WR Steve Smith is getting good reviews out of Ravens camp. Guy is a baller. I remember the last time he was considered done and a complete after thought in fantasy drafts prior to the 2011 season. 2011 stats: 79 for 1,394 and 7 TD. Going to be tougher to do it now, but if he’s sitting there near the end of an auction going for just a few bucks, I’ll buy.
TE Martellus Bennett is back after his suspension… in fact, he was welcomed back about 5 minutes after our last update in which I downgraded him. However, it isn’t like I didn’t expect him back at some point. The downgrade was more because of the limited upside he offers relative to some guys who were just below him. I’m not moving him back up.
WR Marvin Jones has a broken foot and will miss at least a few weeks and quite possibly a lot more. This opens up things for Mohamed Sanu who should start in Jones’ place. I wouldn’t consider Jones a great stash for later pick.
Since every update needs a comment about the Browns QB situation, here goes… they signed Rex Grossman and waived Tyler Thigpen. Kidding! Well, that is true, but not what you were after I assume. The Browns are indicating they want to decide who the regular season starter is after their Week 3 preseason game.
Latest on Josh Gordon is a decision expected next week as to whether his year long suspension gets reduced or not.
WR Calvin Johnson is wearing a protective split on his finger that required offseason surgery. The finger didn’t bother him, or his fantasy owners, last year, so lets chalk this up as a report I felt should be mentioned to keep you in the know, but a non-issue otherwise.
Green Bay Packers
UDFA TE Colt Lyerla tore his ACL and is done for the season. Dynasty players and draftniks may be more familiar with the name. We wiped all Packers out of our TE rankings week ago given the uncertainty with their depth chart.
The Texans released RB Andre Brown. This is somewhat surprising as Brown played well for the New York Giants and was the clear favorite to backup Arian Foster. Dennis Johnson also got the axe. Jonathan Grimes is the name to put on your radar, along with rookie Alfred Blue.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw says he expects to play Week 1 of the regular season. He is the primary backup behind Trent Richardson. You could do a lot worse late in your draft adding Bradshaw as a speculative upside pick.
RB Knowshon Moreno will miss the Dolphins second preseason game but is slated to be back in action for their third game.
TE Charles Clay is still missing practice with a knee injury. Clay was a surprise and big boost to his fantasy owners last season, most of whom grabbed him off the waiver wire. Given this injury however, look to upside picks at TE like Zach Ertz or Jordan Reed, or even more reliable options like Delanie Walker, before Clay until he’s healthy.
New England Patriots
Rookie RB James White is making a good impression, earning first-team reps in practice while Stevan Ridley works with the second-team. The way the Pats use their running backs is potentially maddening for fantasy owners, but White is going so late in drafts he’s worth a shot. Ridley would appear to be a pass, let someone else take him, at this point.
Rob Gronkowski is apparently 50-50 for the opener. I guess that is as good a guess as any. We can be certain the Patriots won’t spill the beans either way. Picture Bill Belichick doing an impression of Ivan Drago: “If he plays, he plays.”
Listen, I understand if/when Gronk returns to action he is a huge boost to your fantasy lineup on a PPG basis, BUT, he isn’t even guaranteed to start the season. Yet I see tweets to the effect of: “Got Gronk 2.12.” “Seriously? Steal!” “Yeah, take that every time.” Say what? Its not like the second or early third round are throw caution to the wind picks. Gronk is not a must-have to win your league. At that price let someone else take the risk.
BTW, Friday news update: Gronk apparently favoring his knee and limping at practice. The saga continues…
New Orleans Saints
QB Drew Brees remains out with an oblique injury. This one has me slightly worried, knowing how bad oblique injuries can be for baseball players. They are less common in football. Brees will sit this week’s preseason game and hopefully he’ll return to action next week.
A recent Saints depth chart indicates Pierre Thomas is third in the pecking order at running back behind Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. The Saints love the RBBC, and Thomas is their best pass catcher (although Ingram is no slouch), but this would seem to indicate Ingram and Robinson are performing well. We’re going to squeeze these guys closer together in the rankings.
New York Giants
Rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. is at practice, working his way back into the swing of things after a hamstring injury sidelined him. He’s behind the curve right now, but this is the first positive news is some time. Jerrel Jernigan is working with the starters and playing the slot. The Giants passing game looks… uninspiring.
New York Jets
WR Eric Decker is not practicing due to a quadriceps injury. Will revisit if we are concerned or not closer to the start of the season.
TE Nick Kasa tore his ACL. Who? He got a very minimal mention in our last update, so this became newsworthy.
WR Riley Cooper is still out with a foot injury but hopes to play in the team’s third preseason game. Check our recent Players To Avoid article for my comments on Jeremy Maclin. Same applies to Cooper, except less talent and less injury prone. I don’t see a lot of reason to draft this guy even in the bottom half of the draft.