Fantasy football daily notes: Waller ready to go, Godwin may not be, Pierce named starter

Darren Waller has accumulated 252 receptions for 3,006 yards since becoming the starter in 2019, second only to Travis Kelce. AP Photo/John McCoy

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The news: Raiders tight end Darren Waller (hamstring) is ready to play Sunday against the Chargers.

What it means in fantasy: The injury had limited Waller during the preseason but should not limit him in Week 1 action. Fantasy managers also need not worry about Waller's contract (signed in 2019 and which ranks 17th among all tight ends in the league and has two years remaining) being a distraction.

The news: Chris Godwin has not confirmed if he'll play in Week 1 against the Cowboys.

What it means in fantasy: During a recent episode of the "In the Moment" podcast with David Greene, Godwin was asked about playing in Week 1 and declined to provide a percentage chance. After working out in a practice without a knee brace to protect the ACL he tore late last season, Godwin appeared to have taken a big step toward returning on Sunday night, but that may not be the case. Since he has been practicing, Wednesday's injury report may not provide much insight. A better indication will come with injury designations Friday.

Going deeper: Godwin has averaged 75 receiving yards per game with quarterback Tom Brady.

The news: Kenneth Walker III's status for Week 1 against the Broncos remains uncertain.

What it means in fantasy: Pete Carroll indicated Walker could return in time for Week 1 after the back underwent hernia surgery in mid-August, but it's looking unlikely. Rashaad Penny can be inserted into fantasy lineups as a low-end RB2 but will eventually be competing with Walker for carries in what could become a backfield committee.

The news: Dameon Pierce is listed as the Texans' starter on their updated depth chart.

What it means in fantasy: Pierce was third on the Texans' depth chart not so long ago, but his starting spot became official Tuesday. Rex Burkhead and Marlon Mack were ahead of him at the start of training camp. Burkhead is Pierce's backup since Mack was cut from the Texans' active roster and practice squad roster. During the preseason, Pierce rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He is on the Week 1 flex radar against the Colts for a Texans team looking to improve its running game.

The news: Jordan Raanan of ESPN reported that Sterling Shepard will play against the Titans in Week 1.

What it means in fantasy: Shepard was activated from the PUP list in late August after tearing his Achilles in December. Despite the impressive turnaround, he'll be difficult to trust in fantasy lineups in Week 1. Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney are both coming off injury-riddled seasons of their own. Golladay apparently runs routes "with the stiffness of a mannequin," according to Raanan, while Darius Slayton did not practice Tuesday with an excused absence and ran with the backups for most of training camp. All of this points to proactively stashing rookie Wan'Dale Robinson. The Giants are expecting him to have a Deebo Samuel-type role this season after a great training camp and preseason.

Going deeper: In his six-year career, Shepard has played a full season only twice and hasn't played more than 12 games a season since 2018. Robinson was known for his toughness and playmaking ability at Kentucky. His career totals included 141 rushing attempts for 691 yards and 185 receptions for 2,248 receiving yards.

The news: Van Jefferson is unlikely to play in the season opener against the Bills.

What it means in fantasy: Jefferson is still recovering from his second offseason knee surgery. The void will be filled by Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell. Drops were a problem for Skowronek in his rookie season, while Atwell did not play a single snap on offense. Unless you are playing in an extremely deep league, you shouldn't trust either in your lineup.

Going deeper: Last season Jefferson averaged 16.0 yards per reception in a high-octane Rams offense that averaged 373.2 total yards per game (7th).

The news: At Tuesday's news conference, coach Sean McDermott didn't seem concerned about Isaiah McKenzie's availability for Thursday's season opener against the Rams.

What it means in fantasy: A groin injury has recently kept McKenzie out of practice, but but he was back on the field for Monday's practice. He is expected to fill the void left by Cole Beasley, who averaged 7.0 targets per game during his three seasons with the Bills.

Going deeper: Josh Allen ranks second among quarterbacks in slot wide receiver targets over the past two seasons. Beasley averaged 12 fantasy points per game during his three seasons with the Bills.

The news: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters that Ty Montgomery could play against the Dolphins in Week 1.

What it means in fantasy: Montgomery hurt his ankle in the team's final preseason game but will make the trip to Miami with his other teammates. Rhamondre Stevenson's role as a receiver out of the backfield would be impacted if Montgomery plays. Either way, Stevenson is firmly on the flex radar.

Today on ESPN.com/Fantasy and in the ESPN Fantasy App

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Seth Walder uses NFL Next Gen Stats to identify mismatches you can exploit in Week 1

• Fantasy Focus podcast: Who is healthy and who is not heading into Week 1? Listen | Watch


Field Yates' Fantasy Field Pass for Week 1

Tristan H. Cockcroft's best and worst team matchups at every position

Mike Clay's TNF Playbook: Breaking down Bills @ Rams

Al Zeidenfeld's DFS Best Buys

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DFS advice and rankings for Week 1 DraftKings and FanDuel contests

• Fantasy Focus podcast: The post-draft strategy show. You've got your team ... now what? Listen | Watch

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