With some teams already preparing for their third preseason games, depth charts and starting spots are beginning to firm up, but there’s still a lot of practice reps to go — and a lot of surprises in store — before Week 1. Let’s take a look at what news came spilling out of Wednesday’s training camps.
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– Ezekiel Elliott filed his appeal for his six-game suspension meaning there will be a hearing scheduled within the next 10 days. There’s no guarantee there will be a reduction in his suspension and the ruling may not happen until after the season begins. Despite the suspension he has rarely made past the second round in recent drafts as owners seem to be willing to gamble that Elliott will miss less than six games. Adam Schefter reports that the hearing will be August 29th, which falls exactly on 10 business days of today’s filing.
– The following players returned to practice today: Doug Baldwin (foot), Amari Cooper (leg) and Bilal Powell (neck). The respective ailments for all three were never a big concern as the teams seemed to be exercising caution with their key offensive players.
– Jaron Brown, not J.J. Nelson or John Brown has risen to the No.2 wide receiver on the depth chart for the Cardinals. There is still plenty of time for this to change and the Cards run a lot of three-receiver sets anyways. However, John Brown admitted today he’s “not where I want to be at.” For now it seems a small bump up for Jaron and a small bump down for John with the start of the season getting close.
– Ryan Mathews was released from the Eagles in an expected move after passing his physical. The move saves the Eagles $4 million in cap space and makes sense after the Philadelphia retained LeGarrette Blount’s services for only $2.8 million this season. Look for Mathews to get picked up by another team in the next few days since he was able to pass his physical.
– Mike Gillislee continues to be sidelined giving Rex Burkhead a chance to work with the first team. If Gillislee continues to miss time this could turn more into a fluid situation after it was widely expected that Gillislee would handle the bulk of the carries. Either way it’s obvious the Patriots wanted to overhaul their running backs and both should get looks early on in the season.
– Jay Ajayi is out of the concussion protocol although coach Adam Gase is unsure if he’ll play in Thursday’s preseason game. It would make a lot of sense to err on the side of caution and hold Ajayi out with the team looking towards getting him involved in their final two preseason games. Owners should feel a little relief at this development and there’s no reason right now to adjust him on draft boards.
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Falcons head coach Dan Quinn revealed starting running back Devonta Freeman, who exited Sunday’s practice with a previously undisclosed issue, has entered concussion protocol and won’t be available for this week’s preseason matchup with the Steelers. If you play preseason DFS, that means Tevin Coleman will get the start Sunday. However, Freeman and Coleman combined for only two carries last week against the Dolphins so smarter plays would figure to be Terron Ward and Brian Hill, who received 11 and nine carries, respectively. Though Ward is probably the favorite to win out, that latter pair is seemingly jockeying for the No. 3 RB job in Atlanta – which would obviously become very relevant if something were to happen to Freeman or Coleman – and both should again see plenty of opportunities to prove themselves. On his 11 attempts in Miami, Ward logged 48 yards (4.36 YPC) and a touchdown while Hill, who’s the team’s fifth-rounder out of Wyoming if you’re wondering, gained just 10 yards on his 9 attempts (1.11 YPC).
All aboard! Lions’ rookie Kenny Golladay made the most of his three catches against the Colts, as he scored a pair of touchdowns while gaining 53 yards. With Indy playing the only daytime game today, most serious fantasy owners will see the highlights (if they didn’t watch the game live), and overreact to his big day. His ADP was 164, but it certainly will creep up at least a round or two. However, at best, he’ll be in the slot when the team goes to three-WRs while being the fourth target in the pecking order. Certainly draft him if you really like him, but it’s difficult to imagine that he’ll be a star in year one.
After the Steak League auction two years ago, I wrote a post of the same name, but wound up leading the 16-team league in total points. Last year, I wrote “How I Dominated the Steak League Auction” and once again led that 14-team league in total points by year’s end. But this year, I botched it, and I’m pretty sure it’s for real.