Steelers WR Sammie Coates caught both his targets for 66 yards and a score in Friday night's preseason game. But both grabs came with QB Landry Jones and the 2nd-team offense. We didn't see Coates take a single snap with the starters. It looks like Pittsburgh will open the season with Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton outside and Eli Rogers in the slot. That obviously makes Coates hands-off in fantasy lineups. He's still capable of earning a starting job at some point this year, but he can't be drafted as more than a late-round flier.
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell showed no ill effects from last year's knee injury in his preseason debut on Friday night. He took 3 carries for 21 yards and caught all 5 of his targets for 37 yards. Bell is unlikely to play in the preseason finale, so we'll next see him in Week 4. He'll return as a RB1.
Patriots WR Chris Hogan hauled in 5 of 6 targets for 62 yards and a score in Friday night's preseason game against the Panthers. All those marks led the team. Four of Hogan's catches came from QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but he also caught a beautiful 33-yard TD from QB Tom Brady. Hogan seems set to open the season with a significant role. That makes him worth a look as a bench guy with upside for your fantasy squad.
Cowboys insider Bryan Broaddus believes RB Ezekiel Elliott is still "not in football shape." That makes some sense considering he missed a couple of weeks of camp with a hamstring injury. Zeke looked just fine in his preseason debut on Thursday night, though, carrying 7 times for 48 yards. Broaddus says the rookie "can play better." That's a scary thought for opposing defenses. Elliott has the potential to lead all RBs in fantasy points.
Redskins RB Keith Marshall suffered a sprained elbow in Friday night's preseason game, the team announced. It doesn't sound like a serious injury, but Marshall can't afford to miss much time after a disappointing August. He was rotating 1st-team reps with RB Rob Kelley before exiting. RB Matt Jones is out with his shoulder injury and has no clear-cut handcuff right now.
Falcons S Keanu Neal will need "minor" knee surgery after suffering an injury in Thursday night's game against the Dolphins, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He's expected to miss 3-4 weeks, which would likely cost the rookie the 1st couple of regular-season games. That obviously impacts his outlook for IDP drafts. The Atlanta team D doesn't look attractive anyway.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is targeting a return sometime between Weeks 4 and 6, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That timeline makes more sense than the potential Week 1 return we heard from the Cincinnati Enquirer's Paul Dehner earlier today. Eifert's "hope" is to debut in Week 4, per Rapoport. But the Bengals will need to decide if they want to carry him on their roster during that time. They might opt to stick him on the reserve/PUP, which would knock him out for the first 6 games. We currently have Eifert projected to play 10 games, so we're not moving him in the TE rankings. We'll continue to monitor his progress.
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill hinted at a committee backfield after Thursday night's preseason game. “They both have different dynamic assets we can use, and whoever is in there, we feel comfortable with (them), and they’re going to make plays for us,” Tannehill said of RBs Jay Ajayi and Arian Foster. “I don’t think we really need to name a number one guy at this point or really at any point.” Ajayi and Foster rotated series with the 1st-team offense against the Falcons, with the youngster out-touching the vet 9 to 7. We're betting on a similar arrangement to open the regular season. That'll make both guys dicey fantasy starters.
Bengals insider Paul Dehner expects TE Tyler Eifert to be "healthy the first few weeks of the season -- if not the opener in New York." That's the most optimistic take we've heard on Eifert in a while. A report earlier this month suggested that he could be sidelined until October. Eifert just resumed jogging this week. That doesn't sound like a player who will be ready for Week 1. We'll continue to monitor his progress but still aren't buying at his 7th-round price tag.
Robert Turbin is the Colts' "likely #2 back," according to the Indy Star's Stephen Holder. Rookie RB Josh Ferguson was hyped up during the spring but has busted in preseason action, averaging just .7 yards per carry and struggling in pass protection. Turbin hasn't been much better -- 1.8 yards per carry -- but at least has experience in a backup role. RB Jordan Todman also remains in the mix. “This game and the next game are going to be very important to the rest of those guys behind (Frank Gore),” HC Chuck Pagano said of the final 2 preseason contests. “All those guys are going to get some reps and somebody’s got to start to emerge.” The fantasy takeaway: Don't bother handcuffing Gore.
"I feel fine," Cowboys QB Tony Romo said after injuring his back in Thursday night's preseason game against the Seahawks. "It was obviously a jolt to the back ... But came out fine. The fact that I came out of it kinda makes you feel like my back is stronger." Romo added that he could have re-entered the game, but the coaches opted to hold him out. All indications are that Romo avoided a significant injury and should be ready for Week 1. But this serves as a reminder that he's 1 of the biggest injury risks at his position.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo injured his back on the 1st series of Thursday night's preseason game against the Seahawks. He got bent awkwardly and looked to be in serious pain. Romo was able to walk off the field under his own power, though, and was trying to re-enter the game. Dallas unsurprisingly didn't let him. The Cowboys TV broadcast reported that Romo's back "felt tight." This 1 will be worth keeping a close eye on considering Romo's long history of back issues.
Saints insider Larry Holder writes that TE Coby Fleener hasn't been on the "same page" as QB Drew Brees on some routes this summer. "The Saints yearn for more from Fleener," Holder adds. That last line tells us that Fleener has at least been a bit disappointing so far, but also that New Orleans wants him to be a big part of the offense. That his chemistry still needs work with Brees in August isn't a big surprise. There's still big fantasy upside here. Perhaps some negative press will lower Fleener's 6th-round ADP.
Dolphins WR Kenny Stills played ahead of WR DeVante Parker in Thursday night's preseason game. Stills was in for all 7 of the 2-WR snaps in the 1st half, while Parker played none. Stills was also more productive, hauling in 4 of 6 targets for 46 yards. Parker corralled 2 of 4 targets for just 8 yards. This situation probably isn't settled yet, but Stills certainly looks like the better value in fantasy drafts. He's usually going undrafted, while Parker's ADP is sitting in the 5th round.
Falcons WR Julio Jones injured his ankle in Thursday night's preseason game against Miami. He limped off the field under his own power and didn't seem to get much trainer attention on the sideline. Jones never returned, but that's not a surprise in an exhibition. This didn't have the look of a serious injury, but we'll keep an eye on Jones' status.
Update: NBC's Michelle Tafoya confirmed at halftime that Jones would have returned if this was a regular season game. His fantasy stock is unaffected.
Giants HC Ben McAdoo is "very optimistic" that WR Victor Cruz will be able to play in Saturday's preseason game. Cruz missed the first 2 exhibitions with a groin injury. “I’m ready,” Cruz said Thursday. “Obviously it’s been a long time coming … This one is crossing so many hurdles, so many barriers … To me, this game is bigger than just a game.” We're curious to see how Cruz looks in his 1st game action since October of 2014, but we're still not interested in drafting him at this point.
Cardinals WR John Brown returned to practice on Thursday, per insider Darren Urban. That's encouraging news after Brown sat out with headaches Wednesday -- just a few days after returning from a concussion. It looks like he's back in the clear now, but we'll continue to keep a close eye on him.
Broncos QB Trevor Siemian has won the starting job, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. That certainly looked like the case when HC Gary Kubiak announced that Siemian would start the 3rd preseason game, but this report is more concrete. It's a surprising outcome considering Siemian's resume. He's a former 7th-round pick who completed just 58.9% of his passes with 27 TDs and 24 INTs in 4 years at Northwestern. Siemian has yet to attempt a regular-season NFL pass and has averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt with 0 TDs and 1 INT in 2 preseason contests this year. He's nowhere near the fantasy radar and makes WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders scary picks. We're expecting rookie QB Paxton Lynch to take over at some point this year. QB Mark Sanchez isn't even guaranteed a roster spot.
Broncos TE Jeff Heuerman is sidelined with a hamstring injury and is "unlikely" to play in Saturday's preseason game against the Rams, according to the Denver Post's Cameron Wolfe. Heuerman missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL and has been dealing with hamstring trouble all offseason. HC Gary Kubiak said he's still "a few days" from getting back on the field. Meanwhile, Virgil Green continues to look more and more locked in as Denver's starting TE. He's a recommended late-round target.
The Lions have released RB Stevan Ridley. He mustered just 3.0 yards per carry on 9 preseason totes. Ridley's departure locks in Zach Zenner as Detroit's #3 RB -- and potential goal-line back. He's worth a look late in drafts, especially in non-PPR or TD-heavy formats. Rookie RB Dwayne Washington has had a strong preseason and now looks like a better bet to make the team.
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