Heading into your fantasy football drafts, we're bringing you a recap of some of the more relevant news across the NFL, and how it could affect your fantasy football team. So, in the second week of preseason action, what news may play into your fantasy football draft decisions? Let's take a look.
Blaine Gabbert is the 49ers’ starting quarterback, probably.
In most leagues, neither Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick is viewed as draftable, since neither quarterback shows up in the top 24 of any pre-season rankings (Gabbert is currently 29th on Yahoo’s rankings, for example). But for those in a 2-quarterback league or in a 16-team league, the 49ers’ QBs can’t be so easily dismissed. With Kaepernick’s injury and Gabbert’s solid finish in the 2015 season, the job seems to be Gabbert’s to lose, which seemed possible following his first preseason game. For now, Gabbert is the starter in Chip Kelly’s offense, but remains undraftable in just about every league.
Christine Michael / Thomas Rawls updates in Seattle
After being drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft as Marshawn Lynch’s eventual replacement, Michael failed to impress the team, ultimately lowering his stock on the team. Undrafted, Rawls came in last year and averaged 119 rushing yards per game in the six games during which he got more than six carries. He scored four touchdowns in those six games, and carried an impressive 5.7 yards per carry average for the season.
Fast-forward to the 2016 season, and fantasy owners desperately looking for workhorse running backs hope they have found that in Rawls, but the Seahawks seem intent on spoiling those plans. With Rawls injured, Michael has impressed the team so far in the preseason - so much in fact that he seems to have not only secured a roster spot, but may have changed Rawls’ role from a workhorse into a committee back. For now Rawls seems to be the starter, but may not be worth his current ADP if Michael continues to push for playing time.
Dion Lewis to miss half the season?
The journeyman emerged out of nowhere to average about 90 yards per game before his season was ended by an ACL injury in 2015. He apparently looked good and healthy in the June minicamps, but has yet to practice in August training camp. The Patriots aren’t exactly the most forthcoming with their injuries, but Lewis needs another surgery on his knee and is a strong candidate to begin the season on the PUP list. With Lewis slated to miss anywhere from six games to 16 games, he is not worth his current ADP at the end of the fourth round.
For now, it would seem that LeGarrette Blount (or Tyler Gaffney) would be the touchdown vulture while James White (SLEEPER ALERT!) would assume Lewis’ role as the receiving member of the backfield. Given the Patriots’ history of running back usage, the only sure thing we can say is the more we know, the less we really know.
Jeremy Langford not a three-down back
Not that anybody expected a Matt Forte type of role for Langford, but the Bears are slowly confirming what has been assumed. Langford has issues as a receiver, and will likely cede that role to Jacquizz Rodgers, limiting Langford’s touches. If the Bears can figure out their offensive line, a non-pass catching running back can still be productive in fantasy, as Rudi Johnson’s seasons can attest to. Langford’s draft value may slide from round 5 to 6, but not too far.
Dorial Green-Beckham traded to the Eagles
Well, that was quick. Entering the 2015 NFL Draft, DGB was a high upside project who boasted tons of size and talent, but missed the entire 2014 collegiate football season and was extremely raw. Apparently he was too raw for the Titans, who unloaded their second round pick after just one season for backup offensive lineman Dennis Kelly.
The rumblings from Titans’ training camp before the trade were that DBG wasn’t taking that next step in development with the team, and was having trouble unseating the likes of Kendall Wright, Rishard Matthews, Tajae Sharpe, and Andre Johnson for playing time. The Titans haven’t developed a good wide receiver since drafting Derrick Mason way back in 1997 as the Tennessee Oilers. So while it is possible that DGB may not be able to develop into an NFL receiver, it could also be that the Titans just can’t develop receiving talent. For now, DGB has an uncertain role on a team spending a lot of money on subpar quarterbacks. He does have upside with a team who has had success with wide receivers, such as Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, and Jordan Matthews. But that upside may still be a year away - so nice for keeper leagues, but not so much for redraft leagues.
Jordy Nelson activated from PUP list
When healthy, Nelson is easily a top 10 wide receiver. Over the last four seasons, his numbers over a 16 game season average out to 1,290 yards and 11.5 touchdowns. As a 31-year-old coming off a major injury, his draft stock is much lower than his projected production. He is one to keep a watch on to see if he returns to his pre-injury form as Aaron Rodgers’ go to guy.
Tyreek Hill working his way onto the Chiefs’ first team
If you are wondering who Hill is, you are not alone. The 5’10” receiver is generally not listed on many draft sheets in the top 50 or 75 wide receivers. He was a fifth round pick this year out of West Alabama. Even if he secures a starting role, he would be parked well below Jeremy Maclin, Travis Kelce, and Jamaal Charles in the pecking order of targets on a team that has trouble supporting multiple fantasy pass catchers. He’s one to keep in mind if Maclin gets hurt, but should go undrafted in redraft leagues.
Rob Gronkowski is hurt, but how bad?
Gronk came up limp in a joint practice against the Bears nearly two weeks ago. In true Patriots’ fashion, the specifics of his injury remain undisclosed, but appear to be minor. His draft stock should not be in jeopardy (at this point in time). Even if the injury isn’t serious, expect Martellus Bennett’s ADP to jump in reaction to the news.
Jordan Cameron is still Jordan Cameron
Cameron has had one good year in his five year NFL career, and that was three years ago. Despite this, he still gets drafted in fantasy football leagues just about every year. I have no idea why people continue to draft him, but they do. In his second year with the Dolphins he is struggling in training camp, again. Despite this, somebody will probably draft him in your league.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins role being restored
In a move that seemed more motivational than practical, the Buccaneers’ moved Cameron Brate to the top spot on the depth chart at the tight end position. The safari man has responded with a great training camp, and has recently been taking first-team reps in practices. He has a depressed ADP and big upside, but injuries remain a concern for a player who has played nine games, and seven games, in his two NFL seasons.
Eric Ebron to play in Week 1?
The third year tight end has yet to live up to his status as a top 10 draft pick, but with Calvin Johnson gone, every pass catcher in Detroit stands to gain additional targets and receptions. He suffered an ankle sprain a couple weeks ago, but is on pace to return by Week 1. He remains a flier with upside as a low end TE1 for a team looking to stream tight ends.