Read ESPN’s fantasy football daily notes every weekday to stay caught up on the news you need to know and get a head start on the fantasy football content coming today and tomorrow to ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy App.
The news: The Dolphins cut Sony Michel in first wave of roster cuts.
What it means in fantasy: Michel’s departure has whittled down Miami’s running back room. He signed with the Dolphins in May, and Miami also signed Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert as free agents. Salvon Ahmed and Myles Gaskin remain on the roster as well. Edmonds and Mostert can be viewed as high-end flex options in fantasy.
Going deeper: Edmonds and Mostert will form a two-back committee in the outside zone running scheme that Mike McDaniel brought from his time in San Francisco. The 49ers rank seventh in rushing yards in 2021.
The news: Jimmy Garoppolo‘s contract has been restructured.
What it means in fantasy: Both sides have reportedly agreed to a one-year, restructured contract for the 2022 season to keep Garoppolo with the 49ers. Adam Schefter reported Monday that Garoppolo’s new contract includes a no-trade and no-tag clause to ensure he stays with the Niners. It will be possible for him to leave in 2023 in search of a new opportunity. From a fantasy perspective Trey Lance, the QB13 in our draft trends, should still be prioritized in drafts.
The news: The Jaguars traded Laviska Shenault Jr. to the Panthers on Monday for an undisclosed draft pick in 2023.
What it means in fantasy: Laviska Shenault, a second-round draft pick in 2020, was acquired from the Jacksonville Jaguars as part of the Panthers’ attempt to strengthen their wide receiving corps. Shenault will compete for the No. 3 receiver role with fellow second-round pick Terrace Marshall Jr., who has struggled to stay healthy since entering the league. Neither should be prioritized in fantasy drafts.
Going deeper: Shenault led the Jaguars in drops with eight in 2021.
The news: Cam Akers returned to practice Monday.
What it means in fantasy: Akers returned to practice on Monday and was a full participant, according to Rams head coach Sean McVay. A soft-tissue injury has kept him out of practice for the past two weeks. Akers is the RB16 in our live draft trends and firmly on the RB2 radar for a Rams offense that averaged 373.2 total yards (7th) last season.
Going deeper: After tearing his Achilles last summer, Akers surprisingly returned for Los Angeles’ Super Bowl run. Over the team’s four postseason games, he averaged just 3.48 yards per carry. Akers should look better this year after a full calendar year since the injury.
The news: JuJu Smith-Schuster was back at practice on Monday
What it means in fantasy: It appears Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s assessment that wide receiver Smith-Schuster would be fine despite missing time with a knee injury was accurate. Smith-Schuster is a great value as the WR31 in our live draft trends. The only Chiefs player we have projected for more targets than Smith-Schuster (113) is Travis Kelce (119).
Going deeper: Patrick Mahomes has averaged 299.3 passing yards per game since 2020. Over the same period, the Chiefs quarterback also ranked first in slot wide receiver targets, which is where Smith-Schuster has been most successful lining up.
The news: Mitch Trubisky is expected to be named the Steelers starter for Week 1.
What it means in fantasy: This news shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, Adam Schefter said on NFL Live last week that it doesn’t seem like it will be long before the Steelers turn to rookie Kenny Pickett. As a fantasy manager, you shouldn’t rely on Mitch Trubisky to start the entire season in superflex or two quarterback formats. It’s best to consider him as a matchup-based streamer.
The news: Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reported that backup Alexander Mattison could be on the move.
What it means in fantasy: According to Tomasson, the Vikings have been approached by at least 12 teams about trading. In exchange, the Vikings would like a third or fourth round draft pick. In spot starts when starter Dalvin Cook has been absent, Mattison has performed well for fantasy managers. Minnesota is unlikely to find a trade partner considering what they are seeking. In a multiverse where a Mattison trade occurs, I’d prioritize Ty Chandler as Minnesota’s backup.
The news: Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported Darren Waller “has had a deal in discussion that would make him the highest paid at his position.”
What it means in fantasy: Since training camp began, Waller has been seeking a new contract. His salary ranks 17th among tight ends. Waller is currently looking for a new agent. Vic Tafur mentioned rumors that Waller will hire Drew Rosenhaus as his next agent. Along with Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, and George Kittle, Waller belongs to the upper echelon of fantasy tight ends, as reflected by his TE5 in our live draft trends.
Going deeper: The Packers originally wanted to include Waller in the trade that brought Davante Adams to Las Vegas. Is it possible for Green Bay and the Raiders to work out a trade? Waller should be prioritized regardless of the outcome.
The news: Head coach Lovie Smith declined Monday to name a starting running back for the Texans.
What it means in fantasy: There is no doubt that after Dameon Pierce‘s performance in training camp and the preseason, things trending in his favor. He’s the RB34 in our live draft trends. Among the Texans’ committee that also includes Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack, Pierce is expected to get the most touches. As you can see in the film, the rookie has the frame, athleticism, and other intangibles that are common among NFL running backs. Pierce can be viewed as a flex option with immense upside.
Going deeper: The Texans had the worst running game in the league last season, finishing with 1,442 rushing yards and 3.4 yards per carry.
What it means in fantasy: The offseason has hailed Davis as a breakout candidate, and rightfully so. From a fantasy perspective, King’s comments suggest that Davis could be viewed as 1B to Diggs’ 1A. In our live draft trends, Davis is the WR25 and could drive a lot of value as your flex or WR3. Josh Allen is a talented quarterback who can support two fantasy-relevant receivers.
Going deeper: Over the past two seasons, the Bills have run 1,534 plays with exactly three wide receivers — fifth most in the league. Throw in four-receiver sets and the Bills have run more than 100 plays of this nature than any other team in the league.
What it means in fantasy: Howard was mentioned as a potential cut candidate last week, and now it has come to fruition. Dawson Knox, the TE12 in our live draft trends, is an excellent fantasy option for those who wait to address the position until later in the draft. In contrast, Howard has only recorded 25 receptions over the past two seasons. It’s unlikely that he’ll be on the fantasy radar in 2022.
Going deeper: Knox averaged 4.7 targets and 11 fantasy points per game in 2021. With nine touchdowns last season, he tied Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, and Hunter Henry for the tight end touchdown lead.
The news: Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported that Kenyan Drake is expected to sign with the Ravens pending the results of his physical.
What it means in fantasy: From a fantasy perspective, Drake was a major disappointment with the Raiders, but he can make plays as a runner and receiver. He could be on the streaming radar early in the season for a Ravens backfield that has decimated by injuries and could use some running back depth. With Gus Edwards on the PUP list and J.K. Dobbins‘ status for Week 1 in doubt, Drake and Mike Davis could lead the Ravens’ committee against the Jets.
Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Field Yates’ favorites for fantasy football in 2022.
• Fantasy Focus podcast: Double Trouble with the Bengals and Steelers
• Fantasy football mock draft: 12-team PPR with Superflex
• Fantasy Focus podcast: Mike Clay projections highlights + Mid-Round Madness
In case you missed it:
• Eric Karabell’s preseason weekend wrap: a deeper look at some quarterbacks
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