The Saints have worked out a trade to acquire LB Kiko Alonso from the Dolphins, NFL Network reports. That removes a veteran LB who was clearly on his way out of Miami anyway. Jerome Baker and Sam Eguavoen look like the top 2 fantasy LB options there. Alonso joins a crowded LB situation in New Orleans that will need some sorting. Demario Davis remains the top fantasy option ... and, really, the only Saints LB worth rostering in most IDP leagues for now.
The Patriots have released WR Maurice Harris. The 26-year-old got off to a strong start in training camp but seemed to fizzle out over the past couple of weeks. Josh Gordon's return didn't help Harris, either. New England's WR depth chart now looks something like this: Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, N'Keal Harry, Jakobi Meyers, Demaryius Thomas.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders took the field for Monday night's preseason game for the 1st time since last December's torn Achilles. And he looked like Emmanuel Sanders. He caught a quick pass on Denver's 1st offensive snap and later took this end-around for a nice 19-yard gain. Sanders also had a 45-yard reception negated by a holding penalty. "To be able to come back and feel how I feel and feel better, still be able to hang out with these 24-year-old kids and still be able to run with them, it's amazing," he said afterward. Clearly on track for Week 1 and looking completely recovered from that Achilles injury, Sanders is the best fantasy bet among Broncos WRs. Remember that he was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before last year's injury. We just bumped Sanders up the WR rankings.
It's impressive enough that Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders started training camp on time coming off a December tear of his left Achilles' tendon. But Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reported Monday that Sanders also had "tightrope" surgery on his right ankle to treat an issue that reportedly originated on October 15, 2017. This revelation might actually be a positive, though. Sanders told Klis that the right ankle "gave me problems all last year." He added: "I came to camp last year thinking, 'How the hell am I going to get through this season?' I feel like that was kind of the reason I tore my Achilles'." Sanders took part in full-team drills for the 1st time Monday and is expected to play in Denver's next preseason contest. Barring some setback with either ankle, Sanders looks like an option in the double-digit rounds of fantasy football drafts after we hit summer skeptical.
Saints TE Jared Cook has been better than the team expected, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett. HC Sean Payton has praised Cook's hands, catch radius, yards-after-catch ability and work ethic. “Anytime you’re in free agency, you gather as much information as you can. And then when the player arrives, there’s certain things you weren’t aware of that are good and maybe sometimes weren’t so good. In his case, it’s all positive,” Payton said. “He’s a tremendous worker, dedicated, I think someone who’s a true pro in every sense of the word. And I think he’s been a really good addition for us.” TEs coach Dan Campbell added that Cook and QB Drew Brees have quickly built a strong rapport. With question marks at WR behind Michael Thomas, there's room for Cook to finish 3rd on the 2019 Saints in targets (behind Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara).
Saints HC Sean Payton said RB Alvin Kamara's usage won't change this season, despite the loss of RB Mark Ingram. “It will be similar to what we’ve been seeing,” Payton said. “We’ve been pleased with the balance we’ve had with him. We think it’s been a good count.” Kamara averaged 22.8 touches per game over the first 4 weeks of last season with Ingram suspended. That sunk to 17.2 touches per game over his final 13 outings, including the playoffs. It sounds like we should expect something around that latter mark in 2019. Of course, Kamara still ranked 5th among RBs in PPR and non-PPR points from Week 5 to 16 with Ingram in the mix. He remains a locked-in top 4 draft pick across fantasy formats. The other fantasy takeaway here is that free-agent addition Latavius Murray should see something similar to the 13.4 touches per game Ingram averaged alongside Kamara last year. That'd be enough to make Murray at least a weekly RB3/flex option.
The New York Post's Brian Costello believes Jets RB Ty Montgomery "could be a significant piece" of the offense this season. The former Packer and Raven has been "one of the most impressive players" in camp, Costello adds. Although he's flamed out in lead roles, Montgomery is a plus pass-catcher and is still just 26. We're not expecting him to see enough action to be a real fantasy option. But he could put a dent in RB Le'Veon Bell's volume.
The Saints and WR Michael Thomas have agreed to a 5-year, $100 million extension that makes him the league's highest-paid WR. He gets $61 million guaranteed, which is the most in NFL history for a non-QB. Thomas will end his brief holdout and is safe to target in the late 1st or early 2nd round of fantasy drafts. He's finished 7th, 6th and 6th among WRs in PPR points through 3 NFL seasons.
Multiple Patriots beat writers have named Maurice Harris the team's best WR early in camp. Julian Edelman, of course, has been sidelined with his broken thumb. That's left Harris and Phillip Dorsett to take the majority of the 1st-team snaps. Rookie N'Keal Harry has been working mostly with the 2nd team. Harris was briefly a thing last year, coming out of nowhere for a 10-124 outing in Week 9 and following that up with a 5-52. But he corralled just 2 of 13 targets over his final 5 outings. The former undrafted free agent has nice size at 6'3, 205 pounds but is a subpar athlete and totaled just 81 catches across 4 college seasons. Harris still feels like a long shot for reliable fantasy production this year -- but there's opportunity in New England, especially if Harry proves unready for an immediate role. We'll continue to monitor this depth chart.
Saints WR Michael Thomas did not report for the start of training camp on Thursday as he angles for a new contract. He's set to make just $1.15 million in the final year of his rookie contract. The 2 sides have been negotiating for a while, but Thomas is reportedly looking for $20+ million per season. Odell Beckham is currently the league's highest-paid WR with an average annual salary of $18 million. We'll see how long this standoff lasts.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders expects to be at 100% in 2-3 weeks. He took part in 7-on-7 drills in Wednesday's practice for the 1st time since tearing his Achilles last December. "I think just talking with the trainers and just knowing we have plenty of time and [that] Week 1 is the most important thing [is important]," he said. "There’s really no rush." Sanders is well ahead of where we thought he'd be at this point. We've warmed up to him as a 2019 draft target, especially as his ADP has sunk to the 14th round in recent DRAFT best balls.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders has impressed early in camp as he returns from last year's torn Achilles. "Everything is good so far," HC Vic Fangio said. "He’s where we expected him to be and even a little bit more.” Sanders has been limited to individual work so far but has looked somewhere close to 100%. "You can't tell he is coming back from an Achilles' injury," insider Cecil Lammey noted. "Has not lost a step, super quick." Remember that Sanders was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before going down last year. He's certainly worth taking a shot on at his recent WR63 ADP in Draft.com best-ball drafts.
Broncos GM John Elway said Wednesday that WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) will not be placed on the active/PUP list. Elway confirmed that Sanders will be eased into training camp, but avoiding the active/PUP means Sanders can't be placed on reserve/PUP, which would have cost him the first 6 weeks of the season. The Broncos evidently believe Sanders will be ready to play early. We'll continue to monitor his rehab.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) admitted on Tuesday that he won't be at 100% for the start of training camp and said his goal is to be ready for Week 1. That shouldn't come as a surprise considering he's still only 7-and-a-half months removed from his torn Achilles, an injury that can take a year or longer to fully recover from. We consider Sanders no better than 50/50 for the season opener and would avoid him even at his current 12th-round ADP.
Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders ran in cleats on Friday for the 1st time since tearing his Achilles in December, NFL Network's James Palmer reports. "He’s coming along nicely," Palmer adds. Achilles injuries are notoriously difficult to return from -- especially for a 32-year-old WR like Sanders. We're still considering him questionable for Week 1 and are generally avoiding him in early fantasy drafts. Denver has a pair of young, promising WRs in Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton who should claim big roles this season.
The Jets have reached a 1-year deal with RB Ty Montgomery, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The move came a day before the free agent was set to visit the Dolphins, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That seems a curious decisions by Montgomery: taking a 1-year deal with the team that just signed Le'Veon Bell -- almost certainly to dominate backfield touches -- rather than at least talk to a Miami squad with no proven workhorse. Montgomery will compete with Elijah McGuire to back up Bell, barring further personnel moves. The financial details here might help indicate how big a role the Jets expect for Montgomery.
The Saints are set to sign TE Jared Cook, according to NFL Network. No word yet on the terms of the deal. Cook is coming off the most productive season of his career, posting a 68-896-6 line in Oakland and finishing 5th among TEs in PPR points. He might not see another 101 targets this year behind target hog Michael Thomas in what's become a run-heavy Saints offense. But Cook could be even more efficient with his targets going from Derek Carr to Drew Brees. He looks like a rock-solid TE1 with top-5 upside.
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 Broncos on Tuesday exercised their 2019 option on WR Emmanuel Sanders. That keeps the veteran wideout around for the final year of his contract at a cap hit of about $12.9 million. GM John Elway had previously said the team planned to do so. The big remaining question for Sanders, of course, is how he'll rebound from his December Achilles' tear. That situation makes Sanders not worth the risk in early best-ball drafting. We'll see how soon he gets back onto the field. Denver sports a pair of intriguing 2nd-year wideouts in Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton.
The Bucs have hired Bruce Arians as their new HC. Byron Leftwich will serve as the OC, but it'll be Arians running the show. He was out of coaching this past year but spent the previous 5 seasons as the Cardinals' HC and also has 9 years of experience as an NFL OC. After struggling early in his career, Arians has landed 7 of his last 9 offenses inside the top 14 in total yards. He tends to lean toward the pass, with just 1 of those last 9 offenses ranking higher in rush attempts than pass attempts. All 9 of those units finished top 15 in pass yards, with 5 cracking the top 10. We'd expect a pass-leaning attack in Tampa Bay -- good news for QB Jameis Winston and WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin
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