Fantasy Football Week 1: What you missed, including Ezekiel Elliott's suspension, and depth chart news for Thomas Rawls, Joe Mixon
Chris Towers catches up on the latest news around the NFL, and puts it into the context Fantasy players need.
What's this? Every Tuesday through Friday, Chris Towers will catch you up on the previous day's biggest news first thing in the morning. Here's what you missed Tuesday:
Ezekiel Elliott's suspension was
Read Heath Cummings'.
Harold Henderson sent down his decision on Tuesday, and it surprisingly included no reduction of Elliott's suspension on appeal. Whenever Elliott serves his suspension, it will be six games, barring further intervention from the courts. However, it's not all bad news for Elliottt…
Elliott will play in Week 1
Because of the lingering legal battle, Elliott will be allowed to play in Week 1 against the Giants. His legal team and the NFLPA will continue to fight his suspension in court, so his status beyond this is still very much up in the air. However, if nothing else, Elliott will be on the field for Week 1. It could be his last game until Week 9, and you don't need me to tell you he's an obvious must-start RB.
We don't know where the Dolphins and Bucs will play in Week 1, or even whether they will play at all in Week 1, but the NFL announced Sunday the game will not be played in Miami on Sunday. As preparations for Hurricane Irma continue in South Florida, the NFL continues to consider other options for the game, including playing in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, or possibly even moving the game to Week 11, when both Miami and Tampa Bay have a bye week. An announcement could come Wednesday.
This Bills' offense isn't likely to be very good, but it likely would have been a disaster with Nathan Peterman starting. Taylor suffered the injury in the preseason, but has been cleared through the league's concussion protocol, and will be under center in Week 1 against the Jets. With the trade of Sammy Watkins in the offseason, Taylor's supporting cast took a big hit, but he's not a bad streaming option for Week 1 against the Jets, who look even less interested in trying to win games than the Bills do.
The Seahawks unveiled their first 53-man depth chart Tuesday, and it included Rawls at the top for running backs. There isn't much clarity beyond that in this four-headed backfield, however, as Eddie Lacy and Chris Carson are both listed as the No. 2 back behind Lacy. All three should see work in a normal week, as should passing-downs specialist C.J. Prosise, if he can get healthy. However, Carson and Lacy could see even more work this week, as Rawls continues to deal with an ankle injury. Pete Carroll was noncommittal on his status Tuesday.
Christian McCaffrey may have his own special playbook
ESPN's Diana Russini reported Tuesday Christian McCaffrey has his own separate playbook:
What this probably means is not that McCaffrey actually has his own playbook – how would the rest of his teammates no which plays to run? – but that there is a large portion of the offense specifically designed with him in mind. The talented rookie was used in a variety of ways at Stanford, and the expectation is we will see much of the same in Carolina. He probably has the most upside of any of the rookie running backs, though Jonathan Stewart's presence could limit his red zone opportunities.
It has been clear for a while now that Mixon wasn't going to be the Bengals' starter from Day One, and now it turns out he might have a pretty small role to start the season. Jeremy Hill is listed as the starter in Cincinnati, with Giovani Bernard listed at No. 2. Expect to see Hill get the majority of the work in the running game, especially near the goal line, with Bernard and Mixon working in passing downs and as a change-of-pace back, respectively. Of course, that doesn't mean this hierarchy can't change as the season goes on, especially if Mixon continues to impress. It just means you need to be patient.
- Alfred Blue (ankle) is expected to miss Week 1… He is recovering from a high-ankle sprain and likely won't be ready this weekend. D'Onta Foreman (groin) is more likely to play Sunday, but his status is very much in doubt as well. Expect a lot of Lamar Miller.
- Tyler Lockett (leg) expects to play in Week 1… Paul Richardson is listed as the No. 2 WR in the wake of the Jermaine Kearse trade, however Doug Baldwin ran 73.6 percent of his routes out of the slot last season, so expect plenty of three-WR looks. Lockett has game-breaking ability on offense and in the return game, and remains an interesting sleeper to hang on to at the end of the roster.
- Devontae Booker (wrist) could be back at practice this week… Booker suffered a wrist injury early in the preseason, but he could be back soon. He will fight for a backup role to injury-prone C.J. Anderson.
- Broncos sign Jonathan Williams to the practice squad… Williams was a surprise cut in Buffalo, and the Broncos are making it clear he isn't just an ordinary practice squad guy; he is making $510,000, comparable to a rookie minimum deal. He could be promoted quickly.
- Marquise Goodwin listed as No. 2 WR in San Francisco… This isn't expected to be a high-powered offense, but they may have to throw the ball early and often to compete, and Goodwin has some sleeper appeal.
- Jaron Brown listed as No. 2 WR in Arizona… That's Jaron Brown, not John Brown. Of course, the Cardinals are another team who routinely use three wide receivers, so expect plenty of John Brown too. And J.J. Nelson, for that matter.
- John Ross (knee) could return in Week 3… Ross almost certainly won't play in the opener, and might need another week beyond that to get ready. This injury could derail the rookie's season, but he remains an interesting stash with game-breaking appeal.
- Braxton Miller (ankle) returned to practice… Miller is expected to be the No. 2 WR in Houston opposite DeAndre Hopkins, and the converted quarterback has some sleeper value. In deep, deep leagues, at this point.
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