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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Broncos kick off NFL training camps with Sanders on board

Wed Jul 17 5:11pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Joe Flacco, Emmanuel Sanders, Paxton Lynch, Phillip Lindsay, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Lock

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders takes part in drills at the team's NFL football training facility Tuesday, June 4, 2019, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos are the first team in the NFL to kick off training camp Thursday, and they'll do it with Emmanuel Sanders on hand but maybe not Drew Lock.

Sanders won't be full-go as he continues his comeback from a torn Achilles tendon last December, but ''Emmanuel looks good. He's not going to go on PUP. He'll start practicing from Day 1,'' general manager John Elway said Wednesday. ''Obviously we're going to work him in slowly.''

Pro Bowl running back Phillip Lindsay, who hasn't taken a snap since suffering a wrist injury at Oakland on Christmas Eve, also will be eased into action.

''Lindsay's ready to go,'' new head coach Vic Fangio said. ''Lindsay, Emmanuel, we'll ease them in, but we'll get them in quickly.''

Rookies and veterans reported to UC Health Training Center on Wednesday, a week earlier than usual because of the Broncos' upcoming Hall of Fame game against Washington on Aug. 1.

Three other teams - the Cardinals, Seahawks and Ravens - also had rookies report Wednesday but their veterans get several more days of summer vacation, unlike the Broncos.

Lock, however, was missing.

He's the last Broncos rookie without a contract, leaving him a finite amount in Denver's rookie salary pool and his representatives hammering out details such as performance bonuses.

''We'll see,'' Elway said when asked if he felt Lock would be in camp for the first workout Thursday morning. ''I'm not going to make a prediction one way or the other but we're hoping that he's going to be here.''

Lock is vying for the backup job behind newcomer Joe Flacco, whom Elway acquired from Baltimore in yet another offseason makeover.

Widely viewed as a first-round prospect, Lock slipped to the second round, where the Broncos selected him with the 42nd overall pick, one spot behind their new left guard Dalton Risner. Lock has to get used to playing under center after hardly doing so at Missouri.

After the Paxton Lynch fiasco, Elway views his QB situation now like the Chiefs did with Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes two years ago, with the apprentice getting to take his time learning and the veteran preparing to be the starter.

''We feel like he's in his prime,'' Elway said of Flacco, 34. ''At least we hope he is.''

Elway said he's optimistic because new offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello brings to Denver the roots of the Baltimore system in which Flacco excelled early in his career.

Also, ''anytime you get traded midway in your career, two-thirds of the way through your career, you've got something to prove,'' Elway said.

Adding Flacco in a trade and Lock in the draft allows the Broncos ''to solidify that position for a while,'' Elway said. ''Obviously, we've been looking for one since Peyton (Manning) retired. That's always a difficult position to feel. But I finally feel good about that position and where we are.''

The Broncos are coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72 and while they have another rookie head coach, Fangio is 61 and has decades of experience coaching in the pros.

''We've got a lot of work ahead of us,'' Elway said. ''We always have high expectations of ourselves but we just know that the position that we're in and the last two seasons that we've had we've got to take it one day at a time and that's what we're going to do.

''And we're in good shape, too. I think being in early, having the extra week, playing in the Hall of Fame game is going to help us with the new staff. I think that's a positive for us being in early.''

Fangio's first camp as a head coach includes an NFL-most 19 open practices.

''I think it's good to have the fans out here,'' Fangio said. ''You know, the history of the NFL, you had to go to college campuses back in the day because the facilities didn't look like this. When I first went to the Saints in the mid-80s, we had an 80-yard grass field, OK? We had no cafeteria.

''Guys who go to a greasy deli for lunch right across the street. So, you were forced to go to small college campuses to have your two-a-days because they had cafeterias, because they had classrooms and because they had dorms to sleep in. A byproduct of that was fans could come and watch.

''I think one of the things, small things, that has driven the NFL to being the most popular sport in the country is that you let people come and watch practice, people that maybe cannot afford to go to the game and maybe get an autograph from a player. Maybe a player shakes their hand and throws them a sweatband or a glove,'' Fangio added.

''You know, you do that with a young person, you've got a fan for life. And football has a fan for life. There's more to be gained out of that than any advertising slogan or any commercial that you put on TV.''

Player Notes
Doug Marrone Aug 20 7:30pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee won't play Thursday against the Dolphins. The third preseason game is traditionally the one where a team gives their starters the most snaps and the Jaguars are expected to do just that after resting nearly every key player for the first two preseason contests. But Lee, who was just activated from the PUP list after a knee injury last season, is being brought along slowly and head coach Doug Marrone clearly doesn't think he needs to be on a football field yet. Lee was a popular sleeper pick when it looked like he'd be a full go this year, but he's sliding down the rankings as it continues to look like he won't start the year as part of the team's main receiver grouping.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Akins Aug 20 7:20pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Akins was picked by Aaron Reiss of The Athletic as the most improved player at Texans' training camp this year. Akins was constantly making big plays in practice and showing off his versatility. With Jordan Thomas missing most of camp, Akins may actually be in the lead at this point to open the season as Houston's top tight end. That might not translate to much fantasy value on a team that's reportedly interested in keeping four tight ends, but Akins is worth a spot in dynasty leagues in case he emerges as the number-one guy at the position.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Aug 20 5:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman had three carries for 21 yards rushing in Monday night's preseason game against the Broncos. As the primary back in Atlanta in 2018 because of Devonta Freeman's injury, Coleman ran a career-high 167 times for 800 yards (4.8 yards per tote) and four touchdowns. He added 32 receptions for 276 yards and another five scores. He lacks the prototypical size (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) to be an in-between-the-tackles lead back, and he'll share snaps with Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon, which will limit his fantasy ceiling. Still, Coleman has experience with head coach Kyle Shanahan and should be San Fran's most attractive fantasy running back in PPR leagues, just don't reach for him like many did for McKinnon in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Aug 20 5:40pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) has made remarkable progress since tearing his ACL last November. He looks to be on track for Week 1 against the Panthers and wasn't placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to open training camp. Head coach Sean McVay stated at the end of July that Kupp looks better than before his injury. "It sounds crazy but he looks more explosive than he was before, actually," McVay said. The Rams are avoiding using Kupp in preseason action, as they do with most of their starters, but he should be ready for Week 1 and makes for a solid WR2 with some slight injury risk.

From RotoBaller

Robert Foster Aug 20 5:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Robert Foster (foot) was injured during Monday's practice. The details of the injury haven't been released at this point, but Foster was seen walking off the practice field with his left foot wrapped in ice. The team's next preseason game is Friday against the Lions and Foster should be considered questionable at this point. Foster already has a depth chart hurdle to overcome with John Brown, Cole Beasley and Zay Jones currently ahead of him in the wide receiver pecking order, so an injury that keeps him out of preseason action could just bury him further.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Aug 20 5:30pm ET

With Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) healthy, the team has a "four-headed monster" at receiver, including Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Kupp and Josh Reynolds. We have a lot of receivers making key plays, Woods said. Cause Josh has been making plays, but just to get Cooper back in it . . . four different styles of receivers and four different ways to attack your defense. Kupp isn't wearing a brace and has felt good in training camp. He was on pace to be the team's third 1,000-yard receiver in 2018 before his injury. It gives quarterback Jared Goff plenty of options, as the Rams finished second in the NFL in scoring last year and produced 32.9 points per game. You really can't go wrong with any of Cooks, Woods or Kupp in fantasy as your No. 2 wideout. Kupp has some injury risk but is also at times Goff's most reliable target. Cooks and Woods are ranked slightly higher at RotoBaller at No. 16 and 17, respectively, among receivers.

From RotoBaller

Jerick McKinnon Aug 20 5:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon (knee) is not expected to take part in team drills this week as he continues to wait for his injured knee to respond to platelet-rich plasma injection he had 17 days ago.

From TheHuddle

Amari Cooper Aug 20 5:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (heel) is unlikely to play in the remainder of the preseason, but he's hopeful he can practice with the team by the end of the week. He's been out of practice since Aug. 6, and the Cowboys won't risk playing him in a preseason game. Cooper is dealing with "a form of plantar fasciitis" but has improved in recent weeks. He doesn't seem to worried about playing with the injury, but the hope is that it's resolved by the time Week 1 against the Giants comes around. "I'm not worried about it at all, because I know if it does linger, it doesn't matter," Cooper said. "I had 1,000 yards when I played on plantar fasciitis before." The injury is more worrisome to those considering drafting Cooper as a high-end WR2, especially after he excelled in his nine games with Dallas last year after being traded from Oakland. He's become much more of a risk in the early rounds now.

From RotoBaller

Drew Lock Aug 20 5:10pm ET

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock (hand) is likely done for the rest of the preseason after an MRI on his right hand showed a bad sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The second-round selection suffered the injury in the preseason game Monday night against the 49ers while being sacked. The good news is that his injury won't require surgery, but he might not be ready for the regular season. In three preseason games, the rookie had gone 31-for-51 (60.8 percent) for 254 yards, a touchdown and interception. Lock could start games this year if Joe Flacco struggles, but he's mainly a dynasty league target in fantasy leagues. Kevin Hogan and Brett Rypien will back up Flacco with Lock injured.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Howard Aug 20 5:03pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles RB Jordan Howard has 'ran the ball quite well throughout camp,' according to NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt, who concedes that rookie Miles Sanders will 'almost certainly' overtake Howard at some point. However, Rosenblatt expects Howard will stay play a role and be one of the team's top options when it comes to short-yardage situations and in the red zone.

From TheHuddle

Noah Fant Aug 20 4:30pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant hauled in two receptions against the 49ers on Monday, the notable catch being a dump pass from quarterbackJoe Flacco that the rookie tight end turned into an 11-yard run with a nice shake of the 49ers linebacker. So far, Fant's athleticism has looked to be a problem for linebackers and defensive backs trying to guard him. Fant continues to lead a depleted tight end corps for Denver but has yet to be penciled in as a top tight end in regards to fantasy value.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Aug 20 4:23pm ET

New England Patriots WR Demaryius Thomas (Achilles) was activated from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 20.

From TheHuddle

Ronald Jones II Aug 20 4:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (knee) was seen participating in full pads despite having his left knee heavily wrapped during the open portion of practice Tuesday, Aug. 20.

From TheHuddle

Devontae Booker Aug 20 4:20pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker was put to the test with first-team reps, alternating with teammate Royce Freeman in what seemed like a battle for the RB2 spot on the roster. Booker outshined Freeman, averaging 3.8 yards per carry in his four attempts, as his counterpart Freeman struggled to net positive yardage. Booker has been a step behind Freeman all offseason but continues to compete for the 2nd spot behind lead-back Phillip Lindsay.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Aug 20 4:13pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny has routinely flashed the ability to 'make one-handed grabs with the same ease as some of the NFL's stickiest-fingered receivers' and is expected to be a bigger factor than he was during his rookie season, according to ESPN's Brady Henderson. Penny echoed sentiments from his position coach (Chad Morton) that he and Chris Carson can become the same kind of one-two punch the New Orleans Saints enjoyed with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram over the last two seasons.

Fantasy Spin: The Seahawks have a long way to go before they can hope to replicate the success of the Saints' backfield, but a nice start would be if Carson (24) and Penny (12) could double their target totals from a year ago. Carson needs to start being considered a huge value pick in the third round, while Penny should be viewed as a flex with RB1 upside if and/or when Carson is forced to sit with an injury.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Brown Aug 20 4:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown has rejoined the team Tuesday, getting in his first practice in nearly three weeks. He was on the field in a brand new helmet, and head coach Jon Gruden said hes all in. Ready to go. Brown filed a second grievance with the league yesterday, which will likely fall upon deaf ears, but it appears hes putting this issue in the rearview mirror. His feet are also back to full health, giving him plenty of time to get reps in before Week 1. Whether or not this is the last off-field issue of the season remains to be seen, but the seven-time Pro Bowler is still one of the most dynamic players in the league. He makes a risky choice in the second round, but the fantasy ceiling is sky-high.

From RotoBaller

Jaylon Smith Aug 20 4:03pm ET

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith agreed to terms on an undisclosed 'long-term' contract extension with the team Tuesday, Aug. 20.

From TheHuddle

Royce Freeman Aug 20 4:00pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman struggled after seeing first-team reps Monday night against the San Francisco 49ers. Freeman got bottled up on a majority of his runs Monday evening, running a team-high five times, but not managing to net positive yards on the evening. In what seemed like a feeler game for the back-up job to Phillip Lindsay among the rest of the running backs on the roster, Freeman's stock took a major hit. The 2nd-year running back looks to rebound in the final weeks of preseason.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Aug 20 3:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrewshas shown out during training camp this year. The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec reported, "Andrews probably caught more balls than any other offensive player." Andrews had more receiving yards (552) than all other rookie tight ends last season and was the most productive at his position in Baltimore. He and quarterback Lamar Jackson have an exponentially growing connection that could lead to the sophomore tight end becoming Jackson's favorite red-zone target. The Ravens have several tight ends on the roster, but Andrews provides the highest upside. His current ADP is in the high 140s. He's poised for a breakout season this year and could be a late-round steal in drafts, but that's all dependent on how much we see from Jackson's arm.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Aug 20 3:50pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton continues to look comfortable in the Denver Broncos offense, hauling in a 21-yard third-down catch from his new quarterback, Joe Flacco. Sutton has benefited from having an experienced quarterback at the helm of the offense, as he continues to develop in Denver. With teammate Emmanuel Sanders looking healthy in his return last night, Sutton's journey to becoming the undoubted WR1 became slightly more difficult, but he could catapult himself to massive fantasy value with a good season in 2019.

From RotoBaller