Training Camp Notes: A Cutler Connection

After raving about DaVante Parker as a “faster Alshon Jeffrey”, new Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler connected with Parker for 78 yards on two completions. Cutler is looking good, and he’s excited about Parker. Parker’s value is about to skyrocket.

As for other developments from around the league:

The Jaguars’ quarterback competition is still unresolved. Chad Henne stepped in as starter for Thursday’s game, bumping Blake Bortles. Bortles started the second half, and for the first time all summer, he outplayed Henne. As a result, the team enters the final week of the preseason without a clear starter, and with the knowledge that neither option is all that good. The Jaguars have a strong group of pass-catchers, all of whom are hurt by the poor quarterback play. If only there was a starting caliber quarterback currently available who might be able to help them…

Chris Ivory started for the Jaguars, with Leonard Fournette (foot) and T.J. Yeldon (hamstring) out. Ivory logged 36 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and caught one pass for six yards. It was a perfectly adequate showing, but Ivory needed to do more if he wanted to close the gap between himself and projected starter Fournette. The Jaguars want to operate a run-heavy offense, so there is room for both players to produce, but Fournette seems in line to be the primary rusher.

Both Panthers running backs looked good in Thursday’s game against the Jaguars. McCaffrey was worse on the ground, going 21 yards on seven carries in addition to a 12 yard reception, while Jonathan Stewart went for 39 yards on five carries. Both players were used in the opening series, and they split the first team duties somewhat evenly. McCaffrey’s catch was Cam Newton’s first completion of the preseason. At the moment, both running backs seem likely to have fantasy value, at least early in the season.

The Eagles game did not go quite as expected. Wendell Smallwood ran for more yards than LeGarrette Blount on the same number of carries. Torrey Smith had more receiving yards than Alshon Jeffrey. The odd box score says more about the potential of Smallwood and Smith than it does about Blount or Jeffrey. Blount still projects as the starting running back, but Smallwood has earned himself more touches over the last few weeks. Jeffrey remains the superior receiving option, but Smith is showing signs that he could have fringe-level fantasy value, too.

The Broncos are apparently planning on keeping Devontae Booker on the 53-man roster to start the season. This development means that at least one of Jamaal Charles or Stevan Ridley is almost certain to get cut, and it increases the likelihood that both players are left off the final roster. The absence of Charles and Ridley means rookie De’Angelo Henderson would have an easier path to earning some carries, though that path would remain difficult.

Jaelen Strong was suspended one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. His Week 1 absence might impact some daily gamers, as he’s joined on the sideline by Will Fuller. If DeAndre Hopkins (hand) or Braxton Miller’s (ankle) are still ailing, then very deep options like Dres Anderson could have some value.

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