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

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy said the team will utilize QB Dak Prescott's legs more in 2022. The plan is for Dallas to “put in more quarterback runs and quarterback movement plays," per beat writer Clarence Hill. Prescott’s healthier and quicker now that he's further removed from a 2020 ankle fracture. Currently, Dak checks in as a fringe QB1 for 2022.

CBS' Jonathan Jones reports that the Browns and Panthers are involved in trade talks "surrounding" QB Baker Mayfield. Jones reports that there's "urgency" for Carolina to make a move early enough to get Mayfield some minicamp reps with the team. He adds that the Panthers' offer is the best Cleveland has gotten and that the primary sticking point is how much of Mayfield's 2022 salary the Browns would pay. The QB is in the 5th and final year of his rookie contract and will likely face a "prove it" year, with unrestricted free agency ahead in March 2023. He makes obvious sense for Carolina, which currently sports Sam Darnold and Matt Corral as the top 2 options. And the relationship between Mayfield and the Browns looks finished. Mayfield hasn't proved to be a high-upside fantasy QB through 4 seasons, but the Panthers would set him up with nice pass-catching talent -- led by D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey. Stacking him with 1 or both players in best-ball tournament lineups now would be a low-risk, high-upside move.

Rams COO Kevin Demoff said his team would like to re-sign WR Odell Beckham but conceded that Beckham is unlikely to be ready until late in the season after tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl. "I think ultimately, when you're in resource allocation, when you know a player who would probably come in and help you, maybe for the last few weeks, but really in the playoffs, your focus right now has to go on those who are going to be here for training camp, start the season for you," Demoff said. "And then how much can you leave for a player of Odell's caliber? If we didn't have a salary cap we could've signed Odell months ago and would've loved to." Beckham will be just 7 months removed from his ACL tear when the 2022 season kicks off. A typical timeline would have him out for at least the first 2 months of the season. That makes him tough to draft in fantasy, especially in leagues without an IR spot.

Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz will report to the start of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Schultz skipped last week's OTAs as he angles for a long-term deal. He's currently scheduled to play 2022 on the franchise tag. "No deal imminent, but contract talks have picked up in recent days," Pelissero tweeted. We'll continue to keep an eye on the situation, but it doesn't look like there's holdout risk with Schultz.

Panthers WR Robby Anderson showed up for the start of mandatory minicamp on Monday. He made headlines when he posted (and then quickly deleted) a tweet on Saturday about considering retirement. But it looks like he's decided to play this season. Anderson is coming off a disappointing 2021 campaign but is underpriced at his current WR71 FFPC ADP. He sits 16 spots higher in our PPR WR Rankings.

Speaking on the Inside the Birds podcast, NFL insider Adam Caplan said that RB Kenneth Gainwell’s role “will grow” in year 2. Caplan particularly noted Gainwell’s involvement in the passing game, where he collected 33 catches (on 50 targets) as a rookie. Gainwell added ~4 carries per game across 16 appearances. Ultimately, barring a Miles Sanders injury, Gainwell’s unlikely to exceed PPR flex range. On skill set alone, though, the Memphis product makes for an intriguing RB4/5.

Packers WR Allen Lazard has signed his 1-year restricted free-agent tender. If he and the team don't agree to a long-term deal, he'll make just about $4 million this year and then hit free agency next offseason. Lazard has a shot to lead Green Bay in targets this year and is a fine value at his recent WR45 FFPC ADP.

The Chiefs are re-signing RB Jerick McKinnon to a 1-year deal, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports. We'll see what kind of money is involved here, but it's at least noteworthy that Kansas City let McKinnon toil on the open market for about 3 months. McKinnon came up big for the Chiefs in the playoffs, carrying 34 times for 150 yards and catching 14 of 17 targets for 165 yards and a score. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire was limited during that stretch coming off a shoulder injury, though. And McKinnon totaled just 12 carries and 20 targets during the regular season. We'll see how this backfield shakes out this summer between Edwards-Helaire, McKinnon and Ronald Jones.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson reported to mandatory minicamp on Monday. This was always the expectation, but Jackson, 25, remains without a long-term extension. According to PFT’s Myles Simmons, Jackson “has not yet engaged the club in meaningful contract talks.” Note that the QB is representing himself in contract negotiations.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Commanders WR Terry McLaurin plans to miss this week's mandatory minicamp. The 4th-year wideout is looking for a new contract, as he heads into the final year of his rookie deal. Beyond the fine that will come with holding out, McLaurin will be missing practice time with new QB Carson Wentz. His absence will also afford extra reps for WRs such as rookie Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Cam Sims. We'll see how this situation develops. For now, we're not adjusting our outlook for McLaurin -- who just might be getting the best QB of his career to date.

Jaguars DC Mike Caldwell says #1 overall pick Travon Walker will play OLB in the team's new defense, according to John Reid of the Florida Times-Union. "I think his best position is outside linebacker because of his length, his athletic ability going against tackles," Caldwell said. "That is a premium position in this defense. He can play other positions, but his home for us is outside linebacker, where we see him being a force." The knee-jerk response might be to question why Jacksonville would play the 275-pounder at LB rather than DE. But in highlighting Walker's matchup with OTs, Caldwell signals that this will be more of an EDGE position than a traditional off-ball LB. We'll see how it plays out, of course, but we'd bet on Walker looking more like Von Miller did for Denver early in his career or Micah Parsons for last year's Cowboys -- in terms of how he's deployed. That said, we remain hesitant to count on Walker for big numbers. Playing LB will also limit his fantasy value on sites that still rely on traditional LB/DE splits with their position designations.

Saints HC Dennis Allen said WR Michael Thomas is making "significant progress" in his recovery from his lingering ankle injury. “I’m good with where Mike Thomas is,” Allen said. “I would much rather him be 100 percent healthy and out here and all those kinds of things, but that’s not where we’re at right now. He is busting his tail to get himself ready to go, and I feel like he’s making significant progress. I think mentally he’s in a great place and, again, we’re just going to let that process play out and get him healthy. And look, we have a long time to go before we play a game. … I’m not looking for a huge jump, I just want to see him keep getting a little better every day.” Thomas won't participate in this week's minicamp, though, and we still have no timetable for his return to the field. He's a risky fantasy pick until we know that the ankle issue is behind him.

Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker is sidelined with a hamstring injury, HC Pete Carroll said. It's unclear when the rookie will get back on the field. No reason to panic at this point, but we'll keep a close eye on Walker when training camp opens next month.

Seahawks RB Chris Carson admits that he has "no timeline" for return from his November neck surgery. “Not trying to rush it, I’m just trying to take it one day at a time,” Carson said. “Just keep rehabbing, keep getting better. Keep building strength and then go from there." The Seahawks re-signed RB Rashaad Penny and drafted RB Kenneth Walker this offseason, so they're not banking on having Carson available this season. He's nothing more than a late-round flier in early fantasy drafts.

ESPN’s Mike Reiss believes “there is potential for significant improvement in the deep passing game” for the Patriots this season. It appears Reiss bases this opinion primarily on how the deep-passing game has looked in early workouts. There’s certainly room for improvement. QB Mac Jones ranked just 26th among 31 qualifiers in deep-ball completion rate, according to ESPN Stats. He checked in above-average in on-target rate on downfield passes. In addition to more experience for the young QB and another off-season with his pass-catchers, New England added WR DeVante Parker via trade and speedy WR Tyquan Thornton in the 2nd round of the draft. Increasing his deep-ball production would be especially valuable for Jones, because he lacks rushing production and New England doesn’t figure to be a high-volume passing offense

Panthers WR Robby Anderson tweeted Saturday that he's “thinking bout retiring.” Well, that came out of left field. Anderson, 29, was the subject of offseason trade rumors. But we expected him to open the season as the WR2 behind DJ Moore. Carolina opens its mandatory minicamp on the 14th, so we’ll learn more then. Should Anderson actually retire, Terrace Marshall's stock would get a considerable boost.

UPDATE: Anderson deleted the tweet on Saturday afternoon.

Panthers beat writer Ellis L. Williams believes new OC Ben McAdoo’s “up-tempo and quick-release concepts” should add YAC opportunities for WR DJ Moore. Williams envisions Moore thriving on quick-hitters and downfield routes, similar to how a young Odell Beckham excelled with McAdoo in New York. “It’s long and it’s treacherous, but it’s built for the NFL,” Moore said regarding McAdoo’s playbook. “The playbook is long, like some of the verbiage is long. You just got to be able to study and comprehended. But it worked when he was calling it in New York and all the places that he’d been.” Improved QB play will remain the key to unlocking Moore’s upside. Entering year 5, he’s never topped 4 TDs in a single season.

Steelers beat writer Chris Adamski writes that the #2 RB job is “wide open” between Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell and UDFAs Jaylen Warren and Mataeo Durant. “I’ve had a lot of setbacks, but I’ve learned a lot,” McFarland said. “Coming into Year 3, I’m feeling more comfortable and understanding what it is that I want my role to be to help the team out. I know there is a lot of doubt in my game. That’s what happens when you haven’t stepped on the field and showed much. But that’s what makes me hungry.” Veteran status makes McFarland and Snell the early favorites. But it’s quite possible Pittsburgh adds talent to the backfield this summer.

According to Nate Taylor of The Athletic, there is an "already strong connection that is growing between [Patrick] Mahomes and [Marquez] Valdes-Scantling." The wideout, of course, signed a 3-year deal with Kansas City this offseason that's basically a 2-year pact with an option for Year 3. He's competing with fellow free-agent addition JuJu Smith-Schuster and rookie Skyy Moore for roles in the wake of Tyreek Hill's trade to Miami. HC Andy Reid seems to like what he's seeing so far: “He’s a big kid, but he’s got really good flexibility. He can change directions and he’s got that speed, which we all knew he had. He’s able to work some of the primary underneath routes that he maybe didn’t do quite as much in Green Bay because of who they had there. I’ve been pleased with how he goes about his business. He’s doing a nice job.” The shorter routes could be key. MVS was almost strictly a downfield operator in Green Bay, consistently ranking among the league leaders in average depth of target. If he can add more short-to-mid range looks, though, Valdes-Scantling could draw more consistent targets and become easier to insert into weekly fantasy lineups. We'll keep watching this situation. He's at least intriguing as the 3rd Kansas City WR in ADP on both Underdog and FFPC.

New Buccaneers WR Russell Gage has missed OTAs and minicamp will dealing with an injury that Pewter Report describes as "minor" and "unknown." QB Tom Brady says the team needs him to get on the field as soon as possible. “[He needs] a lot of work,” Brady said Thursday. “He has to have a big year. We signed him to a contract and he has to come in and do a great job. From the time I spent with him, I really enjoyed it. He’s got a great opportunity. That is very important role." Gage faces enviable opportunity, especially with WR Chris Godwin coming off a December ACL tear. We'll monitor the injury situation but don't expect it to affect his training-camp readiness. Gage reportedly has gotten some pre-practice work in with Brady already.

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