Unfortunately the Patriots are forced to begin their season without the services of Rob Gronkowski. Gronk has been dealing with a hamstring injury for most of training camp, but Belichick has played coy regarding the true nature of the injury, having it listed as “undisclosed” for some time. Reports were out earlier today about Gronk missing the team’s flight and he was declared to be “out” shortly thereafter. Those who drafted Gronk as their second round pick will have to sweat it out another week as there are no guarantees that he will be ready for Week 2. As for this Sunday, expect fellow tight end Martellus Bennett to be quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s safety valve throughout the matchup with the Cardinals. Bump Bennett up to a top six option at tight end in DFS, especially because of his low price across all sites.
It’s not the R&B star, it’s undrafted rookie running back Rob Kelley who is about to secure a spot on the Redskins’ roster. Seventh round rookie RB Keith Marshall hit the IR earlier this week, which all but assures a roster spot for one of Kelley or Mack Brown. Both Kelley and Brown impressed in Wednesday night’s final preseason game against the Buccaneers. Kelley amassed 99 yards on 16 carries while Brown led all backs in the game with 149 rushing yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. With starter Matt Jones on the shelf and pass-catching back Chris Thompson currently dealing with a shoulder issue, Kelley could be the team’s starting RB in their Monday night opener against the Steelers. Kelley has looked agile and decisive hitting holes this preseason. With a week until opening kickoff, Kelley deserves our attention after Round 12 of 12-team drafts and will now likely cost more than a buck in auctions.
Fantasy football salary cap games date back almost as far as traditional drafts and auction leagues. Cap games served as the inspiration for DFS and are essentially the season-long version of daily fantasy. Veteran fantasy games provider Fantrax has been running their salary cap points challenge for almost a decade. Their popular budget option is the Bronze Points game, which costs just under 30 dollars to enter and offers league prizes (first place nets $100) in addition to an overall prize of $2,000.
The premise of Fantrax Bronze Points is simple: select a team of 34 players (22 starters, 12 bench players) and accumulate points from your starters each week all while staying under a $60,000 salary cap. That averages out to $2,700 per starting roster spot where the game’s most expensive player this year (Aaron Rodgers) is listed at $5,710 and the base price for players in this format comes in at $1,500. Salaries are preset and do not change week to week like in DFS. The goal is to identify and roster the best values at each position, building a roster that blends surefire fantasy studs with cheaper breakout players with upside.
Harsh reality set in for folks who drafted Bengals’ tight end Tyler Eifert as a top 10 TE over the last couple of months. Last year’s touchdown leader among tight ends (13) has been on the mend since suffering an ankle injury that caused him to miss most of the playoffs last season. Eifert had surgery in the offseason and only recently began jogging. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports that the Bengals and Eifert are targeting a Week 4 return, though the delay could last until Week 6 or perhaps longer. Eifert’s ADP has ranged between the seventh and tenth rounds in most 12-team formats – an ADP that will will immediately take a deep dive into the late teen rounds.
The world’s best tight end, Rob Gronkowski, returned to practice on Wednesday, according to NFL insider, Adam Schefter. Gronk rejoins teammates for the first time since August 15. He was sidelined with an undisclosed injury that was later declared to be a small bruise. Gronk may not see much preseason action as coach Bill Belichick will likely continue to play coy in all matters regarding his big man’s health. Gronkowski has been slipping into the middle and late parts of second rounds in MFL and NFFC drafts over the last week as drafters are wisely choosing healthier and safer options in that range.
With fellow quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the mend from a sore throwing shoulder, Blaine Gabbert is quickly emerging as the clear favorite to win the 49ers starting job, according Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. Coach Chip Kelly has yet to name a starting QB for the team’s first preseason game on Saturday, but it certainly looks like Gabbert will get the call with Kaepernick limited at Friday’s practice. Gabbert appeared in eight games last season, throwing for just over 2,000 yards (7.2 YPA) and a 10:7 touchdown-to=interception ratio. Even if Gabbert is named the team’s starter, he will likely continue to be drafted outside of the top 20 quarterbacks in all formats. Gabbert could provide value in deeper leagues with adequate weapons at his disposal in newcomer / vertical-threat Torrey Smith, the emerging Bruce Ellington and big-bodied target, Vance McDonald.
Cowboys’ faithful received a scare Wednesday morning with the report that their prized fourth overall pick, Ezekiel Elliott, is expected to miss some time dealing with a hamstring issue. Overblown concern dominated fantasy Twitter when the news first broke this morning until the realization surfaced that Elliott’s injury is not that serious and that the Cowboys are simply being cautious with their rookie back. In the meanwhile, veteran Alfred Morris and Darius Jackson (their only two healthy backs) will receive more reps. Elliott is considered a sure fire first rounder in fantasy drafts this year, particularly in PPR formats, despite never playing an NFL snap. His draft stock should take a small dip into the second round (12-team formats) for the time being. Elliott is expected to rank among the league’s leaders in carries this season.