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Fantasy Football News 2024

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

The Athletic's Chad Graff wrote recently that Patriots rookie WR Demario Douglas "might end up" as the team's WR3 after strong camp performances. The sixth-round pick from Liberty has received "more snaps with starters in recent practices" than incumbent wideout Tyquan Thornton, per Graff, and is reportedly a threat to diminish the playing time of veteran Kendrick Bourne. It isn't easy to make the case for Douglas in redraft leagues. We don't have much hope for the fantasy prospects of the Pats' pass-catchers in 2023. However, this news presents managers in dynasty leagues with an intriguing dart-throw candidate to target in a trade or off the waiver wire. Consider stashing Douglas on your bench or taxi squad.

Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald says Patriots rookie WR Kayshon Boutte is making a "late surge for a roster spot." That's a good way to encapsulate his current fantasy standing. We've seen other positive recent reports on Boutte's performance, including from Kyed. And the sixth-round pick started his college career with intriguing upside before being derailed by injury. That upside makes him worth a stash in dynasty leagues. But that he's fighting for a roster spot on a time with a questionable-to-weak WR corps should temper any excitement.

Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton missed Saturday night's preseason game with what's believed to be a shoulder injury. "He's doing fine. It's a week-to-week situation," a source told The Boston Globe's Christopher Price. Thornton can't afford the missed reps. He was sidelined for part of the spring with a soft-tissue injury and has been out-played by rookie WR Demario Douglas in camp. At this point, Thornton is well off the redraft fantasy radar. We'll let you know when he returns from this latest injury.

Patriots insider Alex Barth believes, based on Sunday's practice, that Tyquan Thornton might be in a battle for the fourth WR spot with rookie Demario Douglas. Barth notes that WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, and Douglas worked with QB Mac Jones in positional drills early in the practice. And when the Patriots moved to team drills, Thornton and Douglas split reps evenly with the first-team offense. "This could be a sign of a true position battle, with the two proving to see who is the better option as the fourth wide receiver and main speed threat in the group," Barth writes. We'll keep an eye on the situation, but neither Thornton nor Douglas are recommended fantasy picks right now.

Beat writer Doug Kyed writes that the Pats are “managing” RB Rhamondre Stevenson’s load in training camp. Second-year RB Kevin Harris saw some first-team reps on Monday. Harris is a deep sleeper to monitor, but keep in mind that New England hosted RB Zeke Elliott over the weekend.

Demario Douglas has been the only Patriots rookie WR to get work with the first-team offense in camp so far, according to The Boston Herald's Doug Kyed. “He’s a smart kid,” HC Bill Belichick said Friday. “He picks things up well, learns quickly, so all things that work in his favor, but we’ll see how it goes when things get more competitive next week.” WRs Tyquan Thornton and Kendrick Bourne are reportedly off to slow starts in camp, opening up more opportunity for Douglas. The sixth-round rookie is still much more of a dynasty stash than redraft target, but we'll continue to keep an eye on him.

Evan Lazar of the Patriots' official website writes that TE Hunter Henry has been QB Mac Jones' "favorite target" in camp so far. "The duo has shown great chemistry heading into year three," Lazar adds. MassLive's Mark Daniels agrees, calling Henry the Patriots' best player through one week of camp. Meanwhile, TE Mike Gesicki is off to a slow start, failing to catch a pass in competitive 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills. It's too early to make any sweeping conclusions about this TE corps -- or offense in general. But Henry is certainly out to an early lead on Gesicki.

Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton has not appeared limited in training camp so far, according to insider Alex Barth. Thornton missed time in the spring with a soft-tissue injury, but that looks to be behind him. The 2022 second-round pick has an opportunity to carve out a significant role in a New England passing game that could certainly use his speed.

Commanders RB Antonio Gibson said Wednesday that he anticipates being in the “JD [McKissic] role” this season, playing on third downs and the two-minute drill. McKissic averaged just 4.4 carries but 5.8 targets per game in Washington over the last three years. We're expecting Gibson to get more rushing work than that, but anything close to that level of usage in the passing game would be golden. Gibson is one of our 2023 Fantasy Football Sleepers.

Patriots HC Bill Belichick said Tuesday that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is "ready to go" for the start of training camp. JuJu missed most of spring practices dealing with the knee injury he suffered in last year's AFC Championship Game. We'll see if it becomes an issue again at any point ahead of Week 1. Smith-Schuster isn't an exciting fantasy pick but does project as the favorite to lead New England in targets this year.

Bucs OC Dave Canales called Ke'Shawn Vaughn his #2 RB. "He’s our two, and he’s a fantastic runner," Canales said on a recent podcast appearance. "Just quick feet in the hole, sturdy build. And he’s just got a real natural feel for it." Tampa signed RB Chase Edmonds to a 1-year, $1.2 million deal in free agency, but Vaughn will at least open training camp ahead of him on the depth chart. Vaughn has underwhelmed in limited opportunities through three NFL seasons, but any #2 RB is worth paying attention to -- especially a #2 RB behind an unproven starter in Rachaad White.

Vikings WR K.J. Osborn is an intriguing option for fantasy managers seeking value at the end of drafts. He's coming off a strong finish last year, too. Over the last four weeks of 2022, Osborn saw an uptick in usage as the Vikings’ WR2 ahead of now-departed Adam Thielen. In that stretch, he averaged 8.2 targets per game (19.5% target share), 87.5 receiving yards, 0.5 TDs per game, and 18 PPR points per game. In each of the last two seasons, Osborn has received at least 80 targets and recorded 600+ receiving yards. He’s primarily been the team’s WR3 in that span, but the Vikings ranked eighth in 11-personnel grouping (three-WR sets) in 2022 under first-year HC Kevin O’Connell. Rookie Jordan Addison is the favorite to be the Vikings' WR2 entering this year, but the top three wideouts, including Justin Jefferson, should all spend plenty of time on the field. Addison also missed all of OTAs this offseason due to an undisclosed injury. We're not overly concerned about Addison's health yet, but it speaks to how close Osborn really is to an impact role in an offense that ranked t-10th in PFF team passing grade. You won't find Osborn listed toward the top of our current WR rankings, but he's worthwhile keeping an eye on during training camp.

Patriots WR JuJu Smith-Schuster missed all of spring practices because of the knee injury he suffered in last year's AFC Championship Game, according to The Athletic's Chad Graff. Smith-Schuster was able to play in the Super Bowl, so it's surprising that this is still an issue four months later. The missed reps aren't ideal as JuJu works to settle into a new offense. We'll see if he's ready to go for the start of training camp next month.

Patriots WR Kayshon Boutte was “outplayed” in OTAs by fellow rookie WR Demario Douglas, per The Athletic’s Chad Graff. No surprise, then, that Graff doesn't expect the LSU product to make New England's 53-man roster. Douglas arrived 23 picks after Boutte, whose struggles we detailed around the NFL draft. We’ll see how the WR competition heats up when players put on pads. Both WRs remain miles from redraft relevance. And per our Dynasty Trade Value Chart, Boutte doesn’t move the needle at all in a perspective deal.

Per ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots are being "cautious" with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Reiss signaled that the move stems from JuJu's knee injury in the AFC Championship game. New England is also looking to get 2nd-year WR Tyquan Thornton back to 100% following a "soft-tissue-related injury." We'll keep an eye on both players as training camp nears. Thornton, given his elite speed profile, remains worthy of a late best ball pick. Just note: DeAndre Hopkins is set to visit the Patriots this week.

Patriots RB Rhamondre Stevenson is preparing to take on a big workload this season. “Damien [Harriis] is out of here now, so I’m kind of the guy,” Stevenson said. “Just trying to make sure I’m ready for the end of the season this year... Taking care of my body, just trying to be proactive.” Stevenson averaged 12.4 carries and 4.1 catches per game last year -- and that spiked to 14.9 carries and 4.7 catches in nine healthy games with Harris out or limited. With only Pierre Strong, Kevin Harris, James Robinson, and Ty Montgomery behind him on the depth chart, Stevenson could dominate New England's backfield work this season. He sits aggressively high in our RB rankings.

The Patriots are signing TE Anthony Firkser, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. Firkser had seasons of 34 and 39 catches with the Titans but spent 2022 hauling in just nine passes for the Falcons. He's a depth-only player for New England and likely not a lock to make the regular-season roster. He doesn't impact the fantasy football TE rankings.

Per Ben Standig of The Athletic, Commanders HC Ron Rivera wants to get RB Antonio Gibson more touches in 2023. Rivera mentions how the fourth-year back meshes with what new OC Eric Bieniemy "wants to do with the offense" moving forward. Though Gibson is coming off a season that set career lows in carries (149), rushing yards (546), and rushing TDs (3), he did log a 46-353-2 line as a pass-catcher in 2022. It's possible Bieniemy sees Gibson as someone who could play a role similar to what Jerick McKinnon did for the Chiefs last year. Should that be the case, Gibson could be an absolute steal in PPR leagues as the receiving complement to teammate Brian Robinson. It'll be worth keeping an eye on this storyline as the offseason unfolds and we get into training camp.

The Patriots selected WR Kayshon Boutte with the 10th pick of Round 6 in the NFL Draft. It's a discouraging spot for Boutte, who opened his LSU career looking like a future star. A sophomore-year ankle injury derailed him and continued to impact Boutte through his final season. He followed that with disappointing testing at the Scouting Combine. We like the potential of a fully healthy Boutte -- check his dynasty value report -- but the draft fall suggests the league doesn't believe there's a ton of upside. Don't expect an exciting spot in our dynasty WR rankings.

The Raiders have agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million deal with TE Austin Hooper, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo. The deal has a max value of $3.5 million. That's obviously not enough to guarantee a top role at the position. But Hooper's a better bet for receptions than new teammate TE O.J. Howard. Even so, he has averaged just 2.4 catches per game over the past two years, with two different teams. Neither Hooper nor Howard is likely to make a big fantasy football impact this year.

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