Michael Fabiano | Tags: Three and out, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Brandon Jackson, Cleveland Browns, DeSean Jackson, Detroit Lions, Jahvid Best, Jason Snelling, Marques Colston, Mikel Leshoure, Montario Hardesty, New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Torrey Smith
Rookie Leshoure done for 2011: The first major camp injury that will affect fantasy football occurred on Monday morning, as Mikel Leshoure suffered a season-ending Achilles ailment. His absence is likely to put Jahvid Best back in a featured role for the Lions and makes him far more valuable in fantasy land. In fact, the versatile runner out of California is now a surefire No. 2 fantasy option across the board. While Best has had injury issues of his own, it will be tough to pass on him in the third or fourth round in most leagues (he could go sooner in PPR formats). Maurice Morris and Aaron Brown are the lone runners left behind him on the depth chart.
Jackson ends camp holdout: DeSean Jackson has ended his holdout and is back with the Eagles. That’s good news from a fantasy perspective, especially when you consider the number of players who have held out of camp in the past only to suffer an injury during the regular season. Jackson, ranked No. 11 among wide receivers on NFL.com, caught 47 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns last season with an NFL-best 22.5 yard-per-catch average. While he does lose value in PPR leagues — Jackson has never hauled in more than 62 passes in a year — he’ll have third- or fourth-round value as a No. 1 or 2 fantasy wideout.
Colston missing practice time: WWLTV.com reports that Marques Colston, who is coming off microfracture knee surgery, sat out three straight practices last week in an effort to rest the knee. The veteran wideout from Hofstra has had numerous knee operations during his career, and the microfracture variety can be one of the more difficult to overcome. Colston, who finished 18th in fantasy points among wide receivers on NFL.com last season, is clearly now a risk-reward No. 2 fantasy option for owners on draft day. Questions about his problematic knee also make Robert Meachem worth a look as a potential deep sleeper.
- The Atlanta Falcons have re-signed Jason Snelling, making it likely that he will return to his role as Michael Turner’s top fantasy handcuff in 2011. His return to the team is clearly bad news for the value and potential upside of rookie runner Jacquizz Rodgers, who has drawn rave reviews in camp but now looks mostly undraftable in standard seasonal leagues.
- Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports on his Twitter page that Brandon Jackson, not Montario Hardesty, is the Browns’ No. 2 running back at this point. Hardesty has had soreness in his reconstructed knee, and missing reps in camp has caused him to slide down the depth chart. Once a potential deep sleeper, Hardesty is now looking more like a late-round flier at best.
- With Derrick Mason now in New York, rookie Torrey Smith looks like the favorite to start opposite Anquan Boldin in Baltimore. A burner with long-term upside, Smith would be worth a late-round flier in seasonal fantasy leagues if he does earn a prominent role. The Ravens have had some interest in free agent wideout Jerricho Cotchery, though, so this situation is fluid.