After a tumultuous Friday last week in which Dallas star back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended and both Sammy Watkins and Jordan Matthews were traded, the second week of the preseason has gotten off to a nice, slow start.
Even though the news cycle has slowed from the fast and furious pace we saw last week, there are still some fantasy football nuggets to digest from Wednesday. Let’s hit it.
It’s not time to hit the panic button, but Pats’ RB Mike Gillislee (hamstring) is still not practicing. Granted, Bill Belichick is notoriously tight-lipped about giving out injury details, but Gillislee hasn’t participated in practice in two weeks. The severity of Gillislee injury is, unsurprisingly, unknown.
Due to increased uncertainty about Gillislee’s health, fantasy drafters are taking precaution. On August 1st — before his hamstring issue was known — Mike Gillislee was the RB20 off of the board as a mid-fifth round pick. As of now, Gillislee’s average draft position has dipped 14 overall spots to RB26 (late-sixth round). The Lord of fantasy football himself (Rich Hribar, @LordReebs) made note of Gillislee’s unique upside in this short video (pre-injury concern), but drafting Gillislee is not without its drawbacks. Over the last 10 years, just three running backs have seen at least 50% of the Patriots’ team carries in a single seasonand just one rusher (LeGarrette Blount) has finished as a top-12 fantasy running back. In addition, across three career seasons, Gillislee has caught just 15 passes. That lack of involvement in the passing game is less than ideal in PPR leagues. Still, in a season where all running backs except for two (David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell) have question marks, fantasy owners may have to take discounts where they can find them with pure upside backs like Gillislee.
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On the topic of lower-extremity injury concerns, John Brown’s sickle-cell trait is still a major issue. He has been battling a quad issue for weeks and Brown himself has admitted that the sickle-cell trait is to blame for his slow recovery from soft-tissue injuries. Coming into training camp, John Brown was a clear bounceback candidate after various injuries robbed him of any semblance of health in 2016. The probability of “Smoke” returning to his 2015 form is decreasing as we get closer to the regular season. Brown had an awesome floor/ceiling combo two seasons ago — he scored fewer than nine PPR points just twice in 2015 (both of the failed games against the Seahawks) — but he’s a complete boom-or-bust fantasy bet because of this pesky sickle-cell issue. Look for Brown’s 10th round average draft position to continue to tumble.
The Kenny Golladay hype train has officially left the station. Golladay did put up 3/53/2 without Matthew Stafford at quarterback, but still, with two touchdown scores in his first preseason action, Golladay gave us a taste that he may not be just a trendy sleeper. On Wednesday, Golladay worked primarily with the first-team offense for the first time in training camp. If Golladay keeps showing out this preseason, he will likely be a Week 1 starter when the Lions go into 11-personnel (3WRs, 1 RB, 1TE). Detroit ran three receiver sets on 75% plays last year (fourth-highest rate). While there’s a decent rookie season role to be had for Golladay in Detroit, the Lions are still a slow, low-volume offense with three veterans ahead of Golladay on the target totem pole. Unless Golladay usurps Marvin Jones outright, he may not see enough volume flow his way to sustain a weekly fantasy floor.
Ty Montgomery (leg) is expected to miss the Packers’ second preseason game. … Saints CB Delvin Breaux has been diagnosed with a fractured fibula and will miss 4-6 weeks. … Steelers activated WR Sammie Coates (knee) from the active/PUP list. … Panthers’ rookie WR Curtis Samuel (hamstring) was back in full pads for Wednesday’s practice; Samuel has missed all of training camp with his balky hammy. … Paul Richardson (shoulder) returned to practice Wednesday. … Cowboys TE Rico Gathers is in the league’s concussion protocol. … Browns RT Cameron Erving (calf) is week to week. … Brock Osweiler will start the Browns’ second preseason game. … Chargers CB Jason Verrett (knee) has been cleared for team drills. … Falcons’ coach Dan Quinn said Devonta Freeman (concussion) could return soon. … Finally, Josh Doctson (hamstring) returned to Redskins practice on Wednesday.
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