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Shark Bites - Up-to-the-minute Fantasy Football News

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Saints WR Michael Thomas (ankle) posted video of himself running routes on Friday. Thomas didn't participate in any of New Orleans' offseason program, but HC Dennis Allen said back in May that he expects Thomas to be ready for the start of training camp. His health will be 1 of the biggest fantasy storylines of August. Thomas has gone in the early 8th round of recent FFPC best-ball drafts.

Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence discussed part of what went wrong during his rookie year. (We’ll cast aside the Urban Meyer fiasco for now.) Lawrence tossed only 12 TDs to 17 INTs across 17 games. “Last year helped me a lot,” Lawrence said. “That was really my first time really dealing with checking in and out of things, getting us in the right play, good matchup, route, whatever it is. So last year, it was tough to think about all those things.” QB coach Mike McCoy has praised Lawrence for his leadership, work ethic and ability to pick up the new offense. With an upgraded supporting cast and a year of pro experience under his belt, Lawrence should be a QB1 spot-starter in 2022.

The Athletic’s Conor Hughes writes that the Jets “always viewed” RB Michael Carter as “an ideal compliment.” Carter, only ~200 pounds, saw double-digit carries in 8 of 14 rookie-year games and performed well in terms of advanced metrics. The arrival of Round 2 RB Breece Hall crushes Carter’s fantasy upside, but he’s at least the clear #2. He’s also a very fair value in FFPC drafts, coming off the board as the RB42.

Eagles RB Miles Sanders spoke about what it’ll take for him to have a breakout year in 2022. “Being consistent, being more consistent,” Sanders said. “I’m going to be honest, opportunities. I’ll just say it simple like that. I need to be more consistent but I need opportunities.” Sanders went a step further to mention the passing game. “For those who don’t know, I can still catch,” he shared. “Like I said, it’s just opportunities. Just leave that there.” We’d love to catch Nick Sirianni’s reaction to these comments. In Sirianni's first year as Philly's HC, Sanders saw 15+ carries in only 4 of 12 games. Of course, he battled several ankle injuries and a broken hand. Entering a contract season, the 25-year-old enters training camp looking to establish a consistent role ahead of Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott.

Per the Bengals’ official website, WR coach Troy Walters “envisions” WR Ja’Marr Chase playing in the slot more this season. "I'm cool in the slot,” Chase said. “I just need more reps in it. It doesn't really matter to me. It's just another way for me to get the ball.” According to Pro Football Focus, Chase spent 15.8% of his snaps in the slot as a rookie. Unsurprisingly, he posted an elite 2.49 yards per route run from the inside alignment. The 22-year-old remains a top-5 fantasy WR.

Colts WR Michael Pittman discussed “route discipline” as an area of focus this offseason. “Sometimes you just go out there and start playing football,” Pittman said. “Yes, I can make plays like that, but you want to stay on QB timing because it helps everybody else flow, so I’m really working on that.” Pittman’s reportedly meshed well with new QB Matt Ryan, who’s demanded a lot from the USC product. Thin WR depth sets Pittman up for ~130+ targets -- and clear top-10 fantasy upside.

Speaking at his youth football camp, Browns QB Baker Mayfield confirmed that he plans to play elsewhere in 2022. “I think it’s been pretty obvious the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” Mayfield said. Cleveland would be the best spot to rehab his real-life value, especially with Deshaun Watson likely to get a lengthy suspension. But it’s been clear for weeks that such a scenario won’t play out. It’s only a matter of time before the Browns either release Mayfield or unload him to Seattle, Carolina or another team.

Titans RB coach Tony Dews gave his assessment of rookie RB Hassan Haskins. “Hassan has been a pleasure to work with,” Dews said of the Michigan product. "In the classroom portion, he puts in work. He works hard, he studies the game. And out here on the field, obviously we're in shorts and a big part of his game is his power, the way he runs with the ball. But I am excited to see him as we get going and we get into camp and get pads on and those kinds of things…at this point I am just looking for him to continue to get better each day as he we come out here and work on his skillset.” Haskins will battle veteran Dontrell Hilliard for the #2 job behind Derrick Henry. If Henry misses games, Haskins would project to share the early-down carries with Hilliard handling passing downs.

Jeff Zrebiec considers RB J.K. Dobbins “highly unlikely” to play in the preseason. In fact, Zrebiec considers it “logical” for the Ravens to place Dobbins on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the open of training camp. This all comes after Dobbins sat out the offseason program following an August 2021 ACL tear. “The knee injuries are a little tougher to say what the schedule really is. So, you talk to J.K., he’s the starting running back today, (and) he should have been practicing today, but he’s got work to do still,” HC John Harbaugh said in June. Consider Dobbins a high-risk low-end RB2 until we gain more clarity on his health.

Pro Football Talk reports that a decision on punishment for Browns QB Deshaun Watson might still be "weeks" away. A 3-day hearing wrapped up on Thursday night, but Judge Sue L. Robinson, who's overseeing this case and will make the final ruling, has asked both sides to submit written briefs by July 11. Pro Football Talk believes that it might be another couple of weeks after that before Robinson makes a decision. Then there's still a potential appeals process to play out. It's now looking like we might not know Watson's status for the 2022 season until August.

Per ESPN’s Michael Rothstein, Falcons QB Marcus Mariota “appears to be far ahead” of QB Desmond Ridder. Unsurprisingly, Rothstein says it would be “a stretch” for Ridder to start the opener. Our current QB projections have Mariota for 12 games; the rookie for 5. Note that Atlanta’s bye week doesn’t arrive until Week 14.

Nick Kosmider of The Athletic expects Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy to lead the team in receptions. That matches our expectation. Kosmider writes that Denver’s offense will “better utilize Jeudy in space and allow him to be the target of deep attempts from Russell Wilson.” The Broncos, of course, are breaking in a new offense led by HC Nathaniel Hackett and OC Justin Outten. See where Jeudy stacks up at a crowded WR position.

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia writes that the Bills’ coaching staff “remains firmly behind” RB Devin Singletary “as an important piece to the [backfield] puzzle.” Buscaglia expects Singletary to remain the “lead back by playing time” over late-Round 2 pick James Cook. The veteran likely cemented his role with a strong end to 2021, rushing 102 times for 430 yards and 8 scores over his final 6 games (playoffs included). However, Cook’s arrival does make Singletary a virtual lock to fall shy of his 40 catches from 2021. Current projections have him slated for only 25 catches.

Matt Schneidman of The Athletic expects the snap shares of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to stay “in the same vicinity” this season. Jones saw ~52% of the snaps in 2021; Dillon handled ~43%. Jones’ ability in the passing game gives him the leg up, but Dillon has made it a point of emphasis this offseason. “Coming in, I was always the big back who’s only good for third-and-short, so I really want to be and I think of myself as an APB, an all-purpose back, no matter what the situation,” Dillon said. “And I feel like last year was a good start, a good foothold if you will, but there’s still a couple opportunities I wish I had caught the ball and been in better placement or ran a route better. So I’m happy with the improvement, but obviously still working on it.” In FFPC drafting, Jones is currently coming off the board around RB10, with Dillion averaging out as the RB26.

The 49ers held RB Elijah Mitchell out of the offseason program following a "clean-up" knee procedure. While an exact date is unknown, Mitchell underwent the procedure sometime in early 2022. Per team insider Matt Barrows, Mitchell is “expected” to return for training camp. Frankly, it’d be a major surprise if he’s not on the field for day 1. But we’ll keep a close eye on the 2nd-year back who’s fresh off posting 207-963-5 in 11 games (10 starts). He'll be pushed for touches by Jeff Wilson, Trey Sermon and rookie 3rd-rounder Tyrion Davis-Price.

ESPN’s Turron Davenport believes there’s a 75% chance that QB Malik Willis remains on the bench all season. Ryan Tannehill has started every game since taking over for Marcus Mariota in Week 6 of 2019. And despite some positive words on Willis this offseason, he’s still considered a project. Davenport actually guesses that the rookie’s first start won’t come until late in the 2023 season -- and that's only if Tennessee's been eliminated from the postseason. Of course, a lot can change between now and then. But for 2022, unless you’re playing in a deep superflex format, Willis should go undrafted in fantasy.

ESPN's Brooke Pryor gives Steelers QB Kenny Pickett a 2% chance of winning the Week 1 starting job. "Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Pickett consistently took third-string reps behind [Mitchell] Trubisky and [Mason] Rudolph," Pryor writes. "To supplant Trubisky as the starter by Week 1, Pickett would have to be the second coming of Johnny Unitas as soon as he hits training camp." We'd give Pickett a better shot at starting opening day just because the competition is so underwhelming. But we've also heard other Steelers beat writers call Trubisky the heavy favorite for the Week 1 nod. We're still projecting Pickett to start more games than Trubisky this year, but it's tough to like the rookie in best-ball drafts if he won't start the whole season.

Seahawks HC Pete Carroll said TE Noah Fant had the "most spectacular camp of anybody" at June's mandatory minicamp, according to ESPN's Brady Henderson. We all know Carroll is prone to hyperbole and general positivity. But this also follows reports of the new Seahawk digging a TE-friendly offense. Combine it all with an ADP that finds the former 1st-round pick deep in TE2 territory, and Fant presents clear value in fantasy football drafts right now.

NFL insider Jordan Schultz believes Rams WR Allen Robinson will have his best season to date in 2022. A-Rob once posted 80-1400-14, but that was back in 2015. So we’ll forgive Schultz for that one. Still, there’s a ton of hype behind Robinson’s bounce-back candidacy. And he’s certainly off to a strong start alongside Cooper Kupp. “We’ve been able to feed off each other off the get go,” Robinson said. “Being able to just sit down, talk football as we’re watching and going over different routes, seeing different angles. I think that’s the biggest thing is the two of us are guys that are very versatile across the board. We both can do a lot of different things and I think that gives us a tremendous advantage because it’s not predictable at all to what either of us will be doing when it comes to a particular concept.” The almost 29-year-old remains an upside WR2.

No more holdout worries for WR Terry McLaurin. He and the Commanders agreed to a 3-year, $70 million contract extension on Tuesday. That tacks on to the final year of his rookie deal to keep McLaurin signed through the 2025 season. He'll be 30 at that point. The 2019 3rd-rounder has opened his career with WR30, WR20 and WR36 finishes in PPR points per game -- despite often dealing with poor QB play. It's arguable whether Carson Wentz will stabilize that situation. McLaurin sits in mid-range WR2 territory in our 2022 rankings.

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