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Footballguys #123 - 8/22 - From the Gut, Joe Notes For Training Camp, Ultimate Strength Of Schedule, News and Notes and MORE

Volume 20, #123 -- Wednesday Night, August 22nd, 2018

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Howdy Folks,

Good Wednesday to you. Buckle. Up.

Let's do this.

J

SITE NEWS

A. From The Gut: AFC
Our Sigmund Bloom with a collection of observations and gut feelings about every team in the AFC.

B. Joe's Notes: Week 3 Training Camp Summary
The Footballguys Training Camp Update Team and I take our comprehensive Footballguys Training Camp Updates and distills them down to the "Need To Know" level.

C. 2018 NFL Preseason Depth Chart Shuffle: Tight Ends
Our Chad Parsons outlines the key strong and weak NFL depth charts at the tight end position in advance of the 53-player roster cuts in 2018.

D. Most Improved Offensive Lines
Our Matt Bitonti predicts which offensive lines will be the most improved this season.

E. FREE Feature - Ultimate Strength of Schedule, Updated
Our Clayton Gray with an overview of the 2018 strength of schedule.

F. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, QBs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for quarterbacks.

G. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, RBs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for runningbacks.

H. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, WRs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for wide receivers.

I. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, TEs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for tight ends.

J. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, PKs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for kickers.

K. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, Defs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for team defenses.

L. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, DLs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for defensive linemen.

M. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, LBs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for linebackers.

N. Ultimate Strength of Schedule, DBs
Our Clayton Gray with an in-depth look at the strength of schedule for defensive backs.


1. CLE - WR Josh Gordon expected on field soon

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon should be on the practice field very soon, according to head coach Hue Jackson.

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Gordon could get back to practicing this weekend. He's been working his way back since reporting to the team about a week ago. Gordon is not going to play in the team's Thursday Week 3 preseason game against the Eagles. He may not participate in Week 4 of the preseason either. Gordon has high upside if he's healthy and on the field. Right now, Fantasy GMs take him around WR22 (4.12) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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2. BUF - LeSean McCoy dealing with injury

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Chris Brown

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (groin, hip) is considered day-to-day because of an injury to his groin and hip area, according to head coach Sean McDermott.

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These sound minor, but McCoy needs to be avoiding any reason for us to move him down the rankings with legal troubles hanging over him and a very inferior offense to the one he played in last year. We probably won't see him before the Week 1 matchup against Baltimore.

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3. CLE - Baker Mayfield to start season on bench

Source: The Chronicle-Telegram - Scott Petrak

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield (leg) will head to the bench when the regular season starts, but head coach Hue Jackson wants to see as much of him as possible during the remainder of the preseason. He is likely to play the entire second half in the third preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Aug. 23.

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Mayfield might have as much value as Tyrod Taylor if he takes over the offense mid-season, and he might support better fantasy values for his receivers. He is looking worthy of the #1 pick so far.

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4. MIA - Mike Gesicki praised by teammate

Source: ESPN.com - Cameron Wolfe

Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki has the potential to be a player in the mold of current Green Bay Packers TE Jimmy Graham, WR Kenny Stills said Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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Maybe Gesicki can do that in time, and he has flashed it in practice, but he hasn't shined in games yet. If you are going to take a rookie tight end late, Eagles second round pick Dallas Goedert is the guy you want.

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5. NYG - RB Saquon Barkley remains out of practice

Source: The Bergen Record - Art Stapleton

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley (hamstring) remains out of practice Wednesday, Aug. 22. He caught some stationary passes and continues his rehab work on the side.

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The Giants are going to be extremely cautious with Barkley. As long as we see him get in a full practice in the days leading up to Week 1, we shouldn't worry about his status or likelihood of re-injury.

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6. BUF - QB AJ McCarron limited

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Buffalo Bills QB AJ McCarron (collarbone) will be limited in practice Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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It appears that #7 pick Josh Allen has passed McCarron on the depth chart at this point, but there's still a battle for the backup quarterback job with Nathan Peterman.

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7. WAS - RB Samaje Perine works on side

Source: The Washington Post - Kareem Copeland

Washington Redskins RB Samaje Perine (ankle) worked on the side without pads Tuesday, Aug. 21.

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Perine once on the roster bubble, will now be on the bubble again with Adrian Peterson's addition. He was a fourth round pick last year, but it's obvious the team doesn't want him in a big role at this point.

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8. WAS - RB Adrian Peterson's stay could be brief

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Mike Florio

Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson is not considered a lock to make the 53-man roster with head coach Jay Gruden indicating Peterson is competing to be one of the team's 'first and second down guys.' Peterson's contract is not guaranteed unless he's on the active roster for Week 1.

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Peterson could have as much to offer as Rob Kelley or Samaje Perine, or even more. The team signed him because they were impressed with his conditioning, and he was running behind a weak line in a poor situation last year. He's worth a last round pick to see what happens, and at worst have a valuable spot to use in the Week 2 waiver wire run.

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9. TEN - WR Rishard Matthews moving closer to return

Source: TitansOnline.com - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans WR Rishard Matthews (undisclosed) is making progress in his recovery and hopefully will be back on the field shortly, according to head coach Mike Vrabel.

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This is still being told in uncertain terms, which is not a great sign for Matthews this close to the season beginning. He has missed the new offense install and Taywan Taylor has been outstanding on the outside in his stead. He might be a role player to begin the season and if he has additional problems with whatever the issue has been for the last three months, he's probably not going to be anything more this year.

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10. PHI - Lower body injury for RB Jay Ajayi

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer - Zach Berman

Philadelphia Eagles RB Jay Ajayi (undisclosed) has been missing practice because of a lower body injury, according to head coach Doug Pederson.

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Ajayi is set to be the lead back for the Eagles in 2018. They'll still use a form of RBBC but Ajayi has enough of a role to be a RB2 or flex play for Fantasy GMs. He's going off the board at RB21 (4.06) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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11. MIA - RB Kalen Ballage still sidelined

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins RB Kalen Ballage (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol and did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.

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The rookie is going to have to clear the protocol before he gets back onto the field. The Dolphins have Kenyon Drake and Frank Gore ahead of him on the depth chart. Ballage is a big-bodied back, but he doesn't run with the power you'd expect. Instead, he's more of a finesse runner with a nose for the end zone and good hands as a receiver out of the backfield. We like him in dynasty formats, but there's not much of a role for him in 2018 if those two ahead of him on the depth chart stay healthy.

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12. BAL - Lamar Jackson taking too many hits

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has not slid in any of the preseason games, and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said he is concerned that Jackson is taking too many hits. Mornhinweg said he would like Jackson to slide when he is in between the numbers and run out of bounds when he is outside the numbers.

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All signs point to Jackson being the backup, or perhaps the team even keeping Robert Griffin III to make this a pure redshirt year for the first-round pick. Joe Flacco is entrenched as the starter.

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13. NE - Jordan Matthews could be option for Pats

Source: NFL Network - Mike Giardi

Free-agent WR Jordan Matthews (hamstring) could be an option for the New England Patriots, but nothing likely would happen between the two sides until October, according to a source.

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Matthews wouldn't be added until Julian Edelman was back in this timeline, which isn't good for his eventual fantasy ceiling. He's off of our radar.

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14. NYJ - Terrelle Pryor a game-time decision

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets WR Terrelle Pryor (ankle) will be a game-time decision for the third preseason game, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

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Pryor is probably only going to make the team because of guaranteed money. It's fair to wonder if we have seen the best of him. He's not an essential hold in dynasty leagues.

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15. NYJ - Two linemen may play in preseason game

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets OG Brian Winters (abdomen) likely will be able to play in the third preseason game, while OT Kelvin Beachum (foot) has a chance to play in the game, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

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We would like to see both to have some confidence in the Jets offense, which will likely be led by a rookie quarterback. There's not much clarity at WR2/3, RB1/2, and tight end right now, so it's tough to know who to target in the offense. The answer might be no one if Winters and Beachum aren't ready for the season.

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16. BUF - Dion Dawkins day-to-day

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Chris Brown

Buffalo Bills OT Dion Dawkins (hip) is dealing with a hip injury and is considered day-to-day.

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Hopefully this is minor because Dawkins is playing a crucial role replacing Cordy Glenn. The Bills offensive line was already going to have an uphill battle this year.

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17. TEN - Delanie Walker still nursing toe injury

Source: TitansOnline.com - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans TE Delanie Walker (toe) missed practice again on Wednesday, Aug. 22, as he continues to nurse a toe injury.

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Walker is aiming to be healthy for Week 1 and the terrific tight end matchup against the green Dolphins linebackers. If Walker is limited in the game, 2017 third-round pick Jonnu Smith could have a big Week 1. Monitor Walker's practice participation leading up to the game.

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18. DET - T.J. Lang confident he'll play Week 1

Source: The Detroit News - Justin Rogers

Detroit Lions OG T.J. Lang (leg) hasn't practiced in more than a week, but he said Wednesday, Aug. 22, that he is confident he'll be ready for the team's regular season opener. 'My plan this year, right now, is take it day by day, get healthy and do my best to be out there for Week 1, which I think is definitely the goal right now,' Lang said. He has been dealing with a lower-leg injury since the first week of training camp.

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The Lions line drew rave reviews early in camp and they want to re-establish the running game. Lang is a big piece in the run blocking, so we'll be watching this closely.

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19. NE - Kenny Britt to be released

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

The New England Patriots are expected to release WR Kenny Britt, sources reported Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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The team had big plans for Britt when they signed him during the season last year, but his hamstring kept Britt from being able to follow through. This gives Cordarrelle Patterson and Phillip Dorsett a clearer path to snaps, targets, and possible fantasy relevance while Julian Edelman is serving a four-game suspension.

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20. OAK - DeAndre Washington undergoes surgery

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal - Michael Gehlken

Oakland Raiders RB DeAndre Washington (knee) underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and will not be available for the preseason game Friday, Aug. 24, head coach Jon Gruden said.

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This could seal Washington's fate as a cut, especially with rookie UDFA Chris Warren running roughshod over defenses. Washington is only 25, so he can still write another chapter no matter what happens with the Raiders running back decision.

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21. SEA - Rashaad Penny has ballooned

Source: ESPN.com - Brady Henderson

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny has added 16 pounds to his frame since the NFL Combine, going from 220 pounds to 236 pounds.

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This isn't usually good news for a running back, but it isn't necessarily bad. Penny is still a speculative pick with Chris Carson cemented in as the Week 1 starter.

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22. KC - Charcandrick West released

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Kansas City Chiefs RB Charcandrick West was released Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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This is a vote of confidence in the health of Spencer Ware to be the backup to Kareem Hunt, and it could give Hunt more involvement in the passing game. West is competent and could get a call in season if running back injuries pile up around the league.

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23. BAL - RB Kenneth Dixon, others idle

Source: The Athletic - Jeff Zrebiec

Baltimore Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (undisclosed), TE Mark Andrews (undisclosed), OT Ronnie Stanley (knee) and OT James Hurst (undisclosed) are out of practice Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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Dixon has played well in limited preseason action, but has had trouble staying on the practice field. If he makes the team, he could contribute and grow his role with his play, but it isn't a sure thing yet that he makes the team.

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24. ATL - WR Julio Jones, RB Devonta Freeman to be held out

Source: ESPN.com - Vaughn McClure

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones and RB Devonta Freeman will not play in either of the last two preseason games, according to head coach Dan Quinn. Quinn said he did not want either to play in the preseason because of their injury histories.

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They know what they have in this duo. Hopefully the offense will be better in year two under Steve Sarkisian and get them back to their Kyle Shanahan era production levels.

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25. ATL - PK Matt Bryant to start kicking again

Source: ESPN.com - Vaughn McClure

Atlanta Falcons PK Matt Bryant (undisclosed) will kick during practice Wednesday, Aug. 22.

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Bryant kicked in practice last week, but did not play in the second preseason game. While he has been ranked as a Top 5 kicker, if he doesn't kick in the third preseason game, he'll be a risky proposition at any ADP.

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26. DET - RB Theo Riddick does not practice

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dave Birkett

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick (undisclosed) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Aug. 21.

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No telling what the reason is, but don't sound the alarm. Riddick is the clear cut change-of-pace/receiving back for the Lions. He's got plenty of flex appeal in PPR leagues.

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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