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Volume 19, #99 -- Sunday Night, July 30th, 2017

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Hi Folks,

We made it.

We just finished the last week of 2017 without Football games. We're feeling like Michael Scott.

And on we go. Another big day of new Content for you plus the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. WIN MORE Fantasy Football
Hopefully you're enjoying these Email Updates. To unlock the full value from Footballguys and see these articles and drafting tools with current stat projections requires an Insider PRO or PRO Plus Subscription.

Our goal is to give you everything you need to Dominate Your League. And we have a 30 day Money Back Guarantee so there's ZERO risk. Jump onboard, sign up today and let's start winning.

B. Rotopass is your Combo Ticket To Win
Our friend Matthew Berry of ESPN has put together a fantastic group package with multiple excellent Fantasy Football sites, including the Footballguys Insider PRO. For one low price you get access to all them. Check it out.

And if you already have a Footballguys Insider PRO subscription, no worries. Purchasing Rotopass will just add one more year of Footballguys Insider PRO to whatever you already have.

C. FREE FEATURE - Player Faceoff: Martellus Bennett, Green Bay
Martellus Bennett is one of those players who has lots of us talking this summer. So we put two of our Footballguys Staffers head-to-head discussing Bennett. Which side are you on?

D. Player Faceoff: Eddie Lacy, Seattle
We put two of our Footballguys Staffers head-to-head discussing Eddie Lacy.

E. Footballguys Players Championship - Drafts Going Off TODAY
The 2017 season brings a mid-stakes $250,000 Grand Prize, $2,000 in league prizes, and championship round payouts all the way down to 700th place. The overall prize pool exceeds $2.0 million.

Monday's draft times (all times Eastern): 7pm and 10pm

F. Join Us For the MS Fantasy Football Event
Join David Dodds and other FBG staffers on August 26th in Washington DC for 4+ hours of FF discussion. $25 ticket benefits the MS Society.

G. Footballguys Podcast - The Audible - 2017 Preseason Watch List - Panthers
Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom discuss every skill position player worth keeping an eye on in fantasy leagues. Topics Include - what does Cam Newton look like this year with better weapons around him, how Christian McCaffrey can make an instant impact, are the Panthers moving on from WRs like Kelvin Benjamin, plus more!

H. Footballguys Podcast - The Audible - 2017 Preseason Watch List - Falcons
Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom discuss every skill position player worth keeping an eye on in fantasy leagues. Topics Include - what does Matt Ryan do for an encore after career best numbers in 2016, the RB situation should remain the same, what to expect from Austin Hooper as the lead TE, plus more! bumper - Outkast: Fresh and Clean

I. Footballguys Podcast - The Audible - 2017 Preseason Watch List - Saints
Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom discuss every skill position player worth keeping an eye on in fantasy leagues. Topics Include - is this the year the Saints run the ball more and what does that do to Drew Brees' fantasy value, how will the touches be split between Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram, why we are living in a Michael Thomas world, plus more! bumper: U2 - The Saints Are Coming

J. Footballguys Podcast - The Audible - 2017 Preseason Watch List - Buccaneers
Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom discuss every skill position player worth keeping an eye on in fantasy leagues. Topics Include - can Jameis Winston be the NFL MVP in 2017, Doug Martin could be fantastic again this year, how do DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard fit into the passing game, plus more! bumper: Sir Mix A Lot - Baby Got Back

K. Footballguys Staff Mock Draft 6, 12 team PPR Dynasty Start Up
On July 26th the Footballguys staff got together for their sixth draft of 2017. A 12 team, PPR Dynasty Start-up. Our Chad Parsons provides an in-depth unbiased strategy summary of each team's draft.

L. Opportunity Efficiency: Backup Running Back Rolodex
Our Chad Parsons outlines the most inexpensive backup running backs around the NFL and why they matter in 2017.

M. Inside Slant: Preseason Win Totals
Our Dave Larkin breaks down the best and worst values for gamblers among the preseason win totals.


1. BAL - TE Crockett Gillmore set for surgery Monday

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

Baltimore Ravens TE Crockett Gillmore (knee) will undergo surgery Monday, July 31 to repair a meniscus tear, according to a source. A timetable for his return will not be established until the operation is concluded.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Ben Watson is set up as the #1 tight end right now, with third-year tight end Maxx Williams a potential impact player if his knee is sound. Larry Donnell has been added now too. Solid two-way tight end Nick Boyle could also play a large role and free agent Gary Barnidge is still out there if the Ravens are unhappy with what they have.

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2. TB - RB Jacquizz Rodgers could beat out RB Doug Martin?

Source: ESPN.com - Jenna Laine

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Jacquizz Rodgers has received plenty of praise from teammates and coaches about exceptional vision, toughness and his versatility, according to ESPN's Jenna Laine, who adds 'there's always the possibility' Rodgers could remain the starter after Doug Martin returns from his three-game suspension to begin the season.

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Rodgers has been workmanlike and steady when the Bucs have asked him to do more, but his ability to hold up for a long stretch of games under a heavy workload is unkown. As long as Martin returns to 2015 form, he should be the starter when he returns in Week 4.

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3. DAL - RB Rod Smith working ahead of RB Alfred Morris

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

Dallas Cowboys RB Rod Smith continues to work ahead of Alfred Morris as the third running back, according to ESPN's Todd Archer.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Morris seems to be on the roster bubble, and unlike Smith, he can't contribute at fullback. If Ezekiel Elliott doesn't get suspended, Morris is more likely to be on the outside looking in when the season begins.

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4. BUF - Buffalo backing Jonathan Williams as RB2

Source: WKBW.com - Joe Buscaglia

Buffalo Bills RB Jonathan Williams will get 'every opportunity' to win the backup job behind LeSean McCoy, according to WKBW's Joe Buscaglia.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

The Bills have one of the best running games in the league, and outside of Mike Tolbert, they have no other proven runners on the roster. This is an important situation to watch for handcuffing/end game in deeper leagues or keeping your waiver wire speed dial list up to date in case of a McCoy injury.

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5. TB - RB Doug Martin not a lock to start upon return

Source: ESPN.com - Dan Graziano

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin will not be guaranteed his starting job in Week 4 when he completes the remainder of his three-game PED suspension, according to general manager Jason Licht.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Martin has clearly rededicated himself this offseason, but the team still wants him to follow through in camp and the preseason to prove that they should keep him through his three game suspension, let him compete to start, and pay him almost six million dollars. He has a huge range of outcomes this year, but 2015 showed the high end is a low RB1.

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6. LAC - Mike Williams expected to miss rest of camp

Source: Los Angeles Daily News - Jack Wang

Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (back) will continue to rehab and strengthen his back but is not expected to practice at all during training camp, according to a statement released by the team Sunday, July 30.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

At this point it would be surprising if Williams played in the preseason, and starting the year on the PUP is a real possibility, if not probable. He's off of our redraft boards.

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7. DAL - RB Ezekiel Elliott met with league officials

Source: NFL.com

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott met with NFL officials within the last month regarding the league's year-long investigation into multiple incidents involving him, according to owner Jerry Jones. It remains uncertain if Elliott will be punished in any way, although two people who have seen the report submitted by the NFL to the NFLPA claim there were no recommendations made for disciplinary action.

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Expectations range from 1-2 games to 6-8 games in a worst-case scenario. The Cowboys signing of Ronnie Hillman isn't the most encouraging sign, but Hillman is more camp depth than a threat to Darren McFadden's hold on the backup job.

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8. CIN - Joe Mixon sees first-team reps

Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer - Paul Dehner Jr. and Jim Owczarski

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon was used in a variety of scenarios and saw some first-team reps during practice Saturday, July 29.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Mixon has the upside of a superstar in this league. He's competing for the starting job, and we expect the rookie to win it in camp. Mixon has RB1 upside for fantasy owners, but he's got a RB2 price. His current ADP is RB16 (4.01) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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9. BAL - Baltimore may work out Robert Griffin

Source: The Baltimore Sun - Jeff Zrebiec

The Baltimore Ravens are considering the possibility of working out free-agent QB Robert Griffin III (Browns), according to owner Steve Bisciotti.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Colin Kaepernick is also a possibility and we'll see where that goes. Griffin hasn't been able to stay healthy in games for years, but he could help the team with practice and preseason reps while Joe Flacco recovers. If he has to start any games in the regular season for the Ravens, they are in trouble.

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10. BAL - TE Larry Donnell finds new home in Baltimore

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

Free-agent TE Larry Donnell (Giants) signed an undisclosed contract with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, July 30. To make room for him on the roster, the Ravens waived WR Tim Patrick.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Donnell is a functional receiver, but had fumble problems and isn't a plus athlete at the position. Still, with Ben Watson coming back from achilles surgery and Maxx Williams from knee surgery, the team needs bodies for camp and preseason, and maybe the regular season.

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11. JAX - QB Blake Bortles making mistakes

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Ryan O'Halloran

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles threw five interceptions during team drills Saturday, July 29, and head coach Doug Marrone said they would take a look at the plays.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

In equally surprising news, it was warm in Jacksonville this weekend. Hopefully, the team has time to get him on the right track. Word is they're going to use Bortles less this year as they lean on their ground game with rookie RB Leonard Fournette.

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12. PHI - Injury scare for WR Alshon Jeffery

Source: ESPN.com - Tim McManus

Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was examined by trainers after landing on his shoulder during practice Saturday, July 29, but he returned and said afterward that he was fine.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

That would be bad news for Eagles fans, but it looks like everything is okay. Jeffery signed a one-year "prove it" deal with the Eagles earlier this year, and he provides the team with a weapon that QB Carson Wentz can go to early and often. He's going off the board at WR19 (4.03) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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13. MIA - WR DeVante Parker looking strong

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is in 'phenomenal shape' and has shown good timing with QB Ryan Tannehill, head coach Adam Gase said Saturday, July 29.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Parker's got the upside to be a 1,000-yard receiver but fantasy owners want to see him be more consistent. Last year he improved on his numbers, but Parker only broke 100 yards once and there were eight games when he didn't even top 50. His current ADP is WR37 (8.03) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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14. HOU - Houston won't rotate QBs

Source: USA TODAY Sports - Lorenzo Reyes

Houston Texans QB Tom Savage and QB Deshaun Watson won't be used in a two-quarterback system, head coach Bill O'Brien said Saturday, July 29. 'I'm not going to alternate quarterbacks in and out of there,' O'Brien said. 'I don't think that's good for the team.'

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Savage may be the frontrunner here due to his experience, but we're most excited to see what Watson can do at the pro level. The Texans selected Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft for good reason -- the guy just makes plays under pressure and in the biggest moments. We'll see if Watson can show he's a quick study and win the starting job in camp.

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15. MIN - CB Xavier Rhodes signs huge extension

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Minnesota Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes signed a six-year contract extension worth a reported $78.126 million, including $41 million guaranteed, on Sunday, July 30.

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Any time a first-round pick signs an extension near the top of market value at his position, the pick should be considered a massive success. The Vikings have invested a lot at corner in recent drafts and in the case of Rhodes, it is paying off.

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16. PHI - RB Ryan Mathews continuing to rehab

Source: NFL.com - Conor Orr

Philadelphia Eagles RB Ryan Mathews (neck) is continuing to rehab from a herniated disc in his neck away from the team.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Mathews release as soon as he is healthy is seen as a foregone conclusion, and the team's moves at running back this offseason seem to match that take. He should be able to catch on with a running back-needy team soon after his eventual release.

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17. NE - DE Rob Ninkovich expected to retire

Source: ESPNBoston.com - Mike Reiss

New England Patriots DE Rob Ninkovich is expected to announce his retirement Sunday, July 30, according to multiple sources.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

The Patriots dealt for Kony Ealy in the offseason and drafted Derek Rivers. They should be fine at defensive end and outside linebacker. Ninkovich had an outstanding career with the team after between the Saints and Dolphins during his first three years in the league.

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18. TEN - RB DeMarco Murray ready for more

Source: NFL.com - Jeremy Bergman

Tennessee Titans RB DeMarco Murray said he prides himself on taking care of his body, and he is hoping for an even bigger role in the offense this year.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

It's hard to picture Murray getting more work than last year with Derrick Henry continuing to grow as a runner and receiver, but being in top shape could keep him at the level he was at in 2016, which produced first-round numbers. He's currently going in the second round of drafts.

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19. PHI - QB Carson Wentz locked in

Source: ESPN.com - Tim McManus

Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz completed all 25 of his passing attempts in 7-on-7 drills and all 15 of his passes in full-team drills during practice Saturday, July 29.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Wentz is looking to avoid a sophomore slump. He went through struggles last year as his rookie season wore on, but Wentz has the upside to one day be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL.

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20. PIT - JuJu Smith-Schuster doesn't practice

Source: DK on Pittsburgh Sports - Mark Kaboly

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (ankle) did not practice Saturday, July 29.

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The rookie is going to get some time to heal. Smith-Schuster has Anquan Boldin-like ability -- especially after the catch and on contested catches. He's likely to be the no3 WR for the Steelers this year behind Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant.

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21. DET - TE Eric Ebron leaves practice early

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dave Birkett

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (hamstring) left practice early Sunday, July 30, after he suffered an apparent hamstring injury, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Ebron is set up for a larger role this year with Anquan Boldin no longer in Detroit, but injuries have kept him from fulfilling his potential in the past. Hopefully this is a short-term issue, but it's a bad omen for a player that has missed multiple games in every year of his career.

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22. PHI - QB Nick Foles to miss a week

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer - Zach Berman

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles (elbow) said he expects to return to practice in about a week. He is dealing with soreness in his elbow, but head coach Doug Pederson said the injury is not serious.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Foles is the favorite to backup Carson Wentz, but Matt McGloin will have a chance to impress Doug Pederson while Foles is mending.

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23. DEN - De'Angelo Henderson expected back

Source: 9News.com - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos RB De'Angelo Henderson (ankle) is expected to return to practice Monday, July 31.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Henderson had generated some early camp buzz and Devontae Booker's wrist injury means there are valuable reps at running back up for grabs. Hopefully he will get back on the field as expected.

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24. PIT - James Conner injures shoulder

Source: ESPN.com - Jeremy Fowler

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during practice Sunday, July 30, and will be reevaluated in the near future, according to head coach Mike Tomlin.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Conner is set up for a very valuable backup role in fantasy football, but he can't seem to stay on the practice field. We can't be sure how serious this injury is, but with Le'Veon Bell not in camp, the Steelers are down to players like Knile Davis and Fitzgerald Toussaint at running back.

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25. MIN - No timetable for Riley Reiff

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Chris Tomasson

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he is not sure when OT Riley Reiff (undisclosed) will be able to return to practice.

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Zimmer is one of the NFL's straightest shooters among head coaches, so this could be an indication that Reiff has a serious injury, or perhaps frankness that Zimmer just doesn't know. Either way, it's not a good development for the Vikings.

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26. CAR - Curtis Samuel may return soon

Source: Panthers.com - Max Henson

Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (hamstring) did not participate in practice Sunday, July 30, but head coach Ron Rivera said he hopes Samuel will be able to return Tuesday, Aug. 1.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

If Samuel returns that quickly from his hamstring issue, then it must be truly minor. It's good news for the rookie and the offense trying to work in his speed as a new element to help Cam Newton.

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27. BUF - TE Charles Clay receives day off

Source: The Buffalo News - Jay Skurski

Buffalo Bills TE Charles Clay (knee) did not participate in practice Sunday, July 30, because he was given the day off. Clay had been a full participant in the first three practices of training camp.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Three practices in a row is a good sign for Clay, who will have to manage knee issues all season. He is on the fringe of draftable tight ends, but could have some value if the offense improves greatly now that Rex Ryan is gone.

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28. DAL - Jaylon Smith back on the field

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith (knee) will participate in practice Sunday, July 30. It will be the first time that Smith has practiced in full pads in consecutive days.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ FOOTBALLGUYS VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

All signs are pointing Smith being a contributor to the team this year. He might not be a starter or able to play a full complement of snaps yet, but this is great news considering the unknowns hanging over Smith when the Cowboys took him in the second round last year.

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29. SF - S Jimmie Ward may return in a few weeks

Source: NBC Sports Bay Area - Matt Maiocco

San Francisco 49ers FS Jimmie Ward (hamstring) hopefully will be able to return to practice around the middle of August when the team practices with the Denver Broncos.

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Ward is playing the Earl Thomas role in the Seattle-style defense the 49ers will install this year. This is a crucial install time for the team and could hold back Ward's transition from corner to safety.

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30. LAR - WR Tavon Austin cleared for full practice

Source: ESPN.com - Alden Gonzalez

Los Angeles Rams WR Tavon Austin was a full participant at practice Sunday, July 30, after being cleared following offseason wrist surgery.

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Austin is just an end-of-the-bench spot start player in redraft leagues, but he could be utilized a lot more efficiently under new head coach Sean McVay. We'll be watching his performance in camp and the preseason to see if he is a candidate to come alive under the new regime.

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31. ARI - Arizona loses another cornerback

Source: The Arizona Republic - Kent Somers

Arizona Cardinals CB Ronald Zamort (knee) is out for the season with a torn right ACL. Zamort had just moved into the starting lineup after Justin Bethel hyperextended his knee on Thursday, July 27.

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The Cardinals have a big hole in their secondary opposite Patrick Peterson at cornerback. They hope Bethel wins the job, but we should keep this on our weekly "matchups to target" list no matter who starts there.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J