Tuesday NFL Notes
Here's a look at the latest NFL news and notes from Tuesday.
Going against the general speculation, it will be Isaac Redman who leads the Pittsburgh running backs in Week 1 and not Jonathan Dwyer as earlier thought. The team says that they expect to have Le’Veon Bell (sprained foot) back before their Week 5 bye and that Redman is the best to fill his role on a temporary basis. That’s not to say that Dwyer, LaRod Stephens-Howling and even Felix Jones won’t get a piece of the pie, but they’ll stay in a more complementary/third-down role. Regardless of Redman’s nod, his overall fantasy value doesn’t change.
The Cardinals said that Ryan Williams will see the majority of touches during their fourth preseason game Thursday. He’s been banged up throughout the summer and needs to prove that he is still worthy of a roster spot. That seems to put rookie Stepfan Taylor in the primary back-up role being Rashard Mendenhall. Whether or not Williams gets a spot on the team, he’s unlikely to produce any fantasy value in such a limited role. Mendenhall remains the guy to own with Taylor as the handcuff and given Mendenhall’s knee, you can’t own one without the other.
Victor Cruz (heel) likely won’t be back this week, but says that he expects to practice Monday and that he will be ready for Week 1. When healthy, he’s a fantastic own, but there’s definitely a risk to drafting him. If you make sure that you use your middle rounds for quality depth, you can afford to take the risk. Consider him still questionable for Week 1 just to err on the side of caution.
Thursday is the day for all you Robert Griffin hopefuls out there as he will meet and be evaluated by Dr. James Andrews to see if he can be cleared for game action. Andrews cleared him earlier for practice, but game time is a whole other thing. Griffin says he feels like he’s at 100-percent, but we’ll wait for the doctors to make that call.
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins (concussion) has not yet been cleared for practice, but is supposedly in stage four of the NFL’s five-stage concussion protocol. The team is certainly in need of him as they really don’t have a quality complement to Andre Johnson. Should Hopkins gain clearance to practice, he should be fine for Week 1 and makes for a solid option this year.
With DuJuan Harris now out for the season with a knee injury, Eddie Lacy should have no trouble holding down the lead running back job in Green Bay now. Johnathan Franklin is apparently still in the picture here in the preseason, but most expect Lacy to be the lead back, just as it was the assumption a couple of weeks ago. Lacy should still be treated as a RB2 and is likely to come off the board somewhere in the sixth or seventh round.
EJ Manuel is still considered a longshot for Week 1, but that’s not really surprising. It’s still looking like Jeff Tuel to open things up for the Bills and even though they signed Matt Leinart and traded for Thaddeus Lewis, Tuel is still probably going to be the primary back-up. Kevin kolb is still suffering from a major concussion and could even consider hanging it up for good.
There is growing speculation that Heath Miller will come off the PUP list prior to the Steelers announcing their 53-man roster. Reports say that he’s looked good in his recovery, but exactly when he would be able to play is not yet known. He’s already been ruled out for the team’s fourth preseason game and is likely questionable for Week 1.
And finally, this Denver running game is turning into a total fantasy nightmare. First it was supposed to be rookie Montee Ball as the Broncos lead running back, but after displaying some poor pass-blocking and shoddy blitz pick-up, the job was supposed to land with Ronnie Hillman. But Hillman has a case of the fumbles and was apparently sliding down the depth chart, and as a result of Ball’s shortcomings in the blocking department, there was growing speculation that Knowshon Moreno would get the nod with Ball as the short-yardage/goal-line back. On Monday Ball saw the majority of touches with the first team and Hillman with a few. There was no talk of Moreno. Now today, it was Hillman with the majority of first-team reps and Ball with just a few. And still no talk of Moreno. While owning the starting Denver running back would be nice, you unfortunately need three roster spots to hold it down.