Articles by Adam Wolf

A listing of all the articles written by Adam Wolf for the RotoWire Blog.

Wednesday NFL Notes

Almost a year after we saw Adrian Peterson return to the field sooner than many expected following an ACL tear, it appears Robert Griffin (knee) is now poised to do the same, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the quarterback has been announced as the team’s Week 1 starter. Griffin will still meet with Dr. James Andrews on Thursday night to get to get final medical clearance, but it’s considered nothing more than a formality at this point. Griffin suggested that he hasn’t lost a step from the injury, but expect coach Mike Shanahan to nonetheless take a more conservative approach and limit Griffin’s involvement in the run game this season. Even so, he should still be a more-than-capable starting quarterback option across nearly any fantasy format.

Thought to be cast aside after the Broncos drafted Montee Ball in the second round this April, Knowshon Moreno has been getting increased reps with the first-team offense due to his much more superior pass-blocking to Ball and Ronnie Hillman. Ball’s toughness between the tackles and Hillman’s quickness in space would seem to offer more offensive intrigue than Moreno’s more modest skill set, but the Broncos are clearly putting a premium on their backs’ abilities to keep quarterback Peyton Manning from getting hit. If both of his young challengers continue to struggle with the Broncos’ blocking schemes, Moreno could certainly grab some early-down touches from the other two, although don’t expect any sort of spectacular production from him.

Brandon Marshall missed Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons, an absence coach Marc Trestman indicated was premeditated. “We wanted to get him through practice and I let him go for personal reasons, but it’s something that’s been part of the offseason plan since we started training camp,” Trestman said. Marshall’s absence doesn’t really send out any major red flags, but following his comments Tuesday indicating that he’s not quite where he wants to be in the wake of hip surgery in January, it’s a situation worth monitoring. Marshall will miss Thursday’s preseason contest but should be good to go for Week 1 once he rejoins the team over the weekend.

Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday that the Falcons are hoping Roddy White (ankle) will be available for the team’s regular season opener despite being plagued by the ankle sprain for the last two weeks. It’s safe to assume that he’ll sit out Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jaguars, but continue to await confirmation that White is indeed on track to suit up for Week 1, news that may not come forth until next week’s practices.

The Panthers took a hit to their considerable depth at running back after Jonathan Stewart was placed on the PUP list Tuesday and ruled out for the first five games of the season, but that may not be the end of their concerns at the position. Mike Tolbert has been slow to recover from a hamstring injury, to the extent that coach Ron Rivera could only say that he has his “fingers crossed” that Tolbert will be ready to suit up in Week 1. Furthermore, rookie Kenjon Barner remains hobbled by a sprained ankle and is still wearing a walking boot. DeAngelo Williams was already set to see a bulk of the team’s carries out of the gate in light of Stewart’s injury, but the potential absence of Tolbert and Barner could increase his value even more since it would likely mean more goal line carries and more activity in the receiving game for him.

Darrius Heyward-Bey remains ahead of T.Y. Hilton as the No. 2 receiver on the Colts’ depth chart, but head coach Chuck Pagano plans to use both in different formations early on. “You’re never going to just zero in and say, ‘This guy’s going to play outside. This guy’s going to play in the slot.’ I think we can move people around,” Pagano noted. In other words, even though Heyward-Bey will begin the season as the nominal starter opposite Reggie Wayne in two-receiver sets, expect both Heyward-Bey and Hilton to see a roughly equal distribution of snaps early in the season. The competition for targets could continue until one receiver clearly separates himself from the other.

The Seahawks are tending to some injuries in their receiving corps heading into the final preseason game, with tight end Zach Miller (foot) getting clearance to play in Thursday’s preseason finale while Sidney Rice (knee) will be held out. Coach Pete Carroll said the latter is just being held out for precautionary reasons and is ready to go for Week 1, while Miller appears set to do the same, assuming he escapes Thursday’s contest without doing further damage to his foot. The health of both players heading into the regular season is vital for a team that will be without Percy Harvin until at least late-November.

After Geno Smith stunk up the joint and Mark Sanchez sustained a shoulder injury in Saturday’s preseason game, Matt Simms is in line to start Thursday’s finale against the Eagles. Simms has been viewed as the team?s No. 4 quarterback through much of camp and will more than likely be waived at final cuts, but with third-stringer Greg McElroy banged up and newcomer Graham Harrell only with the team for a few days, he’ll get his chances to make an impression, however fleeting it may be. The Jets’ quarterback situation remains extremely muddled, but if Sanchez is healthy heading into Week 1 as he believes he will be, there’s a good chance he would get the starting nod over Smith in the opener.

Finally, the Browns announced that some key players would be rested in the preseason finale, with quarterback Brandon Weeden and running back Trent Richardson perhaps the most noteworthy names. Both are fully healthy and will be ready to go for the season opener Sept. 8 against the Dolphins.

Wednesday NFL Notes

The Steelers were dealt a major blow to their unsettled running back situation, as perceived frontrunner Le’Veon Bell (foot) was diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury and is expected to miss the next six weeks of action. The news obviously sends his draft stock tumbling downward, paving the way for Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and LaRod Stephens-Howling to head the Steelers’ rushing attack early on. Redman is the longest-tenured runner of the group and seems to be favored by the coaching staff, so it would seem he’s the most likely candidate to start in Week 1, though Dwyer should also see his fair share of snaps.

In more encouraging running back news, Arian Foster (back) was activated from the PUP list Wednesday but remains unlikely to play in Sunday’s preseason game against the Saints. Since he’ll have only limited practice time under his belt before Wednesday, it’s probably a smart decision by the Texans not to rush him back to action, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he sat out the preseason finale as well. Texans GM Rick Smith indicated Wednesday that he is confident that Foster will suit up in the team’s regular season-opener Sept. 9 at San Diego, which is all that likely matters to both Foster and his fantasy owners. In any case, in light of his lengthy absence this summer and three consecutive seasons of 275-plus carries, it’s reasonable to expect at least a slightly lighter workload in the running game for Foster this season.

Though Marques Colston (foot) practiced both Monday and Tuesday before being rested during Wednesday’s session, he admitted that he is still not feeling 100 percent healthy, despite missing more than a dozen practices during training camp. The foot injury seems to have lingered from last season, and may be further compounded by the extensive work he’s been subjected to in the passing game over his career, piling up six 1,000-yard receiving campaigns in his first seven seasons. Colston should gradually feel better as the season nears, and though we’ve probably already seen the upper limits of his talents, he is still one of the most consistent fantasy options at his position.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy expressed optimism regarding Jordy Nelson‘s (knee) recovery, stating the wideout was “very close” to returning to action. Nelson underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure two weeks ago, and while he seems to be on track to suit up for Week 1, fantasy players should still account for the possibility that, in the event of a setback, he may be forced to play limited snaps or, in a worst-case scenario, sit out entirely in the early going until he feels completely healthy.

Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) was able to practice in pads for the first time during training camp Tuesday, but coach Chuck Pagano said it remains unlikely that he’ll play in any preseason games. Pagano’s statement doesn’t seem to represent any skepticism about Bradshaw’s health, and can more or less be inferred as entrusting the veteran running back to know what it takes to get his body ready for the regular season. He’s expected to open the season as the team’s starting running back and should be dependable in goal line situations and pass protection.

Wes Welker shook off a mild ankle sprain to return to practice Wednesday and appears on track to play in Saturday’s third exhibition against the Rams. In spite of the recent suspension of Von Miller in addition to some key personnel losses at center, the Broncos remain at full strength at wide receiver, with Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker all expected to be excellent fantasy options across most any format.

Welker’s de facto replacement in New England, Danny Amendola missed his second straight practice with an undisclosed injury Tuesday, and as a result, appears unlikely to play in Thursday’s exhibition game against the Lions. Even though he’s sat out all week with the unidentified issue, the Patriots don’t consider it serious and seem to be just exercising precaution. It’s hard to blame the team for playing it safe with Amendola given the concerns about his injury history that may have driven several other suitors away in free agency.

The hard-luck Chargers seem to finally have received some positive news, as Malcom Floyd (knee) has been able to resume running the last two days. Floyd’s recovery has progressing quicker than expected for the Chargers, so much so that there’s some realistic hope that he’ll be available for the season opener. Though Floyd will in all likelihood miss the Chargers’ remaining two preseason games, his return for Week 1 – even in a limited capacity – would be welcome news for a team that has lost Danario Alexander to a season-ending knee injury.

The Ravens and Colts came to terms on a minor trade Wednesday afternoon, with the Colts sending Delone Carter to the Ravens in exchange for receiver David Reed. Ahmad Bradshaw‘s return to practice this week was enough for the Colts to part ways with Carter, who figures to slot in as the team’s No. 3 running back. Reed will add depth to the Colts’ receiving corps but isn’t a lock to make the Colts’ final roster, much less earn a meaningful role in the passing game.

Fantasy owners in deeper formats looking for a direct replacement for Josh Gordon while he misses the first two games to suspension may want to take a look at Travis Benjamin, who is viewed as the top option behind Gordon on the Browns’ depth chart. Benjamin has flashed big-play potential on special teams this summer, but his impact on the offensive end remains a bit unknown. The Browns’ upcoming third preseason game should provide a glimpse of what Benjamin can do while Gordon is out, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of upside here.

Wednesday NFL Notes

The biggest league-wide news to emerge Wednesday was Tom Brady‘s left knee injury, which the quarterback sustained during an 11-on-11 drill against the Buccaneers defense. Though it was undoubtedly a nervous moment for Patriots fans, Brady’s MRI came back negative, suggesting the injury was likely a sprain. Brady will remain day-to-day as a result of the injury, but it seems extremely likely the Patriots would go ahead and sit him out of Friday’s preseason contest with the Bucs, if not the rest of the exhibition schedule as a precaution. As a 14-year pro, Brady probably doesn’t even need any preseason snaps to be ready to go for Week 1, so assuming his recovery goes smoothly, the injury shouldn’t affect his stock in fantasy drafts.

After losing the majority of first-team snaps to Mark Sanchez over the first two days of the week, Geno Smith turned in his worst performance to date in Wednesday’s session, throwing three interceptions in a performance coach Rex Ryan called “brutal.” Ryan believes Smith is still troubled by the ankle injury he sustained in the preseason opener, and though he hasn’t missed any practice time, Smith seems to be losing momentum in his battle for the starting job by the day. Expect Sanchez to get the start for the second preseason game, and if he excels or Smith continues to perform poorly, he could be named the starter for Week 1 shortly thereafter.

Moving on to a quarterback battle that has become more competitive in recent days, it appears Kevin Kolb (knee) is in line to start Friday’s preseason game against the Vikings. Kolb missed four days of practice last week to attend to a personal matter and was plagued by the knee issue early on, but after a few consecutive clean sessions, coach Doug Marrone will give him the opportunity to stake his claim to the starting job. EJ Manuel, considered to be the frontrunner for the job at the moment, was able to hold his own in the team’s preseason opener but wasn’t very efficient, managing just 107 yards on 21 pass attempts. That modest performance may open the door for Kolb to gain ground in the QB race with a strong outing.

Jamaal Charles seems to be progressing well two days after leaving practice with a foot strain, as coach Andy Reid said he has recovered to the point that he could have been able to practice Wednesday if deemed necessary. File this injury away into the day-to-day category, as it seems Charles will be back on the field by the end of the week.

The Chargers have been as snake-bitten as any team this summer when it comes to training camp injuries, but they received a dose of good news Wednesday, as Keenan Allen (knee) was able to practice fully. He continued to see first-team reps with Malcom Floyd still recovering from a knee injury. Floyd’s injury isn’t likely to keep him out for the start of the regular season, but at the very least, it seems like Allen is in line for a No. 3 receiving role for the Chargers right out of the gate.

A.J. Green (knee) returned to practice Wednesday for the first time in three weeks, stating that he was 100 percent recovered from his injury. He’s not expected to play in Saturday’s preseason game against the Titans due to the long layoff, but he should receive ample action in the team’s third exhibition.

Randall Cobb remained out of practice Wednesday and was ruled out for Thursday’s session as he continues to deal with biceps discomfort. Like Green, it would seem he’s unlikely to play Saturday, but the Packers believe the rest will allow any swelling Cobb is experiencing to subside. If the injury lingers into next week, the Packers could very well be without two of their top receivers for the all-important third preseason game, as Jordy Nelson (knee) has already been ruled out for the entire exhibition schedule.

In contrast to Green and Cobb, Hakeem Nicks is expected to play in the team’s second exhibition game Sunday against the Colts. Nicks sat out the Giants’ opener but looks to be back at close to full speed after reeling in some catches during the last few days of practice.

Coby Fleener‘s concussion seems to have been as mild as mild can be, as he was cleared to return to practice Wednesday, just three days after he was deemed to have sustained a concussion in the Colts’ preseason opener. It still sounds like he may miss the club’s second preseason game as a precaution, but his return to practice is what’s most important here.

Robert Griffin (knee) hit another milestone in his recovery from a torn ACL and LCL, taking his first snaps in 11-on-11 drills Wednesday. While coach Mike Shanahan has already ruled Griffin out for the preseason, there’s no reason to think he won’t be on the field for Week 1 unless some sort of setback occurs.

Rookie Caleb Sturgis officially won the kicking job for the Dolphins over incumbent Dan Carpenter, who was subsequently released following the announcement. The Dolphins offense hadn’t afforded Carpenter many scoring chances the last few seasons, so unless Ryan Tannehill makes a sizeable leap as a passer in Season 2 and Lamar Miller and/or Daniel Thomas can adequately stabilize the running game following the departure of Reggie Bush, Sturgis figures to be one of the lower-end fantasy options at his position.

Wednesday NFL Notes

The eve of the first wave of preseason games presented a bevy of news for fantasy owners to pause and consider, particularly regarding some of the more unsettled running back situations around the league.

In St. Louis, coach Jeff Fisher announced that Daryl Richardson is the current frontrunner for starting duties at running back. By virtue of the extensive experience he gained behind Steven Jackson last season, Richardson currently tops the depth chart ahead of fellow second-year back Isaiah Pead, who struggled to land playing time as a rookie. Even so, Pead and rookie Zac Stacy still remain in the picture for the starting job, with their performance in Thursday’s game against the Browns providing a good opportunity for either back to impress the coaching staff.

In Pittsburgh, Isaac Redman was listed as the No. 1 back on the Steelers’ first depth chart unveiled Wednesday. Like Richardson, Redman’s appointment at the top seems to be rooted in his experience, as he’s been in the organization longer than the other starting candidates. At this stage of camp, rookie Le’Veon Bell is still viewed as the favorite to start Week 1, though Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and LaRod Stephens-Howling have plenty of time to vault ahead of him.

In Green Bay, Eddie Lacy‘s quick start to training camp has made him the club’s No. 1 back thus far in the eyes of many, but he was dealt a temporary setback Wednesday, exiting practice with a hamstring injury. There’s no word yet if it will keep him out of Friday’s preseason opener, but either way, the injury isn’t expected to greatly damage Lacy’s stock. Holdovers James Starks and Alex Green, along with rookie Johnathan Franklin, would assume Lacy’s carries if he’s unable to go Friday.

In Miami, Lamar Miller returned to practice Wednesday but appeared to be limping throughout, participating in drills on an off-and-on basis. While it still looks like he’s less than 100 percent, the fact that he was practicing is a  sign the Dolphins don’t think the injury is overly problematic. Coach Joe Philbin will likely monitor Miller’s workload carefully in Friday’s game against the Jaguars, with Daniel Thomas and Mike Gillislee perhaps on tap to see extra carries as a result.

In Arizona, coach Bruce Arians plans to play Rashard Mendenhall (knee) the entire first quarter of Friday’s game after he returned to practice Tuesday. With Ryan Williams ruled out Friday with knee issues of his own, Mendenhall has maintained a firm grip on the starting job throughout camp.

In Indianapolis, Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) reported that he plans to return to practice next week. His placement on the PUP list to open camp has allowed Vick Ballard and Donald Brown to see further reps with the first-team, but Bradshaw is expected to claim the starting job once he proven he’s fully healthy.

On the injury front for some more established backs, Trent Richardson (shin), Maurice Jones-Drew (foot), and LeSean McCoy (knee) have all been banged up at various points in training camp and have seen reduced workloads as a result. None of the injuries are considered major, though Richardson has already been ruled out for Thursday’s preseason game.

Continuing with the trend of devastating knee injuries we’ve noticed in camp thus far, Joseph Morgan of the Saints appears to be the latest casualty. Morgan tore his meniscus and partially severed his ACL, robbing the Saints of their top deep threat. Youngsters Kenny Stills and Nick Toon and veteran Steve Breaston move up the depth chart as a result, with Stills seemingly providing the closest match of Morgan’s speed and big-play ability.

Other wide receiver quick hits:

Mike Wallace (groin) returned to practice Wednesday after he was sidelined for most of the past two weeks of camp. In wouldn’t be shocking if Wallace missed Friday’s preseason game due to his limited practice time, but he’s well on his way to being ready for Week 1.

Cecil Shorts (left calf) is expected to miss Friday’s preseason opener. The injury isn’t considered major and the Jaguars appear to just be erring on the side of caution.

Likewise, Vincent Brown has been ruled out for the Chargers’ preseason opener Thursday due to a hamstring injury. The Chargers just lost Danario Alexander to a season-ending ACL injury earlier in the week and are understandably hesitant to let Brown, the team’s top replacement option for Alexander, worsen his ailment.

Randall Cobb sat out Wednesday’s practice with a biceps issue but still expects to play in Friday’s preseason opener. If that’s indeed the case, he likely wouldn’t stay in the game for more than a drive or two.

Wednesday NFL Notes

Though Percy Harvin is slated to undergo surgery Thursday, the Seahawks believe the procedure is not necessarily a season-ender as initially feared. Early estimates suggest Harvin will miss three to four months as a result of the procedure, with the Seahawks hoping he’ll be available around Thanksgiving. Although his lengthy absence and uncertain health thereafter will still take him off the radar in most leagues on draft day, Harvin’s potential late-season arrival as the Seahawks’ "Designated for Return" from injured reserve player would provide a huge boost for the team’s offense, and a nice roster addition for fantasy players as the playoffs approach.

Dez Bryant (hip) was a spectator for the first four days of Cowboys camp, but owner Jerry Jones still expressed confidence that Bryant would be on the field for Sunday’s preseason opener against the Dolphins. Given his limited reps this summer, Bryant likely wouldn’t play more than a series or two Sunday, but should see his typical amount of usage the rest of the preseason.

Blaine Gabbert (right ankle) was back practicing Wednesday, just two days after suffering a minor sprain. The temporary setback likely won’t harm his chances of competing for the starting quarterback job with Chad Henne.

Josh Gordon (knee) sat out Wednesday but is expected to return to practice over the next couple of days. He has been held out with a patellar tendinitis issue but should still be able to gather a fair amount of preseason reps. However, keep in mind he will have to serve a two-game suspension to start the season.

Brandon Marshall returned to practice Wednesday after he was held out of Monday’s activities. It was strictly a precautionary rest with the receiver coming off January hip surgery, and the Bears aren’t worried about his availability for preseason games, much less the start of the regular season.

Just two days after returning to practice, Chris Ivory aggravated his hamstring and was forced to leave Wednesday’s practice. The Jets aren’t especially concerned with the injury, but if Ivory’s durability questions remain a major issue, opportunity could knock for Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight to secure the No. 1 running back job.

In other news at Jets camp, the quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith continues to look ugly. Sanchez went just 3-of-10 during 11-on-11 drills Wednesday, throwing an interception and two more balls that easily could have been picked off. Smith showed more efficiency (6-of-9) with the second team, but also took two sacks. Don’t expect this messy competition to be resolved until near the end of training camp.

Sticking with AFC East quarterback battles, EJ Manuel has outperformed Kevin Kolb in the early stages of camp, according to most observers. While Manuel’s assignments have been less challenging by virtue of his standing as a rookie, Manuel has grasped Doug Marrone’s offense quickly and brings more athleticism to the table than Kolb. The preseason games should add an interesting layer to the two-man race.

IDP Quick Hits:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie sustained a high-ankle sprain during Wednesday’s practice. It looked to be a far worse injury before the diagnosis was given, but DRC is still out indefinitely…Carlos Dunlap suffered a concussion during practice earlier this week and was on the sidelines Wednesday. He still has plenty of time to recover before the season begins, but concussions can have very volatile return timetables…DeAngelo Hall will miss anywhere from two days to two weeks after spraining ligaments in the back of his ankle……D.J. Williams suffered a calf injury in Wednesday’s practice and is listed as week-to-week. He was expected to replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker this season…Mario Williams is dealing with a left foot injury, but doesn’t believe he’ll be hampered by the injury for the long haul…Nick Barnett signed a one-year contract with the Redskins on Wednesday and figures to compete for one of the starting inside linebacker spots. He racked up 112 tackles and two sacks in the Bills’ 3-4 system last season.