Each Monday (or Tuesday when the editor’s drop the ball), Aaron Larson (@aalarson) and Michael Stephenson (@DFF_MSte) examine the hottest NFL rumors and offer their insights as to any potential fantasy football implications they might have. So, grab your beverage or snack of choice and get ready to start the week off with some good old-fashioned fantasy football speculation.
Fantasy Fallout: We covered this a few weeks ago, but the amount of Andrew Luck rumors coming out of camp is getting ridiculous. If any of it is to be believed, he will be back to being a top-four fantasy quarterback and T.Y. Hilton will be back to being a full-blown WR1.
Fantasy Fallout: Matthews was a popular sleeper pick due to the Julian Edelman suspension, but now that job appears to be set for Decker. Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan can’t see all of the targets from Tom Brady. Whoever emerges as the number three wideout in New England will have fantasy value. Also keep an eye on Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson, who have been reportedly having strong camps as well.
Rumor: Derrick Henry has been catching more passes in training camp, even occasionally lining up in the slot.
Fantasy Fallout: Henry has been known as a two-down back that rarely catches the ball, so this is a bit of a surprise, especially after the Titans signed pass-catching specialist Dion Lewis this offseason. If Henry truly becomes a viable option in the passing game he will have the potential to be a top-tier fantasy running back in 2018.
Rumor: Tight end Jake Butt is finally participating in Broncos practices
Fantasy Fallout: Jake Butt, a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, would have been picked much earlier if he hadn’t torn his ACL in the Orange Bowl of his senior season. The Broncos severely lacked a tight end option in 2017, with A.J. Derby leading Denver tight ends with a meager 19 receptions on 31 targets. With the tight end position as thin as is across fantasy football in 2018 Butt could be a late round steal.
Fantasy Fallout: Austin is an electric playmaker when the ball is in his hands, so it makes sense that he may line up in the backfield from time to time. The receiver position is up in the air in Dallas right now, and Austin is getting plenty of reps with the first team offense at wide receiver, so he’s another late round target that could pay off if the Cowboys find a way to utilize his talents.
Rumor: Patriots’ rookie running back Sony Michel had a procedure to drain fluid from his knee after injuring it during training camp.
Fantasy Fallout: Michel is expected to be healthy by the beginning of the regular season, but with the New England’s backfield always so difficult to predict this doesn’t bode well for Michel. On the flipside, Rex Burkhead and James White would be the backs to pick up the slack if Michel isn’t full strength, with Jeremy Hill or Mike Gillislee the dark horse candidates to make a fantasy impact.
Rumor: The Bengals released wide receiver Brandon LaFell, signaling the rise of second-year wideout John Ross.
Fantasy Fallout: Ross was beyond disappointing in his injury-plagued rookie campaign after failing to secure a single catch despite breaking Chris Johnson’s 40 yard dash time at the combine and being selected ninth overall in the NFL draft. With the release of LaFell, Ross will get the chance to start opposite of AJ Green and could live up to his potential while becoming a fantasy relevant option.
Rumor: Mike Gesicki is quickly becoming a favorite target of Ryan Tannehill.
Fantasy Fallout: Gesicki was a standout at the combine and then drafted in the second round by Miami. Rookie tight ends don’t usually make much of a fantasy impact, but Gesicki will have the opportunity, along with the talent, to be a top-tier tight end that will be available at the end of fantasy drafts.