Rob Gronkowski

NFL Notes: Steelers LB Ryan Shazier remains in hospital

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NFL Notes: Steelers LB Ryan Shazier remains in hospital

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier will remain in a Cincinnati hospital until at least Wednesday to undergo further testing on a spinal injury suffered in the first quarter of Monday night's win over the Bengals.

Shazier left Paul Brown Stadium on a stretcher less than four minutes into his team's 23-20 victory over Cincinnati following a tackle that left the 25-year-old writhing on the turf, his legs motionless. He underwent extensive testing overnight, with the team saying Shazier's injury did not require surgery "at this time."

The Steelers had hoped Shazier would be able to return to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The timetable has been pushed back at least 24 to 48 hours. He will remain at University of Cincinnati Medical Center under the care of neurosurgeons David Okonwko and Joseph Cheng. Shazier is expected to be transferred to a Pittsburgh hospital later in the week.

While the severity of the injury will remain unknown until the swelling subsides, the relentlessly upbeat Shazier offered a bit of hope Tuesday evening.

"Thank you for the prayers," Shazier tweeted . "Your support is uplifting to me and my family. (hash)SHALIEVE" (see full story).

Bengals: Fallout from Steelers-Bengals clash
CINCINNATI -- Two players carted off, two others suspended, many fines to follow. One of the NFL's nastiest rivalries set new lows in prime time, forcing fans to avert their eyes.

What's to be done about this long-running animosity between the Steelers (10-2) and Bengals (5-7)? Do the teams encourage the mayhem by downplaying it? Do the NFL and the networks promote it by showing it in prime time every season?

Those questions were raised in the aftermath of a game so brutal that it made viewers cringe. Pittsburgh rallied for a 23-20 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday night, its sixth straight win over the Bengals.

What it'll be remembered for, though, is how it felt more like a street brawl at times. The NFL responded by suspending Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka for one game each on Tuesday, and fines for other players are expected later in the week.

"I'll acknowledge there were some unfortunate things in that game that we don't need in our game -- by both sides," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday.

Patriots: Gronkowski’s 1-game suspension upheld
BOSTON -- The NFL has denied Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's appeal of a one-game suspension for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Bills defensive back Tre'Davious White.

The league announced the decision of appeals officer Derrick Brooks on Tuesday.

White was face down on the sideline after intercepting a pass in Buffalo on Sunday when Gronkowski body-slammed him, driving his forearm into White's back and head. Gronkowski was called for unnecessary roughness, but not kicked out of the game. White went into the concussion protocol.

Gronkowski, who apologized for the hit , will serve his suspension against Miami next Monday night.

Giants: Reese thanks team for 23 years
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Former New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese says his 23 years with the NFL team were filled with great memories and he will always treasure his time with the organization.

A day after being fired along with coach Ben McAdoo with the team reeling with a 2-10 record, Reese released a short statement in which he thanked the Mara and Tisch families for putting their confidence in him. He also thanked McAdoo and predecessor Tom Coughlin for their time and commitment to the Giants.

He also expressed his thanks to the late George Young, the general manager who hired him, and to Ernie Accorsi, who replaced Young and groomed Reese in preparation for taking over the general manager's job before the 2007 season.

"Many thanks to the front office, personnel staff, support staff, scouts, coaches, and current and former players for your dedication to a first-class organization," Reese wrote in wrapping up his statement.

"My family, friends and many fans that have supported me, and I sincerely appreciate all of you. I am truly grateful and blessed for my time with the NYG. All the best to you. Go Giants."

During Reese's 11-year tenure as general manager, the Giants won Super Bowls after the 2007 and '11 seasons. Including this season, they have missed the playoffs in five of the past six seasons.

Rob Gronkowski suspended 1 game for cheap shot on Bills CB

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Rob Gronkowski suspended 1 game for cheap shot on Bills CB

The NFL suspended New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski one game on Monday for a late, gratuitous hit to the head of Bills defensive back Tre'Davious White.

White was lying face down on the sideline after intercepting a pass in Buffalo on Sunday when Gronkowski body-slammed him, driving his forearm into White's back and head. Gronkowski was called for unnecessary roughness, but not kicked out of the game.

"Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury," NFL vice president Jon Runyan said in a letter to Gronkowski. "The competition committee has clearly expressed its goal of `eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.' Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday."

After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared to apologize to Bills counterpart Sean McDermott. Gronkowski also apologized , saying he let his frustration get the better of him.

"I'm not in the business of that," he told reporters after the game, which New England won 23-3. "There was a lot of frustration. I just want to apologize to Tre'Davious White. I don't believe in taking shots like that."

Barring a successful appeal, Gronkowski will miss New England's game against Miami next Monday night.

McDermott said White had entered the concussion protocol but declined to comment further on the play, the suspension or his conversation with Belichick.

Gronkowski has been one of the most productive tight ends in NFL annals despite an injury history that has allowed him to play all 16 games just twice in his first seven seasons. This year, he has caught 55 passes for 849 yards and seven touchdowns.

At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, he is bigger than the players trying to cover him, and he has increasingly complained that officials ignore interference by defenders because his size can make it seem inconsequential.

Gronkowski caught nine passes for 147 yards against Buffalo on Sunday. On the play that resulted in a penalty, he said he felt he was pushed and held.

"I just don't understand why there wasn't a flag," he said. "There was a couple of times in the game they're calling me for the craziest stuff ever. It's like crazy. Like what am I supposed to do? And then they don't call that? It was just frustration."

Fantasy football: Tight end replacements, pass-catching RBs, sleeper WRs

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Fantasy football: Tight end replacements, pass-catching RBs, sleeper WRs

I'm assuming you need a tight end.

Injuries to Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Reed have turned a thin position into a fantasy wasteland two weeks into the season. Olsen is out at least eight weeks, Eifert appears to be out this week and has been brutal the last two, and Gronk and Reed will likely be game-time decisions Sunday.

The somewhat good news if you're in the market for a tight end, though, is that there should be several quality options available on waivers.

Here's a look at the top tight ends (and more importantly, top TE matchups) of Week 3, as well as suggestions at other positions:

Bears TE Zach Miller (vs. Steelers)
The Steelers have allowed just 27 points through two games thanks to a pair of favorable matchups against the hapless Browns and a Case Keenum-led Vikings team in Week 2.

Still, through two weeks they've allowed 10 catches and 107 yards to tight ends. If you average that out to 5-for-50, you're looking at a double-digit fantasy performance in PPR leagues. In standard leagues, 50 yards would still be more than Eifert brought you in two weeks.

I like Miller for five or six catches this Sunday. He's been targeted 15 times by Mike Glennon through two games. Only Jason Witten and Zach Ertz have seen more targets.

Miller isn't going to win you a week or go for 25 points but he's a steady short-term plug-and-play this week. If it's a PPR league, he'd be my No. 1 target if you're looking for safety over a boom-bust performance.

Ravens TE Ben Watson (vs. Jaguars in London)
The only reason I can't put Watson ahead of Miller is because the Ravens' tight end picture is a bit more crowded.

Whereas Miller has run 35 more pass routes than the Bears' second-string tight end, the pie in Baltimore has been split more evenly.

Watson has run 33 pass routes while Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams have combined to run 34, according to Pro Football Focus.

Watson is by far the most accomplished receiver of those three and he was a prime target of Joe Flacco's this past Sunday, catching all eight targets for 91 yards. 

Watson also has a great matchup against the Jaguars, who have allowed 151 yards (fourth-most) and a TD to tight ends so far.

Watson has more touchdown potential this Sunday than Miller, so if you're in a standard or even half-PPR league, I'd give Watson the slight edge on Miller. In PPR, it's just hard to pass up Miller's 8-to-10-point floor.

Other TEs:
Jack Doyle is probably owned in your league, but if not, he's a better season-long option than both Miller and Watson. He caught 8 of 8 targets for 79 yards in Week 2 from Jacoby Brissett, who starts again this Sunday vs. Cleveland.

• Folks will be intrigued by Evan Engram's 4-49-TD line on Monday Night Football but I'd avoid starting him this week against the Eagles, who are usually very good against opposing tight ends. Travis Kelce was an exception last week but he's one of the top three tight ends in the NFL.

• Keep an eye on the Jordan Reed situation. If he sits, Vernon Davis is a decent option. Last season, Davis had 13 catches for 176 yards and 3 TDs in the first three games Reed missed, having a quiet game in only the last one on Christmas Eve.

• It would be bold to start Antonio Gates against the Chiefs' stingy defense, but Gates always has top-five touchdown likelihood at his position because of his rapport with Philip Rivers. The problem is he also has more 1-catch likelihood than most tight ends.

Running backs
Chris Thompson is available in 68 percent of Yahoo leagues. Whether or not Rob Kelley plays Sunday, Thompson is worth grabbing. If it's a PPR league, he has no business sitting on the waiver wire. He won't scoop up between-the-tackles carries if Kelley misses the game but he's always a factor in the passing game.

• I also like Shane Vereen (22 percent owned) this week against the Eagles. The Giants have a porous offensive line and the Eagles' strength is their pass rush, which should result in plenty of quick passes from Eli Manning.

Wide receivers
• I'd advise picking up Allen Hurns but not starting him Sunday against the Ravens unless you absolutely need to. The Jaguars are always going to be playing garbage time minutes and that's where Hurns shines. He had six receptions for 82 yards and a TD in Week 2 with almost all of that coming in the fourth quarter of a lopsided loss. Hurns is available in 73 percent of leagues.

• I trumpeted Jermaine Kearse in this space last week as a cheap waiver option nobody will use a claim on, and he picked up two TDs Sunday. The Jets, like the Jags, will always be playing from behind. Josh McCown-to-Jermaine Kearse is one of those average QB-average WR pairings that can produce points out of sheer necessity and volume.

• The Packers' Geronimo Allison is a sleeper option this week, if and only if Green Bay is down a receiver or two. Jordy Nelson' prognosis is 50-50 for Sunday, whereas Randall Cobb is expected to play. If both miss, Allison is an intriguing option who could get six-plus targets from a top QB. If Nelson misses, Allison is worth starting only if your next-best option is like Cole Beasley.

Defenses
• The Dolphins are the best defense to stream in Week 3 because the Jets are the Jets.

• The Bucs' defense (26 percent owned) is worth starting in Minnesota if Sam Bradford misses another game.