Shark Bites

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (groin) practiced on Wednesday, according to the Denver Post's Nicki Jhabvala. The groin injury Thomas suffered in the 3rd preseason game never seemed serious, and he's on track to play against the Chargers on Monday night. He'll be a strong WR2 for that one.

The Colts on Saturday traded disappointing WR Phillip Dorsett to the Patriots for 3rd-string QB Jacoby Brissett. Dorsett caught just 51 passes through 2 seasons in Indy after arriving as a late 1st-round pick. Brissett just finished throwing 4 TD passes in New England's preseason finale. The move could signal significant worry that QB Andrew Luck will miss multiple games as he works back from offseason shoulder surgery. Dorsett's a poor bet to make a fantasy impact in 2017, though he could see some early targets if WR Malcolm Mitchell remains hobbled.

Bears WR Cameron Meredith has been diagnosed with a torn ACL and a "minor tear" of his MCL, according to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs. It's relatively good news. He's done for the 2017 season but is looking at an 8-month rehab timeline -- rather than 12+ months if he had suffered more damage to his left knee. Barring setbacks, Meredith should be ready at least for the start of next year's training camp. He'll be a restricted free agent in March.

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.

Fox Sports' Pam Oliver reports that the Bears believe WR Cameron Meredith suffered a torn ACL in Sunday's preseason game against the Titans. It certainly looked like a season-ending injury when it happened. We've already removed Meredith from the WR rankings. His absence gives former 1st-round pick Kevin White a massive opportunity as Chicago's #1 WR. He needs to stay healthy and play with more consistency, but White is worth a shot as a WR4 with plenty of upside.

Bears WR Cameron Meredith injured his left knee in the 1st half of Sunday's preseason game against the Titans. With his foot planted in the ground, the knee was bent severely inward. It had the look of a serious injury. Meredith was fitted with an air cast on the field and carted off. We'll update his status when we learn more, but don't draft him in the meantime. His absence will leave Kevin White as Chicago's #1 WR, with Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz behind him.

NFL Network's Jesse Palmer reports there's "no concern" about the groin injury that forced Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas from Saturday night's preseason game. "More precautionary than anything," Palmer adds. We'll keep an eye on Thomas going forward, but he sounds safe to continue drafting as a rock steady WR2.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas left Saturday's game against the Packers with a groin injury. The team ruled him out for the rest of the game, though Thomas didn't seem to be getting a ton of trainer attention on the sideline. We'll keep an eye out for an official diagnosis and/or further details.

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.

Bears WR Cameron Meredith (thumb) has avoided the PUP list and was on the field for the team's 1st training camp practice on Thursday. He injured a thumb ligament on June 1 but is evidently good to go now. Meredith seems to have a starting spot secured after last year's impressive 66-catch, 888-yard campaign. He's a fine value at his 8th-round price tag.

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.

Broncos insider Mike Klis believes the team will go pass-heavy in 2017. "It’s pretty much the same offense [OC Mike] McCoy passed down to Adam Gase in 2013 and 2014, when Peyton Manning handed off only to allow receivers like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to catch their breath," Klis wrote discussing the 2017 scheme. Those Denver offenses weren't quite as pass-happy as Klis believes. The 2013 Broncos ranked 2nd in pass attempts and 10th and pass rate. The 2014 version finished 9th in attempts and 16th in rate. If the Broncos approach that territory this year, though, it'd be a shift from last year, when they ranked 17th in attempts and 18th in rate. That'd be good news for WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who have been nice values in early fantasy football drafts.

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.

Bears WR Cameron Meredith suffered a thumb ligament injury in Thursday's OTA session, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Meredith will miss the rest of spring workouts but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. As long as that's the case, this won't impact his 2017 fantasy outlook. Meredith led the Bears with 66 catches, 888 yards and 4 TDs last year and has a shot to serve as the #1 WR this season.

Per NFL Network and other outlets, suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon was denied reinstatement by the NFL. Out of football since 2014, Gordon can apply again in the fall. He remains a shaky bet to ever return to the NFL following several punishments under the league’s substance-abuse policy.

 
 
 

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