Thu Aug 11 5:34pm ET
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) signs autographs, after training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Saturday, July 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (12) runs through drills during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Saints offensive tackle Trevor Penning (70) works on a blocking drill during NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Saturday, July 30, 2022. The Saints first-round draft choice has been at the center of a few training camp skirmishes this week as he fights for playing time at left tackle. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
METAIRIE, La. (AP) Saints top draft choice Chris Olave senses that the bursts of speed and sudden changes in direction that served him well in college will translate well in the NFL.
Fellow New Orleans first-round pick Trevor Penning has been exhibiting the same nasty streak as a blocker that intrigued the Saints when they were scouting him.
Olave, taken 11th overall out of Ohio State, and Penning, selected 19th overall out of Northern Iowa, both have stood out during the opening weeks of training camp.
Their first live action against another team comes Saturday night in Houston.
''It's game speed,'' Olave said excitedly. ''To finally get out there to play my first NFL game is going to be fun. I can't wait.''
Olave played four seasons at Ohio State, scoring 35 career touchdowns. But he spent most of his freshman season on special teams until a teammate's injury thrust him into the game plan as a receiver for the first time in the regular season finale against rival Michigan.
Olave rose to the occasion, scoring two 24-yard touchdowns to go with his punt block that was recovered for a touchdown in a lopsided Buckeyes triumph.
''He was a freshman, got his named called up and excelled for a game that we needed him,'' recalled Saints second-year linebacker Pete Werner, who was on that 2018 Ohio State team. ''We saw that and he got his respect really fast. ... Right when we saw that, I knew he was going to be special.''
Olave recalls that he was ''definitely'' nervous, ''but at the end of the day, it was just playing football. So, I went out there and had some fun.''
His mindset hasn't changed in New Orleans. He already has had his share of highlights in 11-on-11 snaps in camp, including a 60-yard touchdown pass from projected starting quarterback Jameis Winston.
''He's already a pro,'' Winston said earlier in camp. ''The moment isn't too big for him. He's just an excellent player and he works his tail off. He's smooth and he can run and you always like that.''
Olave's ability to make sudden and hard cuts have left even seasoned defensive backs having to recover after turning the wrong way.
''I work on that, but it's really natural ability, and God blessed me with that,'' Olave said. ''I kind of try to use that in and out of my breaks and to kind of shake people at the line. I feel like that helps me a lot.''
Olave is working to fit in with a receiver group that includes veterans Michael Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harty.
Penning, meanwhile, aims to demonstrate that he belongs at left tackle, where veteran James Hurst has so far been taking the bulk of first-team snaps in practice.
While the 6-foot-7, 332-pound Penning wears a welcoming smile during media interviews, he plays with a mean streak that coaches like - for the most part.
Penning was involved in a series of after-the-whistle scuffles and was dismissed from one practice because of it. But while Penning would rather avoid discipline from coaches and game officials, he doesn't want to change his ferocious and relentless approach to blocking.
''Nothing's nice about football. You've got to be mean,'' Penning said. ''You want the guy across from you to hate your guts. I mean, if the guy across from you hates you, you're doing your job.''
Penning figures a lot of eyes will be on him - both because of the buzz he's generated with his physical play and because the Saints invested a first-round pick on him - and he couldn't be happier about it.
''I love when people are paying attention to the linemen,'' Penning said.
That's bound to happen when Penning takes his first live NFL snaps against the Texans.
NOTES: Winston (right foot), Werner (groin), and rookie defensive back Alontae Taylor did not practice on Thursday. Saints coach Dennis Allen said Taylor's injury appears to be minor. Winston already has been ruled out of the preseason opener, which many starters routinely sit out anyway to minimize exposure to injury and allow coaches to evaluate less experienced players.
Dynasty | Patriots running back James White has retired after eight seasons. Dynasty Analysis: One of the most underrated weapons in fantasy football, White is choosing to walk away after battling injuries over the past couple of seasons. While his career total of 1,278 rushing yards isn't exactly eye-popping, he was a PPR monster with 381 career catches for 3,278 yards and scored a total of 36 career touchdowns. His retirement could open the door for Ty Montgomery, but the Patriots backfield is always a quagmire.
Dynasty | Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams won't be ready for the season opener. Dynasty Analysis: This was pretty much expected after Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship game. Dynasty managers are going to need to be patient, though they should also be happy the Lions aren't pushing his recovery. Williams will likely miss at least the first month of the season, but he should be available to help dynasty teams towards the end of the year. He remains our overall 6th ranked rookie and that could actually prove to be a bargain.
The Cleveland Browns could look to trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension is to be increased after the NFL appealed the initial ruling. The 30-year-old is on the trade block after the 49ers handed the keys to their 2021 third overall pick Trey Lance, but there hasn't been a ton of interest in the veteran. With Jacoby Brissett currently in line to start in Watson's absence, Garoppolo would be an upgrade for the Cleveland offense, which in itself is a good reason to consider a trade. After posting 3,810 passing yards and 20 touchdowns in 2021, Garoppolo can be valued as a QB2 option with a limited ceiling for fantasy managers if he is to be acquired by Cleveland.
Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery (undisclosed) is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. The 25-year-old is not expected to play in Saturday's preseason opener, however, Montgomery will be back "pretty fast," according to head coach Matt Eberflus. Upon his return to action, Montgomery will lead the Chicago backfield with sophomore Khalil Herbert as the No.2 option in what could be an improved offense from an abysmal 2021 season. Still, the fourth-year back figures to be more of a low-end RB2 with a limited ceiling despite having a significant potential workload.
Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet (undisclosed) is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury, per head coach Matt Eberflus. The injury is not a cause for concern, however, Kmet is not expected to play in the team's preseason opener on Saturday. In his absence, Ryan Griffin and James O'Shaughnessy should get the most action at tight end, as the two will battle it out for the TE2 role in the Chicago offense. Upon Kmet's return to action, the 23-year-old is a potential breakout candidate as he will likely have a large workload in the Chicago offense that lacks receiving threats. After seeing 93 targets in his sophomore season, Kmet should be one of Justin Fields' go-to targets once again and has low-end TE1 appeal for fantasy managers.
New England Patriots wide receivers Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker and rookie Tyquan Thornton have regularly been taking first-team repetitions in training camp. The Patriots think Thornton has earned first-team reps and they want to see how he responds to the increased workload, according to a team source. If Thornton proves himself, the Pats will have too many high-priced receivers, especially since they're mostly expected to use two tight-end sets. A source close to the situation expects one of the team's veteran receivers to be traded or released, and that source thinks Agholor is the prime candidate. He's been productive through two weeks with the offensive schematic changes, but he might be the odd-man out. The best-case scenario for Agholor in fantasy and real life might be a trade out of New England.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky will start Saturday's preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks, according to head coach Mike Tomlin. Although Trubisky hasn't really impressed all that much to this point in training camp practices, he remains the favorite to open the regular season as the starter under center for Pittsburgh. Mason Rudolph and rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett will follow Trubisky in the first preseason game this weekend. The 27-year-old Trubisky will likely play only the first quarter against Seattle. While he'll open the year as the Week 1 starter, what happens after that remains to be seen, and he's unlikely to have a very long leash if he's not playing well early on.
Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel said he's "encouraged" by the idea of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa not playing in the team's preseason opener on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although the Dolphins have a new coaching staff and new offense under McDaniel this year, it's still pretty typical for NFL teams to rest most of their starters early in the preseason. With a top-two duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle now at his disposal in the passing attack, Tagovailoa is expected to take a step forward in Year 3. There's certainly QB1 upside with a game-changing player like Hill now in the fold, but until he proves it, Tagovailoa will be drafted as a QB2 with upside in most fantasy football leagues.
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said that quarterback Matt Ryan will play the first quarter of the team's preseason opener on Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. A lot of NFL teams are resting their starters in the first week of preseason action, but the Colts want to see Ryan operate the offense heading into his first season with the team. The 37-year-old has been impressive and decisive so far in training camp practices, and he should be an upgrade over what Carson Wentz gave them in 2021. It's good news for all of the Colts offensive weapons, perhaps most notably running back Nyheim Hines, who the Colts want to get more involved in the short passing game. The Colts will remain a run-first squad with running back Jonathan Taylor around, but Ryan should be a steady QB2 presence for fantasy managers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles said that quarterback Tom Brady won't be back with the team until after the preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, which is on Aug. 20. Brady wasn't at training camp practice on Thursday for personal, non-football reasons. The 45-year-old GOAT will miss some valuable time to gain chemistry with the likes of receivers Russell Gage and veteran Julio Jones, but he'll probably be just fine in the long run. In his absence, Blaine Gabbert, Kyle Trask and Ryan Griffin will get more work with the offense in practices and preseason games. Fantasy managers shouldn't be too concerned right now, as Brady is expected to be ready to go by Week 1 of the regular season.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott said that quarterback Josh Allen won't play in the team's preseason opener against the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Even with Ken Dorsey stepping in to replace Brian Daboll as the team's offensive coordinator in 2022, the Bills are comfortable sitting Allen out of the first preseason action. The 26-year-old finished as the QB1 in fantasy football last year by throwing for 4,407 yards, 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions, adding 763 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 122 rushing attempts. As a result, he should be the first signal-caller to come off the board in the early rounds of your upcoming fantasy drafts.
New England Patriots running back James White announced his retirement from professional football on Thursday on his official Twitter account. White played in just three games in 2021 due to a hip injury that he was still attempting to come back from this summer. The 30-year-old former fourth-rounder will now hang up his cleats and will finish his eight-year career (all with the Patriots) with 381 catches (511 targets) for 3,278 yards and 25 touchdowns, adding 1,278 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries in 95 games. With White out of the picture in 2022, it will mean bigger roles for Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty Montgomery and rookie Pierre Strong Jr.
Detroit Lions rookie first-round wide receiver Jameson Williams (knee) will miss Week 1 of the regular season. The Lions aren't putting a public timetable on Williams' return. 'We're going to be very smart with him," general manager Brad Holmes said. "He's in a good place right now." The 21-year-old tore his ACL last December in college, and he won't be ready for the start of the regular season. There's also a chance he'll miss up to the first four games of the season if he remains on the Non-Football Injury list to open Week 1. Williams will cost a pretty penny in dynasty/keeper leagues, but he'll be nothing more than a late-round flier in redraft formats in 2022. Amon-Ra St. Brown and DJ Chark will be Detroit's top two pass-catchers for much of the year.
Miami Dolphins running back Chase Edmonds looks like the favorite to lead the backfield this season, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Edmonds has adapted well to the Dolphins' new offensive scheme, which is something that tailors well to his speed and explosiveness as a ball carrier. The backfield is crowded as of now, with Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, as well as Myles Gaskin, who is on the roster bubble, in the mix. Still, Edmonds could return fantasy managers RB3/flex value as he should see a significant workload early on. If Mostert or Michel, who have missed their fair share of action in the past, miss any time this season, Edmonds could vault into RB2 territory.
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard could have an increased role in his fourth season, as the team has made it known that they would like to get their dynamic playmaker more involved. The 25-year-old has been working in the offseason as a slot receiver, which would mean that he and Ezekiel Elliott could be on the field at the same time, something that we have not seen much of during his first three years with the team. With the Cowboy's wide receiver room more shallow than last season, it may be a necessity that Pollard takes on a bigger role in the passing game. "In the offseason, during the season, it's not going unnoticed. Guys are noticing the things that I can do with the ball to help the team, just knowing that I can contribute more and more to the team." As one of the most explosive weapons on the Dallas offense, a significant role as a receiver would mean some standalone value for Pollard as an RB3/ FLEX option. If his running mate misses any time, his fantasy value would skyrocket.
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones and the rest of the first-team offense are not expected to play in Thursday's preseason opener against the New York Giants, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN. Brian Hoyer and rookie Bailey Zappe will get some playing time with Jones not suiting up, so the two will need to battle to earn the backup job behind the former Alabama collegiate star. Zappe has been impressive during his first training camp with the team and has a good opportunity to show what he can do in a game situation. The fourth-round pick out of Western Kentucky is likely the best option for any preseason DFS tournaments
Chicago Bears wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) will undergo tightrope surgery on Thursday after suffering a high ankle sprain and is expected to be held out of action for eight weeks. The 24-year-old was looking for a fresh start in Chicago after being acquired from New England, as the former first-round pick couldn't live up to expectations with his former team. Harry played three seasons with the Patriots, racking up just 57 receptions for 598 yards and four touchdowns. With a thin wide receiver room in Chicago, Harry likely could have earned some playing time as the depth chart seems to be wide open behind Darnell Mooney locked in as the No. 1 option. When he returns to action, the newly-acquired wideout will be competing with Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., and Equanimeous St. Brown for targets, which will keep him off the fantasy radar for now.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff said that wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is his go-to receiver. "I'm looking for him when things break down, and I'm looking for him when we need a play. Right now, he's that guy," Goff said. In his rookie year in 2021, St. Brown emerged as the Lions best receiver, catching 90 of his 119 targets for 912 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games (nine starts). The 22-year-old should remain a big part of Detroit's offense this year, but there will be some more competition for targets, namely DJ Chark, who has looked good in training camp. Rookie first-rounder Jameson Williams (knee), might not be ready for the start of the year, but he'll eventually have a role as well. St. Brown should still have big games, but he might not be the target hog he was in 2021. Target him as a WR3 in fantasy football drafts.
Dynasty | There have been no substantial talks between the Vikings and Alexander Mattison in terms of a contract extension. Dynasty Analysis: Mattison has always fared very well as the backup to Dalvin Cook, but it seems Minnesota is unwilling to pay two different running backs big contracts. While Mattison wouldn't cost nearly as much as Cook, it would be easy to argue he'd be a better value. Regardless, it looks like Mattison may end up as a free agent at the end of the season and he'd be in line for a nice value increase should that come to fruition.
Dynasty | Damien Harris could be traded ahead of roster cuts, according to Sports Illustrated. Dynasty Analysis: Any ticket out of New England would be good for Harris, who is stuck in Patriot purgatory, sharing a backfield with the likes of Rhamondre Stevenson, James White, Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong, JJ Taylor, and Kevin Harris. There's simply no way the Pats can keep everyone in this group and it appears they've soured on Harris, our RB32. If Harris stays, expect his value to dip even further. Dynasty managers should be hoping for a deal.