Market Report: Aug 17

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Market Report: Aug 17

Our Training Camp Market Report is intended to be a one-stop shop for the most important news from around the NFL during training camp. We’ll post a new Market Report every week during training camp to help our subscribers keep the pulse of what’s happening in the fantasy marketplace. With teams finally practicing in pads, we’ll update this article on a daily basis during the week.

Note: All ADP data used in this article is courtesy of our partners at the NFFC and the data is used from drafts in the last 30 days.

Catch up on previous training camp Market Reports

August 14 Market Report

August 7 Market Report

INJURY UPDATES FROM PREVIOUS REPORTS

Deebo Samuel (WR, SF) — HC Kyle Shanahan said the team is hoping Deebo can play in Week 1, but they’re “not counting on it.” It’s the first semi-positive news we’ve received on Deebo, and it indicates that he may at least avoid the reserve/PUP list, which would keep him out for the first six games of the season. Samuel still appears to be a long shot to be ready for Week 1, but he may at least find the field at some point in September. (Updated Aug. 21)

A.J. Green (WR, Cin) — Green is already on injury watch after tweaking his hamstring during an Aug. 17 practice, which sidelined him for the remainder of the session and into Aug. 18. HC Zac Taylor called it a precautionary move to sit AJG down for the remainder of practice, but we’re already on high alert when it comes to Green since he’s missed 23 straight games due to foot and ankle injuries. Green’s explosiveness and his quick-twitch cutting were evident in his route running during the early part of training camp, but the Bengals are likely to be cautious with the 32-year-old WR going forward. (Posted Aug. 18)

Preston Williams (WR, Mia) — The Dolphins were dealt a bit of a blow with their #3 (Albert Wilson) and #4 (Allen Hurns) WRs deciding to opt-out this season. At least it looks like second-year WR is trending toward being ready for the season opener as he’s been practicing without limitations coming off his season-ending ACL injury from last season. The Dolphins have been cautiously optimistic he’ll be ready to play in Week 1 as they ease him back into the mix. Williams remains an exceptional late-round value with an ADP of 142 (WR54). (Posted Aug. 19)

Tee Higgins (WR, Cin) — It looked like Higgins, the #33 overall pick in April, may have a chance to get some key reps with rookie QB Joe Burrow after John Ross stepped away from Bengals camp to help to take care of his son who recently tested positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, Higgins has been on the sidelines with a hamstring injury much like A.J. Green. Burrow is down to just Tyler Boyd at wide receiver in the early part of padded practices. (Posted Aug. 18)

Corey Davis (WR, Ten) — The Titans activated Davis from the PUP list after off-season toe surgery for an injury he played through last season. (Posted Aug. 18)

UPGRADES

Players whom we’re feeling more optimistic about based on training camp reports and injury news.

Quarterbacks

Cam Newton (NE) — The quarterback play in New England has been less than spectacular in the opening days of camp, but Cam has been the lesser of two evils. We found out potentially why Jarrett Stidham has struggled so much — he’s thrown six INTs in practices open to the media this week — as he’s been battling leg discomfort in camp. It’s just a matter of time before Newton distances himself from the pack in New England. The bigger question is how long will it take for Cam to pick up the offense as he has reportedly looked tentative in practices in the early going, opting for check-down passes instead of cutting passes loose. (Posted Aug. 21)

Tua Tagovailoa (Mia) — Tua continued his quick recovery from hip surgery as he opened practices in pads just eight and a half months after having surgery last November. According to The Sun-Sentinel, Tua had an unspectacular first day of practice, but he showed his patented accuracy and he did it all without a limp or any leg issues. He’s also shown good mobility and movement in the pocket too, which is a great sign his hip feels good. The Dolphins will likely open the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback to give Tua more time to get comfortable while also giving their totally revamped O-line time to gel. I predicted in my Dolphins Team Betting Preview that Tua could become the starter in Week 7 after the Dolphins come home from a two-week West Coast road trip after a brutal opening stretch. Those plans could change if Fitz is away from the team for an extended period of time after the veteran left camp for personal reasons on Aug. 21. Tua is worth a look as a #3 QB at the very end of best-ball drafts and in SuperFlex/2-QB leagues but just be prepared for a slow September. (Updated Aug. 21)

Running Backs

Derrick Henry (RB, Ten) — I’m monitoring the situation in Tennessee since it looks like Henry has a chance to become a true bell-cow back. Veteran Titans reporter Jim Wyatt has noted that Henry has been getting extra conditioning work during every practice so far. Henry has also been getting some additional receiving work in and he’s caught the ball well in the early part of training camp. The Titans cut former passing back Dion Lewis this off-season, and his potential replacement Darrynton Evans has been a mixed bag in his first camp, fumbling twice in one particular practice. We’re always looking for upside and bell-cow backs, and Henry has the potential to challenge the likes of Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley to be the top fantasy back (as Graham Barfield noted) if he just doubled his previous career-high of 18 catches from last season. (Posted Aug. 21)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — The Athletic’s Nate Taylor reported that Edwards-Helaire hasn’t made many mistakes in the early part of training camp. CEH has yet to fumble, he hasn’t dropped a pass, and he hasn’t missed a blocking assignment. The first-round pick’s biggest mistake in camp so far was that he didn’t stay properly hydrated for practice as he missed some reps in a practice for dehydration. Edwards-Helaire has moved inside our top-10 at the position, and fantasy drafters should consider selecting CEH as a mid-to-late first-round pick. (Posted Aug. 20)

Miles Sanders (Phi) — I wrote in the last Market Report that it’s looking more and more likely that Sanders is going to be a bell-cow back since Devonta Freeman is the only realistic free-agent back who could knock Sanders out of that role. HC Doug Pederson confirmed what we’ve long suspected as the Eagles have told Sanders that he’s their “guy” and that they want to increase his reps this season. Our Adam Caplan has been all over Sanders’ bell-cow potential all summer long, and Sanders is in a prime spot to give us fantasy goodness as a runner and as a receiver. Unfortunately, he’s going to miss some time in camp for a lower-body injury, but he’s fully expected to be ready for Week 1. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on Sanders in the mid-to-late first round, and we’d love to see his ADP fall some because of his minor injury. (Updated Aug. 19)

Cam Akers (RB, LAR) — The Rams running back competition is in its early stages in training camp, but Akers is going to have to really struggle to not be the lead back in this offense at some point early in the season. HC Sean McVay gushed about his rookie back, saying that the former high school quarterback can literally do everything. McVay told ESPN, “(Akers) can really run any scheme, he can take a handoff from the off-set gun or if he's in the dot. That's what you just liked about him, was the body of work and the versatility. The ability to create plays on his own.” The Rams could use a backfield committee in the first few weeks of the season, but we’ve been told that it shouldn’t take long for Akers to be the main option in this backfield. Akers is an excellent RB3 option with his RB29 status since he has some bell-cow upside later in the season in a potentially potent offense. (Posted Aug. 19)

Jonathan Taylor (Ind) — Taylor is already getting a healthy number of first-team reps in the early days of camp, splitting snaps with last year’s starter Marlon Mack. Taylor has been punishing defenders with his powerful running style, and he made S Tavon Wilson pay for getting in his way on one particular run. All-Pro OG Quenton Nelson called Taylor a great player because of his size, his speed, and his intelligence. The Athletic’s Zak Keefer also noted that Taylor is running with the ball higher and tighter to his body after losing 15 fumbles in 41 college games. Mack isn’t going to disappear in this backfield, but HC Frank Reich pushed to draft Taylor 34th overall to upgrade their lead runner spot. (Posted Aug. 19)

Zack Moss (Buf) — Moss has been generating plenty of camp buzz for his prominent role and his performance so far in camp, and the third-round pick out of Utah outplayed incumbent back Devin Singletary in an Aug. 20 practice. Moss ran better between the tackles and Singletary’s ball-security issues re-emerged, which earned him a benching. Singletary fumbled once in every 45 touches last season and he tied for the third-most fumbles last season, finishing behind only Chris Carson (6) and Derrick Henry (5). I still like Singletary the best in this backfield after he was the Bills’ best skill player in the second half of last season but, at the end of the day, drafting comes down to opportunity cost. Singletary has way too much downside with the rookie breathing down his neck at his current price (ADP 50). Meanwhile, Moss offers plenty of upside if he can earn a goal-line/passing back role at his current price (ADP 109). (Posted Aug. 21)

Ronald Jones (TB) — It’s looking more and more likely that Ke’Shawn Vaughn is going to have a limited role to start the season after HC Bruce Arians said Vaughn could be the team’s kick returner when asked about the rookie’s role in Week 1. Vaughn fell behind at the start of camp after landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Buccaneers also signed LeSean McCoy at the start of training camp. Jones appears to be locked in as the team’s lead runner, but we still need to figure out who is going to be the hurry-up/passing back for Tom Brady between Jones, McCoy, Vaughn, and Dare Ogunbowale. Jones’ price has been steadily ticking upward over the last month (ADP 64) so be prepared to use a fifth-round pick to select him. (Posted Aug. 21)

Damien Harris (NE) — Harris opened padded practices as the team’s lead runner since both Sony Michel (foot) and Lamar Miller (ACL/MCL) are both currently on the PUP list. He didn’t disappoint in the first practice with the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan proclaiming Harris as the “player of the day” on Aug. 17. Harris caught a couple of check-down passes from Cam Newton, and Harris made the right reads behind his O-line to break free for a few big runs. Harris is getting a lot of run with the first-team offense while both Michel and Miller are out of the lineup, and there’s a chance he could open the season as the team’s lead runner. He’s unlikely to be much of a factor in the passing game with James White and Rex Burkhead still in the mix, but Harris is more than worth a 14th-round investment. (Posted Aug. 18)

Bryce Love (Was) — Love is making a push to be the #2 RB behind Adrian Peterson early in camp, and the second-year back received first-team reps with AD getting a veteran’s day off on Aug. 19. Love missed his entire rookie season after tearing his ACL in his final game at Stanford, which plummeted him a couple of rounds in the draft to the fourth round. Peterson still figures to be the lead runner in this backfield and rookie Antonio Gibson will be the change-of-pace option while also splitting passing-down snaps with J.D. McKissic. NBC Sports’ JP Finlay told our John Hansen that Love is quickly emerging in camp and that he’s pushing to be top backup to the 35-year-old Peterson. His main competition will be the underwhelming Peyton Barber, and the Football Team should be motivated to get Love on the field as much as possible this season as they build toward 2021. Love is now worth a late-round flyer with his stock rising in recent weeks following Derrius Guice’s release. (Posted Aug. 20)

Wide Receivers

Breshad Perriman (NYJ) — We’ve been hearing good reports about Perriman’s early performance in camp, and he’s already shown a strong connection with third-year QB Sam Darnold. Perriman has been running with the first-team offense in camp, and it didn’t take him long to show his vertical ability by burning past the Jets secondary for a 50-yard score for the first touchdown of camp. He dusted the Jets defense for a 70-yard score on a slant later in camp, as well. Perriman is quickly distancing himself as the top perimeter option for Darnold with rookie Denzel Mims battling a hamstring injury and Vyncint Smith out after needing core muscle surgery. Perriman is our WR40 this summer, which is well above consensus with his ADP sitting at WR53. (Updated Aug. 19)

Will Fuller (Hou) — I went into detail about Fuller’s off-season weight gain — he’s beefed up from 184 pounds to 190 — and his lower-body strength program in last week’s Market Report. HC Bill O’Brien said earlier in training camp that they’re excited to have him for 16 games this season, and Fuller’s QB Deshaun Watson also heaped praise on the fifth-year WR. Watson told ESPN, “Will’s going to ball out. Will’s going to be one of the best receivers in the league. He came back a lot stronger, a lot faster.” Fuller has yet to put together a 16-game season in four years because of a number of soft-tissue injuries, but he’s put the work in this off-season to potentially play a full season. We’ll see if his body cooperates, but Fuller has tremendous upside with a potential usage bump playing with DeAndre Hopkins gone. Fuller’s upside outweighs his injury risk at his current seventh-round ADP. (Posted Aug. 20)

Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — Aiyuk’s stock has been skyrocketing in recent weeks, and he’s looking even better after Jalen Hurd’s unfortunate ACL tear, which will end his season. It’s looking more and more likely that Deebo Samuel could miss time at the start of the season because of the Jones foot fracture he suffered in mid-June, although Kyle Shanahan wouldn’t rule him out for the season opener. Shanahan also said that Aiyuk is “further ahead than a lot of rookies” based on his day-to-day preparations, and he’s earned first-team reps based on his work. Aiyuk sounds ready to contribute right away and he might not have much choice but to be the #2 option behind George Kittle early in the season based on all the injuries the 49ers are dealing with at WR. Aiyuk is currently being drafted in the 14th round, and he’s a player to target toward the end of your drafts. (Updated Aug. 21)

DeSean Jackson and Jalen Reagor (Phi) — D-Jax and Reagor have been getting some buzz for their early work in training camp. ESPN’s Tim McManus reported that Jackson looks as fast as ever in camp following his core muscle surgery, and even blew past new CB Darius Slay in one particular matchup. Reagor opened padded practices working as the X receiver next to D-Jax (Z) in 12 personnel, with Greg Ward working in the slot in 11 personnel. Reagor made a pair of catches on slant routes before making a diving catch in the end zone for a touchdown. We’re well above the market on both D-Jax (FP: WR47, ADP: WR57) and Reagor (FP: WR39, ADP: WR47), and we love stacking Wentz with one or both of these receivers in the mid-to-late rounds. (Posted Aug. 18)

Steven Sims (Was) — I wrote in a previous Market Report that Sims could be the team’s Z receiver this season after primarily playing in the slot last season, and he opened padded practices as a starter next Terry McLaurin. Sims said after the Aug. 18 practice that his top goal for this season was to better himself as an outside receiver since OC Scott Turner has him lining up on the perimeter more. Sims noted that he needs to improve against press coverage but that he played on the perimeter a lot at Indiana. Curtis Samuel played the Z-receiver spot in Turner’s offense last season, and Sims has a similar skillset to Samuel. Sims primarily played out of the slot last season, and his minuscule 6.9 average depth of target (aDOT) from last season could double this season since he should be asked to run more deep routes — Samuel had an aDOT of 15.9 yards last season. Turner has also been using motion in practice to get Sims on the move before plays. Sims should be considered as a viable pick in the final rounds of drafts and he can be had for nothing with his ADP sitting at 217. (Updated Aug. 19)

Dante Pettis and Kendrick Bourne (WRs, SF) — After news broke about Jalen Hurd’s ACL tear on Aug. 17, I half-jokingly asked our crew how long it would take until the first Pettis revenge camp story. Well, it took just over 24 hours after Pettis posted a team-high five catches in an Aug. 18 practice. Respected 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco reported that Pettis showed up to camp in much better shape after getting beat out for playing time as the team’s incumbent top receiver last summer. Pettis had a sudden fall from fantasy relevance last summer, but he showed flashes of brilliance at the end of his rookie season after the 49ers drafted him 44th overall in 2018. Pettis shouldn’t be brushed aside after his disastrous sophomore season, especially with all of the issues the 49ers are currently dealing with at WR. HC Kyle Shanahan told our John Hansen at the 2019 Combine that Pettis quickly learned all three WR spots as a rookie and that he was the team’s #1 WR heading into the 2019 season. A potentially motivated Pettis has the chance to regain some footing in this WR corps in 2020. I’ll also note that ESPN’s Nick Wagoner labeled Bourne as the most consistent receiver in camp. (Updated Aug. 21)

Laviska Shenault (Jax) — Shenault has quickly made an impact in training camp, impressing with his strength, his route running, and his good hands. We were most concerned with Shenault’s overall route running and his refinement for the position coming into the league since he played all over the field and got a ton of carries and catches at the line of scrimmage at Colorado. Even Minshew had those same concerns since he played against him two years ago — Minshew played at Washington State — but Minshew flat-out said Shenault has better hands and is a better route runner than he expected. I’ve been hesitant to select Shenault this summer because I viewed as more of a project for 2021, but it sounds like there’s a chance he could make an impact in Year One (Posted Aug. 18)

Tight Ends

Chris Herndon (NYJ) — HC Adam Gase called Herndon the team’s starting TE and he heaped praise on him for his offensive versatility as both a receiver and as a blocker. Slot WR Jamison Crowder also told New York Daily News that Herndon is the “X-factor” for this offense. Herndon has been lining up in the slot, as an outside receiver, and in tight to open camp. Herndon is coming off a wasted sophomore campaign, but he averaged 10.2 FPG in Week 6-16 of his rookie season. He also finished behind only Mark Andrews at the TE position with an average depth of target of 11.0 yards. Herndon is the closest player to a Darren Waller type at the end of drafts this season as a late-round TE who has a legitimate chance to lead his team in receiving this season. Like Waller last season, Herndon has been my most-drafted TE with his ADP sitting around 162. (Posted Aug. 18)

Irv Smith (TE, Min) — The Vikings have been flexing Smith to the outside for more snaps at the start of his sophomore season, a strategy we expected from new OC Gary Kubiak based on the Vikings’ lack of WR depth. It also doesn’t hurt that Smith is capable of doing it. The Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs this off-season, and they did little to replace him outside of drafting college slot WR Justin Jefferson. Smith is arguably the second-best receiver for Minnesota right now while Jefferson develops, and the Vikings need to get Irv on the field more than his 39% snap share from last night. Jefferson is also off to a slow start in camp, running as the #3 WR option behind Bisi Johnson, which means Irv could be more active than anticipated with Jefferson getting adjusted to the NFL. (Updated Aug. 21)

Jordan Akins (Hou) — Akins is looking to make an already loaded fantasy TE position even better with his strong opening to camp. He’s received universal praise for his excellent start to camp after losing some weight and improving his conditioning this off-season. Akins has been making big plays daily in practice, including two touchdown receptions in an Aug 20 practice, which has caught the eye of Deshaun Watson. Watson told the Houston Chronicle, “He came back ready and prepared for this camp. He’s ready to go. Whenever he gets his opportunity, I’m definitely going to give him a shot. He’s been capitalizing on those.” Akins actually finished ahead of Darren Fells in receptions (36), targets (55), and yards (418) last season, but Fells lucked into seven touchdowns on just 48 targets. Akins is likely still undraftable in all but deeper formats, but Akins could be a hot waiver wire pick-up if he pops early in the season. (Posted Aug. 21)

Tyler Eifert (Jax) — Eifert is one tight end who can relate to the start of Josh Oliver’s career, which has been ravaged by injuries. Oliver played just four games as a rookie because of a hamstring injury and fractures in his back, and his sophomore season will now be delayed after he broke his foot on Aug. 17. Oliver had surgery the next day so there’s an outside chance he could return toward the end of the season. Eifert is actually coming off his first 16-game season in his seven-year career, and he followed his former Bengals OC Jay Gruden to Jacksonville this off-season. If you draft Gardner Minshew late in best-ball formats, Eifert isn’t a bad player to stack with him with one of your final picks in the draft. Eifert could be a big factor for Minshew in the red zone as he has 24 TDs in 59 career games. (Posted Aug. 18)

Devin Asiasi (NE) — Asiasi, a 2020 third-round pick, is getting some early camp buzz for his work with the Patriots first-team offense. CLNS’ Evan Lazar reported that Asiasi has been catching everything, including a goal-line TD pass from Cam Newton, and he also impressed in pass protection. Dalton Keene, another 2020 third-round TE, has struggled more and he appears to be behind Asiasi early in camp. We can never expect too much production from rookie TEs, who notoriously struggle in their first seasons in the league, but Asiasi is definitely a player to monitor as a potential late-round pick for drafters in deep leagues. (Posted Aug. 19)

Defense/Special Teams

None of note.

DOWNGRADES

Players whom we’re feeling less optimistic about based on training camp reports and injury news.

Quarterbacks

Jarrett Stidham (NE) — The quarterback play in New England has been less than spectacular in the opening days of camp, but Cam Newton has been the lesser of two evils. We found out potentially why Stidham has struggled so much — he’s thrown six INTs in practices open to the media this week — as he’s been battling leg discomfort in camp. It’s just a matter of time before Newton distances himself from the pack in New England. The bigger question is how long will it take for Cam to pick up the offense as he has reportedly looked tentative in practices in the early going, opting for check-down passes instead of cutting passes loose. Stidham is going to need a major turnaround in the back half of training camp to give himself a chance to compete with Cam. (Posted Aug. 21)

MItchell Trubisky (Chi) — The Bears are in the middle of a quarterback battle in training camp with Trubisky and Nick Foles rotating as the starters in the early days of camp. HC Matt Nagy declined to say if Trubisky improved from last season, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for his fourth-year QB. When asked if Trubisky improved over the summer, Nagy told the Chicago media, “I think so. We don't have enough right now. I wish I could tell you we had enough. But there's just not enough with where we're at. We need to see more. I can't give you a fair statement or opinion with that.” It’s not a great sign that Nagy couldn’t even fake that Trubisky improved this off-season. This quarterback race is likely to go down to the final days of training camp, and both Trubisky and Foles should be off re-draft radars. (Posted Aug. 19)

Running Backs

Nick Chubb (Cle) — Chubb, the NFL’s second-leading rusher in 2019, left Cleveland’s first padded practice on Aug. 17 to be evaluated for a concussion. LB Mack Wilson hit Chubb high on a day when the Browns weren’t tackling players to the ground. HC Kevin Stefanski confirmed on Aug. 18 that Chubb was in fact in the league’s concussion protocol. Chubb should be fine for the start of the season, but this episode is something to remember if Chubb would have any other concussion issues moving forward this season and during his career. We’ve been lower than consensus on Chubb (FP: RB14, ADP: RB11) and higher than consensus on his backup Kareem Hunt (FP: RB26, ADP: RB28) this summer. (Updated Aug. 19)

Devin Singletary (Buf) — Zack Moss has been generating plenty of camp buzz for his prominent role and his performance so far in camp, and the third-round pick out of Utah outplayed incumbent back Singletary in an Aug. 20 practice. Moss ran better between the tackles and Singletary’s ball-security issues re-emerged, which earned him a benching. Singletary fumbled once in every 45 touches last season and he tied for the third-most fumbles last season, finishing behind only Chris Carson (6) and Derrick Henry (5). I still like Singletary the best in this backfield after he was the Bills’ best skill player in the second half of last season but, at the end of the day, drafting comes down to opportunity cost. Singletary has way too much downside with the rookie breathing down his neck at his current price (ADP 50). Meanwhile, Moss offers plenty of upside if he can earn a goal-line/passing back role at his current price (ADP 109). (Posted Aug. 21)

Kerryon Johnson and D’Andre Swift (Det) — Johnson opened padded practices ahead of Swift, albeit with a brace on his knee, but it was the Lions front office that was throwing the curveball for this backfield on the same day. The Lions added Jonathan Williams and released Wes Hills right before the commencement of padded practices. Williams will be competing with Bo Scarbrough for the #3 RB role in this backfield, and he’s additional depth for this backfield. Williams has flashed on his limited opportunities during his career, including in a pair of 100-yard rushing games in spot starts for the Colts last year. Williams could be a thorn in the side for both Johnson and Swift if he’s able to make the team, and it’s just further evidence that HC Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn are dedicated to using a running back committee — beat writer Tim Twentyman also believes it will be an RBBC. Beware when drafting Lions backs. (Update Aug. 21)

Tarik Cohen (Chi) — Patterson has been learning with the running backs and not the wide receivers in training camp, which isn’t the best news for Cohen this season. Patterson is unlikely to see a significant amount of touches but any uptick in usage at running back will hurt Cohen’s bottom line and, to a lesser extent, David Montgomery. Patterson saw 17 carries and 17 targets in his first season with the Bears last season and only 18 of his 202 offensive snaps (9%) came at running back last year (per NBC Sports Chicago). Patterson saw plenty of work with the running backs in their first padded practice on Aug. 17, and Cohen drafters need to be aware that HC Matt Nagy is making more of an effort to give Patterson offensive opportunities this season. (Posted Aug. 18)

Ke’Shawn Vaughn (TB) — It’s looking more and more likely that Vaughn is going to have a limited role to start the season after HC Bruce Arians said Vaughn could be the team’s kick returner when asked about the rookie’s role in Week 1. Vaughn fell behind at the start of camp after landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and the Buccaneers also signed LeSean McCoy. Ronald Jones appears to be locked in as the team’s lead runner, but we still need to figure out who is going to be the hurry-up/passing back between Jones, McCoy, Vaughn, and Dare Ogunbowale. Vaughn’s ADP has plummeted more than two rounds over the last month to 114 overall, and that price is still too high considering Vaughn’s lack of a role right now. (Posted Aug. 21)

Wide Receivers

Mecole Hardman (KC) — Hardman recently appeared on our players to avoid list, and we’re feeling slightly better about that call since he’s expected to be the team’s primary kickoff and punt returner. This is a slight downgrade just because teams rarely use full-time position players as both a kickoff and as a punt returner. Hardman is going to have a few spike games this season because of his game-breaking speed and because of the explosive offense he’s playing in. However, we can’t expect consistency out of him since he’ll be splitting snaps with Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson on offense. Hardman is being priced near his ceiling, and he’s going to need an injury in front of him to live up to his WR44 ADP. (Posted Aug. 20)

K.J. Hamler (Den) — Hamler will be out a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, according to Vic Fangio. Hamilton’s game is built completely around his electric speed so this a troublesome start to his career since he also missed the Combine because of a hamstring injury. Hamler wasn’t a draftable player before his injury, and it’s now going to be even tougher for him to make an impact as a rookie since he’ll be losing valuable practice reps. (Posted Aug. 21)

Jalen Hurd (SF) — Hurd’s career can’t get off the runway after he suffered yet another season-ending injury to start his second year. Hurd tore his ACL during San Francisco’s first padded practice of training camp, which will end his second season. He was getting some buzz before his second season after missing his entire rookie season because of a broken back. The 49ers placed Hurd on the IR on Aug. 20, which officially ended his season — players placed on the IR before Sept. 6 aren’t eligible to return. Hurd can be dropped in all formats, including dynasty leagues unless your league has huge benches or lots of IR spots. (Updated Aug. 21)

Tight Ends

Josh Oliver (Jax) — Oliver has been snakebitten with injuries in his first 18 months in the league. He played just four games as a rookie because of a hamstring injury and fractures in his back, and his sophomore season will now be delayed after he broke his foot on Aug. 17. Oliver had surgery the next day and the Jags officially ended his season by placing him on the injured reserve — players placed on the IR before Sept. 6 aren’t eligible to return. Oliver was off the re-draft radar this summer, but he was looking like an intriguing dynasty option heading into his sophomore season. (Updated Aug. 20)

Defense/Special Teams

Cowboys — The Cowboys received a boost to their defensive line when they signed Everson Griffen to a one-year deal on Aug. 12. The positive vibes from that signing were short-lived after big free-agent signee Gerald McCoy ruptured his quad during Dallas’ first padded practice on Aug. 17 and subsequently released via injury waiver the next day. We currently have the Cowboys 24th overall in our D/ST projections, and McCoy’s injury fortifies their position in the bottom half of the league for fantasy. (Updated Aug. 19)

Watch List

Players who we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade but their situations demand monitoring based on training camp reports and injury news.

Ben Roethlisberger (QB, Pit) — Big Ben has been getting nothing but positive reports since he reported to training camp in shape and with his throwing arm looking alive after season-ending surgery last season. That changed when The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly observed that Big Ben’s throwing motion looked different to him. Kaboly compared Roethlisberger’s delivery to Philip River’s throwing motion, and he wrote that it looked like Big Ben was short-arming passes, especially on deep balls. We’d love to get our Greg Cosell some tape of Big Ben’s current throwing motion to see if we should be worried. For now, we’ll keep an eye on the situation to see if Big Ben or anyone on the coaching staff discusses the matter. (Posted Aug. 19)

Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay (RBs, Den) — We’ve been higher than consensus on Gordon this off-season since we think he has the potential to be a bell-cow back in Denver after they handed him $13.5 million guaranteed this off-season. HC Vac Fangio threw a potential wrench in those plans when he said of Gordon and Lindsay on Aug. 20, “I anticipate both playing enough where we really don’t have to designate a starter." Our guy Brandon Stokley, who currently hosts a radio show in Denver, thinks Fangio is just being diplomatic at this point of training camp. I will say Lindsay is definitely the better overall runner. Gordon has finished below 4.0 YPC in four of his five seasons while Lindsay is averaging 4.9 YPC in his two-year career. Gordon, though, brings more to the table as a receiver and as a goal-line back, two pivotal areas for fantasy. Gordon has posted 40+ receptions and 8+ rushing TDs in four consecutive seasons. We’ll monitor the situation in Denver, but we’re not backing off our Gordon RB14 projection just yet. (Posted Aug. 21)

Latavius Murray (RB, NO) — It’s harder than ever to find true handcuffs in the league, and Ty Montgomery is threatening one of the few remaining ones we have left in the league. Montgomery is generating some buzz in camp with ESPN’s Mike Triplett calling him the standout player from an Aug. 19 practice. Murray worked as a bell-cow back in the two games Alvin Kamara missed last year, combining for 62 touches and 68.7 FP in those two contests. Murray doesn’t have nearly the same appeal this season if Montgomery would carve out a role in this backfield since Murray would likely handle the lead-runner duties with Montgomery working as the passing back if Kamara missed time. Montgomery’s progress should be followed if you’ve been targeting Murray around the 10th round. (Posted Aug. 20)

Darrel Williams and DeAndre Washington (RBs, KC) — Williams worked ahead of Washington with the first-team offense on Aug. 18 with Clyde Edwards-Helaire getting the day off. I’m not going to dock the more talented Washington just yet with plenty of training camp left to be played out, but it’s certainly a battle to follow over the next couple of weeks. It’s smart to get pieces of this Chiefs offense when you can, and I still prefer selecting Washington late in drafts. (Posted Aug. 19)

Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley (RBs, LAC) — Austin Ekeler and Jackson received the first-team reps during a team scrimmage on Aug. 18. Jackson also worked ahead of the rookie Kelley even when Justin Herbert and the second-team offense took the field. It’s not earth-shattering news at the start of camp, but we’ll see how long Jackson is able to hold off Kelley. (Posted Aug. 19)

N’Keal Harry (WR, NE) — Harry, a 2019 first-round pick, slimmed down for this season to help with his quickness and his route running, but he’s yet to see results in the early part of training camp. Harry’s sophomore season picked up right where his rookie season left off. CLNS’ Evan Lazar reported that Harry is still struggling to separate from Patriots’ cornerbacks in practice. It doesn’t help that he hasn’t seen many opportunities so far in training camp with the Patriots quarterbacks mostly throwing short. Harry also sat out practice on Aug. 19 so he’s given us no reason to get excited about him yet. (Posted Aug. 19)

Josh Reynolds (WR, LAR) — Rookie Van Jefferson has been turning some heads with some of his catches in camp, but fourth-year WR Reynolds is still working ahead of the second-round pick as the #3 WR. The Rams drafted Jefferson more for the 2021 season with Cooper Kupp and Reynolds hitting free agency at the end of the season. Anything the Rams get out of Jefferson in 2020 would be gravy for Jared Goff and this passing attack. Reynolds is a fine last-round dart in best-ball formats. Goff is going to see positive regression in his TD rate (3.5%) this season, and Reynolds will benefit after seeing a team-high 18 end-zone targets last season. (Posted Aug. 19)

Jace Sternberger (TE, GB) — Sternberger’s second season has started just like his first season: on the wrong foot. Sternberger finally got activated from the COVID-19 list after an 18-day stay on the list, this after an ankle injury put him behind the eight-ball and limited him to just one catch during his rookie season. Third-year TE Robert Tonyan has received some early camp buzz, and veteran blocker Marcedes Lewis is also in the mix to start. We’ll keep an eye on the Packers TE competition in case we need to back off Sternberger’s current TE19 projection. (Posted Aug. 19)

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.

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