The NFL Preseason has finally come to an end, giving the fantasy world exactly one solid week free of ACL injuries (hopefully) as we await the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots kicking off Week 1 next Thursday. Week 4 of the preseason was filled with illustrious quarterbacks like Dan Orlovsky, Alek Torgersen, Matt McGloin, and Kyle Sloter which left impactful fantasy developments at a minimum as teams rested their top players in anticipation of the upcoming 16-game grind. The next time we meet, there will be real, live NFL football to dissect but for now, buckle up as we highlight a few notable performances from Thursday night’s action and other news from around the NFL in Friday’s Daily Dose.
Week 4 Fun
With most recognizable fantasy options safely resting in street clothes on Thursday night, 2017 fantasy leagues were largely safe from harm. There were a few worthwhile performances in Week 4, however.
Packers rookie Jamaal Williams briefly appeared to be pushing Ty Montgomery in the Green Bay backfield but Williams hasn’t exactly torched the field this summer. Williams turned 11 carries into just 31 yards on Thursday, bringing his preseason total to 61 yards on 25 carries (2.4 ypc). Montgomery is likely safe for the time being and can be comfortably drafted as Week 1 approaches. Jacksonville receiver Dede Westbrook turned in a fancy six catch, 115 yard performance with a touchdown on Thursday night. Westbrook sat out Week 3 of the preseason and still finished with 288 receiving yards on 13 grabs this month as he makes a strong case to be a part of the Jaguars’ pass catching crew. Jets rookie running back Elijah McGuire racked up 56 yards on just five carries, further cementing his role behind Bilal Powell if veteran back Matt Forte does indeed get cut as has been rumored recently. The Denver backfield is interesting behind C.J. Anderson and intriguing rookie De’Angelo Henderson ran for only 11 yards on six carries on Thursday night as he continues to attempt to barge his way into the backup conversation. Henderson is still a name to monitor, but is currently just a dynasty option with the potential to pop up on redraft waiver wires as the season progresses.
Zeke Elliott Suspension News
The Ezekiel Elliott saga saw plenty of news on Thursday, nearly all of which points to the stud running back seeing the field sooner than expected. Elliott notably received a six-game ban from the NFL league office that rattled the early rounds of fantasy drafts this summer, but fantasy footballers who took the plunge on the Dallas back in recent weeks may be rewarded and a decision could come by Monday. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is at the center of this story as expected, and announced on Thursday that not only does he expect Elliott’s suspension to be reduced, but that the long awaited decision should come soon as appeals officer Harold Henderson is being pressured into announcing a verdict by Monday. Further good news for Elliott surfaced on Thursday evening when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that NFL lead investigator Kia Roberts recommended no suspension for Elliott. Roberts was curiously absent from the meeting held by Roger Goodell to decide Elliott’s fate, a fact that could sink the NFL’s case as Roberts was heavily involved in the initial investigation. The NFLPA likely focused on this inconsistency during this week’s hearing and it is likely the main source of recent positivity regarding Elliott’s 2017 playing status.
While this news is interesting and will heavily impact fantasy leagues this season, folks hitting the draft scene this weekend will likely still be taking a leap of faith when rostering Ezekiel Elliott for the season. Elliott’s ADP never plummeted as perhaps it should have after the announcement of the six-game ban, so drafters will still see Elliott drafted in the second round with potential for the Dallas bell cow to creep into the latter half of the first round. Consider anything after the first/second-round turn to be reasonable, with the second/third-round turn as the preferred landing spot for Elliott in drafts over the holiday weekend if your league mates get cold feet.
Colts owner Jim Irsay conducted his “most direct interview yet” on the status of Andrew Luck’s troublesome shoulder, per the Indianapolis Star. In that interview, Irsay stated that Luck is unlikely to play in Week 1, but is not ruled out as of yet. This is the latest, and perhaps strongest, indication that Luck is in serious danger of missing time. While Luck is an easy avoid in drafts right now, the rest of the Colts’ fantasy options also hit an iceberg with their star quarterback likely beginning the season with a clipboard in his hand. Receiving targets T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and Jack Doyle face uphill battles without Luck and even running back options like Frank Gore and late-round target Marlon Mack lose some shine with the Indianapolis offense fully capable of reaching disaster status for a now undetermined amount of time. In upcoming fantasy drafts, I would limit exposure to this offense to Hilton if he slips past the third/fourth-round turn or Mack in the late rounds. You don’t want to spend your Sundays praying for Scott Tolzien to pepper your fantasy players with targets.
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Good Day To Be a Texan
The Houston Texans opened up Uncle Scrooge’s vault and let a few players dive in on Thursday as they handed out contract extensions like hot cakes. Safety Andre Hal, FB Jay Prosch, TE C.J. Fiedorowicz, and WR DeAndre Hopkins all inked extensions as the Texans begin to peek into the future behind what they hope is a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson. Hopkins had a down 2016 season but is still just 25 years old and has an extensive toolbox of high-level skills that will emerge once again with any improvement in Houston’s quarterback play. Fiedorowicz had a successful 2016 season, catching a career-high 54 passes and would also benefit from anyone not named Brock Osweiler tossing him the football. Tom Savage will serve as an early-season placeholder for Watson, but the Houston offense is headed in the right direction as they strive to reach the levels of success enjoyed by the Houston defense.
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