Fantasy Stock Watch

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Fantasy Stock Watch: Patriots' Cam Newton, Damien Harris up

Do you hear that sound? It's the sound of football approaching.

I actually have no earthly idea what that would sound like, but it sounded like the sort of thing you'd start a fantasy football column with in order to generate excitement. The real truth is that as the days tick down toward kickoff on Sept. 10, we're seeing teams put on the pads and start doing more footballish things.

That's refreshing news for those of us who've grown tired of basing our fantasy takes on limited training camp tweets from beat reporters or cryptic social media posts from players.

I mean ... really, Alvin?

Anyway, we'll take whatever we can get to sharpen our wits before everything goes live. To that end, I've got a few guys who you may want to move up or down your draft board based on news and happenings from the week that was. Sorry in advance if these don't pan out.

Cam Newton: Stock Up

Be grateful. I considered writing this entire section in the hieroglyphics style that Newton features on social media. Though I'm pretty sure my editors would have sent this back to me with a number of naughty words attached.

It feels like we've made a full 360-degree turn with Newton and the Patriots in a manner of weeks. When he was first signed, it was automatically assumed that he was going to inherit the vacant starting job. Then there were rumblings that maybe Jarrett Stidham could win the gig. From there, we had talk that New England could platoon its signal-callers. Eventually, Stidham's poor practices and a hip injury have Newton back in the catbird seat.

(Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer has to be wondering what a guy's gotta do to get a couple of breathless hype tweets from beat reporters.)

It's been a bit surprising that Newton's ADP still languishes well into the double-digits. At his best, he was a player who was perennially in the top five at his position. Even if he isn't all the way, Newton still has a top-10 fantasy ceiling at a draft price that makes him nearly risk-free.

Darrell Henderson: Stock Down

The hierarchy in the Rams backfield this year has been about as clear as glass of mud. Whenever he's been asked about his running back situation, Sean McVay has named just about every player on the depth chart. That sort of thing is bad for the nerves of fantasy enthusiasts.

But it appears that there's at least some short-term clarity. Darrell Henderson suffered a hamstring injury during the team's scrimmage on Saturday. The team hopes that he can be ready for the season opener in about three weeks, but he'll still miss crucial practice time.

Because fantasy drafts fluctuate constantly based on headlines, Henderson is likely to fall down draft boards. However, there could be a silver lining for anyone targeting Rams running backs. If he's able to get healthy, Henderson should still have a role in the offense. Any hits he takes in ADP could mean that you get a fantasy-relevant back at a depressed draft price. That ain't bad.

Tyrell Williams: Stock Down

Tyrell Williams had a chance to assert himself as a playmaker in the Raiders offense last season after Antonio Brown's release. (Side note: I know it feels like the AB saga was from a bygone era, but it was really just a year ago.) Unfortunately, multiple injuries prevented that from happening while allowing Darren Waller to become a fantasy darling.

This year, the deck seemed stacked against Williams from the beginning. Mike Mayock and Co. went heavy on pass catchers in the draft, selecting Henry Ruggs, Lynn Bowden and Bryan Edwards. That was before they signed free agent pass-catching running back Theo Riddick. Last season's 64 targets seemed like a potential ceiling for Williams once again.

Alas, even that mild optimism has been doused with recent reports that Williams has a torn labrum and will attempt to play through the pain in 2020. It's a big blow to a player who's long tried to duplicate his breakout 1,000-yard campaign in 2016. At this point, Williams might end up completely off most fantasy draft boards.

Van Jefferson: Stock Up

From the moment the Rams drafted Jefferson, the belief was that he would compete with Josh Reynolds to be the team's third receiver. In the wake of Brandin Cooks being traded to the Texans, it looked like a pretty sweet gig.

The early returns were promising for the former Florida standout. But things have really been kicked up a notch in the past few days. First, Jefferson got quite a bit of run during the team's weekend scrimmage, including lining up against Jalen Ramsey late in the day. Then during Wednesday's practice, Jefferson got the best of Ramsey during some one-on-one matchups. Any lingering doubt that Jefferson could usurp Reynolds may have just vanished.

So far, the ADP hasn't received the requisite bump and the rookie is still available at the tail end of drafts. With so many young receivers possessing late-round upside, it's possible that Jefferson stays in this range for the remainder of draft season. He's certainly a name worth remembering.

Damien Harris: Stock Up

You don't win baseball games by bunting and you don't win fantasy football leagues by playing it safe. To that end, Damien Harris has been picking up steam in fantasy circles over the past week.

Sony Michel is returning to the field after starting training camp on the PUP list, but after severely under performing in 2019, the bloom is certainly off the fantasy rose. The same feeling might be true for the Patriots' braintrust. Meanwhile, Harris has earned rave reviews for his work in training camp.

Once upon a time, news like this would have us freaking out about possible #Belitricks, but those days seem over. We know which players occupy which roles in New England's backfield. With James White locked into a pass-catcher slot and Michel falling out of favor generally, the idea of using a late pick on a young back with upside who could force his way onto the field has a lot of appeal.

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Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man whose peanut butter obsession may have hit a new level. Send him your snack addictions or fantasy football questions on Twitter@MarcasGor Instagram atMarcasG.

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