As teams cut down to 53-man rosters, the moves are coming fast. Here's a rundown of the moves that matter.
Why It Matters: The Falcons offense is one of the thinnest in the league at the skill positions, so anyone on the final roster could have a chance at a fantasy relevant (at least in deep leagues) role this year. Darby joins Auden Tate as receivers who lost out vying for playing time against the likes of Bryan Edwards, Olamide Zaccheaus, KhaDarel Hodge, and Damiere Byrd. Ollison’s release cements Cordarelle Patterson, Damien Williams, and fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier as the top three backs.
Why It Matters: The sixth-round pick Badie was a favorite of some draft analysts, but a mediocre preseason and the signing of Drake sealed his fate. Drake wasn’t good enough to justify his price under the overpaid contract the Raiders gave him last year, but he could rival Mike Davis to lead the backfield in touches against the Jets in Week 1 if J.K. Dobbins can’t go. Drake’s ability in the passing game complicates things in the backfield too. We may not see Dobbins as the clear lead back in this offense right away, so be patient if you have him.
Why It Matters: Johnson helped teams win fantasy titles last year in his return to Miami, and the Bills were interested after losing out on J.D. McKissic in free agency. The drafting of James Cook in the second round made Johnson’s eventual release a lot more likely, but he should be on speed dial for teams that lose running backs during the season, so we shouldn’t forget his performance last year too quickly. Howard was once considered a future star at tight end, but a torn Achilles appears to have robbed him of the athletic ability that made him a first-round pick in 2017.
8/31 Update: Howard is visiting the Bengals and expected to sign if he passes a physical
The Panthers acquired WR Laviska Shenault Jr from Jacksonville for a 2023 7th round pick and a 2024 6th round pick
Why It Matters: The Panthers were also reportedly making calls about Denzel Mims, who was not traded or released as of press time. Shenault won’t get immediate opportunity in Carolina, and it’s not exactly a fantasy-rich environment for receivers other than D.J. Moore. But at least someone wanted him after the Urban Meyer debacle seemed to destroy the 2020 second-round pick’s confidence. He’s hanging on our rosters by a thread in dynasty leagues.
The Broncos placed TE Greg Dulcich (hamstring) on injured reserve
Why It Matters: With Dulcich out for at least the first four games, the runway is clear for Albert Okwuegbunam, who had an up-and-down summer. Okwuegbunam is a more attractive late-round tight end now.
The Texans released RB Marlon Mack
Why It Matters: If you have been taking Dameon Pierce in fantasy drafts, this should make you feel even better. Pierce’s recent rise to the 5th/6th round will be solidified by this news, although Mack never looked like a real threat to Pierce this preseason. Pierce has some passing down chops, but Rex Burkhead is expected to have that role at least to start the season. If the Texans are more competitive than last year or Pierce overtakes Burkhead, the rookie sensation should be a hit in fantasy leagues.
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