Shark Bites

Bengals WR John Ross is expected to be out a "couple of weeks" with the left knee injury suffered in Thursday's preseason finale, according to Geoff Hobson of the team's official site. "Not serious," Hobson adds. It's relatively good news, but durability remains a major concern for Ross. This left knee is the same one in which he tore his ACL and meniscus back in 2015. Ross isn't worth rostering in redraft leagues.

Bengals WR John Ross was knocked out of Thursday's preseason finale with a left knee injury. He went to the locker room before eventually returning to the sidelines. That might suggest a minor injury, but we'll look for an update. It's worth noting that Ross tore his left ACL and meniscus back in 2015. That's part of a lengthy injury history that he brought with him to the NFL.

The league upheld the suspension of Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict on Wednesday but reduced it from 5 games to 3. That's obviously bad news for the player and his team, who believed he had a good case for overturning the punishment. But IDP owners will now get a potential top-shelf fantasy contributor for 2 more games. We've adjusted Burfict back up our 2017 IDP rankings, and he still sits well within consideration range for just about any sized fantasy football league. Backup LB Vincent Rey should still step in for Burfict over the 1st 3 games and carry significant IDP upside for those weeks.

The league has suspended Bengals OLB Vontaze Burfict for the 1st 5 games of the season, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The ban stems from an illegal hit on Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman earlier this month, but the severity undoubtedly comes from previous infractions for Burfict in the same category. He missed the 1st 3 games of last season for a shot to the head of Steelers WR Antonio Brown in the playoffs the year before. Burfict will reportedly appeal the suspension, but IDP owners will have to plan for now as though Burfict will miss the 1st third of the fantasy season. That's a big blow for a high-ceiling fantasy option that had been enjoying perhaps the best camp and preseason of his career. LB Vincent Rey would likely start in Burfict's place and provide a high-upside IDP option. Burfict's absence also adds upside to OLB Nick Vigil and MLB Kevin Minter.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert was held out of Sunday's preseason game with knee tendinitis, HC Marvin Lewis said. Lewis downplayed the situation, but we don't consider anything minor when it comes to Eifert. He's missed 27 games through 4 NFL seasons with a variety of injuries. None have been to his knee, which we guess is a good thing. We'll see when Eifert is able to get back on the field and whether the issue lingers. He remains 1 of the biggest injury risks in fantasy football.

Texans HC Bill O'Brien reiterated on Tuesday that Tom Savage is his team's starting QB. That's been the company line all offseason. Savage has been solid through 2 preseason games, completing 85% of his passes, averaging 8.4 yards per attempt and tossing 1 TD with 0 INTs. Deshaun Watson has connected on just 51.4% of his passes with 0 TDs. But he's run for 34 yards and 2 scores. We'll buy Savage as Houston's early-season starter but still expect the rookie to make more starts this year.

Bengals S Shawn Williams left Saturday's game after suffering a nasty-looking right elbow injury. The team ruled him out for the game. We'll see about the specific diagnosis.

Bengals WR John Ross (shoulder) was taking part in both individual and 11-on-11 drills on Monday, according to insider Geoff Hobson. It sounds like the rookie is just about a full-go. He'll play catch-up now after missing spring workouts and the start of camp. But there's still time for him to win a significant Week 1 role. Ross is worth considering in the double-digit rounds of drafts as an upside bench stash.

RB Jeremy Hill started in the Bengals backfield in Friday night's preseason opener against Tampa Bay, but rookie RB Joe Mixon got in for touches starting with the 1st drive. Altogether, he carried 6 times for 31 yards and caught a pass for 11 more. Hill, meanwhile, ran for 26 yards on 7 rushes. Amid rumors that Hill could "start" all season, it's clear that Mixon will at least factor heavily into the backfield. We'll see where this work split goes. Of course, Mixon's late-Round 3 ADP has made him an expensive upside play in recent fantasy football drafts.

Tom Savage is "clearly #1" in the Texans' QB derby, according to John McClain. Rookie QB DeShaun Watson has reportedly impressed, but Savage has been "terrific" so far, McClain writes. "Makes every throw, respected by teammates, knows this offense." We'll buy the veteran as Houston's Week 1 starter, but our money is still on the rookie making more starts this season. Neither guy is worth rostering outside of 2-QB leagues.

Bengals RB Gio Bernard (knee) avoided the PUP list and was a full participant in Friday's training camp practice. He's obviously made a ton of progress since June, when the Bengals' official website speculated that he might not even be ready by Week 1. Bernard is now on track to be a full-go for the opener. The bigger question is what his role will be in a crowded backfield that also includes Joe Mixon and Jeremy Hill. Bernard's best bet is winning a passing-down role. His 187 catches since entering the league in 2013 rank 5th among RBs.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert was fully cleared for the start of training camp. Eifert, of course, is coming off back surgery in late December. He even said that he's felt "100%" for a "couple months," per team reporter Paul Dehner Jr. The Notre Dame product remains an intriguing TD bet, but a lengthy injury history forces us to pass at his current ADP.

Bengals WR John Ross (shoulder) is still expected to be sidelined a "couple of weeks," according to the team's official website. The rookie continues to rehab from surgery to repair a torn labrum. Missing all of spring workouts and the start of training camp makes him a long shot to make an early-season impact. Ross is only worth drafting late in best-ball leagues. Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd figure to open the year as Cincinnati's 2nd and 3rd WRs behind A.J. Green.

Bengals insider Jim Owczarski expects RB Gio Bernard (knee) to be cleared for the start of training camp later this week. He'll almost certainly be eased in, but it's good news after a June report that had Bernard iffy for Week 1. It now looks like he's on track for the opener, barring a setback over the next 6 weeks. Bernard's volume will take a hit this year with the arrival of rookie Joe Mixon. But he could still bring some value in PPR drafts, where his ADP is sitting in the 13th round.

"All indications" are that Bengals TE Tyler Eifert (back) will be ready for the start of training camp later this week, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Jim Owczarski. Eifert himself said back in April that he expected to be on the field for camp after undergoing back surgery in December. He'll likely be eased in -- and we'll see whether the Bengals put him on the field for any preseason action. Eifert's ceiling extends into the top 5 at his position, but he's 1 of the biggest injury risks in 2017 fantasy drafts.

According to Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, RB Giovani Bernard might not be ready for the start of the season. Bernard's expected to avoid the regular-season PUP -- which would cost him at least 6 games -- as he comes back from an ACL tear. The RB's progress will bear watching through the summer, of course, to see exactly when we can expect to see him and how close he'll be to full strength. Any missed time would give Joe Mixon more chances to show his stuff.

Bengals RB Gio Bernard (knee) is expected to be a limited participant in OTAs this week, according to ESPN's Katherine Terrell. The fact that Bernard is out there at all just 6 months after tearing his ACL is encouraging. He'll be nearly 10 months removed when the 2017 season kicks off. Bernard appears to be on track to be on the field come Week 1. The bigger issue is where his touches will come from in a backfield that now includes Jeremy Hill and rookie Joe Mixon.

The Bengals plan to play rookie Carl Lawsons at strong-side LB half the time and pass rusher "most likely on the edge" the other half, DC Paul Guenther told the team website this week. The 4th-round pick could push for immediate playing time in that role. Cincinnati sports a crowd of options at LB, but former MLB starter Rey Maualuga is gone. So is 2016 OLB starter Karlos Dansby. The rush role will help Lawson's IDP upside and makes him an interesting late flier for dynasty rookie drafts.

Bengals WR John Ross (shoulder) won't be cleared in time for June minicamp, HC Marvin Lewis said. Ross is recovering from post-Combine surgery to repair a torn labrum. It doesn't sound like he's in any danger of missing the start of the season, but any missed practice time is notable for a rookie. It's something to file away when considering Ross' 2017 redraft value.

The Bengals nabbed Tennessee WR Josh Malone in the 4th round of the draft. The former 5-star recruit was quiet in his first 2 college seasons but broke out last year with a 50-972-11 line. Malone clocked a 4.40-second 40-yard dash at 6’3, 208 pounds, although he struggled in the other drills at the Combine. Still, the tape shows a guy who could at least develop into a dangerous deep threat at the next level. Malone joins a suddenly young and deep Bengals WR corps that includes A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and fellow rookie John Ross.

 
 
 

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