Shark Bites

For the 2nd straight preseason game, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey saw feature-back usage on Friday night. He handled 10 of the 13 RB opportunities (carries + targets) with QB Cam Newton and the 1st-team offense. The other 3 went to C.J. Anderson. McCaffrey finished with 92 yards on 5 carries -- highlighted by this 71-yard TD -- and 28 more yards on 4 catches. He's now played 28 of 35 first-team snaps (80%) through 2 preseason games. This all follows both HC Ron Rivera and OC Norv Turner talking up McCaffrey's workload this year. While we're not expecting him to be a 300-carry guy, it looks like he's set for a big increase over last year's 117 attempts. We just moved McCaffrey up the RB rankings.

Bills QB A.J. McCarron suffered a hairline fracture in his collarbone in Friday night's preseason game against the Browns, according to insider Vic Carucci. So that knocks him out of the QB competition. Rookie QB Josh Allen played well vs. Cleveland, completing 9 of 13 passes for 60 yards and a score. At this point, we'd bet on the Bills rolling with Allen as their Week 1 starter. This obviously remains a situation to avoid in fantasy drafts.

Browns RB Nick Chubb didn't get any snaps with QB Tyrod Taylor and the 1st-team offense in Friday night's preseason game against the Bills. RB Carlos Hyde was on the field for 17 of Taylor's 25 snaps, carrying 9 times for 64 yards and a score. RB Duke Johnson played the other 8 snaps with Taylor, finishing with 27 yards on 4 carries. It's clear at this point that Hyde will open the season as Cleveland's lead back. Chubb could work his way into playing time over the course of the year but won't be an early-season fantasy option.

Eagles QB Nick Foles' throwing shoulder injury is minor, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Don’t expect any prolonged recovery," Rapoport adds. It sounds like Foles will be available by Week 1. We'll see if he's needed or if QB Carson Wentz (knee) is ready.

Redskins RB Samaje Perine is "expected to miss some time" with his sprained ankle, NFL Network's Mike Garofolo reports. "Likely a week at least." That's a pretty vague timeline, but it sounds like Perine probably won't be available for Washington's 3rd preseason game. That'll give RB Rob Kelley a shot to lock up the Week 1 starting job. Kelley is worth a look in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts. Perine is hardly draftable right now.

Packers RB Jamaal Williams is "fine" after leaving Thursday night's preseason game with an ankle injury, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. We'll see exactly how long he's sidelined, but it doesn't sound like this will impact Williams' Week 1 role. We're not moving him in the RB rankings.

49ers GM John Lynch said Friday that RB Jerick McKinnon (calf) will be "out of action" until Week 1. That presumably means he won't play in the final 3 preseason games or practice until September. It's more confirmation than breaking news -- and it's a smart tactic for the 'Niners to take. But it's still a less-than-ideal situation for a guy who remains completely unproven as a lead back. McKinnon retains PPR RB1 upside but has become a risky pick that we're not considering until Round 3 of fantasy drafts.

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.

Packers RB Jamaal Williams limped off the field during Thursday night's preseason game agains the Steelers with an ankle injury. We'll look for an update on the severity. Williams has been in the driver's seat for Green Bay's starting job for at least the first 2 weeks of the season with RB Aaron Jones suspended. If this ankle injury gets in the way, the Packers would be left with Ty Montgomery atop the depth chart.

Eagles QB Nick Foles injured his right (throwing) shoulder in Thursday night's preseason game against the Patriots. The team is calling it a "shoulder strain." Foles played poorly before exiting, completing just 3 of 9 passes for 44 yards. The injury is a major concern considering QB Carson Wentz isn't a lock to be ready for Week 1. Nate Sudfeld is Philly's #3 QB.

Redskins RB Samaje Perine injured his left ankle on his 1st carry of Thursday night's preseason game against the Jets. That came after RB Rob Kelley ran with QB Alex Smith and the 1st-team offense. So Perine remains behind Kelley on the depth chart and is now hurt. We'll see how long he's sidelined, but he can't afford to miss much time if he wants to pass Kelley by Week 1.

Patriots QB Tom Brady played the entire 1st half of Thursday night's preseason game against the Eagles. He finished 19 of 26 for 172 yards and 2 TDs -- 1 to WR Chris Hogan and 1 to RB James White. Brady had been limited in training camp with a back issue but looked no worse for wear in this one. He remains 1 of the top QBs in fantasy football -- and worth a look if he gets into the 7th round of fantasy drafts.

Ks Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo remain in a battle for the starting job with the Chargers. Sturgis made a 45-yarder but missed from 41 yards out in the preseason opener, while Aguayo hit both his XPs. “I’d love to make the decision sooner than later,” HC Anthony Lynn said. “I really would. But it’s so close right now.” Avoid this situation in fantasy drafts until we get a winner.

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is out of the concussion protocol, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac reports. It's still unclear whether Big Ben actually sustained a concussion in practice earlier this week, but it's a non-issue now. With an ADP sitting in the 10th round, Roethlisberger is 1 of a handful of solid QBs values late in drafts.

Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter hears that Roethlisberger did not sustain a concussion.

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin was sprinting on a side field during Thursday's practice, according to The Athletic's Michael-Shawn Dugar. That's a step in the right direction.. We haven't heard much on Baldwin's progress since he arrived to training camp with a sore knee. Both the Seahawks and ESPN's Adam Schefter expect him to be ready for Week 1, though, and it appears he's on track. Baldwin's recent 12-team ADP is sitting at 3.09.

The New York Daily News' Manish Mehta believes it'd be an "upset" if QB Sam Darnold isn't the Jets' Week 1 starter. "Darnold flashed some of the skills in the preseason opener that have the Jets privately giddy about him," Mehta writes. "The brain trust is happier with this kid with each passing day." Darnold completed 13 of 18 passes for 96 yards and a TD in last week's exhibition and is expected to start tonight's preseason game against the Redskins. This could change if he bombs tonight or in the 3rd preseason game. But, for now, he's the favorite to be under center against the Lions on Monday Night Football Week 1. We just moved Darnold up the rankings -- although he's still only an option in 2-QB leagues.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott highlighted Tavon Austin when asked which of the team's new WRs have impressed him most this offseason. "I didn’t know he was as good of a receiver as he was and could run routes as well as he does, and catch the ball every single time,” Prescott said of Austin. “For me, from that standpoint, he’s not just a gadget, gadget guy. You don’t have to run him on speed sweeps and all that steps opens up the offense and you can use him there as well. He’s a guy you can put out there, inside, outside and trust he’s going to get open.” Austin has flashed throughout training camp, but it's worth noting that he was on the field for just 3 of 10 snaps with Prescott in the preseason opener -- fewer than Michael Gallup, Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams. We'll continue to monitor this WR corps, but Austin's playing time will need to grow if he has any chance to be a fantasy factor.

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley will miss the 2nd preseason game with his groin injury. He didn't play in the 1st exhibition and has missed a bunch of training camp time. Beasley is fighting for snaps in a wide-open Dallas WR corps, but this injury obviously isn't helping his cause. He's not worth a redraft roster spot right now.

Texans K Ka'imi Fairbairn is sidelined with a "minor injury," according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. Houston has signed K Nick Rose as insurance. Avoid this situation in fantasy drafts right now.

Broncos WR Carlos Henderson has been suspended 1 game for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. After a 0-catch rookie season, Henderson saw Denver add 2 WRs in this year's draft and hasn't even reported to the team since camp opened. He's unlikely to survive final cuts and is far off the redraft radar.

 
 
 

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