Tue Aug 20 5:24pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Murray struggled last time out
It is hard to believe, but we are already halfway through the preseason schedule. There are just two weeks left before some real football. But before that happens, there is a lot to be decided. Below is the latest look from around the league, taking a closer look at the preseason games in Week 2 and what it means to fantasy owners.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray had a decent first game but had a rough showing his second time out. Murray was just 3-of-8 for 12 yards and was sacked twice. He missed on some throws and looked tentative in the pocket. It shouldn’t be a huge a surprise he had some struggles, though. He is a rookie and is playing in an offense that isn’t the best. Fantasy teams might want to temper their expectations a little with the rookie quarterback.
Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders played in his first game of the preseason, trying to return from his torn Achilles’ tendon. Sanders looked good in his return, showing off the speed from past years. He ran once for 19 yards and caught a pass for five yards. Sanders is making a strong recovery and should be ready for Week 1.
Patriots rookie running back Damien Harris got a big workload in the second preseason game and did well with his chances. He had 14 carries for 80 yards and caught four passes for 23 yards. Harris could be playing his way into a role with the Patriots for the coming year. There could be a logjam at running back for the Patriots this year with several quality options on the team.
Former rugby star Christian Wade continues to make plays with his chances. He ran twice for just four yards but had a reception for 48 yards. It seemed like he might be a long shot to make the roster at first but Wade is playing well. He could crack the roster to start the year and eventually carve out a speciality niche with the team.
Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard is alleviating some of the worries about Ezekiel Elliott holding out. Pollard had a great game his last time out, rushing five times for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a pass for nine yards. He is proving capable in a starting role, which could make it harder for the Cowboys to cave in to Elliott’s demands. We’ll see.
Patriots rookie receiver Jakobi Meyers continues to make his presence known. He led the Patriots in receiving again, catching six passes for 82 yards. He is outplaying first-round pick N’Keal Harry despite not even being drafted. Meyers is making a strong case to not only make the roster but earn playing time for a shallow receiving corps.
All the talk in Steelers camp is Donte Moncrief currently is the starter opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster. James Washington is making a push, though, especially after his last preseason game. Washington had four receptions for 78 yards. Don’t discount Washington for the starter’s job just yet. He still has a legit shot to earn it before the preseason is over.
The Bills signed receiver Cole Beasley this offseason to take over a slot receiver role with the team. He seems to have quickly become a favorite target of Josh Allen. Beasley had five receptions for 44 yards their last preseason game. Beasley could really rack up the receptions in this offense.
Bucs tight end Tanner Hudson had another huge game, finishing with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. He has been the talk of camp for the Bucs but still isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot because the team is deep at the position. He is a player to keep an eye on, though, if he makes the team. He could push Cameron Brate for the No. 2 job.
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had a preseason debut to forget. He was 1-of-6 with an interception. This comes after reports of Garoppolo throwing five interceptions in practice earlier in the week. He obviously has a ways to go to get back to his old self, returning from a torn ACL. He could have some issues early in the season.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was active and started on Sunday, leaving Giovani Bernard to backup duties. Bernard played just 40% of the snaps on Sunday as Mixon played through his ankle injury without any setbacks. Bernard carried the ball six times for six yards and hauled in just one of his three targets for seven more yards. The long-time Bengals running back remains a must-own player if you have Mixon on your roster, but he can't be trusted in standard-sized leagues, especially non-PPR ones.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (undisclosed) returned for the second half of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets. He jogged off with an apparent lower leg injury near the end of the second quarter.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are acquiring defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Fitzpatrick requested a trade late last week and it was reported that the Dolphins wanted a first round pick for the 11th overall selection in the 2018 draft. As a rookie, he totaled 80 tackles, two interceptions, and nine passes defended. The 22-year-old can play safety and slot corner, but the Steelers Defense could use help at both spots so it will be interesting to see how they utilize him. Pittsburgh has a Week 3 matchup with San Francisco, but it's not advisable to stream them in a road matchup.
New York Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring) aggravated his hamstring injury in Week 2 against the Cleveland Browns and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Thomas is clearly not 100 percent, was rushed into action and he is now hurt. Avoid him in all fantasy leagues until he can return to health, get familiar with the playbook and show a little consistency.
Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. (lower leg) suffered an apparent lower leg injury late in the second quarter after landing awkwardly in the end zone in Week 2 against the New York Jets. He attempted to get up, couldn't walk, and went back down to his backside. He then jogged off to meet with the training staff before trotting to the locker room right before halftime.
Fantasy Spin: Beckham looked to be in obvious discomfort initially, but he ran rather briskly into the locker room on third and long, suggesting he might be OK to begin the second half. We'll keep an eye on it.
Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Week 2 game against the New York Jets and he will not return.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku was upended on a pass play and landed awkwardly after having his legs taken out, hitting his head on the field turf surface. Demetrius Harris, Ricky Seal-Jones and Pharaoh Brown are the next men up at the position, with Harris likely to see the most targets.
New York Jets quarterback Trevor Siemian (ankle) suffered what looked to be a serious ankle injury in the second quarter on Monday night against the Browns. Siemian was hit hard and got his ankle caught underneath him while being taken to the turf. Somehow he was able to walk off the field under his own power and is being taken to the locker room. We'd be surprised if he were able to come back into this game. Third-stringer Luke Falk is now in the game. The Jets haven't been able to get any offense going and are leaning heavily on running back Le'Veon Bell. Siemian was an embarrassing 3-for-6 for three yards before he departed.
New York Jets QB Trevor Siemian (leg) was hit in the second quarter of the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns and it appeared he suffered a lower leg injury. The telecast immediately cut away after the replay which showed the gruesome injury.
Fantasy Spin: Siemian was started in place of Sam Darnold (mononucleosis), and he didn't even last until halftime. The Jets will now turn to Luke Falk, the sixth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2018, takes over under center. Siemian was able to walk off gingerly to the locker room with the help of the training staff.
Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (concussion) suffered a concussion in the first half on Monday night against the Jets and will not return. Njoku was targeted just once on the play that resulted in his injury in which he went up in the air to receive the ball and was upended. The tight end came down hard on his head and neck and was taken to the locker room for evaluation. With Njoku out the rest of the way, Demetrius Harris and Ricky Seals-Jones should share repetitions. Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry are in for more targets in the second half.
New York Jets LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) suffered a calf injury during the Week 2 game and is considered doubtful to return.
Cleveland Browns TE David Njoku (head) left the Week 2 game early and is being evaluated for a concussion.
Fantasy Spin: Njoku will need to be medically cleared before he can play again, so he may not return to the game. He can be considered a low-end No. 1 tight end when he is healthy.
The Miami Dolphins are likely to trade defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick by Tuesday, and the team is expected to receive a first-round pick in exchange for him. The Redskins, Cowboys, Chiefs, Steelers, Eagles and Seahawks are the teams in the mix to acquire Fitzpatrick and offers are being made. In full-on rebuilding mode, the Dolphins are trading all of their best players. The 11th overall pick last year, Fitzpatrick has been unhappy with his role moving all around Miami's defense to start the year, which aided in him asking to be dealt. Miami's defense is likely to be gashed by opponents all season long, and the Cowboys are next up in Week 3 in Dallas.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that tight end Tyler Higbee (lung) suffered a lung contusion in Week 2 against the Saints and will be day-to-day. Higbee was coughing up blood and was sent to the hospital as a precaution, but this looks like an injury that luckily may not even cause him to miss any games. The 26-year-old caught two of his three targets for 21 yards before leaving on Sunday. If he plays on Sunday night against the Browns, he'll be a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2. Gerald Everett would be a desperation TE2 if Higbee sits out.
Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (lung) and C Austin Blythe (ankle) are considered day-to-day after suffering injuries in Week 2.
New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (thumb) said he is scheduled to meet with a specialist Tuesday, Sept. 17, and will make a decision in the near future.
Fantasy Spin: Brees is expected to miss at least six weeks because of the thumb injury, but fantasy players may want to wait for an official timetable for making any decisions. Teddy Bridgewater will take over the starting job while Brees is sidelined but may only be a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Free-agent WR Amara Darboh was signed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad Monday, Sept. 16. The team also released WR Emanuel Hall from their practice squad.
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson (wrist) will be available to play in the Week 3 game despite the wrist injury he suffered in Week 2, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Fantasy Spin: Johnson was held to only 14 total yards in the Week 2 game but should be more involved in the offense this week. Fantasy players in all leagues should have Johnson in their starting lineups.
Atlanta Falcons DT Ra'Shede Hageman (undisclosed) was waived/injured Monday, Sept. 16.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (knee) is "still hurting today," according to head coach Kyle Shanahan. Ford has been playing through tendinitis since the preseason. It's the reason why he's had his snaps limited through two weeks, but he's been effective while on the field and has one sack and a forced fumble. The Niners defense has looked much better through two weeks but hasn't been tested much by the Bucs and Bengals. For them to continue their production all year, they'll definitely need a healthy Ford and second overall pick Nick Bosa rushing the passer.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (concussion) is still going through the concussion protocol but has been cleared to practice in a non-contact jersey.
Fantasy Spin: Shepard needs to be cleared by doctors before he is allowed to play, so fantasy players should monitor his practice participation this week. He is the team's top receiver when he is healthy but may only be a No. 3 fantasy receiver or flex option when he returns.