WR attempting to add deep threat to his resume
A breakout season saw JuJu Smith-Schuster rank among the NFL leaders in receptions and yards. A tumultuous offseason saw him ascend to a role as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top target. What Smith-Schuster wants to evolve into this season is a different player, one who adds dangerous deep threat to his resume by providing splash plays for the Steelers.
“Being able to catch the deep balls down the field, those go balls, those free balls that they send down the field where I’ve got to go make those plays,” Smith-Schuster said. “That’s what I’ve focused on a lot, catching the ball over the shoulder and being able to be a threat on the outside.” (Pittsburgh Tribune)
Nerdy Football Analysis: Smith-Schuster played the slot on 59 percent of his snaps last year but has been spending much more time outside this preseason, including on 10-of-13 snaps in last week’s preseason game. It’s fair to wonder if Smith-Schuster can adequately fill the No. 1 role that belonged to Antonio Brown and beat the top corners in the game, but he’s already shown he can thrive with or without Brown and win regardless of where he lines up. He’s an easy top-five selection among receivers in drafts.
RB get some jogging in Thursday
By the way, Kenyan Drake, last seen in a walking boot due to foot injury, is out of the walking boot and jogging. (Miami Herald – Armando Salguero)
Nerdy Football Analysis: Initial reports had Drake out “a while” and perhaps in danger of missing the opener, but this report suggests he should be good to go barring a setback. Kalen Ballage has reportedly been a standout in camp, but it hasn’t carried over to preseason action. While it’s far from a trendy pick at the moment, Drake has the right combination of skill (especially in the passing game) and likely negative game script to be a top-20 PPR back again in 2019.
Holdout expected to continue into the season
At this point, #Chargers RB Melvin Gordon’s holdout is expected to continue into the season, sources say. Contract talks have not progressed as he hoped, and he’ll continue to train in Florida for the foreseeable future. (Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
Nerdy Football Analysis: From the beginning, this situation seemed like it might take awhile and that seems to be playing out as both sides are dug in at the moment. Gordon needs to report the team at some point during the season or he’ll lose a year toward free agency. Gordon’s fantasy value is on the decline and should fall over the weekend on this news.