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Shark Bites

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Dont'a Hightower, LB NE

1 hour ago

Hightower heads to PUP

The Patriots will open training camp with LB Dont'a Hightower on the PUP list. Hightower missed offseason workouts after dealing with knee and shoulder issues last season. The knee cost him 3 games and landed him on the injury report 8 times, but New England re-signed him in the offseason after the Jets and Steelers took seemingly serious looks at the vet. Durability has been a perennial issue for Hightower, who should continue to present more value to the Patriots than IDP owners when on the field. The team can activate Hightower from the camp PUP at any time.

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The Colts will be placing S Clayton Geathers (neck) on the PUP list to open the regular season, ESPN reports. That will cost the 3rd-year safety at least the 1st 6 games. Geathers finished 2016 on IR because of a neck injury that eventually required surgery in March. He has yet to return to the field. A decision this early to put him on the PUP casts some doubt on whether Geathers will be available at all in 2017. And the fact that it's a neck issue looks worrisome for his outlook beyond the coming season. Needless to say, we've knocked him way down the 2017 IDP rankings. And he has tumbled down our dynasty IDP rankings as well. Converted CB Darius Butler is the early favorite to start with rookie S Malik Hooker. We'll see whether 2016 rookie T.J. Green enters the mix.

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Vikings QB Sam Bradford is feeling comfortable in the offense heading to training camp. "Obviously last year was pretty unique, I have never been in that situation, and I don't think many people have been in that situation," Bradford said of his September 3 trade to Minnesota. "But just to be here this offseason, to be able to go through the program, go through the meetings, the installs, really sit down and learn this offense and what we're trying to do, it's a much better situation than showing up here however many days, eight or nine, before the first game last year and trying to learn everything on the fly." On top of having a full offseason with his team, Bradford will also have the same OC for consecutive seasons for just the 2nd time in his career. He finished 22nd among QBs in fantasy points last year and could climb a bit higher in 2017. You can probably do better than Bradford in your draft, but he could emerge as a spot-start option this season.

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Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (shoulder) avoided the PUP list to open training camp. He underwent shoulder surgery early in the offseason, but it never seemed like something that would impact his 2017 campaign. Kelce led all TEs in fantasy points last year, albeit in a down season for the position. He's currently coming off the board in the 3rd round of 12-team PPR drafts.

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Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has been placed on the active PUP list to start training camp. It's not a major surprise. And remember that he can be activated at any time and play Week 1. GM Chris Ballard did reveal on Monday that Luck has resumed throwing, hasn't experienced any setbacks and is on track to be ready for the start of the season. Ballard added that Luck is now working on "rebuilding strength" in his throwing shoulder. Neither the team nor Luck has expressed much concern about the situation this offseason, but there remains added risk here until we see him on the field.

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Eagles WR Jordan Matthews will be limited at the start of training camp as he continues to deal with knee tendinitis, HC Doug Pederson said Monday. Matthews dealt with the issue throughout the offseason program. Pederson doesn't expect the problem to stretch into the regular season, but it bears monitoring over the next few weeks. Matthews is a fine value right now at his 9th-round ADP.

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Vikings RB Latavius Murray (ankle) has been placed on the active PUP list to begin training camp. He's eligible to be activated at any time. Still, he's behind the 8 ball after undergoing surgery on March 22 and missing all of offseason workouts. He needs to get on the field in a hurry if he wants to beat out rookie Dalvin Cook for the lead job.

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Bengals insider Jim Owczarski expects RB Gio Bernard (knee) to be cleared for the start of training camp later this week. He'll almost certainly be eased in, but it's good news after a June report that had Bernard iffy for Week 1. It now looks like he's on track for the opener, barring a setback over the next 6 weeks. Bernard's volume will take a hit this year with the arrival of rookie Joe Mixon. But he could still bring some value in PPR drafts, where his ADP is sitting in the 13th round.

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"All indications" are that Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (back) will be ready for the start of training camp later this week, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jim Owczarski. Eifert himself said back in April that he expected to be on the field for camp after undergoing back surgery in December. He'll likely be eased in -- and we'll see whether the Bengals put him on the field for any preseason action. Eifert's ceiling extends into the top 5 at his position, but he's 1 of the biggest injury risks in 2017 fantasy drafts.

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Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reports that Browns RB Duke Johnson has been lining up as a slot receiver "and could replace Andrew Hawkins in that role this season." Johnson's receiving skills are no secret, but that specific role should increase his playing time and give the young RB a path to regular touches even if Isaiah Crowell continues to work as the clear lead back. Johnson finished 2016 third on the team in targets (74) and 5th among all NFL RBs in that category. Hawkins finished last year 5th on the team with 54 targets. Johnson's target ceiling for 2017 could reach 90 -- perhaps even higher if WR Corey Coleman struggles further with durability issues.

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