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Volume 19, #92 -- Sunday Night, July 23rd, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Good Monday to you. It's on. And we couldn't be more excited. Camps are here and position battles are heating up across the country. Just like your fantasy league. We've got great new content for you plus the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

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E. FREE FEATURE - Preseason Watch List: AFC East
Our Jason Wood with a detailed look at the key questions facing each team in the preseason. In this one, he breaks down the AFC East.

F. 10 Critical Training Camp Injury Questions
One of my favorite things about Footballguys is our resident MD and Injury Expert, Dr. Jene Bramel's take on injuries. He merges his extensive football knowledge with his professional MD experience to bring insights to injuries that you have to know. In this one, he share thoughts on ten pressing injury questions as training camps open this week. You're going to want to read his takes on Andrew Luck to Sammy Watkins to Jamaal Charles plus lots more.

G. Dynasty New You Can Use, Preseason Volume 7
Our Jeff Tefertiller wtih a look at the recent fantasy news from a dynasty perspective.

H. IDP - Eyes of the Guru Preseason, Part 5: AFC South
Our John Norton with an overview of defenses in the AFC South with an emphasis on individual defensive players and their fantasy value.


1. LAC - Mike Williams denies surgery talk

Source: NFL.com - Lakisha Jackson

Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (back) denied reports that he could need season-ending back surgery. 'I'm good,' Williams said Saturday, July 22. 'Everything good. The back situation. That was some false information being released. I don't know who released it but everything is good.'

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We will believe Williams is healthy when we see it. Even if he is cleared and plays in the preseason, disc herniation is a potentially recurring issue that can pop up again during the season. Williams will need a great preseason to jump Travis Benjamin or Tyrell Williams on the depth chart.

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2. CLE - RB Duke Johnson a slot receiver now?

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson is the leading candidate to replace Andrew Hawkins as the team's top slot receiver and has a good chance to land the job, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot.

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Isaiah Crowell has taken control of the Browns running game, but Johnson can still be a factor in PPR leagues if he is a "slash" player getting wide receiver targets. Johnson is worth a later pick in PPR leagues because his talent hasn't been completely tapped yet and the Browns have no entrenched #1 wideout. He appears to be part of a larger trend of receiving backs not being limited to lining up in the backfield.

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3. MIN - QB Sam Bradford in better situation

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Sid Hartman

Minnesota Vikings QB Sam Bradford said he is in a better situation this season than he was last season because he had an entire offseason to practice with the team and has a better understanding of the offense.

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Bradford was a very late addition to the team and did well considering that and the state of the offensive line. He has developed chemistry with Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph, and the backfield should be improved this year. Things are looking up for Bradford and the Vikings offense, although he is still only a streamer level play at the stocked quarterback position.

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4. ARI - QB Carson Palmer to see more time in preseason

Source: ESPN.com - Josh Weinfuss

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer will receive more playing snaps this preseason than he did in 2016, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

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Palmer apparently suffered a "dead arm" last year, so this could help get him warmed up before the season. It doesn't appear to be strictly about Palmer, as Arians said all of the starters will get more work than last year. Carson will reportedly miss the Hall of Fame Game, but that's not a worry.

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5. HOU - WR DeAndre Hopkins expected to report on time

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins has not made a lot of progress in contract extension talks with the Texans but is expected to report to training camp on time. Both sides are motivated to reach an agreement on a long-term deal.

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Hopkins was hyperproductive in the pass happy Texans offense with Brian Hoyer at the helm, but Brock Osweiler was so bad that Hopkins faded into the pack both statistically and in his impact on games. This is probably a good time for the Texans to get a discount on his extension.

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6. PHI - RB Ryan Mathews still not healthy

Source: Philadelphia Daily News - Les Bowen

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (neck) has yet to be medically cleared from offseason neck surgery, and his surgeon doesn't want to revisit the matter until sometime in August, according to a source.

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The Eagles can't release Mathews until after he is cleared or they will have to pay an injury settlement. This will leave Mathews in a bad spot when it comes time to look for another job. His durability has been the main issue holding him back during his career.

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7. BUF - WR Sammy Watkins healthy for camp?

Source: The Buffalo News - Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (foot) is expected to be close to 100 percent healthy when training camp begins.

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Close to 100% is encouraging, but not exactly what we wanted to hear after last year's debacle around his foot surgery recovery. There were no obvious signs that Watkins' recovery was less than ideal last year before Week 1. Chances are the Bills will be taking it slow with Watkins in camp and the preseason, denying us a chance to see him really open it up and exorcise the memories of 2016. He's still got first-round pick upside if he has his first season of good health from beginning to end, but like the Bills, it is difficult to have confidence that will happen. We will be watching Watkins closely.

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8. PHI - WR Jordan Matthews may be limited

Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com - Dave Spadaro

Philadelphia Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (knee) may receive limited snaps during training camp since he missed some offseason workouts because of knee tendinitis, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

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Matthews was already due to take a step back in the offense with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith signed to give them two legitimate outside receivers for the first time in years. This issue with his knee is another sign that Matthews won't be the focal point of the passing game as he was in the past.

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9. PHI - QB Carson Wentz will not be limited

Source: PhiladelphiaEagles.com - Dave Spadaro

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said the team will not limit the number of throws QB Carson Wentz will make during training camp but the team will monitor the throws.

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Wentz started strong last year and faded in the second half of the year. There's no reason to limit work for the youngster with the team only practicing once a day.

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10. SF - WR Marquise Goodwin poised for breakout?

Source: NFL.com - Jeremy Bergman

San Francisco 49ers WR Marquise Goodwin is more than just a deep threat, according to WR Jeremy Kerley. 'Working with him for the last two or three months, he's an all-around receiver and he knows what he's doing,' Kerley said.

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Kyle Shanahan had great success last year utilizing Taylor Gabriel as a speed/quickness option in the Falcons offense, and many speculate that he will try to use Goodwin in the same way. Goodwin has had trouble staying healthy, but he is among the fastest receivers in the league. The 49ers should give him the biggest opportunity he has had in his career.

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11. PHI - Philly places two on NFI list

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Philadelphia Eagles DT Beau Allen (pectoral) and CB Sidney Jones (Achilles') were placed on the Non-Football injury list Sunday, July 23.

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Jones tore an achilles at his pro day and Allen tore a pectoral muscle working out on his own in April. Both could end up on the NFI list in the regular season, which would cost them at least six weeks.

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12. HOU - Chris Clark entering camp as top pick at RT

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans OT Chris Clark is entering training camp as the leading candidate for the starting right tackle job. OTs Kendall Lamm, Breno Giacomini and OT Julie'n Davenport are also expected to be candidates to the job.

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Derek Newton's catastrophic knee injury left the team in the lurch at right tackle, although Clark wasn't abysmal. Left tackle Duane Brown is saber-rattling about a holdout, so feeling like right tackle is taken care of will be important for the Texans.

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13. HOU - CB Kevin Johnson expected to be cleared

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans CB Kevin Johnson (foot) did not participate in offseason workouts but has been running on his surgically repaired foot for months and should be cleared to play during the preseason.

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The 2015 first-round pick will be the team's #3 corner, but he is arguably the most talented physical specimen in the group. His footwork was one of the strengths that got him drafted in the first round, so a full recovery is crucial.

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14. HOU - ILB Brian Cushing should be ready for practice

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (shoulder) has been working on building strength and flexibility in his surgically repaired shoulder this offseason and should be cleared for practice when training camp begins.

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If Cushing has trouble getting back up to speed, second-round pick Zach Cunningham has great coverage range and could begin the process of replacing Cushing earlier than expected. Cushing is a marginal IDP option at best.

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15. NE - Nick Mangold unlikely to join Pats

Source: ESPNBoston.com - Mike Reiss

Free-agent C Nick Mangold (Jets) probably is not an option for the New England Patriots at this time because he is looking for a starting job, in the opinion of ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.

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Mangold could retire if he doesn't get the job he is looking for. An injury to a starting center could open up the spot he wants, or he could end up somewhere like Baltimore, where center is a weakness.

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16. DAL - Dallas to limit six players early

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jon Machota

Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence, DE Charles Tapper, OG Joe Looney, DE Benson Mayowa, TE Geoff Swaim and TE James Hanna are all expected to be limited early in training camp.

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Lawrence is the big name here, coming off of his second back injury in as many years. The team is already losing David Irving for four games and lost Randy Gregory to suspension. If Lawrence struggles to get back up to speed, first-round pick Taco Charlton could be asked to do a lot right away,

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17. ARI - No. 2 CB job 'wide open'

Source: AZCardinals.com - Darren Urban

Arizona Cardinals CB Justin Bethel is 'doing a really good job,' according to head coach Bruce Arians. However, Arians called the job opposite star CB Patrick Peterson 'wide open' and a starter is not expected to be named until right before the start of regular season.

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Watch to see how this plays out. If they wind up shaky here, we will need to monitor matchups against the Cardinals all season to see who will draw their #2 corner. It could be a situation to take advantage. Stay tuned.

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18. CHI - Ka'Deem Carey on the bubble?

Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Dickerson

Chicago Bears RB Ka'Deem Carey was left off ESPN.com Jeff Dickerson's 53-man roster projection.

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Carey appears to be a wasted fourth-round pick for the Bears. Three years in they have given him ample opportunity to make an impact, but he is unremarkable by NFL standards. Chalk this one up to Carey's lack of plus measureables and an inability to transcend very limited tools.

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19. ARI - WR John Brown packing on muscle

Source: ESPN.com - Josh Weinfuss

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown checked into the team's first practice of the season at 185 pounds, up 12 pounds from last season.

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That should be a good thing for his durability and shows that he had an offseason dedicated to conditioning. Brown played through a cyst in his back and sickle-cell related issues last year. If he can avoid the injury report this year, Brown can be a strong #2 in the Cardinals passing game and outperform his ADP.

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20. WAS - Rob Kelley to hold to starting job 'for now'

Source: ESPN.com - John Keim

Washington Redskins RB Rob Kelley will likely begin the season as the starter 'for now' if he shows he has improved over last season, according to ESPN.com's John Keim.

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Samaje Perine was the team's fourth round pick and he is similar to Kelley but more talented physically. Kelley has slimmed down and seems to be taking the competition seriously. Right now Kelley is going well after Perine in drafts, and he is a good later pick for teams that neglect running back early in drafts and want to get some cheap starts early in the season.

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21. CAR - WR Devin Funchess expected to start

Source: ESPN.com - David Newton

Carolina Panthers WR Devin Funchess, who was out-snapped 690-493 by Ted Ginn after being named the offensive MVP of last year's training camp, is projected to start, according to ESPN.com's David Newton.

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Funchess's developmentt stalled out last year after a very promising offseason. Rookie Curtis Samuel should replace Ginn as the deep threat, but he is too raw as a receiver to get significant snaps. Free agents Charles Johnson and Russell Shepard are the top candidates to get more snaps if Funchess doesn't impress this summer.

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22. HOU - Duane Brown could hold out

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans OT Duane Brown appears unlikely to report to training camp on time because of unhappiness about his contract situation, in the opinion of the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. Brown's current deal has two years remaining, including a non-guaranteed base salary of $9.65 million this year. He could be fined $40,000 for each day of camp missed.

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Brown is one of the better left tackles in the league and a key for the Texans running game. He missed four games last year recovering from a quad injury, but has been durable and effective throughout his career. The team only renegotiated contracts with two years left for JJ Watt and Andre Johnson, so it's possible that this stretches well into the preseason with Brown eventually caving in and playing under his current deal.

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23. NFL - QB Robert Griffin III attracting mild interest

Source: BleacherReport.com - Mike Freeman

Free-agent QB Robert Griffin III (Browns) has started to attract 'mild interest' from NFL clubs, four months following his March release from Cleveland.

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As teams start to see their backup quarterback situations up close in camp, that mild interest could heat up. Griffin is definitely good enough to be a #2 for some teams, but his durability has been far from reliable. There's a chance he won't be signed until midseason, but Griffin can still help a team.

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24. ARI - WR Larry Fitzgerald out of HOF game

Source: AZCardinals.com

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald will be held out of the Hall-of-Fame game against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday, Aug. 3, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

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This is business as usual for the extra preseason game. It's not great for folks who make the trip to the game, but teams aren't going to expose key veterans this early in the calendar.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thank you for sharing some of your Monday with us and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J