Fantasy Fallout: More clarity with Patriots WRs, bigger 'riddle' with Broncos backs

Berry all-in on Chiefs RB Hunt (1:01)

Matthew Berry breaks down why Kansas City's Kareem Hunt outranks Ezekiel Elliott in fantasy. (1:01)

Unfortunately, it was easy to decide where to start this week's NFL Nation fantasy column, after injuries to prominent playmakers such as Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith dominated Week 3 of the preseason.

Here is the fallout from New England, Kansas City, Chicago and more:

Patriots' "simplified" pecking order: Edelman's ACL tear stinks in fantasy, just like it does in real life. He was ranked a top-25 receiver before he went down -- a worthy starter in all formats. But the one positive spin is that Edelman's injury "simplifies the Patriots' wide receiver picture," according to ESPN New England Patriots reporter Mike Reiss.

Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan are now the clear No. 1 and No. 2 guys in New England (Cooks climbed from 14th to ninth among receivers in ESPN's expert PPR rankings, while Hogan vaulted from 78th to 45th). Reiss wrote about how the Patriots will rely on Cooks more now, even though he hasn't yet made a major impact in preseason.

Danny Amendola might have value in deeper leagues as the No. 3 receiver after Tom Brady singled him out as a guy he trusts to step up (though Reiss wrote about how New England knows the value of keeping Amendola's touches limited).

Pass-catching running backs James White and Dion Lewis will probably also get a slight uptick in value, but that doesn't clear up the picture much in New England's overstuffed backfield.

Hunt leapfrogs Ware: Rookie Kareem Hunt might not be better than Ware -- at least not right away. But his fantasy value is now even higher than Ware's was a week ago because Hunt is now the Kansas City Chiefs' undisputed No. 1 back.

Just last week, ESPN Chiefs reporter Adam Teicher predicted that Ware would start out as the main man but Hunt would wind up leading the Chiefs in rushing yards and running back receptions. Well, now Hunt seems like the main man.

Teicher reiterated this week that the Chiefs will likely trust Hunt in all situations (goal line, third down, etc.). But don't go overboard. As Teicher pointed out, it's "hard to know exactly what to expect here because it's uncharted territory."

Although Teicher doesn't recommend veteran Charcandrick West or C.J. Spiller as safe fantasy options, they will likely work their way into the mix so Hunt doesn't have to fly solo.

Kevin White a "lottery ticket": Third-year receiver White is the obvious beneficiary in the wake of Meredith's season-ending ACL tear. Not only was White the seventh pick in the 2015 draft, but as ESPN Chicago Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson pointed out, he is also the only other big receiver expected to make Chicago's roster, at 6-foot-3, 216 pounds.

However, as Dickerson also stressed, the pressure is on White to finally live up to his potential after two broken legs have limited him to 19 career catches.

"I would say buyer beware with White, but he's the logical choice to take over for Meredith," Dickerson said. "The other problem is that White will now have to deal with the other team's best cornerback -- probably. I'd say White is worth a flier, but don't get your hopes up. Kind of like when you buy a lottery ticket!"

Jamaal Charles adds to Broncos' "riddle": Former fantasy megastar Charles had started to disappear from the radar a bit because of two seasons plagued by knee injuries. Then he made an impressive debut with the Denver Broncos this past Saturday night (four rushes for 27 yards, two catches for 15 yards), and he made Denver's backfield even more unpredictable in the process.

ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold wrote about how John Elway likes taking chances sometimes on players whose résumés outweigh their injury histories. Legwold said, "If he carries over what he's done in practice into games, the Broncos may have a bit of a steal."

But Legwold also warned that "the Broncos will be a fantasy riddle all year at running back because offensive coordinator Mike McCoy will use everybody they have in some fashion, so it might be hard to get a bead on them week to week."

Legwold said C.J. Anderson is the starter and should get about 20 touches per game, but Charles could get 10-12 per game. Plus, the Broncos still like Devontae Booker, who was expected to split time with Anderson before he suffered a summer wrist injury, and they like rookie De'Angelo Henderson as a change-of-pace guy.

Packers’ 1-2 punch: The Green Bay Packers finally got their run game going in the third preseason game, with starter Ty Montgomery running three times for 31 yards and a touchdown, while impressive rookie backup Jamaal Williams caught three passes for 46 yards. ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky said they have similar styles and should both be involved in the passing game.

Montgomery is still the leading man -- probably worthy of a top-20 running back pick, though his workload as a converted wide receiver remains a bit of a mystery. Williams is the right handcuff, though, and a high-upside pick later in drafts.

Think long-term with Bengals rookies: Cincinnati Bengals rookie receiver John Ross made his preseason debut, with the highlight coming on an 8-yard run in a limited role. Meanwhile, rookie running back Joe Mixon continued to mix some impressive flashes of his potential with at least one rookie mistake.

ESPN Bengals reporter Katherine Terrell has consistently touted Mixon's potential as the eventual leading man in Cincinnati, though she has also consistently warned that veterans Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard will remain part of the mix, especially to start the season.

Terrell also likes Ross' potential but warns that he will start even lower in the pecking order -- maybe as the fourth receiver -- after missing so much time with a shoulder injury. He's worth a late-round flier but will probably have more value in dynasty leagues.

Quick hitters: