Recent NFL Player News

Bears' Anthony Miller (ankle) may be limited to start year

Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller (ankle) could be limited over the first few weeks of the season, speculates Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.

What It Means:

Miller has been sidelined with a right ankle sprain since August 10 and he also missed OTAs and minicamp while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The missed time has impeded the second-year wideout in terms of "getting the offense down" and timing with the quarterback, per head coach Matt Nagy. Miller led the Bears with 7 touchdown catches last season and finished second among rookies.

numberFire's models project Miller for 77.6 targets, 45.9 receptions, 620.1 yards, and 4.33 touchdowns this season. He's the WR55 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Michael Crabtree officially signs with Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, to a 1-year contract.

What It Means:

The two sides failed to reach a deal when they first met earlier this month, but they worked things out once Hakeem Butler was ruled out for the season with a broken finger and Kevin White was released. Crabtree figures to compete with Andy Isabella for snaps, as Keesean Johnson has apparently emerged as the favorite in three-wide sets behind Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk. The veteran wideout turns 32 next month.

numberFire's models project Crabtree for 43.3 targets, 20.6 receptions, and 247.6 yards in 2019.

Damien Harris 'reinforced' Patriots' confidence in camp

New England Patriots third-round running back Damien Harris has "reinforced" the team's belief that he's simply "a really great football player" with his performance this preseason, writes Mike Reiss of ESPN.com.

What It Means:

Reiss adds that Harris "displayed a hard-charging running style and the ability to catch the ball as well" in his preseason debut last week, in which the rookie rushed 14 times for 80 yards and caught all 4 of his targets for another 23 yards. Harris can handle early-down and passing-game work, so he could step in if either Sony Michel or James White were to miss time.

Harris is the RB48 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 511.2 yards from scrimmage and 4.07 touchdowns on 105.1 touches as a rookie.

Cardinals' KeeSean Johnson 'may have had best camp' on roster

Arizona Cardinals sixth-round wide receiver KeeSean Johnson "may have had the best training camp of anyone on the Cardinals' roster, veteran or rookie alike," writes ESPN's Josh Weinfuss.

What It Means:

"[Johnson's] displayed a sharp route tree and great hands, both of which have made him an early favorite with the coaching staff," Weinfuss added. The Cardinals' signing of Michael Crabtree on Wednesday night could impact things, but Johnson has received praise all summer long while leaping up the depth chart to emerge as the third wideout behind Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

numberFire's models remain pessimistic on Johnson's outlook, projecting him for only 232.0 yards and 1.22 touchdowns on 18.3 receptions and 32.3 targets. He's the WR116 in our preseason fantasy rankings, directly behind Crabtree (WR115) and a few tiers away from fellow rookie Andy Isabella (WR84).

Ravens' Justice Hill has 'makings' of third-down back

Baltimore Ravens fourth-round running back Justice Hill "has all the makings of being that third-down, change-of-pace back to complement Mark Ingram," writes ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

What It Means:

Hill rushed 10 times for 49 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' second preseason game and looked impressive while doing so. Mark Ingram is going to lead the way, but there should be enough volume in Baltimore's backfield for Hill to also factor into the fantasy equation.

numberFire's models conservatively project Hill for 393.5 yards and 2.45 touchdowns on 79.8 touches this season. He's the RB63 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Browns RB coach: Nick Chubb to see more pass work

Cleveland Browns running backs coach Stump Mitchell said Nick Chubb will "be used a little more in the passing game" this season.

What It Means:

“I think he’s going to be special like he was last year," Mitchell said of Chubb. “He’ll be used a little more in the passing game than he was last year. Nick just continues to improve on the skillset that he has, and I think he has a fantastic skillset." Chubb was targeted more once Freddie Kitchens took over for Hue Jackson last season and it sounds like the Browns want that trend to carry over into 2019. Duke Johnson's departure should also translate to more looks. Chubb finished with 20 catches on 29 targets as a rookie.

Chubb is a top-10 running back in numberFire's preseason numberFire's models expect Chubb to snag 40.1 receptions for 311.6 yards and 2.52 touchdowns this season. He's also pegged for 1,138.5 yards and 10.23 touchdowns on the ground. Chubb is a top-10 running back in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Vikings 'raving about' third-rounder Alexander Mattison

The Minnesota Vikings can't stop "raving about" third-round running back Alexander Mattison at training camp, writes Jay Glazer of The Athletic.

What It Means:

Mattison has emerged as Dalvin Cook's handcuff, taking over the role left vacant by Latavius Murray. That could wind up being a productive gig, considering injuries have limited Cook to just 15 games through his first two years in the league. The third-rounder has rushed 19 times for 71 yards (3.7 YPC) through two preseason contests.

numberFire's models expect Mattison to rush 60.3 times for 237.1 yards and 1.71 touchdowns, and catch 20.6 passes for 126.3 yards and 1.00 touchdowns in 2019.

Darwin Thompson reportedly has passed Carlos Hyde on Chiefs' depth chart

The Athletic's Nate Taylor reports Kansas City Chiefs sixth-round running back Darwin Thompson "appears to have leaped" Carlos Hyde on the depth chart.

What It Means:

Thompson has been working ahead of Hyde in camp this week and has even split first-team reps with Damien Williams. Head coach Andy Reid has praised the rookie's all-around abilities and a strong showing in the preseason has helped Thompson's stock too.

numberFire's models currently project Thompson for 278.2 total yards and 1.7 touchdowns. Expect those numbers to rise if he is indeed the RB2 in KC.

Darren Waller again shining at Raiders training camp

On this week's episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller received countless praise from coaches and teammates as he continued continues to impress at training camp.

What It Means:

In the episode, teammates and other members of the Raiders' organization were asked about who has been the most impressive player in camp, and Waller's name came up the most. The tight end played in only four games in 2018 after sitting out all of 2017 due to suspension. Despite admittedly still learning to play the tight end position, Waller is expected to play a significant role in the Raiders' offense this season.

numberFire's models project Waller as the TE25 in fantasy this season with 28.0 catches, 330.6 yards, and 3.7 touchdowns.

Steelers' Vance McDonald to see same snaps in 2019

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Vance McDonald will not play significantly more snaps this season, according to offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.

What It Means:

"He won't," Fichtner said in regards to McDonald seeing an expanded role in 2019. "He's never going to play the full game. That's never going to happen." McDonald played a career-high 564 snaps (54.6 percent) in 15 games last season while turning in the most productive season of his career, with 50 receptions (72 targets) for 610 yards and 4 touchdowns. Even if he were to only see a modest boost in playing time following the departure of Jesse James, McDonald is capable of returning back-end TE1 production.

McDonald is currently the TE9 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models expect him to catch 53.6 passes on 86.7 targets for 627.5 yards and 5.77 touchdowns in 2019.

Jakeem Grant signs 4-year, $24M extension with Miami

The Miami Dolphins and wide receiver Jakeem Grant have come to terms on a 4-year, $24M extension.

What It Means:

The 27-year-old had his 2018 season cut short by a leg injury but showed enough big-play potential for Miami to want to lock him up long-term. Grant is now under contract until 2023 and will battle with DeVante Parker, Albert Wilson, and Kenny Stills for playing time in Miami.

numberFire's models project Grant for just 18.4 catches, 270.2 yards, and 2.0 touchdowns in 2019.

Rams' Darrell Henderson expected to see 9-12 touches a game

Los Angeles Rams third-round pick Darrell Henderson is expected to see 9-12 touches per game this season, writes Vincent Bonsignore of The Athletic.

What It Means:

Henderson is still competing with second-year back John Kelly for the change-of-pace role behind Todd Gurley, per Bonsignore, so those touches will likely go to the winner of that battle, not necessarily Henderson. The main takeaway is that the Rams are looking to spread things around more to take some of the load off Gurley. It remains to be seen how that will manifest in the backfield.

numberFire's models believe Henderson will average 12.0 touches a game as a rookie. He's pegged for 710.2 yards and 4.09 touchdowns on 165.6 carries, and 201.0 yards and 1.19 touchdowns on 26.8 receptions. Henderson is the RB34 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Chargers' Melvin Gordon's holdout expected to leak into season

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is expected to continue his holdout into the regular season, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports.

What It Means:

Rapoport says that the negotiations have not progressed as hoped, and that Gordon will continue to train in Florida for the "foreseeable future."

Our models currently project Gordon to run for 943.5 yards and 9.5 touchdowns on 191.3 carries.

Seahawks' Rashaad Penny could be 'falling further' behind Chris Carson

Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny is "falling further" behind Chris Carson this preseason, says NBC Sports Northwest's Joe Fann.

What It Means:

Penny only has 13 yards on 12 carries this preseason, while Carson is averaging 5.0 yards per carry. Carson got the bulk of the work last season, getting 247 carries, which was almost 55% of the team's running back carries (despite missing two games). Penny only got 85 carries.

Our models project Carson to rush for 1,147.0 yards and 7.5 touchdowns 247.9 carries. Penny is forecasted to run for 624.6 yards and 3.3 touchdowns on 127.1 carries.

Dante Pettis played with 49ers' starters in exhibition

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis played all 11 snaps with the first-team offense in Monday night's second preseason game against the Denver Broncos.

What It Means:

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan previously said Dante Pettis must "compete" for a starting role, leading to speculation about the receiver's place on the depth chart, but this indicates he's in good standing. Marquise Goodwin also logged all 11 snaps with Jimmy Garoppolo and the ones on Monday night.

Pettis is the WR35 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models expect him to record 761.8 yards and 6.44 touchdowns on 60.5 receptions and 99.3 targets in 2019.

Bears think Tarik Cohen saw 'little bit too much' work in 2018

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy thinks he gave running back Tarik Cohen "a little bit too much" work last season.

What It Means:

"We moved [Cohen] around a lot last year, and I do feel like there was a time — probably later in the season — where we probably gave him a little bit too much," Nagy said Tuesday. "And when you mentally drain them, it pulls them back physically." The Bears drafted David Montgomery in the third round and added Cordarelle Patterson and Mike Davis in free agency, so it's won't be any surprise to see Cohen's touches scaled back in his third season.

numberFire's models expect Cohen to catch 62.8 passes for 567.5 yards and 2.94 touchdowns this season, with another 72.5 carries for 317.0 yards and 2.09 touchdowns. He's the RB35 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Buccaneers' Ronald Jones has swelling in knee

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones has been dealing with swelling in his knee this week, per Jenna Laine of ESPN.

What It Means:

Jones returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since the Buccaneers' second preseason game last Friday, so it appears to be a minor issue. The 2018 second-round pick has received praise from the team's new coaching staff this summer, but Dare Ogunbowale has been making some noise of late and could become a factor if Jones' injury lingers.

Jones is the RB42 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models expect him to rush for 564.0 yards and 3.89 touchdowns, with 21.4 catches for 128.2 yards and 0.42 touchdowns.

Dontrelle Inman reportedly heading back to Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers are signing free agent wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.

What It Means:

Inman was with the Chargers from 2014-16 after spending the previous two seasons in the Canadian Football League. The Chargers are thin at receiver behind Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, so Inman can provide some needed depth. The 30-year-old veteran was released by the New England Patriots last weekend after signing on in May.

Inman caught 28 passes on 39 targets for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns in nine games for the Indianapolis Colts last season.

Noah Fant suffered 'mild' ankle sprain in Broncos' preseason game Monday

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant suffered a "mild" ankle sprain in Monday's preseason loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

What It Means:

Fant has been quiet this preseason and the ankle injury is likely to keep things that way. The rookie is not expected to be available for this week's preseason action and could start the regular season off slow as well.

numberFire projects Fant as the TE20 in fantasy this season with 40.1 catches, 461.1 yards, and 3.5 touchdowns.

Broncos' Drew Lock (thumb) to be sidelined into the regular season

Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is expected to miss a significant amount of time with a right thumb sprain.

What It Means:

Lock suffered the injury in Monday night's preseason game and will be sidelined into the regular season. The injury will not require surgery but will leave the rookie quarterback unavailable for the Broncos for a while. No specific timetable was provided. Kevin Hogan will serve as Joe Flacco's backup for the foreseeable future.

Lock was projected for 1,427.1 yards, 7.7 touchdowns, and 6.0 interceptions on 207.4 pass attempts before the injury.

Demaryius Thomas activated from PUP list by New England

The New England Patriots activated wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) from the active/PUP list Tuesday.

What It Means:

Thomas suffered an Achilles tear in December and made his first appearance on the practice field for the Pats on Tuesday. While he has not been cleared to play in games, the move means New England expects Thomas to be able to play sometime within the first six games of the regular season.

numberFire's models project Thomas for just 12.5 catches, 164.1 yards, and 1.2 touchdowns in 2019.

Source: Mike Reiss

Andrew Luck (ankle) remaining out for Colts this week

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (ankle) will not practice this week.

What It Means:

Colts head coach Frank Reich says Luck is still dealing with a "full speed movement versus pain threshold" issue. The continued absence is an ominous sign for Luck's Week 1 availability. Look for another update at the beginning of next week.

Operating under the assumption Luck plays all 16 games, numberFire's models project him for 4,464.2 passing yards with 34.02 touchdowns and 12.8 interceptions this season, plus 190.1 yards and another 2.03 scores on the ground. He's the QB4 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Source: Zak Keefer

Duke Johnson (hamstring) back at practice for Texans

Houston Texans running back Duke Johnson (hamstring) returned to practice on Tuesday.

What It Means:

Johnson had been sidelined by a hamstring since before being traded to the Texans, so Tuesday was his first time practicing with the offense. The 25-year-old back is expected to primarily work on passing downs, but he could see an expanded role if Lamar Miller underperforms. Johnson had a career-low 102 touches last season with the Cleveland Browns.

numberFire's models expect Johnson to total 681.0 yards from scrimmage and 4.59 touchdowns on 109.1 touches for the Texans in 2019. He's the RB40 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Bears' David Montgomery 'will help immediately'

Chicago Bears third-round running back David Montgomery "will help this team immediately", according to Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo Sports.

What It Means:

The Bears are "in love" with Montgomery, per Paylor, who commented on the rookie's receiving skills and evasiveness, as well as his "professional approach." Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis will be involved, but Montgomery could lead the backfield in touches right out the gates.

numberFire's models project Montgomery for 221.6 carries, 957.7 yards, and 7.12 touchdowns as a rookie, with another 29.9 receptions for 237.1 yards and 1.47 touchdowns. He's the RB23 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Melvin Gordon 'just waiting for the call' from Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers holdout running back Melvin Gordon said he is "just waiting for the call" from the Chargers before returning.

What It Means:

Gordon continues to seek more money than the Chargers are currently offering and it doesn't sound like any progress has been made. The 26-year-old back is reportedly prepared to sit out regular season games if the two sides can't reach a deal before Week 1.

Taking into account a potential holdout to start the season, Gordon has dropped to the RB10 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. He's currently projected for 943.5 rushing yards, 490.4 receiving yards, and 12.21 touchdowns.

Source: ESPN.com

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