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Post-Draft Risers

Tue May 10 12:28pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Related photo caption below

Mooney should get a lot of targets


With the NFL Draft completed, there are several impacts of what took place. But some can be because of what didn’t take place. Some players see their value increase because of what the team didn’t do during the draft. Others see their value increase because of what teams did do, like surrounding them with better talent. Either way, fantasy rankings were adjusted after the draft. Here are some players moving up our rankings because of what took place. 

Cordarralle Patterson, RB, Falcons. The Falcons did draft Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round of this year’s draft, but he is a bit of a project that might not make a huge impact his rookie season. Atlanta also released Mike Davis recently, a guy that started much of last year. Patterson is the clear No. 1 back for Atlanta right now. He did stumble towards the end last year, but he is setup for plenty of touches once again. Patterson could be a big help to fantasy teams once again. 

James Conner, RB, Cardinals. The Cardinals did use a late-round pick on a running back, but Conner has little competition for carries right now. Chase Edmonds really cut into his workload last year, but that shouldn’t be the case this season. Conner could even catch more passes in this explosive offense. Conner was a surprise last year, but that won’t be the case this season. He is setup for a ton of playing time in one of the best offenses in football. 

Marquise Brown, WR, Cardinals. Brown was traded to Arizona right before the draft. He moves from one of the least productive passing offenses to one of the best. The Cardinals will be without No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins for six games after he failed a drug test. This leaves Brown as the likely top option at receiver for Kyler Murray during that stretch. Brown is going to have the best numbers of his career and be a huge help to fantasy teams. 

Drew Lock, QB, Seahawks. It was a bit of a surprise to see the Seahawks pass on quarterback in the draft. This leaves Lock and Geno Smith to compete for the starting job this year. Lock is a much more talented player, and the Seahawks seem to think he can play the part. He should be given first shot to start in an offense with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If Lock can finally put it together, he could surprise. Maybe a new coaching staff and team will be just the thing to get Lock going. He certainly has the talent to produce in this league. 

Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears. The Bears need playmakers at receiver for second-year quarterback Justin Fields, but didn’t really do much to help in that area this offseason and during the draft. Mooney is really the only top option. Mooney was targeted 140 times year and should exceed that number this season. He can take his game to an even higher level. The lack of weapons in the passing game is bad for Fields, but good for Mooney. He is going to get a huge workload. 

Jared Goff, QB, Lions. The Lions added Jameson Williams in the draft. Many considered Williams the top receiver in the draft, but he fell a little because of his injury in college last year. Either way, the Lions added an elite receiver to go with Amon-Ra St. Brown and recently signed D.J. Chark. Add in a healthy D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson. Goff might not be an elite quarterback but proved with the Rams that he can help fantasy teams when given the weapons. He could be worth some spot starts for fantasy teams this year in an offense that is on the rise. 

Daniel Jones, QB, Giants. The Giants added offensive line and receiver help for Jones during the draft. They didn’t pick up his fifth-year option but did a lot to help him have success this year. Plus, new coach Brian Daboll should be a huge plus for the development of Jones. If he is ever going put it all together, this is the year for Jones. He has playmakers at receiver and new offensive line blocking for him. At this point, we like taking a chance on him as a No. 2 for fantasy teams, especially if you have a solid starter ahead of him on your roster.

Zach Wilson, QB, Jets. The Jets just keep getting more and more help for Wilson. The team drafted both Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Some considered both these players the top players at their positions in this year’s draft. Wilson was wildly inconsistent last year, but is a year older with a lot more weapons to work with this year. He can take a bit step forward this year. Things are looking up for the second-year signal caller.

Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles. The Eagles made a big splash. It wasn’t in the draft but in a trade, acquiring A.J. Brown. He immediately becomes the No. 1 receiver for the Eagles and Hurts. He should help elevate Hurts’ game. Plus, Hurts has DeVonta Smith in year two at receiver and Dallas Goedert as the starting tight end. Hurts has a lot more weapons to work with this year and an elite receiver finally on his side. He could be a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2022. 

Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles. It was a little bit of a surprise but the Eagles did nothing during the draft at the running back spot. This leaves Sanders as the clear No. 1 back. Kenneth Gainwell showed potential last year, but looks the part of a third-down back more than anything. Sanders should get the early-down work and likely the goal-line carries in an offense that could be very good. Sanders hasn’t had that huge season just yet, but this could be the year. And for his current price tag (79.6 ADP), he is worth the risk to find out. 

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

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Player Notes
Nyheim Hines Aug 10 2:50pm ET
Nyheim Hines

Indianapolis Colts running back Nyheim Hines has been hyped up all offseason as the Colts look to get him more involved in the passing attack in 2022. According to ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler, Indy expects at least 60 receptions from Hines. The 25-year-old has caught 63 passes in a season twice, including his rookie year in 2018. His total of 40 catches for 310 yards and one touchdown were all career-lows, but the addition of quarterback Matt Ryan should change that. Jonathan Taylor will remain the team's bell-cow back on early downs for good reason, but the Colts will use Hines plenty as a pass-catcher, making him an intriguing RB3/4 with upside in point-per-reception fantasy leagues. For what it's worth, head coach Frank Reich recommends picking up Hines in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Melvin Gordon Aug 10 2:40pm ET
Melvin Gordon

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett said that running back Melvin Gordon III (foot) is dealing with a foot injury that the team is managing. As a result, he didn't take part in training camp practice on Wednesday. Gordon's injury doesn't seem very serious at all, so it shouldn't be anything to worry about with the team's first preseason game coming this Saturday. The 29-year-old re-signed with Denver this offseason, to the disappointment of Javonte Williams backers, and the new coaching staff is expected to once again use the two backs in tandem in 2022. Williams is the more explosive back and should be considered the 1A in this backfield, but Gordon remains a thorn in his side. At best, Gordon will be an RB3/flex and handcuff for those that roster Williams.

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Tee Higgins Aug 10 2:40pm ET
Tee Higgins

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said that wide receiver Tee Higgins (shoulder) is ready to go, but the team is taking it slow with him in training camp. "He looks good," Taylor said. Higgins should rejoin the Bengals offense in team work at camp next week. The 23-year-old pass-catcher had labrum surgery in March, which has kept him off the field so far this offseason, but he's still expected to be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. He took a step forward in his second season in 2021, going for 74 receptions (110 targets), 1,091 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 14 regular season games. Despite plenty of options for quarterback Joe Burrow through the air, Higgins is one of his favorite targets and should be considered a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 in fantasy football.

From RotoBaller

DeVonta Smith Aug 10 2:30pm ET
DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said that wide receiver DeVonta Smith (groin) remains day-to-day, but he'll miss his fifth straight training camp practice on Wednesday. Smith suffered a minor groin injury in practice late last week and is being held out as a precaution. The Eagles starters are expected to see a series or two of work in the preseason opener this Friday against the New York Jets, but it remains to be seen if Smith will play. The 23-year-old had 64 receptions for 916 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games in his rookie season, but the addition of No. 1 wideout A.J. Brown will take targets away from the second-year wideout. Still, Smith could make plenty of noise if the Eagles devote more attention to their passing game and quarterback Jalen Hurts takes a step forward as a passer. Smith should be considered a WR3 with upside in fantasy football drafts.

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Ken Crawley Aug 10 2:20pm ET
Ken Crawley

The San Francisco 49ers signed former New Orleans Saints cornerback Ken Crawley to an undisclosed one-year deal on Wednesday. Crawley played in only six games with the Saints last year and had three solo tackles. He hasn't played in double-digit games in an NFL season since 2018 due to injuries and will be hoping to latch on in San Francisco as secondary depth. The 29-year-old has a total of 138 tackles (125 solo), four tackles for loss, two interceptions, 32 passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in his six NFL seasons.

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Zach Wilson Aug 10 1:00pm ET
Zach Wilson

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will play one to two series in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles this week. If Wilson takes the offense down the field on the first drive, he'll likely be done for the day. The second-year quarterback has had an inconsistent training camp this summer, but more pieces are in place in the aerial attack for the 23-year-old to take a step forward in Year 2. There will likely still be growing pains along the way, but Wilson should have a higher fantasy football season in 2022, providing that the offensive line doesn't collapse in front of him. In fantasy football leagues, he should be considered a low-end QB2 with upside this year.

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Simi Fehoko Aug 10 1:00pm ET
Simi Fehoko

Dallas Cowboys wide receivers Simi Fehoko and Noah Brown have been pleasant surprises in training camp since James Washington (foot) went down with injury. Fehoko has consistently come up big in practices, especially in the red zone, using his size and speed to create space on deep balls or to make contested catches in traffic. The 24-year-old only played seven offensive snaps all year and played in just five games as a rookie in 2021, but he looks ready to contribute in Year 2. Considering how thin the Cowboys are at the position with injuries to Washington and Michael Gallup (knee), Fehoko could have a role early on alongside CeeDee Lamb, rookie Jalen Tolbert and Brown.

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Adam Thielen Aug 10 12:50pm ET
Adam Thielen

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen looks more like his previous self in training camp this summer, and his play is reminiscent of his most productive stretch from 2016 to 2018. Over that time period, Thielen made his only two Pro Bowls and totaled 273 receptions on 387 targets for 3,616 yards and 18 touchdowns in 48 games. In the last three seasons, he's been limited by injuries and has put up 171 catches on 251 targets for 2,069 yards and 30 touchdowns. While his production has fallen off, his touchdown production hasn't, and the Vikings are expected to continue using him as a red-zone weapon in 2022. Coming off ankle surgery that ended his 2021 season early, the 31-year-old should be a WR3 with touchdown upside in this pass-happy offense.

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K.J. Osborn Aug 10 12:50pm ET
K.J. Osborn

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn may have advanced more than any other play in training camp this summer, and his role in the offense is expected to grow heading into his third NFL season. If Adam Thielen continues to be hampered by injuries in 2022, Osborn has a chance to break out. The 25-year-old made a nice leap in his sophomore season, going from zero targets in nine games in 2020 to 50 catches on 82 targets for 655 yards and seven touchdowns in 2021. Osborn will likely go undrafted in most standard 12-team fantasy football leagues, but he's in the clear lead for the No. 3 receiver job in Minnesota and could be an early season waiver-wire darling.

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Kellen Mond Aug 10 12:40pm ET
Kellen Mond

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond has struggled at training camp and has thrown interceptions consistently. He's also operating with poor timing and checks down far too often, even in two-minute drills. When he's been forced off platform, his accuracy plummets and he often underthrows wide-open receivers. Mond has yet to win a situational drill in camp this summer. Sean Mannion hasn't played very well either, but he's been much more consistent than Mond. The Athletic's Arif Hasan wouldn't be surprised if the Vikings stick with Mannion as the direct backup to Kirk Cousins to open the regular season.

From RotoBaller

Mitchell Trubisky Aug 10 12:30pm ET
Mitchell Trubisky

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitch Trubisky is believed to have the inside track to win the starting job in training camp over Mason Rudolph and rookie first-rounder Kenny Pickett. This was the expectation going into training camp, and it's still the case despite the fact that Trubisky hasn't exactly looked great in practices so far. It's still technically an open competition and the Steelers haven't officially named Trubisky the starter, but that's the way that things appear to be headed. He's taken almost all of the first-team repetitions When Week 1 rolls around, it will almost certainly be Trubisky under center for Pittsburgh. But he won't have a long leash if he struggles, and he'll be a low-end QB2 in fantasy football.

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Justin Jefferson Aug 10 12:30pm ET
Justin Jefferson

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson continues to have an incredible training camp this summer, and opposing cornerbacks have done little to limit him. He is winning on every route in every situation. It's no secret that Jefferson will be the focus of the offense, and camp practices have reflected that. Adam Thielen is also looking more like his previous self, with his play more reminiscent of his most productive stretch from 2016 to 2018. Thielen has had some injury-shortened seasons recently. K.J. Osborn could also play a bigger role in the offense in 2022, and he may have improved more than any other player in camp. Jefferson has 196 catches on 292 targets for 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns in his two NFL seasons. Once Cooper Kupp comes off the board in fantasy football drafts, Jefferson should be right behind him.

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Jakeem Grant Aug 10 12:20pm ET
Jakeem Grant

Cleveland Browns wide receiver/returner Jakeem Grant Sr. (Achilles) has been confirmed to have suffered a torn Achilles in training camp practice on Tuesday, and he'll miss the entire 2022 season. In addition to being a Pro Bowl return man, Grant was hoping to have an expanded role in the passing attack in his first year in Cleveland. The 29-year-old will be a major loss for the Browns' special teams unit this year, as well as the team's receiver depth behind Amari Cooper, rookie David Bell and Anthony Schwartz. With Grant done for the year, Demetric Felton will have an opportunity to earn a kick-return role on special teams now. Rookies Michael Woods II and Mike Harley Jr. could see more chances out of the slot, too, if anything were to happen to Bell this year.

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Russell Gage Aug 10 12:10pm ET
Russell Gage

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Russell Gage (ankle, foot) limped off the field at training camp practice on Wednesday with what might be a left ankle or foot injury. Gage was injured during one-on-one drills. We'll have more on Gage's injury once we know more, but for now, consider him day-to-day. The recent addition of veteran Julio Jones wasn't great news for the 26-year-old's chances of a prominent role in the Bucs' passing offense, although Gage could still see ample targets if Chris Godwin (knee) isn't ready by Week 1 of the regular season. Top wideout Mike Evans (hamstring) has also been slowed at camp by a minor injury. If Gage's injury isn't too serious, he'll still be attractive as a late-round upside selection.

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Jakeem Grant Aug 10 12:10pm ET
Jakeem Grant

Cleveland Browns wide receiver/returner Jakeem Grant Sr. (knee) has been confirmed to have suffered a torn ACL in training camp practice on Tuesday, and he'll miss the entire 2022 season. In addition to being a Pro Bowl return man, Grant was hoping to have an expanded role in the passing attack in his first year in Cleveland. The 29-year-old will be a major loss for the Browns' special teams unit this year, as well as the team's receiver depth behind Amari Cooper, rookie David Bell and Anthony Schwartz. With Grant done for the year, Demetric Felton will have an opportunity to earn a kick-return role on special teams now. Rookies Michael Woods II and Mike Harley Jr. could see more chances out of the slot, too, if anything were to happen to Bell this year.

From RotoBaller

DeVonta Smith Aug 10 10:40am ET
DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (groin) sat out practice last Thursday and has now been described as day-to-day by head coach Nick Sirianni. Smith had a fantastic rookie season, finishing with 64 receptions for 916 yards and five touchdowns. Smith's stock took a hit when the team traded for A.J. Brown, but he still projects to be very involved. Smith was seen working on the sideline but did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Smith will likely be more volatile for fantasy this season now that Brown is the alpha in the offense. He'll compete with Brown and tight end Dallas Goedert for targets but will still be a top-36 option and could finish inside the top 24 if the overall passing volume goes up for the Eagles.

From RotoBaller

Courtland Sutton Aug 10 10:30am ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) received a massive quarterback upgrade during the offseason when the Broncos traded for Russell Wilson. Sutton and teammate Jerry Jeudy are expected to form an exciting tandem this season. Sutton had his foot evaluated in practice on Sunday and was reported to have "a little shoulder thing we're just working through" in practice on Tuesday. Neither injury seems major, and the fact that he was still able to participate in practice is a good sign, but it would be beneficial for Sutton to be getting reps with Wilson to establish a strong rapport. Sutton will be a top-30 fantasy receiver this year, with a chance to crack the top 15 if he dominates the targets in this offense.

From RotoBaller

Travis Etienne Aug 10 10:30am ET
Travis Etienne

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne Jr. are both expected to take part in Friday's preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. Head coach Doug Pederson said he will let the starters play in a couple of series. Neither of them participated in the Hall-of-Fame game last Thursday, so this will be their first on-field action together. Etienne missed his entire rookie season with a Lisfranc injury, essentially making this his rookie year. Etienne is currently competing with James Robinson (Achilles) to be the lead back in this offense and is expected to have a big role in the receiving game, adding to his fantasy value as a top-24 option, especially in PPR leagues.

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Jalen Hurts Aug 10 10:30am ET
Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts led his team to the playoffs last year and is expected to take a big leap in 2022. Hurts possesses exceptional athleticism, which makes him dangerous as a dual-threat quarterback, but he has received a lot of criticism regarding his skill set as a passer. Hurts received an exciting new weapon this offseason when the Eagles traded for wide receiver A.J. Brown. Hurts, along with the rest of the starters, is expected to play one or two series in Friday's preseason opener, according to head coach Nick Sirianni. Hurts is locked in as a top-12 option for fantasy football and has top-five upside because of his rushing ability, especially if he improves as a passer.

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Courtland Sutton Aug 9 9:03pm ET
Courtland Sutton

Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) is currently dealing with a shoulder injury.

Fantasy Spin: It does not appear to be a serious issue, and Sutton probably will only miss a few practices. He will see a good amount of targets each game this season and can be at least a No. 3 receiver.

From TheHuddle