The Patriots have signed WR Demaryius Thomas to a 1-year deal that could be worth "up to" $6 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Thomas is currently rehabbing a torn Achilles suffered in late December that has his availability for the start of the 2019 campaign in doubt. He seemed to be in decline even before that injury, posting his fewest yards per game (45.1) since his rookie season. That said, this is just about the best landing spot Thomas could have hoped for. The Patriots have lost over 220 targets from last year and have just Phillip Dorsett, Bruce Ellington and Maurice Harris sitting behind Julian Edelman on the WR depth chart. If Thomas can get healthy, he has a good shot of emerging as the #2 WR.
The Patriots on Wednesday signed TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a 1-year deal at the league minimum. The contract doesn't guarantee a thing for ASJ, but it does place him in 1 of the league's most attractive situations. Rob Gronkowski's retirement and Dwayne Allen's departure left New England returning just 5 TE receptions (by Jacob Hollister) from last year's team. Seferian-Jenkins has never played more than 13 games in an NFL season and has only once played more than 9. But he has also scored TDs on 9.5% of his 116 career catches. If he can enter the year as the position's top option for the Pats, there will be top-12 per-game fantasy upside to him. At the moment, ASJ makes for a solid mid-level TE2 option in best-ball drafts.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski on Sunday announced via Instagram that he's retiring. That leaves New England with Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse at the position. Hollister and Dwayne Allen combined for the team's only 7 TE receptions outside of Gronk's 47. The oft-injured veteran clearly declined over the past couple of years, but we also expect New England to address the position in at least the NFL Draft or free agency now that Gronkowski's done. Even if they add a TE or 2, Gronk's departure figures to leave targets and red-zone chances available for multiple positions.
The Patriots have signed WR Bruce Ellington to a 1-year deal. The 27-year-old has battled injuries throughout his career and is averaging just 9.7 yards per catch. He did haul in 23 balls over a 4-game stretch in Detroit late last season -- but he averaged 5.7 yards per catch before hurting his hamstring. There's opportunity in New England as the current depth chart stands, but Ellington remains a long shot for 2019 fantasy value.
WR Phillip Dorsett has re-signed with the Patriots on a 1-year deal. The former 1st-rounder evolved into a short-range target in New England last season, hauling in 76.2% of his targets but averaging just 9.1 yards per catch. He has a shot to take on a bigger role in 2019 with Chris Hogan a free agent and Cordarrelle Patterson off to Chicago. But we'd bet on the Pats making some additions to their WR room.
The Patriots have placed an original-round tender on restricted free agent WR Josh Gordon. That means he'll get a 1-year, $2.025 million contract from New England if he doesn't sign elsewhere. And signing elsewhere seems unlikely for Gordon, whose status remains uncertain following his latest drug-program violation. The Browns originally spent a 2nd-round pick on Gordon in the supplemental draft, so it looks like any new team would have to give such a pick to New England to sign Gordon.
The Patriots have reached a deal to acquire DL MIchael Bennett from the Eagles for a mere swap of picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. Philly gets a 2020 fifth-rounder in exchange for a 2020 pick in Round 7. New England gets a veteran D-lineman capable of playing on the edge or inside. Bennett played the large majority of his snaps in edge spots for the Eagles last year. Pro Football Focus credited him with 68 total pressures, tied for 5th most among edge players. And that came with Bennett turning 33 in November. He has played all 16 games the past 2 years and 6 of the past 7 years. Bennett hasn't posted big sack numbers -- reaching 10 just once and never exceeding that total. But he's a real-life asset and capable of DL2 production. He'll help a New England front 7 that might yet lose DE Trey Flowers to free agency.
WR Demaryius Thomas is currently in custody in Colorado on vehicular assault charges. Pro Football Talk notes that Colorado defines vehicular assault as "driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol and causing serious bodily injury to another person." Thomas was involved in a 1-car accident on February 18 that reportedly caused serious injury to a female passenger. We'll see where this goes. Thomas was released by Houston a couple of weeks ago after his 2018 campaign ended with a torn Achilles.
The Texans have released WR Demaryius Thomas. It was a no-brainer move with Thomas set to make $14 million in 2019. Now 31 and coming off a torn Achilles, DT isn't worth nearly that much coin. He'll probably need to prove he's recovered from that injury before landing a job elsewhere. Houston has a young, talented WR trio in place in DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Keke Coutee.
NESN's Doug Kyed reports that a return to the Patriots is "still possible" for WR Josh Gordon. He's currently serving an indefinite suspension after turning in diluted drug test samples. Gordon is reportedly in a Gainesville-area rehab center, where his treatment is being paid for by the Pats. We wouldn't consider him any better than 50/50 to get back on an NFL field -- but the 27-year-old is still worth stashing in most dynasty leagues.
Eagles DE Michael Bennett (foot) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Bears. Bennett has played through "questionable" tags for weeks and put in a full practice Friday. Expect him to be in the lineup.
Broncos TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) isn’t listed on the final Week 17 injury report. He’ll return for Sunday’s game against the Chargers but is a weak fantasy play.
Broncos TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) is inactive for tonight's game against the Raiders. He opened the week on the sideline but returned for a pair of limited practices. That leaves the Broncos with Brian Parker -- who has seen 7 targets on the year -- as their top available TE.
Texans WR Demaryius Thomas will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured left Achilles, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a devastating injury for the 31-year-old and makes him questionable for the start of the 2019 campaign. It's also a big loss for a Texans team thin at WR. We'll see if they get rookie Keke Coutee (hamstring) back for Week 17. DeAndre Carter and Vyncint Smith are Houston's other WRs.
Texans WR Demaryius Thomas was carted to the locker room after suffering what appeared to be a right knee injury in the 2nd half of Sunday's game against the Eagles. This has the look of a serious injury. We'll update Thomas' status when we learn more.
Update: The team announced Thomas with an Achilles injury. If it's torn, he'll be done for the season.
Eagles DE Michael Bennett (foot) is active for today's game against the Texans. He has played through questionable tags for several weeks and is fine for usual IDP usage in a high-upside matchup.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport hears that it's "possible" WR Josh Gordon is reinstated for the 2019 season. He's suspended indefinitely and will need to show the league he's clean for a "sustained period of time," according to Rapoport. Frankly, we weren't betting on Gordon ever stepping on an NFL field again. So hearing that he could be back next season is surprising. Still just 27, Gordon is worth stashing in most dynasty leagues.
Lions WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring) returned to limited practices this week but is out for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. That again leaves Andy Jones and T.J. Jones as Detroit’s #2 and #3 WRs. Neither is a fantasy option.
Patriots WR Josh Gordon announced Thursday that he's stepping away from the team to focus on his mental health. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that Gordon is facing another indefinite suspension for violating terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy. Don't expect to see him on the field again this season -- and this could spell the end of Gordon's NFL career. It's obviously a significant loss for the Patriots. Gordon has played over 70% of New England offensive snaps since arriving and averaged 6.2 targets per game. WR Chris Hogan would seem like the big winner, but he averaged just 4.7 targets and 2.3 catches over the first 3 weeks before the Gordon trade. We should see some more WR Cordarrelle Patterson, while WR Julian Edelman, TE Rob Gronkowski and RB James White could also pick up an extra target or 2.
Update: Gordon has been suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his reinstatement under the substance abuse policy. It's the 5th suspension of his NFL career and could result in permanent banishment from the league.
Eagles DE Michael Bennett (foot) is active for tonight's game against the Rams. He has played through multiple questionable tags and is fine to use if you waited for him in IDP lineups.
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