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Training Camp Notes: Ball's Stock Takes A Hit

  • The Bengals' signing of quarterback Andy Dalton to a six-year, $115 million contract extension got the football world buzzing early Monday, but it was far from the most fantasy-relevant news of the days. In Denver, running back Montee Ball underwent an appendectomy, and while the team does expect him to be ready to go for the Sept. 7 regular season opener against the Colts, it sounds like he could miss the entire exhibition slate. Ronnie Hillman saw most of the carries with the regulars in Ball's absence Monday, according to, with C.J. Anderson getting "a smattering" of snaps with the first team. Of course, Ball is still the guy to own, but for a player who experienced his fair share of fumbling issues as a rookie, the lack of live action heading into the season is certainly not ideal. Moreover, the lost reps may very well affect Ball's timing with Peyton Manning and the offense, so it's something that should impact Ball's draft position at least slightly.
  • It's easy to read more into Johnny Manziel working with the Browns' starters Monday than is there, as coach Mike Pettine acknowledged afterward that there's still a "more than reasonable chance" the team starts Brian Hoyer in Saturday's preseason opener. Pettine had said over the weekend that the team was planning to get Manziel some first-team reps, describing it as "all part of the evaluation process," but it may be an indicator that the gap between Hoyer and Manziel is closing. In 18 career games (four starts) in the NFL, Hoyer has posted a 59.4 completion percentage, 6.4 YPA and 7:6 TD:INT, so even if Hoyer earns the job out of camp, Manziel should have little trouble taking it before the halfway point of the season.

  • An issue with the AC joint in Jordan Cameron's shoulder will keep the 25-year-old from Saturday's game, but coach Pettine said it's something Cameron would likely play through if it were the regular season. Cameron was on the field for 930 of the Browns' 1,078 offensive snaps last season (86%), and with options like Gary Barnidge, Jim Dray and MarQueis Gary behind him, that number may only rise in 2014.
  • While participating in a non-contact drill last week, David Wilson suffered a setback with his neck injury, and upon further evaluation, the 23-year-old was advised to end his playing career. The former first-round pick was waived/injured by the Giants on Monday, officially ending his 2014 season, and the team will now look to the likes of Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis and Andre Williams to head its ground attack. Jennings saw 10 touches in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game, but it was Williams who plunged in for a score while rushing for 48 yards on seven carries. Meanwhile, Hillis totaled just 32 yards on eight touches.
  • Marvin Jones was cleared to practice Monday after missing the first week of camp with a minor ankle injury. Although the team figures to hold him out of Thursday's preseason opener, Jones still has more than enough time to gear up for the regular season, and he's firmly on the WR4 radar after an impressive sophomore campaign. Teammate Mohamed Sanu has been causing somewhat of a stir in the early going, but there will be fewer targets to go around this season with Hue Jackson now running the offense.
  • The expectation is that Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden will share the load at tailback for the Raiders this season, but it's worth noting that Jones-Drew is listed ahead of McFadden on coach Dennis Allen's initial depth chart. Now 29, Jones-Drew averaged a career-worst 3.4 YPC last year with Jacksonville, and he's missed 11 games over the past two seasons due to injury, but he still looks like Iron Man compared to McFadden. Interestingly, the 6-foot-4 Andre Holmes is listed as a starter at wide receiver for Oakland, and while his role is yet to be determined, he's worth monitoring as camp progresses.
  • Finally free from Adrian Peterson's shadow, Toby Gerhart is set to take on a feature role with the Jaguars in his fifth NFL season, health permitting. Gerhart sat out practice Monday for a third straight day as a result of a hip flexor, but the issue is not expected to keep him out for much longer. That said, it wouldn't be a surprise if the team held Gerhart out of Friday's preseason opener against the Buccaneers, and if so, Jordan Todman would likely get the start.
  • A fractured clavicle, suffered during Monday's practice, has put the Bears' Marquess Wilson on the shelf indefinitely. While certainly unfortunate for the second-year receiver, it creates an opening for playing time in the slot, with Eric Weems and Josh Morgan seeming like the top candidates for increased looks.