Jordy Nelson reportedly suffered a torn ACL in the Packers’ second preseason game. Nelson will undergo an MRI to confirm the initial diagnosis, but at this point it appears he has suffered a season-ending injury. The blow is a big one for the Packers’ offense, but there are a few receivers on the depth chart that can at least help soften it.
The biggest fantasy beneficiary is Davante Adams, who is in a great position to soak up the majority of the 151 targets Nelson saw last season. Already firmly in the WR2 conversation, Adams has the touchdown upside for much more. He caught 24 touchdowns his final season at Fresno State.
Size-speed freak Jeff Janis replaced Nelson in the lineup after he went down, and he is the favorite to open the season in three-wide sets next to Adams and Randall Cobb. He is a great late-round flier though his ADP is sure to climb in the coming days. Rookie Ty Montgomery and TE Richard Rodgers could also see increased roles.
Following his surprising omission from the active/PUP list to being camp, the optimism level around Todd Gurley’s 2015 outlook was never higher. The news since that peak, however, has not been so great. The latest hit came courtesy of ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner, who said he expected Gurley to be eased in early in the season.
"I expect Gurley to have a very limited role or potentially even sit the first game or two before he slowly starts working his way into the mix," Wagoner said. "He probably won't take on a full workload until a bit later in the season."
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has already reported the Rams expect Gurley to miss the first couple games of the season, and now we know Tre Mason could remain the lead back even when Gurley is “healthy.” Potentially playing second fiddle for a majority of the season in a bad offense with a bad offensive line, Gurley is not worth his RB23 price.
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In Other News…..
WKBW’s Joe Buscaglia still considers Matt Cassel the favorite for the Bills’ starting quarterback job. Tyrod Taylor started the second preseason game while Cassel sat out, but Cassel saw the first snaps with the first-team offense in practice on Saturday. Rex Ryan said there is a “high possibility” Buffalo keeps three quarterbacks, so the possibility remains all of Cassel, Taylor and E.J. Manuel make starts this season. This is a passing game to avoid.
The Houston Chronicle called the battle between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett to be the Texans’ starting quarterback a “dead heat.” Both quarterbacks were shaky in the second preseason game, a trend which will likely continue into the regular season. As long as Arian Foster is out, the Texans will struggle to move the football.
ESPN Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky believes David Cobb will finish the season with more carries than Bishop Sankey. Sankey started and put on a show in the second preseason game, ripping off several big runs on his way to 45 yards on six carries. Cobb was much less effective in a backup role and actually played behind Antonio Andrews. Kuharsky may be right, but Sankey looks poised to have a large role as well.
Coach Mike Pettine said he was impressed with Terrance West’s performance in the second preseason game. West started the game over Isaiah Crowell, rushing for 42 yards on 11 carries. Pettine also highlighted how important the next two weeks are for the still limited Duke Johnson (hamstring), perhaps indicating he is losing patience with his rookie runner. This running back situation will likely be a headache all season long, but it appears West has done himself some favors in the last week.
Ben Roethlisberger said Martavis Bryant is still learning the offense. "Last year, I don't think he knew what was going on," Roethlisberger said. "He’s still learning. He still makes mistakes, but he's the first one who does what he can to correct those." This could help explain why Markus Wheaton once again ran ahead of Bryant in the team’s third preseason game. Bryant has some work to do if he hopes to leapfrog Wheaton on the depth chart.
Roddy White will undergo surgery on his right elbow. He is expected to be back Week 1, but it is another example of White’s body starting to break down. White has missed five games total over the last two seasons and been hobbled in several others. Doctors have recommended White have surgery on his troublesome knee, but he has decided to put it off. It would be surprising if White played a full slate this season, which makes Leonard Hankerson an interesting late-round flier.
Reggie Wayne underwent a physical with the Patriots on Sunday. Wayne did not appear to have much left in the tank last year, but with Julian Edelman (ankle) and Brandon LaFell (foot) sidelined, Wayne could offer solid veteran depth in a relatively young receiver corps. Wayne posted a 64-779-2 line across 15 games last season.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins has reportedly struggled with drops in camp. ESPN Bucs reporter Pat Yasinskas believes the Bucs could turn to Brandon Myers as their starter if the drops persist. On a team with not much hope of competing this year, benching a sophomore second-round pick for a journeyman entering his age-30 season would be a bad decision. ASJ should open the season with the first team.
Devonta Freeman (hamstring) and Tevin Coleman (hamstring) are “getting close” to returning. Both should play in the Falcons’ third preseason game. … The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Matt Vensel believes Charles Johnson is "the receiver Teddy Bridgewater trusts most." Johnson is on the cusp of a breakout. … Brian Quick has “clearly been the team’s best and most consistent receiver” in training camp. He will be limited by his offense, but Quick carries WR2 upside in the 11th round. … Roy Helu (hamstring) is expected to resume practicing this week. … Cecil Shorts has been a “standout” in practice. He is clearly the No. 2 receiver in Houston, but the Texans should be one of the least voluminous passing attacks in the league. … Chris Johnson will miss at least a week with a pulled hamstring. David Johnson put on a show in his preseason debut. … Fred Jackson (hamstring) returned to practice on Saturday. With basically every other Bills' running back injured, Jackson has a golden opportunity to cement his place on the depth chart. … Fifth-round RB Cameron Artis-Payne is reportedly having a strong training camp. He could fall into fantasy relevance if Jonathan Stewart is forced to miss any time. … Dwayne Bowe (hamstring) expects to play in the third preseason game. He returned to practice on Saturday. … Rex Ryan confirmed Percy Harvin (hip) will be ready for Week 1. Not healthy and a low-volume option in a low-volume passing offense, Harvin should be avoided in fantasy drafts. … Jacob Tamme has not done much in Falcons camp. He should open the season as the starter, but he is unlikely to provide consistent fantasy value. … The Panthers plan to use more two-tight-end sets following Kelvin Benjamin’s season-ending ACL injury. Ed Dickson has just one target in the second preseason game. … Maurkice Pouncey suffered a broken ankle in the Steelers’ third preseason game. He will likely miss the first half of the season. … Free agent G Evan Mathis left his visit with the Seahawks without a contract. Seattle needs offensive line help, but Mathis likely needs to lower his asking price. … RG Larry Warford and DT Caraun Reid both suffered high-ankle sprains in the Lions’ second preseason game. Both should miss the rest of the preseason. … Jon Beason is “week to week” with a sprained left knee. … Frank Alexander is done for the season after suffering a torn Achilles’ in the Panthers’ second preseason game.