Redskins RB Chris Thompson admitted in late July that he was still hesitant cutting on the leg he broke last season. But he's ready to rock now. “I’m not worried about it at all," Thompson said this week. "I've been feeling really good. I’m ready to get back out there and take that first hit and get that part out of my head because that hasn’t happened yet. Other than that, I’m good to go.” Thompson remains locked in as Washington's passing-down back, especially with RB Derrius Guice out for the year. That role had him sitting 9th among RBs in PPR points through 11 weeks last season. Thompson will be a weekly RB3 or flex with upside in PPR fantasy lineups this year.
We passed along a late-July report from ESPN's Michael DiRocco that Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook was looking like the team's #5 WR. It sounds like that's changed -- and drastically -- over the past couple of weeks. John Oehser of the team's official website believes Westbrook "may be playing his way into a spot among the top three receivers." He ran with the starters in the preseason opener (although WR Keelan Cole was out with an injury) and hauled in 3 balls for 32 yards. "A day rarely has gone by in camp that Westbrook hasn’t stood out, and starting quarterback Blake Bortles appears to be going his way more quickly as camp continues," Oehser writes. "He appears to be putting together the entire approach necessary to be a consistent, productive NFL receiver – and that could be earning him a far bigger role this season than some observers expected." We'll continue to monitor Jacksonville's WR depth chart. Westbrook is worth a look near the end of drafts, but Marqise Lee is probably the only guy in the group we'll be able to trust in early-season fantasy lineups.
The Jaguars on Sunday announced team suspensions for CB Jalen Ramsey and DE Dante Fowler. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the moves come as a result of "violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player." Fowler reportedly got into multiple scuffles with teammate DE Yannick Ngakoue in practice, while Ramsey's misstep appears to have been his actions toward the media following the practice fights. The 2 have reportedly been suspended for a week, which could include the 2nd preseason game. The situations likely won't affect either's standing for the regular season or the team's defense on whole. It is just the latest issue for Fowler, though, who has already been suspended for Week 1 by the league and only came off the PUP list Saturday. The former early 1st-round pick already saw the team refuse the 5th-year option (for 2019) on his rookie contract.
ESPN's Michael DiRocco believes Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole and D.J. Chark are "set" as the Jaguars' top 4 WRs. "Dede Westbrook is the front-runner to win the fifth spot," DiRocco adds. This suggests that Westbrook is not only buried on the depth chart, but also fighting for a roster spot. (Some teams keep just 5 WRs.) We'll see if Westbrook makes a move in the pecking order over the next month. But for now, he's not worth a roster spot in redraft leagues.
Redskins RB Chris Thompson admitted Tuesday that he doesn't expect to be back to 100% from last year's broken leg until November. "I'm still nervous about making cuts," Thompson said. "I'm nervous about 'what happens if this guy falls and hits my ankle?' ... It's a big mental game." Thompson has been participating in camp and looking good, by most accounts. But any kind of hesitation from a guy who relies on beating defenders with speed, quickness and change-of-direction is noteworthy. Especially with talented rookie Derrius Guice added to the backfield. Thompson continues to be overvalued at his early-7th-round ADP.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (back) has passed his physical and been activated from the PUP list. He missed some time this spring and the first week of training camp after reportedly tweaking his back. We'll now see if Eifert can put together a healthy August. He's the biggest injury risk at any position this season, according to Sports Injury Predictor. But that's largely baked into his 13th-round ADP. Eifert remains a good bet for top-10 production whenever he's on the field.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert apparently doesn't think we need to worry about the troublesome back that has landed him on the camp-opening PUP list. "There is no setback," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I'm feeling good. This is just the route we chose to take." Eifert added that he's "100 percent" certain he'll play in the regular-season opener. This sounds good, but we'll put his chance of starting on time somewhere short of 100%. Still, Eifert's going late enough in fantasy football drafts to be a fine shot worth taking at this point. He'll carry big weekly upside for however many weeks he's available.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert will begin training camp on the active/PUP list. He's eligible to be removed at any time, but it's not a good start for a guy who's missed 22 games over the past 2 seasons. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Eifert "tweaked" his back in spring workouts. That'd be the same back that's required 2 surgeries, with the most recent coming in October. We'll continue to monitor Eifert's status, but any production he provides to the Bengals and fantasy owners should be considered a bonus at this point.
Redskins RB Chris Thompson is ready for the start of training camp after going down with a broken leg last November. "I'm feeling pretty good right now, I will start practicing w/ the guys from day one but just taking it slowly," he said Monday. "The focus is to really be ready by that first regular season game." That broken leg shouldn't be a factor this year, but Thompson's lengthy injury history remains a concern. It's also possible he loses targets with the return of TE Jordan Reed and the addition of rookie RB Derrius Guice. We're avoiding Thompson at his 7th-round ADP.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette is down to 223 pounds, he told beat writer Jeff Duncan. Fournette checked into last year's Combine at 240 pounds and is listed on the Jags' official site at 228. Regardless of exactly how many lbs. he's dropped, consider it good news for his 2018 fantasy outlook. Fournette will again serve as Jacksonville's workhorse after averaging 23.4 touches per game last year. That gives him upside into the top 5 -- if he can stay healthy. Sports Injury Predictor has Fournette with the highest injury risk among this year's 1st-round fantasy picks.
Bengals HC Marvin Lewis admitted on Wednesday that TE Tyler Eifert is uncertain for the start of training camp. It sounds like he's still recovering from October back surgery. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in February that Eifert had been medically cleared -- and he was on the field for OTAs. But Lewis claims Eifert hasn't endured a setback. “There’s no reason to get him jostled,” Lewis explained. “Just ease his way into things. No setback. We’re trying to make sure we manage everything they want him to do." We'll see what Eifert is able to do when camp opens in late July. He remains 1 of the biggest injury risks in fantasy football.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert did not participate in Tuesday's minicamp workout. This wouldn't earn a Shark Bite for most guys, but Eifert isn't most guys. He's missed 41 games over 5 NFL seasons and had back surgery in October and surgery to remove a cyst on his knee in November. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in February that Eifert had been medically cleared. It's unclear what's keeping him sidelined now. "As time goes on when we start to play football then we will have an idea of where he is," HC Marvis Lewis said Tuesday. We'll continue to keep a close eye on Eifert. He's lasting until the 11th round of recent best-ball drafts.
The Jaguars added LSU WR D.J. Chark with the 61st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Chark’s stock got a big boost when he ran a 4.34-second 40-yard dash at the Combine. He also posted 90th+ percentile marks in the broad and vertical jumps, earning a SPARQ score in the 96th percentile. Chark didn’t post huge numbers at LSU. He went without a single catch in his first 2 seasons before a 26-466-3 line in 2016. This past year brought a quasi-breakout, with Chark hauling in 40 balls for 874 yards and 3 scores. His 21.9 yards per catch led the entire country among players with 40+ receptions. It’s certainly worth noting that Chark played on a bad LSU passing game. He accounted for 22.3% of the catches, 33.0% of the yards and 17.6% of the TDs last year. And his 2.92 yards per route run ranked 12th among draft-eligible receivers, per Pro Football Focus. Chark at least looks like a guy who can bring big-play ability to Jacksonville. But he’ll need to refine the other parts of his game — notably his route running and hands — if he wants to turn into more than a boom-or-bust fantasy option. Chark joins a crowded Jaguars WR group that also includes Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole.
The Jaguars selected Florida DT Taven Bryan 29th in the 1st round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Afterward, executive VP Tom Coughlin called Bryan a "3-technique penetrator" and "outstanding athlete," according to the team website. Bryan totaled just 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss across 3 college seasons, but there could be statistical upside well beyond that as a lead interior rusher on a strong D-line. Bryan crushed the athletic testing at the Scouting Combine, delivering 79th percentile or better results in the 40, vertical, broad jump, 3-cone and short shuttle -- plus a 71st-percentile performance on the bench.
The Bengals have signed TE Tyler Eifert to a 1-year deal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. We never heard Eifert connected to another team, which likely means he didn't draw much interest on the open market. That's not a big surprise considering he's missed 41 games over his 5 NFL seasons and is coming off back and knee surgeries. Eifert turns just 28 in September and has scored 18 TDs in his last 23 games, so there's upside here. But he can't be viewed as more than a TE2 in 2018 fantasy drafts.
The Jaguars are set to sign G Andrew Norwell to a 5-year, $66.5 million deal when free agency kicks off on Wednesday. The $13.3 million annual salary will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL. Norwell was widely regarded as the best OL available on the free-agent market after ranking 3rd among 77 Gs in Pro Football Focus' 2017 grades. He finished 1st in pass blocking and 8th in run blocking. It's a big addition for both QB Blake Bortles and RB Leonard Fournette.
TE Tyler Eifert has been medically cleared for OTAs and to play in 2018, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The free-agent-to-be underwent back surgery in October -- his 2nd in a 10-month span. He also had a procedure to remove a cyst on his knee in November and has ankle, shoulder, neck and elbow injuries on his resume. Eifert has been productive when healthy and is still only 27. But that injury history will make him an interesting case in free agency -- and an extremely risky pick in 2018 fantasy drafts.
Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette (ankle) put in a limited practice on Wednesday. He got his ankle twisted in the 1st half of Sunday's win over the Steelers but returned for the 2nd. He'll be out there for this weekend's AFC Championship against the Patriots.
Washington RB Chris Thompson had surgery on his fractured right fibula in early December and told ESPN's John Keim he expects to be back in time for the start of training camp. The expected recovery timeline is 4-6 months. We'll keep an eye on his progress throughout the offseason after Thompson grew into a key offensive role in 2017. Regardless of his status, however, we'd expect Washington to again address a backfield that struggled largely outside of Thompson's efforts.
Jaguars HC Doug Marrone said Tuesday that he won't rest his starters in Sunday's finale against the Titans. The Jags are locked into the AFC' #3 seed, although they can help knock out Tennessee with a win. "We are 100 percent all-in on winning this football game," Marrone said. "When the players come in [Wednesday], we are talking about how we are going to play to win and do everything we possibly can to win this game, period." We'll see if Marrone changes his tune at all later in the week. It'd at least make sense to limit RB Leonard Fournette's Week 17 load. The rookie has been dealing with injuries for most of the season.
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