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Fantasy Injury Tracker: Good news for Sanders, Foster

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Unless you've been living under a rock on one of Jupiter's moons, you've heard about Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson and his unfortunate season-ending ACL tear by now. Nelson's absence is a huge blow to the top tier wide receiver pool in fantasy drafts, in addition to Kelvin Benjamin' similar season-ending injury. With Nelson sideline, Randall Cobb should be boosted up draft boards, as well as second-year wideout Davante Adams, whom we've seen drafted as early as Round 4 in some cases. Adams is slated to take over Nelson's role so that draft slot makes sense in the high-scoring Packers' offense led by Aaron Rodgers. There has been a back-and-forth debate all week over who Green Bay's No. 3 receiver will be: third-round rookie Ty Montgomery or second-year guy Jeff Janis. We'll be watching closely in the Packers preseason game this weekend to see who gets the edge.

Arian Foster (groin)

Positive news from Texans camp this week with an update regarding the status of Arian Foster that's more optimistic than original reports stated. Jason Braddock of ESPN radio in Houston Tweeted that Foster could "return to the field in some facet by week 2-4." Over the last month, Foster's ADP has dropped from early Round 1 all the way to Round 6. Now, he should see that draft slowly rise with the majority of fantasy drafts happening in the next couple of weeks. Still, we're not sure what "some facet" means, but it's a good sign that we'll see Foster on the field much sooner than originally thought. He's worth a shot anywhere from Round 4 and after. At least for the start of the season, Alfred Blue seems like the clear leader of the Texans' backfield. We'll be keeping a close eye on this one.

Emmanuel Sanders (hamstring)

The Broncos No. 2 wideout and thirteenth player off draft boards at the position has yet to play a single snap this preseason due to a lingering hamstring injury. The big concern here is that the Broncos are running a new offense under coordinator Gary Kubiak, and Sanders hasn't been able to get on the field with his teammates (ie Peyton Manning) for a test drive. It sounds like Denver expects Sanders to be on the field come Week 1, so we're not dropping him down the ranks just yet, but don't be surprised if he's a little slow out of the gate. Cody Latimer is the next man up in the Broncos' receiving corps if Sanders has to miss any playing time.

Mike Evans (hamstring)

Though it's not considered serious, Mike Evans' hamstring injury was enough to knock him out of the Bucs' preseason contest last week and will apparently keep him sidelined keep him out for the rest of Tampa Bay's exhibition games. Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith was realistic about Evans' timetable and admitted that hamstrings are an injury that "take a while" before a player can resume playing and that the team "will take every precaution with hamstrings always". On the bright side, Evans has well over two weeks to rest up before the Bucs season opener on September 13. It doesn't sound like anything that would scare us away from drafting him in fantasy, but the lingering nature of hamstring injuries makes this a situation to monitor. If Evans is limited in any way to start the season, Vincent Jackson would see an uptick in value.

Julian Edelman (leg)

We received some clarity (err, a tidbit of information shrouded in mystery) on Julian Edelman's status, after monitoring his limited participation in practice for the past few weeks due to a leg injury. According to Edelman himself, he's unsure if he'll be ready to suit up for the Patriots season opener against the Steelers. The wide receiver's money quote on the subject went like this, "I think I'm 10 seconds better than the last 10 seconds, so we're good." Right. Edelman is currently being drafted on average as a Round 5 receiver, which seems a little rich for a guy who makes hay on his target and reception volume rather than touchdowns (he's averaged just 4.3 touchdowns per season over the last three years).

Michael Floyd (hand/fingers)

The Cardinals receiver is still recovering from surgery to repair several dislocated fingers a few weeks ago. Though Floyd isn't catching balls yet and said he's just following rehab protocol, he does think he'll be ready for Arizona's Week 1 game. Of course, we must take things players say about their own recovery with a grain of salt. We still like John Brown over Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald as far as the Cardinals' receiving corps is concerned. But if Floyd does return early in the season, he could end up being a steal in drafts as he'll be looking to bounce back from a mediocre 2014 in a contract year.

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Victor Cruz (calf)

The injury that's been of major concern for Victor Cruz this preseason is his knee, as he recovers from a torn patellar tendon that he suffered last year. But a new ailment struck Cruz, which could detriment his fantasy value even further. Now, he's dealing with a strained calf which has kept him on the bench since last week. Coach Tom Coughlin expressed his concern recently and that Cruz won't play in the Giants' third preseason game this weekend against the Jets. He's been a tenth-rounder in MFL10s since August 15, and could see his ADP slip even further due to the setback with his calf. He's a huge risk in fantasy this season.

Todd Gurley (ACL)

Finally, some encouraging news for rookie running back Todd Gurley this week as he was cleared to practice for the first time this preseason. Rams coach Jeff Fisher said that the team still plans to "take it slow" with Gurley but is excited, as he should be, to get him on the field. The Georgia product is still expected to miss the first few games of the regular season as St. Louis eases him into the offense. Over the last month, Gurley's ADP dropped a few spots from late in the fourth round to early in the fifth round according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com data. Tre Mason's ADP hovers between Round 7 to Round 8. There's more mid-season upside with Gurley so Round 5 seems about right if you're willing to sweat it out.

Lorenzo Taliaferro (MCL)

Slated to serve as Justin Forsett's backup as the No. 2 running back in Baltimore, Lorenzo Taliaferro will reportedly miss a few weeks with a sprained MCL that he suffered in the Ravens preseason game against the Eagles last weekend. It's a significant blow to a guy who could have had some late-round sleeper value as a touchdown vulture. Taliaferro's absence makes room for rookie Javorius Allen to step up as Forsett's primary backup for the first part of the regular season. According to Forsett, Allen reminds him a lot of Arian Foster who Forsett played behind in Houston in 2012. That's big praise for the young USC product. Allen has some deep sleeper appeal in Taliaferro's stead.

Breshad Perriman (knee)

The Ravens first-round draft pick is still sidelined as he deals with a sprained PCL. He hasn't been able to participate in practice dating back to July 30 and therefore has yet to appear in a preseason game. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this week that the team doesn't have a timetable for Perriman's return. The Central Florida product had a shot at becoming the team's No. 2 wideout opposite Steve Smith Sr. but since he isn't getting the preseason reps necessary to make an immediate impact, his ADP has fallen off a cliff over the last month. For now, Kamar Aiken seems like the favorite to earn the No. 2 role and makes for an interesting late-round flier, while Perriman could bring some mid-season value if he can get healthy.

Every game, all season

Roddy White (elbow)

Veteran receiver Roddy White is on the shelf for the rest of the preseason as he underwent elbow surgery a few days ago. Apparently, it's a "minor scope" procedure and White is expected back by Week 1. White, who will be 34-years-old in November has seemingly been constantly banged up over the last two seasons, which makes sense when you consider his age. If White misses any playing time, Leonard Hankerson, who is having a nice preseason, would slot in as the Falcons No. 2 receiver slot behind Julio Jones. Jones is poised for a monster year as the featured pass-catcher in Kyle Shanahan's Atlanta offense.

Bills WRs

Rex Ryan has kept his receiving corps sealed up for the majority of the preseason with Sammy Watkins (glute), Percy Harvin (hip) and Robert Woods (hip) all on the shelf. The biggest concern here is Harvin. His hip, which he had surgery on two seasons ago, recently flared up and needed treatment last week. As far as Watkins is concerned, his teammate LeSean McCoy explained that the team is "keeping the Ferrari in the garage" meaning they're saving their stud receiver, who has been Buffalo's camp MVP, for regular season action. Watkins could make for a nice draft bargain considering his Round 6 ADP on NFL.com. Woods won't play in the Bills third preseason game this weekend either, but has resumed practicing. He's nearly irrelevant in fantasy.


Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. His nickname around the NFL Media office is Franchise, and he's totally cool with it. If you're looking to kill some more time, be sure to check out his player rankings and follow him on Twitter for fantasy advice all season long @m_franciscovich.

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