Shark Bites

Broncos QB Drew Lock suffered a "bad sprain" to his right thumb in Monday night's preseason game against the 49ers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lock doesn't need surgery, but he's expected to be sidelined into the regular season, reports insider Mike Klis. Lock wasn't threatening QB Joe Flacco's starting job anyway, and this injury kills any chance he had to hit the field early this year.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders took the field for Monday night's preseason game for the 1st time since last December's torn Achilles. And he looked like Emmanuel Sanders. He caught a quick pass on Denver's 1st offensive snap and later took this end-around for a nice 19-yard gain. Sanders also had a 45-yard reception negated by a holding penalty. "To be able to come back and feel how I feel and feel better, still be able to hang out with these 24-year-old kids and still be able to run with them, it's amazing," he said afterward. Clearly on track for Week 1 and looking completely recovered from that Achilles injury, Sanders is the best fantasy bet among Broncos WRs. Remember that he was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before last year's injury. We just bumped Sanders up the WR rankings.

Broncos TE Noah Fant hurt his right foot in the 1st quarter of Monday night's preseason game against the 49ers. Fant left the game after a low hit by Niners S Jaquiski Tartt and did not return, but The Denver Post reports that he remained on the sideline after being examined. That makes it seem like the issue isn't too bad. We'll watch for further word on the situation from the team Tuesday.

Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that it's an ankle injury and "is not considered serious."

It's impressive enough that Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders started training camp on time coming off a December tear of his left Achilles' tendon. But Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reported Monday that Sanders also had "tightrope" surgery on his right ankle to treat an issue that reportedly originated on October 15, 2017. This revelation might actually be a positive, though. Sanders told Klis that the right ankle "gave me problems all last year." He added: "I came to camp last year thinking, 'How the hell am I going to get through this season?' I feel like that was kind of the reason I tore my Achilles'." Sanders took part in full-team drills for the 1st time Monday and is expected to play in Denver's next preseason contest. Barring some setback with either ankle, Sanders looks like an option in the double-digit rounds of fantasy football drafts after we hit summer skeptical.

Broncos RB Theo Riddick suffered a "slight" shoulder fracture in the team's preseason opener, insider Mike Klis reports. Riddick is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks with the injury. That puts him back on the field in late September or early October, so Riddick figures to miss the first 2-4 games of the season. Of course, the missed time is an even bigger problem considering he just joined the team a week ago. Riddick isn't worth a pick in fantasy drafts.

Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton (hamstring) returned to practice on Sunday. He ends up missing about a week and a half. Barring a setback, Hamilton is still in line to open the season as a top-3 WR for Denver.

The Broncos have signed RB Theo Riddick, who was cut by the Lions 5 days ago. Riddick offers very little as a runner but leads all RBs with 247 catches over the past 4 seasons. In Denver, he figures to battle RB Devontae Booker for a pass-catching role. Riddick has received a better pass-catching grade from Pro Football Focus in each of the past 3 seasons. Consider him the early favorite for the gig -- but Riddick isn't worth drafting in fantasy leagues right now.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Lions are releasing RB Theo Riddick. The timing of the move is surprising, but it follows offseason rumors that Riddick might be on the roster bubble. Riddick ranked 2nd on the team in targets last season (74) despite missing 2 games. He has averaged 4.4 receptions per game over the past 4 seasons. Riddick's departure raises the target ceiling for breakout candidate Kerryon Johnson.

Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton injured his hamstring on Wednesday and isn't practicing on Thursday, according to insider Mike Klis. We'll see how long this injury keeps him sidelined, but Hamilton's fantasy stock was already trending down with WR Emmanuel Sanders seemingly on track to be ready for Week 1.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders expects to be at 100% in 2-3 weeks. He took part in 7-on-7 drills in Wednesday's practice for the 1st time since tearing his Achilles last December. "I think just talking with the trainers and just knowing we have plenty of time and [that] Week 1 is the most important thing [is important]," he said. "There’s really no rush." Sanders is well ahead of where we thought he'd be at this point. We've warmed up to him as a 2019 draft target, especially as his ADP has sunk to the 14th round in recent DRAFT best balls.

New Broncos OC Rich Scangarello suggested that RB Phillip Lindsay could play an expanded role in the passing game this season. "One of the great things about coming to Denver that really excited me from the day I walked in the door is there are very few players in the league like Phillip that have the ability to win in a one-on-one matchup at any time," Scangarello said. "I think the easiest matchup to create in the NFL is the halfback on a linebacker. That's what we try to do in this offense a lot, and I think he has that gift and that ability and those traits." Insider Mike Klis notes that Lindsay was split out wide several times in Sunday's practice. We're expecting Lindsay's rushing volume and efficiency to decline this season -- but he could best last year's 35-241-1 receiving line.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders has impressed early in camp as he returns from last year's torn Achilles. "Everything is good so far," HC Vic Fangio said. "He’s where we expected him to be and even a little bit more.” Sanders has been limited to individual work so far but has looked somewhere close to 100%. "You can't tell he is coming back from an Achilles' injury," insider Cecil Lammey noted. "Has not lost a step, super quick." Remember that Sanders was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before going down last year. He's certainly worth taking a shot on at his recent WR63 ADP in Draft.com best-ball drafts.

Broncos ILB Todd Davis suffered a partial tear in his right calf and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. That leaves Denver sorting through inexperienced backups to play next to 1st-time starter Josey Jewell. Davis' timeline still puts him in play for the regular-season opener. We'll see how ready he is come late August. Jewell, meanwhile, looks like a potential sleeper for IDP fantasy football drafts. If you've seen our LB rankings, then you already know that's how we view him.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio said Wednesday that RB Phillip Lindsay "is ready to go" for the start of training camp, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. That's been expected, according to previous reports. But confirmation that Lindsay's surgically repaired wrist is healed can only help his fantasy outlook as the team opens camp. We'll see how becoming active impacts Lindsay's ADP in fantasy football drafts.

Broncos GM John Elway said Wednesday that WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) will not be placed on the active/PUP list. Elway confirmed that Sanders will be eased into training camp, but avoiding the active/PUP means Sanders can't be placed on reserve/PUP, which would have cost him the first 6 weeks of the season. The Broncos evidently believe Sanders will be ready to play early. We'll continue to monitor his rehab.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) admitted on Tuesday that he won't be at 100% for the start of training camp and said his goal is to be ready for Week 1. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering he's still only 7-and-a-half months removed from his torn Achilles, an injury that can take a year or longer to fully recover from. We consider Sanders no better than 50/50 for the season opener and would avoid him even at his current 12th-round ADP.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) is expected to be ready for full-team drills when training camp opens, according to insider Mike Klis. Lindsay's reps will be "monitored," Klis adds, but all signs point to him being ready to rock by the time Week 1 rolls around. We'll be watching to see how new OC Rich Scangarello plans to divvy backfield work between Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker. Despite a super impressive rookie campaign, Lindsay carries a good amount of risk at his 4th-round ADP.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says he's "not sure [RB Theo] Riddick is a lock for the 53-man roster." That makes sense, given the crowd in the Detroit backfield and Kerryon Johnson's receiving ability. Riddick offers no upside as a runner and has been merely a fine player in the passing game. If he sticks in Detroit, Riddick will be a solid late-round PPR shot to take. But his uncertain status and low fantasy ceiling mean you should pass on him in current best-ball drafting.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) is on track to be ready for the start of training camp next month, HC Vic Fangio said. “It’s a particular injury that they tell me it’s going well, they just don't want it to get bumped on yet,” Fangio explained. “He could go out there and do everything, but they just want to use this time and the next five weeks to make sure he’s ready to go.” Lindsay is coming off a brilliant rookie season that saw him average 5.4 yards per carry and finish 13th among RBs in PPR points. But he'll need to fend off fellow 2nd-year back Royce Freeman for touches this summer.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders ran in cleats on Friday for the 1st time since tearing his Achilles in December, NFL Network's James Palmer reports. "He’s coming along nicely," Palmer adds. Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to return from -- especially for a 32-year-old WR like Sanders. We're still considering him questionable for Week 1 and are generally avoiding him in early fantasy drafts. Denver has a pair of young, promising WRs in Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton who should claim big roles this season.

 
 
 

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