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

Fantasy Football News 2022

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Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz is skipping the rest of voluntary OTAs over frustration with contract negotiations, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. Schultz has already signed his franchise tender, which locks him in for the coming season. The 2 sides have until July 15 to agree on a longer-term deal. If that doesn't happen by the deadline, Schultz will play out the 1-year deal and hit the open market again next March. The fact that he has already signed the tender should keep any contract impasse from impacting Schultz's availability for 2022.

Browns WR David Bell got some reps with the 1st-team offense in OTAs, according to The Athletic's Zac Jackson. Amari Cooper is locked in as Cleveland's #1 WR, and it sounds like Bell, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Anthony Schwartz are competing for the next 3 spots on the depth chart. Bell has drawn positive reviews so far from both coaches and beat writers. Consider him the favorite for primary slot duties this season, making the rookie an intriguing late-round pick in fantasy drafts.

Per beat writer Rick Stroud, the Bucs are “optimistic” TE Rob Gronkowski will re-sign prior to training camp. Gronk currently projects as a TE1 for the 2022 fantasy football season.

Jets GM Joe Douglas told ESPN's Rich Cimini that TE Tyler Conklin "looks like he could be a nice under-the-radar find." Given that the team signed Conklin to a 3-year, $20.25 million deal with $10 million guaranteed, we're not sure just how under the radar he really is. It's certainly worth noting that Conklin has already impressed his new team, but it's also worth remembering that he got only the 2nd largest contract among new Jets TEs this offseason. "I think C.J. [Uzomah] and Conklin are going to make a pretty strong duo in this offense." Throw in 3rd-round TE Jeremy Ruckert as well, and it's tough to get excited about the fantasy football outlook for any Jets TE in any format.

Bears HC Matt Eberflus talked up Justin Fields’ deep ball ability at OTAs. “I would say, ‘Man, he throws a good deep ball,’ ” Eberflus said. “I’m excited about that. And you could see it in the seven-on-seven and 11-on-11s, and we’re gonna take our shots down the field and, man, he does a nice job doing that. And that’s what stands out to me.” Fields wasn’t afraid to go deep last year, posting the league's 2nd highest intended air yards per attempt (33 qualifiers). A lack of weapons is troubling, but the arrival of Round 3 pick Velus Jones at least supplies another deep threat alongside Darnell Mooney.

Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns and RB D’Ernest Johnson have agreed to a 1-year deal worth up to $2.43 million. He’ll get ~900K in guaranteed cash. Johnson is currently Cleveland's third-string RB, but there's still a possibility -- albeit a small one -- that the team trades Kareem Hunt prior to Week 1.

Jaguars RB James Robinson has resumed running. An Instagram video shows him running around half speed, but consider it a step forward in his return from a late-December Achilles tear. Previously, HC Doug Pederson had said that a return to the field for training camp is realistic. Time will tell on that. But with Robinson’s role and effectiveness in question, we’re circling Travis Etienne as a Round 4 target.

The Lions are hoping to get RB D’Andre Swift to play through the pain more in 2022. Note that the talented RB has played 13 games in back to back seasons. “Injuries happen, but one of the things Swift and I had a conversation about -- is you’ve got to be able to play through some of these injuries as a running back,” RB coach (and former pro) Duce Staley said recently. “We all know there’s a difference between being injured and hurt. As soon as you step in this building as a running back, Day 1 training camp, you’re not going to feel the same. There will be some things you have to fight through.” Per beat writer Kyle Meinke, Swift bulked up a bit over the offseason. Only 23, Swift’s consistency should improve in a revamped Detroit offense.

Eagles OC Shane Steichen discussed QB Jalen Hurts at OTAs. “He just has a relentless effort to be great,” Steichen said. “Every approach he takes — he doesn’t have an offseason. He’s always on it. He’s always thinking about football. We’re always talking football, day in and day out, and he’s continuing to grow as a player, as a leader, every single day.” Steichen added that footwork has been an offseason focus as the club looks to add polish to Hurts' game. Ultimately, this offseason couldn’t have gone much better for the 24-year-old (in August). He’s a top-8 fantasy passer with clear upside into the top-3.

The Giants have moved RB Saquon Barkley around the formation in OTAs. NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt says that in addition to traditional RB routes, Barkley has "on numerous occasions" lined up as a receiver -- both in the slot and outside. It fits with what we (and Rosenblatt) expected to see from Barkley's role based on the words of new HC Brian Daboll. Rosenblatt also notes that Barkley is the healthiest he's been entering summer "maybe since his rookie year." There's big fantasy upside on the Giants' feature back

Bucs beat writer Joey Knight believes WR Tyler Johnson “faces fierce competition for a roster spot.” Johnson, 24 in August, posted just 36-360-0 last season. While the WR4 job is up for grabs, we’re not drafting any Tampa Bay WR not named Mike Evans, Chris Godwin or Russell Gage.

Saints QB Jameis Winston was on the field with his team at OTAs this week. Katherine Terrell of The Athletic noted that he wore a "bulky" brace and sported a limp that "seemed more prominent when walking versus running." Neither of those things should be surprising for a player coming off an ACL repair, and it's obviously good that Winston was even taking part in the voluntary workouts. The QB said, though, that overcoming the ACL tear hasn't been the biggest challenge in this process. “The biggest thing about my specific injury was the meniscus,” he said. “It wasn’t the ACL and MCL. The MCL actually healed on its own before surgery and the ACL, Dr. Neal ElAttrache did a phenomenal job. … It was a pretty simple procedure. But the meniscus repair has been the biggest limiter for me right now, in terms of moving, rolling out, in terms of certain movements that I’m not able to do just because of the timetable of the recovery. But my ACL is very stable, my MCL is very stable. Right now I’m building around and fighting with the meniscus.” Again, the fact that Winston is on the field at all this early keeps us from worrying too much. But his progression through summer will certainly be worth tracking.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs sat out OTA practices the past 2 weeks with an undisclosed injury, according to Marcus Mosher of Raiders Wire. "Because it’s still voluntary OTAs, it’s probably not worth getting too concerned about," Mosher writes. "But if Jacobs doesn’t practice in some capacity during next week’s mandatory minicamp, then it might be time to worry." We'll keep an eye on the situation.

Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury talked up a more diverse role for WR Rondale Moore. “We utilized him in different ways than we will this year,” Kingsbury said. “We kind of got it to him in space and did some things and used him on some check downs, but he’s a dynamic route runner. I think that’s what people are going to see. He’s really good getting out of his cuts, good at the top of routes, so I think people are going to see a different side of him.” Moore will get a chance to establish himself early in the season because of DeAndre Hopkins’ 6-game suspension. The 2nd-year man currently projects as a top-50 PPR WR.

Rams WR coach Eric Yarber discussed Tutu Atwell, who's now in year 2. “It’s night and day,” Yarber said. “He’s progressing very, very well mentally and physically. The game has slowed down for him. He knows his plays like the back of his hand.” Atwell was criticized for his work habits as a rookie. Apparently, that’s changed over the offseason. “It’s almost like he took things for granted (last year),” Yarber said of Atwell. “But now, he saw how Cooper and Robert Woods prepared and how it translated to on-the-field (success). Atwell was a 2nd round pick last year and doesn’t turn 23 until October. Still, given a loaded depth chart, it’s likely he’ll need injuries (or a trade) to gain any fantasy value.

Per team insider Matt Barrows, the 49ers loved Tyrion Davis-Price’s burst on tape. He reached one of the fastest recorded speeds of the NCAA season on one run vs. Alabama, according to the team. “A lot of times, guys reach higher speeds because they have the opportunity,” assistant GM Adam Peters said. “They maybe aren’t as fast as other guys, but because they have the opportunity to run 60 yards in a straight line they reach a high speed. (Davis-Price) reaching his top speed in a short amount of space is more impressive.” A Round 3 pick, TDP also brings some much-needed physicality to the backfield. There’s room for him to carve out a year 1 role in Kyle Shanahan’s system.

Giants 4th-round S Dane Belton "got the majority of the reps with the first team" in Thursday's OTA session, according to Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com. Belton reportedly played alongside safeties Xavier McKinney and Julian Love, as well as in place of 1 of them at times. Rosenblatt adds that Belton "will seriously push" Love for the starting job opposite McKinney (a former 2nd-round pick). Belton didn't post big numbers across 3 seasons at Iowa but did close his career with 5 INTs in 2021. McKinney's the only 1 we'd bet on in IDP drafts right now, but we'll see how the rest of this competition goes. The Giants released Logan Ryan after deploying him as a full-time player last season.

Fourth-round rookie TE Daniel Bellinger just might be the favorite to start for the the Giants this season. NJ.com's Zack Rosenblatt reports that Bellinger was "almost exclusively running with the first-team offense" at Thursday's OTA practice. "Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins are both healthy and were running with the backups," Rosenblatt added. Although it's tough to count on much from any rookie TE -- let alone a 4th-round pick -- this report highlights Bellinger's limited competition on the road to a lead job. He's not a bad shot to take as a 3rd TE in best-ball drafts right now, especially when stacked with QB Daniel Jones. We'll keep watching how the situation develops.

Lions OC Ben Johnson admits that it'll be a "challenge" to get WR Jameson Williams ready for the start of the season. The 1st-round rookie continues to rehab his January ACL tear and isn't participating in OTAs. "That’s a real struggle for us is to get him back, to get him healthy, and then (get him) as many reps as possible with the quarterbacks so that we know exactly where he’s going to be, we can anticipate the throw," Johnson said. Williams seems like a long shot to be active come Week 1 and might even open the season on the PUP list, which would cost him the first 6 games. Fantasy owners shouldn't be expecting him to contribute early, although he could be an asset over the 2nd half of the season.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers gave his thoughts on retirement on Wednesday night. “I think about it all the time,” he said. “When you commit, you’re 100 percent. But the older you get, the interests change, and the grind, I think, wears on you a little more.” Rodgers later said that he could “definitely see the end coming” — hardly a surprise, as he’ll turn 39 in December. Of course, Rodgers has already toyed with the thought of retirement. However, he’s currently signed through the 2024 season.

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