Dalvin Cook - RB - Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rushed seven times for 40 yards Friday, Aug. 18, in a 20-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Huddle Up: A strong Seahawks defense was largely the thing that held the Vikings running game in check, with just 71 yards on 17 carries. Cook was drafted with the idea he would break the running game open, and he should be considered as a mid-range RB2 candidate. He will have some solid outings.
Russell Wilson - QB - Seattle Seahawks
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson was 13-of-18 for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns Friday, Aug. 18, in a 20-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Huddle Up: Seattle didn't dip heavily into its passing game as evidenced by Wilson's 18 throws, but he looked solid midway through the preseason. Wilson grades out now as a mid-range QB1 on a strong Seahawks squad.
Jordan Howard - RB - Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard (eye) suffered a corneal abrasion during the team's walkthrough Friday, Aug. 18, and did not travel with the team for their preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears believe Howard's injury is minor.
Huddle Up: Owners should monitor the situation to see when Howard will be able to return to the field, but he likely will be back before the start of the regular season. Howard is coming off an outstanding 2016 season and will continue to be a focal point of the team's offense. He should be considered a solid No. 1 running back in most fantasy leagues.
Antonio Brown - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown will not play in the preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Aug. 20.
Huddle Up: Brown should play in the third preseason game like he did last season. Brown is one of the best receivers in the NFL and will be a No. 1 receiver in all fantasy leagues.
Rob Gronkowski - TE - New England Patriots
New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski probably will not play in the preseason game against the Houston Texans Saturday, Aug. 19, according to a source.
Huddle Up: Gronkowski has struggled with injuries over the last few years and probably will not play until the regular season. He is a risky option because of his injury history but is a No. 1 tight end when he is healthy.
Tom Brady - QB - New England Patriots
New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is expected to play in the preseason game against the Houston Texans Saturday, Aug. 19, according to a source.
Huddle Up: Brady probably will only play a few series during the game but wants to prepare for the regular season. He has one of the best group of pass catchers in the NFL and will be a No. 1 quarterback in all fantasy leagues.
Tyrod Taylor - QB - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor will start the third preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, and head coach Sean McDermott said he has all the confidence in the world in Taylor. Taylor will receive all of the first-team work against the Ravens and is expected to be the starting quarterback in Week 1.
Huddle Up: Taylor has struggled at times during the preseason, but he should be the starter for at least the start of the season. He recorded 3,023 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns in 2016. Taylor will be working with a new set of receivers this season but can still be considered a No. 2 fantasy quarterback.
Alshon Jeffery - WR - Philadelphia Eagles
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is comparable to Philadelphia Eagles WR Alshon Jeffery but with more speed, according to QB Jay Cutler.
Huddle Up: Parker improved his stats from 2015 to 2016 and finished with 744 yards and four touchdowns. He will be a top-three receiver for the Dolphins this season and should receive a solid amount of targets. He can be considered a No. 3 fantasy receiver in most leagues.
Devonta Freeman - RB - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) will not play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Aug. 20. Head coach Dan Quinn said Freeman's condition is not serious.
Huddle Up: There have been no indications Freeman will much more time. Since Ezekiel Elliott's suspension announcement, there has been some debate as to what running back should be the next one off the board after David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell. Freeman is as good a candidate as any, as he is the only back over the last two seasons to rush for over 1,000 yards and score at least 10 touchdowns both years. The fact he adds 50-plus receptions makes him a rock-solid RB1.
Julio Jones - WR - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will not play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Aug. 20.
Huddle Up: It appears Jones is being put in bubble wrap in August for all intents and purposes, but he has been participating in practice on a regular basis and the Falcons have been clear they expect to use him more often in the red zone this season. Jones also has nothing left to prove to the Falcons either, so making sure he is 100 percent for Week 1 is a prudent move. He is well worth a top-five overall pick in fantasy drafts.
Le'Veon Bell - RB - Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, who has yet to report to training camp, reportedly turned down a five-year contract extension averaging more than $12 million per year annually that his agent and the team had agreed upon right before the July 17 NFL deadline for franchise players to sign long-term deals.
Huddle Up: It has already been reported that Bell intends to report to camp in the coming days, but Bell's desire to reset the market for running backs may ultimately end up hurting him. While he does have a history of keeping himself in good shape and coming back from long layoffs, the history of players - especially running backs - missing most of camp and holding up for the season is not great. At this point, a compelling case can be made to slide Bell down fantasy draft boards every so slightly.
Cam Newton - QB - Carolina Panthers
Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) is 'throwing more each day and feels fine,' according to a source. He is reportedly on track to play in the team's next preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, Aug. 24, however.
Huddle Up: If so, this would be a welcome development, even if he is rusty and only plays a couple of series. For what it is worth, Newton reportedly wants to play but the team is said to be exercising caution. If Newton plays next week, owners need to keep their expectations in check, as he will most likely be rusty.
Cam Newton - QB - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) will not play versus the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, Aug. 19. Head coach Ron Rivera made the decision after the second of two joint practices against the Titans on Thursday, Aug. 17, and Newton did not throw in team drills during either practice. 'You could tell he was rusty. A couple late (balls) on the decisions he made. When he was throwing the ball, he was throwing the ball well, so we're not concerned about that. Now it's just a matter of him working himself back into shape where he can go out and take normal reps instead of us having to make sure we monitor him,' Rivera said.
Huddle Up: The Panthers remain unconcerned - at least publicly - about Newton's availability for the season opener, but owners probably need to consider him a low-end QB1 at this point and back him up with another quarterback with a solid early-season schedule, such as Carson Palmer, to protect themselves against a predictable slow start from Newton.
T.J. Yeldon - RB - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon (hamstring) suffered a left hamstring strain in the first quarter and did not return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Aug. 17. Yeldon finished with two carries for two yards.
Huddle Up: While the severity of the injury was not immediately known it's hard to imagine the team will push Yeldon with three-plus weeks before the opener, which hopefully will be plenty of time for him to heal. Perhaps it will end the charade that anyone other than Leonard Fournette will start in Week 1. Barring unexpectedly bad news this shouldn't affect Yeldon's fantasy profile as a late-round Fournette handcuff or RB5 stash.
Tyrod Taylor - QB - Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor will remain atop the depth chart, according to post-game comments from head coach Sean McDermott Thursday, Aug. 17. Taylor struggled badly during the team's preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Huddle Up: This seems like a silly question, but Taylor's struggles coupled with some surprisingly competent play from Nathan Peterman looks to have opened that can of worms. It's highly unlikely that, barring injury, anyone other than Taylor will be under center for Buffalo in Week 1, but in the wake of last week's trades and Taylor's reworked contract it's no longer unthinkable that the team could go full tank mode if things go south early on. It's something to consider when deciding whether or not you want Taylor as your QB2 for 2017.
Maxx Williams - TE - Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens TE Maxx Williams had two catches for 48 yards, including a 40-yard grab, against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, Aug. 17. It was the best that Williams has looked all summer, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Huddle Up: Playing tight end for the Ravens has been the 2017 equivalent of drumming for Spinal Tap, and while Nick Boyle has gotten most of the sleeper buzz during the preseason, don't completely dismiss Williams. If he can stay healthy (and that's a big 'if'), Williams could be someone worth keeping an eye on.
Chad Henne - QB - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said QB Blake Bortles has to earn the starting quarterback job and indicated QB Chad Henne has a chance to take the job. Marrone said he is looking for the best person to lead the offense.
Huddle Up: Bortles struggled last season and is having problems during the preseason, so he may have to play well in the third preseason if he wants to start Week 1. Owners can monitor the situation over the next few weeks, but neither Bortles nor Henne is a great option in fantasy leagues.
Allen Robinson - WR - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson caught five passes for 40 yards in the preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Aug. 17.
Huddle Up: Robinson had a disappointing 2016 season but was still able to post 883 yards and six touchdowns. He will continue to be the Jaguars' No. 1 receiver and should see a solid amount of targets. Robinson probably can be considered a No. 2 receiver in most fantasy leagues.
Mike Evans - WR - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught five passes for 57 yards in the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Aug. 17.
Huddle Up: Evans finished in the top six in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,321) and touchdowns (12) in 2016 and will continue to be one of the top receivers in the NFL. He will be a No. 1 fantasy receiver in all leagues and likely will be a first- or second-round pick in drafts.
Doug Martin - RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed for 30 yards and one touchdown on five carries in the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Aug. 17.
Huddle Up: Martin will miss the first three games of the regular season because of a suspension, so it is not known what his role will be when he returns. He has a chance to be a No. 2 fantasy running back if he is the starter when he returns from his suspension.