Shark Bites

Matt Barrows of The Athletic reports that HC Kyle Shanahan named RB Jerick McKinnon among "a slew" of Niners who are "on tap to return to practice this week." That'd obviously be great news for a player who opened training camp on the PUP and then suffered a setback in his repaired knee shortly after returning. McKinnon will need to prove his knee can hold up this time before he's worth much fantasy football draft attention. We'd still much rather take Matt Breida. Tevin Coleman is OK at cost.

Giants WR Sterling Shepard (thumb) is "good to go" for Week 1, according to ESPN's Jordan Raanan. Shepard broke his thumb on July 25 but has been running routes for most of August. QB play is a concern here, but Shepard should see a bunch of targets in New York's OBJ-less WR corps -- especially with Golden Tate suspended for the season's first 4 games. Consider Shepard a safe-if-unexciting WR3.

The Patriots have released WR Maurice Harris. The 26-year-old got off to a strong start in training camp but seemed to fizzle out over the past couple of weeks. Josh Gordon's return didn't help Harris, either. New England's WR depth chart now looks something like this: Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Demaryius Thomas.

Patriots WR Josh Gordon has passed his physical and been activated from the NFI list, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Gordon was in full pads for Sunday's practice. We'll be looking for reports on what kind of shape he's in, but he's seemingly on track to be out there come Week 1. Gordon's ADP is sitting in the mid-7th-round in best balls on DRAFT over the past week.

Undrafted rookie WR Damion Willis will start in place of WR A.J. Green (ankle) in Week 1, according to the team's official website. Willis hails from Troy, where he tallied 98 catches for 1,496 yards (15.3 YPC) and 13 TDs over the past 2 seasons. The 6'3, 204-pounder clocked a 4.48-second 40 time at his Pro Day this spring and has racked up 118 yards and a score on 9 preseason catches. Willis will be worth monitoring -- but you should be able to do better in your Week 1 fantasy lineup.

Cardinals WR Hakeem Butler (hand) has been placed on IR, knocking him out for the entire 2019 season. The rookie was reportedly having a poor camp before going down but remains an intriguing dynasty stash. Fellow rookie KeeSean Johnson looks like the favorite to open the season as Arizona's #3 WR, behind Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald.

The Raiders have released RB Doug Martin. If you needed confirmation that rookie Josh Jacobs will dominate early-down work in Oakland's backfield this season, here it is. The only question left is how much pass-catching work Jacobs will cede to RB Jalen Richard.

Redskins HC Jay Gruden named QB Case Keenum his Week 1 starter on Sunday. This has been the expectation for a while now. Keenum hasn't been great this preseason, completing just 53.3% of his passes, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt and tossing 1 TD and 0 INTs. But rookie QB Dwayne Haskins didn't quite do enough to prove ready, completing 53.7% of his attempts with a 7.3-yard average, 1 TD and 2 INTs -- against mostly backup defenses. The rookie still figures to take over at some point this season, but this is a situation to avoid in fantasy drafts.

Sunday's MRI confirmed a torn ACL for Texans RB Lamar Miller. He'll miss the entire 2019 campaign. Miller will have a little more than a year to get ready for 2020 -- but he's set to hit free agency next offseason and will turn 29 in April. His days as a fantasy starter could be over. RB Duke Johnson, meanwhile, faces the best opportunity of his NFL career as Houston's likely lead back.

"There isn’t much mystery regarding the Patriots running game," the Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy writes. "The preseason has made this much clear: The Pats are going to feed Sony Michel the ball early and often." It was a shaky spring for Michel, who was sidelined after another knee surgery. But he's been healthy throughout training camp and looked excellent in New England's 3rd preseason game. Michel figures to open the season as a workhorse on the ground -- and we've even heard that his role in the passing game might expand this season. He's a fine value at his current 5th-round ADP.

The Texans "fear" a torn ACL for RB Lamar Miller, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. That doesn't come as a surprise if you've seen video of the injury. We'll look for confirmation of the torn ACL, but we've already removed Miller from the RB rankings. His absence leaves Houston with RBs Duke Johnson, Damarea Crockett, Karan Higdon and Taiwan Jones. Johnson is clearly the top talent here. And while he's never handled a true lead role at the NFL level, he goes 5'9, 210 pounds and averaged 18.6 carries per game in his final college season at Miami. We'll look for clues about the Texans' backfield plans. But if they're willing to give Miller 12 to 15 carries per game -- on top of the pass-catching work -- he'll boast top-15 fantasy upside.

9:08pm EDT 8/24/19

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Colts QB Andrew Luck has decided to retire. Luck has reportedly already talked to team management about his decision. Jacoby Brissett now takes over the starting gig. This appears to be a shocking move to everyone. Schefter reports that Luck feels "worn down." The QB switch lowers the ceiling for everyone in the Indy offense. The Colts finished 30th in points and 31st in scoring in 2017, with Luck sidelined (shoulder) and Brissett starting.

Here's a full breakdown of the fantasy impact of Luck's retirement.

The Falcons have signed K Blair Walsh. He'll put some heat on K Giorgio Tavecchio, who has missed 4 of 8 FG attempts this preseason. Avoid this situation in fantasy drafts for now.

Texans RB Lamar Miller left Saturday night's game on a cart after suffering a nasty-looking injury to his left knee. We'll await official word, but you should avoid Miller if you're drafting tonight. Duke Johnson, on the other hand, suddenly looks like a strong option in the middle of the single-digit rounds. We'll pass along updates as soon as we get them.

Lions HC Matt Patricia told reporters on a conference call Saturday that MLB Jarrad Davis' ankle injury will not end his season, according to multiple outlets. The coach also reportedly said that Davis isn't even a candidate for short-term IR. Patricia apparently didn't give any further details on the injury, though, and put no timetable on the LB's return. We've added Davis back into the LB rankings with a 10-game projection. He's still not worth drafting in most IDP leagues.

Three incumbent defensive starters could be out of the plans for the 2019 Dolphins, according to The Miami Herald. S Reshad Jones and LB Kiko Alonso have reportedly been dangled in trade talks. Neither has played in a preseason game so far. Jones has reportedly said he'd accept the decreased defensive role that's expected to greet him this season. Alonso, meanwhile, has been mentioned by multiple reporters as a cut candidate if he isn't traded. MLB Raekwon McMillan is also rumored to be dropping out of the starting lineup. He also has yet to play in a preseason game. The team's official site still lists Alonso and McMillan as starters alongside Jerome Baker, but CFL import Sam Eguavoen has been starting alongside Baker in the exhibitions and reportedly working with the 1st team in practice as well. Baker and Eguavon have both reportedly impressed the new coaching staff. We've knocked Alonso and McMillan way down our LB rankings and moved Baker and Eguavon up. Jones also took a tumble down the DB rankings today. Alonso, McMillan and Jones all look like players worth skipping in IDP drafts this weekend. Bobby McCain and Minkah Fitzpatrick have been the top Miami safeties in preseason.

Lions C Frank Ragnow left Friday night's preseason game against the Bills with a worrisome-looking leg injury. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, however, reports that Ragnow sustained only a minor ankle sprain. With 2 weeks until the season begins, this doesn't seem like an issue that should alter fantasy football outlooks for others on the Detroit offense. Treat RB Kerryon Johnson and/or QB Matthew Stafford as you were planning.

Packers RB Dexter Williams is currently 4th on the depth chart -- behind Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and Tra Carson. "I think just overall knowledge of knowing what to do, especially when it comes to pass protection," HC Matt LaFleur said when asked where Williams needs to improve. The rookie hasn't fared well this preseason, either, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry on 28 attempts. Williams remains a fine dynasty stash but is obviously off the redraft radar for now.

Buccaneers S Justin Evans practiced Wednesday for the 1st time since training camp began, according to Pewter Report. Evans also spent offseason workouts on the sideline thanks to multiple surgeries on the foot he injured late last year. A healthy Evans should be able to work his way back into the starting lineup. But getting there in time for Week 1 might be a bit too much to expect. M.J. Stewart joined SS Jordan Whitehead in the starting lineup for Friday night's 3rd preseason game.

Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert dislocated his left (non-throwing) shoulder in Friday night's preseason game against the Browns. "His shoulder popped out," HC Bruce Arians said after the game, according to ESPN. "He was hurting pretty good, but [I told him], 'Good thing it's not your throwing shoulder. You'll be all right.'" Arians said the Bucs would seek another QB before the preseason finale, but this doesn't seem like an issue that should keep Gabbert out into the regular season. Of course, Gabbert's status only matters if Jameis Winston goes down.

 
 
 

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