The Chargers have placed the franchise tag on TE Hunter Henry, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That keeps Henry with the team for at least 2020. He's struggled with injuries, missing all of the 2018 regular season with a torn right ACL and 4 games with a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee this past year. But Henry finished 16th among TEs in PPR points per game as a rookie in 2016, 7th in 2017 and 9th in 2019. He's still just 25 -- and the Chargers obviously remain high on him. The concern for his 2020 fantasy prospects is who will be under center for the Chargers.
The Titans have released RB Dion Lewis, saving $4 million against the 2020 salary cap. The 29-year-old was seldom used behind Derrick Henry this past season and averaged just 3.9 yards per carry and 6.6 yards per catch. He's an unexciting change-of-pace option on the open market.
The Packers have released TE Jimmy Graham, saving $8 million against the 2020 salary cap. It was an easy decision with Graham just about out of gas. The 33-year-old's 38 catches and 447 yards this past season were both his lowest marks since his 2010 rookie campaign. He ranked 23rd in yards per route run and 26th in Pro Football Focus' receiving grades among 27 TEs that saw 50+ targets. We'll see where Graham lands on the free-agent market, but he's unlikely to have a fantasy impact. In Green Bay, meanwhile, the door is open for 2019 third-round TE Jace Sternberger to capture the lead job. Highlight him as an upside target in the later rounds of early best-ball drafts.
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).
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Chargers and RB Austin Ekeler have agreed to a new 4-year deal worth $24.5 million. The contract reportedly includes $15 million guaranteed. Ekeler had been on track for restricted free agency. Instead, he looks locked in as the team's top back -- even if the Chargers add to the backfield this offseason, as we expect them to do. The terms seem low enough to make finishing this contract seem realistic. At the least, this top-7 RB across fantasy formats in 2019 looks poised for another run at RB1-level production.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston underwent surgery this offseason to repair a torn meniscus, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Winston never appeared on the injury report with a knee last year, so it's unclear when the injury occurred. We'll monitor his rehab, but this shouldn't impact his 2020. Winston, of course, is set to hit free agency if the Bucs don't use the franchise tag on him by March 12.
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.
Lions GM Bob Quinn said from the Combine on Tuesday that QB Matt Stafford (back) will be a "full-go" for the start of the team's offseason program. Stafford's 2019 campaign ended in November with tiny fractures in his upper spine. He avoided surgery, although ESPN's Adam Schefter reported in late November that the injury is "potentially chronic" and "could be an issue for him for years to come." Stafford will be worth watching closely this offseason -- but he looks like a fine value at QB14 ADP in early FFPC best-ball drafts. Lamar Jackson was the only QB to average more fantasy points per game last year.
Bears GM Ryan Pace said from the Combine on Tuesday that RB David Montgomery "can be the team’s featured running back and carry a heavier load." It's typical February fodder that shouldn't move the needle much. But it's at least noteworthy that Chicago seems committed to Montgomery despite his disappointing 3.7 yards per carry as a rookie. He notably averaged 17.1 carries over his final 10 games after averaging just 11.8 across the first 6.
Seahawks GM John Schneider said that RB Chris Carson should be ready for the start of the season, according to ESPN's Brady Henderson. Carson sustained a season-ending hip fracture on Dec. 22. We'll certainly be watching this progress through the offseason and training camp. Schneider also said he's "less confident" about RB Rashaad Penny being ready in time, according to Henderson. Penny tore the ACL and sustained other damage in his left knee on Dec. 8. If he hobbles through 2020, Seattle might have a tougher decision to make on whether to pick up the 2022 option on his rookie contract. The whole situation carries plenty of risk for early best-ball drafting. Carson sits 16th among RBs in current BestBall10 ADP; RB19 in FFPC drafting.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Falcons plan to let TE Austin Hooper reach free agency when the new league year begins in March. We'd bet on that meaning a new team for Hooper, unless Atlanta knows that the TE will find a softer market than he expects. Hooper will still be just 25 when the 2020 season begins, and coming off consecutive seasons of 71+ catches. He enjoyed a career-best TE6 finish in PPR scoring for 2019. The uncertainty of his 2020 offense, however, adds risk to Hooper in early best-ball drafting. Hooper sits TE6 in ADP in both FFPC and BestBall10s drafting so far.
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.
Ravens WR Marquise Brown had offseason surgery to remove the screw from his left foot, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Brown had surgery on that foot in January 2019 to repair a Lisfranc injury, so this procedure was likely planned. He's expected to be limited in Baltimore's offseason program but be ready for the start of training camp, per Rapoport. We'll keep an eye on Brown's rehab. Durability remains a concern for the diminutive speedster.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington believes the Titans are the favorites to land QB Tom Brady in free agency. Darlington has Las Vegas and then New England as Brady's next 2 most likely destinations. Brady would be reuniting with HC Mike Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson in Tennessee -- and joining an offense that's built around the running game. This move would obviously mean QB Ryan Tannehill would be one-and-done with the Titans. The QB carousel this offseason will be fascinating.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) said he got a "good report" from doctors on Friday but is still 2-3 months away from full clearance. Even the long end of that timeline would have him ready to go by the end of May. He resumed throwing over the weekend. Turning 38 in March and coming off major elbow surgery, Roethlisberger is obviously a big question mark heading into 2020. But anything he can give the Steelers figures to be an upgrade over last year's QB play.
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.
The Jets signed WR Josh Doctson. The 2016 first-rounder was a bust in Washington and didn't record a single catch in Minnesota this past season. Doctson is still just 27 and will find opportunity in New York, where the Jets are expected to lose WR Robby Anderson in free agency. But we're not holding our breath for a Doctson breakout.
The hip surgery that Browns WR Jarvis Landry had on February 4 is expected to sideline him 6-8 months, according to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. The short end of that timeline would have Landry back in early August. But the long end would run into October. "He is expected to make a full recovery for the 2020 season," the team said in a statement on Thursday. Landry's surgery removed 2 pieces of bone embedded in the labrum of his left hip and shaved down some cartilage. It was obviously a major procedure that adds risk to Landry's profile in early best-ball drafting.
Bengals HC Zac Taylor said in a Cincinnati.com podcast this week that WR A.J. Green is "a guy we want to be around." It sounds like the team could use the franchise tag to keep the veteran around if they don't agree on a contract extension. Green missed all of 2019 after sitting out 7 games in 2018, but he still looks like a solid fantasy football value at the bottom of WR3 range in early best-ball drafting. Green ranked among the top 16 WRs in PPR points per game every year from 2012 through 2018.
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.
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