Sat Jul 27 2:04pm ET
By MARK FARINELLA
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) Running back Sony Michel had a breakthrough rookie season for the New England Patriots, perhaps their best offensive player in the 2018 playoffs, too.
He knows that in the NFL, there's always something new ahead. For the former Georgia Bulldog, training camp is the latest wrinkle.
''Training camp plays a big part of development going into the season,'' said Michel, 24, who sat out most of his rookie-year camp because of injuries. ''I'm thankful to be in this training camp, and I'm excited to take it day by day.''
Michel, who had a minor arthroscopic knee procedure in the offseason, was taken off the physically unable to perform list Saturday as the defending Super Bowl champions practiced in full pads for the first time this camp.
''It feels good,'' Michel said. ''I'm just working on getting stronger. There's always room for improvement. I'm out here practicing, ready to go and learning. Just trying to get better, and that's what's it's all about.''
The 31st overall pick in the 2018 draft, Michel got off to a slow start in his rookie campaign, missing the opener against Houston. Despite missing three games in all, he still finished the regular season with 931 rushing yards on 209 carries, including four games with 100 or more yards.
Michel then became a dominant player in the Patriots' three-game run to their sixth Super Bowl title: 24 carries for 129 yards against the Chargers; 29 carries for 113 yards at Kansas City in the AFC title game; and 18 carries for 94 yards in the Patriots' 13-3 Super Bowl win over the Rams, scoring the game's only touchdown on a 2-yard run in the fourth quarter.
''It was exciting to be able to do that last year,'' Michel told reporters, ''but as you all know, it's a new season, and we're focusing on what we're trying to accomplish this year.''
The Patriots bolstered their running game in the offseason by reacquiring veteran Brandon Bolden through free agency and selecting Alabama's Damien Harris with a third-round draft choice, both joining veterans James White and Rex Burkhead on the depth chart. Michel said he did not feel threatened by the addition of Harris.
''I was excited,'' Michel said. ''It's another piece of this team that can help this team probably win football games. And that's what it's all about. It's all about building.''
Practicing before an overflow crowd at their Gillette Stadium complex, the Patriots responded with a high-energy session to start what their player personnel director, Nick Caserio, called ''real football.''
''It's an opportunity for us to put the pads on and really establish our foundation relative to fundamentals, techniques, playing with our pads,'' Caserio said. ''We haven't put the pads on and we haven't played football really for real in about six months, so it's a slow process. I think the temperature goes up a little bit with the players, a little bit more energy, a little more competitive spirits, which is good. Our players have always done a great job working with one another in practice like this.''
Michel said he sees the start of his first full training camp as an opportunity to resume a learning process that will continue as long as he plays.
''There are so many things you can improve on, all aspects of the game,'' he said. ''It's another year and I feel like there's more to be learned and more to build on. I know what to expect, and I'm prepared and just ready to go for it.''
The Oakland Raiders Defense is coming off back-to-back stellar weeks and is in a superb spot to keep the trend going in Week 12. Led by the reigning Defensive Player of the Week Maxx Crosby, they've piled up 10 sacks and five turnovers in their last two games, helping them earn double-digit fantasy point totals in each contest. Their Jets opponent this weekend is allowing the second-most fantasy points to the D/ST position, and the third-most sacks in the league (41). Managers looking for a streaming option this week should ride the Raiders defense with confidence.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller has underwhelmed in recent weeks after a scorching start to the 2019 season, but he will look to rebound in Week 12. After averaging over seven catches and 80 yards a game through his first six contests, he's averaged just 3/45 in his four games since. The 26-year-old has still led the team in targets (22) in this span, so owners shouldn't hesitate to put him into lineups this week. Waller be a low-end TE1 versus a Jets Defense that's been surprisingly stingy versus the position in 2019.
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be on the streaming radar once again in Week 12 when the team travels to New York to face the Jets. He'll face a defense that has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points to the position this season, including serving up big games to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gardner Minshew, and Dwayne Haskins in recent weeks. Carr has put up respectable fantasy numbers since their Week 6 bye, and should have no trouble connecting with his receivers versus this mediocre secondary. The veteran's sturdy floor makes him a safe streaming option this Sunday with four fantasy-relevant quarterbacks on their bye week.
Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) was listed as limited for Wednesday's practice, but is in no danger of missing Sunday's game versus the Jets. It's nothing new for the rookie's designation as the team is merely managing his workload after a heavy usage so far this season. Jacobs will be a fringe RB1 versus a Jets team that ranks first in the league in rush yards per game (79.1), but they've still been beaten with 10 touchdowns on the ground. Owners shouldn't hesitate putting Jacobs into their lineups in Week 12 despite the unfriendly matchup.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (shoulder) missed practice on Wednesday. Patrick had four catches on a healthy eight targets for 77 yards in his season debut in Week 11 against the Vikings. Assuming he can play in Week 12 against the Bills, Patrick should once again be the No. 2 behind Courtland Sutton. However, against a stingy Bills Defense and with inexperienced quarterback Brandon Allen remaining under center, Patrick doesn't have a ton of upside as a deep league flex play. If he can't get cleared this Sunday, Daesean Hamilton would be the No. 2.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods was not with the team for practice on Wednesday, and head coach Sean McVay said there is no update on his personal matter. Woods was a surprise inactive last Sunday night because of personal issues, and it's unclear when he might return to the team. For that reason you'll need to have a backup plan in place for Week 12 when the Rams face the Ravens on Monday night. Woods will be even more of a risk with the game being on Monday. With Brandin Cooks (concussion) on track to return this week as well, Woods would be a boom/bust WR3 with how poorly quarterback Jared Goff has played of late. Baltimore's defense is trending up right now, so LA's passing attack could struggle again.
Washington Redskins DE Jonathan Allen (ankle, knee) and DT Daron Payne (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. FS Montae Nicholson (ankle) and DT Tim Settle (hamstring) were limited during practice. S Deshazor Everett (ankle), LB Cole Holcomb (thumb), CB Josh Norman (hamstring) and P Tress Way (shin) fully participated in practice.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Demar Dotson (non-injury), LB Anthony Nelson (hamstring), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee) and S M.J. Stewart (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. DE William Gholston (ankle) and LB Carl Nassib (groin) were limited during practice.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (foot) was held out of practice on Wednesday. The Falcons are likely just giving the veteran some rest late in the season. Jones has battled nagging injuries to his lower body the last several seasons but usually plays through them and remains productive. The 30-year-old hasn't scored a touchdown since Sept. 22, but he's had at least 79 yards receiving in the last five games and has 100-yard performances two times in that span. He'll be a strong WR1 with the Bucs leaky secondary coming to town this Sunday. Jones should be targeted heavily with tight end Austin Hooper (knee) out for another week.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (leg) will not practice on Wednesday, but he could be limited on the field on Thursday. Coming out of the bye week, head coach Pete Carroll expects Lockett to play in Week 12 against the Eagles. He was a bust in Week 10 after going off for 152 yards and two touchdowns in Week 9, but Lockett always has WR1 upside with MVP candidate Russell Wilson throwing him passes. The volume isn't always there in this run-first offense, but Lockett could easily break a big play or two against Philly's secondary this Sunday. Check back on Thursday to see if Lockett returns to the practice field. If he does, he should be on track to play this weekend.
Washington Redskins TE Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Davis still has not been cleared to play by the doctors, so fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. He should be avoided in all fantasy leagues until he is back on the field.
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan (ankle) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Ryan completed 21 of 31 pass attempts for 311 yards and a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11. He's one of the top options this week against a horrid Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary.
Washington Redskins WR Paul Richardson (hamstring) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Richardson was not able to play in the Week 11 game but appears to have a chance to play this week. He has posted seven receptions and 76 yards in his last two games but can be avoided this week if fantasy players have better options.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (foot), S Kemal Ishmael (concussion), DE John Cominsky (ankle), TE Austin Hooper (knee), DE Takkarist McKinley (shoulder) and DE Adrian Clayborn (groin) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 20. CB Desmond Trufant (toe) was limited.
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) was held out of practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: The injury isn't expected to keep Jones out of action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12. Jones caught six of eight targets for 91 yards against the Carolina Panthers in Week 11, but he hasn't found the end zone since Week 3.
Washington Redskins RB Chris Thompson (toe) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Thompson appears to have a chance to play this week, so fantasy players should check on his status later this week. He would be used mostly as a receiver out of a backfield when he returns and would only be a flex option in deeper point-per-reception leagues.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (knee) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. Cooper continues to battle through injuries this year, but he's fully expected to play in Week 12's showdown with the Patriots on the road. He'll likely be shadowed by shutdown cornerback Stephon Gilmore in this one, but Cooper is a must-start fantasy commodity as long as he's playing. With that said, Dallas' No. 1 wideout will be more of a low-end WR1 this weekend, and fantasy owners should temper expectations just a bit.
New England Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Sanu had a monster game in Week 9 while catching 10 of 14 targets for 81 yards and his first touchdown with the team, but he took a big step last week with just two catches for four yards. He's a risky flex option only to be considered in deeper leagues.
New England Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett (concussion) didn't participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Dorsett caught his fifth touchdown of the season last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He doesn't have more than three catches in a game since Week 3, but the Patriots' high-scoring offense provides enough opportunities to keep him in consideration as a flex option.
Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Fantasy Spin: Peterson probably will return to practice later in the week and should have a good chance to play in Week 12. He received only 11 touches last week with Derrius Guice back in the lineup and probably will see a similar workload this week. Fantasy players may be able to find better options to use and can keep him on the bench.