Shark Bites

Joe Lombardi has been named Chargers OC. The 49-year-old and grandson of Vince Lombardi has had 2 stints with the Saints under Sean Payton, including the past 5 seasons as QB coach. In between, Lombardi spent 2 seasons as Lions OC in 2014 and 2015. Those teams both ranked in the bottom half of the league in total yards and points. The running games were anemic, headed by Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. But QB Matthew Stafford topped 4,200 yards both years with 54 total TDs. This seems like a solid hire for QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers passing game.

Bills WR Cole Beasley revealed that he broke his fibula in Week 16. He sat out the regular-season finale but returned for the playoffs, catching 7 of 11 targets in 2 games. “Take a few meds and suck it up," Beasley said. “There was no way I was gonna miss a playoff game.” It's unclear if he'll need surgery, but the injury shouldn't impact his 2021. Beasley has posted 67-778-6 and 82-967-4 lines in 2 years with the Bills, finishing 34th and then 27th among WRs in PPR points. He'll probably be undervalued again in 2021 fantasy drafts.

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers "fully sounded like someone who doesn't know if he'll be the QB here next season," The Athletic's Matt Schneidman tweeted after Rodgers' press conference following the loss to the Bucs. Here was that quote from Rodgers that's causing a stir: “A lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain, myself included.” That could mean a lot of things, of course. Rodgers is coming off an MVP-caliber season and still has 3 years left on his deal, so it'd be a surprise if Green Bay decides to move on. But it was also a surprise when the Packers traded up to select QB Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick of last year's draft. We'll track this situation all offseason.

The Eagles have named Shane Steichen their new OC. Steichen coached alongside new Eagles HC Nick Sirianni with the Chargers from 2014 to 2017. He took over as Chargers OC midway through the 2019 campaign and then led the squad to a 9th-place finish in total yards this past year. The 2020 Chargers were a fast-paced offense, ranking 5th in situation-neutral pace.

Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield (ankle) is inactive for today's game against the Packers. He sustained an ankle injury during the practice week. Mike Edwards will start in his place. Losing a starting safety certainly doesn't help the defense, but it's worth noting that Edwards actually graded out significantly better in coverage (83.2) this season than Winfield (55.1), according to Pro Football Focus.

Packers CB Kevin King (back) is active for today's game against the Buccaneers. He turned up questionable after missing Friday's practice with a back issue but appears good to go.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was diagnosed with turf toe on his left foot following last week's win over the Browns, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Mahomes was clearly bothered by that issue before exiting with the head injury. "The next day was very sore, and every single day since then it's gotten a lot better," he said. Mahomes will reportedly be re-evaluated by a foot specialist after the season to determine whether he needs surgery on the toe. We'll see how he fares in the AFC Championship and then monitor the situation this offseason.

The Chiefs will test WR Sammy Watkins (calf) before today's game against the Bills to determine whether he's ready to play. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, though, they "don't sound optimistic" that he'll be active. Watkins has been out since Week 16 but did return to limited workouts all this week. It seems like Watkins is a true game-time decision, which will make him risky even if he turns up active. Watkins' absence would boost the outlooks for both Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. They played 69% and 71% of the snaps in the win over the Browns, with Watkins out.

The Chiefs expect RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip) to play against the Bills today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. RB Le'Veon Bell (knee), on the other hand, is not expected to be active. That would leave CEH and Darrel Williams sharing the backfield work. Edwards-Helaire has not played since sustaining the dual injuries in Week 15 at New Orleans. He'll be risky for fantasy lineups in his 1st game back, but he's in play with limited RB options on a 2-game slate.

Bills WR Kenny Stills has been promoted from the practice squad for Sunday's AFC Championship vs. the Chiefs. It's an indication that WR Gabriel Davis (ankle) won't play, although that's still not official. Signed just a few weeks ago, Stills is unlikely to have a big role in Kansas City.

The Lions are set to hire Anthony Lynn as OC, according to insider Michael Lombardi. Lynn struggled -- particularly with in-game management -- as Chargers HC over the past 4 seasons, but all 4 of those squads finished top 11 in total yards. In his only previous OC stint, Lynn led the 2016 Bills to a 16th-place finish in yards and 10th place in points. That team led the league in rushing yards, yards per carry and TDs -- with RB LeSean McCoy going for 1,267 yards and QB Tyrod Taylor for 580. Lynn is a former RBs coach, and especially with Detroit breaking in a new QB, we'd expect a run-leaning attack in 2021.

The Lions and QB Matthew Stafford have agreed to part ways this offseason, according to multiple reports. That means the team will begin exploring trade options. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that a move would likely happen before the 5th day of the new league year (which begins March 17), because Stafford will be due a $10 million bonus that day. The veteran QB has 2 years left on his contract at $43 million and is coming off a solid season that found him finishing 15th among QBs in total fantasy points. Expect Detroit to try to address the position in the 1st round of the NFL Draft. The Lions pick 7th. The uncertainty could create a "buy" window in dynasty leagues, especially considering that older QBs tend to run cheap. Stafford figures to be most attractive to a contending team seeking a QB upgrade. Chase Daniel is the only other Lions QB whose contract runs through 2021.

Chiefs RBs Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip) and Le'Veon Bell (knee) are listed as questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship vs. the Bills. The rookie seems to have a better chance to play after getting in 3 limited practices this week. Bell was sidelined on Thursday and Friday, reportedly dealing with swelling in 1 of his knees. We'll look for updates on both guys on Sunday morning. Darrel Williams remains our bet to lead this backfield in touches on Sunday.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) is listed as questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship vs. the Bills. He was limited in practice all week. We'll look for an update on Watkins' status on Sunday morning. If he returns for this one, he'll be a risk/reward option for DFS tournaments only. It'd also put a dent in Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson's projections.

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes said Friday afternoon that he's cleared the concussion protocol. "We have the belief that I'll have no lingering effects and I'll be able to go out there and be who I am," he added. The bigger issue now might be the toe injury that had Mahomes clearly hobbled last week before he left with the head injury. That might limit his mobility inside the pocket and his rushing ability outside of it.

Bills WR Gabriel Davis (ankle) is listed as questionable for this weekend's AFC Championship vs. the Chiefs. The rookie only got in a limited practice on Friday and will be at less than 100% if he suits up. Davis' absence would open up more snaps for WR Isaiah McKenzie and/or TE Dawson Knox.

The Buccaneers have ruled WR Antonio Brown out for Sunday's NFC Championship game, HC Bruce Arians announced Friday. That leaves room for WRs Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller to gain snaps against the Packers. Johnson led Miller in last Sunday's win over the Saints -- but by a mere 7 snaps (15-8). Brown's absence could also leave a few more snaps for TE Cameron Brate. Tampa's #2 TE has seen 2 of his 4 largest target totals for the year over the past 2 weeks. Brate, Johnson and Miller all stand as cheap DFS flyers for the weekend. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin also get a slight bump in target floor with the clear #3 WR out.

Steelers TE Vance McDonald has retired. It's a surprising decision from the 30-year-old, although he has dealt with a bunch of injuries throughout his 8 NFL seasons. After a career-best 50-610-4 line in 2018, McDonald totaled just 53 catches over the past 2 years, including 15 in 2020.

The Jaguars have named Darrell Bevell their new OC. Multiple teams were interested in hiring the 51-year-old, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, but Bevell opted to join HC Urban Meyer in Jacksonville. Bevell has 14 seasons of experience as an NFL OC. He spent the past 2 years in Detroit, where the Lions ranked near the middle of the pack in total yards and points. Bevell's units were better during his Seattle tenure from 2011 to 2017, with 5 of those 7 squads finishing top 11 in points. His offenses have generally leaned toward the run, with 10 of the 14 ranking among the top half of the league in rush attempts. Only 4 of them have finished top-16 in pass attempts.

The Vikings will be replacing their OC for the 2nd straight offseason. Gary Kubiak on Thursday announced his retirement (for the 2nd time in his coaching career). That comes roughly a year after Minnesota lost OC Kevin Stefanski to the Cleveland HC gig. ESPN's Courtney Cronin reports that the team is considering promoting from within to replace Kubiak, who was on the staff prior to filling Stefanski's vacancy. An in-house promotion would seem to favor the team continuing to lean run, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Kubiak's son, Klint, has emerged as a favorite. Klint Kubiak spent the past 2 seasons as Minnesota's QBs coach. We'll see who the Vikings settle on.

 
 
 

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