Shark Bites

Texans WR Keke Coutee has been diagnosed with an ankle injury that "isn't regarded as serious," according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. Exhale. This looked like a potentially serious injury when it happened, but it now sounds like Coutee has a shot to be ready for the start of the season. We'll look for further updates on his status. For now, we're not moving him down the WR rankings.

Texans WR Keke Coutee suffered an apparent right knee injury in Thursday night's preseason opener. He was in obvious pain and was carted back to the locker room. "It doesn't look good," longtime beat writer John McClain tweeted. We'll update Coutee's status as soon as we learn more.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones singled out RB Tony Pollard as a standout in training camp. "Tony Pollard has done a real nice job out there," Jones said. "He's getting a little bit of everything. He's probably one that has stuck out for me if I were going to pick one." The 4th-round rookie played behind Darrell Henderson at Memphis but averaged 6.8 yards per carry and 12.4 yards per catch on 104 grabs over the last 3 seasons. The 6'0, 210-pounder clocked a 4.41-second 40 time at the Combine and registered a 72nd percentile SPARQ score. Pollard has been getting 1st-team reps in camp -- a sign that he's set to play a real role this season. How big that role is obviously depends heavily on whether RB Ezekiel Elliott shows up. We'll continue to monitor the Zeke situation, but Pollard is certainly worth a late-round flier in upcoming fantasy drafts.

The Cowboys will miss DE Robert Quinn for the 1st 2 games because of a PED suspension, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The news comes in the same week that Quinn broke his left hand, which will require surgery. On the plus side, the 2 games give him a little more time to recover from that. Assuming the suspension holds up, Quinn would return for an upside home matchup with the Dolphins in Week 3.

Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports that 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon's right knee "was not feeling good after working the past 2 days" and that "he'll be shut down for a while." That doesn't sound good for a guy who missed the whole set of offseason workouts and the start of camp in his return from last year's ACL tear. McKinnon figures to at least open the season behind Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. He might also be in danger of starting the year on IR. (San Francisco can't put him on the regular-season PUP after activating him from the camp PUP this week.) McKinnon's situation has produced some movement in our RB rankings.

Update: HC Kyle Shanahan said after Thursday's practice that McKinnon will receive a platelet rich plasma injection in his troublesome knee and "could" be back in 2 weeks. The goal, Shanny said, is for McKinnon to be ready for Week 1. We'll see.

"The theme of Ravens training camp has been [QB Lamar] Jackson exceeding expectations as a passer," ESPN's Jamison Hensley writes. This isn't the 1st time we've heard that sentiment over the past few weeks. Jackson has reportedly made big strides in accuracy and consistency even since spring workouts. He completed 29 of 43 attempts (67.4%) in 7-on-7 and team drills against the Jaguars this week. Rushing production will continue to fuel Jackson's fantasy value in 2019. But if he can be just average as a passer, it'll be a big boost to his weekly ceiling and floor.

The Browns have traded RB Duke Johnson to the Texans in exchange for a conditional 4th-round pick that can become a 3rd-rounder based on undisclosed conditions, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports. Johnson has been asking out of Cleveland all offseason, and the Texans cutting ties with RB D'Onta Foreman finally did the trick. In Houston, Johnson will slide right in as the #2 RB and dominate passing-down work. We'll see how apt the Texans are to use him on early downs. RB Lamar Miller has been good-not-great in that role over the past 3 seasons. Consider Johnson a RB3 with upside for now. We'll be keeping a close eye on his usage. Downgrade Miller to RB3 status now that he'll be losing passing-down snaps. The Johnson addition is another boon to QB Deshaun Watson's fantasy outlook. Meanwhile in Cleveland, RB Nick Chubb is now set up to play an every-down role. He'll still need to contend with RB Kareem Hunt over the 2nd half of the season, but Chubb's fantasy stock gets a nice boost here.

Update: The Browns will receive a 3rd-round pick if Johnson is active for 10+ games, according to The Athletic's Zac Jackson.

Saints HC Sean Payton said RB Alvin Kamara's usage won't change this season, despite the loss of RB Mark Ingram. “It will be similar to what we’ve been seeing,” Payton said. “We’ve been pleased with the balance we’ve had with him. We think it’s been a good count.” Kamara averaged 22.8 touches per game over the first 4 weeks of last season with Ingram suspended. That sunk to 17.2 touches per game over his final 13 outings, including the playoffs. It sounds like we should expect something around that latter mark in 2019. Of course, Kamara still ranked 5th among RBs in PPR and non-PPR points from Week 5 to 16 with Ingram in the mix. He remains a locked-in top 4 draft pick across fantasy formats. The other fantasy takeaway here is that free-agent addition Latavius Murray should see something similar to the 13.4 touches per game Ingram averaged alongside Kamara last year. That'd be enough to make Murray at least a weekly RB3/flex option.

Eagles RB Miles Sanders has been "better than expected" in pass protection in training camp, according to insider Jimmy Kempski. We've heard tons of positive buzz on Sanders as a runner over the past couple of weeks, but this is the 1st time his ability in the passing game has been talked up. Previous reports had RB Jordan Howard looking most reliable in pass protection. Sanders' work in the passing game will be worth monitoring closely this preseason. If he can stay on the field in passing situations, it'd give him a path to top-20 fantasy production.

Niners rookie DE Nick Bosa left Wednesday's practice with a sprained right ankle, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That figures to keep him out for at least the 1st preseason game. We'll see what the timetable looks like beyond that.

Former NFL head team Dr. David Chao believes Raiders WR Antonio Brown "is on path to return well before the regular season." NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the damage to the bottom of Brown's feet was caused by a "cryogenic chamber mishap." Chao compares Brown's condition to "trench foot" that soldiers experienced in World War I. It's all well above our pay grade. But the fantasy takeaway here is that Brown shouldn't be in danger of missing the start of the season. That said, the missed practice time in a new offense and with a new QB is a concern. We're generally avoiding Brown at his mid-2nd-round price tag.

Chiefs RB Damien Williams returned to practice on Wednesday. He ended up missing 8 days with his hamstring injury. RBs Carlos Hyde, Darwin Thompson and Darrell Henderson reportedly flashed in Williams' absence, but RBs coach Eric Bieniemy reiterated on Sunday that Williams is "obviously" the starter. We'll see if he can stay healthy over the next month leading up to Week 1.

Rams RB Todd Gurley's start to training camp has been an "absolute success," according to The Athletic's Vincent Bonsignore. "He looked every bit as explosive, athletic and dynamic as the Todd Gurley who was the 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the Year and the one who was pushing for consideration for the same award late last season," Bonsignore writes. It's only early August. And this is just 1 beat writer's observation. But it continues a string of positive reports on Gurley over the past month after things were sounding bleak early in the offseason. Gurley and his arthritic knee still carry plenty of risk in fantasy drafts -- but he also boasts league-winning upside at his 2nd-round price tag.

Cowboys DE Robert Quinn broke his left hand Tuesday and will need surgery, according to multiple outlets. He's expected to return in time for the regular-season opener. We'll keep an eye on the situation.

Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer said Tuesday that he's looking to get RB Chris Carson more targets this year. "We need to get him more involved in the passing game," Schotty said. "He’s got unbelievable hands, and he’s a problem for people coming out of the backfield." Carson saw just 24 targets last season but caught 20 of them for 162 yards (8.2 YPC). He ranked 19th in Pro Football Focus' receiving grades among 62 RBs with 20+ targets. Carson has reportedly been splitting out wide in camp -- something he rarely did last year. Increased passing-game usage would obviously be a boon to Carson's season-long upside and week-to-week reliability. He remains a nice value at his mid-5th-round ADP.

49ers WR Dante Pettis is "having a rough camp," according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat's Grant Cohn. Pettis was replaced in the starting lineup in Tuesday's practice by WR Kendrick Bourne. We're guessing that's not a permanent move, but it also sounds like San Francisco's WR pecking order remains extremely fluid at this point. It'll be a situation to monitor closely in preseason action.

Colts WR Parris Campbell missed his 6th straight practice on Tuesday with a hamstring injury. The rookie was lighting up training camp early but needs to get back on the field if he wants to win a significant early-season role. We'll keep an eye on him. Campbell is still worth a look at his 12th-round ADP.

49ers RB Jerick McKinnon has been activated from the PUP list. He's now a little more than 11 months removed from his torn ACL. NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco suggested that McKinnon might still be limited to walkthroughs for now, but he's at least moving in the right direction. His ADP has sunk into the 12th round in best balls on DRAFT over the past week.

Redskins HC Jay Gruden gushed about rookie WR Terry McLaurin in a recent interview with The Athletic's Ben Standig. “I think the addition of Terry has been a wow factor for me personally and I think everybody who has seen him run on a daily basis,” Gruden said. “He’s powerful, he’s smart, and he’s physical. That’s a combination that’s rare. He’s been exciting.” As for WRs Paul Richardson and Josh Doctson, Gruden said, "both of those guys are doing fine." Standig projects McLaurin to be a Week 1 starter alongside Richardson and slot man Trey Quinn. We're moving McLaurin up the WR rankings (and Doctson down).

Rams WR Cooper Kupp, now almost 9 months removed from his torn ACL, participated in contact practices with the Chargers. "A guy gives you a pop, you roll up, hit the ground and pop back up," Kupp said of taking a hit. "Honestly, I didn't really realize I'd gone down. And it's like, 'Oh, yeah, my first time really being hit and being on the ground.' But it felt great. You get that first one out of the way, and you're good." This is just about the last step in Kupp's rehab. He continues to trend toward being a full-go come Week 1.

 
 
 

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