We're just a few days away from the last weekend of preseason games. We keep inching closer to Week 1. Let's take a look at today's news and notes.
Our first note is not injury-related or a job battle, but it's the headline today. Josh Jacobs is expected to report to the Raiders before the season opener. He has skipped camp due to his frustration over being assigned the franchise tag. The fantasy community had lowered his draft value this month. The fifth-year RB was being selected just outside the top-10 RBs in average drafts. Talent and production isn't an issue. That said, the worry is if he has a minor injury- he could decide it's not worth the risk of suiting up, so that he doesn't lose value in potential free agent contract talks in 2024. Jacobs' upside is obviously enormous, but there could be risk due to the situation.
After missing practice since August 10 with a groin injury, Miles Sanders practiced in full on Monday. With more than two weeks until the regular season begins, this news makes it seem as if Sanders can be drafted as if the injury had not occurred. Currently, he's being drafted outside the top-20 RBs around pick 70. That price may go up a bit after the news of Sanders' improved health.
While recovering from offseason shoulder and hand surgeries, Isiah Pacheco has been cleared for contact. He was present for the Chiefs' Monday practice. However, Pacheco was in a red 'no contact' jersey. In average drafts, the second-year RB is going off the board outside the top-25 RBs and the top-80 picks overall. If he builds on his usage from last year, he could be a great value in drafts. However, he runs to contact with little regard for his body. That likely resulted in the injuries he's still recovering from. That said, his ADP bakes in the potential for missed time.
Miami rookie De'Von Achane is considered week-to-week with a shoulder injury. The injury doesn't appear to have long-term ramifications. However, the rookie's early season availability is not yet known. Although Achane is considered to be in a committee with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, the fantasy community feels that Achane is the leader. Before the injury, Achane was being drafted around RB36 while Mostert (RB50) and Wilson (RB52) selected much later. Those who believe the rookie will add a rare explosive element to the Miami offense are drafting for potential upside.
The oft-injured Elijah Mitchell (hip) is expected to return to practice this week. He's been out since August 3. The 25-year-old is electric when he's on the field. He's expected to be the change-of-pace to Christian McCaffrey in the high-powered 49ers' rushing attack. When healthy, even in limited touches, Mitchell could provide flex value. Of course, he'll need to reverse a two-year trend that's seen him miss significant time.
After Jaylen Warren scored on a 62-yard run in a preseason game, buzz began to grow that Warren could be in line to compete with Najee Harris for the Steelers' starting RB role. The talk got so out of hand that offensive coordinator Matt Canada said that Harris is undoubtedly Pittsburgh's top RB. Don't forget that until last year's Week 9 bye, Harris was playing with a steel plate in his shoe as he recovered from a preseason foot injury. After the bye, Harris was back to seeing 20+ touches and gaining 80+ yards in many games while being a frequent visitor to the end zone. This should confirm what I thought was obvious all along- Harris is a lead back while Warren is an excellent change-of-pace option.
During Saturday's preseason game, Keaontay Ingram may have cemented his status as the No. 2 RB for the Cardinals. The second-year player failed to reach three yards per carry last season. Unless he's drastically improved this year, he could struggle to see many snaps when James Conner is healthy. However, Ingram could see expanded work if Conner misses time, which is something that's happened to Conner in each year he's been in the league. With Corey Clement, Ty'Son Williams and Emari Demercado filling out the depth chart, Ingram has a strong chance to keep the No. 2 role.