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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Interference or not, NFL refs preparing for replay reviews

Fri Jul 12 5:53pm ET
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
AP Sports Writer

PLANO, Texas (AP) Veteran NFL referee Tony Corrente was quick to make the distinction about what changes now that pass interference can be challenged by coaches and reviewed by officials.

''First of all, the rule has not changed whatsoever. Pass interference is still the same rule that we have had in the past,'' Corrente said Friday. ''We haven't changed our perspective toward it, we haven't changed our interpretations of it whatsoever. It's just the addition of replay.''

The significant difference, however, is the subjective nature of plays that are typically judgment calls that can now be reviewed, beyond objective standards such as whether a player stepped out of bounds or where the ball should be marked.

''That's the new box we've opened,'' said Corrente, going into his 25th season as an NFL official and 22nd as a referee.

All 122 NFL officials are taking part this weekend in their annual clinic. The gathering comes about four months after NFL owners approved by a 31-1 margin to allow pass interference or non-calls to be challenged by coaches until the final two minutes, when officials in the booth can then stop the game for such reviews.

It is an one-season experiment that could very well stick after an egregious missed call in the NFC championship game in January that cost the New Orleans Saints a trip to the Super Bowl.

The NFL competition committee in May decided against making any changes to the new rule approved by owners.

''We understand the play that elevated and got us to where we are today,'' said Alberto Riveron, the NFL's senior vice president of officiating.

But Riveron stressed that league officials have been discussing the possibility of such reviews for several years, long before the non-call in the closing minutes of regulation after Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis was hit by cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman in a game the Los Angeles Rams went on to win in overtime.

''The competition committee and ownership is constantly looking at ways to get better. We have discussed replay before as it pertains to other situations. Pass interference, holding, personal fouls,'' Riveron said. ''But we do understand a play of this magnitude elevated us to the point where we are today. But again, it's not new.''

Referee Ron Torbert said officials won't change their approach or what they do on the field. He said the change is just an addition to the list of situations that are subject to review by instant replay.

''We'll still do what we've always done, which is try to get every play right,'' Torbert said.

During the rule's one-year trial this season, coaches still can challenge until the two-minute warning of each half or overtime. A replay official would be responsible for any reviews after that, but would need ''clear and obvious visual evidence'' to review and overturn potential pass interference in an attempt to avoid too many stoppages.

The replay official will have only the angles on the television broadcast available to overturn an on-field decision. Pass interference still is defined as an act significantly hindering the opportunity to make a play on a ball, and all pass plays will be subject to review.

When there are such reviews, Torbert and Corrente said referees will be part of a collaborative effort with Riveron and replay officials in New York looking at the plays. The referees can relay why an official called pass interference - or why they didn't throw a flag.

''That collaboration occurs with any reviewable play,'' Torbert said. ''Not just pass interference.''

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Aug 25 12:20am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel caught two of three targets for 27 yards Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. After two solid preseason games, Samuel had a relatively quiet evening. The second-round rookie has demonstrated electric upside and could be in-line for a meaningful role immediately in the Niners offense. With a stellar college resume and advanced skillset, Samuel deserves some sleeper love as RotoBallers WR73.

From RotoBaller

Dante Pettis Aug 25 12:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis grabbed three balls on five targets for 36 yards Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Following two quiet games, Pettis was finally in the mix after he indicated he was playing explosive and consistent earlier this week. Despite being pushed by rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd (back), Pettis appears a lock to start heading into Week 1. After emerging as the second option to tight end George Kittle last season, Pettis is shaping up as a solid backend WR2.

From RotoBaller

Phillip Lindsay Aug 25 12:10am ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay did not take action on Saturday night in the Broncos preseason game versus the Los Angeles Rams. Lindsay is coming off of preseason week two where he took reps with the second team and the backs behind him looked lackluster. The 2nd-year back seems to have the starting job locked up in Denver going into the regular season as he looks to follow up a stellar rookie year.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Hurd Aug 25 12:10am ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd (back) did not play Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Hurd also sat out last Monday due to back tightness so two consecutive missed games is not a positive development. The 2019 third-round pick made noise with two touchdowns in the first preseason contest but has dealt with nagging injuries even before he was a Niner. Hurd has the size to be a legitimate red zone threat but his fantasy impact will be muted until he sees the field.

From RotoBaller

Brandon McManus Aug 25 12:10am ET

Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus continued what has been an impressive preseason, with a solid performance Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. The 6th-year kicker connected on both field-goal attempts on the night, with a long of 38 yards. McManus looks to keep his consistency going in 2019, surrounded by an improved roster from the 2018 season.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Aug 25 12:00am ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida recorded nine touches for 75 yards and a touchdown Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs. Breida toted the rock seven times for 44 yards and added two catches for 31 yards including a 20-yard touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo in the first quarter. While Breida will share snaps with Tevin Coleman this season, the third-year player has repeatedly proven he can make plays when he touches the ball. He should make a fine RB3/flex heading into 2019.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 24 11:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown in Saturdays victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Garoppolo bounced back in a big way after an ugly game last Monday, finding running back Matt Breida for a 20-yard score in the first quarter. In his second game back from a torn ACL, the performance should qualm some alarmists in the Niner and fantasy communities about Garoppolos competency as a starter. However, hes still just a factor in two-quarterback leagues or a backup in standard formats.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Thomas Aug 24 11:20pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Jordan Thomas was targeted six times in Houston's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys, grabbing two of those targets for a team-high 33 yards. It was a rough night for the Texans, who failed to reach 100 passing yards, but Thomas was the tiniest sliver of a bright spot. He still has a chance to beat out Jordan Akins for the starting tight end job, though the word "starting" isn't likely to mean much as Akins, Thomas, and veteran Darren Fells will all rotate in and out, with rookie Kahale Warring expected to play a small role if healthy. Thomas has potential in fantasy leagues, but if Houston plays all of their tight ends, it'll be hard to see a path for Thomas to consistent fantasy relevance.

From RotoBaller

Karan Higdon Aug 24 11:10pm ET

Houston Texans running back Karan Higdon carried the ball a team-high 13 times for 28 yards in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Higdon was the first back up after starter Lamar Miller went down with an ACL, which seems to suggest he's next in line in this Houston offense to see early down work. However, Higdon wasn't that impressive in this one and could very well wind up cut by the time the season rolls around. It's a fluid situation, and there's no good reason to pick Higdon in a re-draft league until we actually have some clarity.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson played just one series in Houston's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He was sacked twice and watched teammate Lamar Miller get carted off the field, which probably contributed to head coach Bill O'Brien sending his star quarterback to the bench. Watson has the chance to be a top-five fantasy quarterback, but Houston's offensive line will have to give him a pocket. Saturday didn't help anyone feel better about that being a reality this year. You still draft Watson as a top quarterback, but do so with an understanding that he could get beat up this season.

From RotoBaller

Joe Webb Aug 24 11:00pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Joe Webb had a rough one in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys, going 8-for-21 passing the ball for 62 yards and a pair of interceptions. He added 25 yards on four carries as well. Webb's going to be Houston's third quarterback once A.J. McCarron is back, so he doesn't have any fantasy value heading into the season and shouldn't be rostered anywhere, but he will likely see major minutes again when Houston hosts the Rams in the preseason finale. Webb's a risky but potentially rewarding DFS option for the last week of preseason action.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Aug 24 10:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo completed 14 of his 20 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs in the preseason Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: After a horrible preseason debut, Garoppolo looked sharp in his second appearance. The 49ers added a bunch of weapons this offseason, but Garoppolo is still an unproven commodity. Consider him a midrange QB2 with upside.

From TheHuddle

Andrew Luck Aug 24 10:53pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL Saturday, Aug. 24.

From TheHuddle

Robby Anderson Aug 24 10:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught both of his targets for 60 yards against the Saints on Saturday. The highlight of Anderson's night was a 41-yard reception where he made a nice adjustment on an underthrown ball from Sam Darnold. Anderson finishes the preseason with five catches on five targets for 92 yards and no touchdowns. Anderson is a high ceiling, low floor receiver on a week-to-week basis because he relies so heavily on the big play, but should provide enough big games to be drafted near the top-60 players overall.

From RotoBaller

Michael Gallup Aug 24 10:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup caught a 12-yard touchdown in a 34-0 preseason win over the Houston Texans Saturday, Aug. 24.

Fantasy Spin: Gallup enters the season as the No. 2 option in the Dallas passing game, but he is still likely to be a big-play dependent deep threat. He's worth a look as a WR5.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Miller Aug 24 10:40pm ET

Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller is feared to have suffered a torn ACL in Saturday's preseason loss to the Dallas Cowboys. If confirmed, Miller's season is over before it began, and his Texans career is likely coming to a close as well. Duke Johnson will get more chances to run the ball, but the workload in Houston will also fall to someone else as well. Maybe it's veteran Taiwan Jones. Maybe it's one of the undrafted rookies, Damarea Crockett or Karan Higdon. Maybe Houston signs or trades for a back. Whoever earns the job has value as a flex option, but it's going to be a few days before we have a clear sense of how this backfield will shake out. At the very least, it's time to grab Crockett and Higdon in dynasty leagues just to be safe.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk only caught two of his six targets for five yards, including a dropped pass Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. The upside though was that Kirk was second in targets for the afternoon. Even though the Cardinals' offense this preseason has been very bland, there is too much talent and too much upside to be ignored. Expect Kirk and this offense to light it up this season and he will come in as a nice WR2/3. With his poor showings this preseason, now might be a good time to buy Kirk at his lowest in dynasty formats.

From RotoBaller

Chase Edmonds Aug 24 10:30pm ET

Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds put in a strong performance Saturday afternoon against the Vikings, rushing three times for 13 yards and hauling in both of his two targets for 24 yards. Edmonds continues to be a top handcuff to own in the fantasy world and would be a solid weekly starter if something were to happen to David Johnson. With starters likely resting for the fourth and final preseason game, look for Edmonds to get his fair share of touches against the Denver Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Ty Montgomery Aug 24 10:30pm ET

New York Jets running back Ty Montgomery carried the ball eight times for 21 yards and caught all four of his targets for 24 yards and a touchdown against the Saints on Saturday. Montgomery has been the Jets most productive running back so far with Le'Veon Bell not playing preseason games. The former wide receiver finishes the preseason with 67 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown running to go along with five catches. He should be considered the primary backup to Bell with some PPR value in deep leagues as he should see plenty of work on passing downs.

From RotoBaller

Duke Johnson Aug 24 10:23pm ET

Houston Texans RB Duke Johnson will take over as the starting running back in the wake of RB Lamar Miller's (knee) knee injury, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, and McClain believes Johnson will 'get all the playing time he can handle.'

Fantasy Spin: Johnson has been a major weapon in the passing game in the past, and if given an every-down role, RB2 production seems like his floor, especially in PPR formats. Add him now if he is available in your league.

From TheHuddle