Shark Bites

The Lions have reached a 1-year deal with RB C.J. Anderson, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That supports HC Matt Patricia's recently stated plan of continuing to deploy a backfield committee. Anderson joins a group that will also return Kerryon Johnson, Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner (who got a new 1-year deal). Anderson came on with the Rams at the end of last season after doing next-to-nothing with the Panthers. L.A. opted for youngster Malcolm Brown, however, behind Todd Gurley. Anderson threatens to take goal-line carries from Johnson, though the 2018 rookie remains the highest-upside RB in Detroit. This will be 1 of the more interesting backfield's to project over the next 2 months.

The Raiders have signed TE Luke Willson. The 29-year-old has yet to top 22 catches across 6 NFL seasons. Jared Cook's departure has Willson and former WR Darren Waller sitting atop Oakland's TE depth chart right now. The Raiders could still add to the position in free agency or the draft. But the passing game figures to revolve around WRs Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams.

The Eagles have traded for RB Jordan Howard, giving a conditional 6th-round pick that could become a 5th-rounder, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. So even the worst-case scenario here for Philadelphia would mean giving a pick in the round in which Chicago drafted Howard. The 24-year-old -- until November -- gives the Eagles a younger player to fulfill a role likely similar to what LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi played the past couple of years. At the very least, Howard looks like Philly's best bet near the goal line. We'll see if the Eagles add anything else to the position in the NFL Draft. In Chicago, meanwhile, RB Mike Davis appears ready to take over Howard's vacated role and looks like an option late in the single-digit rounds of best-ball drafts.

NFL Network reports that the Cowboys and Dolphins have worked out a trade for DE Robert Quinn. That should position Quinn as Dallas' starting right DE, opposite Demarcus Lawrence. Quinn led Miami with 6.5 sacks and 9 tackles for loss last season. Among Cowboys, only Lawrence beat either number. Settling at DE in Dallas' 4-3 front helps Quinn's IDP value and makes him a potential DL2. His arrival also helps a team D that has upgraded over the past couple of years.

The Raiders have signed RB Isaiah Crowell to a 1-year contract. Crowell averaged 4.8 yards per carry in a wildly inconsistent 2018 with the Jets. He delivered 219 yards in a win over the Dolphins and racked up 102 and 2 TDs on just 10 carries in the surprise opening blowout win at Detroit. But Crowell cracked 50 yards just 1 other time and tallied only 143 rushing attempts (plus 21 catches) for the season. His arrival in Oakland likely means unrestricted free agent Doug Martin is done there. Marshawn Lynch isn't expected to decide until after the NFL Draft whether he'll return for another season. RBs Jalen Richard and Chris Warren remain on the roster. HC Jon Gruden has compared Richard to former RB Charlie Garner, which indicates he'll maintain a significant role. Warren spent his rookie season on IR after a flashy preseason. This backfield figures to see further changes before we can project its 2019 touch splits.

Lions HC Matt Patricia suggested that his team will continue to deploy a committee backfield in 2019, not wanting to overwork RB Kerryon Johnson. "I think it’s a position-specific thing where those guys, they take a lot of hits,” Patricia said. “They’re in those situations a lot where their bodies are taking some pounding so you want to be conscious of how many plays they’re getting, especially early on in the year." Patricia comes from New England, where the Patriots have long utilized multiple RBs. The Lions return RBs Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner behind Johnson and might still add to the position in free agency or the draft. There are, of course, very few every-down backs in the NFL. So Johnson still has a shot to flirt with RB1 value in his sophomore campaign under run-loving OC Darrell Bevell.

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin will have sports hernia surgery in April, according to multiple reports. And that might not be all for this offseason. When asked whether this would be Baldwin's last operation of 2019, HC Pete Carroll told the Seattle Times: "I don't know that conclusively. Still working on some stuff." Baldwin's obviously a big question mark for anyone drafting best-ball teams right now. He's a risk anywhere in the single-digit rounds. Carroll said there's no timetable on Baldwin's return. We'll see whether the Seahawks address the position in the NFL Draft.

11:03am EDT 3/27/19

WR Jordy Nelson is retiring. Former teammate James Jones broke the news on Twitter. Nelson racked up 8,587 yards and 72 TDs over his 10-season career. He turned in 3 seasons of 13+ TDs -- a number topped by only Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss. Turning 34 in May, Nelson picked a good time to hang up his cleats.

Redskins HC Jay Gruden said Tuesday that RB Derrius Guice (knee) is on track to participate in individual drills in OTAs and be a full-go for training camp. Guice tore his ACL last August and reportedly needed 4 surgeries -- the initial repair and 3 more to address an infection. The 2-year, $5 million deal Washington handed RB Adrian Peterson earlier this month suggests there's at least some concern about Guice's status. But, if healthy, he's the heavy favorite to operate as the lead back this year. We'll continue to keep a close eye on his rehab.

The Cardinals have signed WR Damiere Byrd to a 1-year deal. The 5'9, 180-pounder caught just 12 balls across 3 seasons with the Panthers, making his biggest splash in the 2017 preseason opener. We'll see if Byrd can carve out a worthwhile role in a fairly open Arizona WR corps, but he's not likely to factor into the average fantasy football league's draft picture in 2019.

The Bills have released RB Chris Ivory. It's not a surprising move after the team signed veteran RB Frank Gore, and it saves the Bills $2.156 million. Ivory has topped 110 carries for 6 straight seasons but has also averaged 3.8 yards per carry or less each of the past 3 years. That included a career-low 3.3 in 2018. We'll see if the 31-year-old catches on somewhere else. Don't bet on him being much of a 2019 fantasy football factor, though.

Bucs GM Jason Licht expects WR Chris Godwin to play more in the slot under HC Bruce Arians. Licht compared Godwin's potential role to the one Larry Fitzgerald played in Arians' offense. Fitz averaged 94 catches, 1,026 yards and 6.6 TDs in 5 seasons under Arians. Godwin, of course, will remain behind Mike Evans on the totem pole. But the departures of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries free up 179 targets. Everything is in place for a breakout 2019 for Godwin.

The Buccaneers have signed QB Blaine Gabbert, according to The Athletic. He'll now back up QB Jameis Winston after playing the same role with the 49ers, Cardinals and Titans previously. Tennessee's trade for Ryan Tannehill replaced Gabbert there. Gabbert previously played under new Bucs HC Bruce Arians with the 2017 Cardinals, where he went 2-3 in 5 starts.

Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) won't be able to participate in OTAs in late April, HC Vic Fangio said. Lindsay had wrist surgery in late December and was originally expected back by the end of April. So it sounds like his rehab is going a bit slower than expected. Lindsay should still be back by training camp, but the missed time this offseason isn't ideal for the former undrafted free agent. He's been going in the 4th round in March FFPC best-ball drafts.

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski on Sunday announced via Instagram that he's retiring. That leaves New England with Stephen Anderson, Jacob Hollister, Ryan Izzo and Matt LaCosse at the position. Hollister and Dwayne Allen combined for the team's only 7 TE receptions outside of Gronk's 47. The oft-injured veteran clearly declined over the past couple of years, but we also expect New England to address the position in at least the NFL Draft or free agency now that Gronkowski's done. Even if they add a TE or 2, Gronk's departure figures to leave targets and red-zone chances available for multiple positions.

Saints WR Cameron Meredith has agreed to take a $2.1 million pay cut, according to ESPN's Field Yates. That means he'll earn just $1.3 million in 2019 salary. That doesn't bode particularly well for the 26-year-old's outlook. Meredith appeared in just 6 games last year and caught a mere 9 balls. The fact that he was willing to take a roughly 62% pay cut rather than test the market suggests he's not overly confident in the knee that basically cost him the past 2 seasons. We'll see about Meredith's progress through the offseason and training camp, but he's not worth drafting in early best-ball formats -- perhaps near the end of the FFPC 28-rounders. If Meredith remains limited heading into 2019, Keith Kirkwood and Tre'Quan Smith could benefit.

Rams WR Cooper Kupp tells the team website, "I think I'm where I'm supposed to be" in his recovery from the November ACL tear and resulting surgery. Kupp recently got back on the field for running and agility drills, and a member of the training staff echoed his assessment of the process. We'll obviously need to keep an eye on Kupp through the offseason and then training camp, but he seems on track for the beginning of the 2019 season. That said, his current PlayDraft ADP or WR21 in the middle of Round 5 strikes us as a bit high.

The Rams have matched the offer sheet RB Malcolm Brown signed with the Lions as a restricted free agent, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a 2-year, $3.25 million contract, not enough money to necessarily steer what else the team does at the position. But the move might make re-signing unrestricted free agent C.J. Anderson less likely. Brown has logged just 128 total carries and 18 receptions through 4 pro seasons. He'd look a lot more attractive this year as Todd Gurley's lead backup if that's how he enters 2019 fantasy football drafts, though.

8:03am EDT 3/22/19

The Saints are set to sign TE Jared Cook, according to NFL Network. No word yet on the terms of the deal. Cook is coming off the most productive season of his career, posting a 68-896-6 line in Oakland and finishing 5th among TEs in PPR points. He might not see another 101 targets this year behind target hog Michael Thomas in what's become a run-heavy Saints offense. But Cook could be even more efficient with his targets going from Derek Carr to Drew Brees. He looks like a rock-solid TE1 with top-5 upside.

ESPN's Adam Schefer reports that the Colts have agreed to a 2-year, $24 million deal with OLB Justin Houston. He joins a defense that couldn't get much going opposite Jabaal Sheard on the edge in 2018. Houston has missed 4+ games in 3 of the past 4 seasons and turned 30 in January. But he also racked up 18.5 sacks over the past 2 seasons and has averaged 0.85 sacks per contest since 2012, his 2nd year in the league. There's at least matchup-starter potential for Houston in pressure-friendly IDP leagues. His value could get a major boost, however, if the move nets Houston DE/DL eligibility

 
 
 

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