Shark Bites

Broncos QB Drew Lock suffered a "bad sprain" to his right thumb in Monday night's preseason game against the 49ers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lock doesn't need surgery, but he's expected to be sidelined into the regular season, reports insider Mike Klis. Lock wasn't threatening QB Joe Flacco's starting job anyway, and this injury kills any chance he had to hit the field early this year.

9:08pm EDT 8/19/19

Broncos TE Noah Fant hurt his right foot in the 1st quarter of Monday night's preseason game against the 49ers. Fant left the game after a low hit by Niners S Jaquiski Tartt and did not return, but The Denver Post reports that he remained on the sideline after being examined. That makes it seem like the issue isn't too bad. We'll watch for further word on the situation from the team Tuesday.

Update: ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that it's an ankle injury and "is not considered serious."

Broncos RB Theo Riddick suffered a "slight" shoulder fracture in the team's preseason opener, insider Mike Klis reports. Riddick is expected to be sidelined 6-8 weeks with the injury. That puts him back on the field in late September or early October, so Riddick figures to miss the first 2-4 games of the season. Of course, the missed time is an even bigger problem considering he just joined the team a week ago. Riddick isn't worth a pick in fantasy drafts.

Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton (hamstring) returned to practice on Sunday. He ends up missing about a week and a half. Barring a setback, Hamilton is still in line to open the season as a top-3 WR for Denver.

The Broncos have signed RB Theo Riddick, who was cut by the Lions 5 days ago. Riddick offers very little as a runner but leads all RBs with 247 catches over the past 4 seasons. In Denver, he figures to battle RB Devontae Booker for a pass-catching role. Riddick has received a better pass-catching grade from Pro Football Focus in each of the past 3 seasons. Consider him the early favorite for the gig -- but Riddick isn't worth drafting in fantasy leagues right now.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Lions are releasing RB Theo Riddick. The timing of the move is surprising, but it follows offseason rumors that Riddick might be on the roster bubble. Riddick ranked 2nd on the team in targets last season (74) despite missing 2 games. He has averaged 4.4 receptions per game over the past 4 seasons. Riddick's departure raises the target ceiling for breakout candidate Kerryon Johnson.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Chargers RB Melvin Gordon's holdout "is now expected to be prolonged" and "threatens" to run into the regular season. The 2 sides exchanged offers this week, but "talks are not in a good spot," per Schefter. It always seemed like Gordon's holdout would last a while. We'd still bet on him reporting before Week 1, but there's certainly a chance he misses games. And even if he shows up before the start of the season, the missed time in August would make him an increased injury risk early in the season. We just dropped Gordon down the RB rankings again.

Broncos WR DaeSean Hamilton injured his hamstring on Wednesday and isn't practicing on Thursday, according to insider Mike Klis. We'll see how long this injury keeps him sidelined, but Hamilton's fantasy stock was already trending down with WR Emmanuel Sanders seemingly on track to be ready for Week 1.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon will not report for the start of training camp today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "This should be lengthy, as talks are expected to halt and LAC will focus on the backs who are there," Rapoport tweets. Insider Tom Pelissero adds that the Chargers want to get Gordon a new deal -- but the 2 sides are obviously far apart when it comes to how much the back is worth. Gordon, who's under contract for about $5.6 million this season, will be fined for every day of camp he misses. We'll see how long this holdouts lasts. Gordon's ADP is sitting at 13th overall in Draft.com best balls over the last week.

New Broncos OC Rich Scangarello suggested that RB Phillip Lindsay could play an expanded role in the passing game this season. "One of the great things about coming to Denver that really excited me from the day I walked in the door is there are very few players in the league like Phillip that have the ability to win in a one-on-one matchup at any time," Scangarello said. "I think the easiest matchup to create in the NFL is the halfback on a linebacker. That's what we try to do in this offense a lot, and I think he has that gift and that ability and those traits." Insider Mike Klis notes that Lindsay was split out wide several times in Sunday's practice. We're expecting Lindsay's rushing volume and efficiency to decline this season -- but he could best last year's 35-241-1 receiving line.

Broncos ILB Todd Davis suffered a partial tear in his right calf and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks, according to ESPN's Jeff Legwold. That leaves Denver sorting through inexperienced backups to play next to 1st-time starter Josey Jewell. Davis' timeline still puts him in play for the regular-season opener. We'll see how ready he is come late August. Jewell, meanwhile, looks like a potential sleeper for IDP fantasy football drafts. If you've seen our LB rankings, then you already know that's how we view him.

Broncos HC Vic Fangio said Wednesday that RB Phillip Lindsay "is ready to go" for the start of training camp, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. That's been expected, according to previous reports. But confirmation that Lindsay's surgically repaired wrist is healed can only help his fantasy outlook as the team opens camp. We'll see how becoming active impacts Lindsay's ADP in fantasy football drafts.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) is expected to be ready for full-team drills when training camp opens, according to insider Mike Klis. Lindsay's reps will be "monitored," Klis adds, but all signs point to him being ready to rock by the time Week 1 rolls around. We'll be watching to see how new OC Rich Scangarello plans to divvy backfield work between Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker. Despite a super impressive rookie campaign, Lindsay carries a good amount of risk at his 4th-round ADP.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has informed the team that he won't report to training camp and will demand a trade if he doesn't receive a new contract, his agent told ESPN. Gordon is set to make $5.6 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal. The Chargers currently have a little less than $11 million in available salary cap space, according to OverTheCap.com, so they could make a new deal with Gordon work. We'll see how much they're willing to give up to get him back in the building. If Gordon holds out into the regular season or is traded, the Chargers would be left with RBs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.

Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says he's "not sure [RB Theo] Riddick is a lock for the 53-man roster." That makes sense, given the crowd in the Detroit backfield and Kerryon Johnson's receiving ability. Riddick offers no upside as a runner and has been merely a fine player in the passing game. If he sticks in Detroit, Riddick will be a solid late-round PPR shot to take. But his uncertain status and low fantasy ceiling mean you should pass on him in current best-ball drafting.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) is on track to be ready for the start of training camp next month, HC Vic Fangio said. “It’s a particular injury that they tell me it’s going well, they just don't want it to get bumped on yet,” Fangio explained. “He could go out there and do everything, but they just want to use this time and the next five weeks to make sure he’s ready to go.” Lindsay is coming off a brilliant rookie season that saw him average 5.4 yards per carry and finish 13th among RBs in PPR points. But he'll need to fend off fellow 2nd-year back Royce Freeman for touches this summer.

The Broncos traded up to select Missouri QB Drew Lock with the 42nd pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock was commonly mocked to Denver with the 10th pick but ends up dropping into Round 2. Lock looks the part: 6’4, 228 pounds with a big arm. But he was inconsistent throughout his 4 years at Missouri, completing just 56.9% of his passes. Lock did post a career-best 62.9% completion rate this past season, to go along with 28 TDs vs. 8 INTs. But he ranked just 13th in this draft class in both adjusted completion rate and adjusted completion rate vs. the blitz. Lock’s best asset is his deep ball. Only 3 QBs in this class finished with a better adjusted completion rate on throws 20+ yards downfield. He’s also a plus athlete, earning a 76th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. So Lock might tally more rushing production as a pro than he did at Missouri. He figures to sit behind Joe Flacco for most or all of 2019 but should get a shot at the starting gig in 2020.

Check out Drew Lock's scouting report.

10:04pm EDT 4/25/19

The Broncos selected Iowa TE Noah Fant with the 20th pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. Fant was considered the best TE on Iowa a year ago at this time after posting a 30-494-11 line as a sophomore. Teammate T.J. Hockensen usurped Fant this past season, finishing with more catches and yards. Fant still tallied 39 catches for 519 yards himself, though, and led the Hawkeyes with 7 receiving scores. He ranked 6th in this TE class — just behind Hockensen — with 2.15 yards per route run. Fant blew up the Combine, clocking a 4.50-second 40 time and finishing with a 98th percentile SPARQ score. The biggest knock against him is his 12.1% drop rate over the past 2 seasons, but his hands didn’t look like a major problem on tape. Fant is also a serviceable blocker — although he’ll be a catch-first TE for the Broncos. Joining a depth chart alongside Jeff Heuerman and Jake Butt, Fant has every opportunity to capture a big rookie-year role. Longer term, he has top-5 fantasy upside.

Check out Noah Fant's scouting report.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) won't be able to participate in OTAs in late April, HC Vic Fangio said. Lindsay had wrist surgery in late December and was originally expected back by the end of April. So it sounds like his rehab is going a bit slower than expected. Lindsay should still be back by training camp, but the missed time this offseason isn't ideal for the former undrafted free agent. He's been going in the 4th round in March FFPC best-ball drafts.

Former Texans DB Kareem Jackson has agreed to a 3-year deal with the Broncos. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports it'll pay out $33 million, with $23 million of that guaranteed. Jackson spent time at both CB and safety with the Texans, primarily lining up at corner. He finished 2018 as the #14 graded CB by Pro Football Focus, garnering his best PFF grade since 2014. We'll see where Jackson lands in Denver's defense, heading into his age-31 season.

 
 
 

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