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Shark Bites

The Panthers are expected to release QB Cam Newton on Tuesday, according to multiple reports. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Carolina tried to trade Newton to the Bears and Chargers but couldn't get a deal done. So Cam will hit the open market. He'll turn 31 in May and has missed 16 games over the past 2 seasons with shoulder and foot injuries. The Chargers, Jaguars and Patriots seem like the best landing spots for Newton's 2020 fantasy value. We'll see where he lands.

The Patriots have released K Stephen Gostkowski, saving $3.5 million against the 2020 cap. The 36-year-old Gostkowski missed 12 games last season with a hip injury. He leaves New England as the team's all-time leading scorer. A healthy Gostkowski should land a starting job elsewhere. We'll see who the Patriots bring in to kick.

The Falcons have released RB Devonta Freeman, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The move saves Atlanta more than $3 million against the 2020 cap. Freeman just turned 28 but looked like a guy running on empty last season. He averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry and ranked dead last in Pro Football Focus' rushing grades among 45 RBs with 100+ attempts. We'll see what kind of interest Freeman garners on the open market. His departure leaves the Falcons with Ito Smith and Brian Hill atop the RB depth chart, making Atlanta 1 of the top destinations for a free-agent or rookie RB.

The Titans have released TE Delanie Walker. Walker racked up 381 catches across 7 seasons with Tennessee but played in just 8 total games over the past 2 seasons because of injuries. He has said he plans to play again in 2020 but will turn 36 in August. Jonnu Smith stands as the lead TE with Walker gone and will carry upside from his TE2 ADP if he remains in that spot. Tennessee also released K Ryan Succop.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Dolphins will be releasing S Reshad Jones when the 2020 league year begins on March 18. The move will reportedly free up $5.3 million in salary-cap space. It also comes as no surprise, if you paid any attention to Jones' up-and-down usage in 2019. Jones remains a solid player heading into his age-32 season and should be able to catch on elsewhere (assuming he wants to continue playing).

The Giants have cut LB Alec Ogletree. The unsurprising move clears a bunch of cap space, as Ogletree was due to count more than $10 million against the cap this year and next. It's unsurprising because Ogletree isn't a special player, consistently delivering better fantasy numbers than he does real-life performance. The 28-year-old figures to catch on with another team, though, and we wouldn't be surprised to see him back in a starting lineup by September. The Giants, meanwhile, look thin at ILB and figure to address the position this offseason. The top returning member of the group looks like 2019 fifth-rounder Ryan Connelly, who had worked his way into the starting lineup before tearing an ACL in Week 4. As long as he's ready in time, Connelly should be a 2020 IDP factor.

The Panthers are "moving forward" with Cam Newton as their starting QB, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "A lot can still happen in the coming months," Rapoport adds. "While his foot is healing well, it will be several months until it’s game-ready — a timeline that complicates any potential trade." It's a hedgy report -- although it certainly makes sense that Carolina would have a tough time trading Newton while he's rehabbing that Lisfranc surgery on his left foot. We wouldn't consider this story over, but it does seem more likely than not that Newton is under center for Carolina come Week 1. He's been a fine value in early FFPC best-ball drafts, as the 21st QB off the board on average.

The Bears have released WR Taylor Gabriel. The 29-year-old missed 7 games this past season with 2 separate concussion. He's maxed out as a situational big-play receiver and isn't a good bet to find real fantasy value in 2020.

Washington on Thursday released TE Jordan Reed. The move saves the team $8.5 million off the 2020 salary cap. Reed, of course, didn't play a single game in 2019. He appeared in just 65 of a possible 96 contests over his previous 6 campaigns. With Reed gone and Vernon Davis retired, Washington figures to address TE this offseason. Jeremy Sprinkle led Washington TEs with 40 targets and 26 receptions in 2019.

TE Jordan Reed has cleared the league's concussion protocol, according to The Athletic's Ben Standig. He sustained his 7th reported concussion last August and missed the entire 2020 season. Washington is expected to release him and save $8.5 million against the cap, but Reed hopes to sign and play elsewhere. We'll see how free agency treats him. Reed turns 30 in July.

The Panthers are "pleased" with the progress QB Cam Newton is making in his recovery from Lisfranc surgery on his left foot, according to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. Newton is expected to be cleared for "some football activity" in March -- although the team is planning to limit him through the spring. That, of course, is assuming Newton is still with the Panthers. Newton said during Super Bowl week that he expects to be back in Carolina in 2020, but the team has been non-committal on his future. His status should be cleared up in March.

Giants QB Eli Manning is set to announce his retirement on Friday, ESPN reports. The 39-year-old will finish his 16-season NFL career with a (perhaps fitting) 117-117 record. Among 85 QBs with 3,000+ career pass attempts since the 1970 merger, Manning ranks 32nd in completion rate, 44th in yards per attempt and 33rd in QB Rating. But his 2 Super Bowl rings will almost certainly land him in the Hall of Fame.

Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy is a healthy scratch for today's AFC Championship against the Titans. He played just 1 snap last week, so it's not a major surprise. Damien Williams will continue to serve as Kansas City's feature back, with rookie Darwin Thompson as the #2 back.

The Panthers are hiring Matt Rhule as their new HC, Yahoo Sports' Pete Thamel reports. Rhule has been a hot name in coaching circles after he led a 1-11 Baylor team in his first season to a combined 18-9 record over the past 2 years. He spent 4 seasons as Temple's HC prior to that and also has 1 year of experience as the Giants' assistant offensive line coach under Tom Coughlin. Rhule's Baylor squads ranked 25th, 19th and 43rd in the nation in passing yards per game.

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The Chiefs have placed RB Spencer Ware on IR with a shoulder injury. That leaves Kansas City with RBs Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson. Williams led the way with a 53% snap rate, 16 carries and 3 targets last week.

The Seahawks have signed RBs Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Both guys have experience in Seattle: Lynch from 2010 to 2015 and Turbin from 2012 to 2014. Neither guy has registered a touch this season, though, so it's unclear how big a role they're ready to play. Lynch has at least spent the past 2 weeks training hard in preparation for a return. It'll be Lynch, Turbin and rookie Travis Homer in Seattle's backfield against the 49ers on Sunday night. Homer is still the best fantasy bet of the trio, but it's a situation to try to avoid.

The Seahawks and RB Marshawn Lynch are meeting today about a possible reunion. “Both sides are optimistic he is back wearing 24”, a source tells ESPN's Adam Schefter. Seattle is desperate at RB after losing Chris Carson (hip) and C.J. Prosise (arm) in the Week 16 loss to the Cardinals. Lynch, of course, spent 2011- 2015 with the Seahawks. But he hasn't played since October of 2018, and it's entirely unclear what kind of shape the 33-year-old is in. He wouldn't be a realistic Week 17 fantasy option, but he'd make RB Travis Homer tougher to trust.

Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy is a healthy scratch for tonight's game against the Bears. The 31-year-old has been running on fumes over the 2nd half of the season. Kansas City will roll with RBs Damien Williams, Spencer Ware and Darwin Thompson tonight. Williams is the best fantasy bet of the bunch.

Jets WR Demaryius Thomas (knee, hamstring) missed practice all week and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Steelers. His absence should mean a few extra targets for WRs Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder, but those guys remain low-upside fantasy plays in this difficult matchup.

Bears WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion) is out again for Sunday night’s game against the Chiefs. That keeps Anthony Miller locked in as the #2 option in Chicago’s passing game. Consider him an upside WR3 vs. a Kansas City defense susceptible to slot receivers.

 
 
 

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