Tuesday was a good day for some bigger fantasy names to return to practice, the first being Broncos running back Montee Ball. Ball has been sidelined for the past couple of weeks after having his appendix removed, but he indicated yesterday he hoped to be cleared by doctors to return to work. It certainly helped that Tuesday was a non-contact practice for the Broncos and there’s no set timetable as to when Ball will return to game action, but for a guy who was going off the board in the first round of some fantasy drafts any return was welcome news.
Also returning to practice was Buffalo rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, who left the Bills’ preseason game over the weekend with a rib injury. Bills coach Doug Marrone was unwilling to disclose a timetable on Watkins’ return, and he didn’t participate fully in Tuesday’s session. But like with Ball, the fact that he’s back at practice suggests he’s close, and right now close is good enough.
- Be sure to check out this week’s “10 Stats That Matter From Week One of the Preseason” and “Targets, Touches & TDs: Preseason Week 1.”
On the flip side of the injury spectrum, Odell Beckham Jr. can’t buy a break. The highly touted rookie was expected to make his NFL debut in the Jets/Giants preseason game this weekend; instead, Beckham was kicked in the leg during Monday’s practice and held out of Tuesday’s session as a precaution, leaving his status for this weekend in doubt. In a change of pace Tom Coughlin actually came to Beckham’s defense, saying the injury wasn’t a setback from the previous hamstring issues that have plagued Beckham and noting that he’s been in all the meetings and knows the offense. However, he has yet to see significant reps with Eli Manning and the Giants, and the probability of Beckham making an immediate impact in the Big Blue offense is dwindling.
Another injury, this one in Green Bay where Brandon Bostick will be sidelined for a couple weeks with a lower leg injury. Packers coach Mike McCarthy won’t say if the injury is related to the broken foot that prematurely ended Bostick’s 2013 season, but it does clear the way for Andrew Quarless to sneak onto the fantasy radar. The Packers still need to fill the void left by Jermichael Finley, and the way bodies are dropping in Green Bay Quarless, despite not necessarily being the best man for the job, might fall into a portion of those numbers by default. At present rookie Richard Rodgers, who started Green Bay’s last preseason game and played primarily with the first team, is Quarless’ greatest competition.
Finally, despite the Jaguars protesting otherwise Blake Bortles received snaps with the first team in Tuesday’s practice. The Jags would prefer that Chad Henne hold down the quarterback position this year while Bortles learns via clipboard and practice time, but the rookie has played so well this preseason he may force Jacksonville to rush their timetable. Bortles is expected to get several snaps with the ones in the Jags’ third preseason game as well.