Updating a previous item, Adam Schefter has confirmed that the NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Ian Rapoport also reported that in addition to the suspension, Winston must meet certain criteria related to his conduct in order to return to the field. This suspension could come as early as tomorrow, or next week.
This will not be an ideal start to the 2018 season for Winston, who is now entering year four of his NFL career. Ryan Fitzpatrick figures to start the first three games of the season for the Bucs. In 2017, Fitzpatrick completed just 14-of-33 passes sent the way of top wideout Mike Evans, meaning this suspension could prove to be a huge blow to Evans' early-season value. DeSean Jackson, meanwhile, could stand to benefit from the quarterback swap. He caught 60 percent of his 30 targets from Fitzpatrick in 2017, scoring two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick also completed 7-of-10 passes to O.J. Howard for 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 7-of-15 passes to Cameron Brate for 74 yards and a score. The three-game suspension effectively kills Winston’s draft value, which was already lingering in the double-digit rounds.
Now that the legal system has run its course on Anderson's offseason run-ins with the law, we will see what the NFL does in terms of discipline. After being arrested twice in a nine-month span, the league could look to send a message. A suspension would be unlikely to extend past the first two games of the season.
“It would be a mild surprise if the Falcons extended the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver's contract since he has three years remaining,” Corry said. “It's more likely for the Falcons to make a minor adjustment to Jones' contract by adding unlikely-to-be-earned incentives or increasing his 2018 compensation by taking money from his 2019 base salary.”
Similar moves have been made to placate other elite skill players such as Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. Whether or not this would be enough for Jones to end his holdout remains to be seen, but we've seen time and time again that NFL players lack a lot of leverage in these circumstances. Expect Jones to start out wide for the Falcons come Week 1.
“Obviously, (we want to move Mariota) around, get him out of the pocket,” Vrabel said. “That’s something that he does as a special player with his athletic ability, and his ability to throw on the move.”
Added LaFleur: “You don't ever want to take that element, that creativity, his ability to create off-schedule … you never want to take that away from a quarterback that has the athleticism that Marcus has.”
After accumulating over 2,200 rushing yards in three collegiate seasons, it has been a bit disappointing that Mariota has only rushed for 913 yards in three NFL seasons. That said, it sounds like the new coaching staff is going to take the shackles off of the offense, and that should yield more fantasy production for Mariota. Of 13 quarterbacks with at least 40 rush attempts in 2017, Mariota was second only to Dak Prescott in fantasy points per rush. He should break his career-high of 60 attempts in 2018.
“The Winston camp is prepared for the NFL to levy a suspension of some kind,” Cameron said. “The thought from the Winston camp is that would be a maximum of three games. I do not know at this time whether or not they plan to appeal, and I do not know that three games is an accurate number. I’ve been told that would seem to be the maximum number of games that the suspension could be. It’s also likely that it’s less than that and it’s one game.”
This would be a huge blow to the young quarterback entering his fourth NFL season, who made major strides in 2017 when he wasn't dealing with an injury. In the 11 games Winston threw at least 15 passes, he averaged over 300 passing yards—20 more yards than NFL-leader Tom Brady. Ryan Fitzpatrick figures to get the start in any games Winston is forced to miss.
“Came in last year and obviously proved to us that he can handle it,” Pederson said. “He’s definitely going into camp as the No. 1 guy. It takes nothing away from what Corey [Clement] did or what [Darren] Sproles has done here, Wendell [Smallwood], [RB Donnel Pumphrey] is coming back, Matt Jones. You’ve got guys that are going to compete in that role.”
Pederson did add that the Eagles will still rotate running backs, but this is night and day from a year ago when he didn't name a lead back prior to the season. Ajayi got off to a slow start with Philadelphia after being traded from the Dolphins, but averaged 13.8 carries and 1.8 receptions over his final six appearances (including the playoffs). Ajayi could flirt with the 260 carries he had with Miami in 2016 when he finished as the No. 11 running back in PPR leagues.
Kirk Cousins‘ connection with his new receivers is a work in progress.
The Vikings quarterback invited Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to Atlanta in April for a throwing session before organized team activities. They continued to get to know each other during the team’s offseason program.
“It’s a process of saying, ‘Hey, this is the way I’ve done if for six years. You’ve done it a different way for five years. Let’s try to talk about why you’ve had success, why I’ve had success. Let’s find some middle ground; let’s decide whether I’m going to learn your way, you’re going to learn my way,'” Cousins said, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.
Cousins has no firm plans to work with his receivers off site before training camp, but feeling “a little behind the eight ball,” he will stay in his playbook, the story said.
“He’s in the long mold of those Red Raiders,” Texans receivers coach John Perry said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He’s done a good job. He’s working hard. He shows up every day. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. If he continues to do that, I can see him moving forward.”
Miller is said to be "on the right path" after offseason workouts, however, he hasn't been able to stay on the field, which gives Coutee a solid chance to play a significant fantasy role this year. Keep his name on your radar.
Vinatieri is well within striking distance of the NFL records for career points and field goals, both of which are currently held by Morten Andersen, and he’ll close in on others with a season that’s in line with what he’s done during his first 22 years in the league. If he does post such a season, it sounds like he’ll be looking to continue to pad his totals during the 2019 season as well.
Vinatieri was quoted as saying he loves playing in the NFL today as much as he did 23 years ago when he started. He added he's not looking to hang up his cleats anytime soon.
For the first time in his NFL career, Marcus Mariota is enjoying an offseason without the pain and burden of rehabbing an injury.
It’s allowed him to focus on football, and after tossing more interceptions than touchdowns in 2017, the Titans’ franchise quarterback is retooling his mechanics, notably working to widen his stance when throwing the football. The improved legwork should increase his accuracy.
The story said Mariota is also working to stay on the field, which is partially tied to his decision-making outside the pocket. The team wants him to play smarter when he's on the run. He's entering his fourth season but has yet to play a full 16 games because of injuries.
Colts tight end Eric Ebron was a draft bust in Detroit, but he might be ready to make his mark in Indianapolis.
That’s the word after the Colts wrapped up their offseason workouts, and coach Frank Reich said he loved what he saw of Ebron.
“He’s really smart,” Reich said of Ebron, via the Indianapolis Star. “I knew that because we did our homework before he got here. We knew he was a smart player. But he’s like really a highly intelligent football player. And that’s really good because you want to use a guy with the versatility that he has and move him around and call all kinds of things with him. That helps. And he’s an explosive athlete.”
A year after the Browns thrust then-rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer into a Week One starting role, the Browns appear intent to do the opposite with their latest rookie QB, keeping quarterback Baker Mayfield on ice for as long as possible.
If that’s the plan, Mayfield is making it easy for the decision makers to implement their strategy. Here’s an assessment of the competition, if there is one, between Mayfield and Tyrod Taylor, from Dan Labbe of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: “This is where I tell you that, based on the six practices of OTAs and minicamp that were open to the media, Mayfield did not look ready to compete with Taylor for the No. 1 quarterback job.”
Keep in mind it's only been six practices and things can change quickly, but as of now, it seems as if the deck is stacked in Taylor's favor, as the story put it.
Don’t expect any one running back to carry the load in Green Bay this season.
“The fact of the matter is we’re going to go running back by committee,” McCarthy told ESPN. “But if one of them would emerge as that full-time guy then you have to have that ability to...adjust to that."
Things can change quickly in the NFL. Just because the Packers are planning to do this now, in June, it doesn't mean that's how things will end up come September. However, it doesn't make fantasy life easy for those drafting sooner than later. In PPR leagues, we currently have Williams ranked as our No. 45 RB, Montgomery is our No. 51 ranked RB, and Jones comes in as our No. 54 ranked RB. Williams and Jones sport 10th-round ADPs, while Montgomery is being drafted, on average, in the 14th round.
Kenny Golladay is 6-foot-4. He's listed at 218 pounds. He has 4.5 speed and can jump through the building.
And that's part of what makes him an excellent candidate to become the offense's breakout player of the year.
Golladay showed flashes last year when he caught 28 passes for 477 yards and 3 touchdowns. But if the offseason program is any indication, he's headed for even bigger things in 2018. He consistently chewed up the first-team defense, especially in the red zone, where he so deftly uses that rangy frame to go up and get passes even the likes of Darius Slay can't get to, according to the story. But fantasy expectations probably still need to be tempered for now because Tate and Jones still have a presence.
According to Albert Breer of SI.com, the Colts plan to limit Andrew Luck’s work throughout the summer to make sure there are no setbacks, including days off during training camp. They also plan to monitor his practice reps, to try to mirror his workload during the regular season.
Seems like Luck is still very much recovering from his shoulder injury. However, it seems like it's going to continue to put him behind in terms of repetitions and learning the new system.
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