Shark Bites

"We're not sure how much we're going to play our starters ... some of the frontline guys will be very limited the next two weeks," Raiders HC Jon Gruden said Saturday, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. Bair's story includes that said frontline group "might be done playing in the preseason." That's not a huge deal for Carr overall, but it would mean no game action with Antonio Brown before the regular season. We'll be interested to see who sits vs. who plays, as those who play more figure to be those still fighting for jobs.

The Jaguars on Saturday activated WR Marqise Lee from the PUP list, and he joined the team on the field, according to NFL.com. There had been reports that Jacksonville might not have Lee for the start of the regular season, which no longer should be in question. Dede Westbrook, D.J. Chark and Chris Conley have been running as the top 3 receivers. We'll see if Lee can work his way back into that mix now that he's back from the ACL tear that cost him all of 2018.

NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that Chargers S Derwin James will have surgery on his right foot and is expected to miss "around 3 months." That timeline would return him in mid-to-late November. The Chargers play Kansas City in Mexico on Nov. 18 and then have their bye in Week 12. At this point, the Week 13 (Dec. 1) game at Denver looks like a hopeful return date for the star defender. All of this means that James doesn't belong in redraft fantasy football plans for this year. We'll see if he's a late-season waiver option. Adrian Phillips stepped in for James at Friday's practice and figures to hold down the starting job. Phillips cracked the top 30 fantasy DBs last year without a clear full-time role. He now carries top-12 upside into this season.

Through 2 preseason games, Bucs RBs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones have split 1st-team work almost directly down the middle. Barber has tallied 5 carries and 1 target vs. Jones' 4 carries and 1 target. This looks like a committee backfield to open the season, leaving both RBs as uninspiring fantasy options. For more preseason observations, check out Preseason Week 2 Notes.

Dolphins QB Josh Rosen drew the start in Friday night's preseason game against the Bucs. He played the entire 1st half, completing 10 of 18 passes (55.6%) for 102 yards (5.7 YPA). Rosen's receivers dropped a couple of balls, but he was also spared an INT when Bucs CB Jamel Dean dropped an easy one. Rosen also took 3 sacks. It was a mostly uninspiring performance -- but QB Ryan Fitzpatrick didn't fare any better, completing just 3 of 9 passes for 20 yards on 3 possessions. HC Brian Flores announced after the game that Fitzpatrick will start the 3rd exhibition. That seemingly makes him the favorite to be under center come Week 1. But this continues to be a situation to avoid in fantasy drafts.

Former QB and current ESPN Seattle analyst Brock Huard believes Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is in for a busy and productive season. “I’ve never seen a guy so dominant in his execution in the movement within an offense as I did with Tyler this offseason,” Huard said. “He’s in the slot, he’s at X, he’s at Z, he’s on jet sweeps, he’s everywhere. In the last about 11 years of doing this job and watching thousands of Seahawk practices, if you add them all up over all of the years, I’ve never seen the Seahawks most highlight one player the way they did Tyler Lockett this offseason.” Strong words. Lockett has been super efficient throughout his first 4 NFL seasons, posting a 70.3% catch rate and 14.3 yards per catch. While Seattle's run-focused offense caps his upside a bit, there are 73 targets up for grabs with Doug Baldwin's retirement. That's enough to make Lockett a nice WR2 target in fantasy drafts.

6:08pm EDT 8/16/19

The NFL has conditionally reinstated Patriots WR Josh Gordon, according to both Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport. He can rejoin the team on Sunday for meetings, conditioning work and individual drills, according to the statement released by the league. The statement doesn’t say whether Gordon is eligible to play in games yet — but Schefter confirms that he’s “ready to go for the regular season.” Of course, fantasy drafters need to be wary of the potential for relapse. Gordon performed like a WR2 after joining the Pats during last season, though, and remains a high-upside fantasy prospect. His return crushes the sleeper prospects of guys like N’Keal Harry, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers and Maurice Harris. QB Tom Brady obviously gets a boost. Check out our updated projections for all of the Patriots.

Jets ILB Avery Williamson tore his right ACL in Thursday night's preseason game against the Falcons and will miss the season, according to multiple reports. Neville Hewitt sits next on the current "unofficial" depth chart, though rookie Blake Cashman could compete for the spot. The injury leaves C.J. Mosley as the only draftable Jets LB in most IDP leagues.

Chargers S Derwin James sustained a stress fracture in the 5th metatarsal of his right foot, the team announced Friday. James will "continue to be evaluated and the course of treatment is still to be determined," ESPN's Eric D. Williams reports. This is the Jones fracture that we've seen strike down several WRs and Greg Olsen in recent seasons. We'll see about the specific return timeline for James, but we have to expect him to miss some regular-season games at this point. Players regularly suffer setbacks when trying to return from the injury, too. This basically takes the top fantasy DB off most IDP draft boards for now. Adrian Phillips filled in for James in Friday's practice, according to Williams. Phillips immediately becomes an intriguing fantasy sleeper. He finished among the top 30 fantasy DBs last year as a S-LB hybrid.

Panthers QB Cam Newton's arm strength now is "like night and day" compared to last year, former Panther and current Bill Captain Munnerlyn said. Munnerlyn spent the past couple of days practicing against Newton. “His arm looks a whole lot better now. Man, to see him come back from that injury, I know it’s been tough on him," Munnerlyn said. “To see him come back like he’s doing, I expect big things from him." All reports on Newton's recovery from shoulder surgery continue to be positive. He's a nice value at his current 9th-round, QB10 ADP.

Redskins WR Terry McLaurin was held out of the team's 2nd preseason game with a tailbone injury, HC Jay Gruden said. Gruden didn't provide any more information on the injury or how long McLaurin will be sidelined. The rookie had been enjoying a strong camp and is reportedly in the mix for a starting job. We'll see when he's able to get back on the field.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears that there's "guarded optimism" that Colts QB Andrew Luck (calf/ankle) will be ready for Week 1. That pretty much matches what we heard from GM Chris Ballard on Wednesday. Luck certainly isn't a lock to be out for the the opener against the Chargers, but we get the vibe that he's better than 50/50 to play Week 1. Luck's ADP has dropped to the 8th round in drafts over the past couple of days.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen suffered an ankle injury at practice this week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Allen isn't expected to play in the 3 remaining preseason games but is expected to be ready for Week 1, per Schefter. We're not moving Allen in our WR rankings right now but will keep a close eye on him as we move toward the start of the season.

Raiders GM Mike Mayock told HBO's Hard Knocks that he expects WR Antonio Brown (foot) to be back to full speed in a week. He was in uniform and worked out prior to Thursday night's preseason game against the Cardinals. (Here's some video.) Brown has participated in just 1 training-camp practice with his new team so far. He's been dropping to the early 3rd round in recent fantasy drafts.

Lions WR Marvin Jones has missed the last week of practice with knee trouble and won't play in the 2nd preseason game, the Detroit Press' Dave Birkett reports. Jones, of course, missed the final 7 games of last year with a knee injury that required surgery. "Again we’re just trying to take some time off to make sure we’re being smart with it in the situation," HC Matt Patricia said Thursday. This has become a situation to monitor. Hopefully Jones can play in Detroit's 3rd exhibition.

Steelers WR Donte Moncrief returned to practice on Wednesday. He ended up missing 6 days with a finger injury but caught 3 TDs from QB Ben Roethlisberger on his 1st day back. Moncrief is still considered the favorite for #2 WR duties in Pittsburgh, although WR James Washington's big showing in the preseason opener has put some heat on Moncrief. It'll be a situation to watch closely over the next 2 exhibitions.

Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki has failed to take a step forward in training camp, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero. "Gesicki has neither become a consistent physical mismatch against safeties or corners or shown superior quickness and speed against linebackers," Gesicki writes, adding that Nick O'Leary has been the team's best pass-catching TE. We'll see if Gesicki can get going in the 2nd and 3rd preseason games. For now, though, he's not worth drafting in standard-sized redraft leagues.

Browns WR Odell Beckham sat out the team portion of Wednesday's practice with a hip injury, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano. OBJ was able to participate in some individual drills. "Team is not concerned about a long-term absence," Graziano adds. This sounds like a minor issue, but it'll be worth monitoring over the next couple of weeks -- especially considering Beckham's injury history and the high price fantasy drafters are paying to land him.

Dolphins HC Brian Flores said after Wednesday's practice that RB Kenyan Drake is sidelined with a foot injury. Flores added that Drake will be out "a while" but that the team is "hopeful" to get him back before Week 1. That sounds like Drake is questionable for the start of the season. We'll continue to monitor his status but just nudged him down the RB rankings. Kalen Ballage has a golden opportunity to open the year as Miami's lead back.

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.

 
 
 

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