The Titans have promoted TEs coach Arthur Smith to OC. Smith has been with Tennessee for 8 years, starting as a defensive assistant before moving to the other side of the ball. The Titans are aiming for continuity from the departed Matt LaFleur's scheme, but Smith is a complete unknown as a play-caller.
The Titans on Tuesday reached a 4-year deal with RB Dion Lewis, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. We'll see about the specific salary, but we'd certainly bet that Tennessee signed Lewis to at least approximate the size of the role DeMarco Murray left behind. The move indicates the Titans don't want Derrick Henry to turn into the clear backfield leader. There's certainly room for both backs to deliver usable fantasy football value, but neither should climb higher than Round 4 -- if that high -- in early best-ball drafting.
Update: Lewis is getting a 4-year, $20 million deal, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Patriots RB Rex Burkhead (ribs) did not practice on Wednesday. We still haven't gotten any details on his injury, but he's obviously in danger of missing this weekend's game against the Texans. Burkhead's absence could mean extra work for RBs James White and Dion Lewis.
Patriots RBs Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, James White and Dion Lewis are all active for tonight's opener against the Chiefs. We're eager to see the backfield usage here, but it's a situation to avoid in Week 1 fantasy lineups in possible. White is the safest play as the likely passing-down back.
Patriots QB Tom Brady talked Monday morning about how the team will replace WR Julian Edelman. "We have to find a different way to do it," Brady said. "I mean obviously with Danny [Amendola], I’ve had that [chemistry] with Danny. Danny has been such a great player for us. Hogs [Chris Hogan], he’s had a great camp. Brandin Cooks has done a great job. Malcolm [Mitchell], when he has been out there, I have a lot of trust in him. All the backs and tight ends, we’re just going to have to pick up the slack. The production has to come from a different place." Hogan is the best bet to finish 2nd among Pats WRs in targets. But Amendola, RBs James White, Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis and TE Dwayne Allen could also see volume boosts. Edelman averaged a whopping 9.7 targets per game over the past 4 seasons, so there's a lot of fantasy production to go around here. We'll be keeping a close eye on what this passing game looks like early on this season.
On the same day they signed Bills RFA RB Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots signed RB James White to a 3-year extension. The Super Bowl star would have been facing unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2017 season but is now under contract through 2020. With White, Dion Lewis and the additions of Rex Burkhead and Gillislee (unless the Bills match), New England's backfield is looking quite crowded. It's a high-value situation, but the committee could prove tough to predict week to week for fantasy football owners. All 4 RBs carry some late-round intrigue -- especially in early best-ball drafting -- though White's new deal might threaten Lewis the most. We'll be watching this situation develop into and through the summer.
The Patriots signed RB Rex Burkhead. He joins Dion Lewis and James White in the backfield. (RB LeGarrette Blount remains a free agent.) Burkhead was mostly a special-teamer in Cincinnati but flashed when given a bigger opportunity this past year, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 8.5 yards per catch. That included a 144-total-yard, 2-TD outing against the Ravens in Week 17. At 5'10, 210 pounds, Burkhead is the biggest of New England's top 3 backs (5 pounds heavier than White). He could be a sneaky option for early-down work, although stealing significant passing-down action from White and Lewis will be tough. As usual, we'll need to keep a close eye on the Patriots' backfield this summer.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis injured his hamstring late in the Super Bowl victory over the Falcons, he told reporters after the game. Lewis actually said he "tweaked" the hammy early on, which at least partially explains why he finished with just 7 touches. The injury shouldn't impact Lewis' offseason. He'll be back with New England in 2017, the final year of his current contract, but his role is murky after an injury-riddled and inconsistent 2016.
The forecast for today's Jets-Patriots game calls for a 95% chance of rain with winds around 10 mph. That wind isn't a major concern, but it looks like this will be a sloppy game. We still don't expect the Pats to have any trouble when they take to the air, but the weather could push them further toward the run if (when?) they get out to a big lead.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) is active for today’s game against the 49ers. It’s unclear how big a role he’ll play in his 2016 debut. Lewis is just a PPR flier.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) is inactive for tonight's game against the Seahawks. He was activated from the PUP list, but New England evidently doesn’t feel he’s ready to make a significant impact yet. James White remains locked in as the Pats’ pass-catching RB.
"It's not clear" if Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) will be active for tonight's game against the Seahawks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Some roster juggling to be done." We'll see if New England makes any moves this morning, but Lewis shouldn't be in your Week 10 fantasy plans. James White will operate as the primary pass-catching back regardless of whether Lewis is active tonight.
The Patriots on Saturday officially added RB Dion Lewis to the active roster. That doesn't necessarily mean he'll have a role Sunday against the Seahawks, and James White remains the play as New England passing back. But we'll be watching Lewis' participation level the rest of the way.
Patriots HC Bill Belichick suggested Friday that James White could remain the team's primary passing-down back even with Dion Lewis back in the mix. "I think James White is a good player. What he does is good. Could somebody do it better? I don't know. But it would take quite a bit, I would say, based on where he is and how consistent he's been with what he's done," Belichick said. "It would take somebody playing pretty good to be better than him." White has tallied 29 catches for 258 yards and 3 scores, adding another 107 yards on 26 carries. The Lewis we saw last year was better than White, but it remains to be seen if he'll rediscover pre-injury form. ESPN's Mike Reiss expects the Patriots to take a "conservative approach" to Lewis' return and confirms that White will play ahead of him on Sunday night. White is certainly the better Week 10 fantasy play. We'll see beyond that.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) is "on track" to make his 2016 debut against the Seahawks on Sunday night, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe. Lewis figures to be on a pitch count in his 1st action in a little more than a year, leaving him as a risk/reward RB3 or flex for Week 10. But if healthy, he could quickly re-emerge as a difference-maker. Lewis was sitting 8th among RBs in PPR points and 17th in non-PPR when he went down in Week 9 last season.
The Patriots are "holding out hope" that RB Dion Lewis (knee) is ready for next week's game against the Seahawks, according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe. Lewis returned to practice last week and must be activated by November 17 -- a few days before Week 11 -- or be placed on IR. RB James White has played well for New England over the first 8 weeks, but a healthy Lewis is a significant upgrade in the pass-catching role.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) made his 2016 practice debut on Thursday. New England now has 21 days to either activate him to the active roster or place him on IR. Lewis is obviously trending toward playing, potentially as soon as next week. He should be owned in all PPR leagues and in most non-PPRs.
Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) is expected to return to practice this week, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. New England will then have 21 days to activate Lewis to the active roster. "He's doing well," Rapoport adds. That qualifies as the best update we've received on Lewis all year. RB James White has played well in his place, racking up 14 receptions for 142 yards and 3 TDs with QB Tom Brady over the last 3 weeks. But a healthy Lewis is an upgrade in that pass-catching role. He's worth grabbing now if he's available in your league.
ESPN's Mike Reiss believes that Patriots RB Dion Lewis (knee) might not make his 2016 debut until after the team's Week 9 bye. A source tells Reiss that "it's possible" Lewis returns to practice this week. New England has played it super safe with the pass-catching back all offseason, so this doesn't come as a surprise. Lewis could still emerge as a PPR asset down the stretch, so he's worth stashing if you have a free roster spot.
The Patriots have placed RB Dion Lewis (knee) on the reserve/PUP list. That officially knocks him out for the first 6 games of the season. His availability beyond that remains in question. New England has a Week 9 bye, for what it's worth, so Week 10 could be a potential return date if he's not ready come Week 7. Lewis is only worth stashing in deep PPR leagues or leagues with an IR spot. James White will step in as the Patriots' pass-catching back for as long as Lewis is out. White ranked 6th among PPR points in that role last year.
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