Shark Bites

Broncos QB Trevor Siemian has won the starting job, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. That certainly looked like the case when HC Gary Kubiak announced that Siemian would start the 3rd preseason game, but this report is more concrete. It's a surprising outcome considering Siemian's resume. He's a former 7th-round pick who completed just 58.9% of his passes with 27 TDs and 24 INTs in 4 years at Northwestern. Siemian has yet to attempt a regular-season NFL pass and has averaged just 6.3 yards per attempt with 0 TDs and 1 INT in 2 preseason contests this year. He's nowhere near the fantasy radar and makes WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders scary picks. We're expecting rookie QB Paxton Lynch to take over at some point this year. QB Mark Sanchez isn't even guaranteed a roster spot.

Broncos TE Jeff Heuerman is sidelined with a hamstring injury and is "unlikely" to play in Saturday's preseason game against the Rams, according to the Denver Post's Cameron Wolfe. Heuerman missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL and has been dealing with hamstring trouble all offseason. HC Gary Kubiak said he's still "a few days" from getting back on the field. Meanwhile, Virgil Green continues to look more and more locked in as Denver's starting TE. He's a recommended late-round target.

The Lions have released RB Stevan Ridley. He mustered just 3.0 yards per carry on 9 preseason totes. Ridley's departure locks in Zach Zenner as Detroit's #3 RB -- and potential goal-line back. He's worth a look late in drafts, especially in non-PPR or TD-heavy formats. Rookie RB Dwayne Washington has had a strong preseason and now looks like a better bet to make the team.

Seahawks HC Pete Carroll said Wednesday that he has "no hesitation saying [RB Thomas Rawls] will play in season opener." Rawls put in his 1st full practice of the offseason on Sunday but won't play in Seattle's 3rd exhibition. We'll see about the 4th. He remains the team's lead back but is a candidate to be eased in a bit at the start of the season, especially with RB Christine Michael looking so good.

Bears RB Jeremy Langford (foot) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday, according to insider Jeff Dickerson. Langford missed a few days of work with what always looked like a minor injury. We'll see if he plays in Chicago's 3rd exhibition, but we've seen enough to feel comfy with him as a RB2. Langford has averaged 5.2 yards per carry on 12 attempts through 2 exhibitions.

Cardinals WR John Brown missed Wednesday's practice with a headache, HC Bruce Arians said. This comes just 3 days after Brown returned from a nearly 3-week concussion-related absence. This certainly looks like a setback, but we'll be on the lookout for more information. If you're drafting in the meantime, consider Brown a risk/reward WR3.

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski returned to practice on Wednesday, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Gronk missed 8 days with a still undisclosed injury. It never seemed serious, and it's a non-issue now barring a setback. We'll see if he plays in New England's 3rd preseason game on Friday night, but Gronkowski remains fantasy football's #1 TE regardless.

Browns WR Corey Coleman is “officially over” his hamstring injury, per team insider Tony Grossi. Coleman missed the 1st two preseason games, but he’ll suit up for Friday’s matchup with Tampa Bay. For now, he's a fringe WR3 with the upside for more.

The Lions plan on speeding up their offensive tempo and running more no-huddle this season. "The faster you can push the tempo when you want to, makes it more stressful on the defense," QB Matt Stafford said. "If you feel like you’re playing at normal speed and they think you’re playing really fast you know it feels a whole lot better for us." Per Pro Football Focus, Detroit has gone no-huddle on 62% of their offensive snaps. That's up from 7% last year. “The biggest reason we’re going to do so well this year is this is something Matt is very comfortable with," WR Golden Tate said. "This is something he’s wanted, he’s thriving in this right now, he’s (balling), he’s comfortable." A quicker pace means more offensive plays and more fantasy opportunity for all the Lions.

Bucs TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins has started seeing 1st-team reps again in practice -- "splitting" those duties with TE Cameron Brate, per ESPN's Jenna Laine. "Austin's worked his way right back in there, and when he got moved down the depth chart, all you can ask a player when he gets moved down is that he competes and does better and tries to get back up there, and he's done that," HC Dirk Koetter said. ASJ has a significant talent edge over Brate. So if his head is screwed on right, he figures to move back to the top of the depth chart eventually. He remains a late-round flier but is a better fantasy pick than Brate.

The Patriots have released WR Nate Washington. The veteran struggled staying healthy this offseason and didn't make an impact when he was on the field. Rookie Malcolm Mitchell's chances of landing a Week 1 starting job continue to look better and better.

Packers TE Jared Cook has "developed a rapport" with QB Aaron Rodgers, according to Wes Hodkiewicz of the team's official website. That was perhaps Cook's most important task this offseason. He's always had the physical talent, but building chemistry with 1 of the game's best QBs is paramount. Cook "has been a popular target in the middle of the field and caught virtually every pass that’s been thrown in his direction over the past two weeks," Hodkiewicz adds. We'll get to see the Rodgers-Cooks connection in Green Bay's 3rd preseason game on Friday night.

Lions TE Eric Ebron (ankle) returned to practice on Tuesday, according to insider Kyle Meinke. Ebron went down 17 days ago with what turned out to be a relatively mild ankle injury. He's now on track to be ready for the start of the regular season. Ebron has TE1 potential and had been going in the late 11th round in recent PPR drafts.

Redskins HC Jay Gruden expects WR Josh Doctson (Achilles) to be available come Week 1. That's encouraging, but the rookie won't be a fantasy option then. He's missed most of the spring, all of training camp and the first 2 preseason games. He's a long shot to play in the 3rd exhibition. Doctson isn't worth drafting in most leagues but will be worth monitoring as a potential waiver-wire add later this year.

Bengals insider Paul Dehner believes RB Jeremy Hill is in for a "huge year." Dehner has seen "serious focus, drive" from Hill after what he calls a disappointing 2015. Hill mustered just 3.6 yards per carry last year but still scored 12 total TDs to finish 14th among RBs in non-PPR points and 20th in PPR. He was a top 10 RB across formats as a rookie in 2014. Hill's 2016 ADP is sitting at RB19 in non-PPR leagues and RB24 in PPR.

Patriots QB Tom Brady returned to practice on Tuesday, 5 days after slicing his thumb with a pair of scissors before the team's 2nd preseason game. "Good," Brady said when asked how the thumb is feeling now. "It took a few days. I wanted to go and Coach [Belichick] said it's probably best if we just take it easy." Brady is hoping to play in the 3rd exhibition. Regardless of whether he does, the thumb thing is a non-issue.

Patriots DE Jabaal Sheard is dealing with a sprained MCL, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. He suffered the injury in the preseason opener, though this is the 1st time we have seen it specified. Sheard is expected to need 2-4 weeks for recovery, which could threaten his season opener, though the team reportedly doesn't view it as "overly serious." We'll keep an eye on the return of this potential breakthrough IDP, but we nudged him down the IDP rankings this morning.

TE Coby Fleener admits that he's still a "work in progress" in the Saints' offense. HC Sean Payton agrees. "There's some plays that are real good, and then there's some plays where we've got to be a little bit more detailed and that's something that I know he's got to work on," Payton said. It sounds like Fleener's biggest issues right now are run blocking and pass protection. Those have never been his strengths. Fleener was brought to New Orleans to catch footballs. Insider Josh Katzenstein confirms that Fleener is "clearly the top tight end for the passing game." He remains a nice mid-range TE1 with upside.

Ravens WR Breshad Perriman took the field Tuesday in full pads for the 1st time since suffering an ACL injury back in June. HC John Barbaugh had said that he expected Perriman to be back in time for the regular season, and this return seems to put the 2nd-year wideout on track. Whether he has time to work his way into a meaningful role by September remains to be seen. Perriman's a risky option before the final quarter of your fantasy football draft.

The Patriots on Tuesday released RB Donald Brown. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Brown had been limited since suffering an injury in the 5th practice of camp. He always looked like a long shot for fantasy relevance after washing out in San Diego. Brown's departure at least takes 1 name out of a crowded backfield that appears ready to hit the season with LeGarrette Blount and James White leading the way.

 
 
 

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