Jeff Janis - WR - Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers WR Jeff Janis is in the running for the No. 3 receiver job with WR Ty Montgomery, but beat writer Rob Reischel notes that Janis hasn't won over QB Aaron Rodgers yet. 'Jeff will have some great days and some days where mentally he's making too many mistakes,' Rodgers said. 'The talent and athleticism are there. We just need to see from all those guys battling for those two spots just some more consistency.'
Huddle Up: Inconsistency has been a problem for Janis but he's showed some big play potential in the preseason. Janis is battling with Ty Montgomery for the Packers' No. 3 job. Both players are guys to monitor throughout the season.
Danny Woodhead - RB - San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be part of a committee at running back this season, according to QB Philip Rivers. 'As Coach has always said I'm not saying anything out of the blue it's a running back by committee crew,' Rivers said. 'It's going to be a team effort in that bunch. We're going to need all of them to carry the load in the run game and to catch the ball out of the backfield.'
Huddle Up: The Chargers selected Gordon in the first round but Woodhead, and possibly others, will be involved as well. Gordon's ADP has dropped to the fifth round recently.
Darren McFadden - RB - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys RBs Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden are both unlikely to play in the team's preseason finale Thursday, Sept. 3, and vice president Stephen Jones stopped short of saying the Cowboys were set at the running back position heading into the regular season. Jones didn't rule out Dallas signing a young running back to add to the mix. General manager Jerry Jones, however, is not surprised that there hasn't been separation between Randle and McFadden this preseason.
Huddle Up: The Cowboys may add another running back for depth but heading into the season the trio of Randle, McFadden and Lance Dunbar will all have a role in Dallas' backfield. Randle had a chance to separate from the pack early in training camp but didn't do it. McFadden played well late, so the two are close to even going into Week 1.
Randall Cobb - WR - Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) said he'd be comfortable starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears even if he doesn't practice next week. However, wide receivers coach Alex Van Pelt would like to see Cobb play before the season opener. Van Pelt said it's realistic for Cobb to return before Week 1, and he has no doubts that Cobb could play at a high level against the Bears even without practice.
Huddle Up: Cobb and Aaron Rodgers have been playing for so long, they can probably roll out of bed and be on the same page. With Jordy Nelson out for the year if Cobb is healthy, he'll play.
Chris Johnson - RB - Arizona Cardinals
Arizona Cardinals RB Chris Johnson (hamstring) is expected to play in the final preseason game and should receive at least 10 to 12 carries, according to head coach Bruce Arians.
Huddle Up: Johnson missed the Cardinals last two preseason games and is behind Andre Ellington and David Johnson. The fact the veteran is playing in the Cardinals' last preseason game with fringe roster players probably isn't a great sign for his long-term role with the team.
Devonta Freeman - RB - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (hamstring) is expected to miss the final preseason game Thursday, Sept. 3, but has not been ruled out at this point.
Huddle Up: That would mean the second-year back would have missed the entire preseason and would set up rookie third-round pick Tevin Coleman as the Week 1 starter.
Peyton Manning - QB - Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning said he'd like to play next season, adding that he feels good and feels that he can still help and contribute.
Huddle Up: The 39-year-old QB may feel fine now after playing roughly the equivalent of three quarters in the preseason, but let's wait and see how he looks and feels in late November and December, when he broke down a year ago.
Victor Cruz - WR - New York Giants
New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) is doubtful to play Week 1, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Dan Graziano. Cruz has not yet been cleared to practice and will not participate in the preseason.
Huddle Up: Tough setback for Cruz coming off his knee injury last season, and definitely start moving him down in your pre-draft ranks if you haven't already.
Lamar Miller - RB - Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins RB Lamar Miller's carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, targets, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns have each increased over the last three seasons.
Huddle Up: Miller snuck into the top 10 with 191 points a season ago, and could return some value as he currently owns the 12th-best ADP among RBs, going 36th, on average, overall.
Josh Brown - PK - New York Giants
New York Giants PK Josh Brown suffered a bruised leg making a tackle last week, but he's expected to be fine for the season.
Huddle Up: Just in case you were wondering if you needed to replace Brown as your Week 1 kicker.
Clay Matthews - LB - Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (knee, elbow) is practicing this week with expectations of playing in the final preseason game and Week 1.
Huddle Up: It would be slightly shocking to see Matthews running around out there in the final preseason game, but if he does play and gets through the game OK, you can be sure he'll be out there Week 1 against the Bears.
LeSean McCoy - RB - Buffalo Bills
Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at full speed in practice but is doing rehab work including light footwork, agility and cardio conditioning. A source told ESPN's Josina Anderson McCoy's MRI showed, what was described internally as, a 'small tear,' adding: 'They say it tore in a spot where it couldn't have been any better for us. It tore in a spot that is kind of high up, surrounded by stronger muscles in the glutes and things like that.'
Huddle Up: McCoy only logged seven preseason touches before injuring his hammy in practice, and veteran Anthony Dixon appears to be the next in line on the RB depth chart with Bryce Brown and fifth-round pick Karlos Williams also likely to be mixed in if McCoy misses a game. Certainly stay tuned ...
Derek Anderson - QB - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers QB Derek Anderson signed a two-year extension Wednesday, Sept. 2.
Huddle Up: As far as backup QBs go, the Panthers are in strong shape with the veteran Anderson, who stepped in for the injured Cam Newton on two occasions last season and guided the Panthers to a pair of wins.
Keenan Lewis - CB - New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints CB Keenan Lewis (hip) had hip surgery Tuesday, Sept. 1, and will miss four to six weeks.
Huddle Up: Lewis, the Saints' top corner, hasn't missed a start in his first two seasons in the Big Easy, but it looks like that is about to change, likely leaving Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux as the starting CBs for at least the first few games. Safeties Jairus Byrd and Kenny Vaccaro also are dealing with injury issues so the Saints' secondary could be a problem spot to open the season.
Darrius Heyward-Bey - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey will have a bigger role with WR Martavis Bryant suspended the first four games.
Huddle Up: The anticipation is that DHB will provide a deep threat with Bryant out of the mix, but the real question is can he make the catch after getting behind the defenders? That's what has significantly limited Hayward-Bey to this point in his NFL career.
Matt Cassel - QB - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.
Huddle Up: Rex Ryan is all in on Tyrod Taylor, and the club is only a couple years removed from investing a first-round pick in EJ Manuel so he's not going anywhere, either. The veteran Cassel could catch on as a clipboard holder/insurance policy elsewhere, and the Bills may give him that opportunity sooner rather than later.
Darren McFadden - RB - Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison
Huddle Up: Sounds like the definition of a "backfield by committee". The only wrinkle might come if the Cowboys end up trading for another team's backup around cutdown day; the names of Montee Ball and Giovani Bernard have been tossed around, though that's just rumor and speculation at this juncture.
Brian Hartline - WR - Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns WR Brian Hartline (foot) missed practice Tuesday, Sept. 1, due to an undisclosed injury. 'Then Brian I think just got stepped on so it was just something that we wanted to go ahead and rest him,' head coach Mike Pettine said.
Huddle Up: Doesn't sound like anything major, and that also sums up the ex-Dolphin's 2015 fantasy prospects -- even with ample opportunity in WR-needy Cleveland.
Brian Cushing - LB - Houston Texans
Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (wrist, knee, ankle) is finally fully recovered from multiple injuries and trusts his surgically repaired knee. Cushing has been moving around well in pass coverage and while stopping the run in preseason as he regains his old form. 'I'm moving like my old self, I'm feeling like my old self,' Cushing said. 'I'm not worried about my knee or other injuries or needing any slack or anything really holding me back. It's awesome.'
Huddle Up: The 2009 AP Defensive Rookie of Year looks to be in line for his best season since 2011 (125 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed), but that's not saying a whole lot as he's missed a combined 22 games over the past three seasons.
Antonio Brown - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown received a $2 million signing bonus as part of the restructured contracts of Brown, TE Heath Miller and PK Shaun Suisham, according to sources. Brown's salary increased to $8 million from $6 million.
Huddle Up: Certainly well-deserved on his 2014 fantasy numbers alone, and fantasy GMs are counting on more of the same this year as Brown owns the top WR ADP in both standard- and PPR-league drafts.
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