We are only two weeks away from Football! I’ll be writing the Daily Dose every Thursday during the season and plan on covering news from the past 24 hours as well as a condensed preview of the mid-week game. For now, let’s jump into some news and speculation in training camp.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Melvin Gordon's holdout is expected to continue into the season.
Reporters have been saying this for months, but most people only viewed it as a way for Melvin Gordon to gain leverage over the Chargers. At this point, we have to look at this as a legitimate threat. The way Gordon’s contract is structured, he only needs to play half the season in order for the 2019 season to count on his contract. Otherwise, Gordon will be on the hook for another year under his rookie deal. Gordon wants to prove a point but also needs to play at least half the season to make sure he is – at worst – a free agent in 2020.
If he does miss time, he’ll be replaced by a combination of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Both players were solid rushers last year with Jackson posting a 51% rushing success rate while Ekeler had a 49% success rate. Both were comparable to Gordon (50% success) while Ekeler averaged more yards per carry. Fantasy drafters are expecting Ekeler to shoulder the majority of the load but it isn’t wise to count Justin Jackson out. He was a workhorse at Big 10 college Northwestern and racked up over 1,000 rushing yards in four straight seasons. He profiles as a workhorse back and showed flashes of brilliance last season. Ekeler will see the bulk of the carries to start but given his significantly higher ADP, Jackson could be the sharper play multiple rounds cheaper in fantasy drafts. Gordon's ADP will continue to drop but someone else will likely take him before I'm comfortable (6-7th round) accepting his holdout risk. In terms of real football, don’t expect the Chargers overall offensive efficiency, or even rushing efficiency, to dip in Gordon’s absence.
Rashaad Penny falling “further behind” Chris Carson
This seems to be the story of the preseason with Penny looking dreadful (13 yards on 12 carries) while Carson looks great. It was originally anticipated to be a 60-40 workload split between the two but may be creeping closer to a 70-30 timeshare. The Seahawks project to be one of the NFL’s run-heaviest teams so both players will see volume, but how they split up carries will make a massive difference in both Carson and Penny’s fantasy value. Carson is a steal at his current late fourth-round ADP.
Darwin Thompson “leaps” Carlos Hype on the depth chart
The Athletic's Nate Taylor reports Chiefs sixth-round RB Darwin Thompson "appears to have leaped" Carlos Hyde on the depth chart. Thompson has been sharing first-team snaps in practice with Damien Williams while Hyde has been relegated to the second-team. Thompson’s also looked incredibly explosive during preseason games when given the opportunity. It’s not too much of a surprise to see this happening and Hyde is certainly on the roster bubble if he can’t reclaim that No. 2 spot. Thompson is a high-upside running back that should be a target in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Vikings are “raving about” Alexander Mattison
The Athletic's Jay Glazer reports the Vikings can't stop "raving about" third-round RB Alexander Mattison at camp. It’s possible that Glazer mixed up Mattison and Mike Boone as the latter has 111 yards on 22 touches through the Vikings first two games. All jokes aside, Mattison has clearly run ahead of Boone in the preseason and looks to be the handcuff to Dalvin Cook. The former third-round pick is a late-round draft pick in fantasy leagues with high upside if Cook were to ever go down.
Cooper Kupp’s rehab progressing nicely
The Athletic's Jay Glazer reports Cooper Kupp has been making incredible progress in his rehab. Glazer said, "All his test scores, coming out of his breaks, agility, quickness, every test timed better than it was before he tore his ACL.” Kupp was an easy fade at his ADP in fantasy drafts with his injury shrouded in uncertainty but he should be back on the radar as one of the top options in the Rams passing attack.
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Darrell Henderson to handle 9-12 touches per game?
Henderson was an offseason hype machine with the uncertainty surrounding Todd Gurley’s knee increasing. Most level-headed analysts viewed Henderson as a player with an extremely wide range of outcomes this season and more specifically, The Athletic's Vincent Bonsignore expects Darrell Henderson to handle 9-12 touches per game. We haven’t seen much out of Henderson so far in the preseason but locking in 9-12 touches per game on a high-powered offense like the Rams is something to take note of. If Todd Gurley’s injury were to prove more serious, Henderson’s upside is immense.
Quick Hits: When asked if Vance McDonald will see increased playing time in 2019, Steelers OC Randy Fichtner replied, "He won't. He's never going to play the full game. That's never going to happen." McDonald only played 56% of the snaps last season, so there’s a big margin between every snap and what he saw in 2018. Despite the coach’s comment, It’s extremely likely he’ll be more productive this season and see more snaps. … Dolphins signed WR Jakeem Grant to a four-year extension through 2023. This is a really intriguing signing as Grant has totaled just 34 career receptions for 471 yards and four touchdowns. … Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said DK Metcalf's knee surgery showed minimal injury. Despite Carroll’s general over-optimism, this is about what we expected to hear. Even with minimal repairs it’s unlikely Metcalf’s ready for the start of the season. … Lions signed DT Damon Harrison to a one-year, $11 million extension. “Snacks” Harrison skipped OTA’s in hopes of a new contract and was rewarded. He’s now signed through 2021. … Cardinals released WR Kevin White. The former first-round pick will likely get a shot on another team but it may come at some point during the season. …. Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski listed Nelson Agholor as one of the most impressive Eagles of the summer and expects him to be a "significant part" of the offense. He is a largely forgotten piece of this offense with DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffrey, Zach Ertz, and Dallas Goedert stealing the spotlight. Agholor will likely start the season as their No. 3 wideout alongside Alshon Jeffrey and DeSean Jackson in three wide receiver sets.