WR Jordy Nelson UP
Jordy Nelson returned to practice after knee surgery today, 2 weeks before the Packers’ first game of the season. It’s obviously a very good sign for his week 1 status and makes me a little bit more confident in a bounce back year.
Projection: 80 catches for 1120 receiving yards 10 touchdowns (172 pts standard, 252 pts PPR)
WR James Jones DOWN
With Randall Cobb taking over a bigger role and Jordy Nelson coming back from injury, James Jones could see up to 100 fewer passing snaps than he did last season, so he’s unlikely to reach the 64 catches for 784 yards he had last season and even if he were to catch 64 passes again, it’s unlikely he’d convert 14 touchdowns. Something like 2010 (50/679/5) or 2011 (38/635/7) is much more likely. Leave him alone.
Projection: 53 catches for 670 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns (103 pts standard, 156 pts PPR)
RB Knowshon Moreno UP
Originally, I thought it would be Ronnie Hillman to start the season for the Broncos, but he’s been a mess in the pre-season so it’s beginning to look like Moreno is going to be the early season back and passing down complement. Montee Ball will eventually take over the starting job, like he would have if Hillman were the guy and I do expect him to lead the team in carries, but John Fox hates playing rookies.
Projection: 120 carries for 500 rushing yards 4 total touchdowns 23 catches for 190 receiving yards (93 pts standard, 116 pts PPR)
RB Ronnie Hillman DOWN
Ronnie Hilman has been a mess in the pre-season. I’d take Ball and Moreno over him. He’s barely worth a late round flier at this point.
Projection: 80 carries for 380 rushing yards 3 total touchdowns 20 catches for 160 receiving yards (72 pts standard, 92 pts PPR)
QB EJ Manuel UP
EJ Manuel hasn’t officially been named the starting quarterback of the Bills, but he’s been by far their best quarterback this pre-season and he may win it by default regardless because of Kevin Kolb’s potentially career threatening concussion. The Bills signed veteran Matt Leinart, but he’s only insurance in case Manuel misses time after minor knee surgery. His status is in doubt for the very early part of the season, but when he does play, he could post QB2 numbers because of his rushing ability. Ryan Tannehill’s rookie numbers should serve as a template for Manuel’s He’ll be the starter by the time bye weeks roll around and he faces New Orleans’ pathetic defense week 8 so he could be a smart backup for a team with a starting quarterback with a bye week 8.
Projection: 3300 passing yards, 13 touchdowns, 15 interceptions, 300 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns (202 pts standard, 228 pts 6 pt leagues)
RB Bilal Powell UP
Bilal Powell has been working as the starter for the Jets this pre-season and getting more touches than Chris Ivory. This won’t continue into the season. The Jets are just limiting Ivory’s carries as he works through hamstring problems and trying to keep him fresh for the regular season. However, Powell is the clear #2 back and is worth a late round flier because he’ll be the starter should the injury prone Ivory miss any time. Hamstring problems tend to linger. He’ll also play the majority of the passing downs.
Projection: 120 carries for 440 rushing yards 4 total touchdowns 25 catches for 200 receiving yards (88 pts standard, 113 pts standard
RB Stepfan Taylor UP
Ryan Williams just can’t get healthy. The Cardinals are shopping him ahead of final cuts and could cut him if they can’t find a taker. He’s not worth drafting anymore. 5th round rookie Stepfan Taylor is the handcuff you want for injury prone Rashard Mendenhall.
Projection: 130 carries for 570 receiving yards 4 total touchdowns 18 catches for 130 receiving yards (94 pts standard, 112 pts PPR)