As we inch closer to the last slate of preseason games, we have plenty of fantasy fallout from a plethora of news items that surfaced today-
• Great news in Carolina as coach Ron Rivera said he has "no doubt" that Cam Newton (foot) will be ready for Week 1. Although he suffered a mid-foot sprain last week, he worked on the side the past two days, which is certainly better than having him in a boot during practices. Based on this news, it seems as if those yet to draft should be able to draft him as they typically would, and maybe he'll even fall an extra round to give fantasy owners added value. With an excellent set of weapons, Newton can easily be a high-end QB1 this season.
• In continued positive injury news, Derrick Henry (calf) indicated that he'll be fine for the season opener. It's expected that Henry will be the centerpiece of the Tennessee offense, so volume shouldn't be an issue, but the bigger concern is whether the play calling will continue to run him into stacked boxes- and it's not like defenses will fear the Titans' passing attack. Still, he should be a rock solid RB2 when healthy.
• Moving to New York, Robby Anderson is day-to-day with a calf injury. Since there are no specifics as to the severity of the injury, we're left to speculate, but unless no further negative reports emerge, it should be reasonable to draft him as you normally would.
• Despite breaking his left ring finger at practice, the injury isn't expected to impact DeSean Jackson's Week 1 status, though he'll go to see a hand specialist to be sure. If it's deemed to be a non-issue, it'll help that he runs plenty of deep routes- it would seem to be more problematic if he was catching lasers over the middle of the field or short slant routes. Assuming he practices next week, there's no reason to leave him on your bench if you need him to start.
• Another injured WR, D.K Metcalf, is hopeful to play in Week 1, as he recovers from knee surgery, but there will certainly be more clarity about his status when practice and participation reports are out next week. Since it seems that he'll at least be ready early in the season, those selecting him late in drafts were likely planning to use him as a reserve, so this news shouldn't have much impact on his fantasy value.
• More good news comes out of Washington as Jordan Reed (concussion) is expected back for Week 1. However, his concussion history reminds us of how delicate his situation is, and he's one of the riskiest players in the league to draft.
• During his short tenure in the league, Anthony Miller's been hurt an awful lot, but during yesterday's practice, he indicated that he was pain free after suffering an ankle injury. He's missed a lot of reps throughout the preseason, and even though he could break out this year, the missed time makes him a riskier pick than he'd be otherwise. It might be better to draft a similarly-ranked player over Miller.
• After missing time after a setback in his recovery from ACL surgery, Jerick McKinnon returned to the practice field today. It may be a stretch to think he'll be ready to take on a big role early in the season, but as the most athletic player in the 49ers' backfield, he could be worth a bench stash, as he could thrive in Kyle Shanahan's offensive system.
• On a less optimistic injury note, coach Bill O'Brien is 'not hopeful' that Keke Coutee (ankle) will be ready for Week 1, after suffering the injury earlier in the preseason. Should he be forced to miss time, look for DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller to see increased target share. In the meantime, Coutee has been sliding a bit in recent drafts, and his upside makes him a player to add to fantasy benches.
• Another player who looks like a stretch to be ready for Week 1 is David Moore, who suffered a non-displaced fracture in his upper arm. Of course, coach Pete Carroll, who's always overly-optimistic about injuries, suggested that Moore can get on the field as early as next week while the team's website mentioned that Moore's not a candidate for IR. When putting these two reports together, it would be a surprise if Moore didn't miss time early in the season.
• Over in New England, Damien Harris returned to practice after missing a couple days with an undisclosed injury. It's likely his greatest fantasy value would be realized if Sony Michel has issues with staying on the field, in which case, Harris could easily return RB2 value. Otherwise, he'll likely need to be stashed on benches, as he doesn't seem to have a path to consistent playing time in a backfield that also has James White and Rex Burkhead.
• In an odd situation, Kenny Stills is listed as a starting WR on the Dolphins depth chart, but he's also been the subject or trade rumors along with rumors that if he isn't traded, he'll be cut. It's not often that a WR switches teams, especially this late in the preseason, and has a significant fantasy impact. It might be best to draft a similarly-ranked player and let someone else deal with this uncertain situation.
• Another player who could be moved is Josh Doctson, as Ben Standig of The Athletic is reporting that Washington hopes to trade him by Week 1. Usually when this type of report goes out, the player is likely on the verge of being cut. Even if he's moved, based on his lack of production despite being given ample playing time, it might be wise to avoid drafting him, even in deep leagues.
• Although no official announcement has yet to be made, the fact that Josh Rosen is scheduled to play in the Dolphins' last preseason game would make it seem probable that Ryan Fitzpatrick is in line to start Week 1. However, since Fitzpatrick is dealing with a sickness at this time, it's possible that both QBs could've continued their camp battle in the final preseason game. Neither QB is worthy of a high draft spot, especially since this job can change hands throughout the year, but those in two-QB leagues should consider taking a late flier on Fitzpatrick as a third QB.
• While Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald is reporting that Rob Gronkowski is pain-free for the first time in a decade, we also learned that although Gronk has no plans to return as of now, but that door hasn't been completely closed. Certainly, there are worse end of the bench stashes in deep leagues, but there's a good chance we don't see him at all this season, and if he does return, he wasn't exactly a fantasy star in 2018. As long as fantasy owners are ready to drop him without hesitation, he's probably worth adding with a very late pick.
That'll do it for today. Remember, we're less than two weeks away from regular season action!