Ryan Mallett was traded to the Texans on Sunday. In a deal that has been rumored about for months, the Texans acquire the Patriots’ backup quarterback, for the surprising low price of a conditional seventh round 2016 draft pick. Mallett, who worked with Texans coach Bill O’Brien in New England, should immediately step in as the backup for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Mallett is by no means a star, but he absolutely has the potential to take over the starting job, especially if Fitzpatrick stumbles out of the gate. Houston has decent offensive weapons, so Mallett is worth considering as a flier in deeper leagues. Case Keenum was waived to make room for Mallett on the roster.
Jimmy Garoppolo also receives a boost in fantasy value as a result of the Mallett trade. Garoppolo, taken in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, becomes the sole backup to Tom Brady, which means the rookie has to be on your radar, in case anything happens to the future Hall of Famer. This move also shows the confidence “The Hoodie” has in Garoppolo; which makes the rookie a very interesting fantasy prospect, especially in dynasty leagues.
A pair of wide receivers were claimed off waivers on Sunday, as the Texans brought in former Eagle Damaris Johnson, and the Titans added former Bills third round pick, in 2012, TJ Graham. Graham and Johnson don’t deserve too much attention in fantasy, but the fact that the Titans and Texans, respectively, both saw enough in these guys to bring them in to replace someone on their 53-man roster, is certainly a sign that the players are liked by their new teams. However, neither Graham nor Johnson will be high enough on their respective teams’ depth chart to be fantasy relevant; without injuries thrusting them into a bigger role.
Ronnie Hillman was hospitalized following Thursday’s preseason finale with the Cowboys. The illness afflicting Hillman appears to not be serious, and it is expected that Hillman will be able to go in next Sunday’s regular season opener against the Colts. Hillman appears to have won the backup spot to Montee Ball, beating out CJ Anderson for the honor. If anything were to happen to Ball, Hillman would automatically be a must-own in any format. For now, Hillman is a nice flier with legitimate upside, and is the clear handcuff for Montee Ball.
Peyton Hillis made the Giants’ roster as the third-string running back. Hillis, who will play third fiddle to Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams, is far removed from his glory days, but without a lot of proven commodities in front of him, it is conceivable that Hillis could play a role in the Giants’ offense this season. However, even if Hillis gets an opportunity, it is hard to believe he will have much success.
Wes Welker has been given the green light to increase his physical activity level in practice on Monday. This is a big step for Welker, as he attempts to progress through the league’s concussion protocols. Welker is still not fully cleared to play, but he is clearly making progress in his quest to get back on the field for game action. Welker has not been ruled out for the Broncos’ opener against the Colts, but his status certainly remains unclear. Even if Welker is not ready for the opener, it appears that Welker will return to the field in the near future. This is a huge positive for fantasy owners. If Welker is playing, he will be a value to own, but the worry is obviously that Welker will forever be one hit away from his season being over.