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Injury MJD recovering from right hand surgery
Appears unlikely to go in Week 2
By: Doug Orth | Sep 11 2014, 6:25 pm

Oakland Raiders
Maurice Jones-Drew said he had a procedure on his right hand — not for a broken bone, he said — and the running back and the Raiders coaching staff essentially ruled him out for Sunday’s game. "I would like to go out there (Sunday), but it’s a long season,” said Jones-Drew, whose hand was very swollen. Raiders OC Greg Olson said that Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray would both get a crack at it if/when Jones-Drew can’t go against the Texans. (San Francisco Chronicle)

FFToday's Take: In a bit of an irony, McFadden came out of Week 1 healthy and should be expected to be the lead back on Sunday. Oakland should enjoy more success on the ground versus Houston than it did against the stout Jets' run defense, so McFadden's owners should feel comfortable using him as a flex or even RB2 if MJD is ruled out.
Injury Lacy cleared for Week 2
Returns to normal practice one week after concussion
By: Doug Orth | Sep 11 2014, 6:10 pm

Green Bay Packers
Packers HC Mike McCarthy: Eddie Lacy is cleared and had a normal practice (Thursday). (Green Bay Packers on Twitter)

FFToday's Take: Lacy quickly passed through the league's concussion protocol and returns to what appears to be a difficult matchup on paper against the Jets. However, New York's decimated secondary is unlikely to provide much resistance versus the Aaron Rodgers-led passing attack, meaning Lacy could have a few short-yardage scores. Barring an unlikely setback, expect RB1 numbers from the Packers' lead back in Week 2.
Injury Lions RB Bush, TE Pettigrew limited at practice
Veteran tailback wearing ice pack on left knee
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 10 2014, 4:41 pm

Detroit Lions
Running back Reggie Bush (knee), safety James Ihedigbo (neck) and tight end Brandon Pettigrew (foot) were all held out of portions of Wednesday's session. Bush and Pettigrew were both new additions to the practice report. Prior to practice, the veteran running back was seen sporting an ice pack on his left knee. (mlive.com)

FFToday's Take: Bush is nursing a sore left knee but his status for week two does not appear to be in jeopardy at this time. Continue to monitor his activity levels in practice this week. If Bush were to sit out this weekend, fellow RB Joique Bell would see his fantasy stock climb heading into the Lions' matchup against the Panthers.
Injury Rookie WR Martavius Bryant could make debut
Dri Archer and Lance Moore ruled out
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 10 2014, 4:30 pm

Pittburgh Steelers
Running back Dri Archer has been ruled out this week with an ankle/foot injury suffered against the Browns, while Lance Moore (groin) will miss his second straight game. Rookie receiver Martavis Bryant (shoulder) returned to practice this week after missing the season opener against the Cleveland Browns and is listed as probable for the game. (Steelers.com)

FFToday's Take: The injuries to Dri Archer and Lance Moore in the passing game should open the door for Martavius Bryant to make his NFL debut. In deep leagues and dynasty formats, Bryant offers some long term upside. Archer's injury will likely result in Le'Veon Bell seeing all of the snaps on passing downs.
Injury Bears WRs Marshall, Jeffery miss practice
O-line practices without Garza and Slauson
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 10 2014, 3:49 pm

Chicgao Bears
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears first-team center Roberto Garza (high-ankle sprain), left guard Matt Slauson (high-ankle sprain) and wide receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) were held out of Wednesday’s practice in advance of Week 2’s critical road game against the San Francisco 49ers. (ESPNChicago.com)

FFToday's Take: Brandon Marshall (ankle) has been receiving treatment and is expected to be ready to go for Week 2 but the same cannot be said for Alshon Jeffery and his hamstring. If the pair of wideouts is unable to practice by tomorrow, fantasy owners will need to start making backup plans. Santonio Holmes would benefit the most if either of Chicago's receivers sit out against the 49ers.
San Diego places Nick Hardwick on IR
Team captain loses season to neck injury
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 10 2014, 3:00 pm

San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers lost one of their leaders for the season placing Nick Hardwick on Reserve-Injured with a neck injury. A stalwart in the middle, the veteran center has started all 136 NFL games he’s appeared in, including 67 in a row, so he’s still getting over the “shock” of being out for the year. (Chargers.com)

FFToday's Take: This is a crushing blow to Mike McCoy's offense. The Chargers will now need to transition to new center Rich Ohrnberger against the fierce Seattle Seahawks defense. As a result, keep expectations for Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews and Keenan Allen tempered for Week 2.
Injury Eddie Lacy misses practice Wednesday
Courd return Thursday
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 10 2014, 12:58 pm

Green Bay Packers
It's too early in the week to rule out RB Eddie Lacy (concussion) or rule in OT Bryan Bulaga (knee), but the return of TE Brandon Bostick (leg) looks pretty promising as the Packers got back to work Wednesday. Lacy did not participate in practice, but the fact he was present is a good sign for him. Typically, players coming off concussions usually attend practice as part of the final stages of the recovery process, so it's possible Lacy could be back on Thursday when the team practices in full pads. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FFToday's Take: Lucy is recovering from a concussion suffered in Week 1 against the Seahawks. Chances are good that he will get cleared before Sunday's game. James Starks would get the start if Lacy can't go.
Injury Tate expected to miss 2-4 weeks, sprained knee
West and Crowell will see increased reps
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 10 2014, 6:53 am

Cleveland Browns
What is the timeline for injured #Browns RB Ben Tate? I’m told likely out 2-4 weeks, depending on how he heals. You’ll see West & Crowell. (Ian Rapoport via Twitter)

FFToday's Take: It didn't take long for Tate to live up to his high-risk injury label. Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell will handle the running back duties in committee form with West likely to get the start. Both running backs should be owned in 12-team leagues.
Injury Ellington makes it through Wk 1 with no setbacks
Likely won't be 100% anytime soon
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 9 2014, 10:00 am

Arizona Cardinals
"When I warmed up beforehand," Andre Ellington said when asked when he knew he would play. "I didn't run after I injured it this week. I didn't run at all, but I was able to get out there before the game and give it a shot." Ellington wasn't 100 percent in the Cardinals' 18-17 win, but he was still Arizona's most effective running back, carrying the ball 13 times for 53 yards and catching five passes for 27. (Arizona Republic)

FFToday's Take: Ellington admits he doesn't have the same quickness moving from left to right and the foot is likely to hamper him in the coming weeks. As a result, Ellington's fantasy ceiling is capped at a RB2 level until he regains his full lateral movement. Expect him to be limited in practice this week but give it a go on Sunday.
Starks to assume lead back duties in Week 2?
Lacy in concussion protocol, needs clearance from neurologist
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Sep 9 2014, 9:33 am

Green Bay Packers
On Friday, coach Mike McCarthy said Eddie Lacy was doing better than expected and was already going through the early steps of the protocol. Still, this is Lacy's second concussion in two years and until he's cleared for contact, the Packers won't know for sure whether they'll have him for the New York Jets on Sunday. If they don't, James Starks would probably be the starter. (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

FFToday's Take: With Eddie Lacy going through the NFL's concussion protocol (he will have to be cleared by an independent neurologist before being allowed to play again), Starks is in line to be the Packers lead back in Week 2. He ran well on Sunday in Lacy's stead.
Josh Gordon reinstatement "inevitable?"
Browns WR could end up playing in 2014
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Sep 9 2014, 9:26 am

Cleveland Browns
ESPN Cleveland calls Josh Gordon's reinstatement to the NFL "inevitable." If a deal between the NFL and the union on a new drug policy is made, Gordon could get reinstated for some, if not all, of 2014. (ESPN Cleveland)

FFToday's Take: There will likely be news on the new drug policy emerging today. This would make Gordon the top waiver wire add of Week 2 if the ban is somehow retroactively reduced or repealed.
Injury No update on Ben Tate, Jordan Cameron
Injuries caused both players to miss time in Week 1
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 4:45 pm

Cleveland Browns
HC Mike Pettine said he doesn't have injury updates on RB Ben Tate (knee) or TE Jordan Cameron (shoulder). (Nate Ulrich on Twitter)

FFToday's Take: Injuries that keep players from returning to game action that week typically do not bode well for their status the following week. Tate's injury-history is well-chronicled and should make Terrance West - if not Isaiah Crowell - attractive free-agent or trade targets this week. Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge filled in for Cameron following his departure, but neither player is worthy of fantasy consideration.
Miller and Moreno to continue rotation
Moreno rushed for 134 yards on 24 carries in opener
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 4:30 pm

Miami Dolphins
Though Lamar Miller started the game, Knowshon Moreno played more snaps, 48 to 27. Moreno ran for 134 yards on 24 carries (5.6), Miller 59 on 11 (5.4 average). Lazor said he did not even think about who should be the starter until a team official mentioned to him Monday that reporters might ask him about it. “The question about who takes the first snap...I hadn’t considered it really yet,” he said. “I expect them both to contribute." (Miami Herald)

FFToday's Take: Although the assertion that Lazor "had not thought about his starter at running back" is hard to believe, there is every reason to believe Miller and Moreno will continue to rotate snaps. Both backs have a chance to be relevant in fantasy if Miami manages to give its backs 35 carries like it did on Sunday. That's highly unlikely to happen, of course, meaning both backs figure to be flex plays at best for the near future.
Injury Clowney likely out 4-6 weeks
Torn lateral meniscus
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 3:50 pm

Houston Texans
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney left Sunday's win in the second quarter with a knee injury and didn't return. On Monday, HC Bill O'Brien gave an update on the rookie's status. "He underwent arthroscopic surgery this morning," O'Brien said. "He'll probably be out for about four to six weeks." Clowney also suffered a concussion during the week of practice in Denver, and missed the preseason games against the Broncos and 49ers. In June, he had surgery for a sports hernia. (houstontexans.com)

FFToday's Take: J.J. Watt was a one-man wrecking crew in Houston's win over Washington, but Clowney's absence should allow upcoming opponents to send more blockers his way. The Texans will move forward with Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus at outside linebacker. Although Reed was borderline dominant in his own right on Sunday, Mercilus has yet to live up to his first-round draft status.
Injury Jordan Reed "could miss some time"
Injured hamstring on only catch of Week 1
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 3:30 pm

Washington Redskins
TE Jordan Reed has shown flashes of great talent in his brief NFL career, but a concussion kept him out of seven games as a rookie and now another injury is threatening to cost him time in his second season with the Redskins. Reed hurt his hamstring while trying to hurdle a defender in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Texans. Reed didn’t return to the game after the injury and coach Jay Gruden said at Monday’s press conference that it “could be some time” before he’s ready to return. (Pro Football Talk)

FFToday's Take: Niles Paul - a former college receiver - stepped up in a big way after Reed's departure and could give Washington some of the same explosiveness Reed does at the position if he is forced to miss multiple weeks. Given how conservative Gruden was with his passing attack in Week 1, Paul could actually be a worthwhile fantasy pickup while Reed is away.
Injury Robert Mathis suffers torn Achilles
Reigning sack champion out for season
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 3:05 pm

Indianapolis Colts
Multiple league sources are reporting OLB Robert Mathis suffered a torn Achilles last week while working out on his own and his season is now over. Mathis had three games remaining on his suspension for violating the PED policy. The 33-year-old Mathis had 19.5 sacks in 2013, his first without Dwight Freeney. Because the injury happened away from the team facility, the Colts could place Mathis on the non-football injury list and withhold this year’s money, setting the stage to part ways with an aging and banged-up player this offseason. (Pro Football Talk)

FFToday's Take: Week 1 is usually reserved for the first wave of season-ending injuries that occur on the field, but has been replaced by the release of Ray Rice and this bombshell. The Colts struggled to consistently get pressure against Denver on Sunday night and will be forced to play without one of its few defensive playmakers the rest of the season. Bjoern Werner and Erik Walden will remain the starters at outside linebacker until further notice.
Injury Cam Newton named Week 2 starter
Sidelined for the opener with rib injury
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 3:00 pm

Carolina Panthers
Panthers HC Ron Rivera says Cam Newton will start the team's home opener Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Newton was held out of Carolina's win on Sunday at Tampa Bay with fractured ribs, but backup Derek Anderson stepped in and threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns in a 20-14 victory. Newton is expected to return to practice Wednesday after his streak of 48 consecutive starts was snapped. Rivera says keeping Newton out against Tampa Bay was "one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make," but doctors told him it will make a huge difference in his recovery. (AP)

FFToday's Take: The key phrase here is that "doctors said it will make a huge difference in his recovery". Although it was a difficult pill to swallow for fantasy owners, it was the right move and probably something that will go a long way in making sure Newton can fully heal. Detroit and its talented front four await in Week 2, but Anderson's Week 1 showing against another tough defense was a promising development for Newton's rest-of-season prospects.
49ers cut ties with LaMichael James
Third-year RB played just two snaps in Week 1
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 2:40 pm

San Francisco
The 49ers waived RB LaMichael James, his agent announced Monday morning. James registered zero yards on two rushes in the 49ers' win over the Cowboys on Sunday. He also entered the season opener as the team's backup punt and kick returner behind rookie Bruce Ellington. (NBC Bay Area)

FFToday's Take: James has been asking for his release for some time now, so the move probably was helped along by the fact that Carlos Hyde had an impressive preseason and Week 1. James could get some feelers from a running back-needy team - such as the Cardinals or Ravens - although he has shown so little as a pro that he may end up not attracting a waiver claim.
Ravens terminate contract of Ray Rice
NFL suspends him indefinitely after TMZ releases casino video
By: Doug Orth | Sep 8 2014, 2:30 pm

Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens terminated RB Ray Rice's contract on Monday, hours after TMZ released a video showing him punching his then-fiancee in the face in an Atlantic City hotel elevator in February. (ESPN)

FFToday's Take: Prior to Monday morning, the public had only had access to part of the casino video in which Rice was dragging his then-fiancee out of the elevator after the February incident. The new video really left the Ravens with no choice but to release the three-time Pro Bowler. From a football perspective, Baltimore will move forward with some combination of Bernard Pierce (benched in Week 1), Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Injury Jordan Reed to have MRI on hamstring
Niles Paul fills in
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 7 2014, 10:10 pm

Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed, who missed seven games as a rookie because of thigh, knee and concussion issues, injured his hamstring while trying to pick up extra yardage on a four-yard reception late in the first quarter. Niles Paul took Reed’s place along with Logan Paulsen in two-tight end sets. (Washington Post)

FFToday's Take: Reed will have an MRI on his hamstring according to head coach Jay Gruden. He said the injury was a concern and hinted that Reed could miss some time. Reed owners should be making other plans for their tight end position for at least Week 2 and likely beyond. Niles Paul caught four passes for 86 yards on four targets in Reed's absence.
Injury Tate injures knee, rookie running backs shine
Severity of knee injury unknown
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 7 2014, 10:00 pm

Cleveland Browns
In their NFL regular-season debuts, Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell combined for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Browns' 30-27 loss at Heinz Field. The Browns rushed for 183 yards - the most in four seasons - despite losing starter Ben Tate to a first-half knee injury. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

FFToday's Take: Tate had six carries for 41 yards before leaving with a knee injury. No update on his status was given after the game. West had 16 carries for 100 yards and would likely be starter next week if Tate is not ready to go while Crowell would work as a change-of-pace.
Injury TE Garrett Graham not expected to play
Back injury
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 7 2014, 9:44 am

Houston Texans
Per source, Texans TE Garrett Graham will not play today. That means rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz is likely to get the start for Houston. (Albert Breer via Twitter)

FFToday's Take: Graham has been dealing with a back issue, missed practice time this week and it appears he will sit out Week 1. Fiedorowicz has some appeal if you're weak at the tight end position, TE Ryan Griffin will also be used in the gameplan.
Injury Ellington a gametime decision
Listed as questionable
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 6 2014, 11:00 pm

Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals starting running back Andre Ellington will be a game-time decision after being limited in Saturday's practice, coach Bruce Arians said. He was officially listed as questionable on the Cardinals' final injury report of the week after getting an MRI on Thursday on a foot injury. (ESPN)

FFToday's Take: Ellington was limited in practice on Saturday and it appears no surgery is needed at this time. "It's one of those things that every day when you wake up it could be different," Arians said. If you have to set your lineup early, it would be best leave Ellington out of it. The risk of him ending up on the Inactive list is too great. Jonathan Dwyer and Stepfan Taylor would fill in for Ellington if he sits.
Injury Kenny Stills out with quad injury
Slight bump for Brandin Cooks
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 6 2014, 2:00 pm

New Orleans
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills has been declared out for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. (New Orleans Times Picayune)

FFToday's Take: The Saints brought back Robert Meachum this week which was a good sign that Stills was headed for the inactive list. With Stills out, Brandin Cooks becomes a more attractive play in Week 1 against the Falcons.
Injury Cecil Shorts out with hamstring injury
Rookie receivers get big opportunity on Sunday
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 6 2014, 1:50 pm

Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have declared wide receiver Cecil Shorts out of the season opener at Philadelphia with a hamstring injury and he won’t make the trip for the game. The other three players not making the trip are running back Storm Johnson, offensive tackle Austin Pasztor and tight end Clay Harbor. (Florida Times Union)

FFToday's Take: Shorts had been bothered by a hamstring injury during training camp and it flared up again on Thursday. He was limited in practice Friday. With Shorts out, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson (all rookies) will be the top targets for Chad Henne. Lee and Hurns offers the most fantasy appeal but both are desperation plays.
Injury Brady returns to practice Friday
Listed on injury report with a calf injury
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 5 2014, 12:30 pm

New England Patriots
After missing practice on Thursday, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his return to practice on Friday during the team's stretches, according to reports. Brady was listed on Thursday's injury report with a calf injury, but told Westwood One's Jim Gray on Thursday evening that he will be "ready to go Sunday." (Boston Herald)

FFToday's Take: Brady's calf issue is likely minor and he's in no danger of missing this week's game against Miami. His fantasy value hinges on the Gronk who is a beast around the goaline. His presence will push Brady into high-end QB1 territory if he's available to play a significant amount of snaps.
Injury Gronkowski expected to play, may be limited
Gronk recovering from ACL injury
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 5 2014, 12:08 pm

New England Patriots
Word is Rob Gronkowski (ACL) was right earlier in the week. The Patriots TE is expected to play vs. Dolphins. Snaps may be limited tho. (Ian Rapoport via Twitter)

FFToday's Take: This has been conventional wisdom all week. Gronk owners should pencil him in their starting lineups. The Patriots and Dolphins play early on Sunday so we'll know ahead of time if the touchdown machine is inactive.
Injury Cecil Shorts still bothered by hamstring injury
Misses practice Friday
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 5 2014, 11:59 am

Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts participated in this morning’s walk-through but is not practicing because of hamstring tightness that forced him to leave Thursday’s practice early. Shorts was not present during the first 30 minutes of today’s workout. It is expected that Shorts will be listed as questionable for Sunday’s opener at Philadelphia. (Florida Times Union)

FFToday's Take: Shorts was unable to finish practice yesterday so it's looking more an more like he won't be available against the Bears this week. Expect him to be a gametime decision. If he can't go, Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson Allen Hurns and Mike Brown will be the top receivers for Chad Henne.
O'Brien: "Arian's going to play a lot"
Texans running back inline for a heavy workload
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 5 2014, 10:45 am

Houston Texans
Running back Arian Foster starts against Washington. It’s his first action since suffering a season-ending back injury last year. “Arian’s going to play a lot,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “After that, we’ll see how it goes. “I believe at some point you’ll see all three of those other backs: Jonathan Grimes, Alfred Blue and Ronnie Brown in different situations. But Arian will get the bulk of the playing time.” (Houston Chronicle)

FFToday's Take: Foster is inline for plenty of touches this week against the Redskins... an all three downs. He'll be spelled by Jonathan Grimes. Given his expected volume, Foster is no-brainer RB1 this week.
Injury Andre Ellington has MRI on injured foot
Limited in practice on Thursday
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 5 2014, 2:00 am

Arizona Cardinals
Running back Andre Ellington practiced on a limited basis (Thursday) because of a foot injury. Reporters' access to players and coaches came before the injury report was issued Thursday, so more information was not available. Hearing Andre Ellington was dealing with some discomfort in his left foot the past week, irritated his foot during practice on Thursday #MRI. (Mike Jurecki via Twitter)

FFToday's Take: We'll have to wait for clarity from the team which I'm sure will be coming later today but this should fan the flames regarding Ellington's durability concerns. Jonathan Dwyer is next in line for carries should Ellington miss any playing time.
Injury Eddie Lacy suffers concussion
Ten days until next game against Jets
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 4 2014, 11:00 pm

Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy sustained a concussion during Thursday night's 36-16 season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks, coach Mike McCarthy confirmed after the game. The second-year player departed in the second half after picking up 34 yards on 12 carries. (ESPN)

FFToday's Take: It wasn't a pretty night for the Packers offense and while Lacy found some holes in the first quarter the Seahawks defense quickly responded and held the big back to 2.8 yards per carry. Lacy left in the fourth quarter and catches somewhat of break as the Packers have ten days before their next game at home against Jets. James Starks saw action as Lacy's backup rushing for 37 yards on seven carries.
Welker, Gordon could have suspensions reduced
NFL, NFLPA could come to agreement on new policy soon
By: Doug Orth | Sep 4 2014, 8:35 pm

Cleveland Browns
Broncos WR Wes Welker is suspended for the first four games of the season, and Browns WR Josh Gordon is suspended for the entire season. Both players have already appealed, and lost. And yet there’s a chance that both players could still see their suspensions reduced. As Mike Florio reported on NBC, Welker, Gordon and potentially other players in the midst of suspensions could benefit from a new drug testing policy that the owners and players could agree upon soon. (Pro Football Talk)

FFToday's Take: Offseason use of amphetamines would move from the PED policy to the substance-abuse policy, which would allow Welker to get by without a suspension as a first-time offender. Another change is that the threshold to trigger a positive result on a marijuana test would rise. That would affect Gordon because his positive test was just barely above the NFL’s current threshold. What it means is that Welker could be available sooner than expected and Gordon is worthy of a stash.
Jets likely to go with "hot hand" at RB
Johnson expects to start, but does not know exact role
By: Doug Orth | Sep 4 2014, 4:10 pm

New York Jets
Chris Johnson expects to start Sunday in the New York Jets' season opener, but he's not sure about his exact role -- i.e. how the carries will be divided among the running backs. Johnson might not be certain of the particulars, but he's confident in this: He won't be spending a lot of time on the bench. In six seasons with the Titans, Johnson averaged 18 carries per game. He probably won't reach that number, especially since he's coming off knee surgery. RB coach Anthony Lynn subscribes to the "hot hand" philosophy. (ESPN New York)

FFToday's Take: Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell are all listed as starters on the depth chart, for what little that is worth. Johnson is a poor fit for Rex Ryan's preferred "Ground-and-Pound" attack while Ivory is, meaning Johnson could have more than his share of bad fantasy days. The ex-Titan shouldn't be considered anything more than a flex in all leagues until he assumes the lead role for sure, assuming that even happens.
Bengals hint at committee backfield
HC Lewis suggests Bernard will "get a little bit more"
By: Doug Orth | Sep 4 2014, 3:55 pm

Cincinnati Bengals
Fantasy Nugget: Bengals HC Marvin Lewis told me "A smart guy would say Gio gets a little bit more" when (I asked him about he would split touches between Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill). (Ross Tucker on Twitter)

FFToday's Take: The first clue was the second-round pick the Bengals spent on Hill this spring, the second was Cincinnati's curious choice to give the LSU rookie 26 touches in the preseason finale and the third was the release of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The good news for Bernard owners is that he is probably still in line for over 200 carries and 60-plus receptions because new OC Hue Jackson will put a heavy emphasis on the running game. As for Hill, he should be solid flex play going forward.
Injury Cam Newton unsure about Week 1 status
Not a full-go at Thursday practice
By: Doug Orth | Sep 4 2014, 3:35 pm

Carolina Panthers
After missing Wednesday's practice with rib soreness, Cam Newton returned to the field on Thursday but didn't throw a pass during the portion of practice open to the media. Newton later told reporters that he wasn't full-go, but remains on track to play in Sunday's regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "If I can go, I'm going to go," Newton said, "and how I'm feeling now, I'm on pace to go." Newton has never missed an NFL start, but acknowledged that he won't put his team at risk by playing before he's ready, reminding scribes: "I am human, and we all have our limits." (NFL.com)

FFToday's Take: Hardly a ringing endorsement, but it is a good sign that he took the field on Thursday. Newton is a low-end QB1 at best this week with a shaky offensive line against a potentially dominant front seven, so he has his work cut out for him. The Panthers don't kick off until 4:25 ET on Sunday, so owners may need to go in another direction this week. Derek Anderson is Newton's direct backup.
Injury Cooper, De'Anthony Thomas injured at practice
Chiefs may be without starting corner and key returner
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 4 2014, 12:30 pm

Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs could be without two key players in Sunday’s season opener against the Tennessee Titans. Starting cornerback Marcus Cooper suffered an ankle injury and rookie running back/punt returner De’Anthony Thomas strained a hamstring late in Wednesday’s practice, coach Andy Reid said on Thursday morning. Neither player was expected to practice on Thursday. (Kansas City Star)

FFToday's Take: The Chiefs have had a slew of injury issues this preseason and can't afford to lose yet another key piece in the secondary. If Cooper is out, there may be some hidden gems for fantasy owners in the Titans passing game this week. Kendall Wright, Nate Washington and Justin Hunter would get a bump in value.
Spiller set to return kicks
Bills running back to be used on special teams
By: Mike Krueger | Sep 4 2014, 8:00 am

Buffalo Bills
He hasn’t made a kick return for the Bills since 2011, but RB C.J. Spiller will be the lead man on kick returns this season. Buffalo’s depth chart has Spiller is listed as the starting kick returner ahead of last year’s starter Marquise Goodwin. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed Wednesday that Spiller will be used on kick returns. (BuffaloBills.com)

FFToday's Take: Spiller gets some added value in leagues that provided fantasy points for return yardage but also gets the added injury risk that comes with task. Marrone went to say that he sees Spiller as 20-touch per game player. "I think with the right touches yes, I do,” he said. “With the right touches yes and where they come from. Every which way you can get him the ball, (a guy) who is an explosive playmaker, yes (you do it)."
Injury Jordan Reed practices fully, Orakpo limited
Tight end dealing with sprained thumb
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 3 2014, 6:20 pm

Washington Redskins
Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo was limited in Wednesday’s practice by a sprained ankle, according to the Redskins’ injury report. Tight end Jordan Reed practiced fully despite receiving treatment for a thumb injury. (Washington Post)

FFToday's Take: After an initial scare last week, Jordan Reed (thumb) has been able to return to practice fully and should be in starting lineups for week one. Meanwhile, Brian Orakpo is looking like a risky play in IDP leagues.
Injury TE Rob Gronkowski limited in practice
Aaron Dobson not listed on injury report
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 3 2014, 5:42 pm

New England Patriots
The New England Patriots will head into their Week 1 at Miami with little injury concern, except for the All-Pro tight end who may or may not play. Rob Gronkowski, recovering from ACL surgery, was among four Patriots listed as limited participants in Wednesday's practice. On Monday, Gronkowski told reporters he'd be playing against the Dolphins, but on Tuesday Bill Belichick said "I'm glad Rob is optimistic, but in the end we'll have to make the decision that's best for the team." A key player who had missed preseason time, wide receiver Aaron Dobson (foot), was not listed on the injury report. (Masslive.com)

FFToday's Take: Those who drafted Rob Gronkowski knew he might be limited for the season opener and should already have a backup plan in place. Even if he continues to practice this week, he would likely be limited against the Dolphins. After missing a chunk of time, Aaron Dobson (foot) looks to be at full health and should be worked back into the offense right out of the gate. He remains a player to watch in all formats and is worth stashing in deep leagues.
Matt Cassel not on a short leash?
Vikings fans might have to wait for Bridgewater's time
By: Jake Gordon | Sep 3 2014, 3:53 pm

Minnesota Vikings
Head coach Mike Zimmer knows he must walk a tightrope at quarterback. He wishes he could hold Cassel and Bridgewater to the same standard as he plans to hold the other positions, and go with whoever is playing best at that point in time. But he acknowledged that the ripple effect is more significant when changing quarterbacks than when changing out starters at other positions. “That’s something you have to consider,” Zimmer said. “With every position, even with the middle linebacker or the safety, you don’t want to make, as you say, a knee-jerk decision just because they don’t play well one day or do the things you think they’re capable of. I think you still have to go on what you see every day in practice and what you see in the preseason.” That’s why Zimmer said he doesn’t foresee the Vikings making a change early in the season. “I know the fans are excited about Teddy. I’m excited about Teddy,” Zimmer said. “But we have to do what’s best for the football team at this point in time and what’s best for the future." (Star Tribune)

FFToday's Take: It looks like Matt Cassel will get a real shot to be the team's quarterback for the entire 2014 season. Based on Mike Zimmer's recent comments, it will take multiple poor outings before he considers giving Cassel the hook in favor of rookie Teddy Bridgewater. As a result, fantasy owners should be able to count on Cassel leading the offense for at least the first third of the season.