Andrew Luck, Chris Godwin and Austin Ekeler in the August 15 NFL Fantasy Roundup

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) throws during practice at the NFL team's football training camp in Westfield, Ind., Sunday, July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

It's time for another daily fantasy roundup, where we run through the most relevant recent news for fantasy football owners to monitor as draft season continues.

Information is power, folks. Don't get left behind in your league because you aren't up to date on the latest happenings around the NFL.

               

Andrew Luck

Andrew Luck has officially entered risky territory.

Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich told reporters on Wednesday that the team would make a decision on whether Luck could serve as the Week 1 starter after the third preseason game, per Mike Wells of ESPN:

"I think with that, ideally the more time you have, the better. But by the end of the third preseason game you have to know something. You have to be able to make a call and move from there in whether we're full speed with Andrew after that third preseason game or if at that point we're going with Jacoby [Brissett]. We'll make that decision with that when the time comes." 

One of the issues for the Colts is that the injury Luck has been dealing with evolved from a calf strain to an ankle issue, as general manager Chris Ballard said on Tuesday, according to Wells

"From the start we've been dealing with a calf injury. In March through camp, dealing with a calf and then little area below his calf, which Andrew kind of referred to as a lower leg where he was dealing with some pain, almost in the ankle area. The injury wasn't getting better and hadn't been practicing, so in the course of dealing with the calf injury, it appears that now we have an ankle issue."

Ballard added that getting the pain in check for Luck is the hurdle to overcome before he can return to the field.

Injury concerns aren't foreign to the Colts quarterback, who missed nine games in 2015 and the entirety of the 2017 campaign. He was healthy last year, however, and was absolutely phenomenal, throwing for 4,593 yards, 39 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while completing 67.3 percent of his passes. Had Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes not had a historically incredible season, Luck would have been a legitimate MVP choice. However, he was named the 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year.

That's made him a top-five fantasy choice heading into the 2019 campaign, though his ankle concerns may be putting a damper on those projections. If Luck is going to miss any time—or, even more concerning, carry lingering issues into the season—fantasy players would be wise to exercise caution in drafting him, especially considering the depth at the quarterback position.

And while Jacoby Brissett is a legitimate backup—and a handcuff you should absolutely have if you draft Luck—he's not a player you want to go into the season needing to play. 

This is officially a "monitor closely" situation. Luck should get bumped down in your rankings a bit until his regular-season status has more clarity. He should still be drafted as a QB1, but at the moment, not as a top-five option.

                

Chris Godwin

It doesn't take much sleuthing to see that Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin is expected to have a big fantasy season. ESPN has him projected as the No. 21 wide receiver this year, while SI.com has him listed as one of its 10 breakout candidates.

The hype is real. 

But Godwin himself has major expectations, as he said on NFL Network's Good Morning Football on Thursday, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com:

"I'm excited about this season. I'm excited about what the season could bring for myself. I'm excited about what the season could bring for the team. I feel like, if I go and do what I need to do, obviously as a receiver I feel like our goals could be over 1,000 yards. I feel like I could have been there last year. So, me just trying to get to that point, I think that me doing that will really help our team. I'm coming in every day just trying to work, trying to be the best receiver I can be. I know I have a lot of room to grow, but I think that's the exciting thing. From what I've done so far I can still grow so much higher."

When he's making catches like this in joint practices, it's hard not to get excited:

You're not going to get great draft value on Godwin, simply because he's getting so much hype. But he has the chance to be one of the better players on the board in the WR2 and flex range, especially because he could operate as both a starter out wide and as the slot man in three-wideout sets. 

Last year, the Bucs' slot receiver was Adam Humphries, who caught 76 passes for 816 yards and five touchdowns. That's probably Godwin's absolute floor on a Tampa Bay offense that should throw the ball quite a bit and be improved in 2019. 

The Bucs have Bruce Arians, a solid offensive coach, at the helm now. They also return 10 of 11 offensive starters and have excellent options in the passing game, which includes tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. Barring a terrible year from quarterback Jameis Winston or injuries, Godwin is a safe bet to post impressive numbers. 

                

Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson

As Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon's holdout continues, teammate Austin Ekeler continues to be a name that fantasy players keep an eye on this summer. Both he and fellow running back Justin Jackson will be viable fantasy options if Gordon's holdout lasts into the season.

And as the Associated Press noted, Ekeler's impact would only grow in such a scenario:

"Ekeler's role continues to expand as he enters his third season. The 5'10" 200-pound Ekeler has emerged as a shifty change-of-pace back who is dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield. He is the first undrafted player in franchise history to have a rushing and receiving TD in each of his first two years.

"Ekeler's six receiving touchdowns also make him the first undrafted running back with five or more in his first two years since Dallas' Dan Reeves in 1966.

"Ekeler said he is still receiving the same amount of reps that he would get if Gordon was on the field. He said the biggest difference is that he is getting more with the first team."

Ekeler is worth drafting regardless of Gordon's situation. Last year he posted 554 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground, adding 39 receptions for 404 yards and three touchdowns through the air. That made him a strong flex option, which should continue into this season. 

And if Gordon misses games, Ekeler should emerge as a steady RB2. 

Jackson has the most to gain from a Gordon holdout, however, and could be an early-season steal. And if Gordon's holdout continues, Jackson could be the steal of the draft.

If Gordon's situation isn't resolved by your draft, you should very seriously consider drafting both Ekeler and Jackson. The Chargers offense supported two fantasy-relevant running backs last year, and while Jackson doesn't have the talent of Gordon, there's no reason to believe he won't have fantasy value if he's thrust into a starting role.

           

Odds and Ends

–The Ezekiel Elliott holdout saga rolls on, this time with a...weight update:

It seems likely the Elliott situation will be resolved for the Cowboys by the start of the regular season. With Dallas possessing legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, it feels like the two sides will figure out their differences.

–Don't sleep on Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz. He's primed for a big season in Philadelphia's talent-laden offense.

"I think people forget just how special Carson is," a longtime NFL scout told B/R's Matt Miller regarding Wentz. "It's not crazy to expect him to be on the level of Patrick Mahomes as the future of the position. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are nearing the end. The next 15 years, we could be talking about Pat and Carson.

"He's that good."

It's easy to forget that Wentz was on an MVP trajectory two seasons ago before the injury bug bit. He may not be this season's Mahomes, but he could very well be this season's Luck.   

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