NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Falcons plan to let TE Austin Hooper reach free agency when the new league year begins in March. We'd bet on that meaning a new team for Hooper, unless Atlanta knows that the TE will find a softer market than he expects. Hooper will still be just 25 when the 2020 season begins, and coming off consecutive seasons of 71+ catches. He enjoyed a career-best TE6 finish in PPR scoring for 2019. The uncertainty of his 2020 offense, however, adds risk to Hooper in early best-ball drafting. Hooper sits TE6 in ADP in both FFPC and BestBall10s drafting so far.
The Panthers are "moving forward" with Cam Newton as their starting QB, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "A lot can still happen in the coming months," Rapoport adds. "While his foot is healing well, it will be several months until it’s game-ready — a timeline that complicates any potential trade." It's a hedgy report -- although it certainly makes sense that Carolina would have a tough time trading Newton while he's rehabbing that Lisfranc surgery on his left foot. We wouldn't consider this story over, but it does seem more likely than not that Newton is under center for Carolina come Week 1. He's been a fine value in early FFPC best-ball drafts, as the 21st QB off the board on average.
Ravens WR Marquise Brown had offseason surgery to remove the screw from his left foot, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Brown had surgery on that foot in January 2019 to repair a Lisfranc injury, so this procedure was likely planned. He's expected to be limited in Baltimore's offseason program but be ready for the start of training camp, per Rapoport. We'll keep an eye on Brown's rehab. Durability remains a concern for the diminutive speedster.
ESPN's Jeff Darlington believes the Titans are the favorites to land QB Tom Brady in free agency. Darlington has Las Vegas and then New England as Brady's next 2 most likely destinations. Brady would be reuniting with HC Mike Vrabel and GM Jon Robinson in Tennessee -- and joining an offense that's built around the running game. This move would obviously mean QB Ryan Tannehill would be one-and-done with the Titans. The QB carousel this offseason will be fascinating.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) said he got a "good report" from doctors on Friday but is still 2-3 months away from full clearance. Even the long end of that timeline would have him ready to go by the end of May. He resumed throwing over the weekend. Turning 38 in March and coming off major elbow surgery, Roethlisberger is obviously a big question mark heading into 2020. But anything he can give the Steelers figures to be an upgrade over last year's QB play.
The Bears have released WR Taylor Gabriel. The 29-year-old missed 7 games this past season with 2 separate concussion. He's maxed out as a situational big-play receiver and isn't a good bet to find real fantasy value in 2020.
The Jets signed WR Josh Doctson. The 2016 first-rounder was a bust in Washington and didn't record a single catch in Minnesota this past season. Doctson is still just 27 and will find opportunity in New York, where the Jets are expected to lose WR Robby Anderson in free agency. But we're not holding our breath for a Doctson breakout.
The hip surgery that Browns WR Jarvis Landry had on February 4 is expected to sideline him 6-8 months, according to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot. The short end of that timeline would have Landry back in early August. But the long end would run into October. "He is expected to make a full recovery for the 2020 season," the team said in a statement on Thursday. Landry's surgery removed 2 pieces of bone embedded in the labrum of his left hip and shaved down some cartilage. It was obviously a major procedure that adds risk to Landry's profile in early best-ball drafting.
Bengals HC Zac Taylor said in a Cincinnati.com podcast this week that WR A.J. Green is "a guy we want to be around." It sounds like the team could use the franchise tag to keep the veteran around if they don't agree on a contract extension. Green missed all of 2019 after sitting out 7 games in 2018, but he still looks like a solid fantasy football value at the bottom of WR3 range in early best-ball drafting. Green ranked among the top 16 WRs in PPR points per game every year from 2012 through 2018.
Washington on Thursday released TE Jordan Reed. The move saves the team $8.5 million off the 2020 salary cap. Reed, of course, didn't play a single game in 2019. He appeared in just 65 of a possible 96 contests over his previous 6 campaigns. With Reed gone and Vernon Davis retired, Washington figures to address TE this offseason. Jeremy Sprinkle led Washington TEs with 40 targets and 26 receptions in 2019.
Browns WR Jarvis Landry announced this week that he had hip surgery on Feb. 4, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. He's expected to be fully recovered in time for the upcoming season. Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram reports that the issue nagged Landry throughout the 2019 season. The WR said the fact that even the light work at the Pro Bowl bothered the hip helped push him toward having the surgery. We'll keep an eye on Landry this summer to see if there's any reason for concern. Landry has been a strong value in early best-ball drafting.
The Redskins have exercised RB Adrian Peterson's 2020 option, which will pay him $2.25 million in 2020. The future Hall-of-Famer averaged 4.3 yards per carry while leading Washington with 211 carries and 899 rushing yards last year. A healthy Derrius Guice figures to lead the 2020 Redskins backfield -- but Peterson is strong veteran insurance.
TE Jordan Reed has cleared the league's concussion protocol, according to The Athletic's Ben Standig. He sustained his 7th reported concussion last August and missed the entire 2020 season. Washington is expected to release him and save $8.5 million against the cap, but Reed hopes to sign and play elsewhere. We'll see how free agency treats him. Reed turns 30 in July.
TE Greg Olsen has inked a 1-year, $7 million deal with the Seahawks. He reportedly chose Seattle over Buffalo and Washington. Olsen turns 35 in March and has missed 18 games over the last 3 seasons. But the money here suggests the Seahawks are planning to make Olsen their lead TE in 2020. If he can stay healthy, it wouldn't be a shock to see him return to TE1 territory alongside QB Russell Wilson.
Saints QB Drew Brees announced Tuesday that he'll return for the 2020 season. The 41-year-old remained as accurate as ever last year, completing a league-high 74.3% of his passes with 27 TDs vs. just 4 INTs. Brees missed 5 games and most of a 6th with a thumb injury but ranked 2nd among QBs in fantasy points per game in his 10 full outings. He remained much more productive at home than on the road -- but he'll be worth considering in lower-end QB1 range in 2020 fantasy drafts.
The Panthers are "pleased" with the progress QB Cam Newton is making in his recovery from Lisfranc surgery on his left foot, according to The Athletic's Jourdan Rodrigue. Newton is expected to be cleared for "some football activity" in March -- although the team is planning to limit him through the spring. That, of course, is assuming Newton is still with the Panthers. Newton said during Super Bowl week that he expects to be back in Carolina in 2020, but the team has been non-committal on his future. His status should be cleared up in March.
Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said Monday that he has "no hesitation" in believing QB Ben Roethlisberger will be under center come Week 1. Big Ben underwent surgery to repair 3 tendons in his throwing elbow in late September. We haven't heard much on his rehab, but he's reportedly scheduled for a checkup later this month. Pittsburgh's passing game went in the tank without Roethlisberger last year. His return would make WR JuJu Smith-Schuster an obvious bounce-back candidate -- and raise the ceilings on WRs Diontae Johnson and James Washington.
Steelers WR Diontae Johnson recently underwent sports-hernia surgery. It's unclear when the injury occurred -- he was never on the injury report in 2019 -- but it shouldn't significantly impact his offseason. Johnson turned in an encouraging rookie campaign, leading the Steelers with 59 catches and 5 receiving scores and ranking 2nd with 680 receiving yards. He should build on those numbers in 2020 if QB Ben Roethlisberger is able to stay healthy.
Cutting RB David Johnson is "not an option," Cardinals GM Steve Keim said Friday. "You can't just have one back," Keim added. The biggest reason Johnson will stick around, though, is the $16.2 million in dead money that would be left behind if he was cut. Johnson looked like a guy out of gas in 2019, mustering just 3.7 yards per carry while battling ankle and back injuries. The Cardinals are expected to try to re-sign free-agent RB Kenyan Drake. If they don't, they still figure to bring in significant competition for Johnson.
The NFL has reinstated Browns DE Myles Garrett. The 24-year-old had, of course, been suspended since he hit Steelers QB Mason Rudolph in the head with Rudolph's helmet near the end of their Nov. 14th (Week 11) game. Garrett lost 6 games plus money to the suspension, but nothing about his history suggests that fantasy owners need to worry about behavior issues going forward. Garrett remains a top-shelf fantasy D-lineman, who was on pace for 16 sacks at the time of his suspension.
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