Dose: Busted Backfield

Dose: Busted Backfield
Chet Gresham goes through the preseason NFL fantasy football news with updates on Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount, Johnny Manziel and more.
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Ben Roethlisberger thinks Markus Wheaton is "going to surprise a lot of people."

Aug 21 - 11:33 AM

Larry Donnell remains the favorite to start at tight end Week 1.

It speaks more to the Giants' state of the position than Donnell's ability. A former UDFA out of Grambling, Donnell can't run and has three career catches. Expect him to rotate with Daniel Fells, Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson. It's a fantasy black hole.
Source: NJ.com
Aug 21 - 11:27 AM

Drew Brees (oblique) is expected to play about a half in Saturday night's preseason game against the Colts.

Brees took some time to rest a strain in his side, but it was never a concern. He's back at practice and looking sharp. A fourth straight 5,000-yard season is very realistic.
Source: ESPN.com
Aug 21 - 11:06 AM

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount "probably face no more than a one-game suspension and that won't come anytime soon."

There's plenty of precedent here that will allow Bell and Blount to suit up for the entire season. In cases like this pending marijuana possession charge, the NFL waits for the legal process to play out before handing down discipline under the personal conduct policy. Lawyers won't have a problem delaying any proceedings. Note that Dwayne Bowe was caught with marijuana in a car last November, and didn't get hit with his one-game ban until last week.
Aug 21 - 10:42 AM

Jasper Brinkley started the first two preseason games at middle linebacker.

Brinkley appears to have his nose in front of Audie Cole for the starting job in base packages. "Jasper seems to be a little bit more communicative, and Audie seems to have a little more range," coach Mike Zimmer said. "As far as the running game, they're very close -- and (in) the passing game they're similar." Brinkley will be on a short leash if he does win the job, and may rotate out even on early downs. There are safer IDP situations out there to attack.
Aug 21 - 10:34 AM

The Tennessean says the goal-line fade to Justin Hunter has been "all but unstoppable" at camp.

"When the Titans get anywhere near the goal line, quarterback Jake Locker simply lofts a soft spiral toward the corner of the end zone," says beat man John Glennon. At 6-foot-4 with excellent ball skills and a sparkling 39.5-inch vertical, Hunter is a no-brainer target over the diminutive Kendall Wright. On his 30 career NFL catches (between preseason and regular season), he has an incredible eight touchdowns. Hunter is shaping up as a prime breakout candidate this season, especially in TD-heavy formats.
Aug 21 - 10:19 AM

Le'Veon Bell paid his own way to Philadelphia and has joined his teammates for Thursday night's preseason game.

LeGarrette Blount did not have to go to the hospital to get his blood drawn on suspicion of DUI, so he did get to the team charter on time Wednesday following the afternoon incident. It's unclear if either running back will be suiting up against the Eagles. Regardless, we're not expecting this case to be adjudicated in time to affect their playing status for this season. Dwayne Bowe was caught in a similar spot with marijuana in November, and his one-game ban wasn't handed down until last week.
Aug 21 - 10:02 AM

Pierre Thomas expects his pass-game role to expand this season.

"I know my role is going to change a whole lot this year," he said. "I'm going to do more pass protection and route running." On paper, it makes sense as Darren Sproles and Lance Moore, who combined for 108 catches last year, are both gone. But Thomas already caught 77 balls last season, Khiry Robinson is underrated in the pass game and Brandin Cooks can do Sprolesian things. In reality, it's hard to see Thomas' box-score production making a significant leap, leaving him as a borderline RB2/3 in PPR formats. He'll turn 30 in December and averaged a career-low 6.7 yards per reception last year.
Aug 21 - 9:32 AM
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