Summer is winding down, but temperatures are rising in Buffalo and Jacksonville after Week 2 of the NFL Preseason kicked off on Thursday. As the regular season draws closer, both the Bills and Jaguars are facing uncertainty at quarterback after Tyrod Taylor turned in a disappointing performance and Blake Bortles continued his summer slump.
The Bills began a new chapter without wide receiver Sammy Watkins, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor was unable to get anything cooking with a lackluster group of targets on Thursday night. Taylor was 8/18 for 53 yards and a pair of interceptions as Buffalo was topped by Philadelphia 20-16. The performance was far from encouraging, and murky postgame comments from Bills coach Sean McDermott also failed to inspire warm feelings about Tyrod’s current situation. McDermott told reporters that the team is “always going to evaluate everything” regarding the quarterback position, which was certainly a curious comment to make following Taylor’s performance. McDermott later indicated that Taylor’s role was safe, but this series of events places Tyrod squarely on the watch list as Week 1 approaches. What a difference a week can make. After beginning the month of August as an interesting option for fantasy owners willing to wait to draft a quarterback, Tyrod has lost his top weapon and could be losing his grip on the starting job in Buffalo. The Bills will hope for a rebound from Taylor when they take the field again in nine days.
Thursday night was rough for Tyrod Taylor, but things were even worse for Blake Bortles, who turned in a sluggish 8/13 passing performance for just 65 yards. Bortles didn’t throw an interception, but put together the type of head-scratching outing that we have come to expect from the Jacksonville quarterback since the end of his promising 2015 campaign. After watching Thursday’s performances from Bortles and old-timer Chad Henne, coach Doug Marrone announced that the starting job is “right up there for grabs, and either person can take it.” Bortles is the proud owner of 51 interceptions in three seasons and although Henne doesn’t lead the mind to daydream of a Jaguars Super Bowl parade, the competition could go either way at this point. Leonard Fournette will likely remain the focal point of this offense, with all Jacksonville receiving options on shaky ground entering fantasy draft season.
After the 2016 season tested Seattle’s thin group of running backs, the Seahawks are now flush with options to carry the ball after adding Eddie Lacy in free agency and watching surprising rookie Chris Carson turn in a solid start to camp. Returning running back Thomas Rawls began to creep to the top of the heap for coach Pete Carroll after starting Week 1 of the preseason, but his ascension to lead-back status will be placed on hold now that Rawls is dealing with ankle trouble. Rawls suffered a severe ankle injury in Week 14 of the 2015 season that ended his impressive rookie campaign (and many fantasy playoff runs), so the emergence of another ankle issue is a bit worrisome. Carroll labeled the injury as “minor,” but Rawls will miss Seattle’s second preseason game on Friday. Lacy, Carson, and C.J. Prosise will have opportunities to impress the coaching staff this week, but this will remain a fluid situation through the end of the month without much clarity for fantasy purposes.
Forte Still Nursing Hammy
Matt Forte’s hamstring issues have continued this week and will hold the Jets running back out of a second-straight preseason game when New York takes the field on Saturday. Bilal Powell (neck) has finally returned to the practice field and should get some preseason reps this weekend alongside rookie Elijah McGuire, who has been soaking up first-team work with both Powell and Forte sidelined. Forte only carried the ball 16 total times after Week 12 last season, and an injury-riddled offseason doesn’t inspire confidence of a return to sizeable workloads in the near future. The top spot in the Jet’s backfield won’t likely be a gold mine in 2017 with the team expected to win somewhere between zero and zero games, but Powell remains the best bet to lead the squad in touches with Forte still hurting.
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The Ravens had a tough night on Thursday, as running back Terrance West racked up (racked down?) -2 yards on six totes. Quarterback Ryan Mallett was also awful, completing just 13 of 22 pass attempts for 113 yards and one touchdown to go with two interceptions. If Joe Flacco (back) misses regular season action, the fantasy options in Baltimore will suffer tremendously. … Doug Martin had a solid outing, rushing five times for 30 yards while adding two grabs for 11 yards. Martin’s early-season suspension makes him an interesting gamble in the middle rounds of drafts. … Jay Cutler saw his first action as the Dolphins’ quarterback, completing three of six passes for 24 yards. DeVante Parker enjoyed his first chance to play with Cutty, as four of Cutler’s six passes were thrown in Parker’s direction. The third-year receiver has buckets of breakout appeal and a very reasonable ADP. … Hopes and dreams of suspended wide receiver Josh Gordon seeing the field in the near future have been dashed once again, as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that Gordon’s reinstatement is “not under active consideration.” Gordon hasn’t seen game action since 2014 and will continue holding a hopeful spot at the bottom of dynasty rosters. … Jets WR Quincy Enunwa will have neck surgery next week as he attempts to get healthy enough to return for the 2018 season. … Josh Doctson (hamstring) is reportedly “on pace” to finally see the field on Saturday after a slow camp. … Pittsburgh’s Le’Veon Bell will return to the team prior to Week 1, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Fantasy footballers can feel safe selecting the beastly running back at the top of drafts this month. … Colts C Ryan Kelly will be placed on injured reserve after having foot surgery. This development is bad news for Indianapolis’ running game and chances of keeping Andrew Luck upright for 16 games.
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