Friday NFL Notes
Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said that David Wilson is expected to start over Andre Brown. This latest report simply confirms what has been expected all along and doesn't change the fact that both running backs figure to have significant roles. Brown is expected to shoulder the third-down workload, while Wilson figures to handle most of the early-down work. As for goal-line carries, Brown had success as a short yardage runner last season, but both backs may be in the mix. Curious fantasy owners will want to pay extra attention when the Giants reach the red zone during Saturday's preseason contest against the Jets.
Felix Jones was traded from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in exchange for linebacker Adrian Robinson. Jones was on the roster bubble in Philly but may find greater need of his services in the western half of Pennsylvania. The Steelers' need for a running back was further reinforced with the news that LaRod Stephens-Howling has a mild MCL sprain. Jones should be a candidate to work as a third-down back and kick returner in Stephens-Howling's stead, but probably won't mount much of a challenge to Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer for early-down work. It should be noted that Stephens-Howling hasn't been ruled out for Week 1, and Jones very well may find himself on the roster bubble again, despite having a new home. Projected starter Le'Veon Bell (foot sprain) is still expected to be out for Week 1 at the very least.
Arian Foster (back) took the next step in his recovery, as he was a full participant at practice. Foster saw limited work Wednesday and Thursday, but figures to be ready for the regular season. He won't play in the Texans' third preseason game this weekend, and may also miss the fourth and final exhibition contest.
With Dustin Keller (knee) ruled out for the season, Charles Clay is expected to head into Week 1 as the Dolphins' starting tight end. Clay is a solid H-back with some surprisingly slick receiving skills, but he can't replicate Keller's potential impact in the downfield passing game. The Dolphins will likely move Clay around the formation and work to his strengths rather than pigeonhole him into a traditional tight end role that he isn't comfortable with. Dion Sims and Michael Egnew are the other candidates to see playing time at tight end, though Sims is primarily a blocker and Egnew has been disappointing since Miami selected him in the third round last year.
Though he won't play in the Vikings' third preseason game, Jarius Wright has passed all of his concussion tests, and barring an unforeseen setback, he should be a full go for Week 1. The second-year wideout is competing for targets with Jerome Simpson and Cordarrelle Patterson behind surefire No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings. Wright gained some attention last season when he did a respectable job filling in for Percy Harvin, but even with Harvin out of the picture, Wright isn't assured of a significant role in the offense.
Steve Johnson (hamstring) will play in Saturday's preseason game against the Redskins, albeit on a limited snap count. It will be interesting to see how he looks in a new offense, as reports out of training camp indicate that he will spend more time working out of the slot this season. Fantasy owners will also get a chance to check out Johnson's chemistry with Kevin Kolb, who is expected to head into Week 1 as the starter in the wake of EJ Manuel's knee injury.