Shark Bites

The injury that has Patriots WR Julian Edelman sidelined for the start of training camp is a broken thumb, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The injury reportedly occurred when Edelman was playing catch 3 weeks ago. Rapoport confirms that Edelman is fully expected to be ready by Week 1. We probably won't see him this preseason, though, which could help us get him at a discount in fantasy drafts.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman is expected to be sidelined for "about 3 weeks" with a left thumb injury, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. That timeline would have Edelman back on the field by mid-August. So barring a setback, the injury shouldn't be an issue by the time Week 1 rolls around. We'll keep an eye on him, but we're not adjusting Edelman's projections right now. His absence leaves N'Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris, Dontrelle Inman and Braxton Berrios as New England's top 5 WRs to open training camp.

The Patriots are placing RB Sony Michel on the active/PUP list to begin training camp. ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that means Michel has yet to be cleared for on-field activities. Michel, of course, is working back from offseason knee surgery. His progress will be a key training-camp story, along with how rookie Damien Harris is performing (and his role).

The NFL Network's Michael Giardi hears that Patriots RB Sony Michel is "progressing quickly" from his arthroscopic knee surgery. Michel has already resumed running "full tilt," Giardi adds. It sounds like Michel will be ready for training camp after missing the offseason program. But durability remains a significant concern for the 2nd-year back, who tore his ACL in high school, had knee surgery last August and then missed 2 games with knee trouble as a rookie. RB Damien Harris reportedly impressed this spring with Michel sidelined.

Patriots RB Sony Michel had arthroscopic knee surgery this offseason, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Michel had been missing workouts without explanation. It's not yet clear which knee had the operation, but his left has been the problem since he tore the ACL on that side in high school in 2011. Michel also had a "minor" procedure on the knee last August that cost him the preseason and the regular-season opener. And he later missed 2 more games with an issue in the same knee. Howe reports that this latest surgery is also "minor" and that Michel's expected to return for training camp. But it looks worrisome from here that Michel is averaging a knee surgery a year so far. We've already been low on the 2nd-year Patriots RB, who might be in for a move further down the rankings given positive reports on rookie Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead so far.

Patriots TE Ben Watson has been suspended 4 games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Watson admitted in a Facebook post that he took a banned substance after he announced his retirement earlier this offseason. The Pats knew of the impending ban when they signed Watson, so it shouldn't impact his odds of making the team. But it makes him pretty much undraftable in fantasy drafts. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse figure to open the season atop New England's TE depth chart.

TE Ben Watson has inked a 1-year, $3 million deal with the Patriots. The 38-year-old has remained effective, posting a 74-825-6 line with the Saints in 2016, a 61-522-4 with the Ravens in 2017 and a 35-400-2 back in New Orleans last year. He spent his first 6 NFL seasons with the Patriots, including 3 under current OC Josh McDaniels. Watson will battle with talented but oft-injured Austin Seferian-Jenkins for targets this season. It's worth noting that ASJ's 1-year deal is for less than a million bucks. Consider Watson the early favorite.

The Patriots grabbed Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Stidham started his college career at Baylor, completing 75 of 109 passes (68.8%) for 1,265 yards, 12 TDs and 2 INTs in spot duty. He then transferred to Auburn, where he started the past 2 seasons. Stidham turned in an impressive 2017, completing 66.5% of his passes and averaging 8.5 yards per attempt. But his numbers sunk across the board this past year: 60.7% completion rate and 7.6 yards per attempt. Stidham will be the latest to attempt to become Tom Brady’s successor in New England.

The Patriots added Alabama RB Damien Harris in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft. The #1 RB in the 2015 recruiting class led talented ‘Bama backfields in rushing in each of the past 3 seasons: 1,037 yards in 2016, 1,000 in 2017 and 876 this past year. He leaves school with a strong 6.4 yards per carry (half a yard better than Josh Jacobs) and also totaled 52 catches across his 4 years on campus. Harris isn’t a flashy back, but he packs a punch at 5’10, 216 pounds and registered a solid 46th percentile SPARQ score at the Combine. The pick feels a bit redundant for the Patriots, who have Sony Michel coming off an impressive season as lead ball-carrier. But Michel has a long injury history, including a knee injury last August that cost him the season’s first 3 games.

The Patriots spent a 3rd-round pick in the NFL Draft on edge player Chase Winovich from Michigan. Winovich outproduced 1st-round teammate Rashan Gary, including 34.5 tackles for loss over the past 2 years. He then blew up the Combine with the class' 6th-best speed score, the 3rd-best 3-cone time and the top short-shuttle time. He also ranked 4th in the class among EDGE players in Pro Football Focus' pass-rush win percentage and 2nd in run-stop percentage. We'll see whether Winovich settles in as a DE or LB for New England, but there's clearly IDP upside either way.

The Patriots selected Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry with the 32nd pick of the 2019 NFL Draft. The #1 WR in the 2016 recruiting class led the Sun Devils in catches and receiving TDs as a true freshman. Then he busted out for 82 grabs, 1,142 yards and 8 scores as a sophomore. The catches and yards both ranked top 14 in the country. Harry posted a 73-1,088-9 line this past season, accounting for 32.0% of Arizona State’s receptions, 37.6% of the receiving yards and 47.4% of the receiving TDs. Those market shares rank 4th, 6th and 5th among the 48 WRs invited to this year’s Combine. The 6’3, 225-pounder ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical in Indianapolis to earn a 75th percentile SPARQ score. The tape shows a guy who’s dominant in contested situations and dangerous after the catch. Harry was the #1 player in our Pre-Draft Dynasty Rookie Rankings and will very likely stay there in the post-draft list. He has a clear path to 2019 fantasy value in a WR corps consisting of Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas and Phillip Dorsett.

Check out N'Keal Harry's scouting report.

The Cardinals have signed WR Damiere Byrd to a 1-year deal. The 5'9, 180-pounder caught just 12 balls across 3 seasons with the Panthers, making his biggest splash in the 2017 preseason opener. We'll see if Byrd can carve out a worthwhile role in a fairly open Arizona WR corps, but he's not likely to factor into the average fantasy football league's draft picture in 2019.

Saints TE Ben Watson (appendicitis) is out for Sunday's game against the Rams. He's averaged just 2.2 targets per game over the last 5 while playing less than 50% of the offensive snaps, so it's not a major loss. Josh Hill should serve as New Orleans' lead TE this weekend, and TE Dan Arnold figures to be active after being a healthy scratch in the Divisional Round.

Broncos TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) isn’t listed on the final Week 17 injury report. He’ll return for Sunday’s game against the Chargers but is a weak fantasy play.

Broncos TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) is inactive for tonight's game against the Raiders. He opened the week on the sideline but returned for a pair of limited practices. That leaves the Broncos with Brian Parker -- who has seen 7 targets on the year -- as their top available TE.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (neck) is active for today’s game against the Vikings. He shouldn’t be in fantasy lineups in his 1st action since Week 3, but we’re curious to see how much work he steals from Sony Michel and James White.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman's ankle injury is "not considered serious," ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. "He's not expected to miss much, if any, time," Schefter adds. Edelman is helped by New England's Week 11 bye. It sounds like he has a shot to be ready come Week 12. We'll keep an eye on him when the Pats return to practice next week.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman left in the 4th quarter of Sunday's game in Tennessee with an ankle injury. He's officially questionable to return -- but don't expect to see him back out there with New England down big. We'll look for an update on Edelman's status.

11:11am EST 11/11/18

Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) is active for today’s game against the Titans. It’ll be his 1st action since Week 7, which adds some risk to his outlook. But Michel racked up 316 yards and 4 TDs on 67 carries in his last 3 healthy games, so there’s clearly RB1 upside here.

The Patriots expect RB Sony Michel to return for today's game against the Titans, according to multiple reports. He missed the past 2 weeks with an ankle injury. We'll see if WR Cordarrelle Patterson has worked his way into a larger share of rushing duties going forward, but you'll find Michel inside starter range in our Week 10 RB rankings.

 
 
 

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