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

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

The Buccaneers have agreed to a 2-year, $25 million extension with LB Lavonte David, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The deal keeps David from reaching unrestricted free agency and continues his run with the only team he has ever played for. Expect to find David remaining among the top 15 LBs when our 2021 IDP rankings arrive.

Update: NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that it's actually a 5-year deal with 3 voidable seasons. So we'll see just how many of them David plays.

The Vikings have released K Dan Bailey. The veteran converted a career-worst 68.2% of his FG attempts last season. There's certainly still a chance the 33-year-old lands a gig elsewhere this offseason, but we'd hold off on selecting him in FFPC best-ball drafts for now.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Titans LB Jayon Brown got full, "unrestricted" medical clearance Friday to return from the elbow injury that ended his 2020 season. Brown fractured and dislocated his left elbow in November, but he should be fully ready for the coming season. The timing looks especially positive for Brown, as he's set to hit unrestricted free agency later this month. We'll see if the 26-year-old stays in Tennessee. Brown has spent the past 2 years as a strong IDP contributor.

The Jets have used the franchise tag on S Marcus Maye. That comes a year after they traded away S Jamal Adams for a package that included 2 first-round picks. Maye has played more than 1,000 snaps in 3 of his 4 seasons with the team and improved his Pro Football Focus coverage grade each year. He finished 2020 ranked 6th among safeties in overall PFF grade. Maye's fantasy production proved merely pedestrian after a huge opener at Buffalo, but there will be upside to him if you can get him in DB3 range in 2021.

The Broncos have applied the franchise tag to S Justin Simmons. The 27-year-old has spent all 5 of his seasons in Denver, since arriving as a 3rd-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent the past 4 as a full-time starter, topping 90 tackles each of the past 3 years and collecting 12 INTs over that span. Simmons has finished each of the past 2 seasons among the top 12 fantasy DBs. Expect him to land around there in our 2021 IDP rankings.

The Giants have applied the franchise tag to DE Leonard Williams, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's an unsurprising move after Williams posted 11.5 sacks in his 1st full year with the team. That beat his previous season high by 4.5 and ranked him 7th in the league. Williams turns 27 in June and looks like a good candidate for a long-term deal with the Giants.

The Bears are placing the franchise tag on WR Allen Robinson, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That means Robinson will remain stuck in Chicago's offense for at least another year rather than getting a chance to hit the open market this month. We'll see who his 2021 QB will be. Robinson, at least, has already proved he can produce strong fantasy numbers with the likes of Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. So we're not altering his fantasy outlook.

The Chargers have informed TE Hunter Henry that they won't be using the franchise tag on him, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That means Henry will hit the open market later this month. It also leaves Donald Parham as the apparent lead TE for the moment. Parham is a 6'8, 240-pounder with above-average athleticism. He delivered a 99th-percentile dominator rating in college and won't turn 24 until August. Parham contributed just 10 catches last season after arriving from the XFL but presents intriguing upside vs. a current ADP that places him outside the top 40 TEs in best-ball drafting. We'll see where Henry lands in what should be a loaded TE market.

The Lions don't plan on using their franchise tag on WR Kenny Golladay, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. So the 27-year-old will hit the free-agent market next week. Golladay's 2020 was wrecked by a hip injury, but he posted 70-1,063-5 and 65-1,190-11 lines in 2018 and 2019, ranking among the top 25 WRs in yards per route run both years. He figures to garner big money from his next team. The Lions' WR depth chart, meanwhile, now reads: Tyrell Williams, Quintez Cephus, Geronimo Allison. They'll certainly add to the position in free agency and/or the draft.

The Buccaneers are placing the franchise tag on WR Chris Godwin, according to multiple reports. Barring a trade, that locks in a 2021 return for Godwin. We'll see whether the 2 sides work out a longer-term deal before the deadline. Godwin slipped last season from his monster 2019 production, but he still ranked 15th among wideouts in PPR points per game. Expect him to battle Mike Evans once again for the top fantasy score among Bucs receivers. His return suppresses the upside of 2nd-year WR Tyler Johnson, but it keeps QB Tom Brady working with 1 of the league's best WR tandems. We'll see what Tampa elects to do with WR Antonio Brown, who is headed for free agency this month.

The Cowboys and QB Dak Prescott have agreed to a 4-year, $160 million contract, according to multiple reports. Prescott is getting a $66 million signing bonus, a record $126 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause. This deal took years to get done, but the Cowboys were never going to let Dak get away. He's been awesome since arriving back in 2016, completing 66% of his passes, averaging 7.7 yards per attempt and tossing 106 TDs vs. 40 INTs. More of a game manager for his first 3 seasons, Prescott exploded for 4,902 yards and 30 scores in 2019, finishing 2nd among QBs in fantasy points. He was on pace to smash those marks last season before suffering a season-ending fractured and dislocated ankle in Week 5. Prescott's rehab is reportedly going well -- and this contract is confirmation that the Cowboys have no concerns. Dak sits 3rd among QBs in our early 2021 fantasy rankings.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has told his front office and coaching staff to "prioritize making [QB Jalen] Hurts successful in 2021 as opposed to creating a true competition." Hurts was only a 2nd-round pick last spring and was uneven in 4 starts as a rookie. The Eagles might certainly be tempted to add a QB with the 6th overall pick of this April's draft. But if they don't -- as Mortensen suggests will be the case -- Hurts will be locked in as the 2021 starter and a high-upside fantasy option thanks to his rushing ability.

The Steelers announced Thursday that they have agreed to a new contract with QB Ben Roethlisberger. That should give the team relief under the lowered salary cap for 2021. For fantasy purposes, it just confirms what we all expected: Roethlisberger will lead the offense for at least 1 more year. We'll see whether he gets JuJu Smith-Schuster back (don't bet on it) and how the backfield settles out (James Conner looks likely to leave). Roethlisberger is a solid pick in mid-QB2 range in current best-ball drafting.

The Giants released WR Golden Tate, saving a little over $6 million against the 2021 salary cap. Tate is coming off a tumultuous 2020 season, missing Week 1 for a performance-enhancing drug suspension and later getting benched for a game after publicly complaining about his role. He finished with a 35-388-2 line and turns 33 in August. We'll see where Tate lands, but he's not a great bet for a big 2021 fantasy impact. His departure from The Big Apple frees up opportunity for Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Evan Engram -- although we'll have to see what other moves the Giants make this offseason.

The Saints released TEs Jared Cook and Josh Hill. The Cook move was just a formality, with his contract set to expire later this month anyway. He gets a head start now on finding his next employer. The soon-to-be 34-year-old remained effective last season, posting a 37-504-7 line on 60 targets. Hill saw just 10 targets last year, so his departure doesn't move the needle. But the moves in tandem open the door for 2020 3rd-rounder Adam Trautman to take over as New Orleans' starter. He's a 2021 breakout candidate.

The Lions have agreed to a 1-year deal with WR Tyrell Williams worth "up to $6.2 million," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That lands the former Raider and Charger with a Detroit offense set to have Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola all reach free agency. Even if the Lions re-sign or franchise-tag Golladay, there's clear opportunity for Williams. The wideout lost 18 games to injury over his 2 years with the Raiders, including a torn shoulder labrum that cost him all of last season. When healthy, though, Williams has averaged 16.1 yards per catch for his career and scored on an above-average 11.7% of his receptions. He just turned 29 in February. We'll see what else Detroit adds -- and/or retains -- to the pass-catching corps. Williams is a fine shot to take near the end of best-ball drafts right now, though.

The Texans and RB David Johnson have agreed to a restructured 1-year contract. He'll make "up to" $6 million with $4.25 million guaranteed, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a pay cut from the $8 million Johnson was originally scheduled to make this season -- but it should lock him in as Houston's lead back in 2021. Johnson averaged a career-best 4.7 yards per carry in his Texans debut last year, finishing with 691 rushing yards and 6 scores in 12 games. He added a 33-314-2 receiving line to finish 16th among RBs in PPR points per game.

The Vikings are set to release TE Kyle Rudolph, NFL Network reports. Rudolph remained useful last year, ranking 21st among 43 qualifying TEs in yards per route run and garnering strong blocking grades from Pro Football Focus. But he turned 31 in November and was set to count over $9 million against the 2021 salary cap. We'll see where Rudolph lands on the open market. Meanwhile in Minnesota, it's wheels up for TE Irv Smith, who's had a promising start to his pro career sharing the field with Rudolph. With Rudolph out for the final 4 games of this past season, Smith ranked 4th among TEs in PPR points.

Washington is set to release QB Alex Smith, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, saving nearly $15 million against the 2021 salary cap. Kudos to Smith for getting back on the field in 2020, but he looked like a shell of himself, averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt with 6 TDs vs. 8 INTs. The 36-year-old has said that he wants to continue playing, so we'll see where he lands. Taylor Heinicke is now the only QB on Washington's roster. The team will certainly add to the depth chart via free agency and/or the draft.

DE J.J. Watt is signing with the Cardinals, he reports. Multiple other reports say it's a 2-year deal worth $31 million, with $23 million of that guaranteed. (So it sounds like a pact he's likely to complete.) Watt will join an Arizona defense that jumped from 20th in Football Outsiders DVOA in 2019 to 10th last season. The Cardinals also tied for 10th among fantasy defenses, by ESPN scoring. Watt looked past his prime last season but should still upgrade an unspectacular D-line and enhance a Chandler Jones-led pass rush.

 
 
 

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