1. Patriots send a vote of confidence toward Dion Lewis

When coaches “talk up” a player, it’s usually just pandering to the media and means very little. But when a team actually ponies up the cash, it speaks volumes. The Patriots handed Dion Lewis a $4.4 million contract extension Thursday, a rare in-season move at a position that rarely gets contract extensions. This confirms what we should have already known – Lewis is #good and the Patriots feel the same way. Knowing that Lewis has the confidence of both Bill Belichick and the team, I’m even more comfortable rolling him out there in all formats at $4800 against the Cowboys.

2. Lions handed a gift with Joique’s injury

Joique Bell continues to nurse an ankle injury and is not expected to suit up for Sunday’s home game against the Cardinals. When Joique sat last week, Ameer Abdullah set season-highs in snaps (52.6 percent) and touches (15). I typically throw out production in impossible spots like at Seattle in primetime, but look at usage. If Abdullah can get this much work in a better (albeit still tough) spot this week, he’ll put some numbers on the board at just $4100.

3. Bills aren’t high on Bobbie Dixon

Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn said a calf injury has sapped Dixon of his explosiveness – while simultaneously admitting that Boobie didn’t have much explosiveness to begin with. And although Dixon is listed at 233 pounds, in reality he’s up around 250. This fullback-esque plodder is going to share work with Cierre Wood and Boom Herron on the road at Tennessee Sunday. It’s a situation I’m avoiding.

4. Antonio Gates expected to slide right back in

I’m skeptical of a 35-year-old that is now (allegedly) off steroids. But for what it’s worth, ESPN Chargers beat man Eric Williams says Gates returned to practice “in shape and ready to resume a leading role in San Diego’s offense.” He’ll certainly be needed with Stevie Johnson (hamstring) and Malcom Floyd (concussion) questionable. Williams went on to say Philip Rivers will “go to his security blanket… early and often” Monday night. At $4200, Gates is a reasonable play if you’re not going up to Rob Gronkowski at $7500.