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NFL PLAYER NEWS
Charles Sims to serve as Tampa Bay's passing-down back
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Charles Sims is expected to serve as the team's passing-down back, according to the Tampa Bay Times' Greg Auman.
Prior to working his way through an injury-ravaged 2016, Sims operated in this role for the 2015 season, when he rushed for 500-plus yards and caught for 500-plus yards. So, despite the presence of both Jacquizz Rodgers and Doug Martin (three-game suspension), it looks like Sims could be in for a productive 2017 campaign.
numberFire's algorithms project Sims for 291.4 rush yards, 282.1 receiving yards and 2.7 total scores across 109.5 touches in the running and receiving games. He's currently going undrafted in standard leagues, but that makes him a guy to watch at RB56 in our Draft Kit.
LeGarrette Blount expected to be 'big part' of Eagles' offense
Philadelphia Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount will be "a big part of our offense," said head coach Doug Pederson.
Pederson also described Blount as being "a beast of a runner," and it's a resounding vote of confidence in spite of what has been, by all accounts, a pretty dreadful preseason for the veteran back. At least to begin the year, Blount seems locked in as the Eagles' starter and short-yardage option, but that could change depending on the production of sophomore Wendell Smallwood. It also wouldn't be surprising to see Darren Sproles end up leading the backfield in touches. Currently being drafted as the RB25 overall in the middle of the fifth round, per Fantasy Football Calculator, Blount appears to be overvalued in fantasy drafts.
numberFire's models project Blount to rush 166.4 times for 680.7 yards and 4.75 touchdowns this season while adding 11.4 receptions for 64.0 yards and 0.48 touchdowns. He is our 36th-ranked fantasy running back entering the year.
Odell Beckham (ankle) in danger of missing Giants' season opener
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (ankle) reportedly is in danger of missing the first week or two of the regular season due to a high ankle sprain he suffered on Monday night, per ESPN.
Beckham took a hard hit to his lower half while making a catch in Monday's preseason game versus the Cleveland Browns. While X-rays came back negative, an MRI confirmed the diagnosis of an ankle sprain. With less than three weeks until the season opener on September 10, Beckham may not have enough time to recover before the tilt versus the Dallas Cowboys. Expect an increase in targets for Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard if Beckham is out.
Our models project Beckham as the third-best wide out in fantasy for 2017 with 1,359.4 yards and 10.9 touchdowns, if he plays a full 16 games.
Steelers' Le'Veon Bell tweets he'll end holdout, return on September 1
On Tuesday night, Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell tweeted "9-1-17" to a fan asking when he'd rejoin the Steelers.
The Steelers reportedly never feared that Bell would hold out into the regular season and miss any meaningful games, so this is somewhat expected. But now we know the exact date Bell will be back in Pittsburgh with the team, which is good news for Steelers fans and fantasy football owners alike.
Our numberFire models project Bell for 1,389.7 rushing yards and 10.0 rushing touchdowns on 295.3 rushing attempts in 2017, plus 85.0 catches for 712.9 receiving yards and 3.5 receiving touchdowns. He's our number-two overall player in fantasy this year.
Russell Shepard expected to open year as Panthers' third receiver
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Russell Shepard is expected to open the season as the team's third receiver, according to Bill Voth of Panthers.com.
Shepard, a favorite target of the Panthers' quarterbacks in training camp, is the favorite to open the season as the team's slot receiver due to rookie Curtis Samuel missing a good portion of training camp and not playing in either of the first two preseason games. Shepard caught 23 passes for 341 yards last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Shepard is projected for just 20.9 catches, 308.2 yards, and 1.8 touchdowns in 2017, by our models.
Kendall Wright working as Bears' first-team slot receiver
Chicago Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright caught 2-of-3 targets for 9 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's second preseason game versus the Arizona Cardinals.
Wright was working with the first team offense, ahead of Victor Cruz, as two of his targets came in the end zone from starting quarterback Mike Glennon. The veteran wideout has the talent to succeed as the Bears' slot receiver but loses fantasy value with the inconsistent Glennon as his quarterback.
Our models project Wright for 39.8 catches, 522.2 yards, and 3.1 touchdowns in 2017. He is our 69th-best receiver in standard leagues.
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