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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Packers aim to start turnaround vs. Miami

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In 2016, the Green Bay Packers were 4-6 when quarterback Aaron Rodgers proclaimed the team was capable of running the table. On cue, the Packers reeled off six consecutive wins to get in the playoffs, then advanced to the NFC Championship Game.

This season, the Packers are 3-4-1 headed into Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins. They are in the middle of a five-game gauntlet of games at the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, home vs. Miami, then back on the road to face the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings.

Green Bay lost the first two legs of this pivotal stretch. If it's going to rebound and make a run at a playoff berth, it will be up to Rodgers to play much better than he did against New England.

While Rodgers has thrown a sizzling 15 touchdown passes vs. one interception, he ranks near the bottom of the league in completion percentage. In a 31-17 loss at New England, Rodgers completed only 24 of 43 passes (55.8 percent). When the offense absolutely needed to score in the fourth quarter, it couldn't even get to midfield.

"I just feel like we have to play better, consistently, 60 minutes, try to eliminate some of the lulls we've been having," Rodgers said. "We have to play with confidence and play up to the level we're capable of playing."

The Dolphins will pose a stiff challenge, even as they go from the heat of Miami to a projected 32-degree day at Lambeau Field. Miami leads the NFL with 15 interceptions. Four of those came in last week's 13-6 victory over the New York Jets.

"Maybe he'll change his mind this game," Dolphins head coach Adam Gase joked of Rodgers' ability to avoid interceptions.

Gase has a firm grasp of the obvious, and here's how we know:

"Aaron Rodgers," Gase said, "is a little different than Sam Darnold."

Rodgers, of course, is a former Super Bowl MVP and a six-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Packers. Darnold is the Jets' rookie first-round pick, a quarterback Miami beat last week with four interceptions.

So ... yeah, the Dolphins definitely have a bigger challenge this week.

However, the Packers are coming off their first losing season since 2008, and they are struggling this season with a sub-.500 record and two straight losses.

The bright spot for the Packers is that they are 3-0-1 at home this season. And something else to factor into the equation is that Green Bay was off to a 4-1 start last season before Rodgers got injured.

The Packers went 3-8 the rest of the way, with Rodgers playing in just one game during that stretch.

Rodgers' completion percentage this year is 60.6 percent, which would be the lowest number of his career since he became a starter in 2008. But he has already passed for 2,542 yards this season, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is outstanding at 15-1.

Miami ability to force interceptions makes for a fascinating matchup. Also fascinating is the fact that failed ex-Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin returned to Green Bay this year as the Packers' offensive coordinator.

The Dolphins will surely play close attention to two Packers targets -- wide receiver Davante Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham. Adams has caught 19 touchdown passes since the start of 2017. Graham, a former Miami Hurricanes player, has caught 12 TD passes during that same span. However, Graham missed practice on Wednesday due to a knee injury.

When the Dolphins are on offense, they will be without quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will miss his fifth straight game due to a shoulder injury. Brock Osweiler is 2-2 at quarterback since replacing Tannehill.

For the Packers, who are in third place in the NFC North and 10th place in the NFC, this is practically a must-win game. As head coach Mike McCarthy likes to say, there's no reason to discuss the playoffs until a team gets win No. 10. For Green Bay to get to 10 wins, it must go 7-1 down the stretch.

"It's always good to be at home," McCarthy said. "You have to take care of your home-field advantage. That's something that's a great part of our focus this week. Really, the benefits of being at home is the repetition, particularly when you get to the end of the week. You've got to make sure you take advantage of that. To play in front of your home crowd, that's something that we've always enjoyed. We also know what's coming after it, too."

The Dolphins held the Jets without a touchdown last week, but the challenge against the Packers on Sunday will be much tougher. Miami's defense may struggle to contain the Green Bay passing game. Offensively, the Dolphins' beat-up offensive line allowed four sacks last week, and the unit failed to open holes or get anyone into the end zone.

Miami's offense will likely have to play much better this week to keep up with Rodgers and the Packers.

Player Notes
David Williams Jul 19 4:55pm ET

The Denver Broncos have signed running back David Williams, who the team originally drafted in 2018 before letting go. Williams was a Jaguar last season, but carried the ball just eight times for 36 yards with Jacksonville. It's hard to imagine a situation where Williams has fantasy value in a Broncos backfield that already has Royce Freeman and Phillip, but stranger things have happened. He's not draftable in any format, but a good training camp could put him in the mix for some of Devontae Booker's snaps as the number-three back.

Connor Barwin Jul 19 4:33pm ET

Free-agent DE/LB Connor Barwin (Eagles) told Sirius XM NFL Radio during an interview Friday, July 17, that he has spoken with general manager Howie Roseman about re-signing. Barwin indicated the Eagles want to take a look at their younger players for a few weeks in training camp first but suggested the two sides will reconvene after that.

From TheHuddle

Tyrell Williams Jul 19 3:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams is poised for a stellar season in his debut year with the Silver and Black. Lining up across the field from Antonio Brown, Williams will serve as the deep threat for the offense and will undoubtedly get his share of targets with Brown drawing most of the attention from opposing defenses. The 6-foot-4 wideout is a boom or bust player on a weekly basis but has the potential to surpass his value on his current 156 ADP. Williams caught 41 balls for 653 yards and five touchdowns with the Chargers last season despite being nearly non-existent in the second half of the year. He does own a 1,000-yard season under his belt, so he has sneaky potential on a team lacking a depth of weapons. As the bonafide number two receiving option for quarterback Derek Carr, Williams is a good late-round target, but the week-to-week consistency is a question mark.

From RotoBaller

Justin Watson Jul 19 3:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Justin Watson worked 'extensively' in the slot this spring, according to Greg Auman of The Athletic.

Fantasy Spin: As Auman states, there has been a lot of offseason talk about Chris Godwin working in the slot. Godwin will still get plenty of time inside and probably be the primary slot option in Tampa Bay, but he won't be the only one that spends time there. Owners can continue drafting Godwin high because he is poised to break out regardless of where he lines up, but Watson is a name to remember as a highly athletic player capable of becoming what Godwin turned into last season.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Lockett Jul 19 1:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett led the league with a perfect 158.3 passer rating when targeted 20 or more yards downfield (minimum 15 targets) in 2018.

Fantasy Spin: Lockett will be counted on to be much more than just a deep threat this season with Doug Baldwin now out of the picture and should be valued as a low-end WR2.

From TheHuddle

Will Fuller Jul 19 1:20pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (ACL) is expected to be ready to go for the start of the 2019 season. Fuller's played just 17 games over the past two seasons, but when he's on the field he's one of the NFL's best downfield weapons and has developed great chemistry with quarterback Deshaun Watson. Even with serious injury concerns, the upside is too great with Fuller to pass up on him in the middle rounds of the draft. He has 11 touchdown catches over the past two seasons and with DeAndre Hopkins playing across the field from him, defenses aren't able to double Fuller, allowing him to get open deep on a routine basis.

From RotoBaller

D'Onta Foreman Jul 19 1:10pm ET

Houston Texans running back D'Onta Foreman had a disastrous 2018 season, rushing for negative yardage on seven carries while adding two catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Recovering from an Achilles tear, Foreman appeared in just one regular season game, playing 31 snaps in a loss to the Eagles. Foreman is expected to play a much bigger role this year now that Houston's long time backup, Alfred Blue, is gone, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle expects 2019 to be an audition of sorts for Foreman in preparation for Lamar Miller's impending free agency, with Foreman seeing a decent amount of work this season. Foreman makes sense as a late round pick for this reason, though questions about how he'll play after the Achilles injury loom large.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Jul 19 12:33pm ET

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) received a vote of health and confidence Thursday, July 18, from head coach Sean McVay, who was a guest on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. 'I think he's feeling great,' McVay said on the show of Gurley. 'I think, you know, one of the things about Todd is (he's a) great competitor. I think he's earned the right to be able to have the plan that we had this offseason. Can't wait to get him back going. I know he's ready to go and it's going to be fun for the Rams this year.'

Fantasy Spin: Of course, we've been hearing this for months regarding Gurley, and no one is really going to know until the games begin for real on Sept. 8. In the meantime, hedge your bets as best you can and value Gurley as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 with ample risk/reward involved.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Jul 19 12:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill issued his own statement Friday, July 19, after the league announced he will not be subject to a disciplinary suspension or fine at this time. In part, Hill wrote: 'To the Kansas City Chiefs, Clark Hunt, Brett Veach, Coach Reid, the entire organization and the Chiefs Kingdom: you gave me a home when everyone doubted me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all. I can assure you that I will continue to work to be the person, player, and teammate that you envisioned me to be.'

Fantasy Spin: Surprising as it may be, Hill returns to WR1 consideration in fantasy until further notice.

From TheHuddle

Rafael Bush Jul 19 11:43am ET

Buffalo Bills SS Rafael Bush announced his retirement Friday, July 19.

From TheHuddle

Kurt Coleman Jul 19 11:43am ET

Free-agent FS Kurt Coleman (Saints) signed a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills Friday, July 19. Financial terms weren't disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Jul 19 10:50am ET

The NFL will not suspend Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill for violating the league's player-conduct policy. Hill was under investigation for an incident in which his son's arm was broken. With Hill cleared to be on the field, the Chiefs wideout is once again on track to be one of the league's top receivers thanks to his speed and the prolific passing of quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Hill's a second-round fantasy pick at worst now, and will be a huge value for fantasy owners who drafted early and took him at his lower offseason ADP.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Jul 19 10:33am ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill is unlikely to resume contract talks for several weeks or months with the team.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Jul 19 10:13am ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will not be suspended by the NFL as the league found that he did not violate the personal conduct policy. He will be able to attend training camp and participate in all team activities.

Fantasy Spin: The news has a big impact on the fantasy landscape as Hill immediately returns to WR1 status with the cloud clearing over him. Hill had an 87-1,479-12 breakout last season, and talks on a long-term deal could also rekindle.

From TheHuddle

LeSean McCoy Jul 19 3:03am ET

Rival teams believe the Buffalo Bills could release someone from the group of RBs LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon, according to MMQB's Albert Breer, who notes that McCoy is set to earn far more money than Gore or Yeldon.

Fantasy Spin: Barring injury, Devin Singletary is going to make the 53-man roster. Beyond that, training camp will sort things out, though Yeldon seems the most like casualty at this stage.

From TheHuddle

JuJu Smith-Schuster Jul 18 11:40pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is now the top receiver on his team but still has to prove to some that he belongs among the league's elite. After finishing top six in the NFL last year in both receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426), the third-year pass catcher is in a position to repeat his breakout season. Without Antonio Brown in town, Smith-Schuster will be Ben Roethlisberger's first look. In half-PPR mocks, he's been going in the early-to-middle of the second round. The talent and opportunity are certainly there for the 22-year-old to be considered a top eight receiver in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Troy Fumagalli Jul 18 10:03pm ET

Denver Broncos TE Troy Fumagalli spent time with the first-team offense during training camp Thursday, July 18.

From TheHuddle

Jalen Richard Jul 18 9:43pm ET

Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard could lose a 'good chunk' of his snaps on receiving downs to RB Josh Jacobs, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic.

Fantasy Spin: Richard's value was already limited to PPR formats, and now that Jacobs is in the mix and potentially headed for an every-down role, Richard is slipping into handcuff territory. Meanwhile, Jacobs looks like a RB2 candidate as a rookie.

From TheHuddle

Daniel Jones Jul 18 9:30pm ET

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones remains unsigned with one week remaining before training camp opens. He is one of five first-round picks yet to agree to terms with his organization. Jones is still scheduled to arrive to training camp on Monday when all rookies and select veterans report. He is expected to sign a four-year, $25.5 million contract, with a $16.6 million guarantee, when he arrives, or even shortly before. That is the financial slot for the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. Last season RB Saquon Barkley signed a day before he arrived at camp, so there isn't cause for alarm with Big Blue.

From RotoBaller

Demarcus Robinson Jul 18 9:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson will be expected to take over the role that Jacksonville Jaguars WR Chris Conley filled for the offense last season.

Fantasy Spin: Conley finished last season with 32 catches for 334 yards and five scores while Robinson logged 22 grabs for 288 yards and four scores. Combine those numbers on top of a potential suspension for Tyreek Hill, and Robinson could be worth a late-round flier as a WR5.

From TheHuddle