The biggest fantasy news Thursday comes from off the field, where ESPN is reporting that Martavis Bryant is currently appealing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bryant, who scored eight times in the final 10 games of last season, could be joining Le’Veon Bell on the Steelers sidelines when the season kicks off in September. No word on when the appeal will be heard, but get ready to move Markus Wheaton up your fantasy draft board.
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Just when you thought the Bills’ quarterback battle had been whittled down to two, Rex Ryan pulls a fast one. Thursday he announced that EJ Manuel would be the Buffalo starter for the third preseason game, which is generally viewed as the most accurate dress rehearsal for the regular season. Ryan did add that both Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor would get time with the first team as well, further underscoring that fantasy owners want no part of this situation whatsoever.
Speaking of quarterback battles, the Texans settled theirs by opting for Brian Hoyer over Ryan Mallett—and the latter wasn’t too happy with the decision. Thursday, Mallett was not at Houston’s practice and coach Bill O’Brien gave no reason. “That’s between Ryan and I,” O’Brien told the Houston Chronicle. “That’s a personal issue with him.” Maybe we’ll have to wait until the next episode of Hard Knocks before we find out the truth.
And finally, Johnny Manziel won’t be able to build on the success of his recent preseason outing. Browns coach Mike Pettine said Johnny Football will be held out of Cleveland’s exhibition game on Saturday due to an elbow injury. “He’s still experiencing a little soreness,” Pettine told the Plain Dealer. “It hasn’t bounced back. Err on side of caution.” To bolster the team’s quarterback depth behind Josh McCown, the Browns signed Pat Devlin.