Shark Bites

Ravens TE Ben Watson (calf) was held out of Thursday's practice after being limited on Wednesday. He either injured that calf on Wednesday or is just getting veteran rest. Check back tomorrow for another update.

The Patriots will be without LB Dont'a Hightower (knee) for the 2nd straight game. LB Elandon Roberts (thumb) is active, however, after entering the day questionable. He's a solid upside play against a Houston offense that hopes to lean run and sports a running rookie QB. Hightower's absence helps Roberts' playing-time outlook.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (ribs) has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Texans. His absence should open up a few extra targets for RBs James White and Dion Lewis.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (ribs) did not practice on Wednesday. We still haven't gotten any details on his injury, but he's obviously in danger of missing this weekend's game against the Texans. Burkhead's absence could mean extra work for RBs James White and Dion Lewis.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead injured his ribs in the 1st half of Sunday's game against the Saints and hasn't played in the 2nd. New England is calling him questionable to return, but don't expect to see him back out there. We'll look for an update after the game.

Patriots S Devin McCourty is active for Sunday's game against the Saints after entering the day questionable with a groin issue. He's fine to use in IDP lineups against a pass-heavy Saints offense.

The Patriots have ruled LB Dont'a Hightower out for Sunday's game against New Orleans with a right knee injury. We'll see about his status heading toward Week 3, but Hightower's not worth owning in most IDP leagues at this point. It's the same knee that dogged him throughout the offseason, camp and preseason. The Patriots have also showed willingness in the past to bring him along slowly even when he's active.

Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower left Thursday night's game with a right knee injury after another player fell into the side of it. He could be seen riding the stationary bike on the sideline with a hot pad on the joint. The team announced that he's questionable to return. The right knee is the same spot that kept Hightower out of action until late August.

Patriots RBs Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, James White and Dion Lewis are all active for tonight's opener against the Chiefs. We're eager to see the backfield usage here, but it's a situation to avoid in Week 1 fantasy lineups in possible. White is the safest play as the likely passing-down back.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead practiced on Monday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. Burkhead missed the 3rd preseason game with an undisclosed injury, which allowed RB Mike Gillislee to regain some momentum. This backfield remains wide open heading into the regular season. Burkhead will be tough to trust in Week 1 fantasy lineups but is still worth a look in the double-digit rounds of drafts.

NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that an MRI on Patriots WR Julian Edelman's right knee confirmed a "complete ACL tear." He's done for the season and is tasked with a lengthy rehab. If all goes smoothly, he'll be ready for the start of training camp next year. But Edelman will be 32 years old at that point. He's signed in New England through the 2019 season with cap hits of $5.2 and $4.7 million over the next 2 seasons. We've already removed Edelman from the 2017 WR rankings and bumped up Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola. QB Tom Brady's projections took a slight hit, but he's still flush with weapons and sitting 2nd in the QB rankings.

The Patriots "suspect" WR Julian Edelman suffered a torn ACL in Friday night's preseason game against the Lions, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. "But do not definitely know," Schefter adds. "MRI on Sunday to determine full extent of injury." These "he-probably-tore-his-ACL" reports usually turn out to be torn ACLs. If that's the case, Edelman will miss the entire 2017 season. That'd open up a boatload of targets in 1 of the top passing games in the NFL. WR Chris Hogan would stand as the most likely beneficiary. WR Danny Amendola would also see a big boost in snaps. And WR Brandin Cooks, TE Rob Gronkowski and RB James White would pick up some extra targets.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman suffered a leg injury in the 1st half of Friday night's preseason game against the Lions. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Edelman "limped off grabbing the back of his knee." He was eventually carted to the locker room. We'll update his status when we learn more. WR Chris Hogan would appear to be the biggest beneficiary of Edelman's absence. He's already caught 4 balls for 70 yards and 2 TDs tonight.

Update: The Associated Press reports the injury is to Edelman's right knee.

The Patriots on Tuesday activated LB Dont'a Hightower off the PUP list. He had been sitting out with a right knee injury. New England re-signed him in the offseason to a multi-year deal, however, which included $19 million in guarantees. According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Hightower was always believed to be on track for Week 1. His return coincided with LB Elandon Roberts returning to practice after missing a few days with a rib injury. Roberts had been calling the plays and wearing the green-dot helmet on defense recently, but Hightower's the more likely candidate for that role if he's at full health. We'll see what the playing time looks like in the 3rd preseason game this weekend. Neither makes for a strong IDP candidate, but Hightower carries a high weekly ceiling when fully healthy.

Fantasy drafters are confident that Mike Gillislee will operate as the Patriots' early-down back this season. He's going in the early 6th round of recent MFL10 drafts. Rex Burkhead, meanwhile, is lasting into the 17th. While we're still betting on Gillislee producing more fantasy points, the situation isn't as clear as those price tags would suggest. In fact, Burkhead has been receiving goal-line reps in training camp -- as well as impressing as a pass-catcher. He might just be the most well-rounded back on New England's roster. Insider Phil Perry went as far as predicting that Burkhead will lead the team's RBs in snaps this season. He's well worth a look late in drafts.

Patriots DE/LB Rob Ninkovich retired this week. His evolving role didn't promise much IDP impact for 2017, as the veteran appeared to be moving away from DE reps. His departure, however, adds a little clarity for upside candidate DE Kony Ealy and takes 1 guy out of a still-jumbled LB mix.

Browns HC Hue Jackson said Wednesday that QB Cody Kessler will open training camp as the starter. As expected. Kessler, despite entering just his 2nd NFL season, is the only 1 of Cleveland's top 3 QBs who was with the team last year. Rookie DeShone Kizer and Brock Osweiler both remain in the mix, though, per Jackson. Kizer worked in with the starters in June minicamp, while Osweiler was with the 2nd team. We'll keep an eye on this one, although whoever starts for Cleveland will be just a lower-end QB2 in fantasy football.

The Patriots will open training camp with LB Dont'a Hightower on the PUP list. Hightower missed offseason workouts after dealing with knee and shoulder issues last season. The knee cost him 3 games and landed him on the injury report 8 times, but New England re-signed him in the offseason after the Jets and Steelers took seemingly serious looks at the vet. Durability has been a perennial issue for Hightower, who should continue to present more value to the Patriots than IDP owners when on the field. The team can activate Hightower from the camp PUP at any time.

Ravens TE Benjamin Watson was on the field for Tuesday's minicamp practice. He's about 9 months removed from surgery to repair a torn Achilles. His recovery has taken on increased importance since Baltimore lost TE Dennis Pitta. Watson is 36 but posted a 74-825-6 line in his last action back in 2015 with the Saints. He'll duke it out with Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller for playing time this year.

The Patriots spent a 3rd-round pick Friday night on a potential sleeper for the edge. Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers racked up 37.5 sacks and 56.5 total tackles for loss over his 4 college seasons. That included 13 sacks as a sophomore and 14 as a senior. Rivers might need to bulk up from his 248 pounds to be ready for a regular edge role in New England, and we'll see whether the Patriots plan to align him at DE or OLB. But the Pats clearly aren't concerned about his lower level of college competition. This will be a high-upside target for IDP dynasty rookie drafts.

 
 
 

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