Shark Bites

Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) was limited in Wednesday's practice. He's been practicing for about a week now but still isn't a full-go. His availability for Week 1 remains uncertain -- but he'll be tough to trust in fantasy lineups even if he ends up active against the Texans on Sunday. RB Rex Burkhead (knee), meanwhile, isn't listed on the injury report and will serve as New England's lead back in the opener.

Browns HC Hue Jackson said Monday that WR Antonio Callaway will start this weekend's opener against the Steelers. That'd be alongside WR Jarvis Landry and instead of WR Josh Gordon. Of course, who starts is far less important than who plays the most snaps. And we'd still bet on Gordon playing the 2nd most snaps among Browns WRs. But he won't be a full-go after essentially missing all of August. Gordon will be a risk/reward WR3 in Week 1 fantasy lineups.

The Patriots are placing rookie WR Braxton Berrios on IR, meaning he's out for the season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The most recent reports on Berrios indicated no serious injury, so this just looks like a way to stash a guy who wasn't headed for a meaningful 2018 role. The fact that New England doesn't want to cut Berrios loose, however, makes him worth considering as a dynasty stash.

Browns WR Josh Gordon (hamstring) will practice on Monday, HC Hue Jackson said. Gordon has been sidelined for the past week with hamstring tightness. He'll be "a little more than limited" when he returns on Monday, according to Jackson. It sounds like Gordon still isn't a lock to play against the Steelers in Week 1. And if he does, it'll be with precious few reps with QB Tyrod Taylor.

The Texans have released TE Stephen Anderson. The undersized pass-catching TE has struggled with drops over his first 2 NFL seasons. Ryan Griffin will open the year as Houston's lead TE, with rookie Jordan Akins backing him up.

Saints WR Cameron Meredith hauled in 2 balls for 72 yards and a score in Thursday night's preseason finale. He toasted his defender for this 56-yard bomb and later scored from 16 yards out. We usually don't like to see guys getting extensive run in the 4th exhibition, but Meredith needed it. He's coming off a torn ACL, missed a couple weeks of camp with an undisclosed injury and had yet to catch a pass this preseason. Now we'll see exactly what kind of role Meredith plays out of the gate. He won't be a recommended Week 1 fantasy starter, but we still expect him to eventually settle in as the Saints' #2 WR.

Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) returned to practice this week but remains limited. “He’s progressing pretty well,” RBs coach Ivan Fears said. “He’s still under doctors’ care — they haven’t totally freed him up for us to do everything with him, so we’re doing everything we possibly can to keep him up to date. Anything we can do, walkthrough-wise, that’s not going to be a problem ... We’re keeping him up to date, but until he’s totally turned loose, he’s still limited right now.” Michel's Week 1 availability "remains unknown," according to the Boston Herald's Kevin Duffy. We won't be able to trust the rookie in early-season fantasy lineups, but there's still intriguing upside here. Michel is worth a look if he gets into the 7th or 8th round of drafts.

Patriots RB Sony Michel (knee) returned to practice on Monday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. It's unclear how much work the rookie got in, but this is at least a step in the right direction. Michel has been sidelined since early August after having a procedure to drain fluid from his knee. Missing so much time figures to leave him with a limited role early in the season -- but he's capable of quickly carving out a significant workload in 1 of the league's most productive backfields. Michel's current ADP sitting in the mid-8th round. He's a risk/reward pick there.

Browns WR Josh Gordon did take part in Saturday morning's walkthrough after being reinstated, but he sat out afternoon work "largely because of tightness in his hamstring that occurred while conditioning at the Browns' facility over the past week," according to Cleveland.com. Just another thing to watch with Gordon over the coming 2 weeks.

Updating a previous item, the Browns have activated WR Josh Gordon from the non-football injury list, and he's cleared to participate in any team activities -- including full practices and games. We'll see if he can make it into real action before the regular season begins, but know that drafting Gordon likely won't give you a Week 1 starting option in fantasy -- at least not a guy you can count on.

Update: Gordon tweaked his hamstring shortly after returning to the team. Any extra missed time only adds risk to an already volatile fantasy pick.

Browns WR Josh Gordon has been cleared to participate in walkthroughs, HC Hue Jackson said Friday. "Josh Gordon will be at practice every day, but you are asking if he will be practicing. Probably - again he is into the second phase of where I want him to be,'' said Jackson. "He'll definitely be involved in walk-throughs now. How much he does will be in proportion of what I see and where he is." Jackson added that he'd be open to playing Gordon in the preseason finale, presuming he's allowed. This situation remains murky -- and we're just about 2 weeks away from the start of the season. Gordon remains an extremely risky pick at his late-4th-round ADP.

Patriots RB Sony Michel remains sidelined after having fluid drained from his knee in early August. He's now missed 10 straight practices and 2 preseason games, with his last on-field work coming on August 1. Michel's availability for Week 1 remains uncertain, and it's tough to see the rookie playing a significant early-season role after missing so much time. We'll continue to monitor his progress. Michel's ADP over the last week is sitting in the mid-6th round.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (wrist) returned to practice on Monday. He missed last weekend's preseason game, but the wrist is nothing to worry about. Thomas remains a nice value at his 4th-round ADP.

Saints TE Ben Watson "still looks like he's in the prime of his career," according to insider Joel Erickson. He's "made eye-popping, contested catches a normal occurrence in his return to the Saints," Erickson writes. Watson is 37 now but racked up 61 catches in Baltimore last season. And he has 3 years of experience in the Saints offense, including a 74-825-6 line back in 2015. There hasn't been much buzz on Watson, but he appears locked in as New Orleans' lead TE. And he's remained dirt cheap, with an ADP sitting in the 16th round.

Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (knee) returned to practice on Sunday. He ended up missing a couple of weeks -- plus the first 2 preseason games -- with what insider Jeff Howe reported is a "slight tear" in his knee. We'll be keeping a close eye on Burkhead over the next few weeks. If healthy, he should open the season as New England's lead ball-carrier. RB Sony Michel remains sidelined with his knee issue.

Browns HC Hue Jackson said there's "a chance" WR Josh Gordon plays in the opener against the Steelers. "Obviously, we're just going to take it one step at a time," Jackson added. "His focus is going to be on meetings and conditioning, and then we'll just kind of go from there. Hopefully, we can get him up and running by the first game." Gordon rejoined the team on Saturday but isn't yet allowed to practice -- and there's "no timetable" for when that will chance, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. Throw in a new QB and a new offense, and there are still at least a few hurdles to clear before Gordon is a fantasy factor again.

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas missed Saturday's preseason game with a wrist injury. HC Vance Joseph called it a "sore wrist" and didn't seem overly concerned. We'll keep an eye on Thomas, but we're not moving him in the WR rankings right now.

Browns WR Josh Gordon tweeted Saturday just after noon that he's ready to "humbly return to being a member" of the Browns. The announcement comes a day after Cleveland's 2nd preseason game against the Bills. We have to assume he'll rejoin the team for practice in the coming week. We'll see if Gordon's ready to play in the "dress rehearsal" 3rd exhibition Thursday against Philadelphia. We'll also have to see what his extended absence means for his depth-chart standing. Of course, Gordon's return is obviously good news for both the Browns offense and the fantasy outlook for 1 of the league's most physically gifted receivers. His ADP has remained a bit high for our tastes, but Gordon's draft-day evaluation comes down more to where (if at any point) you feel comfy taking the risk.

Update: According to NFL PR guy Brian McCarthy, Gordon is allowed to attend practices and meetings but cannot yet participate in practice. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Gordon is still in the league's "jointly negotiated substance abuse program." Gordon remains a risky pick in fantasy football drafts.

WR Cameron Meredith made his Saints debut in the team's 2nd preseason game on Friday night -- his 1st live action since tearing his ACL and MCL last August. He said afterward that it "felt great" to be back out there but also admitted that he still has work to do. "I still need to kind of get my wheels together, get up to the speed of the game a little bit," Meredith said. No surprise there. We'll be keeping a close eye on Meredith's usage in New Orleans' 3rd preseason game, when QB Drew Brees is expected to play. (He hasn't played in the first 2 exhibitions.) Meredith still has a good shot to emerge as the #2 WR and is an upside pick in the double-digit rounds 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.

 
 
 

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