Shark Bites

The Browns have reached a 2-year deal with former Chiefs TE Demetrius Harris, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That's a disappointing move for anyone hoping to get some kind of Harris breakthrough via free agency. Harris is a size-speed freak, with a 4.57-second 40 time at 6'7 and 230 pounds. But he managed just 57 total receptions over 5 seasons behind Travis Kelce. In Cleveland, he figures to remain behind David Njoku. And we're not too worried at this point about Harris lowering Njoku's fantasy ceiling. We'll see if HC Freddie Kitchens and his staff reveal anything about Harris' role.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Jets have reached agreement with RB Le'Veon Bell. That positions him in a backfield with Elijah McGuire as the lead incumbent. Bell, of course, is coming off a full year away from football, so we'll have to track his progress in his return this offseason. He joins a Jets team, however, that is spending liberally on both offense and defense in free agency. Bell will make for a risky pick inside the 1st round of fantasy football drafts, given that we don't know how good the Jets offense can be or what kind of target share Bell can expect. But he obviously carries as much upside as just about any player at the position. Bell's arrival gives another boost to QB Sam Darnold's 2nd-year outlook.

Update: Schefter and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport report it's a 4-year deal worth $52.5 million in total money.

The 49ers have agreed to send a 2020 second-round pick to the Chiefs for OLB Dee Ford, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. The Niners will also reportedly give him a 5-year, $87.5 million contract. Ford enjoyed a breakout 2018, tying for 7th in the league with 13 sacks and tying for 5th in total QB hits (29). The move should switch Ford to DE in the Niners' 4-3 base, which would add significant IDP value. Kansas City, meanwhile, has jettisoned the only 2 OLBs who played more than 41% of the defensive snaps last year. Breeland Speaks and Tanoh Kpassagnon are prime replacement candidates for Ford and Justin Houston. We'll see what else the Chiefs add this offseason.

The Titans have agreed to a 3-year, $23 million deal with Cameron Wake, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The deal includes $10 million guaranteed and positions Wake at OLB in a Tennessee defense that needs a pass-rushing upgrade. Wake remains a threat off the edge at age 37 but posted a career-low 5.5 sacks last year and has seen his fantasy scoring averages dip for 3 straight years. He's not much of an IDP factor anymore but has a shot to help the Titans' D overall.

The Browns initially agreed to a 1-year deal with WR Breshad Perriman but let him out after they traded for WR Odell Beckham. The Tampa Tribune reports that Perriman has instead reached a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Bucs. That sends Perriman to an offense that has shed WR DeSean Jackson and WR Adam Humphries over the past few days. There's room for Perriman to gain the WR3 role, but we'll see how things sort out.

The Jets have re-signed DE Henry Anderson for 3 years at $25 million. It's not a surprising move after Anderson delivered 7 sacks and deflected 4 passes in his 4th NFL season and 1st with the Jets. The money suggests the team envisions more of the same -- and perhaps more. Anderson ranked 2nd among Jets in total pressures in his 1st season of more than 11 games. He looks like an upside DL3 for IDP owners in 2019.

The Bears have signed WR Cordarrelle Patterson to a 2-year, $10 million deal. The former 1st-rounder has yet to reach 500 receiving yards as a pro but totaled 475 yards with the Patriots last year (247 receiving, 228 rushing). HC Matt Nagy figures to have some fun with C-Patt as a gadget player, but his biggest impact will remain on special teams. Patterson is unlikely to be a reliable fantasy play in Chicago.

The Browns have reached a deal with the Giants to acquire WR Odell Beckham Jr. The deal will send 1st- and 3rd-round picks plus S Jabrill Peppers to the Giants. Beckham has 5 more years on a contract that he signed just last August, though there's no guaranteed money beyond 2020. The move obviously gives Cleveland a new #1 WR, one of the league's most talented. Beckham and WR Jarvis Landry will challenge each others' target counts in an offense that finished 2018 with lower passing volume. The Giants, meanwhile, sport no WR ahead of Sterling Shepard at the moment. We'll see what they do in free agency and the draft to address a position that's suddenly desperately shallow. Peppers joins a secondary that will also add Antoine Bethea in free agency. If Peppers and Bethea emerge as the 2 starters, the Giants might sport a lack in deep-coverage ability. The big fantasy winner here, by the way, is Cleveland 2nd-year QB Baker Mayfield.

The Buccaneers have reached a 1-year deal with LB Deone Bucannon, according to multiple reports. That's not the kind of contract that will guarantee Bucannon a starting job, but he rejoins the HC (Bruce Arians) who led the team that drafted him back in 2014. Bucannon also joins a Bucs D that's about to lose MLB Kwon Alexander to the 49ers. Bucannon's likely headed to that spot, barring some other addition to the corps this offseason. He might have to compete with 2018 rookie Adarius Taylor for that job. It'll be an interesting LB corps to watch this offseason.

The Rams have tendered restricted free agent ILB Cory Littleton at the 2nd-round level. That means any team looking to sign away the 2018 breakout would need to send the Rams a 2nd-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft. Perhaps some suitor will value Littleton to that degree, but we'd bet on him returning to L.A. Littleton scored across categories in his 1st turn as a full-time starter and should land in LB1 territory in our 2019 IDP rankings.

The Giants have reached a 2-year deal with S Antoine Bethea, according to multiple reports. Bethea will replace Landon Collins at SS and stands a solid chance of returning worthwhile IDP value. Just set your expectations below what he scored for the Cards last year.

The Lions re-signed RB Zach Zenner. The 27-year-old averaged a career-best 4.8 yards per carry last year after mustering just 3.5 across his first 3 seasons. But Zenner has yet to top 88 carries in a season and won't get there in 2019 without a prolonged absence from RB Kerryon Johnson.

The Bills have added Cole Beasley to their WR corps on a 4-year, $29 million deal. He's quietly averaged 57 catches on a 70.6% catch rate over the past 4 seasons. But Beasley has averaged just 10.3 yards per catch during that span with 17 total TDs. He's a pure slot receiver who will run most of his routes near the line of scrimmage. That makes him an awkward fit with QB Josh Allen. Beasley's addition spells trouble for WR Zay Jones, who's posted an abysmal 47.2% catch rate over his first 2 NFL seasons. Jones ran 48% of his routes from the slot last year.

Never mind. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reports that OLB Anthony Barr has decided to re-sign with the Vikings rather than going to the Jets in free agency. That should keep him a limited IDP factor. It's also a reminder that none of these moves will be set until Wednesday afternoon, when free agency actually opens with the new league year.

The Bills will be signing WR John Brown for 3 years at $27 million, according to multiple reports. Brown will join Robert Foster and Zay Jones in the top 3. He and Foster look best suited on the outside, with Jones' skills seeming to fit nicely in the slot. Of course, all will deal with the limited accuracy of QB Josh Allen. The move doesn't bode well for Brown's fantasy football consistency. There is upside, however. Allen led all qualifying QBs last year with 19.7% of his pass attempts traveling 20+ yards downfield (according to Pro Football Focus) -- an area in which Brown excels. Allen also ranked just 20th out of 24, however, in deep-ball accuracy (36.5%).

The Dolphins are signing WR DeVante Parker to a new 2-year contract, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The team had a $9.4 million option on Parker but will presumably be paying him much less on this deal. The 14th overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft has been a major disappointment through 4 seasons, compiling more missed games (11) than TDs (9). But he's still just 26 with a plus combination of size and athleticism. We'll see if Miami's new coaching staff can turn his career around. Parker should be considered just a late-round flier in early best-ball drafts.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Saints have agreed to a 4-year, $14.4 million deal with RB Latavius Murray. That positions him as the replacement for Mark Ingram, who will also hit unrestricted free agency Wednesday. Murray sports a similar skill set and should present a fantasy outlook similar to Ingram's. Of course, Ingram's inconsistent workload was the frustrating thing for fantasy owners. As long as his ADP remains modest, however, Murray will make sense as an RB3 or even an RB4 in fantasy football drafts.

The Cardinals will be signing LB Jordan Hicks, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Hicks should grab a full-time role in the middle of Arizona's 3-4 base front and be in line for at least solid IDP value. His departure leaves a void in the middle of the Philly defense. We'll see how the team addresses it.

The Chargers will be signing LB Thomas Davis, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. Davis joins a crowded LB corps that will continue to start Denzel Perryman after re-signing him. Jatavis Brown figures to return to a backup role. We'll see how 2019 rookie Kyzir White fits in. Davis turns 36 on March 22 but remained a full-time player after returning from his season-opening PED suspension. We'll see how the Chargers sort out the corps. They haven't favored playing any LB at 100% in recent seasons. Davis' departure could allow LB Shaq Thompson to regain full playing time in Carolina. He's in the final year of his rookie contract.

The Packers have reached a 4-year agreement with OLB Preston Smith that includes $16 million guaranteed at signing (full value: $52 million), according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. That gives Green Bay a pair of expensive new edge defenders, after the team also reached a deal with Za'Darius Smith. Green Bay will also release OLB Nick Perry, and Clay Matthews would seem to be done as well -- given the signings. (He's an unrestricted free agent.) The new guys should help revamp a pass rush that needed upgrades, but neither Smith has exceeded 8.5 sacks in a season to date. Neither looks like a forthcoming IDP stud, but each has matchup-starter potential for fantasy football purposes.

 
 
 

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