Jaguars WR Marqise Lee left the practice field Sunday with "what appeared to be a serious injury to his right leg," according to ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco. Trainers reportedly put an air cast on Lee's lower leg before he left the field on a cart. We'll see about the official diagnosis, but we wouldn't pick Lee if you happen to be drafting today. A significant injury to Lee would give Allen Hurns' fantasy outlook a big boost.
Update: Lee "did not suffer a serious injury," according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Looked a lot worse than it was." That's obviously good news, but Lee still figures to miss some time. We'll update his status when we learn more.
Fantasy drafters are confident that Mike Gillislee will operate as the Patriots' early-down back this season. He's going in the early 6th round of recent MFL10 drafts. Rex Burkhead, meanwhile, is lasting into the 17th. While we're still betting on Gillislee producing more fantasy points, the situation isn't as clear as those price tags would suggest. In fact, Burkhead has been receiving goal-line reps in training camp -- as well as impressing as a pass-catcher. He might just be the most well-rounded back on New England's roster. Insider Phil Perry went as far as predicting that Burkhead will lead the team's RBs in snaps this season. He's well worth a look late in drafts.
Patriots DE/LB Rob Ninkovich retired this week. His evolving role didn't promise much IDP impact for 2017, as the veteran appeared to be moving away from DE reps. His departure, however, adds a little clarity for upside candidate DE Kony Ealy and takes 1 guy out of a still-jumbled LB mix.
Panthers QB Cam Newton threw in Wednesday's training camp session. He threw with teammates earlier this month, but this was his 1st time chucking it around in a formal practice since undergoing shoulder surgery in March. "Another step in the process,'' Newton said. "It's a start. Everything felt good, but we have a long way to go to get where I know we can be." Barring a setback, the shoulder shouldn't be an issue by the time Week 1 rolls around.
The Patriots will open training camp with LB Dont'a Hightower on the PUP list. Hightower missed offseason workouts after dealing with knee and shoulder issues last season. The knee cost him 3 games and landed him on the injury report 8 times, but New England re-signed him in the offseason after the Jets and Steelers took seemingly serious looks at the vet. Durability has been a perennial issue for Hightower, who should continue to present more value to the Patriots than IDP owners when on the field. The team can activate Hightower from the camp PUP at any time.
Panthers QB Cam Newton will throw to some teammates next week. He missed offseason workouts after undergoing surgery on his throwing shoulder in March. "The biggest thing is just getting on the same page where everybody is in sync," said RB Christian McCaffrey, who will attend the workouts. "Nobody is worried about Cam. He’s going to be just fine. He’s a helluva player, a helluva athlete. He’ll adjust real quickly." We'll be monitoring Newton when training camp opens, but it's looking more and more like the shoulder will be a non-issue by the time Week 1 rolls around.
Panthers QB Cam Newton said he’s “hands down” the thinnest he’s been at this point in any offseason. "I don't want to lose strength, and it's not me wanting to lose weight to become faster," Newton said via Carolina’s official site. "It's me realizing I'm not that same 21-year-old that came into this league that can eat a bag of gummies and then go out and play four quarters of football.” Now 28, Newton’s looking to rebound from an ugly 2016 that included career lows in completion rate and yards per attempt.
Panthers QB Cam Newton resumed throwing last week for the 1st time since March 30 surgery on his throwing shoulder, according to the team website. Newton said the joint is not yet 100%, citing stiffness. But he also said "there's no doubt" he'll be 100% by training camp. If Newton's fantasy value relied more heavily on his passing, we might be more concerned with this situation. But accuracy has never been a strong point for the star QB. The biggest issue here might be the threat of further hits on the repaired joint. Of course, we've baked the general injury risk of Newton's running into his ranking. We'll see how his summer goes.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera expects QB Cam Newton (shoulder) to throw off to the side during next week's minicamp. He'll be about 11 weeks removed from surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder. It doesn't sound like he's a full-go yet, but he might be by the time training camp opens in late July. Newton could use the practice reps with new weapons Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel.
The Patriots spent a 3rd-round pick Friday night on a potential sleeper for the edge. Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers racked up 37.5 sacks and 56.5 total tackles for loss over his 4 college seasons. That included 13 sacks as a sophomore and 14 as a senior. Rivers might need to bulk up from his 248 pounds to be ready for a regular edge role in New England, and we'll see whether the Patriots plan to align him at DE or OLB. But the Pats clearly aren't concerned about his lower level of college competition. This will be a high-upside target for IDP dynasty rookie drafts.
Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said QB Cam Newton is “on schedule” to participate in training camp. He played the final 4 games of last season with a partially torn rotator cuff and underwent surgery on his right shoulder on March 30. Per the Panthers, Newton should resume throwing around late June. We’ll track his progress throughout the summer as he tries to rebound from a disappointing 2016.
On the same day they signed Bills RFA RB Mike Gillislee to an offer sheet, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Patriots signed RB James White to a 3-year extension. The Super Bowl star would have been facing unrestricted free agency at the end of the 2017 season but is now under contract through 2020. With White, Dion Lewis and the additions of Rex Burkhead and Gillislee (unless the Bills match), New England's backfield is looking quite crowded. It's a high-value situation, but the committee could prove tough to predict week to week for fantasy football owners. All 4 RBs carry some late-round intrigue -- especially in early best-ball drafting -- though White's new deal might threaten Lewis the most. We'll be watching this situation develop into and through the summer.
The Titans this week dumped veteran CB Jason McCourty. The 29-year-old (30 in October) spent 8 seasons in Tennessee but lost 16 games to injury over the past 2 years. He's likely to find a new landing spot fairly easily in a league always hungry for solid CBs. We'll see whether that new home keeps McCourty in a full-time role and supports his consistent IDP value.
Panthers QB Cam Newton will undergo surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder on March 30, the team announced. The injury reportedly occurred in Carolina's Week 14 game against the Chargers. Newton completed just 10 of 27 passes for 160 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT in that one. He played in the final 3 games, completing 50.9% of his passes and averaging 245 yards, 1.3 TDs and 1.7 INTs per game. It certainly seems like the injury impacted his play, but it doesn't explain Newton's struggles prior to Week 14. He completed only 54.7% of his passes and averaged 238 yards, 1.3 TDs and .7 INTs in 11 games before the injury. The Panthers hoped rest and rehab would heal Newton's shoulder, but he was still experiencing pain when he resumed throwing earlier this month. So he'll go under the knife. Newton will resume throwing 12 weeks after surgery (late June) and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. We'll track his recovery.
The Patriots signed RB Rex Burkhead. He joins Dion Lewis and James White in the backfield. (RB LeGarrette Blount remains a free agent.) Burkhead was mostly a special-teamer in Cincinnati but flashed when given a bigger opportunity this past year, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and 8.5 yards per catch. That included a 144-total-yard, 2-TD outing against the Ravens in Week 17. At 5'10, 210 pounds, Burkhead is the biggest of New England's top 3 backs (5 pounds heavier than White). He could be a sneaky option for early-down work, although stealing significant passing-down action from White and Lewis will be tough. As usual, we'll need to keep a close eye on the Patriots' backfield this summer.
The 49ers have agreed to a 2-year deal with QB Brian Hoyer, a source tells NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Hoyer played reasonably well for Chicago last year, completing 67% of his passes with 6 TDs and 0 INTs in 6 appearances. He's also familiar with HC Kyle Shanahan's offense, having played in it in Cleveland back in 2013. Of course, the 31-year-old isn't San Francisco's long-term answer. This signing makes the 49ers a strong bet to draft a QB this spring. If it's a 1st-rounder, Hoyer might quickly fall to #2 on the depth chart.
Panthers HC Ron Rivera said at the Combine Thursday that he wants to scale back QB Cam Newton's rushing attempts. Rivera hinted at this earlier in the offseason, saying, " “our primary runner cannot be our QB." Newton already set career lows with 90 carries and 359 rushing yards last year. A further decline in volume would make it tough for him to score as better than a lower-end QB1. Newton hasn't hit 4,000 passing yards since his 2011 rookie campaign and has only once topped 24 passing TDs.
Titans CB Jason McCourty (chest) is inactive for today's finale against the Texans.
Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (knee) is inactive for today's game against the Jets. It's a matchup that some New England LB could exploit for IDP value -- perhaps Shea McClellin -- but the fluid playing time makes it a tough situation to mine for your fantasy football lineup. The team D remains a strong play even without Hightower.
The forecast for today's Jets-Patriots game calls for a 95% chance of rain with winds around 10 mph. That wind isn't a major concern, but it looks like this will be a sloppy game. We still don't expect the Pats to have any trouble when they take to the air, but the weather could push them further toward the run if (when?) they get out to a big lead.
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