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.
Patriots TE Ben Watson has been suspended 4 games for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Watson admitted in a Facebook post that he took a banned substance after he announced his retirement earlier this offseason. The Pats knew of the impending ban when they signed Watson, so it shouldn't impact his odds of making the team. But it makes him pretty much undraftable in fantasy drafts. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Matt LaCosse figure to open the season atop New England's TE depth chart.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has been impressed by TE Jason Witten this spring. “I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.” Witten won't be out-athleting any defenders this season, but it's still nice to hear he's looking good at 37 years old after taking 2018 off. We'll see how he holds up throughout training camp and the season. Witten posted a 63-560-5 line and 9th-place PPR finish when we saw him last in 2017. We'd bet against that level of production this year, but Witten could be a useful spot-start option for fantasy squads.
Texans HC Bill O'Brien said RB D'Onta Foreman is making "good progress" as he continues to work back from 2017's torn Achilles. "I think he’s had a really good time away from us, and that’s parlayed into a good spring," O'Brien added. Foreman got back on the field last December and is encouraged by how this offseason has gone. "I’m fluid. I feel good. My mindset is really good right now," he said. "A year ago, I didn’t know what I would be like coming back, if I would ever be the same. I had a lot of stuff going through my mind. Right now, I’m just in a good spirit and looking forward to the season." A healthy Foreman is plenty capable of pushing RB Lamar Miller for work this year. We'll be keeping a close eye on the situation when training camp opens.
Speaking Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league won't interfere with the legal proceedings for Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill's child abuse investigation. "We will obviously be cooperative with whatever the court wants," Goodell continued. "We are prepared to go ahead and have an interview whenever we have the permission to do so and then we’ll go ahead and make a determination based on what information we have at that time.” Hill has not been suspended by the league or put on the Commissioner's Exempt List, but the Chiefs have told him to stay away from team activities. We'll continue to keep a close eye on the situation. Fantasy owners should be drafting right now as if Hill will be suspended 6+ games.
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