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Footballguys #120 - 8/19 - WR Depth Chart Shuffles, Using Bye Weeks To Your Advantage, News and Notes and More

Volume 20, #120 -- Sunday Night, August 19th, 2018

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Howdy Folks,

Good Monday to you. We're in the Red Zone. Drafts are dropping everywhere over the next couple of weeks and we've got what you need.

Buckle up.

J

SITE NEWS

A. FREE Feature: 2018 NFL Preseason Depth Chart Shuffle: Wide Receivers
Our Chad Parsons outlines the key strong and weak NFL depth charts at the wide receiver position in advance of the 53-player roster cuts in 2018.

B. Points Per Deception: A Look at PPR Scoring
Our Jeff Pasquino looks at a compromise scoring system between PPR and no PPR.

C. Draft Strategy: Good-Byes
Our Jeff Pasquino looks at using bye weeks to your advantage.

D. Inside Slant: Breaking Down Season-long Awards
Our Dave Larkin makes his recommendations for MVP, Rookie of the Year and more.


1. CHI - TE Adam Shaheen has ankle injury

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Chicago Bears TE Adam Shaheen (ankle) is believed to have a low ankle sprain based on initial tests, according to a source. He is scheduled to undergo more tests but may have a chance to play Week 1 if he does not have any more problems.

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This is about the best news the Bears could have hoped for after Shaheen was carted off last night. Trey Burton could still be an excellent play in Week 1 against Green Bay and until Shaheen is full speed, but Shaheen might be relevant later in the season with his dominant play at the catch point and he shouldn't be forgotten.

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2. CLE - WR Josh Gordon may be ready for Week 1

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has a chance to be ready for Week 1, according to head coach Hue Jackson.

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Gordon still has to get clearance from the league, but his conditioning appears to be excellent. We don't doubt that he'll be ready to play Week 1 if he is allowed on the field and barring a setback, we expect him to be there.

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3. NYG - RB Saquon Barkley remains sidelined

Source: ESPN.com - Jordan Raanan

New York Giants WR Saquon Barkley (hamstring) is not participating in practice Sunday, Aug. 19.

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The team will be smart and take it slow with Barkley. It's likely we don't see him on a field until the season opener against the Jaguars. Hopefully he is practicing in full, but either way we will hold our collective breath on his first few touches with the risk of aggravation looming.

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4. DAL - Zack Martin may be ready for Week 1

Source: The Dallas Morning News - David Moore

Updating previous reports, Dallas Cowboys OG Zack Martin's (knee) MRI did not show any significant injury to his left knee, and he has a chance to play in Week 1, according to a source.

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A sigh of relief as center Travis Frederick is also dealing with a shoulder stinger. It will still hurt if Martin isn't ready for Kawann Short and the Panthers front seven in Week 1.

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5. NE - RB Rex Burkhead back on the field

Source: NESN.com - Doug Kyed

New England Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) is participating in practice Sunday, Aug. 19.

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Burkhead's injury must be minor after all in light of this. His durability record is still spotty in his short time as a core part of a backfield and aggravation or new injuries are possible, but for now it appears that he'll be able to handle the workload he did last year in Week 1 against Houston.

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6. WAS - Washington to meet with RB Adrian Peterson

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo

Free-agent RB Adrian Peterson (Cardinals) is scheduled to meet with the Washington Redskins Monday, Aug. 20, according to sources.

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Washington doesn't seem like they are going to stand pat with Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine as their top two backs in the run offense. Peterson will be hungry to show he has something left, but he wasn't very effective in Arizona last year, albeit in a bad situation.

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7. CIN - S George Iloka cut

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo

Cincinnati Bengals SS George Iloka was released Sunday, Aug. 19.

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This is a bit of surprise, but after the team drafted Jessie Bates the door was open for Iloka to be replaced. Bates was in with the first team over Iloka in the second preseason game, and one beat reporter passed on that the Bengals were looking for his replacement since February. No Bengal defender played more snaps than Iloka last year, and he should catch on elsewhere, but in a soft safety market, for much less than his 5.3 million dollar paycheck due from the Bengals if he had made the team.

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8. LAC - TE Hunter Henry not ruled out?

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry (knee) is about three months into his recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, but the team has not ruled out the possibility of Henry playing in 2018. Henry is expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

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Henry's return give the Chargers an extra dimension in the passing game that could tip scales their way, but they don't want to rush him back. The playoffs could be what the team has in mind for his return.

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9. LAC - PK Roberto Aguayo likely to win placekicking job

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Los Angeles Chargers PK Roberto Aguayo appears likely to win the team's placekicking job, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

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This might sound like the opening to a horror movie sequel for Chargers fans. Caleb Sturgis got a million dollars guaranteed, but right now he is on the outside looking in. This looks like a situation to avoid again in fantasy leagues until Aguayo proves himself.

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10. WAS - RB Jamaal Charles visiting Washington

Source: ESPN.com - Josina Anderson

Free-agent RB Jamaal Charles (Broncos) is scheduled to visit the Washington Redskins Sunday, Aug. 19, according to a source.

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Charles didn't look washed up last year, but he didn't resemble the back we saw with the Chiefs. He would likely be a non-factor if he is signed, but he could hurt Rob Kelley's speculative value.

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11. TB - RB Charles Sims expected to be fine

Source: Tampa Bay Times - Rick Stroud

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims (knee) did not suffer a serious injury in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 18, and he is expected to be fine for the start of the regular season.

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Sims avoids a bad outcome here, but he still has to outplay UDFA scatback Shaun Wilson to be assured of making the team.

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12. CLE - WR Antonio Callaway limited in practice

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway (groin) did individual drills Sunday, Aug. 19, but he did not participate in team drills. He missed the mandatory minicamp over the summer due to the same groin injury.

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Callaway's outlook is dimmer with Josh Gordon in the building, although he could have an early season role if Gordon isn't cleared to play by the league. If this is a re-injury, the chances of Callaway contributing early with or without Gordon in the mix go way down. Jeff Janis truthers may have a chance yet to see him get more playing time in preseason.

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13. CAR - Carolina backup QB battle rolls on

Source: Panthers.com

Carolina Panthers QBs Garrett Gilbert and Taylor Heinicke continue to battle for the primary backup job to QB Cam Newton, and the job is considered to be a neck-and-neck battle.

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In other words, Newton better play 16 games this year.

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14. CAR - Taylor Moton works at left tackle

Source: Panthers.com

Carolina Panthers OT Taylor Moton took all the starters' snaps at left tackle in practice Sunday, Aug. 19. 'I just look at it as an opportunity,' Moton said. 'Right now if the team needs me at left tackle, that's where I'll play and I'll do it to the best of my ability.' He was filling in for OT Daryl Williams.

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Moton was already plan A for replacing Williams, so if he is needed at left tackle, that would just create a new problem. The Panthers are in the running with the Vikings for the most worrisome developments on the offensive line in the preseason.

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15. CAR - Matt Kalil nursing an injury

Source: Panthers.com

Carolina Panthers OT Matt Kalil (undisclosed) did not practice Sunday, Aug. 19, due to an undisclosed ailment. '(We're) just trying to take care of him and get him a little bit of rest,' head coach Ron Rivera said.

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The Panthers already lost their right tackle for some or all of the season and one of their top choices at guard for an unspecified time. Kalil isn't necessarily a big strength of the line, but they need him at his best.

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16. ARI - ILB Deone Bucannon should return soon

Source: AZCardinals.com - Darren Urban

Arizona Cardinals LB Deone Bucannon (knee) is expected to return to practice at some point this week, according to head coach Steve Wilks.

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Great news for the Cardinals after originally it was feared Bucannon had a serious knee injury. He needs reps and time in the new 4-3 defense, which could take his production to new levels in IDP leagues. The Cardinals are thin at linebacker and need Bucannon to stay healthy.

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17. ARI - DE Robert Nkemdiche day-to-day

Source: AZCardinals.com - Darren Urban

Arizona Cardinals DT Robert Nkemdiche (foot) is considered day-to-day because of his foot injury. There is no timetable for his return, but the team hopes that he will be ready for Week 1.

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The Cardinals get Washington in Week 1, so Arizona caught a small break when Derrius Guice went down, but Alex Smith and the short passing game can take advantage if the Cardinals can't generate interior line pressure, which was what they were hoping for from Nkemdiche.

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18. DAL - S Xavier Woods may miss Week 1

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

Dallas Cowboys S Xavier Woods (hamstring) may not be able to play in Week 1 because of a hamstring injury he suffered in the second preseason game, according to sources.

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The Cowboys face the Panthers Week 1, so this could help Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, and Torrey Smith's matchup. Woods had problems with the same hamstring last summer.

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19. CLE - CB E.J. Gaines carted off

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns CB E.J. Gaines (knee) was carted off the field during practice Sunday, Aug. 19, after suffering an apparent knee injury.

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The injury apparently seemed serious to observers. Gaines was a second-team corner, but important depth for the Browns secondary, with rookie Denzel Ward and Terrance Mitchell starting and free agent pickup TJ Carrie getting mixed reviews to date.

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20. LAC - Austin Eleker misses preseason game

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers RB Austin Ekeler (calf) did not play in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 18, because of a sore calf.

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Ekeler has looked good in the preseason and is the clear #2 back for the Chargers. He should be back within the week.

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21. ATL - PK Matt Bryant day-to-day

Source: AtlantaFalcons.com - Will McFadden

Atlanta Falcons PK Matt Bryant (undisclosed) is considered day-to-day because of an undisclosed injury.

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Bryant still hasn't played yet in the preseason. He is going off of the board in the top five kickers, which seems too high while we are waiting for him to prove he's healthy enough to play in Week 1. Rookie UDFA David Marvin missed a kick in the second preseason game, if there's a problem with Bryant, the team would likely look outside of the organization for a kicker.

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22. LAC - CB Jaylen Watkins appears to have torn ACL

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Los Angeles Chargers S Jaylen Watkins (knee) is believed to have suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 18, based on the initial diagnosis.

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The Chargers injury luck continues to be unthinkable. Watkins was getting some time with the first team and appeared to be a pleasant surprise thus far in camp. The team did draft versatile safety Derwin James in the first round, but their flexibility around him just took a hit.

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23. BUF - Rotation at center to continue

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Chris Brown

Buffalo Bills C Russell Bodine and C Ryan Groy will continue to split time at center, according to head coach Sean McDermott.

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Hopefully this is because both are playing well and not because neither has seized the starting job yet. The Bills are replacing their three best offensive linemen from 2017, including center Eric Wood, who retired in the offseason. No matter who wins the job, it will be a steep downgrade for the line.

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24. NYJ - QB Sam Darnold works with starters

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold received most of the snaps with the first-team offense during practice Sunday, Aug. 19, and appears to be the likely candidate to start in the third preseason game.

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Darnold is in line to start Week 1, but that's not a good thing for Robby Anderson, who had an excellent deep ball connection with Josh McCown last year. It's hard to say yet if anyone in the offense will benefit from Darnold's style or play or inclinations, we'll watch the third preseason game for clues.

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25. SEA - Seattle had interest in QB Jacoby Brissett

Source: The Boston Globe - Ben Volin

Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett was recently a trade target for the Seattle Seahawks, but the Colts rejected the offer of a second-round pick for Brissett, according to a source.

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This report seems to be of dubious quality, but the team was interested in Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson is a free agent in 2020. The Seahawks can always franchise tag him but otherwise Wilson will be getting 25 million or more a year, likely fully guaranteed after the contract Kirk Cousins got this offseason.

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26. DEN - WR Demaryius Thomas sidelined with wrist injury

Source: NFL.com - Kevin Patra

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (wrist) did not play in the team's preseason game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Aug. 18, because of a sore wrist suffered in practice, according to head coach Vance Joseph.

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There's no reason to think this is serious or will affect Thomas's play or availability for Week 1, but it would be comforting to see him play next week and look like his usual self. Second-round pick Courtland Sutton has gotten rave reviews this summer and if he starts at any point for Thomas, he could be an instant impact player.

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27. DEN - Denver RB competition ongoing

Source: The Denver Post - Troy E. Renck

Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman and RB Devontae Booker are still in a competition, head coach Vance Joseph said Saturday, Aug. 18.

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Joseph is saying the right things, but Freeman is decisively better and if the coaching staff is rational and Freeman stays healthy, he'll lead the team in running back touches this year by a good margin.

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28. DEN - QB Chad Kelly the backup

Source: 9News.com - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos QB Chad Kelly has 'earned' the right to be the No. 2 quarterback, head coach Vance Joseph said Saturday, Aug. 18.

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Kelly has vastly outplayed Paxton Lynch and might even get himself in the conversation to start before his rookie contract is over if his development takes off. Deep dynasty league players should monitor his development. If Case Keenum goes down, we'll get a good look at where Kelly is in his development.

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29. TB - Coach not worried about Ronald Jones

Source: PewterReport.com

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones rushed four times for two yards in a 30-14 preseason win over the Tennessee Titans Saturday, Aug. 18, but head coach Dirk Koetter said the performance had nothing to do with Jones' effort. 'We just haven't been able to spring him loose,' Koetter said.

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Jones is the #2 back in Tampa, but his ADP doesn't reflect that yet. If that doesn't change, it might be best to let someone else draft him.

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30. TEN - Big night for WR Taywan Taylor

Source: ESPN.com

Tennessee Titans WR Taywan Taylor caught four passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns in a 30-14 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday, Aug. 18.

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Taylor's speed was impressive on his screen pass that he took to the house. With Rishard Matthews still a huge question mark, Taylor is in line to start in a great matchup against the Dolphins #2 corner in Week 1.

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31. HOU - WR Sammie Coates suffers concussion

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans WR Sammie Coates (concussion) suffered a concussion against the San Francisco 49ers in the preseason Saturday, Aug. 18.

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This could open the door for a UDFA like Vyncint Smith or Jester Weah to make the team as the fifth receiver and #3 outside receiver.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for sharing some of your season with us. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J