Colts TE Jack Doyle might be ready to get back on the field later this month and is fully expected back by training camp, GM Chris Ballard said. Doyle was limited to just 6 games last season by hip and kidney injuries. He underwent what he called a “procedure" on the kidney and had surgery to fix the hip. He's been running and just recently began cutting again. “I feel good," he said. "Happy with the progress that I am making. Just slowly coming along, but it’s going in the right direction." Doyle saw 33 targets in his 6 games last year and ranked 8th among TEs in PPR points per game. He'll find more target competition with the offseason additions of Devin Funchess and rookie Parris Campbell, but Doyle could still bring spot-start value in 2019.
A couple of big-time NFL insiders -- Jay Glazer and Michael Lombardi -- used the same word when discussing Rams RB Todd Gurley's knee this weekend: "concern." Wrote Glazer: "It is a concern. The sky isn’t falling but even now, they’re being smart about it. It did swell up on him last year, this is a knee that has had wear and tear. Eventually, you’re going to factor this in especially with them having to sit him down the stretch last year. It’s not all doom and gloom, but it is definitely something you have to monitor and be prepared for in case that thing blows up on him again." And Lombardi: "Gurley's knee was a medical concern coming out of Georgia, most of the NFL was in shock when the Rams gave him that huge deal on his second contract, not because of talent, rather because of his knee." The left knee that gave Gurley trouble late last season is the same knee in which he tore the ACL in at Georgia back in 2014. The Rams admitted earlier this offseason that they're considering scaling back Gurley's workload going forward -- and that only seems more likely after they brought back Malcolm Brown and used a 3rd-round pick to add Darrell Henderson. We'll hopefully have a better idea of Gurley's status when we get into the heart of fantasy drafting season in late August. But for now, he looks like the biggest risk/reward pick in your draft. We just bumped Gurley down (and Henderson up) the RB rankings.
Ravens S Earl Thomas took the field last week for the 1st time since joining his new team -- and the 1st time since a broken leg ended his 2018 season last Sept. 30. "He's had a great week," HC John Harbaugh told ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "Great anticipation and great ability to cover ground. He shows up in the right spots on a regular basis. That's what great safeties do. He's done a great job." Thomas landed high in our 2019 IDP rankings.
The Panthers will shift to a primarily 3-4 front on defense in 2019, ESPN's David Newton reports. The change follows Carolina's lowest sack total since HC Ron Rivera's 1st season in 2012. It also returns Rivera's scheme to the version he ran with the 2010 Chargers. The change means Kawann Short will move primarily from 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE. It also means that edge players Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin, Brian Burns and Marquis Haynes could find themselves classified as OLBs rather than DEs. The position designations for 2019 might depend on which commissioner site your league uses. Keep an eye out for potential changes as we get into IDP draft season.
Titans TE Delanie Walker participated in 7-on-7 drills this week, according to ESPN's Turron Davenport. That doesn't necessarily mean Walker's repaired ankle will be ready for full participation at the start of training camp, but it sure seems like a big step in that direction. Walker deemed himself 85% healthy earlier in May. As just the 17th TE off the board in PlayDraft ADP right now, Walker looks like a solid-to-strong best-ball value.
Washington S Landon Collins took part in practice this week, marking his return to the field following shoulder surgery. HC Jay Gruden told the Washington Post that the team is "still very cautious" with its key free-agent signing but that Collins is taking part in 7-on-7 drills and that they hope to have no limitations by training camp.
The Texans have already dumped TE Ryan Griffin, who led the position in targets for them last season. Second-year man Jordan Thomas has spent OTAs taking the starter reps, and Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle says he's "building a case as the top candidate to be a starter." Thomas edged fellow rookie Jordan Akins in playing time last year, despite arriving 2 rounds later in the draft. We're highly intrigued by the long-term outlook for 2019 third-round TE Kahale Warring, but Thomas looks like the best bet for 2019 production. That said, this isn't a high-upside situation, given the TE crowd, the talent at WR and the history of Bill O'Brien TEs. Consider Thomas a late option in best-ball drafts and FFPC formats.
Panthers QB Cam Newton has resumed throwing, according to The Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue. Newton has been cautious in his return from January 24th shoulder surgery, but all signs point to him being ready to go well before the start of the 2019 campaign. A healthy Newton is a good bet to return value at his current 9th-round ADP.
Oakland let TE Jared Cook walk in free agency after he led the 2018 team in targets, receptions (tied), receiving yards and receiving TDs. It sounds like the primary replacement plan is former Raven Darren Waller. "It's your position, you are the 'Y' in certain personnel groupings," OC Greg Olson said Thursday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "We're going to put you out there on the field, and you're going to play. We're really pushing him to the limit right now." Waller just joined the Raiders in November off Baltimore's practice squad. He made it into 4 games and caught 6 balls. Waller transitioned from WR to TE with the Ravens, and it looks like Oakland wants him to play ahead of Luke Willson, rookie Foster Moreau and others this season. Waller isn't likely to find anything near Cook's target share available in an offense that has since added Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant and a 1st-round RB. But he has a shot at fantasy relevance.
Did Jaguars top pick Josh Allen slip in your dynasty league's rookie draft amid concern that he'd play LB? Well, drop that concern. "Josh Allen was drafted to be a defensive end," DC Todd Wash told the team website Thursday. "He did a real nice job of dropping [into coverage] in college. I can't honestly say -- being a D-line [coach] that I get too excited about a 15-sack guy dropping into coverage. Hopefully, you won't see too damned much of that." Allen finished his Kentucky career with 17 sacks and 21.5 total tackles for loss last season. He has a shot to prove immediately relevant in IDP leagues.
"Damien Williams is our starter. We expect him to excel in that role." That's what Chiefs OC Eric Bienemy said Thursday, according to Brandon Kiley of 610 Sports in Kansas City. It's not a shocking revelation, but it does add some clarity to a backfield that added Carlos Hyde early this offseason for basically the same annual salary as the team is paying Williams. We're tempering our expectations a bit for Williams, who has never topped 50 carries or 23 catches through 5 NFL seasons (after arriving as an undrafted free agent). But his tremendous finish to 2018 and the numbers Kareem Hunt delivered over the previous year and a half point to the high ceiling that comes with his new job. Hyde, meanwhile, looks like more of a handcuff for fantasy purposes than a weekly flex candidate.
The Jaguars have signed WR Terrelle Pryor. In 2 years since his 1,007-yard 2016 campaign, Pryor has totaled just 492 yards across 3 different teams. Turning 30 in June, he's running out of time to rebound. Pryor is far from a lock to make Jacksonville's final roster, but it's also not out of the realm of possibility that he carves out a role in a mostly unsettled WR corps.
The Athletic's Connor Hughes highlighted TE Chris Herndon as 1 of the Jets' most impressive players in OTAs. "You can tell the second-year pro is getting comfortable in [HC Adam] Gase’s scheme," Hughes writes. "He’s not thinking as much as he’s letting his athletic ability take over." Hughes adds that Herndon and QB Sam Darnold "already have impressive chemistry." Herndon posted a promising 39-502-4 line as a rookie, finishing 16th among TEs in PPR points. He's capable of climbing higher in year 2.
Bears TE Trey Burton had sports-hernia surgery earlier this offseason, HC Matt Nagy revealed on Wednesday. It's unclear if it was related to the groin injury that sidelined Burton for Chicago's playoff loss to the Eagles. Nagy said "the hope" is that Burton will be ready for the start of training camp in July. We'll keep an eye on him. Burton finished as PPR TE8 in his debut season with the Bears.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston said Tuesday that RB Ronald Jones has been "showing out" in OTAs. "I think it’s just his confidence and his comfort," Winston continued. "RoJo is a smart guy and he’s getting comfortable in this offense. No one is breathing down his neck, he’s more relaxed and he’s out there executing at a high level and you can really see what he can add to this team. I know how talented he is, that’s why he was a second-round pick." Jones had a brutal rookie season. But the Bucs made no significant additions to the backfield this offseason. And there's been a steady stream of positive buzz on Jones this spring. He's starting to look like an intriguing target in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.
The Rams are holding RB Todd Gurley (knee) out of team drills in OTAs as part of a "specific, individualized offseason plan," ESPN's Lindsey Thiry reports. Gurley hasn't been spotted on the field in either of the Rams' workouts that have been open to reporters, but HC Sean McVay said he's been at the practice facility. "He's also been here consistently, pretty much every single day of the week," McVay said. "He's been an active participant following the program that we've implemented with him and we're very pleased with where Todd is at right now." Gurley's troublesome left knee will be 1 of the biggest fantasy storylines of the summer. He's been dropping to the late 1st and even the 2nd round of recent drafts.
The 49ers will practice without top pick DE Nick Bosa for "the next few weeks" (according to NBC Bay Area's Matt Maiocco) because of a Grade 1 hamstring strain. That's the lowest level on the scale, so it's not a serious situation in May. But Bosa's hamstring will bear watching come training camp. His brother missed the 1st 4 games of his 2016 rookie campaign with hamstring trouble. Nick Bosa, of course, sat out nearly all of his final Ohio State season following sports hernia surgery.
"He looks awesome. He feels really good. He looks to be in great shape." That's what Chargers DC Gus Bradley had to say this week at OTAs about DE Joey Bosa, according to Joe Reedy of The Associated Press. But then the player conceded that he's still dealing with pain in the left foot that cost him 9 games last season. "It's not causing a limp or anything," Bosa said. "It's just there. It's just something I notice. It's been getting better all offseason, so I could definitely see by camp or maybe even next year where it kind of starts fading away. Once you get into season, it gets pretty intense. So we'll see." We don't want to worry too much about the foot right now, especially if Bosa's taking part in OTAs. But we certainly can't ignore the situation either. We'll be watching this as closely as any other IDP situation. Bosa sits near the top of our 2019 DL rankings at the moment.
The Saints have signed RB Buck Allen. The 27-year-old mustered just 3.7 yards per carry across 4 seasons in Baltimore. He was better in the passing game, tallying 35+ catches in 3 different campaigns. But he averaged just 6.3 yards per catch, failing to reach even 5.7 in each of the last 3 years. Allen figures to battle RBs Dwayne Washington and Devine Ozigbo for a roster spot in New Orleans. And if he makes the team, he'd need an injury to Alvin Kamara or Latavius Murray to have a shot at fantasy value.
The Steelers have been using RBs James Conner and Jaylen Samuels in the same backfield during some plays in OTAs, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I think that could be kind of special with me and [Conner] in the backfield," Samuels said. "Me and him in the game, period. We’re just building on from that right now… He’s more of a runner and a catcher, as well, but I can get outside and run routes, as well. To have that dual threat with me and him in the game, it could be really scary for defenses.” Conner was excellent as Pittsburgh's feature back for 13 games last season. But Samuels also impressed when given a shot, racking up 223 yards on 5.3 yards per carry and a 12-105-1 receiving line in 3 starts late in the year. There are touches to go around this season with Antonio Brown's departure, and Samuels has the receiving ability to capture some of them. He's an intriguing later-round pick in fantasy drafts.
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