Training Camp Notes: Gronk returns to practice

The world’s best tight end, Rob Gronkowski, returned to practice on Wednesday, according to NFL insider, Adam Schefter. Gronk rejoins teammates for the first time since August 15. He was sidelined with an undisclosed injury that was later declared to be a small bruise. Gronk may not see much preseason action as coach Bill Belichick will likely continue to play coy in all matters regarding his big man’s health. Gronkowski has been slipping into the middle and late parts of second rounds in MFL and NFFC drafts over the last week as drafters are wisely choosing healthier and safer options in that range.

Fifth-round rookie running back, Wendell Smallwood (quadriceps) is expected to get some game action in the Eagles’ Saturday preseason tilt. Smallwood missed the first two preseason games but has seen his workload increase in practice over the last week. Smallwood should have no issues making the starting roster, but needs to finish camp strong in order to position himself ahead of Kenjon Barner as the number three back on the team’s depth chart. Smallwood has been readily available after round 18 in MFL best ball drafts this week after a couple of months of post-draft hype at a much higher ADP. Us fantasy owners are so fickle.

C.J. Prosise (hamstring) will be available for his first taste of a pro football field in the Seahawks’ preseason game on Thursday, though he will likely be limited. Prosise has been sidelined since the beginning of camp but began running drills on Monday and is slowly ramping up. Prosise hopes to heal in full quickly and earn a role as the team’s third-down back. Thomas Rawls and the “awakened” Christine Michael will share early down duties. Prosise’s ADP has taken a similar tumble to Smallwood’s.

Cardinals’ receivers Larry Fitzgerald (knee) and John Brown (concussion) both missed practice again on Wednesday. Brown complained of a headache on Wednesday, and has been dealing with lingering concussion symptoms, so the team is wise to be cautious with him. Same for Fitz, as coach Bruce Arians and the training staff are making sure they take caution with the 32-year old veteran wideout who suffered a minor ACL sprain in last Friday’s game. They should both be ready for Week 1 and there’s no reason to rush either of them back.

Seventh-round rookie back Keith Marshall should see first-team snaps in the Redskins’ preseason game against the Bills on Friday with Matt Jones ruled out for the preseason. Marshall will share the backfield with undrafted rookie Rob Kelley, who appeared to have more burst than Marshall in last week’s preseason game. The winner of this camp battle could play a prominent role for the Redskins early on in the season if Jones’ injury lingers. Nevertheless, Chris Thompson is the guy to own in this backfield. Thompson could approach Danny Woodhead type receptions this season.

Rookie wideout Tyler Boyd is quickly locking down the coveted role as the guy across the field from A.J. Green for the Bengals this season. Even with Brandon LaFell returning to practice and getting back in the mix, Boyd is expected to line up with Green in most two-WR sets over LaFell and Brandon Tate. Boyd’s ADP has jumped a full round (from 14th to 13th) in National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) leagues over the last week, going as high as the 11th round in some high-stakes drafts this week.

Recently-acquired Eagles’ wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham will join the first-team offense against the Colts on Saturday. DGB needs to ramp up quickly and learn the playbook in order to win a starting role over unimpressive receivers Nelson Agholor, Rueben Randle and deep-threat Chris Givens. Jordan Matthews is still out with a bone bruise for the time being, but expects to be ready for Week 1. Green-Beckham has the potential to be a huge asset for the Eagles due to his natural talent, but has a dicey reputation in terms of his work ethic and commitment. Here’s hoping he proves doubters wrong and turns a new leaf with his new squad.

Early Rookie of the Year candidate Corey Coleman is expected to make his preseason debut against the Buccaneers on Friday. Coleman has been nursing an injured hamstring for weeks now. It will be great to see him on the field with Robert Griffin III. You can expect one big play on Friday to boost his average draft position up a round because that’s just how we fantasy players roll.

Similar to C.J. Spiller at this time last year, Coby Fleener has been struggling  to learn the Saints’ playbook. Coach Sean Payton called Fleener “a work in progress” according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. It hasn’t affected his ADP much as Fleener has consistently been drafted as the TE5 in most formats. Since Payton and quarterback Drew Brees’ arrival to New Orleans in 2006, only Dallas Cowboys’ tight ends have received more targets. Fantasy folks expect big things from Fleener because of his role in the offense alone, but need to be careful not to over-value him and remember that he’s not an incredibly talented pass-catcher and route-runner to begin with.

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