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Fantasy Football News 2023

Most Recent Fantasy Football News & Updates

Free agent WR Odell Beckham Jr. has reportedly agreed to terms with the Ravens on a one-year deal worth up to $18 million, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. A separate report from ESPN's Adam Schefter indicated that this deal includes $15 million in guaranteed money. That total is a bit jarring for a former Pro Bowl wideout who spent the 2022 NFL season rehabbing a torn ACL sustained in Super Bowl LVI as a member of the title-winning Rams. Regardless, the WR corps in Baltimore was due for an upgrade, and perhaps OBJ can bring some life to that offense. The biggest issue with projecting this move's fantasy impact is that we don't know who the Ravens' starting QB will be come Week 1. Lamar Jackson remains unsigned and could potentially be traded per the terms of the non-exclusive franchise tag that Ravens GM Eric DeCosta placed on him earlier this offseason. Should Jackson find a deal elsewhere, the Ravens could feasibly position themselves high enough in the 2023 NFL Draft to select a rookie QB, but that's merely hypothetical. The signal-caller on the roster we can most safely assume will be around is Tyler Huntley, a player who failed to surpass 200 passing yards in his five regular season starts in 2022. As of now, it's best to hold off on any "OBJ to the moon!"-type of reaction.

The Athletic’s Dan Duggan believes RB Saquan Barkley will sign a long-term deal by the July 17 deadline. (The 26-year-old was franchise tagged in March.) New York offered him a long-term deal in-season, but it was reportedly low on guarantees. We’ll track contract negotiations right up to the deadline. Right now, Barkley remains a clear-cut top-8 dynasty RB.

Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill said in a recent radio appearance that he plans on retiring after the 2025 season. Hill will be 31 at that point. "I'm going for 10 [seasons], man," Hill said. "I'm gonna finish out this contract with the Dolphins and then I'm gonna call it quits. I want to go into the business side." Plans can change, of course -- especially if Hill is still healthy and playing at a high level a few years down the road. But this is certainly worth filing away for dynasty players.

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook is making "excellent progress" in his recovery from mid-February shoulder surgery, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. That procedure addressed a broken shoulder that Cook suffered back in 2019 and has been playing through since. The shoulder is "now 100% stable and stronger," per Pelissero. It doesn't sound like this will impact Cook's availability for the 2023 season. He's been mentioned as a potential trade or even cut candidate -- but this shoulder issue might be holding up any potential move. Perhaps something transpires the week of the NFL Draft. Stay tuned.

ESPN's Mike Reiss reports that Patriots HC Bill Belichick "made it sound like the team views [Mike] Gesicki more as a receiver than a traditional tight end, putting him in the category with receivers DeVante Parker, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton and Kendrick Bourne instead of with tight end Hunter Henry." That came from Reiss talking with Belichick at the recent league meetings. It's not clear whether the coach actually put Gesicki "in the category" with the wideouts, or if that's just Reiss' language. But this is the second Patriots writer we've seen point to Belichick treating Gesicki as more WR than TE. It certainly makes sense. As we pointed out when he signed, Gesicki has had his most productive years when playing primarily in the slot and/or out wide. He fares poorly from a traditional inline TE position. The biggest takeaway for fantasy football players is that it seems we should expect Gesicki to compete more with New England WRs for targets than with Henry. We'll keep watching for further signals on the usage for Gesicki, Henry, and the rest of an offense that will operate under a new OC (Bill O'Brien).

Patriots HC Bill Belichick refused to commit to QB Mac Jones as his 2023 starter when asked at the league meetings this week. “Everybody will get a chance to play," Belichick said. "Everybody that’s on our roster, if they earn the opportunity to play, then based on what they do in practice and all that, then they’ll get an opportunity to play.” It's a classic Belichickian response that we're not reading much into. QB Bailey Zappe was better than expected when pressed into duty last season. But Jones is the guy New England spent a 1st-round pick on just two years ago. He'll have a much better chance this season now that the Patriots have an actual OC in Bill O'Brien running the offense. That said, Jones is an unexciting QB2 option in early best-ball drafts.

The Lions signed WR Marvin Jones to a 1-year, $3 million deal. It's a reunion after Jones spent 2016-2020 in Detroit. He averaged 859 yards and 7.2 TDs across those 5 seasons but is coming off a disappointing 46-529-3 line in Jacksonville this past year. Jones ranked 79th in yards per route run and 87th in Pro Football Focus receiving grade among 96 qualifying WRs. The 33-year-old will duke it out with Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond for snaps behind Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams in Detroit. Jones might provide a few spike weeks for best-ball squads if he wins the #3 WR job. But he's unlikely to be a reliable option in lineup-setting fantasy leagues.

When asked who the team's starting QB will be in 2023 on Tuesday, Titans HC Mike Vrabel gave an answer that raises some eyebrows. Vrabel said, "of course," he wants Ryan Tannehill to be atop the depth chart. But he says he doesn't want to make predictions, adding that he'd "been through this last year," alluding to the trade that sent WR A.J. Brown to the Eagles from last year. "I am not going to commit to anybody being on our roster in September. I've seen it change too quickly." The 35-year-old Tannehill only has one year remaining on his contract, and the Titans' offense that ranked 21st in Football Outsiders' total offensive DVOA in 2022 is clearly in transition. QB Malik Willis' rookie season didn't look particularly great in limited action last season either, so the need at the position is glaring for the Titans. Maybe there's nothing to see here, but keeping tabs on whispers coming out of Nashville may prove wise.

When asked about the team's QB situation on Tuesday, Falcons HC Arthur Smith shared the plan is for Desmond Ridder to open training camp as the starter. Smith also spoke about QB Taylor Heinicke, the former Commanders signal-caller who inked a two-year deal with the Falcons in free agency. "The chemistry in the quarterback room is important, as we expect Desmond to take the next step," said Smith. "But we also have [Heinicke] who can go in and win you football games and be ready to play." Reading between the lines a little bit, it sounds as though this could be a camp battle in which Heinicke would have an opportunity to win the job if Ridder slips. That said, we can't put too much stock into vague statements like this in late March. We'll surely have our attention on this situation should it evolve into something more into the summer. If nothing else, dynasty managers could consider throwing out some feelers to acquire Heinicke on the cheap in superflex leagues, but that's about all there is here.

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan stated on Tuesday that he anticipates having QBs Trey Lance and Sam Darnold split first-team reps in practice this offseason, according to David Lombardi of The Athletic. This comment comes on the heels of reports that QB Brock Purdy is the "leader of the clubhouse" in San Francisco, suggesting that Lance's standing on the depth chart is in serious jeopardy. Dynasty managers who roster Lance probably aren't feeling too great right now. There was always a level of understanding that Lance would be a developmental project, especially coming into the NFL with little starting experience at an FCS-level college program at North Dakota State. But now, two years into his career, Lance has four starts under his belt, a severe ankle injury on the mend, and Purdy seems poised to be the starter once he recovers from the elbow injury he sustained in the NFC title game vs. the Eagles. So it wouldn't be fair to characterize Lance as a bust. We don't have enough evidence to suggest he can't be a starter for an NFL team. What we do know, however, is that the odds of that team being the 49ers are beginning to dwindle. Those who feel confident in Lance's potential are looking at a solid buy-low window right now, but it would be best not to be super aggressive in trying to acquire him. We're into some pretty muddy waters with this situation. We'll be sure to keep an eye on this storyline as the spring and summer unfold.

New Panthers WR D.J. Chark had ankle surgery recently, HC Frank Reich said Tuesday. Reich added that Chark "could be ready for part of OTAs" but didn't provide any other details. We assume the surgery was on the troublesome ankle that Chark fractured back in September of 2021 and flared up last year, costing him 6 games. We'll keep an eye on his status over the next few months.

Saints HC Dennis Allen said Tuesday that WR Michael Thomas still isn't back to 100% after November surgery to repair a dislocated 2nd toe. Thomas is "getting closer" and should be ready to go at some point this offseason, Allen added. Thomas, of course, has managed to play in just 10 games over the past 3 seasons and turned 30 earlier this month. He's no better than a risk/reward WR3 selection in early best-ball drafts -- especially until we know that he's over that toe issue.

TE Irv Smith has agreed to a 1-year deal with the Bengals. The 50th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft posted a promising 36-311-2 line as a rookie -- but then missed 3 games in 2020, the entire 2021 season with a torn meniscus in his knee and then half of this past year with a high-ankle sprain. Smith was an intriguing prospect coming out of Alabama: a catch-first TE who broke out for 710 yards and 7 TDs on 16.1 yards per catch as a junior. And this is about as strong a landing spot as we could have hoped for. The Bengals are looking to replace TE Hayden Hurst, who averaged 5.5 targets, 4.2 catches and 36 yards across 15 healthy games last season (including playoffs). He ranked 18th among TEs in PPR points per game and 16th in expected PPR points per game. That's a fair expectation level for Smith. Consider him a TE2 with spike-week potential in early best-ball drafts.

Ravens HC John Harbaugh said Monday that WR Rashod Bateman "is in a great place" with his recovery from November surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury to his left foot. "He's healthy and going to be running in three weeks," Harbaugh added. It's noteworthy that Bateman still isn't back to 100% nearly 5 months post-surgery. But it sounds like he'll be available for at least part of the offseason program -- and should be ready to roll come training camp. Bateman has been relatively underwhelming through his first two NFL seasons but remains an upside prospect with a clear path to a big role in 2023.

Niners GM John Lynch on Monday called a healthy QB Brock Purdy "the leader in the clubhouse" for the team's starting job, according to David Lombardi of The Athletic. That stops short of anointing Purdy the starter once his repaired throwing arm is ready. But it's certainly not good for Trey Lance, just two years after the franchise traded quite a bit to move up and draft him third overall. Lynch said Purdy, Lance, and Sam Darnold will compete for the job. And perhaps 49ers leadership is trying to motivate Lance, ahead of his third NFL season. Even if that's the case, though, it wouldn't be a great sign if they think the 23-year-old (this May) needs such motivation. Lance remains a high-ceiling best ball pick in case he does win the job. And we'll see about Purdy's health this summer. But there's also high risk to rostering Lance in formats where you can't replace him once the season starts. Of course, Darnold arriving to Week 1 as the starter would be bad news for everyone.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson announced Monday that he requested a trade back at the beginning of March. That likely helps explain the lack of movement on the free agency front, with Jackson on the franchise tag but allowed to negotiate with other teams. Any franchise signing Jackson would have to surrender two first-round picks to Baltimore, so we can assume the Ravens' asking price would be greater than that. The returns on trades for both Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson were greater just last offseason -- and Jackson is (arguably?) a more valuable asset than either player. This situation doesn't seem close to resolution. We're still drafting Jackson at his mid-QB1 price in best ball drafts. But it might be a good idea to worry a little less about stacking him with Ravens pass catchers for the time being.

The Broncos signed WR Marquez Callaway to a one-year deal. He spent his first two NFL seasons under new Broncos HC Sean Payton in New Orleans, tallying 21-213-0 and 46-698-6 receiving lines. Callaway joins Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick, and K.J. Hamler in Denver's WR room. Jeudy and Sutton have been bandied about as trade candidates (although Payton recently shot those rumors down), while Patrick (ACL) and Hamler (pectoral) are rehabbing major injuries. There's a chance that opportunity opens up for Callaway in Denver, although we'd still consider him no more than a last-round flier in best-ball drafts for now.

Bills HC Sean McDermott admitted that the number of hits QB Josh Allen takes makes him nervous. "I don't think that's a healthy way to play QB in this league and it's undefeated that things are going to happen when you play that style, brand of football," McDermott said. "We have to get that adjusted and it's never going to go completely away, but it has to get where it's workable. ... He's one of the best in the league and I don't want to take his personality away from him ... but there needs to be an adjustment in that style of play." Allen, of course, has been one of the most effective running QBs since entering the league five years ago. He's averaged 5.7 yards per carry and leads his position with 38 rushing TDs over that span. Allen has averaged between 3.5 and 4.5 designed rushing attempts per game in all five of his NFL seasons, ranking among the top five QBs in total designed rushing attempts in all five. Perhaps Buffalo scales that number back a bit going forward. But we'd be surprised if Allen's rushing volume took a significant hit. It's simply too big a part of his game -- and too big a part of the Bills' offense.

Broncos QB Russell Wilson underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee earlier this offseason, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The procedure addressed an issue "that had nagged [Wilson] for a few seasons," per Rapoport. Wilson has already resumed training since the surgery and is expected to be available for OTAs. We'll keep an eye on him the rest of the offseason, but it doesn't sound like this news will impact Wilson's 2023 campaign. The 34-year-old has missed five games over the last two years after playing in 144 straight regular-season games to open his career.

The Browns signed WR Marquise Goodwin to a one-year deal. He's coming off a 387-yard, four-TD season in Seattle -- which was actually his most productive since 2018. Goodwin adds speed to Cleveland's WR corps but won't be higher than fourth on the totem pole behind Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, and Donovan Peoples-Jones.

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