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#185 A Shakeup In The Rookie QB Landscape

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In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter, we look at a chip in Trey Lance’s finger, read the tea leaves on CEH, and reveal Matthew’s phone number. It's 8/31. Take it away, Peter Overzet…


Just hours ago we got word from The Boston Globe’s Jim McBride that the Patriots have released Cam Newton and will start rookie Mac Jones

Even though we always assumed Jones would take over at some point this season, this is a pretty big surprise considering the Patriots will eat $3.5 million in dead cap and are electing to roll with Brian Hoyer as their backup instead. 

For fantasy, this really helps us dial in some of our decision making in remaining drafts. I think this boosts the value of almost all the skill position players:

  • James White should be one of the biggest beneficiaries as Jones will check down to the RBs more frequently than Newton would.
  • Tight ends have notoriously been a reliable safety valve for rookie QBs, so both Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry are even more intriguing than they were before.
  • Whichever WR emerges as the No. 1 here—my bet is on Jakobi Meyers—should benefit from a more efficient passing attack.

On the other side of the QB coin, 49ers rookie QB Trey Lance is expected to miss about a week due to a “small chip” in a finger on his right throwing hand. Here’s the full quote from coach Kyle Shanahan on the injury:

"It wasn't bothering him much because he thought it was just jammed on that helmet and then when you get all the images on it and they showed it to me, it's a microchip of a bone that's off...[It] is a small chip fracture, which is worse than a jam...He can't take snaps and do all that stuff right now, so we've got to just rest it for seven days they say and that should make it heal and hopefully he'll be good next Monday when we get into practice."

I’ll leave the overworked chip jokes for Twitter and simply say this isn’t ideal for Lance’s push to start Week 1. 

We’ve previously been confident that he’d earn the job—Lance threw for 276 yards 3 TDs, and 1 rushing TD in the preseason and looked dynamic while doing so—but if the rookie isn’t able to get starter’s reps when the team resumes practicing on Monday after the weekend off, it’s going to be the Jimmy Garoppolo show Week 1.

On a positive note, Lance had been rocketing up draft boards the past few weeks and this should help pull his ADP back to a juicy range. 



Mike Clay's guide to NFL player props. Looking to get some action down on season-long player props? Mike Clay lists a bunch of his favorites in this ESPN+ article.

Monday Injury Rounds: Which Injured Players You Should Avoid at ADP by Jene Bramel. Dr. Jene Bramel walks through all of the injured players and whether they are safe to draft at their current ADP or not. 

Get access to Clay’s prop bets on ESPN+ and all of Bramel’s injury content at Footballguys with a Rotopass sub

Early Round RB Targets and Legendary Scenarios by Pat Kerrane. Pat Kerrane outlines which running backs could have legendary seasons in 2021 and how to attack it from a draft and cost perspective. 



* Ravens coach John Harbaugh said he believes Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams will fill the void left by RB J.K. Dobbins, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve yesterday. The other RBs on the roster are Justice Hill and Nate McCrary, but it would appear that Williams is the back to prioritize. 

* The Chiefs released RB Darwin Thompson. That might not seem fantasy relevant on the surface, but likely means that Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who suffered an ankle sprain 11 days ago, will be available for Week 1. We hadn’t heard any timeline updates on CEH recently so this is great news.

* There are reports that the Texans are preparing to make Deshaun Watson a healthy scratch for every week in 2021. He would still collect $10.54 million in salary in this scenario.

* Per Tom Pelissero, three Colts players—QB Carson Wentz, WR Zach Pascal, and C Ryan Kelly—were all placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as close contacts. They can return to practice in 5 days as long as they continue to test negative and remain asymptomatic. 

* Marquise Brown resumed practicing yesterday after sitting out since July 28 with a hamstring injury. Both Brown and Mark Andrews should see a ton of targets out of the gate with Dobbins out for the year, Rashod Bateman missing the first month, and Sammy Watkins banged up. 

* Vikings TE Irv Smith will have surgery to repair his meniscus and will miss the start of the season. Possible timelines range from 4 weeks to the entire season, so this is something we’ll continue to monitor. Take him off your draft list for now and feel free to take a stab on Tyler Conklin



This seems dangerous, Matthew:

Honestly, not the worst punishment for finishing last in your fantasy league. 

I’m not sure what kind of replies Schefter thought he’d receive when he tweeted this…

With no preseason games left, here’s what’s on tap this week:


We’ll be back tomorrow to recap all the roster cuts. 

- Pete Overzet


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