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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Antonio Brown moves closer to return to practice for Raiders

Sat Aug 17 7:06pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Antonio Brown, Derek Carr, J.J. Nelson, Tyrell Williams, Jordan Lasley, Hunter Renfrow

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) warms up prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) meet at midfield after an an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. The Raiders won 33-26. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) puts on his helmet prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


NAPA, Calif. (AP) Antonio Brown made it through a walkthrough practice for the Oakland Raiders with no issues with his frost-bitten feet and is expected to be a full participant in practice soon for the first time this summer.

Coach Jon Gruden said Saturday that he thinks Brown will be able to get back into practice before the Raiders play their third exhibition game next week in Winnipeg, Manitoba, against the Green Bay Packers.

Brown hasn't taken part in a full practice session all of training camp as he dealt with injuries to his feet suffered in a cryotherapy mishap in France last month and fought with the NFL over the helmet he's allowed to use.

''He did everything with us just now,'' quarterback Derek Carr said. ''The man's recall is unbelievable. He came in and had no mental errors. In this offense, that's not easy to do. Especially whenever you have a day off just even as a player, you come back and you have to stay on Coach Gruden's offense all the time. You can tell Antonio has been studying because he came out and didn't miss a beat.''

Brown started training camp on the non-football injury list because of the injuries to his feet. He participated in one warmup and part of one practice before leaving the team briefly to get treatment and deal with a grievance with the NFL over his helmet. He returned to the team this past Tuesday after losing the grievance and began looking for a new helmet. He took part in pregame warmups in Arizona two days later and the walkthrough on Saturday.

Brown is being counted on as a major part of Oakland's offense this season after being acquired in a trade from Pittsburgh back in March. He had 686 catches and 9,145 yards receiving in his final six seasons with the Steelers, the best mark ever for a receiver in a six-year span.

In Brown's absence, the Raiders have gotten good contributions in practice and preseason games with the other receivers on the roster in a positive sign at a position that was a weakness on the team last season.

Tyrell Williams has been a star at practice as the projected starter across from Brown and had a leaping 27-yard grab against the Cardinals in his only brief preseason appearance. Undrafted rookie Keelan Doss is making a case for a roster spot with seven catches for 47 yards and a TD in two exhibition games, while fifth-round rookie slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and free-agent acquisitions J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant have also flashed.

''It's awesome,'' Williams said. ''I feel like we have guys with speed, guys with size, guys that work in the slot. Everybody has something that's really unique to them and I think everybody can do everything too, so it's just nice to see. Especially in the game, seeing the undrafted guys go out there and make plays because I know how it felt in that same situation when I first came in, so seeing them have success is awesome.''

NOTES: The Raiders activated G Denzelle Good (back) from the physically unable to perform list and will work him back into the rotation on the line. Oakland will be without its two projected starting guards to begin the season with Richie Incognito serving a two-game suspension for violating personal conduct rules and Gabe Jackson expected to miss at least the first month with a knee injury. ... The Raiders signed G/C Cameron Hunt, who played three games for Oakland last year and spent time with the team in the offseason program. ... WR Jordan Lasley was waived.

Player Notes
Demetrius Harris Aug 17 8:30pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end Demetrius Harris was unable to corral either of his two targets in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Harris, who came over to Cleveland as a free-agent after spending five seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, is expected to serve as the team's second tight end after David Njoku. Of course, Njoku is dealing with a knee injury, which will give Harris more run with the first team during preseason practices. The Browns should run more 12 personnel this season, which would get Harris on the field alongside Njoku in certain situations. Harris doesn't need to be drafted but he is worth monitoring just in case the Browns show that he is a significant part of their plans, especially in the red zone.

From RotoBaller

Rashard Higgins Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins turned in a solid game in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Higgins caught all four of his targets for 34 yards in the win. The veteran receiver has been productive during the preseason as he further cements himself as the team's No. 3 wide receiver. While he won't see a high volume of targets behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, Higgins is likely to have a few big games this season on what should be an exciting Browns offense. Keep him in mind as a potential flex option in deeper fantasy leagues this season.

From RotoBaller

Kareem Hunt Aug 17 8:20pm ET

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt saw two touches in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. Hunt carried the ball twice for six yards and was unable to haul in his lone target in the win. The game action marked Hunt's preseason debut after he was not involved in the preseason opener last week. Hunt will begin serving an eight-game suspension once the regular season begins but he has some value as a flex option in PPR leagues when he does come back. Of course, using a draft pick on him will require a fantasy owner to keep him on the roster for over half of the fantasy regular season. That only seems like a viable plan in leagues with large roster settings.

From RotoBaller

Greg Joseph Aug 17 8:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns kicker Greg Joseph missed a 53-yard field goal in a 21-18 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday. The 53-yarder was Joseph's only field goal attempt in the game although he added an extra point. Joseph has been in a preseason camp battle with rookie Austin Siebert for the right to be the team's kicker during the regular season. Both have been pretty even during their battle, with Siebert also missing his lone field goal attempt against the Colts. Whoever wins the starting kicker role will have plenty of fantasy value tied to what should be an explosive Cleveland offense.

From RotoBaller

Daniel Carlson Aug 17 7:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson had an impressive season with the Silver and Black in 2018 and is primed to improve in this campaign. After getting waived by the Vikings following Week 2, Carlson finished the last 10 games of the season with the Raiders setting a new team record with a 94% field goal succession rate. With an improved offense likely providing more point-after attempts and better field goal positioning, the former fifth-round pick could put up a considerable point total this year if he can stay in the 90% conversion range.

From RotoBaller

Keelan Doss Aug 17 7:20pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Keelan Doss has turned a few heads through the team's first two preseason games. The undrafted rookie caught a touchdown pass in Week 1 and followed that performance with a five-catch 38-yard game in Week 2, making a case for a place on the 53-man roster. Doss is competing for one of the final roster spots at WR, but faces an uphill battle with only one spot available and three players ahead of him on the depth chart for the job. Even if the 23-year-old cracks the squad, he won't receive enough playing time to become a fantasy contributor in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Doug Martin Aug 17 7:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin is slated for a backup role with the Silver and Black this season after leading the team in rushing in 2018. The "Muscle Hamster" racked up an underwhelming 723 yards and four touchdowns last season and will play second fiddle behind rookie Josh Jacobs in 2019. Martin didn't hold much fantasy value as a starter a year ago and is off the radar this campaign in a backup role. With Jalen Richard finding work in the passing game, it would take a significant injury from Jacobs to give Martin any sort of fantasy relevance. He's a late-round handcuff in best-ball leagues and can be avoided in season-long formats.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Richard Aug 17 7:00pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is coming off a successful 2018 campaign which saw him accumulate 55 rushes and 68 catches for 866 all-purpose yards. With the team using a first-round pick on Josh Jacobs, Richard finds himself third on the depth chart this season with a question mark surrounding his usage for this year. Richard was a huge factor in the passing game last season finishing seventh among running backs in receptions. With the coaching staff hopeful of Jacobs becoming an every-down back, Richard will struggle to find playing time on this improving offense. Unless Jacobs gets injured or struggles mightily as a pass-catcher, Richard won't hold any fantasy appeal in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Andrew Luck Aug 17 4:33pm ET

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (ankle) worked out on the field before the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 17, and appeared to be moving around well.

Fantasy Spin: Luck is still uncertain for Week 1, so fantasy players will need to continue to keep an eye on his status. He is a No. 1 quarterback in fantasy leagues when he is healthy, but players may want to draft a strong No. 2 quarterback in case Luck misses a few games.

From TheHuddle

Dee Ford Aug 17 4:33pm ET

San Francisco 49ers DE Dee Ford (knee) is on track to play in Week 1, according to general manager John Lynch.

From TheHuddle

Nick Chubb Aug 17 3:50pm ET

According to the Cleveland Browns pregame show, running back Nick Chubb is not expected to play on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts in his team's second preseason game. Chubb saw minimal work last week in the preseason opener as he played on the first series with the team and took one carry. Cleveland has little reason to risk injury to their No. 1 running back in the preseason, so Chubb will be a spectator. Look for Chubb to play more extensively in the preseason dress rehearsal next week.

From RotoBaller

Baker Mayfield Aug 17 3:50pm ET

The Cleveland Browns will rest many of their starters in the team's second preseason game on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. Quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. are among the starters who will be watching from the sidelines in the contest. Mayfield played sparingly during the preseason opener last week while Beckham has yet to appear in a preseason game as he is dealing with a hip pointer. Garrett Gilbert will draw the start at quarterback against the Colts on Saturday. Look for Mayfield to play a good bit in preseason Week 3 next week. Beckham's status is unclear, although he is unlikely to play.

From RotoBaller

Austin Hooper Aug 17 3:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper made only three catches for 20 yards in Thursday's preseason game against the Jets, but he made some tough catches in coverage. He also ran a lot of the same routes that Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez used to run while in Dirk Koetter's system. The 24-year-old had his best season in his third year in 2018, catching 71 passes for 660 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. In an offense that remains as explosive as they come, Hooper will continue to be a safety blanket for quarterback Matt Ryan. He finished as the No. 6 fantasy tight end in PPR leagues last year and should be seen as a low-end TE1 heading into his fourth campaign.

From RotoBaller

Mohamed Sanu Aug 17 3:20pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Mohamed Sanu (knee) was held out of practice earlier in the week but returned to play in Thursday's preseason loss to the Jets. He finished that game without a catch on only one target. With the emergence of receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end Austin Hooper alongside veteran Julio Jones, Sanu has become the forgotten man in Atlanta's high-powered offense. The return of running back Devonta Freeman is also bad news for the 29-year-old, who had 66 grabs for 838 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. His 66 receptions were one short of his career high, and his yardage total was a career high. He's still not a bad late-round flier in this offense, but Sanu's targets are likely to be fewer and further between than his last three years in Atlanta.

From RotoBaller

Nick Chubb Aug 17 3:13pm ET

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb will not play in the preseason game Saturday, Aug. 17.

Fantasy Spin: Chubb will be the starting running back this season and should receive a solid amount of touches each week. He can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues but could lose some work during the second half of the season when Kareem Hunt rejoins the roster.

From TheHuddle

Matt Ryan Aug 17 3:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan went 10-for-14 for 118 yards in the team's third preseason game against the Jets on Thursday. The offensive line failed to protect him, though, as he took three sacks and was hurried nine times. That's not a good sign early on, as Ryan was sacked 42 times in 2018. The offensive line is something to watch, but Ryan's fantasy stock is way up in 2019 after he accumulated 4,924 yards, 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season. He finished only behind Patrick Mahomes in terms of fantasy points. You should be more than satisfied if you have Ryan as your starting QB with plenty of playmakers around him. RotoBaller has him ranked as the No. 5 fantasy signal-caller.

From RotoBaller

Ito Smith Aug 17 3:00pm ET

Atlanta Falcons running back Ito Smith is having a strong preseason and ran five times for 19 yards and added three receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown in the team's third preseason game on Thursday against the Jets. The 23-year-old had 90 carries for 315 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie season, including 27 catches for 152 yards in 14 games. Most people are probably forgetting about Smith with Devonta Freeman back from injury, but Freeman's injury woes are concerning and the Falcons possess a high-powered offense. Smith must battle Brian Hill for touches behind Freeman, but Smith is the more attractive handcuff for Freeman owners. Consider him in the later rounds as running back depth.

From RotoBaller

Antone Exum Aug 17 2:53pm ET

San Francisco 49ers CB Antone Exum (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Aug. 17, and is considered day-to-day because of a sprained knee.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Lockett Aug 17 2:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett will have plenty of pressure on him once the regular season starts and he's the No. 1 target, but for now, he's still just working the kinks out and letting the young DBs see what it's like to guard a big-time receiver. Along that line, it's pretty clear that he can run them ragged. While the secondary has been putting on a clinic, as most Pete Carroll secondaries do, once the combination of Russell Wilson and Tyler Lockett step on the field, the whole game changes. Wilson regularly completes shots all over the field to Lockett, especially downfield if he gets some time. Lockett is poised for a huge season if he can keep this level of connection with Wilson.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Aug 17 2:50pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (hamstring), who suffered a hamstring injury on July 25, was held out of practice for more than two weeks. Ridley returned to practice last Sunday and "looked good" and caught both of his targets for 28 yards in Thursday's preseason game against the Jets. "We did a good job to make sure that he was fully himself, with his strength, his quickness and his explosion. . . . It was great to have his energy back out there, too," head coach Dan Quinn said. Ridley had a very productive rookie season, catching 64 passes for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. While reaching double-digit touchdowns again might be a tall task, Ridley could easily go over the 1,000-yard mark in an excellent offense. Take him as a strong WR2 around the fifth or sixth round of drafts.

From RotoBaller