Steelers WR Diontae Johnson told reporters that he played almost his entire rookie season with a groin injury that required surgery this offseason. Johnson got hurt in Week 2. "I was running and it felt like my groin got a little tight on me,” he said. He had surgery shortly after the season ended and is expecting to be cleared soon. The fact that he was playing at less than 100% only makes Johnson's rookie season more impressive. He compiled a 59-680-5 line on a Steelers team that ranked 31st in passing yards and 28th in TDs. Johnson is a 2nd-year breakout candidate if he gets improved QB play from a healthy Ben Roethlisberger.
Texans WR Will Fuller is making "steady progress" from his January sports hernia surgery, according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson. Fuller has resumed running and should be a full-go when training camp opens. He's missed 22 games through 4 NFL seasons but has been a difference-maker when healthy. 2020 is a contract year for Fuller.
The Jets have signed QB Joe Flacco to a 1-year deal. It's worth $1.5 million with another $3 million available through incentives. Flacco is still recovering from April neck surgery and isn't expected to be cleared until "mid-September," according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. A healthy Flacco should slide in as QB Sam Darnold's backup. Darnold has dealt with a sprained foot, mono, a toe injury and another foot injury through 2 NFL seasons.
The Seahawks have signed RB Carlos Hyde to a 1-year deal. That follows reports that Seattle had offered RB Devonta Freeman a contract, so the team was clearly looking to add to its backfield. Hyde played surprisingly well in Houston last year, averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 245 attempts. He ranked 32nd in Elusive Rating and 10th in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades among 45 RBs with 100+ carries. Hyde is solid insurance behind RBs Chris Carson (hip) and Rashaad Penny (ACL), who are both recovering from serious injuries. Carson is expected to be ready for Week 1, but Penny isn't. We'd expect Hyde to open the season as Seattle's #2 RB, although his arrival does add some downside to Carson's 2020 fantasy outlook.
Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) suggested in a Zoom call with the Cleveland media on Wednesday that he's not a lock to be ready for Week 1. “Right now, I’m a little bit ahead of schedule," he said. "But the most important thing right now is just taking it day by day. You know, I can’t predict when exactly I’ll be on the field, whether that’s July, August or September." Landry went on to say that his "anticipated" return date is "sometime in August." He was originally slapped with a 6-8 month timetable for return after his February 4 hip surgery. The short end of that timeline would have Landry back in early August, but the long end would run into October. We'll continue to monitor Landry's rehab.
Falcons TE Hayden Hurst told ESPN's Mina Kimes that he's been making the 5-hour drive from Jacksonville to Atlanta to catch passes from QB Matt Ryan for the past 4 weeks. "That’s helping me a lot," Hurst said. "That’s really going to pay off during training camp." Acquired from the Ravens in March, Hurst hasn't been able to get any official workouts in with his new team due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But any chemistry he can build with his QB is good news for his 2020 fantasy outlook. Hurst as TE1 upside this season as he replaces Austin Hooper, who averaged 6.4 targets per game over the last 2 seasons.
Dolphins WR Preston Williams (knee) is "on schedule" for Week 1, according to The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson. Williams is rehabbing his November torn ACL. He was enjoying an excellent rookie campaign before going down, compiling a 32-428-3 line in 8 games. Williams sat 36th among WRs in PPR points at that time. Miami didn't make any significant additions to its WR corps this offseason, which would appear to be a vote of confidence in Williams. If healthy, he should open the 2020 campaign as a starter alongside DeVante Parker.
Steelers WR Ryan Switzer was encouraged by what he saw from QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) in a recent throwing session. “Man, he let it rip,” Switzer said. “There was no restraint, no hesitancy, he was just out there. He has been throwing like that for a while and, in my opinion at least, getting out there on that field for the first time and throwing full-speed routes was refreshing. The control factor was taken out of it. He was out there and he was throwing. Did some off-schedule stuff. No restraints. He threw everything — across his body. Everything.” All reports on Roethlisberger's recovery from September surgery on his throwing elbow have been positive. His health is the key to a bounce-back season for the Steelers offense. We'll continue to keep a close eye on Big Ben's progress.
Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy called rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire a "piece of the puzzle” when discussing his 2020 backfield. Bieniemy also mentioned Damien Williams, Darwin Thompson and DeAndre Washington as pieces. He went on to call Edwards-Helaire a “special kid … running the ball, having the ability to get outside in the open field, make some plays as a receiver. You can create matchups with him. He’s one of those ideal kids that fit in what we do.” We know the Chiefs are high on CEH after they spent the 32nd overall pick on him last month. And we’re expecting him to lead the backfield in touches and fantasy points this season. The question is just how much of the work he’ll garner. Fantasy drafters are assuming it’ll be a whole bunch. Edwards-Helaire’s ADP is currently sitting in the early 3rd round.
The Saints have signed RB Ty Montgomery, according to insider Nick Underhill. The 27-year-old was a non-factor with the Jets last season but compiled 107 catches over his first 4 NFL seasons (3.5 with the Packers and the rest with the Ravens). We're interested to see what HC Sean Payton does with Montgomery's unique skill set, but he's unlikely to be a fantasy asset without an injury to Alvin Kamara.