Friday, March 31, 2023

Fantasy Updates: Irv Smith Jr. injury, Chris Herndon traded, John Brown released

The NFL’s Aug. 31 cutdown deadline has come and gone, but we also received injury and trade news that provided more fantasy football impact than most of the ho-hum roster cuts. Chris Herndon’s trade and Irv Smith Jr.’s devastating injury affect our TE rankings and sleeper lists, while John Brown’s release gives us more clarity in the Raiders’ WR room. Between now and the start of the 2021 NFL season, expect several more injury updates and potential trade news to roll in — just in time to affect your drafts.

Before diving into those, get an updated look at Michael Thomas’ fantasy value here. For a take on whether you should draft Deshaun Watson, go here. We also have help for those wondering if they should draft Saquon Barkley in the first round (click here). For position battle news, click here. For all the latest fantasy news, follow us on Twitter @SN_Fantasy

DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2021 Cheat Sheet

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

Irv Smith Jr. Injury Update

Smith Jr. will likely miss the entire 2021 season with a torn meniscus that required surgery. Heading into the season, Smith headlined our TE sleeper list and seemed poised to take complete control of the Vikings starting tight end spot after Kyle Rudolph left town. Obviously, he won’t be a factor this season, and targets from the tight end spot will be open for grabs between Chris Herndon (read below) and Tyler Conklin.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Top 200

Chris Herndon Fantasy Outlook After Trade to Vikings

The Vikings traded their 2022 fourth-round pick to the Jets in exchange for Herndon and a sixth-round pick. Herndon has received sleeper buzz heading into the 2019 and ’20 seasons, but he hasn’t produced much in a Sam Darnold-Adam Gase offense (but who did?). It’s almost better to look at his college career in projecting where he might end up among tight ends this season.

In three years at Miami, he caught 86 passes for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. For a college tight end, that’s fairly productive. He has receiving skills, but he hasn’t gotten the opportunity to show them. Still, he’s had more success than Tyler Conklin, who is also in the running for the No. 1 TE job in Minnesota. Behind Rudolph and Smith, Conklin has been used more as a blocker, but he’s had his moments. A hamstring injury this preseason has set him back, though. Herndon seems to present more upside, but both are worth watching early in the season.

Herndon now sits at TE23 in standard leagues and TE24 in PPR, while Conklin ranks 28th among TE in standard and 31st in PPR. Again, they could be interchangeable.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Each team

John Brown Update

Brown requested a release from the Raiders and was ultimately granted his wish on the day teams cut down to their initial 53-man rosters. While Brown is dropped out of our rankings for now, he’ll likely be signed to another team, so monitor his situation. If you’re in a deep league and have already drafted Brown, you probably shouldn’t cut him just yet.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endD/ST

Brown’s request lead us to believe Bryan Edwards or Henry Ruggs III has taken command over the No. 1 WR job in Las Vegas. They both clearly surpassed Brown, so that’s a good sign that they have been impressive in the preseason. Ruggs is among our sleeper WRs, and Edwards is on our deep sleeper team. Grab Edwards while you can because his name is about to come much more mainstream.


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