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Shark Bites - Up-to-the-minute Fantasy Football News

Fantasy Football News 2021

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The Titans have placed rookie CB Caleb Farley on the non-football injury list and OLB Bud Dupree on the PUP list to begin training camp. Dupree is still working back from the early December right ACL tear that ended his 2020 season. Farley has had 2 back surgeries since his last action at Virginia Tech in 2019. Both players figure to be important pieces for a Tennessee defense that needs to improve on last year's performance. We'll see how they progress through the summer.

Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald this week led his list of potential "breakout" Patriots for 2021 with WR Jakobi Meyers. Callahan points to the "only" potential hurdles for Meyers being injury or "dominant summers from Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne," whom New England paid up for in free agency. "But those free-agent additions undoubtedly saw what everyone else did at OTAs and minicamp this spring: Meyers was the best receiver on the field," Callahan writes. We've certainly read other similar offseason buzz for Meyers, who claimed 28% of Patriots targets from Week 7 on last season. At WR68 in current FFPC best-ball drafting and a mid-13th round price on Underdog, Meyers at least looks worth some shots in your drafts. We'll see how things go for him and the rest of the Pats offense through training camp and preseason. Mac Jones taking over for Cam Newton at QB would also likely be good for Meyers' target volume.

The Bears are trading WR Anthony Miller to the Texans. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, it took only a "late-round pick swap" for the deal to happen. We have yet to see more specific details, but that seems an extremely low price for the 4th-year wideout. Miller lands in a situation with opportunity to be as much as the #2 target behind Brandin Cooks. But it's also a low-ceiling spot if Deshaun Watson doesn't return. We remain uninterested in Houston pass-catchers behind Brandin Cooks in fantasy football drafts. We'll see who steps into the #3 WR role in Chicago. Marquise Goodwin drew some spring buzz.

The Lions believe T.J. Hockenson is capable of making another leap forward in his 3rd NFL season. “I think it’s been a fairly consistent message all offseason, from Coach [Dan] Campbell to [OC Anthony] Lynn, that there’s plenty of meat still on that bone for him,” TEs coach Ben Johnson said. “And I think he’s embraced that. He agrees with that. We’re really looking forward to getting more out of him now.” Hockenson turned 101 targets into a 67-723-6 line last year and should be in for a boost in targets in 2021 considering Detroit's crappy WR corps. The stars are aligning for a big fantasy season here.

The Jets announced Friday that S Marcus Maye has opened training camp on the non-football injury list. DT Quinnen Williams landed on the active/PUP list. Williams' designation isn't surprising after his foot fracture in early May. It's not clear what Maye's issue is. We'll see how soon each starter gets activated.

Multiple Las Vegas sportsbooks believe Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will retire next week, according to Sports Illustrated's Bill Huber. Westgate SuperBook, for example, has taken down all its NFC North win totals and playoff odds. “Vegas oddsmakers tend to be pretty sharp," a source with knowledge of Rodgers' situation told Pro Football Talk. The thinking here is that Rodgers would "retire" until he was able to get out of Green Bay -- even if that wasn't until 2022. We'll continue to keep a close eye on this situation, but Rodgers carries lots of risk in fantasy drafts until this gets settled.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) will debut in Week 7 this season "if everything goes perfect." Thomas elected not to undergo surgery on that ankle immediately after the season, evidently hoping it'd heal with rest and rehab. But he ended up having "major surgery" in early June, per Rapoport, and will need at least 4 months to recover. Thomas is expected to open the season on the PUP list, with the hope that he'll be ready to go following the Saints' Week 6 bye. And that sounds like the best-case scenario. He'll also miss a ton of valuable practice reps with QBs Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Thomas has gone from a value pick in Round 3 of fantasy drafts to a guy that you're probably better off just passing on unless you can land him super late.

Cowboys OC Kellen Moore said Friday that WR CeeDee Lamb will “play all over the field” in year 2. Lamb ran 95.4% of his routes from the slot as a rookie, but Moore pointed to the COVID offseason as a limiting factor. The Oklahoma product carries top-12 upside into the fall.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes confirmed on Friday that he'll have no restrictions at the start of training camp. That's no surprise after he was a full-go in June workouts, but it's another reminder that last year's toe injury will not be an issue in 2021.

The Packers and WR Davante Adams have broken off contract-extension talks and are "in a bad place," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. There's no mention of a holdout here, but it's obviously not an ideal situation with training camp about to get going. We'll see where this goes. It's still unclear, of course, whether Adams and the Packers will have QB Aaron Rodgers this season.

Saints WR Michael Thomas is expected to miss the beginning of the regular season after June ankle surgery, according to NFL Network's ian Rapoport. Thomas reportedly needed ligaments repaired in the ankle, stemming from last September's injury. "It simply never recovered," Rapoport reports. Doctors reportedly recommend a 4-month recovery. From a June surgery date, that would stretch into October -- potentially costing Thomas half the season. We'll keep an eye out for more details. For now, at least, the Saints' top wideout becomes no more than a late-round fantasy pick. Tre'Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and other Saints pass-catchers obviously stand to see their opportunities increase. We'll also see whether New Orleans dips into the trade market for WR help. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that the team has been "nosing around" available free agents at the position.

Update: The Athletic reports that Thomas "may miss up to five games."

Titans WR A.J. Brown (knees) will be a "full go" for the start of training camp, according to insider Paul Kuharsky. Brown underwent surgery on both knees early this offseason and was sidelined for spring workouts. But it looks like he'll be at 100% for the start of the 2021 campaign. Brown's ADP is sitting in the early 3rd round of recent FFPC drafts.

The Athletic's Greg Auman calls Gio Bernard the Bucs' "likely" pass-catching back. That could be a valuable role considering Tampa RBs combined for 119 targets last year. Bernard, though, will need to beat out Leonard Fournette among others for that job. Bernard has caught 30+ passes in all 8 of his NFL seasons, including 47 last year. But he turns 30 in November and settled for a cheap, 1-year deal with the Bucs this offseason after getting cut by the Bengals. He's not guaranteed anything. We'll monitor the battle for the passing-down snaps in this backfield.

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is down to 218 pounds, the lightest he's been as a pro. “I feel quicker," Elliott said on the 1st day of training camp on Thursday. Several Cowboys beat writers noted that Zeke looked slimmer and faster than last year. That jibes with what we heard from Elliott's trainer earlier this month. All signs are pointing to a big bounce-back 2021 season.

The Giants placed WR Kadarius Toney on the COVID list Thursday after the rookie tested positive for the virus. Toney can only take part in meetings remotely until he's cleared and obviously won't practice with the team while on the list. This shouldn't affect his regular-season status. Toney's summer will be interesting to track, though.

Giants TE Kyle Rudolph is opening training camp on the active/PUP list. That's not surprising, given that the veteran TE had foot surgery shortly after signing with the team. He can be activated at any point during camp. If Rudolph remains on the list until the final roster cutdown, he'd be eligible for the regular-season PUP. That would require him to miss 6 games. We'll keep an eye on Rudolph's status, mostly for the sake of Evan Engram's snap/target competition.

The Giants announced Thursday that RB Saquon Barkley is opening camp on the active/PUP list. That means the team can activate him at any point. Barkley would need to remain on the list all the way until the final cutdown to 53 players to be eligible for the regular-season PUP. We'll obviously track his participation and status throughout camp. We're assuming at this point Barkley will be active for the start of the season.

The Athletic's Stephen Holder predicts that Michael Pittman will become the Colts' #1 WR this season. "If he wants to become the Colts’ go-to wide receiver, the opportunity is there," Holder writes. "And I happen to think he’s very much up to the task." Pittman didn't stuff the stat sheet as a rookie. But his development was stunted in September by a significant calf injury. He returned to play 72+% of the Colts' offensive snaps in each of the final 10 games -- and went for 90 yards in the playoff loss in Buffalo. With T.Y. Hilton past his prime and Parris Campbell's already lengthy injury history, Pittman certainly has a chance to lead this team in targets. We like him as an upside pick at his 8th- or 9th-round price tag.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ankle) has been placed on the PUP list to open training camp. He's eligible to be activated at any time. Cooper had what was described as a "routine clean-up procedure" on that ankle back in January -- so it's at least slightly concerning that he's still not ready to go. We'll continue to monitor the situation.

Cowboys TE Blake Jarwin was left off the PUP list to open training camp. It's excellent news after last September's torn ACL and confirms that the team expects him to be ready for the start of the season. Jarwin got a nice 4-year, $22 million deal last offseason and was set to serve as Dallas' starting TE before that knee injury. Assuming he's back to 100%, Jarwin should get that chance again in 2021. He faces stiff target competition in WRs Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup -- but the strength of the Cowboys passing game gives Jarwin top-12 fantasy upside.

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