Since there are no previous week's results to recap, this first installment of the Returner Recap will focus on late breaking news.
Individual returner projections for each week are included in your MyFBG projections and rankings automatically. Choose David Dodds as the source, as my projections are included with his offensive projections, and then choose a scoring system in which you have included points for return yards.
To see the base return projections for a week, go to the Footballguys home page and use the link atop the left menu bar to choose that week's content. From that week's content, choose the link for Returner Projections. Week 1 can be found here.
Tampa Bay has promoted Solomon Patton from the practice squad to their regular roster. Patton looked like their choice to be the primary returner before he was released at the end of preseason. My best guess would be that Patton will be the returner for Week 1, but I have yet to see any clarifying comments from the team.
Week 1 Outlook
Head coach Doug Marrone gave more clarity to running back C.J. Spiller being moved atop the team's depth chart heading into the Bills' week 1 game. "As much as we can get our playmakers out there, whether it be punt returner whether it be kickoff returner, whichever way we have to do it, we have to make sure we explore that," Marrone said. This may be good news for Spiller owners in return leagues, though the team feeling they need to get Spiller touches on special teams could mean that running back touches will be fewer than hoped for.
49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington had a solid preseason and is listed as the kick and punt returner for the team, but that does not mean LaMichael James is out of the mix. Last season when asked about how players were ordered on the 49ers depth chart, coach Jim Harbaugh mentioned the team's PR staff populated it and "not to read too much into it". With issues like this, it is always difficult to say how accurate a team's depth chart depicts in game usage. Some teams may use more than one returner and stick with a player who shows a hot hand that game.
The Bears list running back Senorise Perry on their depth chart as the starting kick returner. Perry had 3 returns for 74 yards in the team's final two preseason games.
With Ace Sanders set to serve an early season suspension, Jacksonville had William Blackmon listed as the primary punt returner during preseason. Going into Week 1 they have switched to receiver Mike Brown on their depth chart.
After the release of Marcus Thigpen, the Dolphins have tagged receiver Jarvis Landry as their primary returner for both punts and kickoffs. The Dolphins have generally stuck with a single returner for both types of returns in past seasons.
INJURIES OF NOTE
Odell Beckham Jr Jr is not likely to play in Week 1 as he deals with a hamstring issue. He is not listed as a starting returner, but there is a good chance the Giants will give him some return opportunities at some point during the season.