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Shark Bites - Up-to-the-minute Fantasy Football News

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Per beat writer Pat Leonard, Giants WR Kadarius Toney underwent a “minor” arthroscopic knee procedure. He’s been limited in OTAs as a result. Per Leonard, Toney is “expected to be fine and ready for training camp.” Still, it’s a concerning development after Toney picked up a variety of injuries as a rookie. Avoiding a setback in training camp will be critical for the mercurial WR.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson is not participating in Pittsburgh’s offseason program. Citing Johnson’s social media posts, beat writer Mark Kaboly concludes that the WR wants a new contract. The 25-year-old is set for a contract year following a 107-catch season. Per Kaboly, the earliest an extension would likely come is September. We’ll see on that, but there’s no cause for concern unless Johnson sits out training camp.

Beat writer Dan Duggan puts the odds of RB Saquon Barkley returning to the Giants in 2023 at 40%. Barkley, who enters a contract year, was the focus of offseason trade rumors. Duggan considers the franchise tag a potential “compromise option” next spring, but it’ll be costly ($13 million). Of course, Barkley’s 2021 performance will play some role in his future with New York. But we agree that he'll likely play elsewhere in 2023.

Cowboys beat writer Jon Machota believes RB Tony Pollard is in for his most productive season yet. Machota points to the departures of Amari Cooper, Cedrick Wilson and Blake Jarwin as reason for a boosted workload. Last year, Pollard totaled 169 touches in 15 games. The contract-year back currently holds a reasonable ADP of 8.04.

Seahawks OC Shane Waldron and HC Pete Carroll have both recently said that QB Geno Smith opens offseason workouts as the leader at QB. “Right now, Geno has done such a good job of carrying over (the offensive principles from 2021). He already had a head start over Drew right there,” Waldron told KJR radio this week. That seemed to echo Carroll's sentiment that Smith "automatically" starts ahead of Drew Lock. Waldron added, "We have a long way to go to see where this competition (goes).” For now, the fantasy football takeaway is that there's a competition to replace Russell Wilson in Seattle. It's not necessarily Lock's job.

Titans WR Robert Woods is happy with his recovery so far from last November's torn ACL. "I actually feel like they're kind of holding me back a little bit," Woods said. "I am trying to get back as well as I can, just doing everything (trainer) Todd Toriscelli has me doing, trying to stay focused and be patient with it. Right now I feel really, really good, getting going, being able to do some things." It sounds like Woods is on track to be ready for Week 1, which will be about 10 months after his knee injury.

Per league inside Jeff Howe, the Patriots “sound ecstatic” with QB Mac Jones’ “offseason dedication.” Jones exceeded year 1 expectations with 3,801 yards, 22 TDs and 13 picks across 17 games. He completed nearly 68% of his passes. A lack of rushing hurts his fantasy outlook, but the former ‘Bama standout at least projects as a bye week fill-in. Jones, 24 in Septmeber, finished as the QB18 in 2021.

According to Raiders beat writer Tashan Reed, the Raiders will hold “active competitions” for 4 starting O-line spots. That includes LG, C, RG and RT, with only Kolton Miller locked in at LT. This unit will be under the tutelage of OL coach Carmen Bricillo, formerly with HC Josh McDaniels in New England. The potentially high turnover here is worth monitoring for Derek Carr and the Vegas offense.

Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com expects RBs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to have a “big role” in the passing game. Jones saw 65 targets in 2021; Dillion handled 37. While Green Bay added several bodies to the WR corps, there’s uncertainty regarding how they’ll replace 224 targets left by Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Current projections have Jones for a career-high in catches.

Ryan O'Halloran of The Denver Post says he has "flipped" to believing rookie TE Greg Dulcich will be ahead of Albert Okwuegbunam on the depth chart come Week 1. O'Halloran adds that "both players will have significant roles" but that praise from Broncos coaches since the draft factors into his expectation. This, of course, is just 1 beat writer's early opinion, well ahead of Dulcich's 1st training camp with the team. We're not altering fantasy outlooks at this point, but this is just 1 of multiple indications that a role competition is coming this summer.

Clemson HC Dabo Swinney revealed that only 4 NFL teams medically cleared Chiefs WR Justyn Ross. Ross missed the entire 2020 season after undergoing surgery to address a bulging disc and congenital fusion condition in his neck and spine. He was eventually cleared to play at Clemson last year, but it's a reminder that he's a major injury risk moving forward. It's why he went undrafted -- before signing with Kansas City.

Seahawks HC Pete Carroll plans on deploying a committee backfield this season. "We like playing multiple guys, and we don’t have any problem with that at all," Carroll said. "I’ve said it to you a million times. I’m fine going with who is hot. But also, we have to find a way to keep our guys healthy. That’s why the rotation is so important, so we don’t overwork them, particularly early in the year, so we can keep the good momentum building." Seattle spent the 41st overall pick of this year's draft on RB Kenneth Walker. But, prior to that, they gave RB Rashaad Penny a 1-year, $5.75 million contract with a little more than $5 million guaranteed. Penny, of course, closed 2021 with 671 rushing yards over the final 5 games. Seattle also still has RBs Chris Carson, DeeJay Dallas and Travis Homer on the roster. We'll see how the backfield shakes out this summer.

Speaking at OTAs, Colts WR Parris Campbell said he’s fully participating in team drills. It’s noteworthy, as Campbell missed most of last season with a foot injury. In fact, through 3 seasons, Campbell’s appeared in only 15 games. If healthy, he could supply some spot-start value for an offense that’s unproven at WR beyond Michael Pittman.

The Eagles have agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal with CB James Bradberry, according to multiple reports. The Giants recently released the veteran corner primarily for cap savings after being unable to work out a trade. Bradberry will start opposite Darius Slay in an Eagles defense with significant fantasy upside. He has been just OK to this point as an IDP factor but will be worth a look in leagues that require corners.

The Vikings are “excited” to see how 2nd-year WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette develops, per beat writer Chad Graff. Note that Minnesota didn't draft a WR until Round 6 last month (MSU's Jalen Nailor). According to Graff, Smith-Marsette is “part of the reason” new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah opted against adding an impact rookie WR. As things stand now, ISM will battle Bisi Johnson for the Vikings’ WR4 job.

Vikings beat writer Chad Graff writes that RB Dalvin Cook might see more pass-game involvement in 2022. Cook “lined up in bunch wide receiver sets” at minicamp, though Graff admits it might just be some “tinkering” from a new staff. “I don’t want to just sit up here and tell y’all everything,” Cook said. “We’ve got Green Bay Week 1, so we’re gonna wait and see.” The veteran RB saw ~3.8 targets per game last season. Current projections have him at 41 catches (in 14 games).

RB Tarik Cohen ruptured his Achilles while working out on Tuesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. That figures to cost Cohen, who's currently unsigned, the entire 2022 season. Cohen hasn't played since tearing an ACL in September of 2020. He turns 27 in July and looks like a long shot to make a meaningful fantasy contribution again.

Steelers beat writer Ray Fittipaldo believes QB Kenny Pickett must “blow their doors off to beat out [Mitch] Trubisky to start the season opener.” We’d be surprised if Pickett doesn’t start games in 2022. But the point stands that Trubisky — with 50 career starts — has the upper hand early on. Our current QB projections have Pickett starting the majority of Pittsburgh's games next season.

According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, Rams TE Tyler Higbee had offseason knee surgery. Per Rodrigue, Higbee is “working back up to full football activity.” Higbee, 29, posted 61-660-5 in 15 games last season. He projects as a top-20 fantasy TE.

Vikings beat writer Sam Ekstrom writes that TE Irv Smith “looked pretty agile” during minicamp drills. Ekstrom also observed Smith running at close to full speed. Last preseason, the 23-year-old sustained a meniscus injury that cost him all of 2021. If Smith can regain pre-injury form, he’ll carry a TE1 ceiling into a contract year. HC Kevin O'Connell recently added some fuel to the hype train by calling Smith "a major part" of the offense.

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