*-The Eagles have named Michael Vick their starting QB. If you've been paying attention to my blog all during the offseason you know I never really thought Chip Kelly was having an "open competition" as much as he was trying to light a fire in Vick. Well, he did and Vick has looked very good at running Kelly's offense. Vick can be drafted as a low end fantasy QB1 with huge risk/reward potential. The rewards we all know about as Vick can be a one man fantasy wrecking crew some games. The risk is that he gets injured or turns the ball over too easily. Unfortunately we've seen the former only a couple of times while the latter historically has happened more often.
*-Washington is optimistic Robert Griffin 3rd will be ready to start the regular season. While it's unfair to compare rehabs between players, his recovery from his torn knee ligaments has been as incredible as Adrian Peterson's was last year. I fully expect RG3 to be starting week 1 for the Redskins and to be a very good fantasy starting QB.
*-Cleveland's Brandon Weeden has "won" the Browns job. Not that he had much competition for it between Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer. Weeden has looked excellent running Rob Chudzinski's/Norv Turner's offense in preseason but I still would like to see it translate into regular season games before I think of Weeden as anything more than a mediocre fantasy backup QB with some upside.
*-Buffalo's rookie E.J. Manuel is already into his rehab after having a minor knee procedure done just this past Sunday. While Manuel isn't going to play in either of the Bills last two preseason games, there is a chance he may be ready for week one. But I think if Kevin Kolb can avoid looking lost and making mistakes, Buffalo probably won't rush Manuel back for week 1. But make no mistake, it would be a colossal upset if Kolb was still starting games when Manuel is finally ready to come back. Manuel is the better pick as a fantasy QB3.
*-I don't care that Blaine Gabbert has won the Jaguars starting QB job. Unless you go 3 deep at QB in your league, he doesn't belong on any fantasy rosters.
*-The competition between Geno Smith and mark Sanchez for the Jets starting job is likely to come down to whether Smith just looks competent this week when he starts against the Giants. That is "if" he starts against the Giants. Smith is scheduled to be the starter but the ankle injury that made him week 2's game may prevent him. It might actually be better for Smith if he doesn't start as that means Sanchez gets to go back and show why the Jets drafted Smith in the first place.
*-Pittsburgh RB Le'Veon Bell has been diagnosed with a Lisfranc injury in his foot and he is expected to be out 6-8 weeks as he tries to recover from it without having surgery. That puts him likely out for the first 4 games of the 2013 season at least and I think it's very likely he's out longer. While I have no medical expertise in these things, I think the combo of Lisfranc foot injury and guys who make a living running has had some pretty dismal outcomes when the player tries to come back too soon. Bell's fantasy projections have taken a critical hit while the projections for both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have gone up by a bit as there is likely now to be a split situation between them. We could also see a bit more of La'Rod Stephens-Howling as well. If I was a guessing man, and I guess it's my job to be one, I'd say Redman is likeliest to lead a RBBC including Dwyer to a larger degree and the Hyphen to a lesser degree. I would think of Redman as a middling RB4, Dwyer a high end RB5, and the Hyphen not on the draft radar still. I'd also say I'll be surprised if we see before Halloween, if at all in 2013.
*-Arian Foster was activated from the PUP list by the Houston Texans. It's a positive sign that he is just about ready for action, and should be fine for week 1. But I strongly advise not waiting too long to handcuff Ben Tate to him. Tate's ADP is the 37th RB selected around the 93rd pick overall. In a 12 team league that would be the 9th pick of Round 8. I would recommend being earlier than this to be sure you get him. Tate has proven to be more than capable of putting up solid fantasy points in the past when Foster has missed time.
*-The Rams have named Daryl Richardson as their "starting" RB to begin the 2013 season. While Richardson's lack of size makes him a poor bet to hold up for long if the Rams give him 17+ carries every game, he at least will be the lead RB and 3rd down RB so a combined 17 carries and receptions is certainly attainable. His fantasy value hovers in the mid fantasy RB3 range. One of my favorite sleepers after the draft, Rams rookie RB Zac Stacy has failed to distinguish himself at all. Too bad as I thought Stacy had some real potential. But for now, he, and Isaiah Pead, the other Rams RB is undraftable except in leagues with deep bench spots.
*-Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy is likely to start rising up draft boards as he solidifies his spot as the Packers top RB. Lacy was, in my opinion, the best RB coming out of college in April's NFL draft and he couldn't have gone to a better spot than Green Bay. For the past few years the Packers have been an elite passing offense that has struggled to close out games against opponents because they lacked a RB powerful enough to do it with. Lacy gives them that RB. He may get spelled occasionally by either DuJuan Harris or Johnathan Franklin, but Lacy is likely to flirt with both 1,000 yards and double digit TD's. Currently being drafted as a RB3, Lacy is a steal as that.
*-Ahmad Bradshaw is finally in pads at practices. Bradshaw's been off to the side most of the time the last few weeks as he recovers from off-season foot surgery. Bradshaw's foot ailments and his ability to play through them more often than not the last few years have become nigh legendary. But I seriously question if he can be fed the rock more than 15 times per game without this becoming a real issue during the regular season. While Vick Ballard is a middling talent, he at least showed heart and put in top effort despite not having special skills. Ballard is a smart later round handcuff to those who take a chance on Bradshaw as a RB3. I wouldn't advise Bradshaw as a fantasy RB2 unless you get shut out of the higher tiered RB's because you went after another position earlier in your draft.
*-The Miami Dolphins are actually making me believe they are intent on having a RBBC between Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Miller is a flashy second year player with explosiveness to his game but also makes mistakes. Thomas is just a plodding RB who lacks speed and isn't very elusive or creative as a runner. I would imagine that Miller's superior talent will eventually push Thomas into a complementary role, but to hear the news out of Miami, you'd swear we are headed towards a full blown split in playing time between them. This makes Miller a risky fantasy RB2 and could mean Thomas is being undervalued at his current RB5 draft status.
*-Carolina's Jonathan Stewart is inching closer to starting the season on the PUP list and missing the first 6 weeks. Stewart had surgery on both ankles early in the year and still hasn't been able to practice. It appears that DeAngelo Williams will be the lead RB and we'll probably see both Mike Tolbert and rookie Kenjon Barner get some playing time as well. Williams is a middling RB3 who will usually boom or bust on a weekly basis showing little consistency. Stewart is off the charts as anything more than a late round flier in case he pulls off a remarkable recovery in the next two weeks.
*-The Colts traded RB Delone Carter to the Ravens in exchange for WR David Reed. This will affect nothing in fantasy football as neither player is even guaranteed to make his new team's final roster, let alone be relevant.
*-Giants WR Victor Cruz is not likely to play in either of the Giants remaining two preseason games. Cruz has a bruised heel and while the Giants are being very cautionary by having him hobbling around on crutches with a walking boot, he is not considered to be in danger of missing week 1 of the regular season. Actually, I'm pretty happy they're going to extremes with him.
*- Green Bay WR Randall Cobb has a biceps injury and isn't expected to play at all in the preseason. It's not considered serious though and there's no reason to downgrade Cobb from being a low-end fantasy WR1. His teammate Jordy Nelson though, Nelson underwent surgery to repair nerve damage in his knee the first week of August. His original timetable for returning was 4-6 weeks, putting his status for week 1 of the regular season in some doubt. So far I haven’t lost faith in him being a solid fantasy WR2 who can turn into a WR1 very quickly.
*-Santonio Holmes recovery from foot surgery in the off-season isn't going too well and it's better than 50/50 he starts the season on the PUP list. There had been some encouraging reports about Holmes the last two weeks, but either he's had a setback or those reports were from the overly optimistic. There's no need to draft a Jets WR this year. Stephen Hill is the only one who has enough upside to even be considered as an upside deep bench guy.
*-Don't be surprised if Seahawks WR Sidney Rice doesn't play at all in the preseason. Rice is still having knee issues and while some are thinking Rice could benefit from Percy Harvin being out the first 12 games of 2013, I'll say it now (and have been saying it in my blog since July): Golden Tate is the one who benefits the most and is the best Seattle WR to have for fantasy purposes.
*-Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is sounding unlikely to be ready for week 1 of the regular season but there hasn't been any definitive word so there is still hope. You know how tight-lipped the Patriots are when it comes to injuries. Gronkowski hasn't been ruled out for the start of the regular season but he's no lock to play the first couple of weeks either, and could still start the year on the PUP list (meaning he would have to miss at least the first 6 games). We know he'll be back at some time and we know he's a stud when he plays so while you shouldn't downgrade him from being a great pick for a starting fantasy TE, if you do draft him you need to either draft a second TE who is capable of starting until he returns, or you could take a flier on Patriots undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld. Sudfeld has been the talk of training camp and it is now believed he has leapfrogged Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells in the receiving TE role replacing Gronkowski. The hype for Sudfeld has translated into training camp and preseason games and I'm buying in. If you want to draft Gronk, be ready to grab Sudfeld in the later rounds as insurance.
*-Tony Gonzalez has reported to the Falcons and will step right in with the starters at practices. The Falcons agreed to let Gonzalez have an extended summer vacation in return for him returning for one final try to get to a Super Bowl. Gonzalez may not be among the elite fantasy TE's anymore, but he's still a reliable fantasy TE1.
*-Tampa Bay signed kicker Rian Lindell as the likely replacement for Lawrence Tynes. Tynes was signed to replace Connor Barth earlier in the offseason after Barth tore his Achilles tendon in July, but Tynes has developed a toe injury and it's believed he won't be able to kick this season. Lindell should be considered the likely kicker for the Bucs this season, but unless he isn't worth drafting with so many other, better kicker options available.
*-Arizona signed former Miami kicker Dan Carpenter. After incumbent Cardinals kicker Jay Feely missed a FG in week 2 of the preseason, the Cardinals are putting Feely on notice with this signing. We tentatively expect Feely to remain the Cardinals kicker, but this will play out over the next two weeks. Neither Feely nor Carpenter is considered worth drafting as a fantasy kicker.