Ryan Mallett was traded to the Texans on Sunday. In a deal that has been rumored about for months, the Texans acquire the Patriots’ backup quarterback, for the surprising low price of a conditional seventh round 2016 draft pick. Mallett, who worked with Texans coach Bill O’Brien in New England, should immediately step in as the backup for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Mallett is by no means a star, but he absolutely has the potential to take over the starting job, especially if Fitzpatrick stumbles out of the gate. Houston has decent offensive weapons, so Mallett is worth considering as a flier in deeper leagues. Case Keenum was waived to make room for Mallett on the roster.
Sam Bradford will miss the entire 2014 season with a torn left ACL. Bradford, whose 2013 season ended last October with the exact same injury, was a key piece of the Rams’ hope to return to the Playoffs for the first time in a decade. Shaun Hill will step in and replace Bradford, but don’t be surprised to see the Rams trade for another QB to come in and challenge Hill for the job. From a fantasy perspective, Bradford’s injury should not affect the Rams’ position players too drastically. Zac Stacy proved last season, fantasy points can still be scored in St. Louis without Bradford behind center. However, you may want to slightly downgrade Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, and Jared Cook. It will, most likely, take time for Hill and his receivers to get on the same page, as the veteran QB will only have one preseason game to work with the first-team unit. That alone warrants a minor decrease in value for the Rams’ receiving corps. Ultimately, once Hill is comfortable in the offense, he should be able to produce close to the same numbers as Bradford, at least in terms of fantasy.
LeSean McCoy did not practice Sunday, as the Eagles got back to work for the first time since Friday night’s preseason loss to the Patriots. The team gave no reason for McCoy’s absence, but it does not appear to be an injury. Perhaps Shady just needed a day off. As far as fantasy owners are concerned, McCoy can have as many days off as he wants, as long as he is healthy, of course. All indications are that McCoy will be back at practice on Monday. If he misses another day of practice, this becomes a story to pay attention to, but for now, view McCoy as 100%.
• Johnny Manziel as the starter? Not just yet. Coach Mike Pettine refuted a report that Manziel had passed Brian Hoyer on the team’s depth chart. Pettine acknowledged that Manziel has made positive strides, but would not go so far as to say Johnny Football would start the Browns’ second preseason game. However, it does appear that Manziel is legitimately pushing Hoyer for the starting job. Assuming the rookie QB can wrest the job away from Hoyer’s mostly unproven hands, Manziel could be an interesting and hotly debated fantasy name heading into the heart of draft season.
• Andre Johnson and Arian Foster both missed practice again Sunday. Houston’s two most important offensive weapons are nursing hamstring injuries. While new coach Bill O’Brien claims neither injury is serious, both Johnson and Foster have had their share of injuries the last few seasons, so monitor both players accordingly. Assuming health, both Johnson and Foster are Top 10-15 options at their respective positions.