Wed Aug 12 4:07pm ET
By W.G. RAMIREZ
In this July 22, 2020, file photo, the sun sets behind Allegiant Stadium, new home of the Las Vegas Raiders football team, as it nears completion in Las Vegas. Officials in Nevada have declared "substantial completion" after nearly 1,000 days of construction of the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas designed to be the home of the NFL's relocated Raiders. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
In this Dec. 8, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden walks on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Oakland, Calif. Dealing with an offseason move to Las Vegas, an overhaul of his defense and contending in a division with Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs is a tough enough task for Gruden. It all pales in comparison to trying to keep his players safe from COVID-19 in a city where the coronavirus is spreading. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron, File)
LAS VEGAS (AP) Quarterback Derek Carr hit Henry Ruggs III on a go route that showed off the rookie receiver's speed and a member of the Las Vegas Raiders staff marked the moment by blaring a song by rapper Lil Baby.
Moments later, Carr found tight end Darren Waller over the middle as Drake blasted through the sound system.
There was quite the vibe Wednesday at the team's new 335,000-square-foot, $75 million practice facility just south of the Vegas Strip.
''The crazy thing about this facility is it's so beautiful that it makes you want to come to work; it makes you want to come in and just be around,'' said running back Josh Jacobs, who sat out Wednesday's practice.
''That's the biggest thing, I think we have a great staff that works on keeping our guys as healthy as possible, whether it's stretching or pool workouts or cryotherapy - everything that we do here, and they provide,'' he said.
Coach Jon Gruden said Jacobs and Trent Brown sat out for scheduling reasons in what is part of the new normal.
''Everybody has a schedule so there will be some strange things going on,'' Gruden said. ''It gives us an opportunity to look at some players, in this limited amount of time, that we want to look at. We got good guys here, we got some really promising young players and we got the right kind of guy leading them from a veteran standpoint. That's what I'm probably most excited about right now.''
Gruden also acknowledged being excited about the new digs for the team, which relocated from the Bay Area this summer in preparation for its first season in Las Vegas.
''There's a different vibe, this is a great facility,'' Gruden said.
Receiver Nelson Agholor, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles following the 2017 season, said he loves the resources the performance center provides, from the sand pits and hills for receivers to work on footwork to the training room and strength staff.
''They give you things that you can utilize to make yourself a better player,'' Agholor said. ''This is a blessing to have a facility like this.''
New Raiders tight end Jason Witten, who spent 16 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, knows what a world-class facility can do to ignite a team during training camp.
''It's created a buzz,'' Witten said. ''There's an energy from this facility, this city, this community. I think you feel it when you come in here. It's first class. They didn't miss a beat with all the details of going in there to provide great opportunity. I think that says a lot from ownership, the message being sent to the players.''
Witten said many of his younger teammates should look at the opportunity of being able to prepare for the season at the new facility as a challenge. After all, it's one of the things that convinced the four-time All-Pro to sign with the Raiders.
''Don't take it for granted,'' Witten said. ''It's not like this is everywhere and certainly I'm fortunate to be a part of it and it was one of the things that went through my thought process, `Hey, what a neat opportunity this is to be able to experience something like this.' And even the veteran players that have been a part of this franchise for their entire careers, you feel it from them, too. Like, man this is really neat to be on the big stage and to have this type of facility.''
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman was on the field for five of the 27 offensive snaps played with two receivers against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. From 2017 to 2019, he was on the field for 41 percent of the snaps in two-receiver sets.
Fantasy Spin: One game isn't a big sample, and Edelman was still New England's most productive receiver in the opener. Fewer snaps would lead to less consistency, but Edelman is going to have WR3 potential regardless.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews played a career-high 71 percent of the offensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, topping his previous high of 55 percent of the snaps.
Fantasy Spin: Andrews emerged as an elite fantasy tight end last year despite playing about half the snaps. If his increased usage from Week 1 becomes the norm, he should be a lock for top-five production.
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (back) is expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'We put him as questionable, but he ended up going today,' McVay said. 'He felt good. I fully expect him to be ready to go.'
Free-agent S Doug Middleton (Titans) was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad Friday, Sept. 18.
Free-agent LB Devante Bond (Bears) and OG Dieter Eiselen (Bears) were signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE Mason Schreck was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 18.
Miami Dolphins WR Antonio Callaway will be eligible to return from his suspension after the Dolphins have played seven games in 2020.
New York Jets rookie running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is questionable to face the 49ers in Week 2. Perine was limited in practice the last two days, so he has a real chance to make his NFL debut after he was inactive in the season-opener. The Jets could really use some depth with Le'Veon Bell on Injured Reserve. But even if Perine suits up on Sunday, he's unlikely to see much of a workload behind veteran Frank Gore. Plus, he'll be facing a really tough San Francisco defense after an offseason in which he didn't get many on-field repetitions.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (neck) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Jets. Ford didn't practice the last two days after dealing with some neck stiffness following the season-opening loss to the Cardinals. San Francisco placed cornerback Richard Sherman on the Injured Reserve this week, so they won't be at full strength against New York. Ford had just three combined tackles in Week 1. He should be avoided in IDP leagues because of his injury, but even at less than full strength, the 49ers Defense remains a must-start fantasy defense against a Jets team that will be missing both Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus didn't attempt a single field goal in the 16-14 Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he did make both of his extra-point tries. McManus has a very strong leg and kicks half the time in high altitude, but he'll be on the road this week and just can't be trusted in fantasy yet while the Broncos offense tries to get in sync. Quarterback Drew Lock showed potential last week, though, and he has plenty of talented weapons to work with in 2020. The 29-year-old kicker will become a streaming option at some point this year, but it won't be in Week 2 against the Steelers, especially if wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) misses another game.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught five of his six targets for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 loss to the Titans, leading the team in receiving yards with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. Sutton is questionable heading into Week 2 against the Steelers, so Fant could once again be the team's leading receiver this Sunday. He'll obviously be a better upside TE1 if Sutton sits out, but at the very least, Fant will have some low-end TE1 appeal as one of quarterback Drew Lock's favorite targets. Some people believe the second-year tight end is primed for a breakout season with Lock under center for a full year.
The Denver Broncos won't have any rowdy fans to worry about on their trip to Pittsburgh in Week 2, but a healthy quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his cast of weapons will pose a big challenge to a defense missing Von Miller (ankle) for the year and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) for at least three weeks. Inside linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring) will also be out. Denver's run D didn't allow Derrick Henry to run wild last week, but their inexperienced rookie cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey will surely be tested by Big Ben with talented wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson leading the charge. While the Broncos Defense was worth starting last week, they should be avoided this week with key injuries mounting.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy showed off some of his trademark route-running ability and quick feet in the team's Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he also had a couple uncharacteristic drops in his NFL debut. The 21-year-old from Alabama caught only four of his eight targets for 56 yards as the team's lead wideout last Monday with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. There's a lot to like in the long-term with Jeudy in this offense, but there will continue to be some growing pains throughout his rookie campaign. He'll be a more attractive upside WR4/flex in deeper leagues if Sutton misses another game, but the matchup against the Steelers is a difficult one regardless.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman will be the primary backup to Melvin Gordon in the team's Week 2 matchup against the Steelers after Denver ruled Phillip Lindsay (toe) out for the week. Freeman won't have any standalone fantasy value, though, after he saw just two touches -- a carry for no gain and a 12-yard reception -- in the second half of the Week 1 loss to the Titans when Lindsay didn't return after the first half. On top of it, Pittsburgh's rush defense was one of the best in the league last year and held Saquon Barkley down in their season opener. The 24-year-old will see more than two touches over the full game, but he should be ignored in pretty much any fantasy format.
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as questionable for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Sutton is expected to be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list. Players will need to have other options available in case Sutton is ruled out, but Sutton would be a risky option if he is active.
Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as doubtful for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin likely will be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to monitor his progress during the weekend. He is a must-start option when healthy, but players should have other options available in case he is ruled out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Evans should be more involved in the passing game this week since he was limited in Week 1 because of the hamstring injury. He should be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 18, but is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller led the team in receptions, receiving yards and targets last week and showed good chemistry with Deshaun Watson. He will be facing a tougher opponent in Week 2 but can still be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Davis was upgraded during each day of practice this week and will be ready for his normal workload against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He likely will be the main option in the passing game for the Titans and can be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.