Tuesday NFL Notes

The sprained ankle that Andrew Hawkins suffered back on August 1 doesn’t seem to be healing as well as the team had hoped. He did switch from a cast to a walking boot, but is in need of a few more weeks of recovery time. He is expected to miss the final two preseason games and there’s a chance that the Bengals could put him on IR. During the preseason, teams are able to place one player on IR who is eligible to return during the regular season. The injury to Hawkins continues to help build the stock of Mohamed Sanu.

Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts continues to deal with an ankle sprain which is suddenly opening the door wider for undrafted rookie Jaron Brown who is starting to see more reps in three-receiver sets at practice. It’s not as if Roberts is going to lose his roster spot at all, but with Brown fighting for a place on the 53-man roster, this could be the edge he needs. He’s building a nice rapport with Carson Palmer, has a good understanding of Bruce Arians’ offense, and could be considered a potential sleeper should he continue to play at the level he’s shown.

Not that it’s unexpected, but word is that Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart could start the season on the PUP list. That’s great news for those who have already drafted and currently own DeAngelo Williams, and if you haven’t, well then you’ll understand why his ADP is rapidly climbing.

The NFL handed down a six-game suspension to Broncos linebacker Von Miller for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. This could have a fairly significant impact on the Denver defense as Miller is one of their elite pass rushers and a big part of their defensive schemes. Those in IDP leagues should stash him if they have the bench room, or if you don’t, get ready to get your waiver claim ready for when he returns on October 20.

The one person who seems to be reaping the biggest benefit from the Chiefs/49ers deal that sent A.J. Jenkins to Kansas City for Jon Baldwin is Chiefs wide receiver Donnie Avery. Reports say that it will be Avery who gets the first shot at the number two receiver spot opposite Dwayne Bowe. Avery’s got good hands and can stretch the field when necessary so keep tabs on him in drafts should he hold off Dexter McCluster for the job.

The Steelers backfield is looking awfully crowded these days and Mike Tomlin is certainly going to have his hands full trying to distribute carries. With Le’Veon Bell dealing with a foot sprain (no ligament damage and more importantly, no Lisfranc fracture) and possibly sidelined into the regular season, the competition is heating up between Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Dwyer had a strong showing in the preseason game against the Redskins, but LSH is probably considered a better third down back. Fantasy owners should hope for a speedy recovery for Bell because without him, the Steelers backfield situation could be a fantasy nightmare.

The Patriots are typically staying tight-lipped on Danny Amendola’s condition right now, but it seems pretty noteworthy that he’s now missed the last two days of practice for undisclosed reasons. They’re saying that the injury isn’t head-related and not cause for concern, but given Amendola’s injury history yet high-upside potential in a Tom Brady-run offense, fantasy owners are champing at the bit for answers.

Throughout the offseason, the expectation was that Lamar Miller would be the starting running back in Miami. However, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman now reveals that Miller and Daniel Thomas are “neck and neck in the competition for the starting job.” Given the fact that Miller is the superior player, it’s tough to think that someone as limited as Thomas can continue to push him for snaps on the field. Keep a close watch on this because any sort of a time-share will hurt Miller’s fantasy value.

Despite being in a walking boot and on crutches, Victor Cruz is still being called day to day and the receiver hopes to be on the field for the Giants’ Week 1 match-up with the Cowboys. Cruz says that he wants to return to the practice field before the end of the preseason, but this is going to be more of a wait and see approach. The downside for fantasy owners is that should Cruz return before he is truly ready, this could be the type of injury that lingers on and hinders him throughout the season.

Barring any sort of a setback, Geno Smith (ankle) will start the Jets third preseason game. It really looks like the Jets want to hand the reins over to their rookie quarterback, so should he put forth a strong showing, it just might be the reason they have been looking for to replace Mark Sanchez. Either way, though, using a Jets quarterback on your starting roster is as close to fantasy suicide as you can get.

The Eagles have made it official – Michael Vick will be their starting quarterback. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise though as Vick has been outstanding in Chip Kelly’s offense and has clearly outperformed Nick Foles. Should Vick stay healthy, he has the potential to put up some big points this year. Kelly has him looking strong in the passing game and even at 33-years old, his rushing ability is sure to tack on some serious points. Obviously Foles still has decent value, given Vick’s injury history, but he’s obviously more of an insurance stash than someone you want to bank on just yet.

Similarly unsurprising, the Browns officially announced Brandon Weeden as their starting quarterback.

Others returning to practice with high hopes of being ready for Week 1 include: Ed Dickson, Santonio Holmes, Sidney Rice, Dwayne Allen, and Cecil Shorts



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