The penultimate week of the NFL preseason is here. With only two weeks to go before the Packers and Bears kickoff, mock drafts are quickly becoming real drafts. Keep an eye on these headlines:
— ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Friday that Patriots receiver Josh Gordon would be reinstated by the NFL after repeat violations of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Gordon brings dynamic, big-play ability to New England’s offense and adds depth to a thin wide receiving corps. However, he cannot practice or participate in games until he is removed from the non-football injury list, and his fantasy potential is mitigated by his excessive previous absences. He is worth watching as a late-round flier with lots of upside if he comes off the NFI list and can stay in the NFL’s good graces.
— Amari Cooper has not practiced since Aug. 3 after leaving with a bruised heel. It was later reported by Calvin Watkins of The Athletic that Cooper is dealing with plantar fasciitis. Coach Jason Garrett said Cooper is day-to-day, but it is unlikely he will rush back given that he is in a contract year and in pursuit of a big payday. Cooper became an integral part of the Cowboys offense after he was acquired in the middle of last season. If he misses time, this would be a downgrade for Dak Prescott, but could open the door for second-year receiver Michael Gallup to take more snaps.
— Former Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray stumbled during the Cardinals’ second preseason game against the Raiders on Thursday night. He completed only 3 of 8 passes for 12 yards with three penalties and a safety. Any rookie quarterback carries inherent risk, but Murray’s guaranteed production on the ground and high volume style of play makes him an attractive pick at QB12. Hopefully, new coach Kliff Kingsbury can find success with the Air Raid and inject some much needed vitality into a lackluster offense that finished second to last in average plays per game last season.
— The long-awaited return of Jimmy Garoppolo was disappointing to say the least. Garoppolo, who tore his ACL in September of last year, completed 1 of 6 attempts for zero yards and an interception, posting a 0.0 passer rating. Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Thursday that it would be “irresponsible” to get concerned over 10 plays, but Garoppolo expressed understandable frustration after the game. His fantasy relevance extends only to two-QB or superflex leagues, but if he fails to meet expectations, this could hurt the value of George Kittle, Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin and Deebo Samuel.
— Bears third-round pick David Montgomery has turned heads during this preseason. Coach Matt Nagy told reporters that he likes Montgomery’s “angry” running style that allows him to break tackles and he should be a threat in the passing game as well. Nagy also said on Tuesday that they “probably gave Tarik Cohen a little bit too much” work last season. Montgomery is currently third on the depth chart, but if he continues to perform at this level, he will inevitably take carries away from Cohen and Mike Davis.