Read ESPN’s daily fantasy football ratings each weekday to stay up to date with the news you need to know and get a head start on fantasy football content coming today and tomorrow on ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy app.
The news: Panthers coach Matt Rhule told a news conference he was unlikely to make a decision on the starting quarterback until Game 2 of the preseason on Aug. 19.
What does it mean in fantasy: Baker Mayfield was traded to the Panthers in May, and the Panthers dropped draft picks in the process. I would be shocked if he lost that quarterback battle to Sam Darnold. According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Panthers quarterbacks posted a 30.3 QBR last season. Darnold was the only non-rookie with a lower QBR than Mayfield, with a 35.1 QBR last season and a shoulder injury.
Go further : Mayfield is just one season away from a strong 2020 campaign where he led the Browns to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance for the first time since 2002. He threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns that season. He’s an upgrade on Darnold, which bodes well for DJ Moore and Christian McCaffrey.
The news: Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has discussed his plans for Christian McCaffrey in 2022 and suggests he will continue in a similar role.
What does it mean in fantasy: That’s music to fantasy managers’ ears given McCaffrey’s recent play production. Over the past two seasons, he’s only played in 10 games but averaged a fantastic 115.9 yards and 21.8 points per game. The Panthers also worked on improving the offensive line this offseason. An influx of top free agents and a first-round pick provided the needed talent.
Go further : Jonathan Taylor should be drafted No. 1 overall, but if you have the 1.02, feel free to pick McCaffrey.
The news: According to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner, Elijah Mitchell continues to be the starting running back /p>
What does it mean in fantasy: This is the news the fantastic managers wanted to hear. Averaging 29.3 rush attempts per game, the 49ers ranked sixth in the league. Mitchell averaged 18.8 touches per game last season. He played five games with over 100 rushing yards. It was the most by a rookie in 49ers history. You should feel very comfortable drafting Mitchell at his average draft position of RB23 in our live draft trends. /p>
The news: After shoulder surgery, Jimmy Garoppolo is now cleared for unrestricted practice, but the 49ers don’t appear to have a business partner for him.
What does it mean in fantasy: He worked separately from the team in training camp and it’s possible he won’t be traded until the end of the month or the start of the season, should a team suddenly develop a need.
Go further : With Garoppolo’s salary and situation, one team he could be traded to and be immediately relevant to the fantasy would be the Falcons, where Marcus Mariota is currently set to start Week 1. Garoppolo could be seen as a low-end QB2 if it was given. an opportunity to start. For now, he can only be drafted as a flier in deeper leagues where more than 24 quarterbacks are signed up.
The news: Kareem Hunt took part in practice today after his recent training camp, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter.
What does it mean in fantasy: On Saturday, Hunt skipped team drills in training camp in an attempt to get a new contract. He’s in the final year of the contract, but the reality is that Hunt didn’t have much influence. He’s averaged 13 touches per game since joining the Browns in 2019 and is averaging 0.8 fantasy points per touch. Hunt will continue to play a key role in the Browns’ backfield in 2022.
The news: The Vikings’ new coaching staff has “kissed” Adam Thielen in the red zone, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert reports.
What does it mean in fantasy: This is great news considering the new training regimen and it looks like Thielen will have a role to play. Fantasy managers should take note considering Thielen is the WR33 in our live draft trends. /p>
Go further : Since 2018, Kirk Cousins and Thielen have combined for 39 touchdowns, third among quarterback-wide receiving duos.
The news: JK Dobbins will be reevaluated on Monday, according to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.
What does it mean in fantasy: Currently on the PUP list, Dobbins is recovering from a torn ACL. Despite his public assertions that he’s healthy and ready to go, the Ravens likely won’t rush him. In a Ravens offense that ranked third last season with 30.4 rushing attempts per game, Dobbins carries a lot of uncertainty heading into the season. /p>
Go further : At his average draft position, I would rather prioritize Breece Hall, Diontae Johnson or DK Metcalf. It would be a good idea to wait to select Gus Edwards later — currently, he’s RB55 — if you’re still determined to expose yourself in the Ravens’ backfield.
The news: Nico Collins is the No. 2 “clear” receiver in the Texans camp, according to ESPN’s DJ Bien-Aime.
What does it mean in fantasy: Collins was one of my favorite players to target in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts, and he should be one of yours too. Collins caught 33 passes for 446 yards and a touchdown in the 2021 season despite rookie baseline struggles and quarterback inconsistency, and you can see his potential on film. He was highly praised by coaches and teammates, as well as publicly by quarterback Davis Mills. A second breakout season is in store for Collins.
The news: Saints head coach Dennis Allen says Michael Thomas is taking part in team drills for the first time and looks excellent.
What does it mean in fantasy: The notable aspect of this was that Thomas only played seven games in 2020 mainly due to an ankle injury and missed the entire 2021 season after ankle surgery. In his first four seasons of his career, Thomas racked up at least 1,100 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons. It would be nice if fantasy managers had a crystal ball to see if Thomas can be the superstar he was before he injured his ankle. You should be ready to take a chance on him at his current average draft position of WR28.
The news: Khalil Herbert should see more use this season under new Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy.
What does it mean in fantasy: Although David Montgomery is healthy, Herbert has had a lot of work with the first-team offense during training camp. In an odd move, Montgomery saw some special teams action, something starting running backs rarely do. But it’s best not to overreact to this news. Montgomery has averaged 18.6 touches per game during his career. He’s in line to see a similar workload, but it would be wise to prioritize writing Herbert in the double-digit rounds. If Montgomery ran out of time, Herbert could be a league winner.
Today on ESPN.com and in the ESPN Fantasy app
Matt Bowen identifies players who have the skills but just need an opportunity to become fantasy stars.
• Fantasy Focus Podcast: Double trouble with leaders and adventurers.
In case you missed it:
Eric Karabell’s annual Do Not Draft list highlights big-name players you should let others take.