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Training Camp Daily Dose

Waiting All Week For Thursday Night

by Hasan Rahim
Updated On: September 7, 2021, 9:53 am ET

Hopefully, everyone enjoyed their Labor Day Weekend and has had a fruitful drafting season. There are several pertinent news items to dissect as we get ready to set our Week 1 lineups. 

Saquon Barkley’s Trending to Week 1 Start

Ostensibly the worst kept secret this offseason has been the Week 1 status of Saquon Barkley. led to his ADP Ian Rapoport reports that the star RB is “close to being fully cleared” and should suit up against the Broncos this Sunday. The Giants have been very cautious with Barkley’s rehabilitation process, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if he’s limited in his first game back. Despite the threat of a pitch count and difficult matchup, Barkley will rank as a mid-range RB1 for Week 1. Barkley is quite a prolific talent and has tremendous upside as a Round 2 pick. 

Saquon Barkley 2019 Finishes

Justice Hill’s Season Is Over

In sad news, Justice Hill tore his Achilles tendon during Thursday’s practice. The Ravens tried out Le’Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, and Elijah Holyfield on Monday, as their backfield looks very shaky at the moment. It’s quite likely that Hill will be placed on season-ending IR soon. The Ravens recently lost J.K. Dobbins to an ACL tear and are currently looking for any running back help they can find.

Currently, the team only has Gus Edwards and Ty’Son Williams on their active roster. It’s anticipated that Edwards will receive the lion's share of the workload with Williams working in a change-of-pace role. Williams is a priority waiver target in 12-team leagues.

49ers Are Getting Healthy

Trey Lance had a small chip in his finger and missed approximately a week. He returned to practice on Monday after having his splint removed. In the portion of practice that is open to the media, Lance was not yet throwing the football. Jimmy Garoppolo is slated to be the starter for the 49ers, but his grasp on the role is tenuous at best. If the 49ers start slow, the team could let the third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft start for the rest of the season. Lance is a tremendous stash candidate for Superflex formats.

Brandon Aiyuk who’s been suffering from a lingering hamstring injury returned to practice as well. Aiyuk saw some run as a punt returner. Aiyuk is an intriguing mid-round wide receiver option this season, after finishing his rookie year with a 60-748-5 receiving line. He also tacked on 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns on six rushing attempts. Note that both Deebo Samuel and George Kittle missed plenty of time last season, which freed up targets for Aiyuk, and his final numbers may seem to be slightly inflated.

Aiyuk-Kittle Splits
Aiyuk-Samuel Splits

Although a healthy Kittle and Samuel threaten to cap Aiyuk’s upside, his list of comps as indicated by RotoViz’s Neil Dutton are quite appealing. Hopefully, Aiyuk can take the next step this season.

Aiyuk Rookie Year Comps

Running Back Information Corner

There were several newsworthy items regarding running backs yesterday, so let’s get into the most fantasy-relevant news items.

1. Andy Reid noted that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is expected to play against the Browns in Week 1. Edwards-Helaire should be a locked-in fringe RB1 come this Sunday. Edwards-Helaire’s 2020 campaign was disappointing considering his ADP, but he still turned in a respectable fantasy finish. 

Edwards-Helaire 2020 Finishes

2. Brian Flores noted that Myles Gaskin has worked on improving his pass protection over the summer, and could potentially play all three downs. Last season Gaskin was active for 10 games and averaged 16.8 PPR points per game. He finished as an RB1 in three games and as an RB2 in five. Gaskin’s ADP has slid throughout the offseason, but he’s currently a strong value. 

3. Sean McVay said that Sony Michel is “on track” to play against the Bears in Week 1. Michel is still getting up to speed on the Rams’ playbook and he may play more of a change-of-pace role for the first few weeks of the season. Darrell Henderson’s early-season workload appears to be secure.

4. Duke Johnson is no longer looking for a home. Johnson was added to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad, but we could see him called up to the active roster quite soon. Johnson could steal some receiving work from James Robinson and Carlos Hyde. Johnson holds appeal as a waiver candidate in 14-team and 16-team PPR leagues.

Quick Hits: Tight End Edition

There were a few newsworthy items regarding tight ends as well.

1. Evan Engram remains sidelined with a calf injury that he sustained in the Giants’ third preseason game. The Athletics’ Dan Duggan reported that Engram could’ve potentially been placed on IR, so it should come as no surprise that his Week 1 availability is in doubt. Neither Kaden Smith nor Kyle Rudolph makes for viable fliers outside of the deepest of leagues.

2. Although Noah Fant hasn’t practiced since missing the Broncos’ final preseason game, he appears to be expected to suit up against the Giants. Fant will be a low-end TE1 this Sunday.

3. Adam Shaheen of the Miami Dolphins was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to a positive test. Shaheen is currently unvaccinated and will not play in the Dolphins’ season opener against the Patriots. Even when healthy, Shaheen was well off the fantasy radar.

4. The Titans activated Geoff Swaim from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Swaim doesn’t hold any appeal outside of the deepest of formats and should be on your waiver wire.

5. The Ravens signed Mark Andrews to a hefty four-year, $56 million contract extension of which $37.6 million is guaranteed. Andrews is a high-end TE1 in the Ravens’ Week 1 matchup against the Raiders which boasts a total of 51 points.

Hasan Rahim

Hasan Rahim is a fantasy football analyst for NBC Sports EDGE and RotoViz. He is the co-host of the Fantasy Football Report on RotoViz Radio and can be found on Twitter @hrr5010