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: Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky is listed as the starter on the team’s official depth chart heading into Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
What it means in fantasy: This news shouldn’t come as a surprise since Trubisky was named one of the Steelers’ offensive captains. In a Steelers offense featuring Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and George Pickens, Trubisky is on the streaming radar for those in superflex or two-quarterback formats.
The news: Jaguars running back James Robinson will be active for Week 1 against the Commanders.
What it means in fantasy: It looks like Robinson has covered whatever ground remained in his recovery from a torn Achilles. Robinson won’t see a full workload in Week 1; In late August, Pederson told reporters he would not give Robinson significant touches upon returning. Instead, he said, “I think you gradually increase his reps,” per ESPN. Robinson will form a committee with Travis Etienne Jr., who is considered a low-end RB2 for Week 1.
The news: Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Packers coach Matt LaFleur was not sure Allen Lazard will play in Week 1.
What it means in fantasy: There will be a lot of new faces in Aaron Rodgers‘ receiving corps, and one of the familiar faces might not be available in Week 1 against the Vikings. Christian Watson also missed most of training camp while recovering from a minor knee surgery, and his status is uncertain. You shouldn’t overlook Randall Cobb as a flex option in deeper leagues.
The news: Rams coach Sean McVay said Matthew Stafford has “no limitations” in practice or game-planning while ESPN’s Dan Graziano said his elbow injury could be “an issue all season.”
What it means in fantasy: This situation does not need to be complicated. Stafford has an elbow issue more commonly associated with pitchers. It comes down to pain management, and Stafford averaged 35.3 passes per game last season. If you drafted Stafford, you should be concerned about it. If you have the space, add a viable backup quarterback to your roster. Matt Ryan (available in 76.7% of leagues), Justin Fields (available in 53.2% of leagues) and Jameis Winston (available in 68.1% of leagues) could all make fantasy starts for managers this season.
The news: Adam Schefter reported that Tee Higgins returned to practice on Monday for the Bengals.
What it means in fantasy: Higgins has been limited because of shoulder surgery he underwent in the offseason. Cincinnati’s pass-heavy offense makes him an excellent WR1 against the Steelers.
Going deeper: Higgins was essential to their Super Bowl run. Higgins caught 18 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns in four playoff games.
The news: Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Drake London returned to practice on Monday for the Falcons.
What it means in fantasy: This is great news for fantasy managers with London on their rosters. The rookie receiver had hurt his knee during the team’s first preseason game. The Falcons are expecting London to be a big part of their passing game in 2022. He can be viewed as a flex option against the Saints.
The news: Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that Jaylen Waddle has returned to practice on Monday and should be fine for Week 1 against the Patriots.
What it means in fantasy: Waddle has had an injury for most of the summer. This is great news for fantasy managers who drafted him. Waddle can be viewed as a WR2.
Going deeper: Last season, Waddle set a rookie record with 104 receptions. He led Miami with 1,015 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Despite Tyreek Hill becoming the Dolphins’ No. 1 receiver, Waddle will remain a vital part of the offense.
What it means in fantasy: Henderson and Akers have resumed practicing and are expected to play against the Bills. The Rams are happy, but fantasy managers aren’t. It’s difficult to trust Akers as anything more than a low-end RB2 in the Rams’ backfield in the dreaded running back by committee.
The news: Russell Gage is on track to play in Week 1 against the Cowboys
What it means in fantasy: For the first time since he was injured in a joint practice with the Dolphins, Gage practiced for consecutive days. Although he missed the entire preseason, he could start the season as the Buccaneers’ No. 3 receiver. Chris Godwin was seen practicing on Monday without a knee brace. According to all indications, Godwin has made excellent progress since suffering a torn ACL in Week 15 of last season. Fantasy managers should not rush to add Gage to their lineups.
The news: Van Jefferson did not practice on Monday for the Rams.
What it means in fantasy: It is difficult to imagine Jefferson playing in the season opener against the Bills on Thursday night. Although Rams offensive coordinator Lian Coen has praised Ben Skowronek‘s progress and Tutu Atwell‘s versatility, you shouldn’t include either in your Week 1 fantasy lineup
The news: Isaiah McKenzie was listed as a full participant for the Bills’ practice on Monday.
What it means in fantasy: McKenzie, 27, can now be inserted into fantasy lineups for those playing deeper formats. After Cole Beasley‘s departure, McKenzie is expected to be the Bills’ primary slot option. He is a perfect fit for this position.
Going deeper: Josh Allen ranks second among quarterbacks in slot wide receiver targets over the past two seasons. Beasley averaged 12 fantasy points per game during his three seasons with the Bills.
What it means in fantasy: Ertz has been hampered by a calf injury since early August, and his Week 1 status is uncertain. Trey McBride or Maxx Williams will fill in for Ertz if he’s out. If Ertz is on your roster and you need a streamer, I would consider Austin Hooper (available in 83.3% of leagues) or Evan Engram (available in 80% of leagues).
The news: Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that Irv Smith Jr. is expected to play in Week 1 against the Packers.
What it means in fantasy: Smith had been sidelined with a thumb injury since the start of August. A pass-heavy Vikings offense under new coach Kevin O’Connell will surely put Smith on the streaming radar. He hasn’t played since catching 30 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns in 2020 and should be on fantasy watch list.
The news: Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post reported that Albert Okwuegbunam expects to be ready for Week 1.
What it means in fantasy: Okwuegbunam is recovering from a lower body injury and will play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. With rookie Greg Dulcich starting the season on injured reserve, Okwuegbunam can be considered a low-end TE2 due to the abundance of Broncos receivers.
Things We’ve Read
The news: Dan Graziano of ESPN reported Treylon Burks is expected to be featured by the Titans.
What it means in fantasy: The Titans are planning a major role for Burks in the passing game, which might explain his extra reps during the preseason. Despite being a run-heavy team, Tennessee lacks any playmakers outside of Robert Woods at receiver. If you are in the 30.3% of leagues where Burks is available, you should add him.
The news: Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Rhamondre Stevenson‘s attention to the details of route running have “certainly shown up in practice.”
What it means in fantasy: There’s a good chance Stevenson gets a bigger role. The ability to catch passes might be one of the most important things Stevenson can add to his game, especially with New England’s crowded backfield. Belichick wants his running backs to play all three downs. Stevenson is clearly their best receiver and is well-positioned to exceed fantasy managers’ expectations.
What it means in fantasy: A career season is within reach for Tagovailoa. His new coach, Mike McDaniel, is a much better fit for his personality. Brian Flores was reportedly extremely strict with his players, and some might have felt they couldn’t be themselves. McDaniel is more laid back and encouraging. He has also been provided with Tyreek Hill and Chase Edmonds as additional offensive playmakers. Tagovailoa will have some huge streaming weeks in 2022. For those in superflex leagues, he’s an excellent QB2 with upside.
Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Mike Clay’s Shadow Report looks at Week 1 wide receiver matchups versus the coverage they will see from the opposing secondary
Tristan H. Cockcroft’s consistency rankings update: 2020-2022 highlights which players you can trust week to week versus those who are more boom or bust.
DFS advice and rankings for Week 1 DraftKings and FanDuel contests
Matt Bowen’s film study helps determine his Week 1 matchup upgrades and downgrades
Eric Karabell’s Superflex rankings for Week 1 will help with your 2QB and tough flex lineup decisions Seth Walder’s quarterback and running back upgrades/downgrades take a look at the relative strength and weakness of the offensive and defensive lines in Week 1
• Fantasy Focus podcast: Stephania Bell preseason injury special: who is healthy and who is not heading into Week 1?
In case you missed it:
• Our staff composite Week 1 fantasy football rankings
• Mike Triplett laid out the things you need to know before you draft
• Sign up for a team or start a new league