Shark Bites

Saints HC Sean Payton said Wednesday that rookie WR Tre'Quan Smith is ready for a bigger role. “We've gotta find ways to get him more touches," Payton said. "He's handling our installation. He knows what we're doing game plan-wise. And I think he's ready to prove that." Smith has seen just 1 target in each of the first 2 games, but his snap rate climbed from 17% in the opener to 33% in Week 2. That'll need to get above 50% before we can start to consider Smith a fantasy option. But there's certainly opportunity here. 60% of the Saints' targets have gone to WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara through 2 weeks. They need to find more balance.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston might not start in Week 4 when he's first eligible to return from suspension, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. We imagine whether Winston gets right back under center will depend largely on how QB Ryan Fitzpatrick plays these next 2 weeks. He was excellent in the opener but has trouble stringing quality outings together throughout his career. Tampa does have a Week 5 bye, so it's possible they give Winston that extra time to re-acclimate himself before getting him back out there in Week 6.

The Lions on Saturday cut RB Dwayne Washington and placed RB Zach Zenner on IR for a back injury, according to MLive.com. That could mean RB Ameer Abdullah has secured a spot on the 53-man roster. We'll see once Detroit finalizes things later today.

Packers HC Mike McCarthy said after Friday night's preseason game that RB Ty Montgomery's foot injury is "nothing of a serious nature." We'll see when he's able to get back on the field, but it sounds like he's tentatively on track for Week 1. Montgomery will open the season in a pass-catching role behind lead back Jamaal Williams.

Packers RB Ty Montgomery left Friday night’s exhibition at Oakland with an unspecified foot injury. We’ll see how serious the issue is.

WR Emmanuel Sanders has looked like "the best player on the field" early in Broncos training camp, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. The addition of rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton has "energized" Sanders, Palmer adds. Crappy QB play and an ankle injury sunk Sanders to a 60th-place PPR finish last year. But he ranked among the top 20 each of the previous 3 seasons. Healthy now and with a QB upgrade in Case Keenum, Sanders is capable of bouncing back into WR2 territory. He's a bargain at his current 7th-round, WR34 ADP.

Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith has been a standout early in training camp and is already getting 1st-team reps. The 3rd-round rookie was 1 of our favorite sleepers in this year's WR class, with an impressive combination of contested-catch and downfield ability. (He flashed some of that ability on this deep reception in Saturday's practice.) Smith is battling with Cameron Meredith and Ted Ginn for snaps and targets behind #1 WR Michael Thomas. Meredith is still the favorite, but Smith is plenty capable of carving out a significant role this season. He's an intriguing late-round flier in best-ball drafts.

The NFL officially announced Bucs QB Jameis Winston's 3-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy. Winston issued a statement and made no mention of appealing the ruling. "I now look forward to putting this behind me and I will continue to work hard every day to be a positive influence in my community and be the best person, teammate and leader I can be," Winston wrote. So he'll miss the first 3 games of the season against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. He'll return for Week 4 before going on a Week 5 bye. It makes Winston undraftable in standard-sized, lineup-setting leagues -- but he still makes sense as a late-round QB2 or QB3 in best ball. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is the favorite to start those first 3 weeks but will likely only be an option in 2-QB leagues. Fitzpatrick should at least be able to keep the Bucs offense on track. Tampa averaged 24.5 points in the 4 games Fitzpatrick saw extensive action in last year.

The NFL is expected to suspend Bucs QB Jameis Winston 3 games for violating its personal conduct policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The ban stems from a March 2016 incident when Winston allegedly groped an Uber driver. Charges were never filed against Winston, but the NFL has taken a hard line in these situations since the Ray Rice debacle. Schefter does add that "the league still has not notified Winston of its official decision, and the circumstances surrounding it still could lead to an increase or decrease of the three games." So this doesn't sound officially official yet. But fantasy drafters should be planning for now on Winston missing the first 3 games of the season vs. the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. It's a blow to his best-ball value and makes him tough to draft in standard-sized lineup-setting leagues. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is in line to start while Winston serves his suspension. Fitzpatrick was serviceable in 5 appearances last year, completing 58.9% of his passes with 7 TDs vs. 3 INTs. He's unlikely to be more than a QB2 option -- especially with no teams on bye during those first 3 weeks -- but is at least capable of keeping the Bucs' skill-position guys afloat.

Jeff Cameron of ESPN Radio 97.9 in Tallahassee, Fla., reports that Bucs QB Jameis Winston and his "camp" expect a league suspension over 2016 charges that Winston groped a female Uber driver. Winston's crew reportedly expects "a maximum of 3 games." Guess we'll see about this case, which surrounds an ongoing investigation. Obviously, any missed time would alter Winston's fantasy outlook. Losing the 1st 3 weeks would cost him a trip to New Orleans plus home matchups with Philly and Pittsburgh. Those defenses ranked 5th, 8th and 7th, respectively, in Football Outsiders' pass-D efficiency last season.

Ty Montgomery disappointed in his chance at lead-back duties for the Packers last year. He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and missed 8 games with injuries. But he's still set to play a significant role in Green Bay's 2018 offense, ESPN's Rob Demovsky confirms. Montgomery showed well in OTAs and "didn't appear to lose any ground" to RBs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, according to Demovsky. Montgomery averaged 5.9 yards per carry and caught 44 balls in more of a change-of-pace role back in 2016. He finished that season 33rd among RBs in PPR points. There's certainly room for him to return to that type of production this season. And Montgomery is being selected just 47th among RBs in recent best-ball drafts.

The Saints added Central Florida WR Tre'Quan Smith in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. This guy was one of our favorite sleepers in the WR class and lands in an intriguing spot. Smith led Central Florida in catches, yards and TDs in all 3 seasons there and tested as a 65th percentile athlete at the Combine. On film, he's one of the best contested-catch WRs in the class with his 6'2, 210-pound frame, 37.5-inch vertical and 87th percentile arm length. Per Pro Football Focus, Smith led all WRs in this draft class with 9 TDs on passes 20+ yards downfield last year. He'll battle Cameron Meredith and Ted Ginn for targets behind Michael Thomas this year and won't be more than a late-round flier in redraft leagues. But we like this landing spot long-term with offensive mastermind Sean Payton.

The Saints gave up next year's 1st-round pick to move up from 27th to 14th in Round 1 of the NFL Draft to take DE Marcus Davenport. The UT-San Antonio pass rusher tallied 15 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss over the past 2 season. He then posted the 3rd-best speed score in this edge class. Davenport will present lots of IDP upside in sack- and pressure-friendly fantasy football leagues.

The Saints and QB Drew Brees have agreed to a 2-year, $50 million contract with $27 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network. This deal took a bit longer than expected to materialize, but Brees was never leaving New Orleans. While his 10th-place fantasy finish this past season was his worst as a Saint, Brees remained as effective as ever. He set a career high with a 72.0% completion rate, averaged 8.1 yards per attempt and tossed 23 TDs vs. just 8 INTs. His fantasy ceiling has been capped in New Orleans' RB-centric offense, but Brees will remain 1 of the safest QB1 bets in 2018 fantasy drafts.

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) was limited in practice all week but isn’t listed on the final injury report. He’ll play against the Bucs on Sunday and should be closer to 100% than he was last week. Thomas remains a must-start in season-long leagues.

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle) is out for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. WR Cody Latimer (thigh) is also out. That leaves Bennie Fowler and Jordan Taylor behind Demaryius Thomas on Denver’s WR depth chart.

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) was limited in Wednesday's practice. The fact that he was out there at all early in the week is a good sign, but Thomas will be a risky Week 17 fantasy play if we don't see him get in a full practice on Thursday or Friday. He set season lows in targets (5) and snap rate (62.5%) last weekend.

11:12am EST 12/24/17

Saints WR Michael Thomas (hamstring) is active for today’s game against the Falcons. He was added to the injury report on Saturday and was reportedly a game-time decision. It adds risk to his Week 16 outlook, but Thomas would be awfully tough to sit in season-long fantasy leagues.

Saints WR Michael Thomas is "considered 50/50 to play" against the Falcons today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Thomas will test out his ailing hamstring before the 1 p.m. ET start, and then the team will decide his status. The situation obviously adds risk even if Thomas is active. Weigh that against your replacement option once the inactives arrive at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Saints WR Michael Thomas was added to the injury report on Saturday as questionable with a hamstring. We don't have any other details on the situation. The good news is that we'll find out Thomas' status by noon ET tomorrow. If active, he'll remain a must-start in season-long fantasy leagues.

 
 
 

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