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: Allen Robinson II had a shockingly quiet game against the Bills.
What it means in fantasy: Robinson was expected to be among the Rams’ biggest playmakers on Thursday night, especially for a Los Angeles team without Van Jefferson. Head coach Sean McVay attributed his two targets to a lack of offensive rhythm. Fantasy managers were not happy with Robinson’s start, especially after his disastrous 2021 season. In Week 2, he has an opportunity to bounce back against the Falcons. Robinson can be viewed as a low-end WR2.
Going deeper: Robinson was targeted twice on 45 routes run Thursday according to NFL Next Gen Stats. The 4.4% target rate was the lowest of his career.
The news: Cam Akers had zero yards for the Rams in Week 1’s loss to the Bills.
What it means in fantasy: McVay has no excuse for not involving Akers. Darrell Henderson Jr. got the start and finished with 18 touches compared to just three for Akers. Right now, Henderson appears to be the favorite to lead the Rams running back by committee. He will be one of the top waiver wire pickups heading into Week 2.
Going deeper: Akers only played 12 snaps to Henderson’s 54. Akers was the RB16 in live draft trends, while Henderson was the RB45.
The news: Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reported that George Kittle is unlikely to play in Week 1 for the 49ers.
What it means in fantasy: Kittle’s groin injury could also keep him out beyond Week 1. One source told Wilson that Kittle’s injury is “not good,” and another said he has a Grade 2 strain that limits his speed. If Kittle is on your fantasy roster, consider streaming Albert Okwuegbunam (81.3%), Evan Engram (80.2%), and Gerald Everett (88%), who are all available in a high percentage of ESPN leagues.
Going deeper: Last season, Kittle missed time due to a calf injury after missing eight games in 2020 with knee and foot injuries.
The news: Rondale Moore left Thursday’s practice with a hamstring injury and will undergo an MRI.
What it means in fantasy: Moore went down while running a route, and the injury was described as “serious” by Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson. With DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games, the Cardinals receiver was expected to play a larger role in his second season. Moore’s injury clearly clouds his fantasy outlook, and now the Cardinals must dig deep into their depth chart to find some reinforcements opposite Marquise Brown. Zach Ertz is also dealing with a calf injury.
The news: Kenneth Walker III will likely miss the Seahawks opener against the Broncos
What it means in fantasy: Walker did not practice on Thursday. The Seahawks face their former quarterback Russell Wilson on Monday Night Football and Rashaad Penny, DeeJay Dallas, and Travis Homer are the top three running backs. While Walker is out, Penny should be considered an RB2.
The news: Allen Lazard misses practice on Thursday for the Packers.
What it means in fantasy: Lazard is unlikely to play in Week 1 against the Vikings. The Packers will have to rely on veteran wide receivers Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins. As I mentioned in yesterday’s column, Cobb is my favorite out of the two because of his robust history with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The news: Josina Anderson of CBS Sports reported that Van Jefferson is likely to miss multiple games for the Rams.
What it means in fantasy: Jefferson underwent knee surgery near the beginning of August after suffering an injury early in training camp. He made a major leap forward last season, becoming a vital part of the Rams offense. Jefferson ranked second on the Rams in both yards and receptions among receivers. The Rams didn’t seem to have much of an offensive plan on Thursday night. Jefferson’s absence may have affected certain aspects of the Rams’ offense as he is a versatile player who can be deployed to add a variety of dimensions to the offense.
Going deeper: Jefferson’s four receptions of 40 or more yards in 2021 were the same as Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs and tied for the ninth in the league.
The news: Robert Tonyan was limited in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: Tonyan appears to be on track to return from his torn ACL against the Vikings. With the Packers remaking their receiving group, Tonyan is a fantasy TE2 to watch. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers believes Tonyan can ascend to a “Pro Bowl-caliber level” for them.
The news:J.K. Dobbins was “limited” in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: When Dobbins returns from last year’s knee injury, he is expected to be a key piece of the offense. Other healthy backs on the 53-man roster are Mike Davis, Justice Hill, and Kenyan Drake, and Harbaugh said he would decide by Friday about Dobbins’ status and the running back rotation. He can be considered a flex option if he is active.
Going deeper: The Ravens were among the league’s best running teams in 2021 but still fell from 192 yards per game in 2020 to 146 yards per game last season. This was partially due to the loss of Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill before the season even began for the Ravens.
The news: Michael Thomas was limited in Thursday’s practice for the Saints.
What it means in fantasy: Thomas is likely to play in Week 1 against the Falcons after consecutive limited tags on Wednesday and Thursday. Fantasy managers can view him as a high-end flex option. We have barely seen Thomas since his record setting season with 149 receptions, 1,725 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns in 2019. Despite missing the entire 2021 season due to injury, Thomas played just seven games in 2020. It will be great to see him back in action.
The news: Diontae Johnson was limited in Thursday’s practice for the Steelers.
What it means in fantasy: A shoulder injury forced Johnson to leave the team’s third preseason game. It should be clear from his injury status on the final injury report if he will play this Sunday and how limited he may be if he does. If Johnson is unavailable for Week 1, Chase Claypool and George Pickens should see an increase in targets.
The news: Dak Prescott was limited in Thursday’s practice due to an issue with his new cleats.
What it means in fantasy: The new pair of cleats Prescott wore on Thursday made his surgically repaired right ankle feel “uncomfortable.” Fantasy managers were alarmed to see Prescott’s name on the injury report since he missed nearly all of the 2020 season because of a compound fracture, but Prescott should be good to go against the Buccaneers on Sunday night. He can be viewed as a low-end QB1.
The news: Christian McCaffrey was added to the Panthers injury report after a cleat cut his shin.
What it means in fantasy: There should be no concern about McCaffrey’s availability for Sunday’s game against the Browns, since he participated fully in practice on Thursday. Since McCaffrey has had two straight injury-plagued seasons, any injury news about him causes fantasy managers heartburn. He can continue to be viewed as a high-end RB1.
Going deeper: Over the last two seasons, Christian McCaffrey played in only 10 games, but he averaged 115.9 yards and 21.8 fantasy points.
The news: Chase Edmonds was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.
What it means in fantasy: Edmonds was listed as limited on Wednesday but is now set to start against the Patriots. He was signed by the Dolphins in free agency to fill a pressing need at running back. He was Mike McDaniel’s first signee for a good reason. Edmonds is a great fit for his outside zone running scheme. He can be viewed by fantasy managers as an upside flex option.
Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Mike Clay’s complete Playbook for Week 1: projections and analysis for every game
• Fantasy Focus Football: The big weekend preview show
• The Week 1 Cheat Sheet: AJ Mass compiles the best advice of the week to set your lineups
• Sunday Inactives: Tracking who is in, who is out and what it means in fantasy
• Sunday fantasy highs and lows: Tristan H. Cockcroft and Matt Bowen react to the day’s biggest storylines and surprising performances
In case you missed it:
Field Yates’ Fantasy Field Pass for Week 1
Tristan H. Cockcroft’s best and worst team matchups at every position
Al Zeidenfeld’s DFS Best Buys
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