Chargers OC Shane Steichen voiced optimism Thursday that WR Mike Williams could be ready for Week 1. "Mike's gotta be ready to play," Steichen said, per Gilbert Manzano of the Orange County Register. "I think Mike has got that mindset to be ready to play. We look forward to having him on September 13." Of course, Williams' availability will still depend on whether his shoulder is actually ready for game action. We'll see about that as teams switch over to game-week injury reports. Even if he doesn't make it back for the opener, though, this is encouraging for Williams' early-season fantasy outlook.
Chargers S Derwin James will require surgery on his right knee and miss the 2020 season, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The hope had been that James could get a meniscus trim and miss just a few weeks. Instead, he'll miss his 3rd season after sitting out most of his 2nd with a foot fracture. HC Anthony Lynn told reporters Monday morning that he'll rely on a "stacked" secondary to fill in for James. It's not clear who will step in primarily. Rookie Alohi Gilman has worked as the SS backup. But Rayshawn Jenkins could also slide over and leave FS snaps to Desmond King. We'll see how this plays out. None of the remaining options comes close to James' top-level IDP potential.
Chargers RB Justin Jackson left Sunday's scrimmage with a foot injury, according to The Athletic's Daniel Popper. We don't know any other specifics on the issue yet but will keep an eye out for updates. Jackson is competing with Joshua Kelley for the #2 job in the L.A. backfield.
Chargers S Derwin James sustained a meniscus injury in Sunday's practice and is "likely to miss significant time," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The star safety will undergo further evaluation before determining next steps, but it looks like the options are: get the meniscus trimmed and miss about 4 weeks, or get a full repair and sit out several months. We've shaved 4 games of James' projection in our 2020 IDP rankings for now and will keep an eye out for further updates.
Chargers S Derwin James left practice Sunday with a hamstring strain, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The team doesn’t know about the severity yet.
Chargers RB Joshua Kelley "might be having the best training camp of any player on the roster," The Athletic's Daniel Popper writes. HC Anthony Lynn likes what he's seen from the rookie, too. "I believe Joshua is having an outstanding camp," Lynn said. "I’ve thrown him in with the ones; he’s made plays. He’s in with the twos; he’s made plays. And he has shown a versatility. He can catch the ball out of the backfield well. He has shown that. So I’ve been pleased with his progress so far.” Popper notes that Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson still appear to be ahead of Kelley on the depth chart. But it sounds like he's pushing Jackson for snaps behind Ekeler. That'll be a situation to monitor early this season. For now, Kelley and Jackson are only worth rostering in deep fantasy leagues.
Chargers HC Anthony Lynn admitted that WR Mike Williams' status for the start of the season is uncertain. Williams will be "out for a while" with his shoulder injury, Lynn added. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero adds that Williams is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. The Chargers' opener is 19 days away. We've knocked a game off of Williams' projections, nudging him down a handful of spots in the WR rankings.
Chargers WR Mike Williams is considered week-to-week with a shoulder sprain suffered in Sunday's practice, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "At this point, his return to play timeline — and status for the opener -- is not yet determined," Rapoport adds. So it sounds like Williams is in some danger of missing Week 1. The Chargers are razor thin at WR behind Williams and Keenan Allen, with K.J. Hill, Joe Reed, Darius Jennings and a few others jockeying for position. Williams' absence would mean more targets for Allen, TE Hunter Henry and RB Austin Ekeler.
Chargers DE Melvin Ingram hasn't been taking part in practice so far. HC Anthony Lynn has only called it "company business." According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, though, "multiple team sources" have said Ingram is skipping practices because he's "dissatisfied with his contract situation." Ingram is taking part in meetings and other aspects, so it appears it's not technically a holdout. We'll see about Ingram's situation as we get closer to the season. Ingram's situation will also be interesting for future holdout candidates, now that the league's labor deal basically keeps players from actually holding out.
The Chargers added UCLA RB Joshua Kelley in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Kelley was a workhorse for the Bruins over the past 2 seasons, tallying rushing lines of 225-1,243-12 and 229-1,060-12. He averaged a mediocre 5.1 yards per carry, though, and doesn’t look like anything special on tape. Kelley ranked 17th among 21 of this year’s top RBs prospects in Pro Football Focus’ 2019 rushing grades and dead last in Elusive Rating. The 5’11, 212-pounder did test reasonably well at the Combine, posting a 4.49-second 40 time and a 6.95-second 3-cone. He finished with a 47th percentile SPARQ score. We heard one scout compare Kelley to the Packers’ Jamaal Williams. He’ll compete with Justin Jackson for ‘big-back’ duties behind Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles.
The Chargers traded up from Round 2 to select Oklahoma LB Kenneth Murray with the 23rd pick of the NFL Draft. Murray offered big production the past 2 years: 155 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 2018; and then 102 tackles, 17 TFLs and 4 sacks last season. L.A.'s move to get him points to an immediate 3-down role in a defense that has been desperate for full-time LBs. Expect immediate IDP impact from Murray.
The Chargers selected Oregon QB Justin Herbert with the 6th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Herbert made 42 starts across the past 4 years, leaving the Ducks with a career 64% completion rate, 8.2 yards per attempt and 95 TDs vs. 23 INTs. After a disappointing 2018 campaign, he bounced back to chuck for 3,471 yards with 32 TDs vs. 6 INTs on a 67% completion rate and 8.1 yards per attempt this past year. Herbert’s accuracy is spotty, but he’s a 6’6, 235-pounder with a big arm. And his rushing upside makes him an intriguing fantasy prospect. Although he totaled just 216 yards and 6 scores on the ground over the past 2 seasons, Herbert ran a 4.68-second 40-yard dash at the Combine and earned a 92nd percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score. He could produce Josh Allen-like rushing numbers as a pro. Herbert joins Tyrod Taylor in the Chargers’ QB room. HC Anthony Lynn is a big Tyrod fan, but we’d expect Herbert to take over at some point this season.
The Chargers are "still very high" on RB Justin Jackson, according to The Athletic's Daniel Popper. The 2018 7th-rounder has struggled staying healthy even in a limited role over the past 2 seasons but has averaged a strong 5.1 yards per carry. Popper doesn't expect the Chargers to add an early-round back later this month to replace Melvin Gordon. If that's the case, Jackson could be in for a sneaky-big role behind undersized Austin Ekeler, who hasn't topped 132 carries in an NFL season.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers and RB Austin Ekeler have agreed to a new 4-year deal worth $24.5 million. The contract reportedly includes $15 million guaranteed. Ekeler had been on track for restricted free agency. Instead, he looks locked in as the team's top back -- even if the Chargers add to the backfield this offseason, as we expect them to do. The terms seem low enough to make finishing this contract seem realistic. At the least, this top-7 RB across fantasy formats in 2019 looks poised for another run at RB1-level production.
Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) isn't listed on the final injury report after putting in full practices on Friday and Saturday. He's averaged 71 yards and .8 TDs over his last 5 games and is a TE1 with upside for Monday night's game against the Colts.
Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) graduated to a full practice on Friday. That seemingly puts him on track to be cleared for Monday night's game against the Colts. We'll get another update on Cook's status tomorrow.
Saints TE Jared Cook (concussion) got in a limited practice on Thursday. He has an extra day to get cleared for Monday night's game against the Colts, but consider Cook no better than 50/50 for that one. Josh Hill will serve as New Orleans' lead pass-catching TE if Cook is out.
Saints TE Jared Cook exited in the 1st quarter of Sunday's game against the 49ers to get checked for a concussion. He took a shot to the head on a 26-yard TD -- his 2nd score of the game. We'll update Cook's status when we know more.
Update: Cook has been diagnosed with a concussion and been ruled out.
Chargers S Derwin James is active for today's game against the Broncos, and the team says he'll start in place of Roderic Teamer. HC Anthony Lynn also said they'd monitor James' playing time, so it's tough to know just how much he'll be on the field. But James is ready if you waited for him in your IDP lineup. The Chargers also announced that rookie LB Drue Tranquill will start in place of Denzel Perryman. Make the switch if you were planning to start Perryman in your fantasy football lineup.
The Chargers have activated safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips from IR, and ESPN's Eric D. Williams reports that both are expected to play today against the Broncos. The report also says HC Anthony Lynn will closely monitor the playing time for both players "if they are active." Lynn said: "It's just hard for guys to be out 10, 12 weeks, come back and pick up where they left off. We have to be careful putting guys back out too soon or back out there before they're ready." Both players carry significant IDP upside as full-timers, but it'll obviously be risky to use either guy in his 1st game off IR. Try to hold off for Week 13. Phillips' role could also affect the playing time for others at LB.
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