Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) was limited in Wednesday's practice. He's been practicing for about a week now but still isn't a full-go. His availability for Week 1 remains uncertain -- but he'll be tough to trust in fantasy lineups even if he ends up active against the Texans on Sunday. RB Rex Burkhead (knee), meanwhile, isn't listed on the injury report and will serve as New England's lead back in the opener.
Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) returned to practice this week but remains limited. “He’s progressing pretty well,” RBs coach Ivan Fears said. “He’s still under doctors’ care — they haven’t totally freed him up for us to do everything with him, so we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep him up to date. Anything we can do, walkthrough-wise, that’s not going to be a problem ... We’re keeping him up to date, but until he’s totally turned loose, he’s still limited right now.” Michel's Week 1 availability "remains unknown," according to the Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy. We won't be able to trust the rookie in early-season fantasy lineups, but there's still intriguing upside here. Michel is worth a look if he gets into the 7th or 8th round of drafts.
Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) returned to practice on Monday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. It's unclear how much work the rookie got in, but this is at least a step in the right direction. Michel has been sidelined since early August after having a procedure to drain fluid from his knee. Missing so much time figures to leave him with a limited role early in the season -- but he's capable of quickly carving out a significant workload in 1 of the league's most productive backfields. Michel's current ADP sitting in the mid-8th round. He's a risk/reward pick there.
Jaguars WR Marqise Lee will have season-ending surgery after suffering ligament damage in his left knee Saturday, HC Doug Marrone announced Monday. It's not yet clear which ligament is the problem, but the ACL is usually involved in these scenarios. We'll update that as more info gets released. We already adjusted the projections for the rest of the Jacksonville WR corps over the weekend in anticipation of bad news, though. According to Adam Levitan of Fantasy Labs, Donte Moncrief led WRs by playing 32 of 40 first-team snaps after Lee left Saturday's game. Keelan Cole followed at 28, with Dede Westbrook at 26 and rookie D.J. Chark at 14.
Jaguars WR Marqise Lee left Saturday night's game against the Falcons on a cart after suffering a left knee injury. Lee took a hit to the knee from a Falcons safety midway through the 1st quarter. The team announced he will not return. We'll see about the severity beyond that. If you're drafting tonight -- or Sunday, before we get further word -- then just avoid Lee. He's not worth the risk.
Update: Former NFL head team Dr. David Chao believes Lee suffered a multi-ligament knee injury. It sounds like his season is likely over. We've removed Lee from the WR rankings.
Patriots RB Sony Michel remains sidelined after having fluid drained from his knee in early August. He's now missed 10 straight practices and 2 preseason games, with his last on-field work coming on August 1. Michel's availability for Week 1 remains uncertain, and it's tough to see the rookie playing a significant early-season role after missing so much time. We'll continue to monitor his progress. Michel's ADP over the last week is sitting in the mid-6th round.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) returned to practice on Sunday. He ended up missing a couple of weeks -- plus the first 2 preseason games -- with what insider Jeff Howe reported is a "slight tear" in his knee. We'll be keeping a close eye on Burkhead over the next few weeks. If healthy, he should open the season as New England's lead ball-carrier. RB Sony Michel remains sidelined with his knee issue.
The Athletic's Jeff Howe reports that Patriots RB Rex Burkhead has a "slight tear" in his knee. "But it’s been deemed a minor injury and something he’ll be able to play through," Howe adds. This remains a murky situation (as usual with the Patriots), and no other media members have reported on Burkhead's injury as of Friday morning. We'll continue to look for updates, but Burkhead obviously comes with plenty of risk in drafts right now. It's completely unclear what's torn in his knee, how effective he'll be playing through it and how long it'll hold up. New England, of course, is still without rookie RB Sony Michel, who had fluid drained from his knee a couple of weeks ago. That leaves Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee as the healthy early-down backs. Both guys saw time with the 1st-team offense in Thursday night's preseason game, but Hill again out-performed Gillislee. The former Bengal is averaging 4.8 yards per carry through 2 exhibitions vs. Gillislee's 2.8. Hill is looking more and more intriguing as a late-round flier by the day.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead missed the preseason opener and the last 2 practices with an undisclosed injury. We'll see how long he remains sidelined, but it's worth noting after he struggled staying healthy last year. Burkhead missed 4 games with a rib injury and 3 more (including a playoff game) with a sprained knee. RB Sony Michel remains out with his knee issue, leaving James White, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee as New England's healthy backs. Hill out-played Gillislee in the preseason opener and has reportedly gotten more 1st-teams reps since.
Patriots rookie RB Sony Michel will require a "procedure" for a knee injury he suffered in practice Wednesday, according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe. The recovery is expected to cost Michel the entire preseason and might keep him sidelined "into the start" of the regular season. That's obviously terrible news for the fantasy outlook of a rookie back, especially one competing with Rex Burkhead and James White for backfield snaps and touches. We'll see how sharply Michel's ADP falls. He'll likely need to get to the Round 8 range or so in 12-team drafts to be worth the risk. Burkhead, meanwhile, should climb from an ADP that has already been ascending. Don't be surprised if we start to see him regularly go in Round 4.
Update: ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that Michel had fluid drained from the knee and that the situation "is not expected to affect Michel's availability for a significant portion, if any, of the regular season." We've moved Michel down our RB rankings and Burkhead up, but we'll keep watching for any further updates on this issue.
ESPN's Mike Reiss considers RB Rex Burkhead the early favorite for goal-line duties in New England. "Burkhead filled that role at times last year, so he'd be more likely to get the initial nod over [RB Sony] Michel, who had 12 fumbles in college and might need to prove himself from a ball-security standpoint before the team gives him that responsibility," Reiss writes. Burkhead was good near the end zone last year, converting 4 of 7 carries inside the 5-yard line into TDs. We wouldn't rule out Michel here -- he's a 215-pounder who scored 16 times at Georgia last year -- but losing goal-line work would obviously cap his fantasy upside. As usual, the Patriots backfield will be 1 to monitor closely when training camp gets underway.
Patriots WR Julian Edelman is facing a 4-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Edelman has appealed the ban, so we'll see if it gets reduced. But fantasy owners should now be drafting as if he'll miss the first 4 games of the season. Edelman is returning from last August's torn ACL but had averaged 9.6 targets per game over the previous 3 seasons. So this is a big opportunity opening up in an offense that's finished top 12 in passing yards in an incredible 16 straight years. WR Chris Hogan is a good bet to serve as New England's #1 WR during Edelman's suspension. Jordan Matthews, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson will battle for snaps behind Hogan.
The Patriots selected Georgia RB Sony Michel with the 31st overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s the first 1st-round RB for New England since Laurence Maroney in 2006. That didn’t work out so well, but Michel has the potential to fare much better. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry across his 4-year college career and flashed pass-catching ability with seasons of 26 and 22 grabs. Michel is electric in the open field with surprising power. The biggest concern is a lengthy injury history that includes a torn ACL and a pair of ankle injuries. This is a exciting landing spot for Michel. New England’s backfield is crowded on paper, but Rex Burkhead, James White, Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee are all role players. Consider Michel the odds-on favorite to lead the 2018 backfield in touches.
The Colts plan to switch to a 4-3 base front on defense this season, which will include shifting OLB John Simon to DE. GM Chris Ballard spoke to that Friday and said he expects it to be a positive move for his top 3 edge players. “At the end of the day, even in the 3-4, you’re still in a four-man front," Ballard said, per the Indianapolis Star. "It’s the difference between putting your hand on the ground and standing up. John Simon played in a 4-3 at Ohio State, so he’s done it before. Great effort, he’s strong. He’ll fit in.” Simon tallied 16 sacks and 30.5 total tackles for loss over his final 2 Buckeye seasons. At 6'1, 250 pounds, though, he'll be challenged as a full-time DE -- especially on the right side. We'll see exactly how the playing time breaks down among Simon, Jabaal Sheard and 2017 rookie Tarell Basham. Sheard has played various schemes and delivered 13 sacks over 2 injury-impacted seasons as a 4-3 DE with the Patriots. Basham played 4-3 DE in college and reportedly struggled with the transition to standup rusher last season. There's potential IDP value to all 3. We'll evaluate the situation as we move into summer.
The Patriots on Wednesday agreed to a 3-year deal to keep RB Rex Burkhead on the roster, NFL Network reports. Burkhead finished top-20 in points per game among RBs in PPR scoring last season. Dion Lewis has left town, and Mike Gillislee looks like less of a factor than anyone expected heading into 2017. We'll see if New England adds any other significant backfield pieces, but Burkhead looks like a solid RB2 in fantasy football drafts at the moment.
The Jaguars have re-signed WR Marqise Lee to a 4-year, $38 million deal. So Jacksonville chose to let WR Allen Robinson walk and bring back Lee for about $4.5 million less per year. The 2014 2nd-rounder's pro career got off to a rough start, with 9 games missed and just 52 catches over his first 2 seasons. But over the past 2, Lee has missed just 2 games and racked up 119 grabs. He looks like the slight favorite ahead of WRs Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole to lead Jacksonville in 2018 targets
The Patriots expect WR Julian Edelman to be ready in time for training camp this summer, according to the Boston Herald. Edelman tore his right ACL in August, timing that seemed unlikely to threaten his 2018 readiness all along. We'll certainly keep tabs on him as the coming season approaches. Edelman's a potentially strong value in early best-ball fantasy football drafts.
Panthers QB Cam Newton suffered "ligament and cartilage damage" in his right knee in the playoff loss to the Saints, the team announced. We don't have any other details on the injury, but Newton isn't expected to need surgery. "He's fine," team spokesman Steven Drummond said. We'll see if Newton is ready for the start of the offseason program. He has a new offense to learn under OC Norv Turner.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) is active for today's game against the Jaguars. He still has yet to put in a full practice since returning from his knee sprain, but New England clearly has a role in mind for him in the AFC Championship game. RB Mike Gillislee (knee) is inactive after entering the day questionable. Having Burkhead back in the lineup threatens the goal-line role for RB Dion Lewis, but Lewis still figures to easily lead the backfield in touches.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars after a limited week of practice. With all the hubbub about QB Tom Brady’s injury, we haven’t heard anything about Burkhead’s status. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport did report back on Monday that Burkhead is expected to play. We’ll find out for sure around 1:30 pm ET on Sunday.
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