Shark Bites

If Steelers WR Antonio Brown was considering a holdout, it looks like he's decided against it.  Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Brown was in attendance for Monday's team workout.  He's still reportedly looking for a new deal, but it doesn't look that that will impact his offseason routine.  Brown has been coming off the board in the middle of Round 1 in April MFL10 drafts.

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17 hours ago

WR Hakeem Nicks has inked a 1-year deal with the Titans.  He drew hardly any interest in free agency, which isn't a major surprise.  Nicks has totaled just 7 TDs over the past 3 seasons and averaged a career-low 10.7 yards per catch in 2014.  He's still only 27, but it looks like a multitude of lower-body injuries have sapped his explosiveness.  The good news is that he joins a relatively wide-open Titans WR corps.  Kendall Wright is locked into a starting spot, but Nicks figures to battle with Justin Hunter for the other.

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Vikings GM Rick Spielman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he likes the way WR Cordarrelle Patterson has approached this offseason. “There’s no question about the physical ability there. I think Cordarrelle has really grown up a lot,” Spielman said. “I know what he has done this offseason dedicating himself to being the best receiver he can be, and how serious he is taking that, we’re very excited about the future with Cordarrelle.” Patterson's monstrously disappointing 2014 will scare off many fantasy owners this summer. He's going 62nd among WRs in MFL 10 drafting on MyFantasyLeague.com so far, with an ADP in the middle of Round 14. The presence of Charles Johnson, Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph will also cap the volume upside. But Patterson's the most talented wideout on the team, and it's important to remember this will be just the 3rd season for a player who entered the league raw. He could turn into a late-round steal in your fantasy football draft.

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2 days ago

The Eagles on Friday rescinded their restricted free-agent offer to RB Chris Polk. That makes the 25-year-old an unrestricted free agent and takes 1 player out of the crowded Philly backfield. The Eagles could still draft an RB in a later round next week, but DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews will clearly lead the rushing attack, with Darren Sproles reprising his primarily pass-catching role. Polk could make for a decent committee piece in the right situation. He has averaged 4.7 yards per carry through 3 pro seasons.

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Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell says the knee he injured in last year's season finale is "getting back close to 100%."  The injury was only reported as a hyperextension, but the fact that Bell still isn't at full strength 4 months later means there might have been more to it.  Still, there's no reason to expect the knee to be an issue in 2015 -- especially since Bell is suspended for the first 3 games of the season.

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The NFL on Wednesday announced a 10-game suspension for Cowboys DE Greg Hardy for "conduct detrimental to the league." The move comes under a disciplinary code that wasn't in place when Hardy allegedly assaulted his ex-girlfriend last summer. That could make his appeal interesting. If he does miss the 1st 10 games, it's going to be tough to draft the top-shelf pass rusher in most IDP leagues. That would also keep DE among Dallas' top needs heading into next week's NFL Draft. We'll see where this situation goes.

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The Chiefs want QB Alex Smith to be "more of a risk-taker" this season, according to insider Adam Teicher.  Smith has long been known as a game-manager, dink-and-dunk type of passer.  That was certainly the case last year.  Per Pro Football Focus, Smith attempted just 27 passes 20+ yards downfield in 2014.  That ranked 37th league-wide.  (There are only 32 teams in the NFL.)  In WR Jeremy Maclin and TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City has a couple of guys that can stretch the field.  More aggressive play from Smith might mean more a lower completion rate and more INTs.  But it would also likely help his passing and TD totals.  It'd be a net gain for his fantasy football value.

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Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says "it's not possible" for him to put up big numbers in his role in HC Bruce Arians' offense. "I just don’t have the opportunities down the field. I’m more inside, I move the chains a lot more. So in terms of putting up the big numbers, it will be difficult."  Fitz has averaged 11.6 and 12.4 yards per catch, respectively, in his 2 seasons under Arians.  Those are his 3rd and 4th lowest marks of his 11-year career.  We're sure Arians' system has played a part in that, but the 31-year-old Fitzgerald has also lost a step or 2.  Consider him no more than a low-upside WR3 in 2015 fantasy drafts.

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The Dolphins have inked WR Greg Jennings to a 2-year, $8 million deal.  He reunites with HC Joe Philbin, who was with Jennings in Green Bay for 6 years.  The 31-year-old is past his prime, averaging just 12.2 yards per catch with the Vikings over the past 2 seasons.  But Jennings also totaled 127 grabs across those campaigns.  He's still a reliable receiver and is a nice addition to a young Dolphins WR corps.  Jennings figures to slot in as the #3 WR behind Jarvis Landry and Kenny Stills, though, limiting his fantasy appeal.

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Jaguars QB Blake Bortles spent part of the offseason working with QB mechanics guru Tom House, whose other clients include Tom Brady and Drew Brees.  “Tightening mechanics,” Bortles said the pair worked on. “Throwing with not just all arm, using the whole body and figuring out how to do that. Having a checklist and being able to say it was a bad throw and this is what went wrong and this is how you fix it.”  It's an encouraging sign from a guy who completed just 58.9% of his passes with 11 TDs and 17 INTs as a rookie.  Greg Cosell opined earlier this offseason that Bortles "lost his technique" last year and needs to go "back to basics."  It appears he's doing that.  Bortles still has big strides to make before we can consider him a reliable fantasy asset.  But he has the athleticism and supporting cast to become at least a strong matchup play this year.

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Steelers WR Antonio Brown is not present for the start of the team's offseason workout program and is "mulling" a training camp holdout, according to Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo.  Brown inked a 6-year, $43 million deal back in 2012 but is now just the 13th highest-paid WR in terms of annual salary.  He ranks 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in catches and yards over the past 3 seasons.  We'll keep an eye on the contract squabble, but it won't impact Brown's fantasy outlook unless it extends into training camp.  He's spent 5 years with QB Ben Roethlisberger and 3 in OC Todd Haley's offense.

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1 week ago

FOX's Jay Glazer reports that the Eagles will sign QB Tim Tebow on Monday. Philly worked the "QB" out on March 16 and were said to be trying to trade QB Matt Barkley. That has yet to happen. Perhaps Chip Kelly has some plan for how to use Tebow, because rostering him as a 3rd or 4th QB doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The former Bronco and Jet has proved that he's not very good at NFL quarterbacking. There's no fantasy intrigue to this move right now, but it'll be an interesting situation for the summer ... although not nearly as interesting as ESPN will treat it.

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Jaguars RB Denard Robinson received full medical clearance from last year's foot sprain in February.  The Week 14 injury ended his 2014 campaign but shouldn't be an issue this season.  Robinson flashed during a 4-game stretch from Weeks 7-10 last year, tallying 389 yards and 4 TDs on 72 carries (5.4 YPC).  He faded over the next 3 weeks, though, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.  Jacksonville made a run at DeMarco Murray in free agency and will likely add a RB in the draft.  How early they do so will tell us how confident the Jags are in Robinson going forward.

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Chargers RB Danny Woodhead will be a full-go for the team's offseason program after breaking his leg last September.  “I feel really, really good,” he said. “I really do. As far as the injury goes, that is something I’m not even thinking about. I’m thinking about trying to get better."  Woodhead finished 12th among RBs in PPR points back in 2013 on the strength of a 76-605-6 receiving line.  He caught 5 balls in his 2 full games last season.  San Diego will likely add a RB in the draft, but Woodhead is a good bet to retain pass-catching duties in 2015.  He's a value pick at his current 15th-round ADP in MFL10 drafts.

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49ers GM Trent Baalke said Friday that RB Carlos Hyde has cut his weight to the "mid-220s" and that Hyde looks "extremely good," according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. That signals some serious work this offseason for a back officially listed at 235. Mockdraftable.com lists Stevan Ridley and Eddie Lacy as Hyde's closest comps based on all of his measurements from the 2014 Combine. The young Niner is poised to take over the lead role after seeing very limited playing time behind Frank Gore as a rookie. With Reggie Bush the biggest current threat to his workload, we see huge upside for Hyde in 2015.

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ESPN's Matt Williamson expects RB Roy Helu to play a significant role for the Raiders this season.  “While he isn’t great in protection, I think he will be a very valuable piece and a quick safe option for Derek Carr in this up-tempo passing game and offense overall,” Williamson said. “Helu has been extremely productive on a per-snap basis.”  That he has.  Helu averaged an uber-impressive 5.4 yards per carry and 11.4 yards per catch last season.  He ranked 2nd in fantasy points per touch among the 82 RBs who recorded 50+ touches.  Williamson believes the Raiders could use Helu in a similar role as the Patriots used Shane Vereen, who totaled 148 touches last year.  That type of volume could easily land Helu among the top 30 RBs in PPR points.

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The NFL announced that Vikings RB Adrian Peterson will be reinstated from his indefinite suspension.  Peterson must continue his counseling and treatment, but no further punishment from the league is expected.  With that out of the way, we can now start to work toward a resolution between Peterson and the Vikings.  Neither side has flinched so far.  If Minnesota is going to make a move, it could happen during the NFL Draft later this month.

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When guys talk playing time, they're usually wanting more of it.  Not so for Chargers TE Antonio Gates.  He wants to see the field less in 2015.  "With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season,” Gates said. “I was playing the whole game. How I feel next year, it depends on how much volume they have me doing. I’d like to come in on third-and-7s, red zones, those situations. That’s what my contribution is at anyway.”  Gates actually played 72% of San Diego's offensive snaps last year.  His total of 787 ranked just 17th among TEs.  Gates turns 35 in June but has remained plenty effective.  He posted a 69-821-12 line last year, hauling in 70% of his targets and averaging 11.9 yards per catch.  We doubt the Chargers significantly scale back his playing time in 2015.

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Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders has been told that he'll play more in the slot this season.  This has been our expectation since Denver drafted the 6'2, 215-pound Cody Latimer in the 2nd round of last year's draft.  When the Broncos go to 3-WR sets this season, Latimer will join Demaryius Thomas on the outside, while Sanders kicks into the slot.  The problem for Latimer's 2015 production is that new HC Gary Kubiak doesn't typically run a whole lot of 3-WR sets.  Of course, that doesn't mean he won't run more this season.  As for Sanders, he was extremely efficient in the slot last year, posting an 85.7% catch rate and 13.5 yards per catch.  More time in the slot doesn't hurt his fantasy outlook.

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