The Giants have waived S Darian Thompson with an injured designation, according to NJ.com's Ryan Dunleavy. That makes Thompson available for any other team to claim him, though that team would have to carry him on the 53-man roster. If Thompson passes through waivers, the Giants could place him on IR. The team looks thin at safety after also cutting Andrew Adams on Saturday. Curtis Riley will start at FS next to Landon Collins. A former undrafted free agent, Riley is 26 heading into his 1st year with the Giants after 2 with the Titans.
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.
The Vikings released veteran K Kai Forbath. They’ll go with rookie Daniel Carlson, who drilled a 57-yarder in Week 1 of the preseason. He should emerge as an in-season streaming option.
Cowboys starting FS Xavier Woods suffered a hamstring strain in Saturday's exhibition game against the Bengals and might miss the regular-season opener. According to The Athletic, Woods is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. Dallas' opener sits 3 weeks and 1 day from the date of his injury. The Cowboys have gone through camp extremely thin at safety, listing Woods and fellow starter Jeff Heath as each other's backups. Fortunately for them, the free-agent market still holds plenty of former starters at the position -- including George Iloka, whom Cincinnati released Sunday. ESPN's Todd Archer says the Cowboys are considering Iloka, among others. Dallas, of course, has also been linked to disgruntled Seahawks FS Earl Thomas all offseason. We'll see where this goes and when Woods makes it back to the field.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Bengals are cutting S George Iloka. The veteran has started 76 games over 6 seasons with the team. He even started next to Shawn Williams in Saturday night's 2nd preseason game. Rookie Jessie Bates sits behind Iloka on the "unofficial" depth chart. We'll see what the succession plan is over the week ahead.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott has been splitting out wide in camp, according to insider David Moore. It's all part of Dallas' plan to increase Elliott's role in the passing game. "I mean, yeah, they're asking me to do a little more, a couple of different things," Elliott confirmed. "But it's just kind of developing myself more as a route runner. In the past, I really wasn't asked to run as many complex routes but now I have a couple of more routes to add to my route tree. ... I think it's just an opportunity to elevate my game, an opportunity to show that I can do more." Elliott has averaged a massive 22.6 carries per game through 2 NFL seasons but a relatively modest 2.3 catches. There's room for that number to grow significantly in 2018, especially with the 219 targets left behind by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is off to an uneven start to training camp. “Well, we’re a work in progress,” OC Scott Linehan said. “We’re not where we want to be, but there’s bright spots, things we build on." It's early, and this shouldn't come as a major surprise considering the wholesale changes to Dallas' pass-catching corps. But in a time of the year when everyone is "in the best shape of their lives" and "ready for a breakout season," it's notable to hear a negative report on an offense. We'll be keeping a close eye on the Cowboys this preseason, but this isn't a passing game we're looking to invest in heavily.
According to Calvin Watkins of The Athletic, the Cowboys have been splitting 1st-team TE reps evenly among Blake Jarwin, Dalton Schultz and Geoff Swaim. That, of course, makes it difficult for fantasy drafters to decide which -- if any -- to consider in the late rounds of best-ball drafts. Rico Gathers remains in the picture as well but doesn't really seem to be in the starting mix. We'd avoid the whole situation in current redraft formats and wait for a starter to emerge in the preseason.
Cowboys RB coach Gary Brown expects Ezekiel Elliott to play a bigger pass-catching role this season. "Now we don't have [as many proven pass-catching threats], so now obviously we're going to lean a little bit more on him," Brown said. "... We're going to get Zeke in some situations where he can catch the ball out of the backfield and make things happen as well." Elliott has seen a relatively modest 77 targets through 2 NFL seasons, but he's averaged a big 10.9 yards per catch. He's deserving of a bigger role in the passing game, and there are 242 targets up for grabs in Dallas with the departures of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Brice Butler. Already a threat to lead the league in rushing, Zeke could push to lead all RBs in fantasy points with a boost in receiving production.
Cowboys rookie WR Cedrick Wilson suffered a torn shoulder labrum in Saturday's practice. It's not yet clear whether he'll require surgery or how long he'll be out. But the injury certainly help the chances of the 6th-round pick earning a role in 2018.
Bryan Broaddus of Cowboys.com singled out WR Michael Gallup and TE Blake Jarwin when asked to name which pass-catchers have been in sync with QB Dak Prescott this spring. Dallas' WR and TE corps will look much different this season after the departures of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, who combined for 44.4% of the team's targets last year. Gallup, a 3rd-round rookie with an impressive combination of athleticism and college production, has a shot to emerge as the Cowboys' #1 WR in 2018. And Jarwin is in the mix for a significant role with Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim and Dalton Schultz as his only competition. We'll be keeping a close eye on this pass-catching group all summer.
The Cowboys added Boise State WR Cedrick Wilson in the 6th round. Wilson is 1 of our favorite day-3 sleepers at WR. After spending 2 years at Coffeyville Community College, he transferred to Boise State and became an immediate factor. Wilson led the Broncos with 11 receiving TDs in 2016 and ranked 2nd with 56 catches and 1,129 yards. He set new career highs with 83 grabs and 1,511 yards this past season. Only James Washington tallied more yardage. Wilson is a wiry 6’2, 197 pounds with average athleticism. But he can play outside the numbers or in the slot and is a savvy route runner with plus after-the-catch ability. He joins a Cowboys WR corps that’s in transition after losing Dez Bryant and adding 3rd-round rookie Michael Gallup and vet Allen Hurns. There’s room for Wilson to carve out a role here.
The Cowboys selected Stanford TE Dalton Schultz with the last pick of the 4th round. Schultz never topped 23 catches, 222 yards on 3 TDs in any of his 3 college seasons. And he tested as a mediocre 42nd percentile athlete. Schultz is at least a willing and able blocker, which can help him get on the field. And there’s opportunity in Dallas with Jason Witten (likely) retiring.
The Cowboys selected Colorado State WR Michael Gallup in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. After spending 2 years at Butler community college, Gallup dominated as Colorado State’s lead receiver the past 2. He tallied 1,272 yards and 14 scores on 76 receptions in 2016. Then he ranked 3rd in the country with 100 catches and 5th with 1,418 yards last season. The 6’1, 205-pounder tested as a 63rd percentile athlete at the Combine. An advanced route runner with strong contested-catch and after-the-catch ability, Gallup looks like 1 of the most NFL-ready WRs in this year’s class. This is an ideal landing spot for Gallup with a talented, young QB in Dak Prescott and tons of targets up for grabs with Dez Bryant gone and Jason Witten (likely?) retired.
The Cowboys grabbed LB Leighton Vander Esch with the 19th pick of the NFL Draft. Vander Esch spent just 1 full season starting at Boise State but could start in the middle right away for Dallas. Jaylon Smith's likely best suited to play on the strong side, where he can move around the way he did in college. Weakside starter Sean Lee is heading into his age-31 season and will carry a huge cap number into 2019 (the final year on his contract).
Raiders HC Jon Gruden said from the Combine on Wednesday that WR Amari Cooper will be the "focal point" of his offense. "He has tremendous quickness. He’s smart, versatile and he’s a gamer," Gruden said. "He likes the bright lights, and he’ll be the headliner in our offense.” Cooper is coming off a disappointing 2017 campaign. But he topped 1,000 yards in both of his first 2 NFL seasons and turns just 24 in June. Gruden, meanwhile, brings a long history of churning out productive #1 WRs. In 14 seasons as a HC or OC, his top receiver has averaged 137 targets, 79 catches, 1,142 yards and 7.4 TDs. Cooper is a prime 2018 bounce-back candidate.
Raiders QB Derek Carr suggested in a radio interview on Friday that WR Amari Cooper played hurt for much of the 2017 season. "That man was out there playing on 1 foot," Carr said. "He was out there just trying to give it his all even though he could barely get out there and do it ... Honestly, a lot of guys probably wouldn't have even played with what he had going on." Most guys deal with some level of injury throughout the course of an NFL season, so this doesn't completely excuse Cooper's disappointing 2017. But better health certainly won't hurt his chances of a bounce back this coming season. Cooper turns just 24 in June and topped 1,000 yards in both of his first 2 campaigns.
Cowboys HC Jason Garrett on Wednesday delivered a different message than owner/GM Jerry Jones seemed to earlier in the week. “Anybody who is healthy is going to play in this game,” Garrett said, per the team website. “If they’re not healthy, they won’t play in the game. If there’s a young guy who’s worthy of an opportunity, who’s earned that opportunity, he’ll get a chance to play in the ball game — and you’ll see that all throughout our roster. But we’re not just going to give a guy an opportunity because he’s young.” This situation is a prime example of why you should try to end your full-season fantasy league in Week 16. But if you're still going, you're probably going to want to play your primary Cowboys -- assuming they make sense.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones suggested on Tuesday that his team might limit some starters and get younger players more snaps in this weekend's finale against the Eagles. "We should just see how the game goes, but we've got younger guys ... we have a need for them," Jones said. "We need to better understand their skills. But we'll just see how it goes." QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, WR Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten are all candidates to play less than usual this weekend.
Bengals S George Iloka (shoulder) is active for today's game against the Lions. Use him as you normally would (which is way down the DB list) in IDP leagues.
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