Shark Bites

Patriots RB Damien Harris is dealing with a "minor" hand/wrist injury, according to insider Jeff Howe. That explains why the rookie didn't play in last week's preseason opener. It doesn't sound like Harris is in danger of missing the start of the season, but the missed practice time hurts his chances of earning a significant role out of the gate. Sony Michel's role as lead ball-carrier seems safe to open the season.

Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake suffered a lower-body injury in Tuesday's practice. He won't practice on Wednesday and was spotted in a walking boot. These walking boots are often precautionary -- but they can also mean a significant injury. We'll look for updates on Drake's status. His absence leaves Kalen Ballage as Miami's clear lead back.

In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Colts GM Chris Ballard refused to say that QB Andrew Luck will definitely be ready for Week 1, according to The Athletic's Zak Keefer. Ballard also gave some more details on what's ailing Luck, explaining that the original calf strain has turned into a "high-ankle-like issue." Ballard added that there's no plans for surgery. The Colts medical staff is trying to pinpoint the source of the pain and have Luck rehab. Beyond the fact that this has been a problem since the spring, it's troubling that the team still doesn't seem to know exactly what's wrong with its star QB. It's turned Luck into an extremely risky fantasy pick -- at least until we see him back on the field.

ESPN's Ed Werder considers it "likely" that Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott reports to the team before Week 1. Werder guesses that'll happen between the preseason finale and the regular season opener. This sounded more like an opinion than a report. But Werder remains 1 of the industry's most plugged-in reporters, so the opinion carries plenty of weight. Zeke carries elevated risk in fantasy drafts until he actually shows up. But we're willing to gamble on him at any point from pick #4 on.

Chiefs RB Darwin Thompson split 1st-team goal-line reps with RB Damien Williams in Tuesday's practice, according to ESPN's Adam Teicher. RB coach Deland McCullough said afterward that it was a direct result of Thompson's impressive showing in the preseason opener, when he carried 5 times for 22 yards and scored a 29-yard receiving TD. “He’s a strong runner," McCullough said. “He’s got a great center of gravity. He’s a guy that can get skinny and get up through some holes, too. More importantly, he’s done some things to warrant that opportunity to get some reps with the (starters). He showed some flashes in the last game." We'll be watching to see if Thompson gets any work with the starters in Kansas City's 2nd exhibition. But his talent and situation make the rookie an intriguing late-round flier in fantasy drafts.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) was limited to open training camp but is running routes at full speed now, according to insider Orlando Ledbetter. “It feels great, being back out there running around, running routes,” Jones said Tuesday. Jones isn't expected to play in the preseason but is clearly on track to be full-go for Week 1.

Redskins HC Jay Gruden said Tuesday that RB Derrius Guice (knee) still hasn't been cleared to play in games. He's been practicing since the start of training camp, but this is a reminder that he's still not at 100%. We'll see if Guice is able to play in Washington's 3rd exhibition. Regardless, he figures to be eased back in early on this season.

Cowboys WR Amari Cooper has missed the last few days of practice with what sounded like a minor heel injury. But Cowboys insider Mickey Spagnola reports the injury is “more of a ligament thing” than a bruise. That's obviously a generic explanation -- but it makes the issue seem more serious than we thought. This has become a situation to monitor closely over the next couple of weeks.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a Monday interview on SiriusXM that QB Andrew Luck is dealing with a "small little bone" issue. “But I really feel very confident that he’s going to find his way through this thing," Irsay added. It's the 1st we've heard of any sort of bone problem for Luck and adds more mystery to an injury that's lingered since the spring. Luck's ADP has sunk to the 7th round in drafts over the past week, but he's still a general avoid at that price.

Raiders WR Antonio Brown will report back to the team's training camp in Napa on Tuesday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's been a clown show with Brown over the past few weeks, between his cryotherapy mishap and helmet shenanigans. Brown hinted on Monday that he's not yet ready to practice due to the foot issue, so we'll see when he's able to get back on the field. He's practiced just once since camp opened.

Patriots TE Matt LaCosse sprained his ankle in the preseason opener and has been ruled out for the 2nd exhibition, the Boston Globe's Jim McBride reports. Based on the injury video, Dr. David Chao believes LaCosse has a high-ankle sprain and might not be ready for the start of the season. He had been the favorite to serve as New England's lead TE during Ben Watson's 4-game suspension. That job could now go to Stephen Anderson or Lance Kendricks. It's a situation to avoid in fantasy drafts.

It's impressive enough that Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders started training camp on time coming off a December tear of his left Achilles' tendon. But Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reported Monday that Sanders also had "tightrope" surgery on his right ankle to treat an issue that reportedly originated on October 15, 2017. This revelation might actually be a positive, though. Sanders told Klis that the right ankle "gave me problems all last year." He added: "I came to camp last year thinking, 'How the hell am I going to get through this season?' I feel like that was kind of the reason I tore my Achilles'." Sanders took part in full-team drills for the 1st time Monday and is expected to play in Denver's next preseason contest. Barring some setback with either ankle, Sanders looks like an option in the double-digit rounds of fantasy football drafts after we hit summer skeptical.

Anthony Poisal of the Browns' official website expects RB Dontrell Hilliard to step into RB Duke Johnson's old role as "as a pass-catching running back used mostly on third down plays." Hilliard caught 9 balls for 105 yards in 11 appearances as a rookie last year and racked up 70 grabs over 4 seasons at Tulane. “Dontrell has shown some explosion in the open field,” HC Freddie Kitchens said. “He is hard to get down. Body control is a characteristic or a skillset that running backs sometimes often get overlooked. He has great body control, change of direction and great speed. I like those skillsets.” Hilliard notably caught 2 passes on QB Baker Mayfield's lone possession in Cleveland's preseason opener. We doubt that he'll play as big a role as Duke Johnson played last season (2.5 carries and 3.9 targets per game), but any pass-catching work would put a cap on RB Nick Chubb's ceiling.

An arbitrator has ruled against Raiders WR Antonio Brown in his grievance against the NFL to wear his preferred helmet. But it sounds like he has no plans to follow through on his retirement threat. "I'm working on getting back to full health and looking forward to rejoining my teammates on the field," Brown wrote in an Instagram post on Monday. We'll see when Brown's feet allow him to get back on the gridiron, but we can at least put the retirement talk to bed.

The Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy writes "it's pretty clear" that RB Sony Michel remains the Patriots' lead ball-carrier. Rookie RB Damien Harris drew some early-summer buzz but "hasn’t received many practice reps over the past week," per Duffy. Michel, meanwhile, has avoided a setback with his troublesome knee and even flashed improved pass-catching ability. He's turned into a nice value at his recent RB26 ADP.

Texans RB Duke Johnson won't play in his new team's 2nd preseason game, according to insider Aaron Wilson. Johnson is still dealing with the hamstring injury that had him sidelined at Browns camp. We haven't heard a target date for his return, but he needs the practice reps with his new offense.

Colts WR Parris Campbell (hamstring) was set to return to practice but suffered a setback over the weekend, HC Frank Reich said. "He felt a little something yesterday,” Reich said. “We’re kind of re-evaluating that. Hopefully, that wasn’t too much. … We’ll have to wait a few more days to see if that settles down. Hopefully, we can get him back soon.” Campbell was shining early in camp but has now missed 10 straight practices. He needs to get back on the field soon if he wants to be an early-season fantasy option.

Saints TE Jared Cook has been better than the team expected, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. HC Sean Payton has praised Cook's hands, catch radius, yards-after-catch ability and work ethic. “Anytime you’re in free agency, you gather as much information as you can. And then when the player arrives, there’s certain things you weren’t aware of that are good and maybe sometimes weren’t so good. In his case, it’s all positive,” Payton said. “He’s a tremendous worker, dedicated, I think someone who’s a true pro in every sense of the word. And I think he’s been a really good addition for us.” TEs coach Dan Campbell added that Cook and QB Drew Brees have quickly built a strong rapport. With question marks at WR behind Michael Thomas, there's room for Cook to finish 3rd on the 2019 Saints in targets (behind Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara).

The Vikings shipped a 5th-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for K Kaare Vedvik. That's a significant price to pay for a K. Vedvik isn't just any K, though -- he's a punter, too. The former soccer player has nailed 12 of 13 FG attempts over the past 2 preseasons while also averaging 47.6 yards per punt. It's unclear if Vedvik will kick, punt or do both for Minnesota. But we should avoid K Dan Bailey in fantasy drafts until we find out.

The Athletic's Connor Hughes expects Jets WR Jamison Crowder to be a "reception animal" this season and believes he could "creep near or past 100 catches." We'll comfortably bet the under there -- but the takeaway is that Crowder is in line for big volume. "He and [QB Sam] Darnold found chemistry the moment they stepped on the field together," Hughes writes. "They see plays the exact same way, which helps the two connect when things break down." In the Jets' preseason opener, Darnold targeted Crowder on 2 of his 5 passes, completing both for 31 yards and a score. Crowder looks like a big value at his recent 14th-round ADP.

 
 
 

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