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    2021 TEs: Projections, sleepers and more

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  • Nick Gordon MIN LF
    Twins' Nick Gordon: Plates two runs in win
    3m ago

    Gordon went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI in Tuesday's 9-0 win over the Royals.

    Gordon had gone without an RBI in his last seven games before breaking through in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out run-scoring double. He plated another run an inning later on an RBI single and now enters Wednesday's series finale with a .742 OPS on the season. He'll start in left field for the fourth consecutive game and will bat ninth Wednesday.

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  • Lane Thomas WAS LF
    Nationals' Lane Thomas: Playing time ticking up
    10m ago

    Thomas will start in center field and bat leadoff in Wednesday's game against the Cubs.

    Thomas will pick up his fourth consecutive start and may have supplanted Victor Robles as the Nationals' preferred option in center field, at least for the moment. Even after providing a solo home run in Tuesday's 7-5 loss, Thomas is still sitting on a modest .665 OPS over 14 games in August.

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  • Victor Robles WAS CF
    Nationals' Victor Robles: Losing work to Lane Thomas
    11m ago

    Robles is out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Cubs.

    Robles will take a seat for the second time in three games and may be slipping behind Lane Thomas on the depth chart in center field. Washington previously had everyday spots in the outfield available for both players following the Aug. 2 deal that sent Juan Soto to San Diego, but hot-hitting rookie Joey Meneses has seemingly since seized hold of the top job in right field.

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  • Anderson Espinoza CHC RP
    Cubs' Anderson Espinoza: Optioned to Triple-A
    22m ago

    Espinoza was optioned to Triple-A Iowa on Wednesday, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

    Espinoza was called up by the Cubs in early August and posted a 6.35 ERA and 1.76 WHIP in 5.2 innings over three relief appearances during his time with the major-league club. However, he'll head back to the minors after Steven Brault (illness) was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday.

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  • Edwin Rios LAD DH
    Dodgers' Edwin Rios: Activated and optioned
    22m ago

    The Dodgers reinstated Rios (hamstring) from the 60-day injured list Wednesday and optioned him to Triple-A Oklahoma City, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.

    Tuesday marked the 20th and final day of Rios' rehab evaluation window in the minors, so the Dodgers were forced to activate him even though the team didn't have a spot on the 26-man active roster readily available. During his rehab assignment, Rios looked to be fully back in form after a prolonged absence due to a right hamstring strain, as he slashed .302/.387/.453 over a 14-game stint at Oklahoma City. Considering that Rios posted a strong .793 OPS in 92 plate appearances with the Dodgers prior to landing on the IL, he should be the top option for a promotion if the big club needs an extra position player at any point.

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  • Steven Brault CHC RP
    Cubs' Steven Brault: Activated Wednesday
    24m ago

    Brault (illness) was reinstated from the COVID-19 injured list Wednesday, Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

    Brault spent just over two weeks on the COVID-19 IL and struck out two in 2.1 innings over two recent rehab appearances at Triple-A Iowa. He should serve as a middle reliever now that he's back in action.

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  • Mecole Hardman KC WR
    Chiefs' Mecole Hardman: Exits Wednesday's practice
    6m ago

    Hardman left Wednesday's practice after suffering an apparent leg injury, Sam McDowell of The Kansas City Star reports.

    Per Herbie Teope of The Kansas City Star, Hardman limped to the medical tent during the course of Wednesday's 11-on-11 drills, so this is a situation to monitor. For now, consider the wideout day-to-day as Saturday's preseason game against Washington approaches.

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  • Joshua Kelley LAC RB
    Chargers' Joshua Kelley: Leading RB2 competition
    41m ago

    Kelley has seen more first-team work than Isiah Spiller and Larry Rountree at training camp, Daniel Popper of The Athletic reports.

    Kelley, Spiller and Rountree are competing for the No. 2 RB job behind Austin Ekeler, who is coming off a career year in which he played 60-66 percent of the team's offensive snaps on each of first, second and third down (in his 16 active games). Kelley, Rountree and Justin Jackson all had shots to spell Ekeler last year, rotating through the No. 2 role without much success. The highlight for the group was Week 16 when Jackson went for 162 total yards and two TDs in a fill-in start, but he's now with the Lions, replaced by fourth-round rookie Spiller. Kelley was a fourth-rounder himself back in 2020, and while he's averaged only 3.2 YPC and 6.6 YPR on 144 career carries and 28 catches, he did start the preseason strong with six touches for 44 yards in a loss to the Rams this past Saturday. Between that and his work in camp, Kelley seems to have an early lead for the No. 2 spot, though Spiller remains the upside fantasy play of the bunch.

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  • Jacob Eason SEA QB
    Seahawks' Jacob Eason: Should get playing time Thursday
    45m ago

    Eason is expected to play in Thursday's preseason game against the Bears following news that Drew Lock will be out after testing positive for COVID-19, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic reports.

    Geno Smith and Drew Lock took all the snaps during the team's first preseason game as they compete for the starting job. Eason isn't in the competition, but he'll get a chance to showcase his skills during Thursday's exhibition matchup. While he has a big arm and a 6-foot-6, 227-pound frame, Eason has been unable to get on the field through his first two seasons in the league, as the 2020 fourth-round pick has handled just five offensive snaps in the regular season. A strong performance in Thursday's game could keep him in the backup quarterback conversation, either in Seattle or elsewhere.

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  • Pharaoh Brown HOU TE
    Texans' Pharaoh Brown: Dealing with minor hamstring injury
    1h ago

    Brown didn't practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, Aaron Wilson of reports.

    Wilson relays that the team doesn't considered the injury a long-term issue, but it's possible the Texans play it safe and sideline their primary backup tight end for Friday's preseason game against the Rams. Brown caught 23 passes for 171 yards across 572 offensive snaps last year, but he lost 18 pounds this offseason and is looking to breakout in his third season with Houston.

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  • Marquise Goodwin SEA WR
    Seahawks' Marquise Goodwin: Remains sidelined but doing well
    1h ago

    Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday that Goodwin (hamstring) is "doing well" after missing the preseason opener, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic reports.

    Goodwin was off to a good start at training camp before a hamstring issue flared up at practice ahead Seattle's preseason opener. It appears like the speedster is progressing well, but it's unclear if he'll play in Thursday's exhibition contest against the Bears. Regardless, once healthy, he figures to compete for snaps with Freddie Swain, Dee Eskridge (hamstring) and Bo Melton, behind usual starters DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

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  • Arthur Maulet PIT CB
    Steelers' Arthur Maulet: Sustains hamstring injury
    1h ago

    Maulet is considered day-to-day after sustaining a hamstring injury at practice Tuesday, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

    Maulet was productive during Saturday's preseason opener against Seattle, racking up five solo tackles, including two tackles for losses. However, it's not yet clear whether he'll be available for Saturday's preseason matchup against Jacksonville following his ankle injury. If Maulet is back to full health in time for the regular season, he's not expected to take on a starting role but should be able to earn increased playing time in 2022 since Joe Haden is no longer with the team.

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  • Carlik Jones NBADRAFT PG
    Bulls' Carlik Jones: Snares camp deal with Bulls
    19h ago

    Jones inked a training camp contract with the Bulls on Tuesday, Keith Smith of reports.

    Jones spent most of last season in the G League, where he amassed 20.9 points, 6.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game over 43 contests between the regular season and the playoffs. He'll now compete for the Bulls' available two-way contract, which could turn into two depending on what the front office decides in the wake of Justin Lewis suffering a torn ACL over the weekend.

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  • Justin Lewis CHI F
    Bulls' Justin Lewis: Suffers ACL injury
    19h ago

    Lewis suffered an ACL injury over the weekend and will undergo surgery in the coming weeks, which will sideline him indefinitely.

    Lewis inked a two-way contract with the Bulls after going undrafted this summer. The 6-foot-7 forward out of Marquette was expected to spend the majority of the season in the G League, so his absence shouldn't impact the NBA roster.

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  • Jalen Harris NBADRAFT SF
    Jalen Harris: Reinstated by NBA
    1d ago

    Harris was granted reinstatement by the NBA on Tuesday, Aaron Rose of reports.

    Harris was given a one-year ban following a positive test for a prohibited substance as of July 1 of 2021. He sat out last year as a result but is now eligible to rejoin the league ranks given that he's served that suspension. Toronto still holds Harris' rights and may look to sign him following his rookie campaign in 2019-20, when he amassed 7.4 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists over 13.2 minutes per game.

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  • Juhann Begarin BOS G
    Juhann Begarin: Returning to France for 2022-23
    2d ago

    Begarin will continue his development in the French LNB Pro A league this season, Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe reports.

    Begarin had a strong showing in the five Summer League games he appeared in, averaging 18.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals per contest. However, the 20-year-old has elected to remain in Paris for the upcoming season to continue to work on his game in France's top league before considering a move to the NBA. Begarin will likely revisit the possibility of moving to the NBA ahead of the 2023-24 season.

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  • Jamal Murray DEN PG
    Nuggets' Jamal Murray: Aiming for preseason opener
    2d ago

    Murray (knee) said Monday that he's planning to make his return to game action during the Nuggets' first preseason contest Oct. 7, Roy Ward of The Age reports.

    Speaking at the opening of an NBA Store in Australia, Murray told local reporters that he continues to progress in his recovery and anticipates being on the floor when Denver kicks off its preseason schedule in Chicago against the Bulls. A torn ACL suffered in April of 2021 wiped out Murray's entire 2021-22 campaign, and it's been a long road back for the dynamic guard out of Kentucky. Initially, it appeared as though Murray may be able to return toward the end of last season, but he struggled to gain full confidence in the knee and ultimately did not rejoin the Nuggets before they were eliminated by the Warriors in Round 1 of the playoffs. Now roughly 16 months removed from the injury, Murray will still need to prove that he's back to his old self, so he'll likely come at a slight discount in early fantasy drafts.

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  • Jake LaRavia MEM F
    Grizzlies' Jake LaRavia: Should compete for starting job
    3d ago

    LaRavia is expected to compete for a starting role ahead of the 2022-23 season, Joe Mullinax of Locked On Grizzlies reports.

    LaRavia was a first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft after performing well at Wake Forest last year, and a starting role should be available in the Grizzlies' frontcourt since Jaren Jackson (foot) is expected to miss several months following a procedure that he underwent in late June. LaRavia is best known for his offensive impact, as he shot 36.4 percent from beyond the arc over his three collegiate seasons and averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 34.1 games with the Demon Deacons last year. The 20-year-old had a lackluster performance in the Summer League last month but should be firmly in the competition for a starting role early in the year.

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  • Sammy Blais NYR LW
    Rangers' Sammy Blais: Removed from injured reserve
    21h ago

    Blais (knee) was activated off injured reserve Tuesday, per CapFriendly.

    Blais missed most of the 2021-22 campaign with his last appearance for the Rangers coming Nov. 14 versus the Devils, a stretch of 87 games including the postseason. With Blais seemingly ready for training camp, he should be in the mix for a spot on the third line though he could certainly earn a bigger role along the way.

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  • Laurent Brossoit LV G
    Golden Knights' Laurent Brossoit: Progressing after surgery
    2d ago

    Brossoit (undisclosed) is "ahead of schedule" but likely won't be ready for Opening Night, Jason Gregor of reports.

    With Robin Lehner (hip) out for the 2022-23 season, Brossoit and Logan Thompson are expected to handle the goaltending duties for Vegas. Brossoit underwent surgery this offseason and, while the progress has been good, it sounds like he could begin the year on injured reserve. The 29-year-old posted a 2.90 GAA and an .895 save percentage through a career-high 24 appearances last season. An extended absence for Brossoit or a hot start by Thompson could shape how the team utilizes the tandem once both are available.

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  • Jackson Cates PHI C
    Flyers' Jackson Cates: Inks two-way deal
    3d ago

    Cates (undisclosed) signed a one-year, two-way deal with Philadelphia on Sunday, per CapFriendly.

    Cates scored one goal in 11 appearances with the Flyers last season and added 10 points in 37 games with AHL Lehigh Valley. The 24-year-old forward should see a similar depth role during the 2022-23 campaign.

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  • Nolan Patrick LV C
    Golden Knights' Nolan Patrick: Likely opening year on LTIR
    4d ago

    Patrick (upper body) is likely to begin the 2022-23 season on long-term injured reserve, Sam Carchidi of Philly Hockey Now reports.

    Patrick sustained this latest upper-body injury in late March, and as of July, he'd made no substantial progress in his recovery. The 23-year-old center has dealt with traumatic head injuries for much of his professional career, and it's expected he'll be forced to miss at least the first month of the upcoming season -- and likely much more.

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  • Jake Leschyshyn LV C
    Golden Knights' Jake Leschyshyn: Inks three-year deal
    4d ago

    Leschyshyn signed a three-year contract with the Golden Knights on Saturday.

    Leschyshyn established himself as an NHLer last season when injuries ravaged the Golden Knights' forward corps. While he managed just six points in 41 games in his age-22 season, he'll have a little job security with a three-year deal. The forward's contract is one-way in all three years, so it seems like he'll have a realistic chance to make the Opening Night roster this season, albeit in a bottom-six role.

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  • Paul Cotter LV C
    Golden Knights' Paul Cotter: Receives three-year extension
    4d ago

    Cotter signed a three-year contract extension with the Golden Knights on Saturday.

    Cotter's deal is two-way in 2023-24 and one-way for the two seasons after that. As such, he shouldn't be expected to take on a regular role with the Golden Knights for another couple of years, though he'll be at the top of the list for call-ups when injuries stretch the team's forward depth. The 22-year-old had two goals and 17 hits in seven games last year.

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