Texans WR Will Fuller is on track to be ready for the 2019 opener after last October's torn ACL. "Everything has gone well, no setbacks," GM Brian Gaine said. "Everything trending in right direction. Looking good." Fuller will be over 10 months removed from the injury when the season kicks off. He'd ideally be able to get some work in during training camp and the preseason, but we'll monitor his progress as we move toward the summer. Fuller has appeared in just 17 games over the past 2 seasons but averaged 54.5 yards and .65 TDs per outing.
49ers TE George Kittle revealed that he suffered “fractured cartilage” to his rib cage on the 3rd play of Week 9's game against the Raiders. “It didn’t feel very good,” he said. “I wore two giant rib protectors for the rest of the season.” Kittle went for 108 yards and a score in that Raiders game and then ranked 3rd among TEs in fantasy points from Week 10 on. So the injury obviously wasn't a major factor. Kittle has missed just 1 game through his first 2 NFL seasons but was listed on the injury report with hamstring, calf, hip, chest, back, elbow and ankle issues as a rookie. He also suffered shoulder and foot injuries in his final college season. While he's shown the ability to produce through injuries, he might be a bigger durability risk going forward than he appears at first glance.
When asked at the beginning of the offseason program this week about his knee, Rams RB Todd Gurley managed only cautious optimism to the Los Angeles Times: "I'm feeling pretty good. All I can worry about is how I'm feeling right now. I don't know how I'm going to be feeling six months from now. Just trying to make sure I feel the best when the season comes." We've all seen/heard countless examples of athletes erring on the side of confidence with their recovering body parts. That makes this response from Gurley seem fairly worrisome. If he can't even muster an "I'm feeling great" in April, it's tough to know what we can expect come October. Gurley's upside certainly remains worth a 1st-round draft slot until something more substantial comes out. (The Rams have declined to specify his knee ailment.) But Gurley belongs in the middle of the round for early drafting, rather than near the top. Backup Malcolm Brown also carries big handcuff upside into 2019 fantasy football drafts. Count on this being the most closely tracked fantasy situation of the year.
The Patriots have signed WR Demaryius Thomas to a 1-year deal that could be worth "up to" $6 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Thomas is currently rehabbing a torn Achilles suffered in late December that has his availability for the start of the 2019 campaign in doubt. He seemed to be in decline even before that injury, posting his fewest yards per game (45.1) since his rookie season. That said, this is just about the best landing spot Thomas could have hoped for. The Patriots have lost over 220 targets from last year and have just Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris sitting behind Julian Edelman on the WR depth chart. If Thomas can get healthy, he has a good shot of emerging as the #2 WR.
Bucs GM Jason Licht singled out RB Ronald Jones as the player who's most impressed the coaching staff this offseason. "His attitude, his willingness to do extra," Licht continued. "You can just see the confidence rising in him." Jones is coming off a brutal rookie campaign that saw him fail to pass Peyton Barber on the depth chart and average just 1.9 yards on 23 carries. Licht might be simply covering his butt after spending a 2nd-round pick on Jones last year. But it's also too soon to write off a guy who turns just 22 in August. Jones still has every chance to win Tampa's starting job in 2019.
The Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson have agreed to a 4-year, $140 million extension that includes $65 million in signing bonus and $107 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal came at the end of a window Wilson had set for extending his contract and ends all the trade speculation. Wilson might have found even more fantasy upside in an offense less focused on running the ball, but he has finished 3 of the past 5 seasons among the top 6 fantasy football QBs. Wilson's extension obviously helps Seattle's wideouts, who certainly would have seen a downturn in efficiency with any replacement.
Eagles RB Josh Adams underwent shoulder surgery in January to repair a labrum injury, NJ.com's Mike Kaye reports. Adams is expected to be sidelined for 6 months, which would put him back on the field for the start of training camp. Still, the missed time is bad news for a guy who figures to be fighting for a roster spot after the Eagles added RB Jordan Howard.
Colts WR Chester Rogers has signed his 2nd-round restricted free agent tender and will stay with Indy for the 2019 season. Rogers spent 2018 as the Colts' primary slot WR and should fit easily into that role again, between T.Y. Hilton and free-agent addition Devin Funchess. Rogers ranked 4th on last year's team with 72 targets, 11.2% of the team total. He'll be tough to count on for any more than that with Funchess arriving and TE Jack Doyle returning from injury. Tendering Rogers at the 2nd-round level, however, shows the Colts didn't want him to leave.
The Panthers have signed WR Chris Hogan to a 1-year contract. He follows fleeting AAF star Rashad Ross onto a roster that shed WR Devin Funchess this offseason but retains Torrey Smith as an outside speed WR. Carolina also returns D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Jarius Wright -- 3 of last year's top 5 targets. Hogan endured a wildly disappointing 2018 and then got shunned by a New England team short on pass-catchers. Don't bet on Hogan rebounding for fantasy football value.
The league will fine Washington LB Reuben Foster 2 game checks but not suspend him "following a review of recent incidents and an assessment of his adherence to obligations arising from previous violations of league policies." The statement from the NFL went on to say that evidence didn't indicate any further violation of the personal-conduct policy in the November incident that involved a girlfriend. Foster will now be available to take over the spot vacated when Washington cut Zach Brown in March. We'll see if the team adds any further competition in the NFL Draft. At the moment, Shaun Dion Hamilton looks like Foster's chief competition.