Shark Bites

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman injured his right knee in the 4th quarter of Thursday night's opener against the Eagles. He was deemed questionable to return but was on the sidelines for Atlanta's 2-minute drill at the end of the game. Freeman was shown walking around with no team doctors in sight, though, and didn't appear to be in pain. We'll look for updates on his status. He has 10 days to get ready for Week 2 against the Panthers.

The Titans announced Thursday that S Johnathan Cyprien will miss the 2018 season after tearing his left ACL in Wednesday's practice. Fortunately for Tennessee, the free-agent market remains oddly robust with safeties. Big names available include former 49er Eric Reid and former Saint Kenny Vaccaro. We'll see if the Titans add something. Cyprien disappointed IDP owners a year ago, in part because he lost 6 games to a hamstring injury.

Falcons WR Julio Jones' holdout is over before it even started. The team announced Wednesday night that Jones will report for the start of training camp after agreeing on a revised contract (the terms of which are undisclosed). So we can cross 1 big name off the list of holdouts. Jones remains a strong target at his early-2nd-round ADP.

Falcons WR Julio Jones will not report for the start of training camp as he angles for a new contract. Jones has 3 years remaining on his current deal but is "just" 9th among WRs in average annual salary. He's "comfortable" sitting out all of camp if he doesn't a new contract, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. At this point, though, there's no reason to believe Jones will miss the regular season, so we're not moving him in the WR rankings. We'll continue to track the situation.

Falcons WR Julio Jones did not report for the start of mandatory minicamp on Monday as he angles for a new contract. Jones has 3 years left on his current deal but is "only" the league's 8th highest paid WR in average annual salary. "We have been in contact with Julio and his representation," GM Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. "We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive." We'll see how long this standoff lasts. But for now, we're not adjusting our projections for Jones.

Falcons TE Austin Hooper has spent "a lot of 1-on-1 time" with QB Matt Ryan this offseason, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. Hooper turned in a promising 2nd season, hauling in 49 of 65 targets (75.4% catch rate) for 526 yards and 3 scores. He's capable of making another leap in 2018. The question is whether there are enough targets to turn Hooper into a TE1. He ranked just 17th among TEs in targets last year and now has to contend with 1st-round rookie WR Calvin Ridley joining Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu.

The Patriots waited until Round 7 to take a QB, then chose LSU's Danny Etling with the 1st pick of the round. Many expected New England to take a potential successor to Tom Brady in this draft. We'll see what Etling becomes, but chances stand against it being the next Patriots starter.

The Falcons added Southern Miss RB Ito Smith in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Smith topped 1,100 rushing yards each of the past 3 seasons and left school with a solid 5.5 yards per carry average. He’s also a strong pass-catcher, averaging 10.3 yards per catch on 140 career grabs. At 5’9 and 195 pounds, he projects as a change-of-pace option at the next level. He has a shot to step in as Atlanta’s #2 RB if Tevin Coleman walks in free agency next offseason.

The Falcons selected Alabama WR Calvin Ridley with the 26th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Ridley broke Amari Cooper’s school record for receiving yards by a freshman with 1,045 in 2015. He didn’t reach 1,000 yards in either his final 2 seasons, although Alabama’s passing game wasn’t as effective. Consider that Ridley posted a 63.6% catch rate last year, while all other Tide wideouts combined to haul in just 52.0% of their targets. Ridley is arriving from a pro-style offense and is 1 of the best route runners in the draft class. In other words, he’s about as pro-ready as they come. The concerns are that he’s small (6’0, 189 pounds), unathletic (8th percentile SPARQ score) and relatively old (he’ll turn 24 in December). It all makes it tough to get excited about his upside. So does the fact that he’s stuck with target hog Julio Jones in the short term. Ridley will battle with Mohamed Sanu for #2 on the totem pole.

Falcons WR Justin Hardy recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. Recovery is expected to take just "a few weeks," per ESPN's Vaughn McClure, so Hardy's offseason shouldn't be impacted much. He was a non-factor in fantasy this season, finishing with a 20-221-3 line on 29 targets. Hardy could see a few extra looks in 2018 if WR Taylor Gabriel departs in free agency, but he still won't be worth a pick in fantasy drafts.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman told reporters after Saturday's season-ending loss in Philadelphia that he's been playing through MCL and PCL sprains. He was on the injury report with a knee for both the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds, so it looks like the injuries occurred in Week 17. Freeman is hoping to avoid surgery, but we'll keep tabs on him this offseason. He set 3-year lows in carries, rushing yards, catches, receiving yards and total TDs in 2017 -- although he still finished 13th among RBs in PPR points. Freeman is still in the thick of his prime, turning 26 in March.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (ankle) isn't listed on the team's final injury report for Saturday night's game against the Rams. HC Dan Quinn said Freeman had "no limitations" in Thursday's practice. So it doesn't sound like the knee will be a concern. Freeman boasts plenty of upside vs. a Rams defense that's allowed 4.5 yards per carry to RBs over the past 5 weeks.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was held out of Tuesday's practice and listed on the injury report with a knee. HC Dan Quinn said that Freeman will get in some work on Wednesday -- and that he's "encouraged" about his status for Saturday night's game against the Rams. This will be a situation to monitor closely over the next few days, though. Atlanta's best chance of pulling the upset this weekend is by attacking an L.A. run defense that sits 22nd in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) isn’t listed on the final injury report after putting in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. There was never any concern about his status for this weekend’s game against the Saints. Jones remains a WR1 for that one.

Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. We don't have any details on the injury and haven't heard anything to suggest he's in danger of missing this weekend's game against the Saints. But check back tomorrow for another update.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien (back) is active for today's game against the 49ers. He remains a high-risk IDP option after missing the full week of practice.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien is questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers. He missed practice all week with a lower-back injury. We'd try not to use him in IDP lineups even if he turns up active. We'll have to wait until about 3 p.m. ET Sunday to update his game status.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, despite playing 97% of the snaps in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. The injury report on the team website lists "hamstring," but The Tennessean reports that he's dealing with a lower-back issue. The hamstring would be more worrisome, given that it cost him 6 games in the 1st half of the season. Either way, we'll keep an eye on his status heading into the weekend.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (concussion) put in a full week of practice and will return for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. He should step back in as Atlanta’s lead back but is more of a high-end RB2 vs. Minnesota’s 2nd-ranked RB defense. Tevin Coleman reverts back to RB3/flex status.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman has cleared the concussion protocol and will practice on Wednesday, HC Dan Quinn said. Barring a setback, Freeman will return for this weekend's game against the Vikings. He averaged 14.3 carries and 3 targets in his 8 full games this season and should see a similar workload on Sunday. RB Tevin Coleman is back to RB3/flex status.


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