Texans QB Deshaun Watson has agreed to a 4-year, $160 million extension with Houston. The deal locks Watson in through his age-29 season -- assuming he finishes the contract.
Chargers HC Anthony Lynn announced Wednesday that QB Tyrod Taylor will start Week 1. It's not a surprise. Even Lynn has presented that as the likely path for a while. But the official announcement makes it a little easier to snag Taylor late in fantasy drafts over the next week and a half. A top-15 fantasy QB through most of his starting stint in Buffalo, Taylor gets a nice opening schedule: strong matchups at Cincinnati in Week 1 and home for Carolina in Week 3, with potential shootouts vs. K.C. (Week 2) and at Tampa Bay (Week 4). We'll see how Taylor fares in that stretch before projecting beyond, but other attractive fantasy matchups await before the Week 10 bye. Although rookie QB Justin Herbert has reportedly shown flashes, it doesn't sound like he's especially close to taking over the gig.
The Texans chose DT Ross Blacklock with the 40th pick of the NFL Draft. Blacklock posted limited stats across 2 seasons at TCU, finishing with 9 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2019. He missed 2018 with a torn Achilles' tendon. ESPN's Louis Riddick and Anthony McFarland believe that Blacklock brings pass-rushing upside beyond what he showed in college. He joins a D-line that just lost D.J. Reader in free agency.
The Texans have traded the 57th pick in the NFL Draft to the Rams for WR Brandin Cooks and a 4th-round pick in 2022. Cooks joins the trio of Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb atop Houston's WR depth chart and should be the best bet to lead the group in targets. His departure from the Rams leaves room for WR Josh Reynolds to capture more playing time -- barring a significant WR addition in the upcoming draft. The Rams also cut Cooks' playing time in the 2nd half of last season, preferring to get more TEs on the field.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Chargers "are not looking to sign a veteran QB, as they move forward with Tyrod Taylor." We'll see if that holds true, given that free agency just opened. We'll also see whether the team goes QB in Round 1 of the draft. Taylor, though, spent 3 years starting for the Bills and opened 2018 as Cleveland's starter before giving way to Baker Mayfield. In his last full starting season -- 2017 -- Taylor graded out 10th among passers, according to Pro Football Focus. He would bring a higher fantasy ceiling than 2019 Philip Rivers provided, primarily because of Taylor's rushing.
On the same day they traded away WR DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans also agreed to a 3-year deal with WR Randall Cobb. NFL Network's James Jones reports it's a $27 million pact, including $18.75 million guaranteed. That comes a year after Cobb managed only a 1-year, $5 million contract with the Cowboys. Cobb did rebound with Dallas last season. He averaged 15.1 yards per catch after 4 straight seasons of 10.5 or less, and Pro Football Focus graded him a solid 57th among all WRs, up from 115th in 2018. But Cobb also averaged just 3.7 receptions per game as the #3 wideout and hasn't reached 56 yards per game since 2014. Cobb joins Kenny Stills and Will Fuller in a Houston WR corps with no clear leader. But they do, at least, have a dynamic young QB. Cobb will turn 30 in August.
The Dolphins have reached a 3-year, $30 million deal with former Bills DE Shaq Lawson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Lawson spent his 1st two seasons looking like a 1st-round bust but improved over the past 2. His final Bills campaign included 18 QB hits, tied for 25th in the NFL. Lawson also saw his playing time grow to starter-level over the final third of the 2019 season. He joins a Miami defense in dire need of edge help. The Dolphins' scheme shouldn't alter his position designation for IDP purposes.
The Cardinals have traded RB David Johnson to the Texans, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. No word yet on the details of the trade, but Arizona will reportedly take on some of Johnson's salary. It reeks of a salary-dump maneuver with a 28-year-old RB coming off an ugly 2019 campaign. Johnson missed 3 games last year and averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Among 68 RBs with 50+ carries, he ranked 38th in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades and 67th in Elusive Rating. There's plenty of opportunity in Houston with both Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller free agents, but we'd expect the Texans to add more to the backfield alongside David and Duke Johnson. Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake is set up for a big workload in Arizona.
The Packers have reached a 2-year, $16 million deal with LB Christian Kirksey. That's clearly starter money for the former Cleveland Brown. It also makes you wonder whether Green Bay has decided to let veteran ILB Blake Martinez walk in free agency. Martinez figures to command at least as much on the open market -- and likely more. Kirksey should go back to being a solid-to-good IDP LB with the Packers, if he can stay healthy. Injuries limited him to just 9 of a possible 32 games over the past 2 years. We'll see about Martinez.
Cutting RB David Johnson is "not an option," Cardinals GM Steve Keim said Friday. "You can't just have one back," Keim added. The biggest reason Johnson will stick around, though, is the $16.2 million in dead money that would be left behind if he was cut. Johnson looked like a guy out of gas in 2019, mustering just 3.7 yards per carry while battling ankle and back injuries. The Cardinals are expected to try to re-sign free-agent RB Kenyan Drake. If they don't, they still figure to bring in significant competition for Johnson.
Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay recently underwent surgery on his right wrist, according to The Denver Post's Mike Klis. It was reportedly a "simple, clean-up arthroscopic procedure" on the same wrist that Lindsay had surgery on last year. He told the team that it caused him some discomfort throughout the 2019 campaign. Lindsay was sidelined until training camp last year but is expected to be ready for the start of OTAs this spring. We'll keep an eye on him.
Ravens RB Mark Ingram (calf) is active for tonight's game against the Titans. He only got in 1 limited practice this week after experiencing tightness in that calf. He's a risk/reward fantasy play in this one. Ingram's status adds upside to RB Gus Edwards.
Texans TE Jordan Akins (hamstring) has been downgraded to out for Sunday's Divisional Round game against the Chiefs. TE Darren Fells remains questionable with his hip injury. If he can't go, Houston would be down to TE Jordan Thomas.
Ravens RB Mark Ingram (calf) is expected to play against the Titans on Saturday night, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Ingram got in just 1 limited practice this week but "did not appear to favor his injured calf" in the portion of Thursday's workout open to the media, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley. Still at risk of being limited and/or aggravating that injury, Ingram is a risky fantasy play this weekend.
Ravens RB Mark Ingram (calf) is listed as questionable for Saturday night's game against the Titans. He put in a limited practice on Thursday after sitting out the previous 2 days with what was described as tightness. The media is split on whether Ingram will play vs. Tennessee, while HC John Harbaugh said, "We’ll just have to see how it goes" when asked on Thursday. We'll get Ingram's official status around 6:45 pm ET on Saturday. If he's out, Gus Edwards figures to operate as Baltimore's lead back, with rookie Justice Hill as the #2.
Ravens RB Mark Ingram (calf) missed his 2nd straight practice on Wednesday. He appears to be in real danger of missing Saturday night's game against the Titans. We'll get another update on his status tomorrow.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that Ravens RB Mark Ingram is dealing with "tightness" in his injured calf. He practiced last week but was sidelined on Tuesday. "Pulled back to avoid re-injury," Rapoport adds. "He still has a chance to play the Titans on Saturday." We'll obviously keep a close eye on this over the next few days. Gus Edwards will serve as lead back, with rookie Justice Hill as the #2, if Ingram misses the Divisional Round game.
Texans TE Jordan Akins is inactive for today's game against the Bills after hurting his hamstring in practice this week. That boosts TE Darren Fells' projections by a target or 2.
Ravens HC John Harbaugh said Friday that RB Mark Ingram (calf) is expected to practice next week and is "on track" for Saturday's Divisional Round game. That jibes with the original report we got on Ingram's injury. Baltimore's lead back is certainly in play for your postseason fantasy leagues.
Texans TE Jordan Akins (hamstring) is listed as questionable for this weekend's game against the Bills after being added to the injury report on Friday. His absence would be a boost for TE Darren Fells. We'll get Akins' game status around 3 pm ET on Saturday.
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