Preseason Week 2 Recap: News and Notes

NFL Preseason News & Notes

Watching every preseason game or combing through a sea of practice reports can be tiresome and frankly, most people don’t have time to do that. Don’t worry – we’ve done it for you. Here is the most fantasy-relevant information for each NFL team from Preseason Week 2:

Arizona Cardinals

NFL Preseason News

Veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald missed the Cardinals’ second preseason game with what the team is calling a “mild MCL sprain.” Fitzgerald was able to run before and after the game, and given that he missed just two games after suffering a similar injury in 2014, the concern shouldn’t be too high. If reports come out this week that the injury is Grade 2 or higher, it would be time to adjust our draft boards and move up Michael Floyd and John Brown.

Atlanta Falcons

NFL Preseason News

There wasn’t really anything noteworthy through week two of the preseason for the Falcons, which can be a good thing at this time of the year. Free agent acquisition Mohamad Sanu, who has been receiving praise since coming over from Cincinnati, hauled in three passes for 45 yards on Thursday and is gaining a connection with Matt Ryan. With no other viable options in the passing game outside of Julio Jones, there’s room for profit here at Sanu’s ADP.

Baltimore Ravens

NFL Preseason News

In a surprise move, Steve Smith was activated from the PUP after shredding his Achilles last season. At age 37 coming off of a major injury, it’s unlikely Smith is a major fantasy factor this season. If he is in shape and playing by week 1, however, it does dampen Kamar Aiken’s outlook a bit. Keep an eye on Smith’s progress over the next two weeks – as well as any news on a timeline for WR Breshad Perriman – to see how the pecking order will shake out in the passing game.

Buffalo Bills

NFL Preseason News

Despite rushing for more than 500 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie last season, Karlos Williams was released by the Bills after being suspended for the first four games of the season and not controlling his weight. The backup running back job behind LeSean McCoy is wide open, with various sources citing each of Reggie Bush, Mike Gillislee, and rookie Jonathan Williams as the primary backup. In such a run-heavy offense, this backup battle is worth monitoring and the winner is worthy of a selection late in fantasy drafts.

Carolina Panthers

NFL Preseason News

Tight end Greg Olsen underwent an MRI on his back on Thursday, but the results came back negative. For now, it appears that Olsen is just dealing with back spasms that shouldn’t affect his regular season performance. He missed the team’s second preseason game, but you shouldn’t adjust your rankings unless he misses the all-important third game. If Olsen is forced to miss any time at all during the season, Ed Dickson – who is dealing with an undisclosed injury himself – would make a fine DFS or streaming option.

Chicago Bears

NFL Preseason News

After an impressive eight carry, 55 yard, one touchdown performance on Thursday, second-year RB Jeremy Langford was seen in a walking boot this weekend. While the Bears and head coach John Fox are notorious for withholding injury information, Fox downplayed the injury and Langford actually shed the walking boot on Sunday. Langford seems to be the clear leader in this backfield, making him an immense value in drafts. The battle for the number two job became a little murkier after Thursday when Ka’Deem Carey suffered a concussion and rookie Jordan Howard rushed for 46 yards on 11 carries.

 

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Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Preseason News

Free-agent pickup Brandon LaFell tore a ligament in his hand last week, but may not have to miss any time. Even if he doesn’t, it may be rookie Tyler Boyd lining up across from A.J. Green in week one. Boyd caught two balls for 30 yards and a touchdown in the second preseason game, noticeably in on all two wide receiver sets with the starters. With this development and injuries to the team’s top two tight ends, Boyd is currently being drafted too low in redraft leagues.

Cleveland Browns

NFL Preseason News

It’s just preseason, but Robert Griffin III is looking eerily like the player who won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. With two absolute dimes resulting in long touchdowns to Gary Barnidge and Terrelle Pryor, it’s almost a certainty that Griffin will start being drafted late in redraft leagues. Speaking of Pryor, he’s now made a huge play in each of the team’s two preseason games and is solidifying his spot in this offense. Crazier things have happened, but Pryor is likely to have a couple fantasy relevant weeks this season.

Dallas Cowboys

NFL Preseason News

Whew – Dak Prescott has perhaps been the most impressive player for any team through two weeks of the preseason. Completing 22 of 27 passes for 338 yards with six touchdowns — four passing and two rushing — Prescott actually has more touchdowns than incompletions this preseason. While he hasn’t faced any elaborate schemes or offensive progressions, his poise and performances have been impressive. With the lack of buzz around the top three quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, it’s not inconceivable to see Prescott being drafted higher than each of them in late rookie drafts. Although, that’s not very advisable.

Denver Broncos

NFL Preseason News

[the_ad id=”63198″]Neither Mark Sanchez or Trevor Siemian has seized the starting quarterback job through two weeks of preseason games, leaving the door open for rookie Paxton Lynch. Head coach Gary Kubiak didn’t rule out the possibility of Lynch starting in week one, so it will be interesting to see how playing time is divided in week three. The main takeaway is this — none of the quarterbacks have looked impressive and it is likely to have an impact on the Broncos’ top two receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Detroit Lions

NFL Preseason News

After missing the first two preseason games, RB Ameer Abdullah was cleared for contact and finally shed the red non-contact jersey in practice after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. It’s unclear if Abdullah will dress for the third preseason game, but it’s a step in right direction for him being ready come the start of the regular season. His fantasy value is still undetermined because despite his natural running ability, he will lose a large majority of the passing work to Theo Riddick and perhaps goal line looks to either Zach Zenner or Steven Ridley.

Green Bay Packers

NFL Preseason News

Wideout Jordy Nelson was activated from the PUP list on Wednesday, a great sign for his recovery from his ACL tear a year ago. Nelson didn’t play in the week two preseason game, but he did individual work in full pads before the game. It’s reported that Nelson and QB Aaron Rodgers will do as much one-on-one work as possible in Monday’s practice to help make up for the lost time while Nelson was sidelined. As long as there are no setbacks over the next week, Nelson will become a safe bet at his ADP.

Houston Texans

NFL Preseason News

Rookie wide receiver Will Fuller caught four of eight targets for 73 yards and a touchdown in the Texans’ week two preseason game, effectively introducing himself to the number two wide receiver competition. Jaelen Strong is having a great camp, so it will be telling on how snaps are divided in next week’s dress rehearsal. The winner of this battle is worth a late pick in redraft leagues on one of the league’s fastest-paced offenses.

Indianapolis Colts

NFL Preseason News

[the_ad id=”58837″]He didn’t play long, but Andrew Luck made his first appearance in a game on Saturday since last year’s injury and completed all eight of his attempts for 71 yards. It’s encouraging for all of the Colts’ skill players to see Luck back and healthy, but he’ll have to play a lot better than he did last season for all of them to justify their respective ADPs. One of those skill guys, T.Y. Hilton, suffered a minor hamstring injury last week that sidelined him for this week’s preseason game. Unless it lingers into next week, it shouldn’t be an issue for the season opener.

Jacksonville Jaguars

NFL Preseason News

The Jaguars’ passing attack has picked up where it left off last season, with Blake Bortles completing eight of 11 attempts for 85 yards and two touchdowns in this weekend’s preseason game. His stud wideouts didn’t miss a beat, as Allen Robinson caught four of his five targets and Allen Hurns reeled in two receptions and a touchdown. The key factor in whether or not these receivers justify their ADP is the health of tight end Julius Thomas – if he can manage to command a higher share of targets, it will be tough for the Jags’ receivers to match their production from a year ago.

Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Preseason News

Running back Jamaal Charles was activated from the PUP list on Tuesday, solidifying the timeline for his week 1 regular season return. While he didn’t play in the second preseason game, he practiced in full and should see some action before the regular season. In his absence, Spencer Ware has been dominant and since the Chiefs may want to limit Charles’ touches to keep him healthy, Ware may get more carries than his current projection. It will be interesting to see how the backfield touches are divided when the games start to count.

Los Angeles Rams

NFL Preseason News

Not much has changed in Los Angeles since this time last week, as QB Case Keenum remains the favorite to open the regular season as the starter. Running back Todd Gurley got his first preseason action on Saturday, notching 20 yards on four carries with a touchdown. Reserves Benny Cunningham and Malcolm Brown continue to shine in preseason action, giving the Rams a powerful one-two combo in the event that Todd Gurley should be sidelined this season.

Miami Dolphins

NFL Preseason News

Wide receiver Kenny Stills made his case for the number three WR job after his week two preseason performance of three catches, 71 yards, and two scores. He has the natural ability to be a downfield playmaker, so if he can cement a role in this offense, he will be fantasy relevant this year — he’s currently being undrafted. In the backfield, rookie RB Kenyan Drake may be placed on short-term injured reserve with his hamstring injury with the emerging performance of RB Isaiah Pead. Pead has led the team in yards from scrimmage in each of the two preseason games and given the injury history of the depth chart in front of him, it’s not totally inconceivable that he makes a couple starts this season.

Minnesota Vikings

NFL Preseason News

Teddy Bridgewater didn’t play in the week two preseason game in what was expected to be a day off for the third-year quarterback. But now, Bridgewater didn’t throw in practice on Saturday due to a sore shoulder. While it’s likely nothing serious, it will be something to monitor going into this weekend’s games if Bridgewater isn’t declared fully healthy.

New England Patriots

NFL Preseason News

Ugh. Just as we’re getting positive news on every other player returning from the PUP list, it was reported on Sunday that RB Dion Lewis will need to undergo a second surgery to clean up his knee after tearing his ACL last season. The timetable for his return has varied, but we likely won’t see Lewis for the first two months of the season. James White caught 28 passes over the team’s final five regular-season games last season — he should absolutely be drafted in the middle of your draft as a solid RB2 in PPR leagues while Lewis is out.

New Orleans Saints

NFL Preseason News

Twitter went nuts last week when the Saints released their initial depth chart and free agent acquisition Coby Fleener was listed as the number three tight end. Interns were later blamed, everything was resolved, and Fleener was confirmed as the team’s top tight end. While Fleener caught just two passes for 12 yards in this week’s preseason game, he’s in line for a big workload this year in a historically tight end-friendly offensive system.

New York Giants

NFL Preseason News

Wide receiver Victor Cruz has struggled with a groin injury most of training camp and may finally return to a limited practice on Monday. It’s a sad sight to see — after his patellar tear two years ago, Cruz has suffered a series of cascade injuries and just hasn’t looked the same in the rare occurrences where he has been on the field. With Sterling Shepard’s stellar camp and the emergence of Geremy Davis, there’s a decent chance we could see Cruz cut at the end of camp. At best, there’s no way you should be drafting Cruz in any format.

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New York Jets

NFL Preseason News

After missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury, running back Matt Forte returned to practice last week but didn’t suit up for the preseason game. As long as he practices without any setbacks this week, we’ll likely see him for a few snaps in this week’s important game. If we’re expecting Forte to live up to his current ADP, it will be encouraging to see him in some live action with his new team. On another note, wideout Quincy Enunwa was pushing to get serious playing time in this offense throughout camp but suffered a concussion against the Redskins. If he can be cleared, he’s an interesting late round flier.

Oakland Raiders

NFL Preseason News

Are we as a fantasy community undervaluing Latavius Murray? Last week in this column, I touched on the stranglehold Murray has on the starting running back job. Nothing changed this week — he was in on 14 of the first 15 snaps in Thursday’s preseason game. While DeAndre Washington is cemented as Murray’s backup, Murray will need to fall flat on his face not to get a majority of the touches in this backfield.

Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Preseason News

In a very surprising move, the Philadelphia Eagles traded for former Titans’ second-year WR Dorial Green-Beckham last week. A change of scenery seemed to be needed for DGB to reach his potential and he’ll have that opportunity in Philadelphia. But for a player who looked lost at times on the field last season, it will be tough for him to master a new playbook in just a couple of weeks. Unless there’s a major reversal in DGB’s approach to the game, he remains nothing more than a late round redraft flier.

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Preseason News

The league office decided to reduce RB Le’Veon Bell’s suspension to three games from four games this week, which means it is now justifiable to grab him in the back half of the first round in drafts. There are enough RB situations throughout the NFL that can get you through the first three weeks while Bell is out — LeGarrette Blount, Arian Foster, Rashad Jennings, or obviously DeAngelo Williams to name a few. Although, this does put a hit on Williams’ outlook, and his ADP should fall a couple of rounds with this news.

San Diego Chargers

NFL Preseason News

The steady drumbeat continues for second-year WR Tyrell Williams, who hauled in four passes for 47 yards in Friday’s preseason game. Even with Stevie Johnson on IR for the season, it will likely take a huge leap forward in Williams’ game or another injury ahead of him on the depth chart before he becomes a fantasy starter. At the very least, though, he should be owned in all but the most shallow dynasty leagues.

San Francisco 49ers

NFL Preseason News

Dynasty favorite DeAndre Smelter has yet to practice with a soft tissue injury and was rumored to be an IR candidate before general manager Trent Baalke shut that down. There’s still opportunity in San Francisco if Smelter can get healthy, but he’s just a redraft watch until he plays in a preseason contest. Outside of incumbent Torrey Smith and slot standout Bruce Ellington, no one has made an impact on this depth chart.

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Preseason News

If this preseason happened a couple of years ago, the Christine Michael hype train would have hit warp speed. Instead, onlookers are still skeptical about his preseason performances. But the coaching staff and players alike have all insisted that Michael has finally “got it” and has perfected the off-field portion of his game. Thomas Rawls is expected to be on track to start week one, but given recent developments, wouldn’t you rather have Michael 10 rounds later?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Preseason News

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins has earned the right to receive first team reps again, according to head coach Dirk Koetter. While the season may open as a timeshare between ASJ and Cameron Brate, ASJ’s natural talent is too much to ignore. It’s been a roller coaster for his redraft value all off-season, but he’s back in the conversation with other late round upside tight end targets.

Tennessee Titans

NFL Preseason News

Rookie Tajae Sharpe has earned the trust of the coaching staff and his teammates, and it appears that his presence atop the depth chart early in camp wasn’t just to light a fire under Dorial Green-Beckham (who is now gone). Sharpe caught six passes for 68 yards in Saturday’s preseason contest, showing his rapport with QB Marcus Mariota. The Titans may not pass the ball much, but Sharpe could conceivably see the most targets in the passing game this season – that alone is worth a pick in the second half of your draft.

Washington Redskins

NFL Preseason News

Running back Matt Jones suffered an AC shoulder joint sprain in Friday’s preseason game, which will at least sideline him for at least a couple of weeks. It appears that he dodged a bullet for a major injury, but it puts his availability for the start of the regular season in doubt. While Washington may look to add a veteran back, they may just roll with Chris Thompson and some combination of Rob Kelley, Keith Marshall, and Mack Brown while Jones is out.

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