2022 fantasy football draft build-up: Cam Akers injury highlights biggest losers from preseason Week 3

Basically, with two weeks left in the first week of the NFL season, most injuries aren’t that much of a concern at this point. There should be plenty of time for most players dealing with nagging injuries to heal up for the first week, and missing the final week of the preseason with some minor issue is no big deal.

But I’m starting to worry about Cam Akers. Akers has been sidelined for several weeks with an unspecified soft tissue injury along with fellow cornerback Darrell Henderson, and while Rams coach Sean McVay told reporters that Henderson will be able to practice this week, he couldn’t say the same for Akers after Saturday’s game. loss to the Bengals in the preseason finale. And while most reports so far have indicated the injury is not considered a serious concern, Akers is still not running at full speed, according to McVay.

“Darrell will definitely (practice),” McVay told reporters. “Darrell was able to run full speed today. We were able to do a grass workout. Cam wasn’t able to do that yet, but I’m really excited to have Darrell back out there for us.”

Akers returned from a torn Achilles late last season, but struggled to make a big impact in the playoffs, rushing for 172 yards on 67 carries to lead the team to the Super Bowl. A full season of work projected to bring him back up to full speed, but questions remained, given how difficult Achilles injuries tend to be to return to. I had Akers ranked as a mid-range RB2 entering the preseason, but the fact that he’s dealing with another injury and isn’t cleared to play yet means I have to drop him outside the top-20. Not just because he might not be ready for Week 1 — I’ll bet he will be, at this point — but because it presents another potential land mine for him to avoid, in terms of avoiding re- damage.

Akers will go off the board in the fourth round in most drafts, but I wouldn’t touch him until the fifth or even sixth. There’s upside here, but there were also reports before the injury that he was sharing first-team reps with Henderson, so he might not even have the three-down role we’re hoping for when healthy.

We’ll want to see some positive reports from Akers in the coming weeks as preparations move into Week 1, but you should also move Henderson into your lineup at this point. He’s someone who should be drafted around the eighth or ninth round, as a potential Week 1 starter if Akers’ slow recovery continues and as a bench option with upside beyond that.

Here are some other players whose value took a hit this weekend.

Insulting the patriots

There have been strange tremors around the Patriots’ offense since minicamp when Bill Belichick refused to name an offensive coordinator following the departure of Josh McDaniels. In training camp, it became clear that Matt Patricia and Joe Judge would be leading the offense, and that’s not a duo that inspires a ton of confidence, personally — the fact that Patricia is both the offensive line coach and seemingly calling for games. it doesn’t help. And seeing Mac Jones visibly frustrated as he went 9-for-13 for 71 yards and an extremely bad pick against a Raiders team resting most of their starters definitely didn’t help. History tells us not to bet against Bill Belichick, but the constant drumbeat out of camp is that this offense has been a problem, and we didn’t see much of it in exhibition games to disprove that. I’m worried.

Clarity on the back end of the Chargers

Given his usage so far in camp and the preseason, I’d move Joshua Kelley to the no. 2 of the Chargers RB behind Austin Ekeler. However, Week 3 saw Larry Rountree start and play more snaps with the “first team” offense (led by Chase Daniel), with Kelly serving more as a clear backup. That makes it much more complicated to know who Ekeler’s backup is, and I’m assuming that if something were to happen to Ekeler, it would probably be a pretty messy situation — rookie Isaiah Spiller also looks like a possible option, though he’s probably a clear-cut RB4 on the depth chart right now. Given the lack of clarity, I think Spiller is probably the best bet for a late-round flier in this offense in hopes that he can emerge as a clear #2, but you might be better off avoiding him this.

Garrett Wilson

The Jets invested heavily in Wilson, the No. 1 pick. 10 in this year’s draft, but it looks like they won’t force him into the starting lineup just yet. Although all reports out of camp have been pretty positive, Wilson was used more or less as a backup in Sunday’s preseason finale, playing only the starters when Corey Davis came off the field, according to Pro Football Focus. Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios are apparently ahead of him on the depth chart, and that has apparently been a consistent feature of the offense thus far. That’s not to say you can’t or shouldn’t draft Wilson in re-draft formats, but understand that you’ll have to be patient at first. Don’t panic if he doesn’t have much of a Week 1 role, you’re drafting him for the long haul.

James Cook

Cook started Friday, but that was with the second-team offense — AND it was with Zack Moss inactive. Does this mean Cook is the No. 3 running back? Potentially, though it’s still possible that this is a scenario where Cook is more of a third back and Moss is Singletary’s current backup. Either way, chatter out of camp suggests all three should be active for game days, and with Singletary clearly leading the way, it will be difficult for Cook to make much of an impact early on. His pass-catching skills in particular could make him a standout in this backfield, but he’s another guy you should probably be patient with given his likely role early in the season.

Mike Gesicki

In three drives with Tagovailoa, Gesicki was actually second among Dolphins tight ends in snaps. He ran most routes, but this was a three-man rotation with Durham Smythe and Cethan Carter. Gesicki has talked this preseason about having to essentially learn a new position, as the Dolphins are asking him to be more of a traditional tight end after he was used almost exclusively as a receiver last season, and we’ve seen that in games ; he has lined up as a tight end 24 times compared to 14 in the slot, per PFF, after playing 85% of his snaps either in the slot or off last season. There will be growing pains here with Gesicki, and he may not get enough opportunities to be much more than a kicking TE.

Noah Fant

Through the Seahawks’ first five drives, no tight end went a route on more than 50% of downs as Fant continues to rotate with Will Dissly and Colby Parkinson. This has been a trend throughout the preseason and makes it extremely difficult to draft Fant even as a late sleeper. I still think he has very enticing Fantasy skills, but the role just doesn’t look like it’s going to be there in those numbers to be a pretty low-volume (not to mention bad) passing attack. In your standard 12-team league without a single premium TE, Fant is probably best left on waivers at this point.

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