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Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers

By Jared Smola 10:02pm EDT 9/1/23

Fantasy Football Risers (8-26 through 9-1)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders

Jacobs inked a fresh one-year deal on August 26. That gives him about two weeks to get ready for the season opener. It’s possible that Jacobs is a bit limited in Week 1, but there’s no longer holdout risk here.

Dameon Pierce, RB, Texans

Pierce was a preseason winner, operating as an every-down back with the first-team offense. He looks like a volume-based RB2 in fantasy lineups.

Raheem Mostert and De’Von Achane, RBs, Dolphins

These guys dodged a Jonathan Taylor trade and then watched Jeff Wilson hit IR, knocking him out for at least the first four games. Mostert will open the season as the clear lead back and sits safely inside RB2 territory in our Week 1 rankings. Achane is still working back from his shoulder injury. But, once healthy, the rookie will have a prime opportunity to carve out a significant role.

Tank Bigsby, RB, Jaguars

Bigsby’s role with the first-team offense grew throughout the season, culminating in a 36% snap rate in the finale. He’s not a viable Week 1 fantasy play, but there’s a chance he claims a big enough share of the backfield to eventually be a RB3 or flex option. And he’s a high-end handcuff to Travis Etienne.

Deon Jackson and Evan Hull, RBs, Colts

The Colts kept Jonathan Taylor on the PUP list, knocking him out for the first four games of the season. Zack Moss is expected to miss the first game or two of the season with his broken arm. That leaves the backfield to Jackson and Hull. Insider Aaron Wilson reported that Jackson is expected to start Week 1, but rookie Hull is the more intriguing player.

Pierre Strong, RB, Browns

Strong was traded to Cleveland on Sunday, giving him a chance to compete with Jerome Ford for the backup job behind Nick Chubb.

Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, and Puka Nacua, WRs, Rams

These guys got slight projection bumps with Cooper Kupp’s hamstring setback. Jefferson could be a low-end WR4 if Kupp misses games. Atwell and Nacua are deep bench stashes.

Noah Brown, WR, Texans

Brown is in line to open the season as Houston’s No. 3 WR. That puts him on the best-ball radar – but hopefully you don’t need him in lineup-setting leagues. We’re still expecting Tank Dell to overtake Brown at some point this season.

Trey Palmer, WR, Buccaneers

The rookie will replace Russell Gage as Tampa’s No. 3 WR, according to The Tampa Bay Times' Rick Stroud. Palmer will likely need a Chris Godwin or Mike Evans injury to gain fantasy relevance this year, but he's a name to keep on your radar.

Randall Cobb, WR, Jets

The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt believes WR Randall Cobb will "likely start in Week 1,” presumably in the slot between Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard. Cobb is still not an exciting fantasy option.

Tyler Higbee, TE, Rams

Here’s the big winner if Cooper Kupp’s hamstring injury forces him to miss time early in the season. Higbee drew 21% of Rams targets with Kupp out for the final eight games last year.

  

Fantasy Football Fallers (8-26 through 9-1)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Matt Stafford, QB, Rams

He got a slight bump down with WR Cooper Kupp’s hamstring setback. Stafford will barely crack QB2 territory in the weekly rankings if Kupp misses games.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

The Colts did not trade Taylor and opted to place him on the reserve PUP list on Tuesday. That knocks him out for the first four weeks – and his status beyond that is completely uncertain. We wouldn’t consider him until the fourth round of fantasy drafts. And, even then, he’s an uncomfortable pick.

Jeff Wilson, RB, Dolphins

Wilson surprisingly landed on IR this week with midsection and finger injuries. He’s eligible to return starting in Week 5, but HC Mike McDaniel made it sound like Wilson could be out longer. He’s only worth rostering in fantasy leagues with IR spots.

Zamir White, RB, Raiders

RB Josh Jacobs’ return dumps White back to ‘handcuff’ status. And he’s not even the most exciting handcuff because he’d lose passing-down work to RB Ameer Abdullah if Jacobs misses time.

Zach Evans, RB, Rams

Evans remained buried on the depth chart in the Rams’ preseason finale. The rookie at least made the 53-man roster, but he’s miles from redraft relevance.

Deneric Prince, RB, Chiefs

After a buzzy spring, Prince lost steam and was released at final cuts. He did latch back on with the Chiefs’ practice squad, but he’s not worth rostering in redraft right now.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

Kupp had a setback with his hamstring injury this week. HC Sean McVay initially called Kupp "day-to-day" but later hinted that he might not be ready for the season opener. Kupp is now one of the bigger risk/reward picks in fantasy drafts. We’re willing to consider him near the end of Round 1.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Jets

The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt believes Randall Cobb will open the season as the Jets’ starting slot receiver. That’d leave Hardman as the No. 4 WR – and a non-factor in fantasy football.

Tyquan Thornton, WR, Patriots

After missing time in the spring with a soft-tissue injury, Thornton hurt his shoulder in mid-August and landed on IR. He’s eligible to return starting in Week 5 but isn’t worth rostering in redraft.

John Metchie, WR, Texans

Metchie will open the season fourth or fifth on Houston’s depth chart. We’ll see if he ascends over the course of the season, but there are better fantasy bench stashes.

Tyler Conklin, TE, Jets

Conklin split snaps with TE C.J. Uzomah throughout the preseason. We’ll see if that holds when the real games start, but Conklin isn’t a reliable Week 1 fantasy play.

Jelani Woods, TE, Colts

Woods landed on IR with a hamstring injury that’s lingered since the spring. We’ll see if he’s healthy when eligible to return in Week 5. Woods remains an intriguing youngster but is off the redraft radar for now.

 

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Fantasy Football Risers (8-19 through 8-25)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Jaylen Warren, RB, Steelers

Warren was a big preseason winner. He looked explosive. And, more importantly, he was out-snapped just 16 to 12 by RB Najee Harris. Warren might get enough volume to be a RB3 or flex option even with a healthy Harris.

Matt Breida, RB, Giants

Breida is poised to enter the season as the Giants’ No. 2 RB. We'd expect a committee attack if Saquon Barkley goes down, though, so Breida isn't a very attractive handcuff.  

Chris Evans, RB, Bengals

The Athletic’s Paul Dehner projects Evans as the Bengals’ passing-downs back. That role fed RB Samaje Perine 51 targets last year. We doubt Evans reaches that mark, but he’s worth considering near the end of deeper PPR drafts.

Sean Tucker, RB, Bucs

The rookie has out-played RBs Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Chase Edmonds this preseason and even got some first-team reps in practice this week. Tucker looks like the Bucs RB to own if Rachaad White misses times this season.

Jahan Dotson, WR, Commanders

He got a slight boost with WR Terry McLaurin (toe) iffy for the start of the season. Dotson had a strong preseason, catching seven of nine targets for 106 yards.

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How high is Jahan Dotson's fantasy ceiling?

Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims, WRs, Broncos

Both guys will be in for increased roles if WR Jerry Jeudy’s hamstring injury keeps him out for the start of the season. Mims ran with the first-team offense in Denver’s second preseason game.

Josh Palmer, WR, Chargers

The Athletic's Daniel Popper wrote this week Palmer "appears" to be ahead of WR Quentin Johnston on the depth chart. We expect the rookie to eventually emerge as the No. 3 WR, but there’s a chance that Palmer is useable as a WR3 or flex play early in the season.

Michael Wilson, WR, Cardinals

Wilson has been close to an every-down player with the first-team offense this preseason and will be the No. 2 WR in 2-WR sets to open the regular season. That makes the rookie worth a late-round flier.

Darren Waller, TE, Giants

Waller balled out in the Giants’ second preseason game, catching three balls for 30 yards on the opening drive. More importantly, he ran a route on 80% of QB Daniel Jones' dropbacks and was targeted on four of Jones' nine passes (44.4%). Barring injury, Waller is in for a big season.

Joey Slye, K, Commanders

He beat out K Michael Badgley for the Commanders’ starting job. Slye isn’t an exciting fantasy option, although he’s a decent Week 1 play with Washington seven-point home favorites vs. Arizona.

Chase McLaughlin, K, Bucs

The Bucs released K Rodrigo Blankenship this week, leaving McLaughlin as the only kicker on the roster. He’s not a viable fantasy option in an offense that figures to struggle sans Tom Brady.

 

Fantasy Football Fallers (8-19 through 8-25)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Trey Lance, QB, Cowboys

He was shipped to Dallas on Friday night in exchange for just a fourth-round pick. We’ll see if Lance can eventually surpass QB Cooper Rush for the No. 2 job behind QB Dak Prescott. But Lance is obviously well off the redraft radar.

Najee Harris, RB, Steelers

Harris out-snapped RB Jaylen Warren just 16 to 12 with the first-team offense this preseason. We’re not expecting the split to be quite that tight when the real games start, but it’s clear that Harris is going to lose significant work to Warren.

How should Najee Harris be valued in YOUR league?

De’Von Achane, RB, Dolphins

Achane again got zero snaps with the first-team offense in Miami’s second preseason game – and then went down with a shoulder injury that could threaten his availability for the start of the regular season. Achane remains a fine stash but won’t be a viable fantasy starter early on this year.

Jerry Jeudy, WR, Broncos

Jeudy hurt a hamstring in Thursday’s practice and is expected to miss "several weeks," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. We knocked one game off of Jeudy’s projections.

Terry McLaurin, WR, Commanders

McLaurin sprained his right big toe in Monday night’s preseason game. ESPN's Adam Schefter called him "uncertain" for Week 1, adding that the “injury typically is a multiple-week injury.” We docked McLaurin one game in the 2023 projections.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Seahawks

The rookie broke his left wrist in Seattle’s second preseason game and underwent surgery this week. HC Pete Carroll said that Smith-Njigba could be back in 3-4 weeks, but even that timeline would cost him the season opener. It’s possible that JSN misses more time than that.

Corey Davis, WR, Jets

Davis announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Tyquan Thornton, WR, Patriots

He’s hurt. Again. Thornton’s second-round draft status makes him a safe bet to make the final 53-man roster. But he won’t have much of a role to open the season and isn’t worth a spot on redraft rosters.

Khalil Shakir, WR, Bills

Shakir will seemingly open the season as Buffalo’s No. 5 WR – behind Stefon Diggs, Gabriel Davis, Deonte Harty, and Trent Sherfield.

   

  

Fantasy Football Risers (8-12 through 8-18)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Anthony Richardson, QB, Colts

HC Shane Steichen named Richardson the Week 1 starter on Tuesday. We had previously projected the rookie to play 14 games, so he made a slight move up the QB rankings.

Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears

Herbert played all seven of QB Justin Fields’ snaps in the preseason opener – and ripped off an impressive 56-yard catch-and-run TD. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on Chicago’s backfield, but Herbert looks set to open the season as the clear leader.

Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert, RBs, Dolphins

The threat of RB Dalvin Cook joining the Dolphins backfield is gone, making both of these guys much safer fantasy picks.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Patriots

New England is a relatively nice landing spot for Zeke, who is basically guaranteed a top-two spot on the depth chart. We’re projecting him as the clear No. 2 RB behind Rhamondre Stevenson, though, leaving Elliott as more of a handcuff than standalone fantasy option.

Deuce Vaughn, RB, Cowboys

The diminutive rookie was one of the most impressive RBs in the first week of preseason action, taking eight carries for 50 yards and a TD, with 43 of those yards coming after contact, per Pro Football Focus. Vaughn might be the favorite to open the season as Dallas’ No. 2 RB.

Justice Hill, RB, Ravens

Hill surprisingly got the start over RB Gus Edwards in Baltimore’s preseason opener. That at least suggests that Hill has a shot to win the No. 2 RB job behind a starter that’s had trouble staying healthy.

Deonte Harty, WR, Bills

He operated as Buffalo’s starting slot receiver in the preseason opener. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the battle for snaps between Harty, Trent Sherfield, and Khalil Shakir. But, for now, Harty looks like the one to take a shot on late in drafts.

Trey Palmer, WR, Buccaneers

Tampa has an opening at No. 3 WR after Russell Gage’s season-ending knee injury. Palmer is an intriguing option to fill that role. The sixth-round rookie is coming off a big season at Nebraska and boasts 4.3 speed. Put him on your watch list – and consider taking a flier on him with your last pick of best-ball drafts.

Luke Musgrave, TE, Packers

Musgrave backed up a buzzy summer by playing all 12 of QB Jordan Love's snaps and running a route on eight of Love's 10 dropbacks in the preseason opener. The Athletic's Matt Schneidman wrote this week that the Packers have "big plans" for Musgrave. He’s emerged as one of the best late-round TE targets in fantasy drafts.

Zach Ertz, TE, Cardinals

Ertz was medically cleared on Monday to return from last November’s multi-ligament knee injury. That seemingly puts him on track to play Week 1, but Ertz isn’t a very exciting 2023 fantasy pick. He’s a 32-year-old coming off a significant injury with competition from second-year TE Trey McBride in what figures to be a bad Cardinals offense

Adam Trautman, TE, Broncos

Trautman played more snaps, ran more routes, and garnered more targets than TE Greg Dulcich in Denver’s preseason opener. We’re still not betting on him emerging as a fantasy factor this season, but he’s at least back on our radar.

Cole Turner, TE, Commanders

While TE Logan Thomas remains sidelined with his calf injury, Turner has had a nice training camp and led Washington’s first-team offense with three targets in the preseason opener. He’s not yet in draftable range, but we’re keeping a close eye Thomas’ status.

  

Fantasy Football Fallers (8-12 through 8-18)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Gardner Minshew, QB, Colts

QB Anthony Richardson was named the Colts’ Week 1 starter. That knocks Minshew out of consideration in all but the deepest of superflex leagues.

Breece Hall, RB, Jets

The Dalvin Cook signing is another reminder that the Jets will, at minimum, limit Hall’s early-season workload. Where the backfield goes from there is up in the air, although we’re betting on Hall emerging as the clear lead back over the second half of the season. His upside makes him worth a look in Round 5 of 12-team fantasy drafts.

TIP

Always keeping upside in mind is one of the pillars of our fantasy football draft strategy.

Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Patriots

Stevenson’s projections took just a small hit with the arrival of RB Ezekiel Elliott. Zeke could siphon a few carries per game, potentially at the goal-line. But we’re still expecting Stevenson to be New England’s primary runner – and dominate pass-catching work.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Jets

Cook’s updated projections in New York knocked him down the RB rankings a few spots. Landing in a backfield with a potential superstar in Breece Hall isn’t ideal. Hall, of course, is working back from a torn ACL. If he misses time – or struggles to bounce back from that injury – Cook could produce RB2 or even RB1 numbers.

Roschon Johnson, RB, Bears

Johnson played 0 snaps with the first-team offense in the preseason opener and was the fourth Bears RB to hit the field – behind Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, and Trestan Eber. Johnson won’t be an early-season factor, although he could still climb the depth chart over the course of the year.

Michael Carter, Israel Abanikanda, and Zonovan Knight, RBs, Jets

RB Dalvin Cook’s arrival knocks these RBs out of redraft consideration. Carter and Knight might be battling for a roster spot.

Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris, RB, Patriots

Both of these second-year backs have underwhelmed this offseason and are now off the redraft radar with New England’s addition of RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Malik Davis, RB, Cowboys

The Athletic’s Jon Machota left Davis off his 53-man roster projection (with Tony Pollard, Deuce Vaughn, and Rico Dowdle making the cut). It’s just one writer’s opinion – but enough to knock Davis out of late-round flier consideration for now.

Treylon Burks, WR, Burks

He sprained the LCL in his left knee in Wednesday’s practice. Burks "should only miss a few weeks,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. But there’s seemingly a chance that Burks isn’t ready for the start of the season. We nudged him a couple of spots down the WR rankings.

Russell Gage, WR, Buccaneers

Gage suffered a ruptured right patellar tendon in Wednesday’s practice and will miss the 2023 season.

Khalil Shakir, WR, Bills

Shakir played behind WRs Gabriel Davis, Trent Sherfield, and Deonte Harty in the preseason opener – with WR Stefon Diggs sitting out. Shakir seemingly has a lot of depth-chart climbing to do and isn’t worth targeting in redraft leagues.

Greg Dulcich, TE, Broncos

Dulcich played fewer snaps and ran fewer routes with the first-team offense than TE Adam Trautman in Denver’s preseason opener. We don’t want to overreact to one fake game – but it was a concerning look for Dulcich. We bumped him down the TE rankings and will keep a close eye on his usage in the second preseason game.

Cade York, K, Browns

York has missed 3 of 6 FG tries through three preseason games. His job might be on the ropes. Avoid him in fantasy drafts for now. 

  

 

Fantasy Football Risers (8-5 through 8-11)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Eagles

Gainwell leads Eagles RBs with 21 first-team touches in camp, according to insider Eliot Shorr-Parks. No other RB has more than 11. Philly Voice’s Shamus Clancy, meanwhile, predicted this week that Gainwell will lead the Eagles in touches this season. We’re not buying that just yet – but it’s looking like Gainwell will have a bigger role than we initially expected.

Ty Chandler, RB, Vikings

Chandler looked good in the preseason opener, playing all three downs and finishing with 11 carries for 41 yards and four catches for 29 yards. He looks like the favorite to open the season as Minnesota’s No 2 RB, behind Alexander Mattison.

Kyren Williams, RB, Rams

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler confirmed this week that Williams is the Rams’ No. 2 RB – and added that the team prefers him to RB Cam Akers in pass protection. Williams is still unlikely to have standalone fantasy value, but he’s the Akers handcuff.

Rico Dowdle, RB, Cowboys

Dowdle was listed as Dallas’ No. 2 RB on the first "unofficial" depth chart of the year. That doesn’t mean he’ll open the season in that spot – but he’s at least in the mix for it.

Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos

Sutton has "consistently been quarterback Russell Wilson’s top target in training camp," The Athletic's Nick Kosmider wrote this week. There was plenty of training camp buzz on Sutton last year, before an underwhelming season. So we’re treading carefully here. But don’t write off Sutton as a viable fantasy option just yet.

Darius Slayton, WR, Giants

Bobby Skinner of Talkin' Giants came away from training camp believing that Slayton will lead the team’s WRs in receiving this season. He’s an easy value at his WR89 ADP.

Tank Dell, WR, Texans

Dell was the best player on the field in Thursday night’s preseason opener, corralling five of eight targets for 65 yards and a score. The rookie has a chance to carve out a big role in a wide-open WR corps. Highlight him as a late-round sleeper.

Demario Douglas, WR, Patriots

This sixth-round rookie continues to be one of August’s buzziest players. Douglas worked ahead of WR Tyquan Thornton at times in camp this past week and seemingly has a real shot to open the season as New England’s No. 4 WR.

Trent Sherfield, WR, Bills

Sherfield is battling Khalil Shakir and Deonte Harty for Buffalo’s No. 3 WR job and has out-played both guys in camp, according to The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia. That competition is worth monitoring in preseason action.

Luke Musgrave, TE, Packers

Musgrave was on the field for all 19 of QB Jordan Love's snaps that were broadcast in last weekend’s Family Night scrimmage, according to Acme Packing Co.'s Justis Mosqueda. It's more evidence that Musgrave is set to open the season as Green Bay's lead TE.

Jeremy Ruckert, TE, Jets

Ruckert has been getting a bunch of first-team work with QB Aaron Rodgers in camp. It’s possible that the 2022 third-rounder emerges as New York’s lead TE at some point this season. Tyler Conklin and C.J Uzomah aren’t the toughest competition.

  

Fantasy Football Fallers (8-5 through 8-11)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

Taylor continues to be sidelined – whether it’s because of his ankle, contract squabble, or a combination of both. HC Shane Steichen admitted on Thursday that he’s not sure when Taylor will be back. We’re still not expecting him to sit out regular-season games. But Taylor gets riskier with each additional day he’s out.

Jerome Ford, RB, Browns

Ford injured his hamstring on Monday and isn’t a lock to be ready for the start of the season, according to insider Mary Kay Cabot. Ford seemingly had the No. 2 RB job -- and potentially a third-down role -- locked up. We'll see if this injury spurs the Browns to add to the backfield.

Tyquan Thornton, WR, Patriots

His disappointing training camp continued this week, with The Athletic’s Chad Graff concluding, “it doesn’t look like Tyquan Thornton is breaking out.” Thornton did make an impressive grab in Thursday night’s preseason opener – but he has a lot of work to do if he wants to be a fantasy factor this year.

John Metchie, WR, Texans

Metchie played behind WRs Nico Collins and Tank Dell in the preseason opener (with WR Robert Woods getting the night off). There’s still time for this depth chart to shift before Week 1, but Dell looks like a better late-round flier than Metchie right now.

 

  

Fantasy Football Risers (7-29 through 8-4)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos

Williams is a riser for the second straight week. NFL Network’s James Palmer said that Williams "hasn't been limited in any capacity so far in camp" as he works back from last year’s multi-ligament knee injury. And he’s even expected to play in the preseason. It sure looks like Williams will be out there come Week 1.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

Kamara received a three-game suspension for his role in a February 2022 fight in Las Vegas. We had been projecting a four-game ban, so Kamara made a slight move up the RB rankings.

Evan Hull and Deon Jackson, RBs, Colts

RB Jonathan Taylor’s holdout rolls on, and RB Zack Moss is expected to miss about six weeks after breaking his arm in Monday’s practice. That’s left these two guys atop the depth chart. Hull, a fifth-round rookie with an impressive pass-catching resume, is the more intriguing late-round flier. Note that the Colts on Friday signed veteran RB Kenyan Drake, who could also be a factor if Taylor isn’t around.

Chase Brown, RB, Bengals

RB Trayveon Williams sprained his ankle on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks. That gives Brown an opportunity to lay claim to the No. 2 RB job – and the title of Joe Mixon handcuff.

Jordan Mason, RB, 49ers

Mason has had a nice start to camp and is seemingly clear ahead of Ty Davis-Price for the 49ers’ No. 3 RB job. No 2 RB Elijah Mitchell, who has a lengthy injury history, is currently sidelined with an adductor strain.

Calvin Ridley, WR, Jaguars

The hype train keeps on rolling, with HC Doug Pederson highlighting Ridley as an early-camp standout. It sure looks like Ridley has knocked off the rust from his lost 2022 season. He’s climbed to 17th in our PPR WR Rankings.

D.J. Moore, WR, Bears

Moore has been Chicago’s clear top target in camp and has already built a strong rapport with QB Justin Fields by all accounts. We still have volume concerns here, but it’s been a positive start to Moore’s Bears tenure.

Zay Flowers, WR, Ravens

While WR Rashod Bateman remains sidelined, Flowers is building momentum. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King called him the best rookie he’s seen in six camp visits so far. Flowers is now our top-ranked Ravens WR.

Marvin Mims, WR, Broncos

Tim Patrick’s season-ending Achilles injury gives Mims a clear path to the No. 3 WR job right out of the gate. The rookie is talented enough to earn even more work as the season progresses. Highlight his name as an upside late-round flier.

TIP

Prioritizing upside -- especially in the later rounds -- is a key principle of our Fantasy Football Draft Strategy.

Justyn Ross, WR, Chiefs

Ross has continued to get work with the starters and drew praise from HC Andy Reid and QB Patrick Mahomes this week. "He's obviously making big plays and he's getting more involved in those first-team reps,” Mahomes said.

Jalin Hyatt, WR, Giants

The rookie is getting more and more first-team work, catching at least a few bombs from QB Daniel Jones this week. New York’s WR corps remains wide open, giving Hyatt a shot to claim a significant Week 1 role.

Sam LaPorta, TE, Lions

LaPorta already seems locked in as Detroit’s Week 1 starter. And it sounds like he’ll play a significant role in the passing game. He could be the rare rookie TE to be a real fantasy asset.

Hunter Henry, TE, Patriots

Henry has been QB Mac Jones' "favorite target" in camp so far, according to Evan Lazar of the Patriots' official website. MassLive's Mark Daniels agrees, calling Henry the Patriots' best player through one week of camp. He’s a strong value pick available near the end of fantasy drafts.

Jake Ferguson, TE, Cowboys

Rookie TE Luke Schoonmaker remains sidelined with the plantar fasciitis that also cost him spring workouts. Ferguson looks like the odds-on favorite to open the season as Dallas’ lead TE.

  

Fantasy Football Fallers (7-29 through 8-4)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts

The Taylor soap opera continued this week, with the RB officially requesting a trade. There was also a report that Taylor is dealing with a back injury, although he claims that’s not true. He obviously carries elevated risk until his 2023 situation is more clear. But his price tag is also dropping – sometimes in the third round of fantasy drafts. Taylor is worth the risk there.

Jamaal Williams, RB, Saints

Williams got a slight bump down the rankings when news broke that RB Alvin Kamara will be suspended for three games. We had projected a four-game suspension. Williams still looks like the favorite to open the season as New Orleans’ lead back, although he’ll need to fend off rookie Kendre Miller.

Roschon Johnson, RB, Bears

RBs Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman have been heavily involved in the Bears’ passing game in camp so far, ESPN’s Courtney Cronin said this week. There was no mention of Johnson, who we’ve been expecting to lead Bears RBs in targets this season. There’s still time for the rookie to carve out a role, but he’s had a quiet start.

Zack Moss, RB, Colts

Moss broke his arm on Monday and is expected to miss about six weeks. That timeline would have him out until Week 2. Tough timing for Moss with the Jonathan Taylor situation. He’s not worth drafting.

Ronald Jones, RB, Cowboys

Jones was suspended two games for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. That could put his roster spot in jeopardy. Jones is not worth a roster spot on fantasy teams.

Trayveon Williams, RB, Bengals

Williams is expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks after spraining his ankle on Tuesday. That hurts his chances of beating out Chase Brown for the No. 2 RB job.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

Kupp hurt his hamstring on Tuesday. OC Mike LaFleur labeled him “day-to-day” on Thursday, so it doesn’t sound like a serious issue. Hamstring can be fickle, though, so we shaved a little off Kupp’s projections. He still sits fourth in the overall fantasy football rankings.

Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens

He remains on the PUP list, presumably because of the cortisone shot he needed in his surgically repaired foot. HC John Harbaugh said Friday that Bateman “has a chance to be out there pretty soon.” But he’s missed a lot of reps in new OC Todd Monken’s offense.

Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos

Patrick went down with a torn Achilles on Monday. It’s the second straight August he’s suffered a season-ending injury, following last year’s torn ACL.

  

   

Fantasy Football Risers (7-22 through 7-28)

These players have moved up the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Brock Purdy, QB, 49ers

Purdy was medically cleared for the start of training camp, less than five months after undergoing surgery on his throwing elbow. He’ll be on a pitch count for now, throwing for two days and then taking one day off. But Purdy is seemingly on track for the start of the season and is the favorite to be the 49ers’ Week 1 starter.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants

Barkley and the Giants agreed to a fresh one-year contract on Tuesday. That ends any holdout concerns – and pushes Barkley up to the No. 3 spot in our PPR RB rankings.

Where does Saquon Barkley rank in YOUR fantasy league?

Javonte Williams, RB, Broncos

Williams avoided the PUP list to open training camp and has even been cleared for contact, according to NFL Network’s James Palmer. It sure looks like Williams has a chance to be ready for the start of the season, following last October’s multi-ligament knee injury.

James Cook, RB, Bills

OC Ken Dorsey called Cook a “three-down back” on Thursday. The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia later wrote that the Bills have “cleared the deck” for Cook to “take a major leap” in Year 2. Don’t expect workhorse volume for the 190-pounder, but it does sound like Cook is the favorite to lead Bills RBs in carries and targets this year.

Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Buccaneers

Bucs OC Dave Canales called Vaughn the team’s No. 2 RB. We’ll see if he can hold off Chase Edmonds and undrafted rookie Sean Tucker for that job.

Tyreek Hill, WR, Dolphins

The attorneys for Hill and his accuser issued a joint statement that the parties have "resolved their differences" after an altercation in mid-June. With no formal charges against Hill, it seems unlikely that he'll face any NFL discipline for the incident. He’s back to third in our PPR WR Rankings.

Skyy Moore and Richie James, WRs, Chiefs

Both guys have been standouts early in training camp, taking advantage of Kadarius Toney’s absence. Moore has a legitimate chance to lead Chiefs WRs in targets this season. James remains more of a fantasy long shot, but is worth a look near the end of drafts.

Sam LaPorta, TE, Lions

The rookie had a strong spring and has rolled that momentum into training camp. The Athletic's Colton Pouncy wrote this week that LaPorta has already emerged as a "favorite target" of QB Jared Goff.

 

Fantasy Football Fallers (7-22 through 7-28)

These players have moved down the Draft Sharks fantasy football rankings over the last week.

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals

Burrow went down on Thursday with what’s reportedly a calf strain. It sounds like he's likely -- although not guaranteed -- to be ready for the start of the season. But former NFL head team doctor David Chao wrote, “calf injuries tend to linger and it could affect his mobility in Week 1.” We bumped Burrow one spot down the QB Rankings for now and will continue to keep a close eye on his health.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders

Jacobs is holding out of training camp after he and the Raiders did not agree to a long-term deal before the deadline for franchise-tagged players. He's "told people close to him that he doesn’t plan to return anytime soon," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. We're not currently projecting Jacobs to sit out regular-season games -- but it's not out of the question.

Damien Harris, RB, Bills

We'd originally projected Harris to lead Bills RBs in carries this season. James Cook now looks like the favorite to do so. Harris slid down our fantasy RB rankings a bit this week, although we still like him as an upside bench stash in the high-scoring Buffalo offense.

Chase Edmonds, RB, Buccaneers

Bucs OC Dave Canales called Ke'Shawn Vaughn his No. 2 RB. That leaves Edmonds no higher than third on the depth chart – and off the fantasy radar for now.

Nyheim Hines, RB, Bills

Hines tore his ACL in a jetski accident and will miss the 2023 season.

Kadarius Toney, WR, Chiefs

Toney injured his knee on Sunday and underwent surgery to clean up the cartilage. It’s the second surgery he’s had on that knee this offseason. HC Andy Reid would only say that “there’s a chance" Toney is ready for the start of the regular season. Fantasy owners shouldn’t plan on using him in starting lineups early on.

TIP

View Kadarius Toney's (lengthy) injury history.

Noah Fant, TE, Seahawks

Fant opened training camp on the PUP list after undergoing knee surgery. HC Pete Carroll expects him back soon, but Fant wasn’t an exciting fantasy option even before we learned about the knee issue.

Luke Schoonmaker, TE, Cowboys

The rookie opened camp on the PUP list – after missing much of the spring with plantar fasciitis. He needs to get healthy in a hurry if he wants to win an early-season role. For now, Schoonmaker isn’t worth a roster spot in redraft leagues.

Joey Slye, K, Commanders

Washington signed K Michael Badgley on Monday, giving Slye competition for the starting job. Avoid the situation in fantasy drafts until a winner emerges.

  

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