With just over two weeks until the regular season begins, we still have plenty of injury news that may impact fantasy drafts. Let’s dive into the fantasy fallout of today’s news.
• All of the offseason talk around Cam Newton was centered around his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery, but during his appearance in Thursday’s preseason game, he suffered a mid-foot sprain. For now, the organization is cautiously optimistic that he’ll be ready for Week 1, but if this happens to be an injury that lingers, it could impact his mobility, which is one of the main reasons he’s a top-level fantasy performer. For now, it might be wise to draft a similarly-ranked QB over Newton, unless he falls to a place in the draft where his value becomes too great to pass up, at least until (or if) we hear that he gets a clean bill of health.
• Although there’s no definitive word, Cowboys’ executive VP Stephen Jones expressed confidence that a deal will get done with Ezekiel Elliott before Week 1. Despite the sides holding firm and being significantly apart in terms of money, Jones explained that things can move quickly in negotiations. Let’s face it, Elliott wasn’t going to do much in the preseason, even if he reported, so if he signs, he should slide right into his usual workload. Sure, there’s still risk in drafting him, but Dallas is in a Super Bowl window, and they need Elliott to realize that goal.
• Despite dealing with injuries for most of his career, Jordan Reed had been enjoying his first healthy offseason and training camp in recent memory. Unfortunately, that all changed when we found out today that he suffered a concussion. Reed has one of the worst concussion histories in the league, and this is at least the fourth he’s suffered, even though he’s been concussion-free for almost three years. Clearly, there’s no timetable for his return, but don’t be surprised if he misses regular-season action. This development makes it difficult to keep him in the same place on my draft board- I’m lowering him a few spots. Most importantly, let’s hope that Reed gets healthy soon for himself as a person and not as a football player.
• Over in New England, rookie RB Damien Harris suffered an undisclosed in last night’s preseason game. According to Nick Underhill of The Athletic, Harris seems to have avoided a major injury. Of course, we’re talking about the Patriots here, so don’t expect any useful updates regarding his playing status. In terms of drafting him in fantasy leagues, it would seem that he can stay in the same spot on draft boards, but those who are risk-averse may choose to let someone else select him.
• After the conclusion of the Dolphins’ third preseason game, head coach Brian Flores is unsure as to whether Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen will open the season at QB. Especially in two-QB leagues, this camp battle matters for fantasy, as the pool of useful QBs is quite thin. Also, the Miami WRs would get a bump in value if Fitzpatrick was under center, based on his experience and history of being fearless when throwing downfield.
• If you’ve yet to do so, it’s likely time to bury Carlos Hyde on draft boards. What first sounded like beat writer speculation now seems to have teeth, as Darwin Thompson appears to have significantly outplayed Hyde in the preseason, and now two Chiefs’ beat writers project Hyde to be off the 53-man roster. In addition, Thompson now has handcuff value and it’s somewhat possible that he could have a bit of standalone flex value. That said, the buzz on Thompson is getting to be too much, and he’ll no longer be a steal on draft day. Aside from using him as a handcuff to Damien Williams if Thompson falls past 100 picks, it may be best to let someone else pay for the hype.
• One of my favorite late-round dart throws in drafts is Paul Richardson. Although he’s dealt with more than his share of injuries during his career, he’s avoided major injuries throughout the offseason and projects to be a full-time outside receiver for Washington. He recently had been dealing with a minor quadriceps injury, but he started the third preseason game, and he’s ready for the season. Despite likely poor QB play, they’ll still throw for at least 3,000 yards, and someone is going to be on the receiving end, so why not the athletically-gifted Richardson having a fantasy-relevant campaign.
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• With the Seahawks dealing with injuries to D.K. Metcalf (knee- may return Week 1) and David Moore (shoulder- likely to miss regular-season time), Jaron Brown should see regular work in Week 1. Of course, aside from the red zone, Brown was a non-factor in fantasy, but he could be a sneaky cheap punt pick in DFS lineups.
• And to wind up today’s report- not that he’s being rostered in many season-long leagues, but Equanimeous St. Brown will miss four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain.