ESPN's Tim McManus said Friday night that his "guess" is QB Nick Foles will start Thursday night's opener against the Falcons. He added that QB Carson Wentz (knee) could be held out "a week or two." This is just 1 man's opinion, but it certainly wouldn't be surprising. As far as we know, Wentz still hasn't been cleared for contact. Foles, meanwhile, struggled mightily this preseason. As well as he played in the playoffs last year, he remains a downgrade for this Eagles offense.
ESPN reports that the Raiders and Bears have reached agreement on a trade for DE/OLB Khalil Mack. The star pass rusher has spent all of training camp and the preseason holding out for a new contract. He'll now line up opposite OLB Leonard Floyd in Chicago's 3-4 base and likely carry LB eligibility into 2018 for IDP owners. That hurts Mack's fantasy value, but it's a huge boost for an already intriguing Bears defense. Oakland, meanwhile, doesn't have much going for it on defense. We'll see about the details of the trade.
Bengals QB Andy Dalton connected on 11 of 18 passes for 180 yards and 2 TDs in Sunday's preseason game against the Bills. That damage came in just 5 series. Dalton found WR John Ross for a 57-yard score on the 1st play of the game and later connected with WR A.J. Green for a 14-yard TD. With Ross and TE Tyler Eifert healthy (at least for now), Dalton has a loaded group of pass-catchers. He remains a prime late-round QB target with an ADP sitting in the 16th round.
Steelers TE Jesse James left Saturday's preseason game against the Titans with a back contusion. It doesn't sound like a serious issue, and James hasn't been a prominent fantasy factor. But he stands to gain opportunity if Vance McDonald (foot) isn't ready for the regular-season opener. We'll keep an eye on the status of both players.
The Jets have released K Cairo Santos, who's been sidelined with a groin injury. Ks Jason Myers and Taylor Bertolet will duke it out for the Jets' starting job. Neither should be on your fantasy radar right now.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers called TE Jimmy Graham the "X-factor" in this year's offense. "He understands [defenses] so well. He can catch anything, and he’s impossible to cover," Rodgers said. "Jimmy can go from paper football to real football as easy as any player I’ve been around. He really understands coverages and knows how to attack defenses as the play unfolds.” We haven't heard much buzz on Graham this month, but he hauled in an 8-yard TD from Rodgers in the 2nd preseason game. And it sounds like Rodgers is happy with how Graham has settled into the offense. The 31-year-old is certainly past his prime, but Graham could easily catch 8+ TDs in this passing attack.
Bears rookie ILB Roquan Smith left practice Tuesday because of "tightness" in his left hamstring, according to Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune. HC Matt Nagy said they took Smith out as a precaution and that he might return Wednesday. That would keep alive the possibility of Smith playing in the 3rd preseason game. Smith, of course, didn't join the team until Aug. 14 because of a contract impasse. He reportedly said before Tuesday's practice that "being in football shape" is the biggest challenge for him right now. We'll see how quickly -- and well -- Smith bounces back from this setback. We have knocked the rookie down our LB rankings a bit.
Eagles QB Nick Foles' throwing shoulder injury is minor, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Don’t expect any prolonged recovery," Rapoport adds. It sounds like Foles will be available by Week 1. We'll see if he's needed or if QB Carson Wentz (knee) is ready.
Eagles QB Nick Foles injured his right (throwing) shoulder in Thursday night's preseason game against the Patriots. The team is calling it a "shoulder strain." Foles played poorly before exiting, completing just 3 of 9 passes for 44 yards. The injury is a major concern considering QB Carson Wentz isn't a lock to be ready for Week 1. Nate Sudfeld is Philly's #3 QB.
Rookie LB Roquan Smith has agreed to terms with the Bears, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Smith is the last unsigned draft pick -- Chicago's selection at #8 overall. We'll see if Smith's back in time to appear in the Bears' 3rd preseason game this Saturday at Denver. But even if he misses that one, the rookie should still have time to claim the starting ILB job next to Danny Trevathan and carry huge IDP upside.
We previously passed along multiple 49ers beat guys saying that WR Marquise Goodwin looked like the team's top wideout. Well, ESPN's Dan Graziano takes it a step further, saying, "The 49ers view him as their clear No. 1 wide receiver." We had already moved Goodwin up our WR rankings and Pierre Garcon down, and the gap in upside between them is likely even larger in Goodwin's favor. He should be the 1st 49ers wideout off the board in any fantasy format.
Few players have drawn more positive press than 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin early in training camp. Joe Fann of the team's official website tweeted this on Thursday: "I'm amazed by the development of Marquise Goodwin over the past year. His route running & hands are vastly improved. He's far more than raw athleticism. He looks like a bona fide No. 1 WR, and he's carrying himself as such." The San Francisco Chronicle's Eric Branch and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Grant Cohn have also said recently that Goodwin looks like the team's #1 WR. He's been consistently making big plays, while Pierre Garcon has gotten off to a slow start. Maybe that shouldn't come as a major surprise considering Garcon was on IR by the time QB Jimmy Garoppolo arrived last year. Goodwin, meanwhile, averaged 5.8 catches and 76.8 yards per game in Garoppolo’s 5 starts. We'll see if Garcon can gain some ground back over the next few weeks, but we've adjusted our projections for the 49ers' WRs.
The Raiders on Friday placed DE Khalil Mack on the reserve/did not report list. Mack continues to hold out in search of a new contract after skipping the team's mandatory minicamp. He's on the option year of his rookie contract and currently headed toward unrestricted free agency in the spring. We'll see how this situation plays out.
Bears HC Matt Nagy expects WR Allen Robinson (knee) to avoid the active/PUP list to begin training camp. Robinson was limited this spring but should be something close to a full-go now after last September's torn ACL. It's important for him to get reps in camp and preseason action in a new offense with a new QB. Robinson has every opportunity to emerge as the top dog in a much-improved Bears passing game. He's fairly valued at his WR18 ADP.
The Bears grabbed Georgia LB Roquan Smith with the 8th overall pick in the NFL Draft. Smith should start right away inside the Bears' 3-4 defense and easily slide into a 3-down role. We'll see what that means for oft-injured LB Danny Trevathan. Smith should quickly become a big IDP factor with his blend of athleticism and play recognition.
New Bears HC Matt Nagy likes what he's seen from RB Tarik Cohen both on film and early in the offseason program. “He’s a run threat and then he can catch the ball in space in broken formations," Nagy said. “That’s an advantage for the play callers and the play designers to be able to do some different things. We can move him around and try to get an advantage. … He’s dynamic." Cohen is coming off a promising rookie season that saw him average 4.3 yards per carry on 87 attempts and tally 53 catches. Nagy said recently that Jordan Howard will remain the team's lead back, but there's certainly room for Cohen to tack on another 20 or 30 touches to last year's total. He's fairly valued at his current 7th-round ADP.
TE Jimmy Graham has agree to a deal with the Packers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Despite a sluggish final quarter of the season, Graham rebounded for 10 TDs and top-7 finishes across fantasy football formats last year. Green Bay certainly won't hurt his TD potential. Volume could be on his side, too, after Jordy Nelson's 2017 decline and a tough couple of years for Randall Cobb. Of course, Graham's ADP will also likely be top 5 among TEs now that he's teaming up with Aaron Rodgers. We'll see exactly where he lands on that front and in our 2018 projections. This looks like a good opportunity to look into selling the 31-year-old Graham in dynasty leagues.
WR Allen Robinson intends to sign with the Bears when free agency officially kicks off on Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Robinson is 1 of the top free-agent WRs and fills a massive void in Chicago, where Kendall Wright, Jeremy Bellamy and Dontrelle Inman led the WRs in targets last year. A-Rob is recovering from last September's torn ACL but should be ready well ahead of the 2018 opener. He exploded for an 80-1,400-14 line in his 2nd season in Jacksonville, becoming just the 4th player in NFL history to post 1,400+ yards at age-22 or younger (joining Randy Moss, Larry Fitzgerald and Josh Gordon). Robinson's numbers declined in 2016, but his 73 catches, 883 yards and 6 TDs all led a bad Jaguars passing game. We'll see what else Chicago adds this offseason, but Robinson should be a heavy favorite to lead the 2018 squad in targets. His arrival is a big boost to QB Mitchell Trubisky's fantasy outlook.
Update: Robinson's deal is for $42 million over 3 years, with about $25 million guaranteed -- a bit less than Sammy Watkins got from the Chiefs.
49ers WR Marquise Goodwin has signed a 3-year, $20.3 million extension. It tacks on to the 1 year remaining on his old deal, locking him up in San Francisco through the 2021 season. It's a well-deserved reward for a guy coming off a career-best 56-962-2 line. Goodwin was particularly good with QB Jimmy Garoppolo, racking up 29 catches for 384 yards and a score in Garoppolo's 5 starts. The contract extension should lock Goodwin into a significant 2018 role, even with the 'Niners likely to add to the WR position this offseason.
Falcons WR Justin Hardy recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. Recovery is expected to take just "a few weeks," per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, so Hardy's offseason shouldn't be impacted much. He was a non-factor in fantasy this season, finishing with a 20-221-3 line on 29 targets. Hardy could see a few extra looks in 2018 if WR Taylor Gabriel departs in free agency, but he still won't be worth a pick in fantasy drafts.