Shark Bites

When asked at the beginning of the offseason program this week about his knee, Rams RB Todd Gurley managed only cautious optimism to the Los Angeles Times: "I'm feeling pretty good. All I can worry about is how I'm feeling right now. I don't know how I'm going to be feeling six months from now. Just trying to make sure I feel the best when the season comes." We've all seen/heard countless examples of athletes erring on the side of confidence with their recovering body parts. That makes this response from Gurley seem fairly worrisome. If he can't even muster an "I'm feeling great" in April, it's tough to know what we can expect come October. Gurley's upside certainly remains worth a 1st-round draft slot until something more substantial comes out. (The Rams have declined to specify his knee ailment.) But Gurley belongs in the middle of the round for early drafting, rather than near the top. Backup Malcolm Brown also carries big handcuff upside into 2019 fantasy football drafts. Count on this being the most closely tracked fantasy situation of the year.

Rams WR Cooper Kupp tells the team website, "I think I'm where I'm supposed to be" in his recovery from the November ACL tear and resulting surgery. Kupp recently got back on the field for running and agility drills, and a member of the training staff echoed his assessment of the process. We'll obviously need to keep an eye on Kupp through the offseason and then training camp, but he seems on track for the beginning of the 2019 season. That said, his current PlayDraft ADP or WR21 in the middle of Round 5 strikes us as a bit high.

The Rams have matched the offer sheet RB Malcolm Brown signed with the Lions as a restricted free agent, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a 2-year, $3.25 million contract, not enough money to necessarily steer what else the team does at the position. But the move might make re-signing unrestricted free agent C.J. Anderson less likely. Brown has logged just 128 total carries and 18 receptions through 4 pro seasons. He'd look a lot more attractive this year as Todd Gurley's lead backup if that's how he enters 2019 fantasy football drafts, though.

QB Blake Bortles has inked a 1-year deal with the Rams. After an up-but-mostly-down 5 seasons in Jacksonville, he'll spend at least 1 year backing up Jared Goff in Los Angeles. Perhaps spending some time under offensive whiz kid Sean McVay will be good for Bortles. He'll obviously hold no 2019 fantasy value barring a Goff injury.

The Rams have tendered restricted free agent ILB Cory Littleton at the 2nd-round level. That means any team looking to sign away the 2018 breakout would need to send the Rams a 2nd-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Perhaps some suitor will value Littleton to that degree, but we'd bet on him returning to L.A. Littleton scored across categories in his 1st turn as a full-time starter and should land in LB1 territory in our 2019 IDP rankings.

The Rams have reached a 1-year, $14.5 million deal with OLB Dante Fowler to keep the 24-year-old off the open market. It's an interesting contract. On one hand, it's a surprisingly large salary for a former #3 overall pick with just 16 total sacks through 3 seasons. (Fowler missed his rookie campaign with an ACL tear.) The money indicates that both sides expected Fowler to garner at least solid interest on the open market. At the same time, the fact that Fowler went for just a 1-year offer on the verge of his age-25 season points to it being somewhat of a "prove it" contract. Fowler contributed just 2 sacks in his 8 games with the Rams in 2018. Pro Football Focus rated the Rams version of Fowler just tied for 110th among edge players in pass-rushing productivity. (The 2018 Jaguars version tied for 28th.) IDP owners shouldn't pay Fowler much attention yet, especially because sticking with L.A. makes him a LB rather than a DE.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Rams will sign S Eric Weddle, whom Baltimore released earlier this week. Weddle -- who turned 34 in January -- still checked in 10th among safeties in Pro Football Focus grading last season. He's expected to step in for S LaMarcus Joyner, who will hit free agency next week.

The Ravens are releasing veteran S Eric Weddle. It's a salary-driven move on a player Pro Football Focus graded 10th-best among safeties in 2018, his age-33 season. Weddle should be able to find a new home if he wants to keep playing. We'll see who Baltimore taps to replace him.

Rams GM Les Snead said at the Combine that his team is considering scaling back RB Todd Gurley's workload due to concerns over his troublesome left knee. "There's an element of wear and tear and I think we have to determine in probably two stages: are we going to give him the amount of load that he's had in the past or are we going to lessen that load to let's say keep him fresher for the season and for the seasons beyond," Snead said. The Rams backfield, of course, devolved into a committee late last year with Gurley and C.J. Anderson. Anderson is now a free agent, so we'll see whether L.A. brings him back or adds another RB who can handle significant work. Gurley remains a clear-cut RB1 heading into 2019, but RBs Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott look like safer bets at the top of drafts right now.

A source tells NFL Network's Steve Wyche that Rams RB Todd Gurley's knee was a "wear-and-tear issue." The reports of what was ailing Gurley late in the year have been all over the place -- and we'll probably never know exactly what was wrong. The trouble was with the same knee in which Gurley tore the ACL in at Georgia back in 2014. And it's worth noting that he's racked up 1,281 touches over 4 NFL seasons -- an average of 320 per year. He turns just 25 in August, though, so we shouldn't need to worry about him breaking down yet. Still, Gurley will be 1 of the most interesting decision points in the 1st round of 2019 fantasy drafts. His ADP is sitting at 1.03 in February FFPC drafts.

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) is not listed on the final injury report. He practiced all week, including a full workout on Friday. "He looks like Todd," HC Sean McVay said after Friday's workout. "He looks like the explosive, great back that we're used to seeing." Los Angeles wisely played it safe with Gurley, who hasn't played in almost a month. McVay suggested that Gurley might cede some work to C.J. Anderson against the Cowboys on Saturday, but we'd expect him to see something close to his normal workload.

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) put in a limited practice on Tuesday. “We’re going to get him going and he’s going to practice. And we’re going to see how he feels,” HC Sean McVay said before the workout. “And I think a lot of it is just going to be him getting out there, trusting, getting some of that movement, just putting his foot in the ground, doing some of the things that he’s been accustomed to doing and seeing how that knee responds. So this week will serve as a good chance to get a gauge.” Gurley is expected to play against the Cowboys on Saturday, but we'll continue to keep an eye on his progress.

Rams RB Todd Gurley said his injured knee is "feeling better" on Thursday. "Just still doing stuff for my knee," he added. "I've been able to do a lot more this week. It's been reacting pretty good." Gurley also said that he'd like to get a couple of practices in next week prior to the Rams' playoff opener. We'll get the team's 1st practice report on Tuesday.

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) is out for Sunday’s game against the 49ers. He’ll get another week off in the Wild Card Round — assuming Los Angeles wins this weekend — and should be back for the playoff opener. C.J. Anderson will again serve as the lead back on Sunday, making him a borderline RB1.

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) remained sidelined on Thursday. He's not looking particularly likely to play in this weekend's finale against the 49ers. That'd again leave C.J. Anderson as Los Angeles' lead back.

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) remained sidelined on Wednesday. That makes 4 straight missed practices. The Rams need a win over the 49ers this weekend to lock up the NFC's #1 seed -- but they can probably get it with C.J. Anderson. Gurley seems no better than 50/50 to play in the finale.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will start Sunday's finale against the Texans, HC Doug Marrone announced. QB Cody Kessler was timid and mostly ineffective in his 4 starts, completing 63% of his passes but averaging 5.5 yards per attempt and totaling just 1 TD. At least Bortles will take some shots. He's in play as a QB2 and cheap DFS tournament dart -- and also gives the Texans defense more upside.

The Rams will consider sitting RB Todd Gurley (knee) again in Sunday's finale against the 49ers, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. L.A. still needs a win to lock up the NFC's #2 seed, but "nothing is more important than the playoffs," Rapoport adds. Of course, it'll also be easier to keep Gurley sidelined after C.J. Anderson ripped off 167 yards and a score on 20 carries yesterday. Anderson will be a strong fantasy play if Gurley ends up inactive again this weekend.

The Jaguars benched QB Cody Kessler for QB Blake Bortles in the 2nd half of Sunday's game in Miami. Kessler completed 12 of 17 passes for just 106 yards and "led" his team to 7 points. We'll see who Jacksonville goes with in the finale, but it's irrelevant for fantasy football purposes.

2:12pm EST 12/23/18

Rams RB Todd Gurley (knee) is INACTIVE for today’s game against the Cardinals. His warmup evidently didn’t go well enough to get the green light. RB Justin Davis (shoulder) is active and joins C.J. Anderson and John Kelly in the backfield. It’s a situation to try to avoid, but if you need 1 of them, Anderson is the best fantasy bet.

 
 
 

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