Shark Bites

The Falcons added Southern Miss RB Ito Smith in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith topped 1,100 rushing yards each of the past 3 seasons and left school with a solid 5.5 yards per carry average. He’s also a strong pass-catcher, averaging 10.3 yards per catch on 140 career grabs. At 5’9 and 195 pounds, he projects as a change-of-pace option at the next level. He has a shot to step in as Atlanta’s #2 RB if Tevin Coleman walks in free agency next offseason.

The Falcons selected Alabama WR Calvin Ridley with the 26th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ridley broke Amari Cooper’s school record for receiving yards by a freshman with 1,045 in 2015. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards in either his final 2 seasons, although Alabama’s passing game wasn’t as effective. Consider that Ridley posted a 63.6% catch rate last year, while all other Tide wideouts combined to haul in just 52.0% of their targets. Ridley is arriving from a pro-style offense and is 1 of the best route runners in the draft class. In other words, he’s about as pro-ready as they come. The concerns are that he’s small (6’0, 189 pounds), unathletic (8th percentile SPARQ score) and relatively old (he’ll turn 24 in December). It all makes it tough to get excited about his upside. So does the fact that he’s stuck with target hog Julio Jones in the short term. Ridley will battle with Mohamed Sanu for #2 on the totem pole.

The Ravens selected South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst goes 6’5, 250 pounds and tested as a 46th percentile athlete. He totaled 92 catches and 1,175 yards over the past 2 seasons — but just 3 TDs. He didn’t ‘wow’ us on tape, either. Hurst won’t lack for opportunity in Baltimore, especially after the Ravens made a significant investment in him. But we’d be surprised if he developed into more than a low-end TE1.

Falcons WR Justin Hardy recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. Recovery is expected to take just "a few weeks," per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, so Hardy's offseason shouldn't be impacted much. He was a non-factor in fantasy this season, finishing with a 20-221-3 line on 29 targets. Hardy could see a few extra looks in 2018 if WR Taylor Gabriel departs in free agency, but he still won't be worth a pick in fantasy drafts.

Rams HC Sean McVay confirmed on Wednesday that QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley won't play against the 49ers this weekend. OLs Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan will join them as healthy scratches. And we're not expecting WRs Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp or Sammy Watkins to play much, if at all. It'll be Sean Mannion under center, throwing to guys like Josh Reynolds, Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas. Malcolm Brown will operate as the Rams' lead back.

Rams HC Sean McVay said Tuesday that he'll rest some starters in this weekend's finale against the 49ers. His team will either be the NFC's #3 or #4 seed, regardless what happens in Week 17. “It is one of those deals where I think you might see us rest some guys and use this week... knowing that you do have a home playoff game, regardless of how things play out, this might provide an opportunity to get some guys healthy.” McVay specifically mentioned QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley as guys "likely" to be rested, according to insider Joe Curley. That'd leave Sean Mannion under center and Malcolm Brown as the lead back. It also makes WRs Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp much less attractive -- assuming they play on Sunday.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) isn’t listed on the final injury report after putting in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. There was never any concern about his status for this weekend’s game against the Saints. Jones remains a WR1 for that one.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. We don't have any details on the injury and haven't heard anything to suggest he's in danger of missing this weekend's game against the Saints. But check back tomorrow for another update.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien (back) is active for today's game against the 49ers. He remains a high-risk IDP option after missing the full week of practice.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien is questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers. He missed practice all week with a lower-back injury. We'd try not to use him in IDP lineups even if he turns up active. We'll have to wait until about 3 p.m. ET Sunday to update his game status.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, despite playing 97% of the snaps in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. The injury report on the team website lists "hamstring," but The Tennessean reports that he's dealing with a lower-back issue. The hamstring would be more worrisome, given that it cost him 6 games in the 1st half of the season. Either way, we'll keep an eye on his status heading into the weekend.

The Cardinals have ruled ILB Deone Bucannon out for Sunday's game against the Rams. Bucannon did, reportedly, avoid serious injury to the joint that required surgery in the spring. But he didn't participate in any practice this week. We'll see about Week 14.

Cardinals LB Deone Bucannon left Sunday's win over the Jaguars with an injury to his right ankle, HC Bruce Arians told reporters afterward. That's particularly bad news, because that's the ankle that kept Bucannon out all offseason following spring surgery. We'll see about the specific diagnosis.

Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (knee) is active for today's game against the Browns. It's an upside spot for his IDP outlook against DeShone Kizer, though the knee adds risk. He only put in a limited workout Friday of this week.

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Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) is active for today’s game against the Cowboys. He only got in a limited practice on Friday, so there’s some added risk here. But Jones remains a must-start in season-long leagues.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) will play against the Cowboys on Sunday, according to the team’s official website. That’s no surprise after Jones played through the injury last week. He put in a limited practice on Friday after sitting out the first 2 days. There’s increased risk here, but Jones remains a must-start in season-long leagues.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. HC Dan Quinn said this morning that he thought Jones might be able to get in a limited workout, so it at least sounds like he was close. We'll see if he's able to get back on the field tomorrow.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (lower leg) did not practice on Wednesday. He did participate in the walkthrough, though, HC Dan Quinn said. Jones played through the injury last week and should tentatively be expected to play against the Cowboys this Sunday. We'll get another update tomorrow.

Falcons HC Dan Quinn said Monday that WR Julio Jones played through a lower-leg injury yesterday. We saw him looking a bit hobbled on a few occasions, and Jones' snap rate was down a bit to 71.7%. But he caught 6 of 12 targets for a season-high 118 yards. We'll keep an eye on him this week, but he should be fine for Sunday's game against the Cowboys.

The forecast for today's Falcons-Jets game calls for a 100% chance of rain with 17-20 mph winds. The weather will definitely impact this game -- and probably more so for a dome team in Atlanta. We've moved passing-game guys and kickers in this game down the Week 8 Rankings.


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