Chiefs starters played 1 possession in Saturday's preseason opener against the Bears. JuJu Smith-Schuster led the WRs with 11 snaps, followed by Marquez Valdes-Scantling (9), Mecole Hardman (4) and Justin Watson (1), according to Pro Football Focus. Skyy Moore did not get onto the field with that unit. We'll see how that usage pattern develops through the preseason.
Patriots WR JuJu Smith-Schuster ran well behind veteran WR Kendrick Bourne and rookie WR Kayshon Boutte in Sunday's loss to the Eagles. Bourne led the WR corps with 73 offensive snaps and 54 routes among 58 Mac Jones dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Boutte ranked second with 55 snaps and 43 routes. Smith-Schuster played just 43 snaps and ran 27 routes, tying rookie WR Demario Douglas in the latter category. ESPN's Mike Reiss says that playing time "reflects him being managed to some degree." Smith-Schuster is dealing with a knee that required a cleanup procedure in the offseason. SI.com's Albert Breer recently said in a radio interview that the knee "is a mess and ... could explode at any point." Smith-Schuster still fared well in target rate. His 7 tied for second on the team, trailing only Bourne. But he turned them into just 33 yards on 4 catches. There's little to like about Smith-Schuster, who is cuttable in some leagues if you're looking for more upside on the waiver wire this week.
Patriots HC Bill Belichick said Tuesday that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is "ready to go" for the start of training camp. JuJu missed most of spring practices dealing with the knee injury he suffered in last year's AFC Championship Game. We'll see if it becomes an issue again at any point ahead of Week 1. Smith-Schuster isn't an exciting fantasy pick but does project as the favorite to lead New England in targets this year.
Patriots WR JuJu Smith-Schuster missed all of spring practices because of the knee injury he suffered in last year's AFC Championship Game, according to The Athletic's Chad Graff. Smith-Schuster was able to play in the Super Bowl, so it's surprising that this is still an issue four months later. The missed reps aren't ideal as JuJu works to settle into a new offense. We'll see if he's ready to go for the start of training camp next month.
Per ESPN's Mike Reiss, the Patriots are being "cautious" with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. Reiss signaled that the move stems from JuJu's knee injury in the AFC Championship game. New England is also looking to get 2nd-year WR Tyquan Thornton back to 100% following a "soft-tissue-related injury." We'll keep an eye on both players as training camp nears. Thornton, given his elite speed profile, remains worthy of a late best ball pick. Just note: DeAndre Hopkins is set to visit the Patriots this week.
The Patriots have agreed to terms on a three-year deal worth up to $33 million with WR JuJu Smith-Schuster. The former Chief and Steeler is set to earn $22.5 million in guaranteed money over the first two years of the contract, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Smith-Schuster immediately steps into the mix with an offense that lost WR Jakobi Meyers (a recent signee with the Raiders) and has a lot of work cut out for them. It's tough to say how much fantasy value Smith-Schuster, or any pass-catcher in the Patriots' offense, will have under new OC Bill O'Brien as of now. Even so, there's only room for QB Mac Jones and company to move upward and improve upon their 23rd-ranked aerial attack in Football Outsiders' passing offense DVOA last season. Smith-Schuster logged an impressive 78 receptions and 933 receiving yards as a member of the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs in 2022. The Patriots have a long way to go in righting the ship, but this is a solid step in the right direction.
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