Later this week, we’ll all be treated to a full slate of NFL action as all 32 teams will suit up for their first (or second in the case of the Bears and Ravens) pre-season game of the year. Until then, the news will be quickly flowing, as we saw this weekend. Time to get caught up!
Browns Deal Coleman
Just two years after making him their first-rounder, the Cleveland Browns have parted with yet another disappointing early draft pick, shipping WR Corey Coleman to the Buffalo Bills for a future late-round pick. During Coleman’s Browns tenure, he missed a total of 15 games and posted annual fantasy ranks of WR83 and WR94. With the addition of former Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry and talented rookie WR Antonio Callaway, Coleman had long been viewed as the odd man out and this trade puts a bow on that situation. With continued doubt about WR Josh Gordon’s status, this trade also stirred up discussion about the rumored addition of WR Dez Bryant to the Cleveland roster.
For the Bills, wide receiver was a clear major need, despite spending draft capital in the form of a pick (Zay Jones) and a trade (Kelvin Benjamin) last season. Both players disappointed, leaving fantasy players to try and convince themselves that Jeremy Kerley could be worthy of a roster spot. Coleman is immediately at least in the discussion as the most talented wideout on the roster, but there are still many questions before we can pencil him in as a weekly fantasy starter. First, the Bills quarterback situation is unsettled to say the least as A.J. McCarron, Josh Allen and even Nathan Peterman compete for the starting job. Coleman has also not shown he can stay healthy through a full NFL season and even missed practice over the weekend due to a sore hamstring.
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Gordon Saga Continues
It was reported over the weekend that Browns WR Josh Gordon, who continues to work out privately while dealing with his “overall health,” is facing a Tuesday deadline to report to training camp in order to ensure that his 2018 season counts as an accrued season toward free agency. Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot later reported that although Gordon is “getting closer” to a return, he would not be in camp by the Tuesday deadline. The Browns continue to support their star receiver and have “taken measures to ensure” that Gordon won’t be affected by the missed deadline.
Michel Needs Surgery
Patriots first-round RB Sony Michel will undergo a procedure to clean up his knee after injuring it in practice late last week. While the surgery will cost Michel the remainder of training camp and all of pre-season, he is expected to be back for the start of the season. This opens the door for one or both of veteran RBs Mike Gillislee and Jeremy Hill to make the roster while pushing Evan Silva favorite RB Rex Burkhead even further up the fantasy ranks. Michel’s fantasy value is in limbo now as this latest news reminds us all of the pre-draft story that Michel had a worrisome “bone on bone” knee condition.
Depth Charts Released
As Week One of the pre-season nears, teams released their preliminary depth charts. We can’t always read too much into this information, but it is one piece of the puzzle. Here are some of the highlights.
WR Eric Decker is listed ahead of WR Kenny Britt for the Patriots, despite being on the roster just a few days…The Patriots listed RB Rex Burkhead ahead of rookie RB Sony Michel, which makes sense given the injury news on Michel…WR Danny Amendola is listed ahead of Albert Wilson on the Miami depth chart, which matches up with recent reports…The Dolphins stuck rookie TE Mike Gesicki, who has been drawing rave reviews at camp, fifth on their tight end depth chart behind MarQueis Gray, A.J. Derby, Gavin Escobar and Thomas Duarte. Okay…Continuing the Dolphins theme, they tabbed RBs Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake as co-starters in the backfield…One underrated camp battle to watch has been the Colts WR2 spot, pitting WRs Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers. If we are to believe the early depth chart, Grant is winning the job in the early going…RB Carlos Hyde is listed as the Browns backfield starter with rookie RB Nick Chubb predictably third on the list…Steelers TE Vance McDonald, who missed practice with an injury last week, is ahead of Jesse James on the Pittsburgh initial depth chart…After releasing veteran WR Brandon LaFell last week, the Bengals listed second-year WR John Ross as their starter alongside superstar WR A.J. Green.
The Saints released veteran WR Brandon Coleman, who has been dealing with an injury. There was a hint from HC Sean Payton that the team could bring back Coleman once he’s healthy…According to Texans HC Bill O’Brien, LB Jadeveon Clowney is still working to get back into shape, though he is still expected to be ready for Week One…The Bills activated second-year WR Zay Jones from the active/NFI list…49ers CB Richard Sherman will be out at least one week with a hamstring injury…Bears WR Taylor Gabriel (foot) missed yesterday’s practice…The Colts continue to deal with injuries as LT Anthony Castonzo (hamstring) will be sidelined for a few weeks, though the team is hopeful he’ll be in the Week One lineup…The Packers are also down a lineman as LT David Bakhtiari suffered a sprained ankle that will cost him practice time…Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (hamstring) returned to practice…Cowboys WR Allen Hurns (groin) has missed some practice time. Unfortunately, Hurns has a lengthy injury history…Patriots WR Malcolm Mitchell returned to the practice field, though he didn’t participate in a full practice. Good news for another player who can’t seem to stay healthy…Texans rookie WR Keke Coutee (hamstring) will miss a few weeks of work, likely ending his chance of starting early in the season…Jets WR Quincy Enunwa suffered a thumb injury that will cost him up to two weeks…Packers WR Randall Cobb suffered an injury to the same ankle he had repaired earlier this offseason, which is clearly not a good sign for the suddenly thin and unproven Packers depth chart.
Giants WR Odell Beckham remains confident that he and the team can work out a new long-term contract sometime this season. It’s no surprise that OBJ is looking to become the game’s highest-paid receiver…After losing S Johnathan Cyprien (ACL) last week, the Titans added depth by signing S Kenny Vaccaro…In somewhat of a surprise, the Raiders waived last season starting K Giorgio Tavecchio and appears set to go with UDFA Eddy Pineiro as their starter…According to an NFL Network report, Broncos rookie WR Courtland Sutton has already established himself as the team’s WR3. Given the depth chart, this is not surprising news, but it is just another positive in an offseason that has boosted Sutton’s fantasy value…Raiders HC Jon Gruden mentioned former Steelers WR Martavis Bryant need to “get out here and play better.” The team clearly hasn’t been impressed with Bryant since acquiring him in a draft weekend deal…Rookie RB Kerryon Johnson continues to impress in Lions camp, though he’ll still have to battle a deep backfield group for touches…Super Bowl champion Philadelphia awarded their HC Doug Pederson and GM Howie Roseman with matching contract extensions which last through the 2022 season.
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