Recent NFL Player News

Bills' Zay Jones impresses in second preseason game

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Zay Jones hauled in three of six targets for 42 yards in Thursday's 20-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

What It Means:

Outside of the stat line itself, Bills insider Chris Brown also notes that Jones nearly had a touchdown grab but couldn't keep his second foot in as he tip-toed the sideline on a Nathan Peterman fade attempt. With Sammy Watkins now with the Rams, it looks like Jones could have a significant role on the outside, with Jordan Matthews and Anquan Boldin doing more of the inside work for the Bills.

numberFire's models expect Jones to tally 50.7 catches, 654.7 yards and 3.73 touchdowns as our WR55 in 2017. You can target him around the 12th round, which is where he's currently going in standard league drafts.

Doug Martin shines in Buccaneers' second preseason game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers suspended running back Doug Martin rushed 5 times for 30 yards and a touchdown and caught 2-of-3 targets for 11 yards in Thursday's second preseason contest.

What It Means:

Martin was the Buccaneers' starter for a second straight week on Thursday night, catching two check-downs on the opening drive and then beating the Jaguars' defense around the corner at the goal-line for six. After some chatter early this offseason that Martin might not even make Tampa Bay's roster, it seems like he will step right in as the starter in Week 4 once his suspension is over.

numberFire's models project Martin as the 35th-best running back for fantasy in 2017, with 621.6 rushing yards and 4.63 touchdowns on 163.8 carries, while adding 18.2 catches for 146.3 receiving yards and 0.48 touchdowns.

Ryan Mallett abysmal in Ravens' preseason win

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett completed 13-of-22 pass attempts for 113 yards, one touchdown and two picks in his second preseason start.

What It Means:

As the Ravens prepare for what could be a Week 1 without Joe Flacco (back), they let Mallett take the first team reps for the entirety of the first half Thursday night. In disappointing fashion, Mallett didn't do much with the opportunity. His ball placement was terrible and his turnover number could have been even higher given his play.

Mallett has now completed just 55% of his passes while tallying 171 yards and 1 touchdown to 2 picks this preseason. If Flacco is out or exits at any point this season, the Ravens' offense would almost certainly become a fantasy dump without an adequate quarterback behind center.

Source: Rotoworld

Ravens' Joe Flacco (back) will not practice next week

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (back) will continue to sit out of practice next week.

What It Means:

The original timeline given on the injury was "day-to-day", but it has now been a month on the sidelines for Flacco. The team has already announced that he won't play in the preseason at all, but that he is expected to be ready for Week 1. Ryan Mallett has put together a pair of awful preseason performances, and the Ravens could be in trouble if Flacco is forced to miss any meaningful games.

numberFire's models project Flacco to go 379/632 for 4,047 yards, 22.4 touchdowns and 16.9 interceptions this season. He is our 23rd-ranked fantasy quarterback.

Eagles' LeGarrette Blount looks awful in second preseason game

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount rushed for eight yards and lost a fumble on five carries in Thursday night's preseason victory over the Buffalo Bills.

What It Means:

For Blount, it's two straight poor performances to start his tenure with the Eagles. Last time out, he totaled nine yards on four carries versus the Green Bay Packers. Averaging 1.9 yards per carry, not to mention a poor camp showing, Blount is off to a sluggish start and could be a bust in Philly. If that's the case, Wendell Smallwood could step in as the primary back with Darren Sproles getting the third-down work.

Despite the underwhelming numbers, Blount is expected to be the Eagles' starter come Week 1 and, as such, is being drafted as RB24 in most drafts. However, his projected output (680.7 yards and 4.75 touchdowns) has him positioned 33rd in our running back ranks so beware.

Source: Rotoworld

Derek Barnett to get more work with Eagles' first-team defense

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett is set to get more work with the starters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Zach Berman.

What It Means:

On Friday morning, head coach Doug Pederson said that the team is impressed with Barnett and that they want to see what he can do against better tackles moving forward. He touched on Barnett's quickness and relentless drive to get to the quarterback.

Through a pair of preseason games, this year's 14th overall pick has tallied 4 quarterback hurries, 3 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. He could eventually supplant Vinny Curry as the starting end alongside Brandon Graham.

Allen Robinson sees 8 targets in first half of Jaguars' preseason loss

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson caught 4-of-8 targets for 34 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Thursday's second preseason game.

What It Means:

It could have been a much bigger night for Robinson, who repeatedly created separation from Tampa Bay's defensive backs, but Blake Bortles was unable to provide catchable passes, flat-out missing his top receiver on multiple occasions. The positive takeaway is that Robinson was targeted on 7-of-13 pass attempts from Bortles, but it's also a necessary reminder that his fantasy outlook is severely hindered by the Jaguars' decrepit quarterback situation.

numberFire's models view Robinson as the 14th-best fantasy option at his position entering the season, with a projection of 75.8 catches for 1,095.7 yards and 7.03 touchdowns.

Patriots' Derek Rivers (knee) out for the season

New England Patriots defensive end Derek Rivers is likely out for the season with a serious knee injury, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

What It Means:

Rivers was a third-round pick in this year's draft, but that made him the Patriots' top pick after they opted out of the first and second rounds. He was expected to get some playing time on a thin defensive line, so Kony Ealy and others will be asked to step up opposite Trey Flowers.

Last year, the Patriots' 34 sacks and 5.4% sack rate ranked 16th and 19th in the NFL, respectively.

Jay Cutler plays aggressive in Dolphins' preseason debut

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler completed 3-of-6 passes for 24 yards in Thursday's preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

What It Means:

The box score could have been bigger, as a 31-yard completion to DeVante Parker was called back by penalty, and a couple of holding calls forced Cutler into a 3rd-and-27 situation. Still, the 34-year-old un-retired quarterback came out aggressive and appears to have found his new favorite target in Parker, who he targeted four times in two drives. It was apparent on Thursday night that the Dolphins' passing attack is going to look a lot more vertical this season with Cutler replacing Ryan Tannehill under center.

Cutler is numberFire's 26th-ranked fantasy quarterback entering the season. We project him to complete 58.3 percent of his 516.5 attempts for 3,371.0 yards with 21.31 touchdowns and 13.7 interceptions while adding 93.1 yards rushing and 1.78 scores on the ground.

Lions' Eric Ebron (hamstring) has been absent from practice this week

Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron has missed all of practice this week, according to MLive's Kyle Meinke.

What It Means:

After making a brief appearance in practice on Friday, Ebron has been sidelined as the result of a hamstring injury suffered on the very first day of practice. He has yet to play in the preseason and there hasn't been any word on an expected return date. If this problem persists, Darren Fells would probably be the guy to hold down the tight end spot in Detroit.

Going as the 14th tight end in standard, 12-team drafts, our numbers have him up at TE11. If healthy, we like him to total 65.1 receptions, 748.2 yards and 4.19 scores in his 4th NFL season.

Blake Bortles competing with Chad Henne for Jaguars' starting job

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone refused to commit to quarterback Blake Bortles as his starter and said he's competing with Chad Henne for the job.

What It Means:

"It's this simple: I'm looking for the best person to lead this offense," Marrone began. "It's right up there for grabs, and either person can take it. ... (Bortles has) got to go earn it." He added that 2016 sixth-rounder Brandon Allen, currently third on the depth chart, could also be in the discussion if he shows enough during the preseason. These comments come after a dreadful showing by Bortles in the Jaguars' exhibition game. He completed 8-of-13 passes for 65 yards while repeatedly under- and over-throwing Allen Robinson and somehow appearing to have regressed from his miserable 2016 campaign. The home crowd didn't hold back in their disappointment, and at this point, it would be a surprise if Bortles started all 16 games for Jacksonville this season. That said, Henne is more of a lateral move than an upgrade under center.

Bortles is currently the 18th quarterback in our fantasy rankings this season. We project him to complete 57.6 percent of his 595.8 attempts for 3,731.8 yards with 25.55 touchdowns and 16.2 interceptions while adding 257.6 yards rushing and 2.30 scores on the ground.

Tyrod Taylor's starting job is safe in Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills have clarified that quarterback Tyrod Taylor's starting job is safe, per WKBW's Joe Buscaglia.

What It Means:

After a rough preseason performance from Taylor, head coach Sean McDermott seemed noncommittal on Taylor as the team's starter. But, though Taylor may be on the hot seat, McDermott later clarified his vague comments by telling WKBW that he is not considering a quarterback change.

As Buffalo projected starter, our numbers have Taylor down for 3,736.2 total yards and 23.58 total touchdowns in 2017. That leaves him in our QB18 spot for the time being.

Dolphins' DeVante Parker receiving praise from Jay Cutler

Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler said that wide receiver DeVante Parker is a "faster Alshon", according to the Miami Herald's Adam Beasley.

What It Means:

After targeting Parker four times in just two drives together, Cutler spoke highly of the second-year wideout, in comparing him to his former teammate, Alshon Jeffery. The combination of targets and praise could lead to a breakout year for Parker in Miami.

numberFire's models expect the 24-year-old to produce 65.4 catches, 815.6 yards and 4.64 touchdowns on 109.2 targets. He trails teammate Jarvis Landry in all categories, but those projections still have him as our WR44 heading into the 2017 fantasy football season.

Eagles' Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) will not play Thursday

Philadelphia Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) is not active for Thursday's preseason game.

What It Means:

Smallwood's roster prospects have fluctuated all offseason, but he was in the middle of trending upward prior to this injury. Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski said last week Smallwood has run "like a man possessed in padded practices" at camp. Tonight, undrafted rookie Corey Clement will get tons of run with Smallwood out, however.

Our models project Smallwood as the 67th-best running back for fantasy football this year, with 283 rushing yards and 1.18 touchdowns on 68 carries, adding 11 catches for 83 receiving yards and 0.11 scores.

Dez Bryant to make preseason debut for Cowboys on Saturday

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant will play in Saturday's preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts.

What It Means:

When asked if he would play in the game, Bryant responded, "Come on, man. I'm on that field this week, baby. I can't wait." Bryant has stayed healthy all offseason despite missing 10 games over the last two season. We can't wait to see him back in action either.

Our models project Bryant to turn in the eighth-best fantasy wide receiver season this year, with 76 catches for 1,219 receiving yards and 9.40 touchdowns.

Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster dealing with bone bruise

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is day-to-day with a bone bruise in his leg, head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters following Thursday's practice.

What It Means:

Smith-Schuster was hit during team drills on Wednesday and sustained the injury. He was on the field for warmups on Thursday, but did not participate in practice. Tomlin stated that the injury was "day-to-day," but it was hard to tell when it would no longer be a concern.

Our models project Smith-Schuster for 360 receiving yards and 2.04 touchdowns on 28 receptions this year, as the 95th-best fantasy wide receiver in 2017.

Source: CBS Sports

Bills rule Jordan Matthews (chest) inactive for Thursday night

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Jordan Matthews (chest) will not play in the team's second preseason game on Thursday night.

What It Means:

Matthews is dealing with a painful "chip fracture" in his sternum, which has sidelined him for the last few days. He'll have to wait to get into real action for his new team until yet another day. He'll hope to make it back in time to learn his new team's offense.

Assuming he plays a full 16-game season, numberFire's models project Matthews to catch 68.9 passes for 800.3 receiving yards and 5.57 touchdowns in 2017. He's 38th among all receivers in our fantasy rankings entering the year.

Jay Ajayi (concussion) will start for Miami on Thursday night

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (concussion) will start on Thursday versus the Baltimore Ravens.

What It Means:

Ajayi has been sidled since suffering a concussion in practice on July 31. No longer in the league's concussion protocol, the third-year running back has been cleared to resume playing and will see his first action of 2017 Thursday versus the Ravens.

Our models project Ajayi for 1,130.8 rushing yards and 8.98 TDs on 246.1 carries while adding 45.1 catches, 318.4 yards, and 0.56 TDs through the air in 2017. He is our RB8 in standard leagues with 199.4 fantasy points.

Kenny Golladay not a first-team lock for Lions

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay was working with the second-team offense on Thursday, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

What It Means:

Golladay had been promoted to action with the starters yesterday after dazzling in the preseason opener, but was passed over in favor of T.J. Jones working with the 1's today. It's entirely possible that this offense will remain a two-wide unit for the most part, or that Golladay and Jones rotate in the third receiver role all season long.

Our models project Golladay as fantasy's WR62 in 2017, with 44 catches for 582 receiving yards and 3.48 touchdowns.

Matt Dayes could be surprise challenger in Browns' backfield

Cleveland Browns rookie running back Matt Dayes has "flashed," and is "establishing himself as an every-down back," head coach Hue Jackson believes.

What It Means:

Dayes was the second-to-last pick of April's draft. In the Browns' preseason opener, he He rushed three times for nine yards and a touchdown, adding three catches for eight additional yards. Dayes was a true three-down back in college, but doesn't stand out in any one area. His NFL ceiling is probably that of a solid all-around backup.

Our models project Isaiah Crowell to remain the fantasy leader in the Browns' backfield, coming in 13th at the position. We project Crowell for 857 rushing yards and 4.77 touchdowns on 210 carries, adding 44 receptions for 341 yards and 1.35 scores.

Jamison Crowder looking like number two option in Washington

Washington Redskins wide receiver Jamison Crowder is looking good and could be the number two option in the passing game.

What It Means:

Crowder has been winning practice matchups with corner Josh Norman, according to the Washington Post's Mike Jones. After suffering a hamstring injury early, Crowder has had a good offseason and could be Kirk Cousins' favorite target behind tight end Jordan Reed.

numberfire's algorithms project Crowder for 67 catches, 826 yards and 6.2 touchdowns on 105 targets this season.

Jets' Quincy Enunwa (neck) to undergo surgery next week

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa is set to undergo surgery on the bulging disk in his next next week, so says NewYorkJets.com's Eric Allen.

What It Means:

Enunwa's initial timetable was 6-to-9 months, but that might not have included surgery in his recovery time. So the backend of that projection is probably the more likely scenario given the severity of neck injuries for football players.

With Enunwa out for the season, we expect Robby Anderson to be the team's top receiver. His 60 catches, 792 yards and 4.22 touchdowns have him pegged as WR47 in our rankings.

Cowboys' Darren McFadden getting first-team reps on Thursday

Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden is getting the bulk of first-team reps during scout team drills on Thursday, according to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News.

What It Means:

McFadden still leads the way over Alfred Morris and Rod Smith in the contest to replace Ezekiel Elliott (suspended) for the first six weeks of the season. Elliott didn't receive many reps today, so George posits that he will sit Saturday out when the Dallas Cowboys take on the Indianapolis Colts.

Our models project McFadden as the 49th-best running back in fantasy football this year. We peg him for 109 carries for 439 rushing yards and 3.44 touchdowns, adding 20 catches for 152 receiving yards and 0.91 touchdowns.

Chiefs' Alex Smith being aggressive because of Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is being more aggressive because of the presence of rookie Patrick Mahomes.

What It Means:

The Kansas City Star reports that some in the organization think that Mahomes has helped push Smith to be more aggressive in camp. Reporter Terez Paylor notes that Smith has "never been more decisive or aggressive in camp." If true, who can blame the veteran signal caller. Mahomes' abilities have been on display early on and a quarterback change might not be far off in Kansas City.

Having thrown for 3,502 yards and 15 touchdowns in his 11th season, our projections -- 3,493 yards and 19.92 touchdowns -- think Smith will have a better year in 2017. For fantasy purposes, he's still the 25th ranked quarterback in our draft kit.

Tampa Bay's DeSean Jackson (ankle) could sit out Thursday's game

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson (ankle) may not play in Thursday's preseason game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to Roy Cummings of WFLA.

What It Means:

Jackson has been nursing a sore ankle the last few days and may not suit up for the Bucs' second preseason game. The top offensive free agent acquisition for Tampa Bay this offseason, Jackson needs all the reps he can with Jameis Winston to establish a rapport but is firmly entrenched as the team's number two wideout either way.

Our models project Jackson for 91.1 targets, 50.8 catches, 832.1 yards, and 4.74 TDs in 2017, making him our WR39 in standard leagues.

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