Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell (knee) was limited in Wednesday's practice. That gives him a shot to return for the Super Bowl, although we're not expecting him to play a big role even if active.
Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) remained limited in Wednesday's practice. He was limited all week leading up to the AFC Championship before missing that game. Watkins has said he's "optimistic" about playing in the Super Bowl, but we'll see what he's able to do over the next couple of days.
The Dolphins have promoted Eric Studesville and George Godsey to co-OC positions. Studesville has been Miami's RBs coach for the past 3 seasons; Godsey the TEs coach for the past 2. The only NFL OC experience between the 2 comes from Godsey, who was in the role for the Texans in 2015 and 2016. Those teams ranked 19th and 29th in total yards. It's unclear which guy will call plays for the Fins this coming season.
Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson has been placed on the COVID list. He's reportedly there only as a close contact, which gives him a chance to be cleared in time for the Super Bowl. Even with WR Sammy Watkins out for Kansas City's 2 playoff wins so far, Robinson has only caught 1 of 3 targets for 14 yards.
According to Jeff Duncan of The Athletic, the Saints are “extremely high” on 2nd-year TE Adam Trautman. Duncan went so far as to name Trautman as his top “breakout candidate” for next season. As a rookie, the Dayton product saw just 16 targets behind Jared Cook. But he caught 15 of them for 171 yards (11.4 YPC) and 1 score. Duncan fully expects the cash-strapped Saints to move on from the high-priced Cook, who’s coming off a down season. Trautman, meanwhile, makes sense as a fringe TE2 or TE3 target in early FFPC drafts.
Broncos WR Courtland Sutton has resumed jogging as he works his way back from September's torn ACL. “I’m very grateful to be on-track and be feeling good with the spot I’m in," Sutton told the Denver Post. The timing of Sutton's injury means that he should be ready to go for the start of the 2021 campaign. The 25-year-old broke out for a 72-1,112-6 line in his 2019 sophomore season, finishing 19th among WRs in PPR points. QB play is still a concern in Denver, but Sutton should at least be drafted as an upside WR3 in early best balls.
The Lions have agreed to trade QB Matthew Stafford to the Rams for QB Jared Goff plus 3 draft picks. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Rams will send a 3rd-round pick in this year's draft, plus 1st-rounders in 2022 and 2023 as part of the trade. That's quite a haul for Detroit in moving a 33-year-old QB who had requested a trade. L.A.'s desire to unload Goff's big contract likely increased the package. Once the trade becomes official (at the start of the new league year), Stafford will land in an offense that has ranked top-11 in yardage each of the 4 years under HC Sean McVay. The Rams also ranked 1st, 2nd and 11th in scoring before sinking to 22nd this past season. Goff joins a Lions team that welcomes a new coaching staff for 2021, led by run-loving HC Dan Campbell. It's a solid landing for Stafford that should preserve his fantasy value over the next couple of seasons. Goff figures to land low in QB2 territory in our 2021 fantasy football rankings. The change from Goff to Stafford should enhance the fantasy outlooks for Rams pass-catchers.
The Titans have promoted Todd Downing to OC. He replaces Arthur Smith, who took the HC job in Atlanta. Downing spent the past 2 seasons as Tennessee's TEs coach. His only NFL OC experience came back in 2017 with the Raiders, who finished that year 17th in total yards and 23rd in points. The more of Smith's offense Downing can keep in place, the better.
The Athletic's Larry Holder believes there's a "strong likelihood" that QB Jameis Winston will be the Saints' starter in 2021. It's an opinion, rather than a report -- but noteworthy nonetheless from a long-time Saints beat writer. New Orleans opted to start QB Taysom Hill instead of Winston when QB Drew Brees missed time this past season. But Holder says the Saints love Winston's arm talent and football IQ and believe HC Sean Payton can "mold" Winston to fit the system. We're a bit skeptical that Hill won't get a shot in 2021 considering he's due to make nearly $11 million. Winston, meanwhile, is set to become a free agent in March, so we'll see how aggressive the Saints are in bringing him back.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Texans QB Deshaun Watson has "officially" requested a trade. "He actually did it weeks ago," Schefter asserts, adding that new HC David Culley "will not alter Watson's thinking." The QB's no-trade clause complicates the process, but Houston should find no shortage of suitors for the 25-year-old stud. We'll see where this goes ... and who succeeds Watson at the helm of the Texans offense.
According to multiple reports, the Texans will be hiring David Culley as their new HC. Culley has been coaching in the NFL since 1994, spending the past 2 seasons as the passing-game coordinator, WRs coach and assistant HC in Baltimore. Before that, he spent 2 years as Buffalo's QBs coach, 18 years working under Andy Reid -- 14 as WRs coach in Philly and then 4 more as WRs coach and assistant HC in K.C. -- 3 years as WRs coach in Pittsburgh and 2 years coaching WRs for Tampa Bay. Culley has yet to be a full-on OC at any stop and has coached across multiple regimes, so it might be tough to nail down his scheme. The most important fantasy issue, though, will be whether he can win over Houston QB Deshaun Watson. We'll be watching this situation over the next couple of months.
Update: Culley will retain OC Tim Kelly, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Kelly has spent the past 2 seasons in that role.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport is told that there will be an "open competition" this offseason between Rams QBs Jared Goff and John Wolford. Goff has been far too inconsistent from game to game in 4 seasons under Sean McVay -- but it'd frankly be a major surprise if he lost a battle to Wolford, a former undrafted free agent who didn't even complete 60% of his passes at Wake Forest. The takeaway here, though, is that Goff is on thin ice in Los Angeles. We'll see if the Rams add any additional competition this offseason.
Packers President Mark Murphy didn't mince words when discussing QB Aaron Rodgers' standing with the team in a Tuesday radio interview. “I’ll say this: There’s no way in heck that Aaron is not going to be on the Packers," Murphy said. "I mean, he is going to be the MVP of the league, might have had his best year ever. He’s our unquestioned leader and, you know, we’re not idiots.” Rodgers made headlines when he said he was unsure of his Packers future after the loss to the Bucs last weekend, but it always seemed unlikely that he'd play anywhere else in 2021. Rodgers' contract makes it easier for Green Bay to move on during the 2022 offseason.
The 49ers signed restricted free-agent RB Jeff Wilson to a 1-year deal, ESPN's Field Yates reports. Wilson set career highs across the board last season and finished strong, tallying 58 carries for 319 yards (5.5 YPC) and 2 scores over the final 3 games. He also saw 13 targets during that stretch -- although he caught just 4 of them. With both Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon set to hit free agency in March, it's Wilson and Raheem Mostert signed in San Francisco for 2021 right now.
The Seahawks are hiring Shane Waldron as their new OC, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. We can't say we know much about the guy, to be honest. Waldron spent the past 4 seasons as passing-game coordinator/QBs coach for the Rams under Sean McVay. He also spent time with Washington and New England. But his only OC experience came at Buckingham Browne & Nichols High School in 2011. We've heard that Seattle wants to be a run-leaning offense going forward, but it can't be bad news for Russell Wilson and his WRs that the 'Hawks hired a former passing-game coordinator to call the plays.
Joe Lombardi has been named Chargers OC. The 49-year-old and grandson of Vince Lombardi has had 2 stints with the Saints under Sean Payton, including the past 5 seasons as QB coach. In between, Lombardi spent 2 seasons as Lions OC in 2014 and 2015. Those teams both ranked in the bottom half of the league in total yards and points. The running games were anemic, headed by Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. But QB Matthew Stafford topped 4,200 yards both years with 54 total TDs. This seems like a solid hire for QB Justin Herbert and the Chargers passing game.
Bills WR Cole Beasley revealed that he broke his fibula in Week 16. He sat out the regular-season finale but returned for the playoffs, catching 7 of 11 targets in 2 games. “Take a few meds and suck it up," Beasley said. “There was no way I was gonna miss a playoff game.” It's unclear if he'll need surgery, but the injury shouldn't impact his 2021. Beasley has posted 67-778-6 and 82-967-4 lines in 2 years with the Bills, finishing 34th and then 27th among WRs in PPR points. He'll probably be undervalued again in 2021 fantasy drafts.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers "fully sounded like someone who doesn't know if he'll be the QB here next season," The Athletic's Matt Schneidman tweeted after Rodgers' press conference following the loss to the Bucs. Here was that quote from Rodgers that's causing a stir: “A lot of guys’ futures that are uncertain, myself included.” That could mean a lot of things, of course. Rodgers is coming off an MVP-caliber season and still has 3 years left on his deal, so it'd be a surprise if Green Bay decides to move on. But it was also a surprise when the Packers traded up to select QB Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick of last year's draft. We'll track this situation all offseason.
The Eagles have named Shane Steichen their new OC. Steichen coached alongside new Eagles HC Nick Sirianni with the Chargers from 2014 to 2017. He took over as Chargers OC midway through the 2019 campaign and then led the squad to a 9th-place finish in total yards this past year. The 2020 Chargers were a fast-paced offense, ranking 5th in situation-neutral pace.
Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield (ankle) is inactive for today's game against the Packers. He sustained an ankle injury during the practice week. Mike Edwards will start in his place. Losing a starting safety certainly doesn't help the defense, but it's worth noting that Edwards actually graded out significantly better in coverage (83.2) this season than Winfield (55.1), according to Pro Football Focus.
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