Fantasy Football Weekly - July 27
(Editor's intro: This is a new weekly column where our expert Mark Morales-Smith will recap all the noteworthy news from the past week to get you caught up. Everything you need to know in one place! All things Fantasy Football! This week's review covers everything from July 20 to July 26.)
Johnny Manziel has reportedly regressed in Browns camp this week. He blamed his traveling and partying for his shortcomings. Brian Hoyer is now taking all the first-team reps and is expected to be the Week 1 starter. Manziel may be used as a "package QB." Cam Newton has been struggling in camp this past week. He is still not 100-percent after offseason ankle surgery. The Panthers still insist there isn't anything to be concerned about, and he is expected to be back to full strength to start the regular season. Newton's ankle should not be a primary concern; however, it is something to monitor. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen has officially named Matt Schaub the Raiders week one starter, as expected. While they like what they see from Derek Carr, they are sticking with the veteran. In Viking camp, Matt Cassel is considered a "heavy favorite" to win the starting job over Louisville rookie Teddy Bridgewater. HC Mike Zimmer will not make an official announcement until later in camp. Both the Manning brothers were in the news this week for very different reasons. Peyton Manning has been said to be in the best shape of his life while little brother Eli Manning has said he is "a little nervous" in the Giants new offense.
In a shocking turn of events, Ravens RB Ray Rice received only a two-game suspension after beating his now wife unconscious in a casino elevator. The assault was caught on security cameras. With Bernard Pierce now cleared for camp after rotator cuff surgery, he is expected to be the starter in Rice's absence. There were some big name holdouts in camp. Jamaal Charles' holdout in Kansas City lasted about five minutes while Marshawn Lynch is still holding out in Seattle. There have been conflicting reports on just how long his holdout will last. After being cleared from ACL surgery, Colts RB Vick Ballard ruptured his Achilles and is expected to miss the entire 2014 season. This injury is sure to increase Trent Richardson's value (and even more so Ahmad Bradshaw's value.) Richardson has continued to make excuses for his subpar 2013 performance, claiming he was playing injured. Kendall Hunter tore his ACL in camp, opening the door for a big-time ADP spike for rookie Carlos Hyde. Marcus Lattimore is also expected to be back on the field very soon for the 49ers. In the most predictable news of the week, Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart is dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. While Stewart admits he is frustrated, it should not be a major concern moving forward. 33-year-old Bills RB Fred Jackson left practice Friday with an apparent lower-body injury. The injury reportedly isn't anything too serious, but it does raise eyebrows and concern about Jackson's durability. Chris Johnson looked great in Jets camp. His speed and explosiveness drew comparisons to his CJ2K days.
Bengals rookie Jeremy Hill has already supplanted veteran RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the Cincinnati depth chart. Hill is second on the depth chart behind Gio Bernard. Hill could see a fair amount of carries since Bernard is expected to have his carries limited to keep him fresh. Andre Ellington is expected to be a "bellcow" in the Cardinals offense this season. All offseason Arizona has been consistent in saying Ellington will be a 25-touch feature back. After suffering a career-threatening neck surgery in 2013, Giants RB David Wilson has been "cleared for everything" and is back on the field. The Giants may use a three-man rotation in the backfield. Wilson will join lead back Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams. Jennings is still expected to receive the heaviest workload. Danny Woodhead signed a two-year extension, while Ryan Mathews may be playing to keep his job in San Diego this season. Doug Martin is expected to receive fewer touches this season due to the fact former Miami Hurricanes RB Mike James, veteran Bobby Rainey and rookie Charles Sims are all in the mix. They will be competing for No. 2 RB spot on the Bucs depth chart. An overconfident Ben Tate has been "penciled in" as the starter in Cleveland. This battle is far from over as rookie Terrance West, returning from the non-football injury list, will push Tate for the top spot on the Browns depth chart. The Lions minicamp standout Theo Reddick is expected to be used in a Darren Sproles type role in the Detroit offense. This kid is a player to watch this preseason. There is a ton of buzz surrounding him, and he could be a potential super sleeper.
In sad news this week, 27-year-old Sidney Rice was forced to retire due to a litany of injuries. Reports out of Seattle were Rice was not likely to make the Seahawks roster. The Browns will probably not be cutting troubled WR Josh Gordon. Gordon is expected to receive a season-long suspension due to multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy. He is currently in camp waiting for the leagues verdict. It was a busy week for the Jaguars WRs. Jags star WR Justin Blackmon was arrested on possession charges this week. Blackmon is already serving an indefinite suspension. Another Jaguars WR Ace Sanders is also facing a drug-related suspension, he will be missing the first four games of the season. Jags rookie Marqise Lee will be ready for camp, and his lingering ankle injury has improved enough for him to get back on the field. On the other hand, Cecil Shorts will miss several weeks with a hamstring injury. According to ESPN's John Clayton, Broncos wideout Emmanuel Sanders is in line for an 80-catch season in Denver. Patriots WR Aaron Dobson was placed on the PUP list. He is still recovering from offseason foot surgery. Bengals WR Marvin Jones was placed on the non-football injury list after tweaking his ankle in OTAs.
Mario Manningham is limited for the start of Giants camp, he also missed all of OTAs. Atlanta Falcons superstar WR Julio Jones is also limited in camp. He is however expected to have no limitations come regular season. Jones' partner in crime Roddy White inked a three-year contract extension this week. Packers WR Jordy Nelson also signed a four-year extension, worth $39 million. Due to his $3.92 million salary, new 49ers WR Stevie Johnson will have to "clearly win" the WR3 spot over Quinton Patton to make the roster. Andre Johnson reported to Texans camp on time after expectations he would not be a no-show. Johnson has been very vocal about his displeasure with the organization and has even requested a trade. Johnson's arrival could drop DeAndre Hopkins' ADP a bit. Much like E. Manning, Victor Cruz is not yet comfortable with the Giants new offense. Giants' rookie WR Odell Beckham has been hindered with a hamstring injury this week. The Giants are concerned about their first-round pick. Reggie Wayne has been cleared for Colts camp after tearing his ACL last season. He will join T.Y. Hilton and Hakeem Nicks in a very solid WR corps. Rams sophomore WR Tavon Austin reportedly has a much better grasp on the offense this season after disappointing in his rookie campaign. Lions placed free agent acquisition Golden Tate on the active/PUP list. Tate suffered a shoulder injury in OTAs that caused him to miss the remainder of minicamp. Highly touted Viking WR Cordarrelle Patterson will be returning kicks this season in Minnesota.
Great news for fantasy owners! Rob Gronkowski was able to avoid the PUP list and fully expects to play in all 16 games for the Patriots this season. He is not 100-percent yet, but this is still fantastic news for Gronk owners. 49ers star TE Vernon Davis ended his holdout this week and reported to camp. While he is still not satisfied with his contract, he came to camp for his teammates, the love of the game and he is still all about the 49ers. Chiefs TE Travis Kelce is 100-percent healthy and ready to make an impact. Last season, the rookie went down with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Kansas City is hoping he can beat out Anthony Fasano for the starting job. Bengals placed TE Jermaine Gresham on the PUP list while he continues to recover from hernia surgery. Tyler Eifert will get an opportunity to shine in Gresham's absence. He has been a standout this week in camp, making "attention-grabbing receptions". He appears to be fully recovered from his shoulder injury.