Tom Brady, QB, Patriots
What does WR Josh Gordon’s return mean for Brady? Get this: Brady averaged 10.6 yards per attempt targeting Gordon last season vs. 7.2 yards per attempt targeting everyone else. In Gordon’s 11 games last year, Brady ranked 12th among QBs in fantasy points. He still sits in QB2 territory in our rankings but is another viable target if you’re waiting until the later rounds to grab your QB.
Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
More buzz this week on Carson playing an expanded role in the passing game this season. HC Pete Carroll talked up his hands, and OC Brian Schottenheimer said he’d like to get Carson in the 50-target range this season. That’d more than double the 24 targets he saw a year ago.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
While rookie Damien Harris battles a hand/wrist injury, Michel has enjoyed a healthy August. The Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy wrote this week that "it's pretty clear" that Michel remains the Patriots' lead ball-carrier. And we’ve heard that he might be in for a bit more work in the passing game this year.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Dolphins
Kenyan Drake went down with a foot injury this week that figures to cost him the rest of the preseason and potentially the start of the regular season. That affords Ballage a big opportunity to capture the lead job out of the gate.
Darwin Thompson, RB, Chiefs
Thompson flashed in the preseason opener, carrying 5 times for 22 yards and scoring this 29-yard receiving TD. That earned him 1st-team goal-line reps in practice this week. We also got a 53-man roster projection from The Athletic’s Nate Taylor that had Thompson making the team and Carlos Hyde getting cut.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
Former QB and current ESPN Seattle analyst Brock Huard had some exciting words about his expectations for Lockett this season. We’ve always loved the player. If Seattle is set to make him the focal point of the offense, he’ll carry high-end WR2 upside.
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots
He was reinstated on Friday night and is eligible to play Week 1. Gordon ranked 28th among WRs in PPR points and 25th in non-PPR over his 11 games with New England last season. If his head is screwed on right, he should return as a top-2 option in this passing game. Of course, there’s still off-the-field risk here. Consider Gordon a risk/reward WR3 for now.
Jalen Hurd, WR, 49ers
There’s opportunity for Hurd with Dante Pettis struggling and Trent Taylor sidelined with a broken foot. Hurd flashed in the preseason opener with 3 grabs for 31 yards and 2 TDs. Let’s see if the rookie gets 1st-team snaps in the 2nd and/or 3rd exhibition.
Charles Clay, TE, Cardinals
He was activated from the PUP list after missing the first couple of weeks of camp with knee trouble. Despite that injury, Clay was listed as the starting TE on Arizona’s initial depth chart. That makes him the best fantasy bet of the bunch for now, but he's not an exciting pick with the Cardinals expected to feature their WRs and RB David Johnson in the passing game.
Chris Boswell, K, Steelers
He’s had a superb training camp, connecting on 34 of 36 FG attempts, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly. Boswell also made 33- and 47-yarders in the preseason opener. He seems safe as Pittsburgh’s K after an ugly 2018 season.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Luck remains sidelined with what we learned this week has turned into a "high-ankle-like issue,” according to Colts GM Chris Ballard. Ballard wouldn’t commit to Luck being ready for Week 1, although ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Thursday that there’s “guarded optimism” that Luck will be out there for the opener against the Chargers.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Dolphins
He went down with a foot injury in Tuesday’s practice that will have him sidelined for "a while,” HC Brian Flores said. Flores added that he’s "hopeful" to get Drake back before Week 1. We’re considering him questionable for the start of the season.
Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
Harris is dealing with a hand/wrist injury and has reportedly been running mostly with the 3rd team recently. It doesn’t look like the rookie will open the season with a significant role. He’s more of a Sony Michel handcuff at this point.
Theo Riddick, RB, Broncos
He suffered a "slight" shoulder fracture in the team's preseason opener that’s expected to sideline him 6-8 weeks. That’ll cost Riddick the first 2-4 games of the season and makes him undraftable.
Keke Coutee, WR, Texans
Coutee remains sidelined with the ankle injury he suffered in the 1st preseason game. HC Bill O’Brien didn’t sound particularly optimistic about Coutee getting back on the field any time soon when asked earlier this week. He shouldn’t be considered a lock for Week 1.
Trent Taylor, WR, 49ers
He broke his foot in practice last week, putting him in danger of missing the start of the season. Taylor was in line to open the year as San Francisco’s starting slot receiver, but he’s not worth drafting now.
N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers, Maurice Harris, WRs, Patriots
These guys were battling for the #2 WR job in New England. But Josh Gordon’s return pushes them all down a rung and makes them pretty much undraftable.
Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
HC Doug Marrone conceded that Lee might miss the start of the season. He remains on the PUP list after suffering a significant knee injury last August. He’s off the redraft radar.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
He’s had a disappointing camp and has been outplayed by TE Nick O’Leary, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero. Gesicki is more of a potential waiver-wire target than draft consideration right now.
Matt LaCosse, TE, Patriots
He was the favorite to open the season as New England’s lead pass-catching TE during Ben Watson’s 4-game suspension. But LaCosse hurt his ankle — a potential high-ankle sprain — in the preseason opener. He might be in danger of missing the start of the 2019 campaign.
Dan Bailey, K, Vikings
Minnesota shipped a 5th-round pick to Baltimore in exchange for kicker/punter Kaare Vedvik. It’s unclear if the Vikings want Vedvik to replace Bailey, but avoid the situation in fantasy drafts until we find out.
Chandler Catanzaro, K, retired
After struggling in camp and missing 2 XPs in the preseason opener, Catanzaro announced his retirement. K Taylor Bertolet is now atop the Jets’ depth chart, but he missed 2 of his 3 XPs in Thursday night’s exhibition.