Austin finished with 47 catches for 568 yards and two touchdowns, but missed four games due to a kidney injury. Over a full season his stats extrapolate to 63-757-2.7, which equate to fringe WR4-type numbers in PPR formats. This is certainly a system upgrade in Philadelphia. It's not clear what Austin's role will be, but he has plenty of experience playing in the slot from his days in Dallas, so the Eagles could elect to move Jordan Matthews outside. Austin figures to be fantasy relevant, though his days as a starter are probably over.
Bowe should start opposite Brian Hartline with Andrew Hawkins manning the slot. He hasn't finished in the top 40 since 2011, and while his QB play in Kansas City wasn't great, it's not like Josh McCown is an upgrade over Alex Smith. We're expecting more disappointing numbers from Bowe in 2015.
He'll join a receiving corps that already includes Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, so targets may be tough to come by, especially when the Bills go run-heavy under OC Greg Roman and HC Rex Ryan. Roman's (lack of) usage of Vernon Davis while with the 49ers is not a good sign for Clay. In Miami, Jordan Cameron gets a boost as the Dolphins' primary tight end. Clay was #10 in targets per game (6.0) last season. Cameron could be even more involved than Clay.
The deal is reportedly worth $38 million over five years with $20 million guaranteed. Clay's targets would be affected if he stayed in Miami after the Dolphins signed Jordan Cameron. If he ends up with the Bills, he'll join a receiving corps that already includes Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin, so targets may be tough to come by, especially if the Bills go run-heavy under OC Greg Roman and HC Rex Ryan. Roman's (lack of) usage of Vernon Davis while with the 49ers is not a good sign for Clay.
Starting with the Dolphins, this news is good for Jarvis Landry and the newly acquired Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron since Wallace's 7.2 targets per game are now up for grabs. In Minnesota, Wallace will likely start opposite Charles Johnson with Greg Jennings serving as the team's WR3. (Fantasy owners should not expect much from Cordarrelle Patterson in 2015.) We're wary any time a receiver changes teams, especially when he's not getting a promotion, which is the case here with Wallace. The acquisition is good news for Teddy Bridgewater, who averaged a solid 15.0 FP after his Week 10 bye. Those are QB2-type numbers, so with a year under his belt and Wallace in the mix, Bridgewater should be a good QBBC/streaming option in his second season.
Update: The deal is for $15 million over two years, which is what the Browns reportedly offered. Cameron wanted out of Cleveland.
Miami is a better landing spot than Cleveland. After finishing #5 in 2013, Cameron only posted 2.4 catches per game last season and finished #24 in standard formats. His targets dropped from 7.9 to 4.8 per game, which didn't make much sense since the Browns were without Josh Gordon for most of the season. He should see an increase in targets since the Dolphins gave Charles Clay 6.0 T/G in 2014 and 6.2 T/G over the last two years. Clay finished #13 in PPR PPG, and Cameron is probably an upgrade as a receiver. He’s a real threat to finish in the top 10 if he stays healthy. (Concussions are a concern.)
Update: He signed a two-year, $6 million contract.
After averaging 132 targets in the previous two seasons, Hartline's looks were cut in half in 2014 with the emergence of rookie WR Jarvis Landry. Hartline averaged 75 catches for 1,050 yards from 2012-2013, so he gives the Browns a functional, starter-caliber receiver. If this doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement, it's because it wasn't meant to be. Hartline may be able to provide 70+ catches and 1,000 yards, but he only has 12 touchdowns in 92 career games, so he'll be more useful in PPR formats than in standard leagues.
Update: Mallet signed a two-year, $7 million contract.
It looks like the Texans are going to move forward with Mallett and Brian Hoyer, who is also reportedly set to sign with the team (though it's not a done deal). In two games, Mallett completed 41 of 75 passes (54.7%) for 400 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions before tearing his pectoral muscle. He served as Tom Brady's understudy for three seasons so there is some optimism that he can turn into a quality NFL starter. He'll likely have to beat out Hoyer for the starting job.
Update: This deal is finalized.
Browns coach Mike Pettine visited Johnny Manziel in the treatment facility the quarterback checked into last month to let him know the team is proud he decided to seek help and he has the Browns’ support.
“He’s in a much better place now than before he went in,” Pettine said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s very determined to come out of it in a much better way.”
Despite that support, Pettine acknowledged the Browns are looking for other options at quarterback.
“It’s a position we’re going to look to address,” he said. “All options are on the table.”
Given the importance of the position, the Browns are wise (yes, wise) to continue to try to add talent at quarterback. Manziel still may turn into a capable starter, but at this point the franchise can't count on that happening.
Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 3:28pm
Browns writer Tony Grossi: Bumped into former Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner and one of the more depressing things he related was that Charles Johnson is “far and away our best receiver” on the Minnesota Vikings.
Johnson started playing significant snaps in Week 11, and over the final seven games of the season, he averaged 3.6 catches for 59 yards and 0.29 touchdowns. He was the #31 fantasy receiver in that span. He should continue to have plenty of opportunity to grow in Norv Turner's offense.
Gordon is serving his third NFL-imposed ban for violating the league's substance-abuse policy -- this time for a minimum of one year. He played just five games in 2014 after missing the first 10 games for failing a drug test last spring. The club also suspended him for the season finale for missing a walk-through.
Haslam was asked directly if the team planned to cut Gordon. The owner said the length of the suspension gives them time to decide his fate with the franchise.
"That's a decision that we will need to look at make a certain point," Haslam said. "He's out for a year so there's no huge hurry. We'll address that at the proper time."
Gordon is a tremendous talent, but has been unable to follow the league's strict substance abuse rules. He's out for the year, so he's not on the redraft radar unless something drastic happens.
Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said Wednesday that he still firmly believes Johnny Manziel can be a successful NFL starter if he gets his act together off the field.
"Absolutely,'' said Haslam in a 50-minute meeting with Browns beatwriters. "I ask that question a lot to our football people -- as recently as today. 'Do we still think he can be a starter in the NFL?' And the answer is consistently yes. I don't have the ability to judge that. I don't have that kind of technical expertise. Now, he's got to get himself straightened out and you've got to do that on the field, but yes.''
We'll see if the Browns do anything in the offseason via the draft or free agency to upgrade the position. Actions speak louder than words, especially during the spring and summer.
Bengals.com writer Geoff Hobson on the team's TE situation: It looks like there is a very good possibility they won’t re-sign Jermaine Gresham, but it’s not a pass catcher they need to replace. They’ve got that in Tyler Eifert. They’re going to need a big guy that can block the tall, lean, big pass rushers like Terrell Suggs. Gresham did a good job with that and I suspect they’ll have an easier time finding that guy in free agency rather than the draft. The guy won’t be the target that Gresham is, but they’ll still be able to play double tight end sets.
If Gresham is out of the way, Eifert should be a nice late-round pick provided he can stay healthy. He has good size and speed, and showed pretty good hands as a rookie. He only played about 60 percent of the snaps in 2013, and averaged 0.14 FP (PPR) per snap. Extrapolate the same production to 90 percent of the snaps (which is typical for a starting tight end), and Eifert shouldn't have any problem posting top 15 numbers. With solid improvement, he could very well be this year's Jordan Cameron (2013) or Travis Kelce (2014).
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