Seahawks HC Pete Carroll believes WR Tyler Lockett is finally back to 100% after breaking his leg back in December of 2016. Lockett was able to get on the field for last year's opener but finished the season with a career-low 12.3 yards per catch. “Last year was a struggle for him, the offseason for certain, but throughout the season itself he was not able to do things in the same manner that he had done it in years past, and that’s really just workload," Carroll said. "He just couldn’t do as much, had to take care of his legs more. So he’s back at it, he’s really playing fast, he has no restrictions of any kind of after effects of the surgery of last year or since he’s been hurt. So that’s a real positive." Lockett's fantasy value took a hit with the addition of Brandon Marshall, but he's fully capable of beating out the 34-year-old vet Seattle's #2 WR job. It'll be a situation to monitor when training camp opens.
LB Mychal Kendricks vehemently denied early reports of him joining the Browns, but then he signed with them Sunday after all. Yahoo! and ESPN each reported a 1-year deal worth up to $3.5 million. The Yahoo! report said Kendricks would start immediately, but we're not ready to buy that. OLBs Christian Kirksey and Jamie Collins each own large salaries and will clearly remain in the lineup. MLB Joe Schobert went to the Pro Bowl in his 1st starting turn and ranked a respectable 32nd (among 87 qualifiers) in Pro Football Focus' off-ball LB grading. The deal does suggest that Kendricks is likely to take on a significant role. We'll see exactly how things shake out. For now, we're knocking Schobert down the LB rankings.
Seahawks S Kam Chancellor missed the final 7 weeks of 2017 with a neck injury, an injury he apparently has yet to put behind him. According to John Boyle of Seahawks.com, Chancellor is "expected to have more tests later this summer" that might determine whether he can play in 2018. If Chancellor remains out, Bradley McDougald will present significant IDP upside as the SS in a defense that shed DL Michael Bennett, DT Sheldon Richardson, DE Cliff Avril and CB Richard Sherman this offseason. We'll see how this story develops.
The Eagles on Tuesday released OLB Mychal Kendricks, after several years of trade/cut rumors spanning 2 coaching staffs. The 27-year-old (until late September) figures to quickly get a shot somewhere else. Kendricks is a top-shelf athlete among LBs and has produced across categories when playing full-time snaps. His departure opens the lead weak-side role, though we'll see if that means more snaps for his replacement. One potential replacement, veteran Paul Worrilow, suffered an ACL tear in Tuesday's on-field workout and will miss the season.
Seahawks HC Pete Carroll called Rashaad Penny a "3-down back" on Thursday night. It was pretty clear the team viewed him as such when they spent the 27th overall pick on him. GM John Schneider said he was set to take Penny at #18 if he wasn't able to trade down. Carroll admitted that Penny needs to work on his pass protection -- a facet in which he struggled at San Diego State -- but added, "he will give us the ability to play him on all downs and that versatility is really big." We'll see how big a pass-catching role Penny earns in a backfield that still includes C.J. Prosise. But he's clearly on track to lead the way in carries on an offense that might be ready to lean back toward the run. There's clear RB2 potential here for 2018.
The Seahawks selected San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny with the 27th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Wow — this is the 1st real shocker of the night. Not only did Seattle use a 1st-rounder on Penny, but they selected him ahead of Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Penny had a massive 2017 campaign, racking up 2,248 yards and 23 TDs on a 7.8 yards-per-carry average. That followed 7.5 yards per carry on 136 totes playing behind Donnel Pumphrey in 2016. The knocks against Penny are in the passing game. He totaled just 42 catches over the past 3 years (including 19 last year) and struggles in pass protection. The 1st-round investment likely means Seattle views Penny as a 3-down back, though. And he doesn't have much competition in a backfield that includes only Chris Carson, C.J. Prosise, Mike Davis and J.D. McKissic.
The Panthers have signed TE Greg Olsen to a 2-year, $17.1 million deal. He was set to enter the final year of his contract but is now locked up with the Panthers through the 2020 season. Olsen's 2017 was wrecked by broken right foot, but he did flash with lines of 9-116-1 and 8-107-1 over his final 4 outings (including the playoffs). He'd topped 1,000 yards in each of the previous 3 years. Olsen turned 33 in March, but this extension means the Panthers believe there's plenty of gas left in his tank. He's been going in the later 6th round as TE6 in recent best-ball drafts.
Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah is expected to sign his franchise tender this week and join teammates for offseason training, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Ansah missed last week's workouts while reportedly tending to family stuff in Ghana. Signing the franchise tender will then give Ansah and the team until mid-July to agree on a long-term deal. If they don't by the deadline, he'll be eligible for free agency again after the 2018 season. Ansah racked up 12 sacks last season, but delivered most of that production in just 3 games: a 3-sack Week 2 at the Giants, and then another pair of 3-sack outings in the season's final 2 weeks. Otherwise, he spent the year battling knee, back and ankle injuries. Durability as been a consistent issue for Ansah, but he's worth a shot high in DL2 range in IDP leagues if he hits summer healthy. Insurance for fantasy rosters won't be hard to find.
QB Geno Smith has agreed to terms with the Chargers, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. Smith infamously got 1 start in place of Eli Manning in his lone season with the Giants, when then-HC Ben McAdoo controversially benched the veteran. Smith did little, just as he did across 4 years with the Jets. He’ll now join his 3rd NFL team, a move that likely won’t alter any QB plans the Chargers might have for the upcoming NFL Draft
The Lions have signed TE Luke Willson to a 1-year, $2.5 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Willson never topped 40 targets in 5 seasons in Seattle, but he posted a nice 12.7 yards per catch and 12.4% TD rate. He's a 6'5, 254-pounder who registered a 92nd percentile SPARQ (athleticism) score prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. Willson lands in an intriguing spot with the Lions, who've lost TEs Eric Ebron and Darren Fells this offseason. Willson and 2017 fourth-rounder Michael Roberts are set to compete for snaps and targets.
New Browns RB Carlos Hyde revealed that he played last season around 228 pounds — down 7 pounds from his listed weight. “That’s the lightest I’ve been," Hyde said. “I went into the season feeling the best I’ve ever felt.” Following a new diet, the 27-year-old managed to play 16 games for the 1st time. That produced a career-high 240 carries. HC Hue Jackson has already said that he'll give the former 49er “every opportunity to run the ball.”
The Seahawks on Friday agreed to terms with WR Jaron Brown, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Brown spent 5 years with the Cardinals, topping out at 31 receptions. He’ll join a Seattle offense that just lost WR Paul Richardson in free agency after trading away WR Jermaine Kearse last summer. Brown could settle in as the Seahawks’ 3rd option behind Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett. It’s not a fantasy-rich opportunity, though, for a limited talent
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Cleveland has agreed to a 3-year deal with RB Carlos Hyde. The contract is reportedly worth “more than” $15 million total, with $6 million in the 1st year. Hyde is an upgrade over Isaiah Crowell in the “early-down” role, and his signing indicates Cleveland doesn’t plan to significantly increase Duke Johnson’s role. There’s room for both RBs to contribute worthwhile fantasy numbers in what should be a much-improved offense, though Hyde’s easily the more attractive draft target. His arrival makes it significantly less likely that the Browns draft Penn State RB Saquon Barkley next month.
The Seahawks have named Brian Schottenheimer their OC. Marty's son has 9 seasons of NFL experience as an OC -- 6 with the Jets and 3 with the Rams. Only 2 of those teams ranked better than 20th in total offense. Schottenheimer has favored the run as a play-caller, with 6 of his 9 squads ranking higher in rush attempts than pass attempts. We were hoping for a more creative hire for Russell Wilson and Co.
The Seahawks have fired OC Darrell Bevell. He spent the past 7 seasons in that post, leading Seattle to top 15 finishes in total offense in each of the past 4. His play-calling has been questionable lately, though, often waiting until too late in games to really unleash QB Russell Wilson. We'll see who the 'Hawks tab as Bevell's replacement. The offensive line remains a bigger issue than the play-calling.
Seahawks MLB Bobby Wagner (hamstring) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Wagner has been dealing with the issue for weeks but returned to 100% playing time for last Sunday's win over the Cowboys. We'd bet on his playing time being just fine -- barring some re-injury.
Texans DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for today’s game against the Jaguars. HC Bill O’Brien said during the week that he expected Clowney to play, but the star pass rusher missed all 3 days of practice. He’s risky as an IDP but worth playing in DL slots where eligible.
The forecast for today's Rams-Seahawks game calls for a 50% chance of rain with winds of 10-15 mph. Gusts could get up to 30 mph, according to meteorologist Kevin Roth. That's not quite enough for us to adjust our projections for this game, but you can use the weather as a tiebreaker.
Lions DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle) is active for today's game against the Bears. He's playing through a "questionable" tag as he has for most of the season. Ansah has dramatically improved his production over the past 3 weeks and should be in IDP lineups where he makes sense.
Texans DE/OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Jaguars. He missed practice all week, but HC Bill O'Brien said Friday that he expects Clowney to play, according to the Houston Chronicle. We'll confirm his status Sunday morning.
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