BREAKING NEWS! MUST CREDIT!
There’s only one more sleep until football is really, truly, officially back.
- with category 5 hurricane Irma projected to slam into Florida some time Saturday, the NFL decided to cancel Week 1’s game in Miami between the Dolphins and Buccaneers entirely rather than move it to another venue. The game will be made up in Week 11, which was originally designated as the bye for both teams — which now means both squads will be playing 16 straight weeks rather than getting any kind of midseason break to heal up. That’s far from ideal, but hey, at least it preserves the gate receipts for the Dolphins. If that sounds cynical, and you prefer to think of the league’s decision as being motivated by a desire to let the Florida-based players look after their families during a natural disaster, more power to you.
- by the way, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension got upheld but he’ll play in Week 1 anyway in a prime-time tilt against the Cowboys’ major-market rivals, the Giants. I’m sure TV ratings played no part in that decision either, and the league just didn’t want to have Elliott serve one game of his suspension before returning to the field once… err, sorry, if a judge grants the NFLPA’s injunction against it, because of reasons. I mean, heaven forbid a suspension not be served all in one stretch during the same season. Right, Doug Martin?
- while most of the drama in that game has revolved around Elliott, the Giants have had some of their own due to Odell Beckham’s lingering ankle issue. He didn’t practice Wednesday but was able to do some running and cutting before channeling his inner Ice Cube afterwards, saying “today was a good day”. He still needs to be medically cleared before suiting up Sunday night, though, so have a Plan B ready.
- Washington has no such concerns with Jordan Reed, who isn’t listed on the injury report and seems fully over the toe injury that limited him in camp. Other fantasy-relevant players no longer on their respective teams’ injury reports: Travis Kelce of the Chiefs; Tyrod Taylor of the Bills; Brandon Marshall of the Giants; Tavon Austin and Cooper Kupp of the Rams; Donte Moncrief of the Colts; Eric Ebron of the Lions; and Leonard Fournette and Marqise Lee of the Jaguars.
- things are a little more unsettled in Seattle. Thomas Rawls was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, but head coach Pete Carroll said earlier in the day he was questionable for Sunday. That could open the door for preseason darling Chris Carson to get a few extra touches behind Eddie Lacy. On the outside, Paul Richardson has been listed as a starter ahead of Tyler Lockett. This may have more to do with Lockett’s gradual recovery from last season’s broken leg, but Richardson has flashed during the brief periods when he’s been healthy, and Lockett’s role as a kick returner could make it very easy for the Seahawks to limit his snaps on offense if Richardson is getting the job done opposite Doug Baldwin.
- another spot where the picture is murky is the Cincinnati backfield. Joe Mixon will begin the year third on the depth chart behind holdovers Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard, and while it may not take much for Mixon to pass Hill if he proves he can be more explosive in an early-down role, the initial returns on a rookie who had a lot of helium earlier in the preseason could be disappointing in a three-headed committee.
- finally, both Khalil Mack and Myles Garrett have shown up on the injury report, making GMs in IDP leagues nervous. Mack was held out of practice Wednesday with a knee injury, and while this is likely just a precaution on the Raiders’ part, if he’s not back on the field Thursday or Friday his Week 1 status will be in jeopardy. As for the Browns’ Garrett, the first overall pick in this year’s draft is headed for an MRI after injuring his ankle in practice, but initial reports don’t seem promising.