Fantasy Football News

Rumors

After leaving the field following a scary collision with right tackle Marcus Gilbert, Ben Roethlisberger passed the baseline tests and was cleared from the concussion protocol. Roethlisberger will travel with his teammates to Green Bay, but won't play in the team's second preseason game against the Packers, as planned. He should be back on the field for the team's scheduled Saturday practice. (Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette )

Fantasy Impact: Traditionally, Roethlisberger barely plays in the preseason, usually suiting up for the third game and sitting out the other three exhibitions. After previously contemplating retirement due to concussion concerns, it was disconcerting to see Roethlisberger suffer a head injury in practice. All indications are that the 36-year-old signal-caller is fine and can still be targeted as a QB1 with top-5 upside.


In a joint practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before their Saturday night preseason matchup, Titan's QB Marcus Mariota "picked apart" Tampa's secondary, completing a touchdown pass on four consecutive plays. The plays did occur during goal-line drills, with Mariota connecting with RB Dion Lewis, and tight end Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firkser, and Luke Stocker. (Source: The Tennessean )

Fantasy Impact: Mariota has looked impressive all offseason in Matt LaFleur's offense, which has led the NFL in scoring in each of the past two seasons. With an ADP that regularly falls into the late rounds, Mariota is starting to look like one of the top QB sleepers of 2018.


Kristi Scales of The Dallas Morning News reported that fourth-year veteran Geoff Swaim "is the undisputed No. 1 on the Cowboys' tight end depth chart." Blake Jarwin is the current No. 2, followed by rookie Dalton Schultz, who is viewed as more of an in-line blocker, while Jarwin is a potential downfield receiving threat. The article also speculates that Dallas will only keep three tight ends and that Rico Gathers is currently on the outside looking in. (Source: The Dallas Morning News )

Fantasy Impact: Swaim was a seventh-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015 and is the only current tight end on the roster who has caught an NFL pass. For years, Dallas has heavily relied on their tight end in the passing game, but with Jason Witten retired, there's no telling how the new offense will feature the position. The best guess now is that the Cowboys will feature a committee and none of their three contributors will be a consistent source of weekly fantasy production. Swaim is worth a speculative add in deep drafts, but this is a situation best avoided for fantasy purposes.


First-round rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley is expected to get some kick and punt return opportunities as the Falcons host the Chiefs for the club's second preseason game. Ridley only returned a pair of punts at Alabama but has been catching them throughout training camp and spent some time with the kick return unit on Wednesday. Fellow rookie Ito Smith has also been returning kicks and Isaiah Oliver and Marvin Hall returned punts last week. (Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution )

Fantasy Impact: Ridley has the chance at being a dynamic play-maker, so it makes sense that the Falcons would want to get the ball into his hands as much as possible. But Ridley is also expected to open the season as the team's No. 3 receiver, so keeping him healthy also needs to be factored. From a fantasy perspective, we want to see Ridley get opportunities, so we view this as a positive development.


John Murphy of the Buffalo Bills' team website is reporting that Zay Jones has looked much improved since his return to practice. Jones missed much of the offseason recovering from surgery. (Source: Buffalo Bills)

Fantasy Impact: Jones now has more competition for snaps at WR with the addition of Corey Coleman via trade and rookies Ray-Ray McCloud and Robert Foster. Head coach Sean McDermott commented that Jones looks more focused and seems to have matured since his rookie season. Jones could compete for starting duties. On a lackluster offense with no clear solution at quarterback, it'll be hard for the second WR on the Bills to have fantasy value. Jones is a late-round flier at best.


Jeff Howe, a beat writer for the Patriots, said that he expects Tom Brady to play, "a good portion, if not all, of the first half tonight" against the Eagles in the second preseason game. (Source: Jeff Howe on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Brady, who sat out the preseason opener against the Redskins, has been monitored all offseason in terms of reps. There's no reason to think he'll be limited in the regular season, though. Brady is a high-end fantasy QB option, as usual.


Brice Butler will sit out Arizona's preseason tilt against the Saints on Friday while he's dealing with a minor foot injury. Butler, who is listed as Arizona's No. 2 receiver, started the club's first preseason game and played eight snaps with the starters. Head coach Steve Wilks indicated the injury isn't serious and that Butler is considered day-to-day. (Source: Darren Urban via Twitter )

Fantasy Impact: Butler's absence will open the door for Chad Williams, J.J. Nelson, and 2018 second-rounder Christian Kirk to close the gap for the team's wide-open battle behind Larry Fitzgerald. Butler is worth a late-round look in deep PPR leagues, but Kirk offers the most ceiling and is the favorite to emerge as the Cardinals' No. 2.


Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald says the Dolphins "love" Mike Gesicki and wrote "you might want to start considering [Gesicki] a starter," despite his current listing on the depth chart that Adam Gase himself doesn't take seriously. Gesicki has made a big impression as a pass-catching weapon, especially in the red zone. Expectations are that the Dolphins will employ some two tight end sets, with Gesicki being used in the passing game and MarQueis Gray staying in-line to block. (Source: The Miami Herald )

Fantasy Impact: Blocking was always a concern for Gesicki out of Penn State, but he's improved in that area while excelling as a downfield weapon. Gesicki was penciled in as the starter as soon as he was selected in the second round and is certainly on the TE2 radar for 2018 PPR drafts.


Ian Rapaport of NFL Network reports that the Seahawks view Chris Carson as their starting running back and even referred to him as their “bellcow”. (Source: Ian Rapaport on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Carson is shooting up draft boards in wake of the Rashaad Penny injury. Penny might be back for Week 1, but even then Carson has a huge edge on early season touches. Fantasy players shouldn’t get too excited over Carson, because Penny will be back eventually, but he’s the guy to own in the Seattle backfield at the moment.


The unfortunate season-ending injury to rookie running back Derrius Guice has opened the door for third-year veteran Byron Marshall to compete for a spot on Washington's 53-man roster. Marshall caught a 25-yard touchdown pass in the club's preseason opener and should get an extended look against the Jets. (Source: The Washington Post)

Fantasy Impact: Marshall got 15 touches for Washington last season before going on IR with a hamstring injury. Chris Thompson's role in the Washington backfield is secure, but with only Samaje Perine and Rob Kelley currently in front of him, it's not inconceivable that Marshall could earn some regular season playing time in 2018. He's a name to keep in find for the season's first waiver wire run.


After missing all of the spring activities with an injury the fourth round rookie safety reportedly made a strong statement in his first preseason game. Indications coming out of camp is that not only has he showed a strong work ethic to catch up after missing time in the spring but he has also raised the bar during practice for others to follow. Whitehead has been working with the first unit in place of Justin Evans while the secondary has endured some recent injuries. As a result, Evans was promptly moved to the nickel back position in a corresponding move. Head coach Dirk Koetter was quoted as saying this when asked about Whitehead taking the next step, “I don’t think it’s that big a leap. It might be one of them playing nickel,” Koetter said of Whitehead and Evans. “It’s no knock on Chris Conte. You gotta get your best guys on the field.” (Source: tampabay.com)

Fantasy Impact: It is difficult from an IDP perspective to figure out if Koetter is trying to light a fire under some of the players while expecting more from them. Or if Whitehead's recent promotion to the first team is out of necessity with the injuries in the secondary. But by the head coach's statement, Conte's IDP owners might have something to be concerned about if Whitehead is indeed gaining the momentum. It would be highly unlikely in the end the second year free safety Justin Evans would be the odd man out. Conte has had some outstanding production in the past as an IDP play but in real life, he has not performed at as high of a level that team would hope for.


With Thomas Davis suspended for the first four games of the regular season, it’s likely the best time for Thompson to emerge as that guy next to Luke Kuechly going forward. The former first-round pick has to take advantage in those four games to prove he is what the Carolina Panthers hoped he was when they drafted him. (Source: panthers.com)

Fantasy Impact: Shaq Thompson's IDP owners should pay close attention to his performance on the field in real life over whatever IDP production he may garner in those four games. If it is clearly a production be default type situation and longtime veteran Thomas Davis is inserted directly back into the lineup upon his return, Thompson's future as a viable IDP play could be in jeopardy.


Third-round safety Rashaan Gaulden plays with a physical edge and has been improving steadily while being worked into the first unit. He has also shown a nose for the ball and made multiple plays. (Source: panthers.com)

Fantasy Impact: Rashaan Gaulden is a player that IDP owners should consider as a potential future player that could support their lineups. With longtime veteran Mike Adams knocking on retirements door and Da'Norris Searcy being the only other competition for a starting role, Gaulden's prominent role could take hold sooner rather than later. The rookies IDP status is steadily trending upward.


Second round rookie cornerback Donte Jackson has consistently played his way into position to be one of the starting cornerbacks when the Carolina Panthers take to the field in week one. With even head coach Ron Rivera admitting that Jackson’s arrival has made him the most comfortable about his secondary unit that he’s felt in years. (Source: panthers.com)

Fantasy Impact: Jackson has all the Carolina Panthers wide receivers attention as he routinely shown off his skill set in practice giving them the kind of competition they need to simulate game conditions. Some reports even have Jackson comparable to Josh Norman, the pro-bowl shutdown corner originally drafted by Carolina in 2012. If this is true and Donte Jackson is this year's Marcus Lattimore of the draft class, IDP owners will want to take advantage of his rookie season for potential IDP production. Opposing quarterbacks are likely to test Jackson often over targeting incumbent cornerback James Bradberry hoping for some mental mistakes by the rookie. His reported speed could also be an IDP bonus as he'll have added opportunities to support his fellow defensive players. If the rumors of him showing a Josh Norman type skillset is true, IDP owner may only have his rookie season as an IDP window to benefit from a production aspect. Once a cornerback becomes a shutdown corner they are rarely tested and don't produce at a level to support depending on them for fantasy football leagues.


David Johnson says he is "encouraged" that contract talks are ongoing between his camp and the Cardinals. (Source: azcardinals.com)

Fantasy Impact: Johnson added that he thinks missing last season with a wrist injury is hurting his case right now. The 26-year-old looked good in limited snaps in the preseason opener, rushing twice for 24 yards. He's entering the final year of his rookie deal and Arizona would be wise to lock him up if he produces yet again like he's capable of.


According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, free-agent wide receiver Dez Bryant and the Cleveland Browns will meet Thursday. (Source: Dianna Russini on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: This is a long-awaited meeting as the two sides have danced around one another for several weeks now. Bryant would likely slide into a starting role right away as Josh Gordon remains away from the team. This looks like Bryant's best shot to land with a team as there hasn't been much known interest in the veteran receiver elsewhere.


NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is reporting that Dolphins wide receiver Devante Parker is dealing with a broken middle finger and is considered week-to-week. (Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter)

Fantasy Impact: Rapoport goes on to say that Parker "should be a go for the season opener," but there's no guarantee of that. Adam Gase said that Parker is unable to catch a football right now, so you have to wonder if it was a dislocated finger. Whatever the case, this is definitely concerning for Parker, who has been reportedly getting owned by up-and-coming cornerback Xavien Howard during their team scrimmages. Parker's cost was very appealing prior to this news, so you'll likely be able to snag him with a pick outside the top-100 after this news. Knowing the players going in that range, Parker still has appeal as a bench stash that can turn into an every-week starter at some point.


Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette is reporting that third-year wide receiver Geronimo Allison has established himself as the No. 3 wide receiver for the Packers. (Source: Ryan Wood )

Fantasy Impact: He also says that there was a scare at practice yesterday, as Allison snagged a touchdown in the back of the end zone, but was then surrounded by trainers. Allison later said that he just knocked the wind out of himself and that all is good. Allison has now been praised by beat writers for sure hands and his understanding of where he's supposed to be on the field, while also becoming a favorite of Aaron Rodgers, who has pumped up "G-Mo" in interviews. With Davante Adams starting to see top-tier cornerbacks, and Randall Cobb dealing with an ankle injury that required surgery this offseason, Allison could make a bigger impact than most realize. He's absolutely worth a pick at his current ADP of 180 overall, though we're expecting that to rise soon.


Free-agent addition Brandon Marshall, who is still working his way back from ankle and hamstring ailments, got more work with the first-team offense and is expected to get a larger share of playing time in Seattle's second preseason matchup against the Chargers. Marshall didn't get a lot of time with the starters but nearly hauled in a touchdown grab from Russell Wilson in his limited reps. (Source: The Seattle Times )

Fantasy Impact: The article calls Marshall "one of the biggest wildcards in camp for the Seahawks," which is an accurate assessment. Long a PPR beast, Marshall is now 34-years-old and has seen his production decline in three consecutive seasons. Still, Seattle doesn't have much depth outside of Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, so a healthy Marshall could post usable fantasy stats if he manages to beat out Jaron Brown for the WR3 job. Marshall's ADP is so low that there is little risk with taking a late-round flier on the slight chance that he can resurrect his career.


Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is expected to see time with the Cardinals' first team offense in their second preseason game on Friday night. (Source: Pro Football Talk)

Fantasy Impact: Arizona coach Steve Wilks added that Sam Bradford will play more, but that he wants to see Rosen with the starting offense too. Bradford remains on track to begin the year as the starter, but Rosen should see starts at some point.