It’s a new month – August! NFL preseason is about to get going and this is the biggest month of the fantasy football calendar all year when the majority of fantasy drafts take place. Our projections and cheatsheet rankings are in need of an update. Check them out, and here are the team news and notes from the last week to accompany those changes.
For Draft Buddy users, I will update a copy of Projection Pal and make it available to download, so you can import our updated projections.
- RB Stepfan Taylor worked ahead of Jonathan Dwyer with the first team offense while starter Andre Ellington sat out with a sore neck. Noting this here to keep tabs on next man up should anything happen to Ellington.
- Glowing reports continue for WR John Brown. Could be something to see here.
- RB Steven Jackson is dealing with a hamstring injury and missing practice time. The veteran doesn’t really need much training camp time anyway, but if he’s struggling to stay healthy this early that is a concern to fantasy players.
- WR Kelvin Benjamin is missing time with what coach Ron Rivera described as a bone bruise on his knee. They don’t seem that concerned but generally when a rookie misses time, it is at least some concern. He is expected back relatively soon.
- WR Josh Gordon‘s suspension hearing was scheduled for August 1st, although last note I read was not to expect to hear the outcome of that meeting just yet. More waiting, but there should be a decision soon.
- WR Cole Beasley is drawing good reviews from training camp. He’s down the pecking order, for sure, but a name to keep in mind in the event of injury and because the offense is anticipated to be very pass heavy.
- WR Golden Tate was removed from the PUP list to take part in regular training camp practice. He was on there with shoulder soreness.
- RB Vick Ballard is out for the season after tearing his Achilles’. Unfortunate. We felt Ballard could press for touches against Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw becomes a more attractive commodity at this point.
- The more I think about it the more I think Chad Henne starts and plays all season barring injury, while Blake Bortles sits, watches and learns. We had their projections relatively close to a split, but changing that up so majority is Henne.
- Conflicting reports from Jacksonville that the team wants RB Toby Gerhart to have 20+ carries per game, but then they want to be careful he doesn’t surpass 300 carries. Regardless of the exact usage, Gerhart is in line to be a work horse back, a more rare commodity in this age of the NFL and for fantasy football. We just aren’t optimistic on Gerhart’s ability to be overly productive with those carries.
- Marqise Lee is getting lots of reps in practice with Cecil Shorts sidelined (hamstring) and Ace Sanders out (personal). Fellow rookie Allen Robinson is also out a couple weeks with a hamstring injury.
- RB Knowshon Moreno is still recovering from issues with his knee, and says he may not play in the preseason at all. His value drops further. Unless he’s an absolute bargain on draft day I would have a tough time pulling the trigger and using a roster spot on him.
- WR Mike Wallace is missing practice with hamstring tightness. Hamstrings are the injury du jour for wide receivers this summer.
- Matt Cassel is in the lead as the projected starting quarterback, but Teddy Bridgewater is apparently closing the gap. An early week report indicates Bridgewater will get some time with the starters during preseason games.
- Reviewing our projections and rankings, Bridgewater we have projected as the starter but ranked slightly lower. That’s a mistake. Don’t draft Cassel. Draft Bridgewater in dynasty, deep keepers and late in 2-QB redraft leagues.
New England Patriots
- Initial timetable on WR Aaron Dobson recovering from foot surgery in March was two to three months, but it seems that was optimistic. He isn’t showing any change of direction work while rehabbing and on the PUP list currently. He might not be ready for the start of the season, so I’m pulling him out of the rankings and distributing about half his earlier projections across other receivers.
New York Giants
- News on the comeback of RB David Wilson from neck surgery took a bad turn this week. An upcoming surgeon’s evaluation has called into question, and reports definitely leaned more pessimistic, on whether Wilson can continue his football career. More news is needed but this drops major red flags on Wilson right now.
- Reuben Randle had some hamstring issues earlier in the week but appears okay. Rookie Odell Beckham Jr. on the other hand, he’s out at least a week with a bothersome hamstring. He also missed time during OTAs for the same reason, drawing the ire of head coach Tom Coughlin.
New York Jets
- Large majority of first-team reps are going to Geno Smith, and little to none to Michael Vick. This is the quarterback training camp battle that never was. It is Geno Smith time until he gets hurt or the coaches – rightfully so – feel forced to switch in an effort to keep themselves employed.
San Francisco 49ers
- RB Kendall Hunter tore his ACL and is lost for the year, while LaMichael James dislocated his elbow. Even though James is expected back Week 1, he wasn’t going to be a big factor backing up Frank Gore. We dropped Marcus Lattimore last week in our rankings on the heels of not very encouraging rehab reports. Given that, it looks like Carlos Hyde is the clear cut handcuff for Gore, and could earn a good number of touches with suddenly little competition behind him. Hyde moves up.
- RB Marshawn Lynch ended his holdout. No one holds out like they used to. Remember Joey Galloway? We hadn’t changed Lynch’s projections or ranking anyway, so no need to change it back now.
- WR Pierre Garcon is sitting out with … you guessed it … a strained hamstring.