Dwayne Bowe is used to double-teams, and Friday his fantasy prospects were double-teamed by bad news. First, Chiefs coach Andy Reid revealed that Bowe’s finger is “shot”, that it’s been knocked out of place more than a dozen times, and that he’s having trouble catching the ball. At least he’ll have some extra time to rest his dysfunctional digit, as the league has suspended him for the first game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Not that you had many compelling reasons to be targeting Bowe in your fantasy draft, but now you can draw in two red flags next to his name—and a big down arrow while you’re at it.
Saturday night is the busier night of the second week of exhibition games, but there are still four games on the Friday night docket. Here’s a rundown of some of the top story lines in those tilts.
The marquee game on Friday’s preseason calendar caps a week in which the Eagles and Patriots practiced together. Tom Brady is scheduled to start, and it will be interesting to see which receivers he turns to with Rob Gronkowski sidelined. To this point Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell have had the best camps.
The Eagles, on the other hand, will be without both Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin in tonight’s meeting with the Patriots. Maclin, who was having success against Darrelle Revis during joint practices, remains sidelined with a hamstring issue while Cooper will be held out with a foot injury. Curious that rookie Jordan Matthews remains with the second team despite the injuries to the starters, though a strong showing against New England would go a long way towards helping him nudge Brad Smith out of the slot position.
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The Titans want to get an extended look at Jake Locker in their preseason tilt with the Saints, as he threw just two passes in the exhibition opener. Fantasy owners, however, want to see more of Bishop Sankey—specifically, running ahead of Shonn Greene with the first team. That may happen, as Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt indicated he might flip-flop a few of the position battles to provide equal opportunity with—and against—the other team’s ones. While he didn’t mention Sankey by name as one of those in that category, the shoe certainly fits.
Drew Brees will sit again, but that doesn’t mean the Saints won’t be fun to watch. Brandin Cooks continues to shine in training camp, and another strong preseason showing would blow up his ADP even further. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see which of the Saints’ stable of backs carry the ball—and which look well doing so. At present Mark Ingram looks to be in line for the lead role in New Orleans’ RBBC; building on a very nice effort in the preseason opener would go a long way to converting fantasy owners who continue to draft Pierre Thomas and sometimes even Khiry Robinson ahead of him.
We won’t know for sure whether or not Calvin Johnson will play against the Raiders until about 90 minutes before game time, but that’s okay; we know what he can do. One area with question marks—in a good way—is the Lions’ surprisingly deep running back corps. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell should see token touches, but Theo Ratliff and George Winn are both pushing for touches—and in the process perhaps pushing Mikel Leshoure off the roster.
On the heels of a spirited scrimmage with the Cowboys, the Raiders will hope their offense shows signs of life against Detroit. While not specifically fantasy-related, keep an eye on Oakland’s rebuilt offensive line against a very good Lions’ defensive front. If this unit can give Matt Schaub time he’ll have an opportunity to be effective—something that eluded him in brief action during the preseason opener. Time for Schaub translates into throws to the wideouts, which would allow a more proper evaluation of the fantasy prospects of James Jones and Andre Holmes.
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Finally, the Friday nightcap pits a pair of teams with few concerns to iron out in the exhibition slate. The Chargers would love to see a receiver emerge opposite Keenan Allen but otherwise just want to make it to September healthy. The Seahawks, who saw a 10-game preseason winning streak snapped last week, would like to get a look at Marshawn Lynch, who has been working his way back into the mix slowly since returning from his abbreviated holdout. In lieu of Lynch, something from Christine Michael that suggests Seattle needn’t worry about Lynch would be acceptable as well.