Texans officially place Arian Foster on injured reserve

Houston Texans running back Arian Foster has officially been placed on injured reserve with a torn Achilles’ tendon, ending his season.

What It Means:

Safety Kurtis Drummond has been promoted from the practice squad in a corresponding roster move. Foster is arguably the best player in Texans history, but it’s quite possible his time in Houston is through. Due $7 million between salary and bonuses, Foster will be 30 in 2016 and coming off an explosion-sapping injury. If there’s something working in Foster’s Houston favor, it’s that coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t have a quarterback. Either way, Foster’s health has his NFL future very much up in the air.

Foster struggled as a runner in his time on the field this season. Among running backs with at least 40 carries, his Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play clip of -0.24 is next to last. He was excellent as a receiver, though, racking up 0.63 Reception NEP per target, which is third among backs with at least back targets.


NFL 6 hours and 42 minutes

Titans hopeful Marcus Mariota practices on Wednesday

The Tennessee Titans are hopeful Marcus Mariota (MCL) can resume practicing Wednesday, ESPN’s Ed Werder reports.

What It Means:

Specifically, the Titans are hoping to “work (Mariota) into” practice. In theory, it’s a sign of progress, but the No. 2 overall pick is looking more doubtful than questionable for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.

If Mariota is out, Zach Mettenberger would get another start. Mettenberger completed 22-of-35 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Tennessee’s Week 7 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The Texans present a favorable matchup. Houston ranks 24th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.


NFL 7 hours and 15 minutes

Kevin White “not closing the door” on playing for Bears this year

Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White is “not closing the door” on playing before the end of the season, according to Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune.

What It Means:

White went on to say that he realizes 2016 is a more realistic goal and that he is “a long way off.” White is still on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he must be cleared to practice by Week 11 and return to the field within 21 days after that in order to play this year.

The Bears are 2-4 now, but they sit last in numberFire’s power rankings with 0.2 percent playoff odds. The team could very well be out of contention before the seventh overall pick is able to return. Chicago is 31st in Adjusted Passing Net Expected Points per play, so they clearly need White, but it may be prudent to rest him for 2016.

Source: Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune

NFL 7 hours and 55 minutes

Dion Lewis suits up for Tuesday’s Patriots practice

New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis (abdomen) practiced on Tuesday.

What It Means:

The team didn’t practice Monday, but they listed Lewis as limited, per the league’s injury report rules. It looks like Lewis should be in line to return after missing Week 7.

The Patriots will be facing a Miami Dolphins team in Week 8 that ranks 14th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Lewis has spewed efficiency in his first 40 carries, racking up 9.73 Rushing NEP with a 47.5 percent Rushing Success Rate. Our projections, however, have him doing major damage through the air with 4 receptions for 38 yards and 0.15 touchdowns to go with 30 yards and 0.31 touchdowns on the ground Thursday night.


NFL 8 hours and 39 minutes

Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger admits his knee ‘ached’ last week

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger admitted on his weekly radio segment that his leg ached after practice last Wednesday.

What It Means:

Head coach Mike Tomlin said earlier Tuesday that the team was taking all restrictions off of Roethlisberger for practice in Week 8, so this doesn’t appear to be a huge concern. It does mean, however, that Roethlisberger could be without his patented pocket mobility, which will be something to watch if he suits up.

Roethlisberger still leads the league in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back out of 34 quarterbacks with at least 90 drop backs. The Steelers are matched with a Cincinnati Bengals team that sits 16th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, so the team’s skill-position players could be in line for a nice performance.


NFL 8 hours and 49 minutes

Giants ‘comfortable’ with Jason Pierre-Paul’s health

The New York Giants are “comfortable” with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s health after examining his hand, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

What It Means:

Reports earlier Tuesday were that the two sides were working toward an incentive-filled one-year deal. Pierre-Paul would likely need time on the practice field first, but his return to the team shouldn’t be far off after the summer’s fireworks incident that resulted in the amputation of one of his fingers.

The Giants’ pass defense hasn’t been terrible, ranking 15th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points per play, but they could still use Pierre-Paul’s presence. After upcoming matchups with the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team will face the New England Patriots’ passing attack in Week 10.


NFL 9 hours and 8 minutes

Steelers put no limitations on Ben Roethlisberger this week

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said there will be no reservations or limitations on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s knee this week.

What It Means:

Roethlisberger was able to practice on a limited basis leading up to Week 7, but he stayed as an inactive with Landry Jones starting. This is a good indication that Roethlisberger should be ready to regain the reins to the offense.

And what a joyous time it will be. In Roethlisberger’s absence, Jones and Michael Vick combined for -15.28 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP); Roethlisberger had 52.46 prior to his injury. The Steelers will be facing a Cincinnati Bengals team that ranks 16th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, so the skill-position players in Pittsburgh appear to be fully back in play.


NFL 11 hours and 25 minutes

Texans release Ryan Mallett

The Houston Texans have released quarterback Ryan Mallett.

What It Means:

The team has not signed another player to replace him on the roster, but they figure to do so to have a back-up behind Brian Hoyer. Mallett missed the team’s flight prior to their Week 7 road contest, all but sealing his fate.

Even with the attitude concerns, Mallett didn’t perform on the field this year. He turned his 151 drop backs into -12.74 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), putting him 32nd out of 34 quarterbacks with at least 90 drop backs in Passing NEP per drop back. Hoyer, on the other hand, is ninth. Mallett is likely to find another job, though it shouldn’t be as a starter based on what he did in Houston.


NFL 11 hours and 32 minutes

Jerry Jones says Darren McFadden will start for Cowboys Week 8

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said running back Darren McFadden will start in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks.

What It Means:

This comes as no surprise after McFadden’s break-out 152-yard performance Sunday against the New York Giants. Joseph Randle is battling an oblique injury, so Christine Michael is likely to serve as the back-up for the time being.

Sunday was a big one for McFadden, who is now up to 12th in Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry out of 42 running backs with at least 50 carries. Randle sits 22nd, so it appears as though McFadden has earned additional looks even when Randle is healthy.


NFL 12 hours and 34 minutes

Steve Smith makes five grabs for 78 yards in Ravens’ loss

Baltimore Ravens wideout Steve Smith caught 5-of-9 targets for 78 yards in the Ravens’ Week 7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.

What It Means:

He saw a team-high nine targets and moved past Andre Johnson to take over the 11th spot in all-time receiving yards. Smith should reach Cris Carter for 10th all-time next week. The 36-year-old continues to play and look like he’s 26, and it’s hard to believe he’s leaning toward retirement after the season. Locked up in Patrick Peterson’s and Tyrann Mathieu’s coverage much of the night, he still produced.

Smith turned his 9 targets into 7.15 Reception Net Expected Points and continues to be Joe Flacco’s clear No. 1 option. Smith will do battle with the San Diego Chargers at home in Week 8.


NFL 15 hours and 10 minutes

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