In a shocking turn of events, the Bills released (face of the franchise?) Fred Jackson. The nine-year veteran has spent his entire career in Buffalo, where he's provided remarkably consistent production both as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. This move came as a surprise to many, considering Jackson's long tenure with the Bills, not to mention the team's dearth of running back depth due to a rash of injuries to their RB core during the preseason. I guess Jackson's whole "being a pro and gutting it out for nine years for the same crappy team" thing doesn't play as well in Rex Ryan's world as, for instance, a guy who attempt to throw an Eyes Wide Shut party or a physical freaks who's best known for breaking the jaw of his own team's starting quarterback. I kid, I kid. From a fantasy perspective, this move could be a boon for one of Bryce Brown, Anthony Dixon and Karlos Williams, as those three are jockeying for the second position on the depth chart now. It's also a good sign for Shady's owners, as his biggest threat for touches was jettisoned out of town. Jackson's fantasy value obviously takes a hit, but if he signs with a new team soon, he may be able to contribute again this season. We can only hope the 34-year-old ends up somewhere like New England, where he has a chance to play for something meaningful after toiling away for losing Buffalo teams for the better part of a decade.
- Let's stay in Buffalo, since the Bills made more news by tapping 26-year-old Virginia Tech product Tyrod Taylor to helm the offense when Buffalo hosts Indy in Week 1. Taylor is an athletic quarterback who can get on the move and run, so he may have some sneaky fantasy value in deep leagues moving forward if he can settle into the role. In addition to his legs, Taylor has flashed some arm this preseason, going 24-for-31 without an interception. Taylor's presence could also help the running game by adding another threat for the defense to take into account.
- Sticking with the theme of teams naming their starting quarterbacks, Kirk Cousins will officially be the quarterback for Washington against Miami in Week 1. Rumors have been circulating for the last two days that Cousins had supplanted Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback in D.C., but the team had yet to confirm it. Welp, it's confirmed – Jay Gruden came out Monday and proclaimed to the world that he's riding with Kirk. Gruden said Cousins "gives us the best chance to win" and called Washington "Kirk's team." Obviously, this is a huge story, as we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of the RGIII era in the nation's capital. The fantasy impact of this move is not huge other than obviously taking RGIII out of the running as a late-round flier at QB. Cousins won't have much of an impact outside of deep two-QB leagues, and the receivers' value won't change much Griffin. Alfred Morris does lose some value, as he did run better with RGIII behind center than with any other quarterback, but it shouldn't be a huge change.
- One more quarterback note: Tom Brady and the commish failed yet again in their seemingly futile attempts to reach a settlement in Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension. This has now officially become the most dragged-out scandal in the history of time, as we're approaching the final week before the season without a resolution to an instance of "conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game" that happened more than seven months ago. Deflategate is approaching never-before-seen levels on the absurdity scale. Due to the inability of Brady and Goodell to get along, Judge Richard M. Berman, who is presiding over the case, has said he'll announce a ruling in the next few days. Obviously, the news could have a profound effect on Brady's draft status, as any reduction in suspension would be a boon for his value.
- In injury news, T.Y. Hilton is currently going through the NFL's concussion protocol after complaining to trainers about a headache following Saturday's preseason game against the Rams. Coach Chuck Pagano said he isn't worried about Hilton and he expects the receiver to be ready to go in Week 1. Concussions are never something to take lightly, but this doesn't appear likely to keep Hilton out for an extended period of time.
- Another AFC South team also received some less-than-stellar injury news as Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell confirmed reports that Julius Thomas may need hand surgery that could keep him out until Week 4. Thomas is seeking a second opinion, but all indications are that the tight end will need to go under the knife. He'd been hopeful for a return to the field by Week 1, but that now appears to be out of the question. While Thomas has a lot of upside at a position that lacks it this season, he's too much of an injury risk right now to be taken as a top-10 tight end, especially considering that Blake Bortles will be throwing him the ball instead of Peyton Manning.
- Finally, we need to pour one out for Trent Richardson, as the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was released by the Raiders on Monday. Not so long ago a budding star, Richardson no longer has a job. The life of an NFL running back can be a roller coaster, and Richardson just became that kid who got told he couldn't go on the ride because he didn't meet the height requirement. Happy trails, old friend; here's hoping you find another team willing to pay you to run straight into opposing defenders.