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Sunday Preseason Notes: Dez returns, Bengals backs roar and Gordon scores again

August 28, 2016: Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) and Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill (32) celebrate a touchdown during the preseason game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fl.

Dez Bryant returns to practice and a look at the preseason games from Sunday.

  • While Dez Bryant did not participate in team drills Sunday, it was encouraging for him to return to the field and go through some individual work at practice following his concussion diagnosis. He'll now be a polarizing player leading into the season with Tony Romo set to miss an extended stretch of time, but Dak Prescott shouldn't zap all of Bryant's fantasy upside like previous backups have. The further the wideout slides in drafts, the more potential there is for him to provide an excellent return on investment. Was 16 games with Tony Romo ever a guarantee in the first place?
  • Indianapolis inked Stevan Ridley Sunday. Josh Ferguson has garnered a lot of buzz during the offseason, but Ridley and Robert Turbin are the likely candidates to handle early-down work if Frank Gore misses time. In fact, if Gore goes down, this backfield has the makings of a committee and weekly fantasy guessing game. Additionally, with the Indy offensive line and defense looking like hobbled messes already, the running game might not yield overly valuable fantasy results. It's still a situation to monitor because goal-line carries in a potentially prolific offensive offers upside. Turbin has leapfrogged Ferguson at this point, and Ridley is just a back to keep an eye on, especially with a new offense to learn.
  • Stefon Diggs made a mark in his dress rehearsal Sunday with five receptions for 71 yards in the first half. Diggs was an inconsistent rookie who flashed upside – 25 receptions, 419 yards and two touchdowns from Week 4 through Week 7 – and should become a more reliable option this year. He's clearly the No. 1 receiver in the offense and is also a downfield threat with the upside to be a weekly WR3, especially if Teddy Bridgewater's deep ball has improved as suggested. The beat writers have been praising Diggs this summer, too.
  • Jerick McKinnon also showcased his upside with Adrian Peterson sitting out Sunday. McKinnon went good for 56 yards on eight carries and caught both of his targets for nine yards. McKinnon would ascend to being a weekly starting option in the event of a Peterson injury, and McKinnon has some standalone value as the third-down back. He is a late-round target with huge fantasy upside. This is also an instance where handcuffing Peterson with McKinnon makes sense.
  • It was another solid outing for Melvin Gordon, as he found the end zone for the second time this preseason Sunday. He rushed for 51 yards on four carries and grabbed a five-yard reception. Gordon's talent and role have been questioned, and his rookie season was awful. But the cost to acquire the sophomore is reasonable, and around his ADP, there aren't a lot of No. 1 running backs available, especially backs in a potentially high-scoring offense. He certainly looks a lot better as an RB3, but could suffice as a low-end starter alongside a beastly receiving corps. Just keep expectations in check and don't forget the floor he posted last year.
  • Will Fuller had a strong game Sunday and appears to have cemented himself as the No. 2 receiver ahead of Jaelen Strong and Braxton Miller. Fuller hauled in three passes for 67 yards and a score, and through the past two preseason games, he's grabbed seven catches for 140 yards and two scores. It isn't the time to aggressively push Fuller up rankings after a pair of exhibition games, but his status as a late-round pick is more justified today than entering the season. Fuller will have peaks and valleys opposite DeAndre Hopkins, and Houston projects as a rush-heavy offense, but the rookie has shown positively the past two weeks.
  • It was a smooth game for Brock Osweiler Sunday, as he put together his strongest outing of the preseason. The first-year Texan completed 11 of 13 passes for 146 yards and a score with an impressive 139.1 passer rating. The weapons are in place for Osweiler to succeed as a middling QB2 with upside for starter-worthy weeks as a streamer in plus-matchups. However, at this point, his weekly fantasy floor is best viewed as a low-end QB2. He's only worth rostering in SuperFlex and two-QB settings at this stage.
  • Kenneth Dixon is set to miss four weeks with an MCL tear in his knee, which cements Javorius Allen as the primary passing-down back for Baltimore. Dixon's injury also helps the fantasy stock of Terrance West. West has rushed for 101 yards on 25 carries (4.04 yards per attempt) and scored twice during the preseason and could become the primary early-down back if starter Justin Forsett went down with an injury. Dixon's a difficult stash candidate in standard leagues now, and with his injury, Allen and West each receive a slight value boost.
  • Don't fret A.J. Green's early exit with a knee injury Sunday. He's an elite fantasy receiver with one of the highest ceilings out there, and he said he's fine. It wouldn't be shocking to see him see the most targets of his career, and he has five years of chemistry with quarterback Andy Dalton. Plus, since entering the league, Green has finished as WR14, WR4, WR5, WR23 and WR8 in standard leagues. He also only played 13 games in 2014. There is a legitimate case for Green being the fourth receiver off the board on draft day, and it shouldn't surprise if he trumps his draft position when it's all said and done.
  • The Cincinnati one-two punch on the ground flashed gold Sunday, Jeremy Hill ran in a score and caught a 28-yard pass, and Giovani Bernard rushed for 27 yards on three carries and grabbed two passes for 25 yards with a score. A.J. Green is going to see oodles of targets, but the ground-and-pound attack is still the offensive approach. Hill presents sneaky upside in standard and touchdown-heavy leagues, whereas Bernard is likely still an underrated PPR target. Both backs are worthy of a middle-round selection in all formats with the gap closer in PPR settings.