Shark Bites

27 minutes ago

Jaguars HC Gus Bradley named QB Chad Henne his Week 1 starter after Friday night's preseason game.  Henne has been solid in August, completing 65.7% of his passes with 1 TD and 0 INTs. Blake Bortles has looked like Jacksonville's best QB, though.  The Jags are sticking with their plan to redshirt Bortles for now, but we're still expecting to see the rookie under center at some point this season.  This remains a situation to avoid in fantasy drafts.

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Jaguars WR Allen Hurns exploded for 7 catches, 113 yards and a score in Friday night’s preseason game. The undrafted rookie has been buzzing in training camp and did a good chunk of his damage against the Lions’ starters. Hurns goes 6’1, 198 pounds with 4.55 speed. More importantly, he played in Jaguars OC Jedd Fisch’s offense at the University of Miami. He’s clearly settled in quickly in Jacksonville. Hurns won’t open the season higher than 3rd on the depth chart but could climb in an unsettled WR group. We wouldn’t roster him in standard fantasy leagues, but he’s worth keeping an eye on.

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Jets TE Jace Amaro hauled in 4 balls for 37 yards and a score in Friday night's preseason game.  For all the flack the rookie has caught for his performance in training camp, he's looked pretty good in the exhibitions.  He's totaled 8 catches, 79 yards and 1 TD through 3 games.  Amaro appears to have taken over as New York's primary pass-catching TE.  Don't count on him as a weekly fantasy starter this season, but he could emerge as a viable matchup play.

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13 hours ago

Patriots RB Shane Vereen caught TDs of 40 and 6 yards in Friday night's preseason game against the Panthers. He finished with 5 grabs for 57 yards. That's the type of pass-catching upside that Vereen presents every week. Remember that he caught 47 balls in just 8 games last year. The concern with Vereen is his minimal rushing workload. It makes him prone to duds if he doesn't get it done in the passing game. The high weekly ceiling makes him worth drafting as a RB2 in PPR leagues. He's just a RB3 in non-PPR.

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13 hours ago

Jets QB Geno Smith turned in a solid half of football in Friday night's preseason game against the Giants.  He completed 9 of 14 passes for 137 yards and a score, adding 17 more yards on 3 rushes.  Through 3 exhibitions, Smith is sitting on a 69.7% completion rate and an 8.1 yards-per-attempt average.  Consider snatching up Smith near the end of your draft, especially in best-ball leagues.  Your league mates might laugh at you, but Smith's an improved passer with sneaky rushing ability.  He could post high-end QB2 numbers this year.

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Panthers DE Greg Hardy left Friday night's game with a shoulder bruise.  Given that he still has 15 days until Carolina's 1st real game, this doesn't seem like it should be a serious issue for Hardy.  But we'll keep an eye out for further reports on 1 of the top DE targets in your IDP draft.

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13 hours ago

Raiders LB Sio Moore left the field on a stretcher Friday night after an apparent neck injury.  Trainers immobilized him, but Moore did give a thumbs up as he was leaving the field.  The 2nd-year LB had been working with the 1st team while battling Miles Burris for the starting weak-side job.  We'll keep an eye on his situation and await the specific diagnosis.

UPDATE: NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that Moore suffered only a neck strain and will fly home with his team.  We'll await word on how long he'll remain sidelined, but this is obviously great news after what looked like an ugly situation.

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NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that the Patriots are "optimistic but not certain" that TE Rob Gronkowski (knee) will be available for Week 1.  That jibes with Pro Football Talk's report last week that Gronk is "50-50" for the season opener.  He participated in full-team drills this week for the 1st time all offseason but still isn't taking full contact.  Gronkowski remains the biggest risk/reward pick in all of fantasy football.

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Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been limited in practice this week with a hip injury.  He won't play in the team's 3rd preseason game.  That'll give RB Jeremy Hill some extra reps with the starters.  The rookie remains the strong favorite to finish 2nd on the team in carries this year.

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Chiefs RT Donald Stephenson has been suspended 4 games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.  Stephenson finished 61st out of 76 OTs in Pro Football Focus' 2013 rankings, so it's not a massive loss.  But it certainly doesn't help a Chiefs offensive line that already looked weak.  It's definitely a concern for RB Jamaal Charles.

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Bucs HC Lovie Smith believes RB Doug Martin is "going to rush for a lot of yards" this season.  There was talk of a committee backfield in Tampa all summer.  But with RB Charles Sims (foot) out for at least the 1st half of the season and RB Mike James dealing with a shoulder injury, the backfield belongs to Martin.  "He's a key guy," Smith said. "Doug is our bell cow. He likes that role. He's had a good camp, hasn't missed a beat."  Offensive line play is a concern for Martin, but volume alone should support him as an every-week RB2.  He's a nice value anywhere in the 3rd round.

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Steelers RBs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount split backfield duties evenly again in Thursday night's preseason game against the Eagles.  Bell got the start and played the 1st series, but Blount entered on the 2nd.  They worked in tandem with the 1st-team offense, and both guys played into the 4th quarter.  Through 3 exhibitions, Bell has carried 16 times for 52 yards (3.2 YPC) and caught 2 passes for 9 yards.  Blount has totaled 42 yards on 13 carries (3.2 YPC) with 3 catches for 14 yards.  Everything the Steelers have said and done this summer suggests a true committee backfield.  Bell is still the clear favorite to lead the RB group in carries and catches, but Blount will play a bigger role than we originally thought.  Click here for our updated projections for the Steelers backfield.

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Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin appeared to suffer a serious injury when his right knee buckled when he tried to make a cut in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night's game against the Steelers.  That's the same knee he's torn his ACL in twice.  Maclin was in obvious pain on the field but was able to walk off under his own power.  Then he returned for Philly's next possession and caught a pass on the 1st play of the drive.  Maclin finished with 6 catches for 43 yards.  He was targeted on 8 of QB Nick Foles' 29 attempts (27.6%).  Maclin has top 20 fantasy upside this season if he can stay healthy.  But between last year's torn ACL, the minor dings this summer and Thursday night's scare, he's certainly a risky fantasy pick at his 6th-round ADP.

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Rams WR Kenny Britt might be held out of the 3rd preseason game after suffering a shoulder injury in last weekend's exhibition.  Beat writer Jim Thomas calls it a "ding," so it doesn't sound like a serious concern.  Of course, injuries have been a recurring issue for Britt, but at least it's not his knee.  He remains an intriguing late-round sleeper in fantasy drafts.

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Eagles RB LeSean McCoy left Thursday night's game against Pittsburgh to get an X-ray on his right thumb, according to NFL Network.  We'll await results before speculating, but it's obviously a situation to watch.  The fact that he played at all continues to indicate that his toe isn't a problem, at least.

Update: Insider Jeff McLane reports that McCoy has been diagnosed with a sprained thumb.  "No fractures or torn ligaments," McLane adds.  We'll keep an eye on him over the next couple weeks, but he should be just fine for Week 1.  We're not adjusting his projections.

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1 day ago

Cowboys QB Tony Romo told the Dallas Morning News on Thursday that he's ready to go out and play a full game after rehabbing from back surgery.  "I mean I don't know that you would go to play in the preseason if you didn't think you could play football," he said. "I mean it's football."  It's just another indication that we probably shouldn't worry about the Cowboys starter performing at the start of the season.  Of course, we'll see how he looks in the team's 3rd preseason game, but we're comfy with Romo toward the bottom of starter territory -- with upside beyond that range.

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49ers insider Matt Maiocco expects WR Anquan Boldin to "put up comparable numbers" to WR Michael Crabtree this season.  "They are clearly the 49ers' Nos. 1 and 1A receivers," Maiocco adds.  We're expecting the younger, more explosive Crabtree to finish safely ahead of Boldin in fantasy points, but the veteran might end up as the better value in drafts.  While Crabtree is going in the 4th round, Boldin is lasting until the 11th.

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Raiders QB Derek Carr won't play in the team's 3rd preseason game on Friday.  He's been cleared from last week's concussion but is still dealing with sore ribs.  The rookie seemed to be making up ground on QB Matt Schaub, but this kills any chance he had at winning the Week 1 starting job.  We're still expecting Carr to make starts this season, but you should avoid Raiders QBs in your fantasy draft.

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Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles returned to practice on Thursday.  He missed less than a week with the bruised foot he suffered moving out of his dorm room.  It's a non-issue moving forward.  Charles deserves to be selected among the first 4 picks of standard fantasy drafts.

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