Sunday NFL Notes

Darrius Heyward-Bey sprained his left knee during Sunday's practice, and will be out for an unknown length of time. T.Y. Hilton, who is competing against Heyward-Bey for the No. 2 receiver spot, could be looking at a significant bump in fantasy value if the sprained knee threatens Heyward-Bey's Week 1 availability. With Lavon Brazill suspended for the first four games of the season, Indianapolis looks incredibly thin at wide receiver behind Reggie Wayne, Heyward-Bey, and Hilton. Andrew Luck's tight ends – namely Dwyane Allen and Coby Fleener – should be busy this season.

A.J. Green (knee) will not play in Thursday's preseason opener against the Falcons, and he may end up sitting out the entire preseason. It sounds like the Bengals fully expect him to suit up for Week 1, but the situation obviously bears watching.

Ronnie Hillman is listed as the starting running back on the Broncos' initial depth chart. Knowshon Moreno unexpectedly passed him last season, but it would seem that Hillman's pass blocking has improved to the point where John Fox feels comfortable sticking him out there. That being said, Montee Ball was listed No. 2 on the initial depth chart, and still has a full month to prove that he deserves the starting job. From a fantasy perspective, this figures to be one of the two or three most important position battles in the entire league.

A.J. Jenkins (hamstring) is feeling better, and he expects to play in Thursday's preseason opener against the Broncos. Jenkins has been dealing with a balky hamstring since Tuesday but was able to resume practicing Sunday. He remains the favorite to start across from Anquan Boldin, although rookie fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton (finger) is also in the mix, and the same may be true for Mario Manningham (knee) once he's healthy.

Arian Foster (calf) was supposed to return to practice Sunday, but a sore back prevented him from doing so. Given that the setback is seemingly unrelated to his troublesome calf, this shouldn't be cause for major concern, at least for the moment. Foster's backup, Ben Tate, has been dealing with a nagging groin injury and also missed Sunday's practice. In case you were wondering, Dennis Johnson and Deji Karim are the leading candidates to win the No. 3 running back job, while Cierre Wood and Ray Graham could also get a shot.

James Starks started at running back in an intrasquad scrimmage Sunday, but the Packers know what he'll give them, and it isn't particularly exciting. Eddie Lacy worked as the second-string back, while Jonathan Franklin ran with the third team. Both of the aforementioned rookies should be in the mix for carries, and DuJuan Harris (knee) could also be a factor once he's healthy.

Arrelious Benn (knee) returned to practice Sunday for the first time since July 26. A couple of weeks ago he was probably just hoping to make the Eagles' roster, but now he could see an increased opportunity in the wake of Jeremy Maclin's season-ending knee injury and Riley Cooper's off-the-field incident. Still, Benn currently projects as no better than fourth on the wide receiver depth chart, and even that might be a bit of a stretch, assuming the Eagles hold on to Cooper.

With Chris Ivory sidelined by a hamstring injury, Bilal Powell has seen most of the first-team work in Jets training camp. Mike Goodson is still absent due to legal issues, and Ivory is notoriously injury-prone, so Powell could end up seeing quite a few carries this season. Explosive, he is not, but Powell offers solid receiving skills for a running back with limited agility and speed.


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