Market Report: Week of Aug. 22

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Market Report: Week of Aug. 22

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. I’ll post a new Market Report every week during August to help our subscribers to keep the pulse of what’s happening in the fantasy marketplace. I’ll update this article on a daily basis during the week so make sure to check back for the latest training camp buzz.

This article will focus mostly on news, beat reports, and injuries coming out of team practices. Be sure to check out Graham Barfield’s Preseason Reviews for key takeaways on player performances and playing time implications from preseason action.

Notes: Check out our News Feed for more headlines, which includes Joe Dolan’s fantasy spin on the most newsworthy items…ADP in this article is based on our ADP tool’s PPR setting, which pulls from NFFC drafts over the last 14 days.

CATCH UP ON PREVIOUS TRAINING CAMP MARKET REPORTS

Market Report: Week of Aug. 15

Market Report: Week of Aug. 8

Market Report: Week of Aug. 1

INJURY UPDATES FROM PAST MARKET REPORTS

Jameis Winston (QB, NO) — Winston’s minor foot issue turned into a nearly two-week injury, but he finally returned to practice on Aug. 9.

Zach Wilson (QB, NYJ) — HC Robert Saleh said a decision on Wilson’s playing status in the season opener will come down to the week of the game, but he was spotted gingerly walking around practice on Aug. 26 and The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt still believes Joe Flacco will get the start.

Miles Sanders (RB, Phi) — HC Nick Sirianni said the team is being precautious with Sanders and his hamstring injury, and The Athletic’s Bo Wulf and Zach Berman believe he’ll be ready by Week 1.

Mike Evans (WR, TB) — Evans returned to practice on Aug. 22 after sitting out the last two weeks for a hamstring issue. The injury was initially considered a day-to-day issue by HC Todd Bowles but the Buccaneers ended up taking an even more cautious approach with Evans, who’s dealt with hamstring issues in the past.

Jaylen Waddle (WR, Mia) — Waddle has missed most of the last two weeks with an undisclosed leg injury, and HC Mike McDaniel said they’re being cautious with their prized second-year WR.

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman (WRs, KC) — JuJu hasn’t practiced since Aug. 15 because of a sore knee after Kansas City’s first preseason game, and HC Andy Reid said Smith-Schuster has “turned the corner” and that he should be ready for the season opener. Hardman returned to practice on Aug. 22 after suffering a minor groin injury in an Aug. 17 practice.

Michael Gallup (WR, Dal) — Gallup said at the beginning of training camp that “it’s not a reasonable possibility” he’d be ready for Week 1, but it’s looking like he could be ready to play in the first four weeks after Jerry Jones indicated Gallup won’t start the season on the PUP list. The Cowboys have until Aug. 30 to decide if Gallup will open the season on the 53-man roster.

Drake London (Atl) — London still hasn’t practiced since he injured his knee in Atlanta’s first preseason game. HC Arthur Smith downplayed the injury at the time and London still has plenty of time to be ready for the season opener, but his extended absence it’s slightly worrisome.

Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard (WRs, NYG) — Toney continues to be in and out of individual drills because of knee and hamstring issues, which is a troublesome sign since he struggled to stay healthy as a rookie. The Giants activated Shepard (Achilles) from the PUP list on Aug. 24, which will give him a chance to play early in the season. He could be forced to play more on the outside than usual with Wan’Dale Robinson likely to see most of the snaps inside.

Christian Watson (WR, GB) — Watson participated in team drills for the first time on Aug. 21, but Green Bay’s 34th overall pick still has some work to do to climb their depth chart after opening camp on the PUP list.

Dawson Knox (Buf) — Knox rejoined the Bills on Aug. 23 after stepping away from the team last week following the tragic death of his brother, Luke Knox, who was a senior linebacker at FIU.

Irv Smith (TE, Min) — HC Kevin O’Connell said last week that Smith remains on track to play in the season opener, and O’Connell added on Aug. 20 that Irv is “getting back on the grass” this week. Smith has turned into a nice value with his ADP (150, TE14) falling since his thumb injury at the beginning of training camp.

UPGRADES

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

Quarterbacks

Kenny Pickett (Pit) — Pickett has been Pittsburgh’s best quarterback through the first two preseason games, and he’s been rewarded with first-team reps in practice this week (per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly). Mitch Trubisky is still likely to open the season as the starter but Pittsburgh’s third preseason game could tilt the scales in Pickett’s favor if he outplays Trubisky once again. Barring Trubisky turning into a competent NFL QB in the next month, Pickett will be Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback by Week 4, at the latest, with the Steelers coming off extra rest before a contest against the Jets. Pickett is a sneaky runner and has an underrated receiving corps, and I’ve targeted him as a QB3 in best ball drafts over the last week. (Added 8/26)

Baker Mayfield (Car) — In news that shocked absolutely no one, the Panthers named Mayfield their starting quarterback over Sam Darnold. The Panthers used their second pick in the Draft on Matt Corral and they traded for Mayfield in July so there was no chance they were heading into the season with Darnold starting at quarterback. The Panthers are down to just Mayfield and Darnold heading into the season with Corral suffering a season-ending Lisfranc injury. Mayfield is an overall upgrade for Carolina’s offense, but you can do better than the 2018 No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts even at his cheap ADP (216, QB28). (Added 8/22)

Running Backs

Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris (NE) — The Patriots appeared to be having an open competition for their passing-back role with James White heading to retirement earlier in August, but HC Bill Belichick could be open to taking a potentially different approach with his backfield in 2022. He told reporter Bob Socci that they could essentially scrap having a designated third-down back and instead use Harris and Stevenson on all three downs, which they did in the second preseason game. It would be a departure from what they’ve done in years past with the likes of White, Shane Vereen, and Kevin Faulk. As John Hansen succinctly put it in his Vibes articles, “If Ty Montgomery ruins this (backfield) I’m gonna be pissed”, and it looks like we could avoid that scenario. ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes we could still see Montgomery in the hurry-up/two-minute offense so it’s not the perfect setup, but we’d take it. If the Patriots would use primarily a two-man rotation, Stevenson is the most intriguing back in New England because of his receiving ability, but Harris could have a little more upside than initially thought since he’d get to play in more passing situations. (Updated 8/24)

Dameon Pierce (Hou) — As our Graham Barfield put it in his preseason review piece, Pierce was already getting starter treatment in Houston’s second exhibition game, sitting out the contest while Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack split first-team reps. Pierce was showing off his pass-catching skills with Davis Mills in an Aug. 23 practice, which prompted the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Alexander to tweet that it’s looking like the fourth-round pick could be the team’s lead back in the season opener. HC Lovie Smith told PFN’s Aaron Wilson, “We’ve seen everything you need to see from a good running back. He can catch the ball. He can run in between tackles. He’ll make you miss in the open field. Pads down low, there’s a lot of things to like about Dameon.” We pegged Pierce as a league-winning player at the beginning of training camp, and the markets are finally starting to catch up with his ADP (90, RB31) skyrocketing in the last week. I’ve personally started to see Pierce drafted around 70 picks into drafts so be prepared to draft him earlier than his ADP. (Updated 8/26)

Chase Edmonds (Mia) — Details about the potential looks of Miami’s backfield have been few and far between, but ESPN’s Marcel Louis-Jacques wrote that Edmonds has “undoubtedly” been Miami’s best RB and that he should be considered the lead back. Louis-Jacques believes Edmonds should be involved as a runner and receiver like he was in Arizona last season, and that Raheem Mostert is the next man up for “as long as he’s healthy.” Sony Michel and Salvon Ahmed could grab the final two spots since the Dolphins signed Michel and Ahmed previously under Mike McDaniel for a brief time in San Francisco as a rookie. Myles Gaskin has seen most of his preseason snaps in the second half and PFF’s Doug Kyed reported that he could be the odd man out. Edmonds’ ADP (84, RB28) is on the rise a bit but he’s still a fine RB3 target because of his receiving ability and the fact that he was hand-picked in free agency to play in McDaniel’s zone scheme. (Added 8/24)

Rashaad Penny (Sea) — The ever-optimistic Pete Carroll didn’t give an update on Kenneth Walker’s potential return from hernia surgery, adding that the rookie is still tender following the procedure (per Brady Henderson). Carroll previously said that Walker had a chance to play in the season opener but it appears that he is headed more toward the longer side of his initial 2-6 week timeframe. We’ve been high on Walker coming into the league, but he’s in danger of missing a game or two early in the season, especially with the Seahawks unlikely to rush their prized rookie back into action. I can’t draft him at his current ADP (97, RB35), but I’d be back in on him if his ADP slips a round or two. Penny has yet to see his ADP (92, RB33) rise too much but he could gain some steam with so many mid-round RBs heading in the wrong direction in the last week or two. (Added 8/22)

Michael Carter (NYJ) — Carter has been running as the clear top back for the Jets through the first two preseason games, and longtime Jets beat reporter Rich Cimini tweeted on Aug. 24 that “he’s still RB1.” The Jets drafted Breece Hall in the second round and the Iowa State back has had a slow go of it in August. He admitted to the team site that he’s having an adjustment period to the pro game, “I’m progressing every day. But learning this offense has been kind of different to what I did in college. There are a lot more nuances and a lot of little things that I am still learning.” We’re still bullish on Hall’s overall outlook for 2022 but it’s becoming clear he could be slow out of the gates. Carter is looking like a solid target at his cheap ADP (124, RB45), especially if you punt RB early in drafts. (Added 8/25)

Khalil Herbert (Chi)David Montgomery is still the top back in Chicago but The Athletic’s Adam Jahns reports that it’s been apparent throughout training camp that Herbert will be getting carries too. Our Greg Cosell recently told John Hansen that Herbert is a better zone runner than Montgomery, and Jahns also believes Herbert’s running style is a better fit for OC Luke Getsy’s outside-zone scheme. Montgomery is in the final year of his rookie contract and the new front office and coaching staff have given no indications that he’ll remain a piece of their future plans. Herbert is worth a late-round look at his ADP (135, RB50) but expectations should be kept in check for these RBs playing behind one of the league’s worst O-lines. (Added 8/23)

Ameer Abdullah (LV)Albert Breer reported last week that Abdullah is eyeing the “James White spot” in Josh McDaniels’ offense. It could be official soon with the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reporting that the Raiders plan to release Kenyan Drake, which will remove some clutter from this backfield. The Raiders rested both Josh Jacobs and Abdullah in their second preseason game, which indicated they’re at the top of the depth chart as the early-down back and passing back, respectively. Abdullah, playing with the Panthers, quietly had 24 catches in the final six games of 2021, and there’s a chance he could carve out some PPR relevance if he can grab the role from Brandon Bolden. He’s a player to target in deeper PPR formats with his dirt-cheap ADP (248, RB99), but beware this backfield could be absolute chaos with four backs potentially involved. (Updated 8/24)

Mike Davis (Bal) — The Ravens placed Gus Edwards on the reserve/PUP list as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL, and the move will keep him out for at least the first four games of the season. J.K. Dobbins has yet to partake in any 11-on-11 drills and has been limited to individual drills since being activated from the PUP list on Aug. 8. Dobbins is pushing to get back on the field but ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote that the team is being cautious with their top back, and it could take time for him to get back to double-digit touches in games. Hensley added that it leaves Davis to receive the most carries early in the season until Dobbins and Edwards are up to speed. Davis is a free pick (244, RB95) who could see plenty of touches early in the season if you’re looking for help at running back right out of the gates. (Added 8/23)

Wide Receivers

Courtland Sutton (Den)The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider called Sutton the favorite target of Russell Wilson’s in training camp, and he’s been routinely winning downfield jump balls like he previously did before his ACL injury in 2020. Sutton shouldn’t have an issue seeing targets after Denver’s other big receiver Tim Patrick tore his ACL at the start of training camp. Sutton’s ADP (38, WR16) has taken off a bit since Patrick’s injury, but he could be primed for a major bounce-back season with Wilson in the fold and with another year removed from his ACL injury. (Added 8/23)

Jalen Tolbert (Dal)The Athletic’s Jon Machota believes Tolbert, Dallas’ third-round pick, has solidified his spot in the starting lineup even after Michael Gallup eventually returns from his ACL recovery. James Washington’s foot fracture at the start of training camp opened the door for Tolbert to see heavy reps with Dak Prescott, and he apparently hasn’t looked back. Tolbert still owns a reasonable ADP (140, WR61) in what should be one of the league’s most pass-heavy offenses once again. (Added 8/23)

K.J. Osborn (Min) — We’ve heard that Osborn has really impressed Minnesota’s new coaching staff, and The Athletic’s Arif Hasan wrote that Osborn improved as much from Year 2 (2021) to Year 3 (2022) as he did when he went from being a special teams player as a rookie in 2020 to being the team’s #3 WR in 2021. Kevin O’Connell comes from a Rams offense that used 11 personnel on by far a league-high 86% of the time last season, which is in stark contrast to the Vikings who used 11 personnel at the fifth-lowest rate at 47%. Osborn owned a 68% snap share in 2021 and he’ll be a near full-time player this season, and he has the potential to take off if Adam Thielen keeps trending in the wrong direction in his Age-32 season. He’ll be making an appearance in our “Mr. Relevant” article this week, which features players to target 150+ picks into fantasy drafts. (Added 8/23)

Tight Ends

Isaiah Likely (Bal) — Likely has been a revelation through two preseason games, and The Athletic's Jeff Zreibec reports that Likely has emerged as a popular target for Lamar Jackson and a passing-game complement to Mark Andrews. Likely, a fourth-round pick, is going to have a tough time emerging as a fantasy-relevant TE competing for targets behind Andrews and Rashod Bateman, but it sounds like he could have a much bigger role out of the gates than initially anticipated. (Added 8/23)

Daniel Bellinger (NYG) — Bellinger, a three-year starter at San Diego State, was a fourth-round pick this spring, but he joined one of the few rosters that gave him the opportunity for serious starter reps as a rookie. His window of opportunity opened even wider this week when the Giants ended Ricky Seals-Jones’ season with a trip to the injured reserve for a toe injury. They also released Jordan Akins a few days later so the Giants are down to Bellinger and UDFA Austin Allen as the top TEs. Rookie tight ends rarely set the world on fire for fantasy, but Bellinger is at least going to see plenty of snaps in an offense that’s had some underwhelming performances from its receiver in training camp. (Updated 8/24)

Tyler Conklin (NYJ) — Conklin is a name to file away if you’re playing in deeper leagues or in TE-premium formats as he’s emerged as the “favorite target” for both Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco, per The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt. The Jets also invested in C.J. Uzomah and drafted Jeremy Ruckert in the third round, but Conklin has emerged as the favorite to lead the team in TE targets. (Added 8/23)

DOWNGRADES

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

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott (Dal) — The Cowboys were a team moving in the wrong direction all off-season, and they took a big step back with All-Pro LT Tyron Smith suffering an avulsion fracture in his knee, which will keep out until at least December (per Ian Rapoport). The Cowboys are perilously thin at offensive tackle now and first-round pick Tyler Smith, who has been practicing at left guard, could be thrown right into the fire at left tackle. Prescott has already been dealing with an extremely WR corps with Michael Gallup still recovering from a February ACL surgery, and his offensive line could be starting to fall apart before Week 1 even kicks off. The entire Cowboys offense takes a hit with Tyron Smith out at least for the next three months, with Dak and Ezekiel Elliott taking the biggest hits. (Added 8/25)

Matt Corral (Car) — It appeared that Corral, Carolina’s third-round pick, could be headed toward a redshirt season after the team traded for Baker Mayfield in July. His rookie season is now officially over before it even started after he suffered a season-ending Lisfranc foot injury in Carolina’s second preseason game. Mayfield and Darnold will hit free agency next season so there’s an outside chance Corral is at the top of Carolina’s depth chart at this time next year, but the Panthers are likely to make a big move at quarterback this off-season. Corral could have a tough time finding the field in the first two seasons of his career. (Updated 8/23)

Running Backs

David Montgomery (Chi) — Montgomery is still the top back in Chicago but The Athletic’s Adam Jahns reports that it’s been apparent throughout training camp that Khalil Herbert will be getting carries too. Our Greg Cosell recently told John Hansen that Herbert is a better zone runner than Montgomery, and Jahns also believes Herbert’s running style is a better fit for OC Luke Getsy’s outside-zone scheme. Montgomery is in the final year of his rookie contract and the new front office and coaching staff have given no indications that he’ll remain a piece of their future plans. Montgomery owns an ADP (55, RB21) in the mid-fifth round and I’d rather attack other positions at that point in the draft. (Added 8/23)

Kenneth Walker (Sea) — The ever-optimistic Pete Carroll didn’t give an update on Walker’s potential return from hernia surgery, adding that the rookie is still tender following the procedure (per Brady Henderson). Carroll previously said that Walker had a chance to play in the season opener but it appears that he is headed more toward the longer side of his initial 2-6 week timeframe. We’ve been high on Walker coming into the league, but he’s in danger of missing a game or two early in the season, especially with the Seahawks unlikely to rush their prized rookie back into action. I can’t draft him at his current ADP (97, RB35), but I’d be back in on him if his ADP slips a round or two. Penny has yet to see his ADP (92, RB33) rise too much but he could gain some steam with so many mid-round RBs heading in the wrong direction in the last week or two. (Added 8/22)

Breece Hall (NYJ)Michael Carter has been running as the clear top back for the Jets through the first two preseason games, and longtime Jets beat reporter Rich Cimini tweeted on Aug. 24 that “he’s still RB1.” The Jets drafted Hall in the second round and the Iowa State back has had a slow go of it in August. He admitted to the team site that he’s having an adjustment period to the pro game, “I’m progressing every day. But learning this offense has been kind of different to what I did in college. There are a lot more nuances and a lot of little things that I am still learning.” We’re still bullish on Hall’s overall outlook for 2022 but it’s becoming clear he could be slow out of the gates. Carter is looking like a solid target at his cheap ADP (124, RB45), especially if you punt RB early in drafts. (Added 8/25)

Antonio Gibson (Was) — Gibson started training camp on thin ice after the team invested a third-round pick on Brian Robinson in the spring — the team also brought in Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker for pre-Draft visits. Well, Gibson is already in the cold water after his fumbling issues popped back up in the preseason opener — he had six fumbles last season. He gave way to Robinson in that contest, and he posted 6/26/1 rushing while Gibson later returned to play with the backups. Gibson’s punishment continued in practice last week as he took Robinson’s spot on the punt team before working with the third-string offense. HC Ron Rivera said on Aug. 25 that he expects Gibson to be the primary kick returner this season, which isn’t a spot you typically see a team’s clear lead runner filling. Gibson's already thin lead to pace this backfield in carries may be completely gone — J.D. McKissic already owns the passing work. Gibson is a complete stay away at his falling ADP (77, RB26) while Robinson is a later round option at his rising (128, RB48). (Added 8/26)

Isaiah Spiller (LAC) — Spiller suffered an ankle injury in their second preseason game, which HC Brandon Staley said could keep Spiller out through their season opener. Staley initially said the injury wasn’t anything serious after their game with the Cowboys, but his tune changed with Spiller’s status turning into a week-to-week issue. Losing any practice reps isn’t going to help his cause to have a bigger role at the start of the season, and the fourth-round pick is behind at least Joshua Kelley to open the season and potentially Larry Rountree in the battle for the #2 job. We weren’t overly impressed by Spiller coming out of Texas A&M, and we labeled him as an overvalued player this summer. (Added 8/22)

Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins (Bal) — The Ravens placed Edwards on the reserve/PUP list as he continues to rehab from his torn ACL, and the move will keep him out for at least the four games of the season. Dobbins has yet to partake in any 11-on-11 drills and has been limited to individual drills since being activated from the PUP list on Aug. 8, so his early season availability is still in the air. Dobbins is pushing to get back on the field but ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote that the team is being cautious with their top back, and it could take time for him to get back to double-digit touches in games. Hensley added that it leaves Mike Davis to receive the most carries early in the season until Dobbins and Edwards are up to speed. John Harbaugh said he still expects Edwards to play “quite a bit of football”, but the Ravens have been light on details so Edwards is off the radar in most formats with an uncertain return date. Dobbins’ ADP (53, RB20) continues to rise despite his lack of progress in Ravens’ training camp, and we’re out on him at his current price. (Updated 8/24)

Wide Receivers

Michael Thomas (NO) — HC Dennis Allen said on Aug. 21 that Thomas picked up a hamstring injury. The Athletic’s Larry Holder wrote the injury “doesn’t sound serious” so there’s a good chance it doesn’t affect his status for Week 1, but it’s still a bit disconcerting with Thomas barely playing the last two seasons because of a severe ankle injury. Thomas’ hamstring injury is a good reminder that he carries more of an injury risk than the other wide receivers being drafted around his ADP (58, WR30). (Added 8/22)

Jameson Williams (Det) — The Lions placed Williams on the reserve/NFI list, which will keep him out for at least the first four weeks of the season. Williams tore his ACL in the National Championship Game in January, and the NFL Network’s Tom Peliserro reported that the Lions planned for him to open the season on the NFI list. Pelissero added the Lions hope he’ll be ready to play around midseason, which makes him a player to stay away from in most draft formats unless you plan to stash him in IR spots. (Added 8/23)

Kenny Golladay (NYG) — Golladay is having a miserable training camp by all accounts, failing to get on the same page with Daniel Jones yet again after he didn’t find the end zone in his first season after signing a $72 million contract. Golladay led New York’s WRs in snaps with Jones in the second preseason but he failed to even register a target. YIKES. HC Brian Daboll put Golladay on notice the next day when he said that Collin Johnson and David Sills are in the mix not just to make the team but to play. Johnson would end up tearing his Achilles at the end of practice on Aug. 24, which would end his season. The Giants also activated Sterling Shepard (Achilles) from the PUP list on Aug. 24, which will give him a chance to play early in the season. It’s fair to wonder if Golladay owes a big chunk of his Detroit production and his huge contract to the golden arm of Matthew Stafford. We have Golladay pegged as an overvalued player and he’s set to become a complete avoid in our next update this week. (Updated 8/24)

Tyquan Thornton (NE) — Surging second-round pick Thornton suffered a collarbone injury in New England’s second preseason game, which is likely to keep him out for around eight weeks. Thornton was going to have a tough time seeing consistent playing time in New England’s crowded receiving corps early in the season, but he’s now likely to start the season on the injured reserve, which will keep him out for at least the first four weeks. Thornton is no longer re-draft radar even in deeper formats, but he’s a player to keep on once the season starts. (Added 8/22)

Tight Ends

Darren Waller (LV) — Waller has barely practiced since he picked up a hamstring injury on July 30. Waller, who is also angling for a new contract, skipped their preseason game to attend the Las Vegas Aces’ WNBA game on Aug. 14, which didn’t sit well with new HC Josh McDaniels. Waller’s status for Week 1 seems genuinely up in the air with McDaniels saying he doesn’t feel comfortable making a prediction about his return. It’s also possible that Waller isn’t eager to return as he seeks a new contract, which he’ll be doing with a new agent after he left Klutch Sports Group this week. We’re not drafting Waller because we’re extremely concerned about Waller’s medicals and with his competition for targets with Davante Adams in town. (Updated 8/26)

Mike Gesicki (Mia) — Gesicki’s preseason usage has been concerning as he’s played additional snaps with backups while lining up more as an inline tight end than we’ve previously seen under old regimes. Gesicki rolled with the punches after the second preseason game saying that he needs “all the reps I can get” after playing receiver to start his career, but The Miami Herald’s David Wilson wrote that Gesicki has been “less a focal point of the offense” than he was a year ago. PFF’s Doug Kyed reported Aug. 24 that the Dolphins are bringing up Gesicki’s name in trade discussions so the fifth-year pro doesn’t seem to be a big part of Miami’s plans in 2022. I’ve written since the Dolphins franchise tagged him in the spring but it looks like Gesicki is a poor fit for Mike McDaniel’s new offense, and we’re avoiding Gesicki at his ADP (151, TE15). (Updated 8/24)

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.

Quarterbacks

Tom Brady (TB) — Brady returned to the Buccaneers after spending about 10 days away from the team for “personal reasons.” Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reported that his time away from the team included a trip to the Bahamas with his family. While he was away from the team, his offensive line continued to be a hot mess. OG Aaron Stinnie going down with a season-ending knee injury and RT Tristan Wirfs picking up an oblique injury. Wirfs is expected to be ready for the season opener, but the interior of Brady’s offensive line could be weak after Ryan Jensen suffered his own season-ending knee injury. Brady has also missed out on valuable reps with new receivers Russell Gage and Julio Jones so there’s more concern surrounding Brady than usual. We believe Brady is overvalued at his ADP (96, QB10) after the last three weeks of camp news, and we prefer to select quarterbacks like Dak Prescott and Trey Lance, who are being selected right around him. (Added 8/22)

Running Backs

James Robinson and Travis Etienne (Jax) — HC Doug Pederson still expects Robinson (Achilles) to be cleared for their season opener, but the plan is to “gradually increase his reps” over the next month or two (per ESPN’s Michael DiRocco). J-Rob is slightly ahead of where we’d thought he’d be at this point of the summer, but he’s still a player to avoid at ADP (126, RB47) since we’re skeptical that he’ll return to the form that he showed before his injury. Etienne is a player to target at his ADP (29, RB15) with his three-down skill set and his potential role this season if J-Rob is unable to return to his previous form after his catastrophic leg injury from late last season. (Added 8/22)

Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams (Ari) — Williams could be a surprise cut or trade candidate according to multiple league sources to PFF’s Doug Kyed. Darrel has barely played this preseason while Benjamin has started both preseason games, which is making it difficult to decipher if the Cardinals are protecting Williams or if they’re ready to move on from him as the report indicates might happen. Sixth-round pick Keontay Ingram is pushing for a roster spot with a solid August and Jonathan Ward has performed well in the preseason before suffering a minor shoulder injury on Aug. 21. This is an important backfield to get a read on since James Conner has missed at least two games in each of his first five seasons, and we’ll get more clarity in this backfield over the next week. Kliff Kingsbury has been praising Benjamin all summer long and he’s a back I’ve been gravitating toward at his late ADP (197, RB62). (Added 8/24)

Wide Receivers

Josh Palmer (LAC) — Palmer lit up the Cowboys in Los Angeles’ second preseason game but he ended up in concussion protocol after the contest. In positive news, NFL Insider Jordan Schultz reported that Palmer has been one of the best players in Chargers camp and that he’s in line for an expanded role with more targets. Palmer is locked in as the team’s #3 WR and he already cleared concussion protocol on Aug. 24. (Updated 8/24)

Garrett Wilson (NYJ)The Athletic’s Zack Rosenblatt reported that Wilson is starting to string together productive days after struggling with bad drops earlier in training camp. Rosenblatt also noted that Wilson has a “nice connection” with Joe Flacco, who is likely to start at least in Week 1 against the Ravens. Wilson could start to ascend in the second half of the season, but he could get off to a slow start as he battles for snaps and targets with Corey Davis and Braxton Berrios behind Elijah, especially playing with an inconsistent Zach Wilson. (Added 8/26)

Romeo Doubs (GB)PFF’s Doug Kyed reported on Aug. 19 that Aaron Rodgers wants Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb to be his starters, and ESPN’s Rob Demovsky agrees that Doubs is the fourth WR in their rotation right now. Lazard, Cobb, and Watkins have yet to play in the preseason while Doubs keeps making a strong pitch to see significant playing time right out of the gates with a touchdown in each of their first two games. Doubs did drop two targets against the Saints in their second preseason game on Aug. 19 and Rodgers called the fourth-round pick out for a bad drop in an Aug. 16 practice. Rodgers explained his tough love for the rookie on Aug. 22, “The standard for him is not going to be the standard for a normal rookie we’ve had here in the past…He’s going to be expected to play based on his performance so far in camp. We got to hold him to a standard we know he’s capable of reaching.” Doubs could have his share of highs and lows as a fourth-round pick playing with a perfectionist like Rodgers, but he’s still a must-target 140-150 picks into drafts with a weak trio of receivers blocking him for the time being. (Updated 8/23)

Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne (NE) — Surging second-round pick Tyquan Thornton suffered a collarbone injury in New England’s second preseason game, which is likely to keep him out around eight weeks. Thornton was going to have a tough time seeing consistent playing time in New England’s crowded receiving corps early in the season, but he’s now likely to start the season on the injured reserve, which will keep him out for at least the first four weeks. We’ve heard that DeVante Parker has been exactly what Bill Belichick had hoped for as a boundary X receiver while Jakobi Meyers continues to be his steady self in training camp. Agholor is the other receiver making waves in training camp (per Chad Graff) and Mac Jones connected with him for a 45-yard bomb in their second preseason game. Bourne is the one receiver trending in the wrong direction after getting kicked out of a joint practice with the Panthers last week, which is likely why he was held out of their second preseason game. In true Belichick fashion, New England’s offense is a fantasy landmine with competitions for snaps and opportunities at RB, WR, and TE. It’s best to avoid this WR corps altogether in typical re-draft formats while taking last-round shots on Agholor and Bourne best-ball formats. (Added 8/22)

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews (Bal) — Rookie Isiah Likely has been a revelation through two preseason games, and The Athletic's Jeff Zreibec reports that Likely has emerged as a popular target for Lamar Jackson and a passing-game complement to Andrews. Likely, a fourth-round pick, is going to have a tough time emerging as a fantasy-relevant TE competing for targets behind Andrews and Rashod Bateman, but it sounds like he could have a much bigger role out of the gates than initially anticipated. It’s not the best news for Andrew after he ran the second-most routes run at the position with 623, which was a whopping 207 more routes than his previous season-high of 414 set in 2020. The Ravens are going back to a more run-heavy approach and he’s going to have more target competition at TE, which is why I bet Andrews to finish under 84.5 receptions. (Added 8/23)

Logan Thomas (Was) — The Commanders activated Thomas from the PUP list on Aug. 22, which gives him a chance to be ready for Week 1. Our Edwin Porras believes Thomas will still be limited for the first month of the season despite being activated from the PUP list. Thomas said he sustained damage to his ACL, MCL, LCL, and meniscus last year and his mid-December surgery date has slowed his recovery to this point. Washington signaled that Thomas could be slow out of the gates when they claimed Kendall Blanton off waivers from the Rams. John Bates will likely be Washington’s #1 TE to open the season and Thomas is off the re-draft radar in all formats. (Added 8/22)

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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