Thu Aug 18 7:06pm ET
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles (9) warms up on the field prior to a preseason NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Buffalo Bills defensive end Boogie Basham (55) forces a fumble by Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles (9), center, during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) along with backup quarterbacks Tim Boyle, left and David Blough, right take a snap during a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts at NFL football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws during joint practice with the Detroit Lions during NFL football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams (30) fumbles a pitch from quarterback Jared Goff (16) during a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts at NFL football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich watches drills during a joint practice with the Detroit Lions at NFL football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
WESTFIELD, Ind. (AP) Jared Goff grew up watching and admiring Matt Ryan from afar.
Eventually, the two quarterbacks started working out at the same offseason facility, developed a friendship and shared a Super Bowl legacy. When they were reunited this week during joint practices between the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions, Nick Foles was added to the club.
Together, the trio gave fans in suburban Indy a rare two-day treat - three Super Bowl starters throwing passes at an open practice.
''I would say this is probably a unique time,'' said Foles, one of 22 quarterbacks to be named Super Bowl MVP. ''I think when you have three guys that have played in the Super Bowl, it's pretty special to be on one field.''
How unusual is it?
Foles, Lions center Frank Ragnow and Colts safety Rodney McLeod couldn't remember another time it's happened during their careers. And until being paired with Foles this season, the 37-year-old Ryan had never played with a quarterback who threw a Super Bowl pass.
Because it's such a small fraternity and NFL careers are so short, it's unclear when it last happened - outside of perhaps a Pro Bowl.
Since Ryan won the NFC championship in his 2016 MVP season, only eight quarterbacks have made Super Bowl starts and nearly half of those were in Westfield, Indiana, this week.
''Dang, that's sweet,'' Ragnow said. ''That experience is invaluable because you really can't mimic playoff football, you really can't mimic that moment, how you're going to feel in that moment. Not many people get that opportunity, so to have that is special for sure.''
Colts coach Frank Reich understands better than most.
While he never made a Super Bowl start, he played a key part in Buffalo's four straight AFC title-winning seasons. In January 1993, he orchestrated the largest comeback in league history to win a wild-card game and keep the streak alive.
Today, he's the only coach with two Super Bowl starters on the quarterback depth chart.
Naturally, there were times Colts starter Ryan, his backup Foles and Lions starter Goff dazzled fans.
While Goff took advantage of a busted Colts coverage with a 50-yard TD pass Thursday, Ryan was making good throws into tight windows against the Lions defense just about 100 yards away with fans of both teams cheering loudly.
Unfortunately, the guys couldn't really enjoy the show.
''I haven't seen a single rep of him (Ryan) because I was on the other field,'' Goff said Wednesday. ''But it was good talking to him for five minutes. He's a great dude and a guy I've grown to be friends with.''
The defenses didn't get much rest, either.
With Goff trying to lead the Lions to their first playoff berth since 2016 and Ryan and Foles teaming up in a bid to end Indy's two-year postseason absence, they created the constant challenges Reich and Lions coach Dan Campbell expected.
''You want to go up against the best and that's saying something,'' Reich said. ''You've got a quarterback that led a team to the Super Bowl, that's rare. As a defensive unit for both sides of the ball, it's a great opportunity to test yourself.''
The rest of the world won't see much of the quarterbacks during Saturday's preseason game.
Reich said he and Campbell spoke previously about limiting their regular starters during the game, as has become the custom during joint practice week. Foles is expected to play about one quarter.
The Colts also placed rookie tight end Drew Ogletree on injured reserve. The sixth-round draft pick was No. 3 on the depth chart after an impressive camp but tests confirmed he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee Wednesday.
''That's all it was, thank goodness. It could've been other things and it wasn't, so it's usually about a nine-month timetable,'' Reich said.
Campbell said receiver Devin Funchess, who also left Wednesday's practice early, suffered a stinger in his right shoulder. Funchess tweeted that ''all is well.''
With no major injuries, no shoving matches, not even a verbal spat Thursday, the three quarterbacks took center stage: Ryan, Foles and Goff, who faced New England in successive Super Bowls. Foles sandwiched his win around the two losses suffered by Ryan and Goff, then with the Los Angeles Rams.
''It's definitely rare,'' Foles said. ''I think all of us right now are just focused on our current foundations and taking the wisdom we've learned from those games and try to bring them with how we play the game now.''
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan won't play in the team's second preseason game against the Detroit Lions on Saturday. Along with Ryan, head coach Frank Reich said most of the starters won't play. Nick Foles will likely play around a quarter, followed by Sam Ehlinger and Jack Coan. Ryan has mostly looked good in training camp heading into his first season with the Colts, but the 37-year-old shouldn't be relied on as a QB1 in fantasy football. The Colts will likely remain a run-first team with running back Jonathan Taylor at their disposal. Ryan should be better than he was in his final year with the Atlanta Falcons, though, behind a much better offensive line. He should be a solid fantasy backup in 2022.
New York Giants wide receiver Kadarius Toney (knee) wasn't in pads for training camp practice on Thursday, but he took part in individual drills and looked spry. Toney did not take part in the team's preseason opener last week and hasn't seen much work at training camp as the Giants try to make sure he's healthy for the start of the regular season. The 23-year-old former first-rounder is already developing a reputation for being injury-prone, but he was impressive in the 10 games he played in his rookie season, catching 39 of 57 targets for 420 yards and no touchdowns. With quarterback Daniel Jones healthy in 2022, Toney is an intriguing WR4/flex flier with upside late in fantasy drafts.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles didn't have a timetable for quarterback Tom Brady's (personal) return to the team when asked on Thursday. "We'll see. We'll talk about it next week. I'm not concerned about it right now. We're trying to practice against Tennessee and play a game. I said sometime after Tennessee. There's no definitive date for me. We'll keep in touch and find out." Bowles said. The Bucs initially expected Brady to return at some point after their second preseason game this weekend against the Tennessee Titans, so nothing has really changed at this point. If Brady still isn't back with the team by next week, then we can start to panic. Even if he was with the team, he'd be without receivers Mike Evans (hamstring), Russell Gage (leg) and Chris Godwin (knee).
Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Ty Chandler (ankle) isn't practicing at training camp on Thursday due to an ankle injury, but the team is hopeful that he can play in the second preseason game on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers. Chandler stood out in the preseason opener with 50 yards rushing as he competes for the No. 3 running back job against Kene Nwangwu and fellow rookie Bryant Koback behind starter Dalvin Cook and backup Alexander Mattison. The fifth-round selection should only be considered as a late-round pick in dynasty/keeper leagues this fall.
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Achilles) looked great while running routes on a back field at training camp on Thursday, and he was very involved on the offensive sideline during practice. Shepard remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list at camp, but it appears that he's getting closer to returning from a torn left Achilles that he suffered late last year. It remains to be seen if the 29-year-old pass-catcher will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season, and with all the other bodies in New York's receiver room, he'll likely go undrafted in most standard-sized fantasy leagues. As of right now, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and rookie Wan'Dale Robinson appear to be the team's starters in three-wide sets.
According to Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, there's a good chance that wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) returns to training camp practice next week. Smith-Schuster will be held out of the team's second preseason game this Saturday against the Washington Commanders, but barring any setbacks, he should be good to go for Week 1 of the regular season. The 25-year-old played in only five games in his final season with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 due to a shoulder injury, but he's past the shoulder issue and is in line for a substantial role as one of quarterback Patrick Mahomes' primary targets in his first year in KC. However, Mahomes is expected to spread the ball around in the offense, making Smith-Schuster more of a WR3 with upside in fantasy drafts.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski announced that quarterback Deshaun Watson will not play in anymore preseason games after it was announced on Thursday that he will be suspended for 11 games in 2022 for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. Watson can practice with the team until Aug. 30, and then he'll return to the practice field in November while preparing to make his debut with the Browns in Week 13 against his former team, the Houston Texans. The 26-year-old's fantasy value as a QB2 stash takes even more of a hit from a six-game suspension to an 11-game suspension. Meanwhile, Jacoby Brissett will fill in as the starter to begin the season. In a run-first offense, Brissett will be more of a game manager and will be a low-end QB2 in fantasy.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin announced on Thursday that quarterback Mitch Trubisky will start the team's second preseason game on Saturday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his first preseason action last week against the Seattle Seahawks, Trubisky completed four of his seven attempts for 63 yards and a touchdown, and he'll continue to work with the first-team offense this weekend. Barring something unforeseen, the 27-year-old is fully expected to open Week 1 as the starter, but how long he remains in the role is the most interesting part as the season unfolds. If Trubisky falters early on, the Steelers could easily turn to Mason Rudolph or rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett.
Dynasty | Deshaun Watson and the NFL have reached an agreement on a settlement that will close his peronsal conduct case and result in a final suspension of 11 games. Dynasty Analysis: Watson will also be given a $5 million fine and have to undergo mandatory behavioral counseling as part of the agreement. Watson was clearly concerned the NFL was going to come back and suspend him for another full season and worked fast to find middle ground beyond the six-game suspension he was given by the independent judge. This finally gives us some clarity on what's going to happen and gives Watson managers the ability to go to "Plan B." As for the Browns, they could stick with Jacoby Brissett or look to get Jimmy Garoppolo as a bridge to Watson. After all, a lot can be decided in 11 games. As for Watson, his ranking of QB12 seems secure at the moment, though it should rise when he comes back.
Dynasty | Jaguars running back James Robinson is on track to be ready for the season opener. Dynasty Analysis: This has been trending to happen for the better part of the Summer, but Doug Pederson is now on record saying that's the expectation. It's a quick recovery from a torn achilles last season, but it looks as if Robinson is going to join Cam Akers in the group of quick healers from the ailment. While much of the talk of the Jaguars running back room has been centered around Travis Etienne, Robinson has been likely undervalued by the dynasty community. At RB41, he's looking like a screaming buy at the moment.
Dynasty | Zack Moss could be headed towards meaningful playing time this season. Dynasty Analysis: This is shaping up to be a fantasy disaster as both Devin Singletary and James Cook seem to be destined for a lot of time as well. With Moss showing well in camp and the preseason, this could turn out to be a dreaded three-headed committee. At this point, none of these players have emerged enough to trust completely at the beginning of the season. At RB68, Moss looks like he could have the best value amongst the three at the moment. Stay tuned.
Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said that running back J.D. McKissic (groin) missed training camp practice on Thursday due to a little tightness in his groin. McKissic's groin injury is unlikely to be very serious, but the Commanders will take a cautious approach with the regular season quickly approaching. He's probably unlikely to play in the team's second preseason game this Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs either. The 29-year-old might have a smaller role in 2022 as a pass-catcher with third-round rookie Brian Robinson now in the fold alongside Antonio Gibson. With 986 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on 123 receptions the last two years in D.C., McKissic is more valuable in PPR formats as an RB3/4 in deeper leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said that the starters, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes, would play as much as the first half in Saturday's second preseason game against the Washington Commanders. Backup Chad Henne will get the game off, so it will be Mahomes and Shane Buechele under center this weekend. Fantasy managers will be crossing their fingers that nothing happens to Mahomes against Washington. With receiver Tyreek Hill now in Miami, Mahomes is expected to spread the ball around through the air more, and tight end Travis Kelce could be his go-to guy when needed. The 26-year-old former MVP and Super Bowl champion finished as the QB4 in fantasy last year and should be one of the top three signal-callers off the board in fantasy drafts.
Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Khalil Shakir has had an outstanding training camp this summer, to the point where the team is likely trying to find ways to get him involved on game days. He was initially projected as a slot-only receiver, but he has also received a lot of work on the boundary. Shakir could be the top reserve if anything happens to Stefon Diggs or Gabe Davis. The 22-year-old is also a candidate to be the primary punt returner, which could enhance his game-day role. Shakir shouldn't be on the redraft radar heading into his rookie season, but he should certainly be on the radar of those drafting in dynasty/keeper formats in 2022. In the preseason opener, he caught all five of his targets for 92 yards.
Buffalo Bills tight end O.J. Howard has been a slight disappointment this summer in training camp. He's a solid blocker who can help in two-tight end formations, but he doesn't look to be an immediate threat to Dawson Knox for playing time. Howard is a big body, but he's looked slow and has been predictable on his routes. It was slightly alarming that he was playing deep into the fourth quarter in the team's first preseason game last weekend. Meanwhile, Tommy Sweeney is on the roster bubble but has stepped up the last two weeks. He's not much of a special teams asset but is a glue guy in the locker room, and the Bills would love to keep him around. Knox should be considered a low-end TE1, while Howard should be ignored in fantasy football drafts.
The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia writes that there isn't much standing in the way of Buffalo Bills wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis being on the field for 90-plus percent of the offensive snaps this year. Diggs continues to look explosive, and the team will give him more chances for yards after the catch. Davis has the makings of the most talented No. 2 wideout that quarterback Josh Allen has had in Buffalo. He looks primed to play a huge role in 2022 and is also the top run-blocking receiver, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him lead the receivers in snaps this year. Diggs is a lock as a top-five fantasy receiver target in your upcoming drafts, while Davis should continue to rise up draft boards as a WR3 with considerable upside.
The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia writes that the Buffalo Bills running back situation could devolve into a muddy three-person committee this year between Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and rookie James Cook. Singletary is the most experienced in the system, and how he finished last year as the sole trusted back shouldn't be ignored. But the Bills have sought a more versatile skill set the last few offseasons, and he's underwhelming in short-yardage situations and as a pass-catcher. The Bills continue to believe in Moss. He's completely healthy now and has looked more explosive. Cook is buzzworthy as a second-round pick, but if Singletary and Moss continue to get looks with quarterback Josh Allen, Cook's offensive role could be smaller than some expect. The Bills have taken it slow with most of their rookies under head coach Sean McDermott, and Cook's pass protection hasn't been the best.
The NFL and Players Association reached an agreement in Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's case on Thursday, and he will be suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million. Watson will also undergo a treatment program and will be eligible to return against the Houston Texans, his former team. There had been talks between the league and Players Association this week on a settlement with designee Peter C. Harvey expected to hand down an even harsher penalty for Watson if the two sides didn't agree on a settlement. While Watson will be allowed to play in 2022, the longer suspension makes him even less attractive as a QB2 stash in fantasy leagues. Jacoby Brissett will be the team's starter under center until Watson returns, lowering the value of the rest of the team's offensive skill players.
The Athletic's Bob Sturm expects the 2022 season to be running back Ezekiel Elliott's last with the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott has lacked explosiveness in recent seasons and his rushing yards per game have fallen every year of his career. His yards per game receiving have also dropped every year since 2018, and he's unlikely to suddenly improve in those areas in 2022. His salary cap number next year isn't guaranteed and will be about $17 million. The Cowboys said they are fully committed to the 27-year-old this year, but fantasy managers probably aren't expecting much despite the fact that he rushed for 1,000 yards in 2021 for the fourth time in six seasons. Tony Pollard, who looked much more explosive last year, should continue to steal valuable touches away from Zeke, making Elliott a clear RB2 instead of an RB1 at this point.
Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson was suspended for 11 games and fined $5 million by the NFL, according to a source Thursday, Aug. 18. His first game back will be Week 13 against the Houston Texans.
Fantasy Spin: Even though Watson avoided the full-year suspension, fantasy managers should avoid using a draft pick on him given the length of the suspension. He has QB1 upside when he does return, but it's a risky bet burning a bench spot for that long.