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RB Adrian Peterson to visit Patriots Monday

Sunday, April 2, 2017, 7:35pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Sunday's news that the Patriots will be hosting RB Adrian Peterson on a visit, reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, seems to be a reflection of how the dynamics have changed.

If a potential contract is closer to minimum levels, or structured in a way in which it is heavy with incentives, maybe it could be a fit for Bill Belichick's club. Or, at the least, the Patriots now have more motivation to explore if it could be a fit.

That seems like the best way to sum up Monday's meeting.

Related players: James White, Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, D.J. Foster

Fantasy Impact:

Many didn't think Peterson would be a fit for the Pats, mainly because of cost. It's also a deep RB class in this year's draft and Peterson is challenged in pass protection. The Pats could use a power back, however, and it seems as if they are doing their due diligence with Peterson.

49ers sign RB Tim Hightower

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 7:30pm - [Full Article]

The 49ers added some much-needed depth at running back, agreeing to terms with Tim Hightower, general manager John Lynch announced Saturday. Hightower becomes the second running back to join the Niners this week, along with DuJuan Harris, who re-signed with the team on March 28.

Related players - Carlos Hyde

Fantasy Impact:

Hightower will battle Harris for the leftover carries not given to entrenched starter Carlos Hyde, and will be able to look forward to running behind newly acquired fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Some beat writers in New Orleans last year thought HIghtower was the better runner between he and Mark Ingram, but HIghtower will be 31 by the start of the season.

Redskins Beat: Expectations low for QB Kirk Cousins deal

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 10:28am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Mine [expectations for a Kirk Cousins deal] are rather low. Some people I know think it should be even lower. Maybe it changes, but that's the feeling now. I know the Redskins say they'll get a deal done, but I also think they've waited too long to make an offer that tempts Cousins. That said, they've still been willing to pay him $44 million over two years. It's not as if he's been done wrong financially thanks to the franchise tag. Still, at some point it won't be about the money for him; if free, he can get a similar deal elsewhere.

Fantasy Impact:

The story said their is really no update on the contract. Word surfaced the team offered Cousins around $20 million per year for five years on top of the 2017 franchise tag but the guarantees were low. The story went on to say at this point, there's more incentive for Cousins to wait and see how things play out in Washington -- the direction of the franchise, how he meshes with coach Jay Gruden as a playcaller, etc. Cousins can become a free agent next offseason (unless the Redskins tag him for a third and final time).

Tomlin on Ben Roethlisberger: 'It's not an issue for me'

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 10:19am - [Full Article]

Coach Mike Tomlin has talked to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger multiple times this offseason, hitting on all of the normal topics the two usually address in the offseason.

“We’ve been in pretty fluid conversation,” said Tomlin while attending the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. “I hear he’s in some big-game hunting with Jim Kelly in New Zealand. We spoke before he went on that trip. We’ve had some good, fluid discussions. But really, normal discussions that we have this time of year, keeping him abreast of what’s going on in free agency, how the draft is potentially shaping up, normal, fluid conversations you have with your veteran franchise quarterback.”

There is one topic that really hasn’t come up much, though, and that is Roethlisberger’s comments made shortly after the season when he hinted at potential retirement.

“Ben is answering questions," Tomlin said. "Sometimes in an effort to be transparent and answer the question as honestly you can, it produces other questions. It’s not an issue for me. I understand the nature of the conversation and how this discussion got started. He is going through his normal procedure. The older he gets, the more direct questions he gets in that regard. You guys ran with it. That is your right and responsibility. It’s not my responsibility to overreact to it.”

Fantasy Impact:

At the end of the season, Big Ben said he was going to take time in the offseason to evaluate and consider all his options, including his health, family and age. It would be hard to imagine Ben calling it quits at this point, especially with a dynamic offense surrounding him.

Friday, March 31, 2017, 10:00pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Receiving tight end Gavin Escobar never truly caught on during four seasons in Dallas.

He found a fresh start on Friday.

The former Cowboys second-round pick will sign a one-year deal with the Chiefs, Adam Caplan of ESPN reported. Escobar caught fewer than 10 passes in each of his years with Dallas.

Related players - Travis Kelce

Fantasy Impact:

Kelce is coming off shoulder surgery but is expected to be ready for the start of camp. Escobar was thought to be the successor to Jason Witten in Dallas and is a former second round draft pick, ironically picked ahead of Kelce and Jordan Reed.

Friday, March 31, 2017, 9:55pm

Pro Football talk - [Full Article]

Via Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, veteran quarterback Case Keenum has signed with the Vikings.

Fantasy Impact:

There remains uncertainty about Teddy Bridgewater, so the team needed another veteran arm. He'll sit behind Sam Bradford and compete with Taylor Heinicke as the backup.

Pete Carroll excited about healthy RB Thomas Rawls, TE Jimmy Graham

Friday, March 31, 2017, 9:46pm

Seattle Times - [Full Article]

This offseason, Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham and RB Thomas Rawls are healthy and HC Pete Carroll seemed like he could hardly contain his excitement at that thought. As he also could have noted but didn’t, it’s also the first full offseason for each healthy and as a Seahawk. Two years ago, Rawls didn’t join the team until signing as an undrafted free agent following the draft while Graham was traded to the Seahawks in March.

But this year, each headed into the offseason with a clear understanding of what the team expects  and a full off-season to try to get that done.

Fantasy Impact:

As Carroll noted, this time a year ago, Graham and Rawls were each limited in their offseason work, resigned to rehabbing from significant injuries that had knocked them out the year before. Rawls' fantasy value likely loses some luster with the signing of Eddie Lacy and the return of injured C.J. Prosise. It's the final year of deals for both Graham and Rawls.

Zimmer: Latavius Murray may not be every down back

Friday, March 31, 2017, 10:15am - [Full Article]

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer said that RB Latavius Murray’s signing doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be an every-down back, but he’s confident that Murray will help improve a run game that struggled in 2016.

According to the head coach, Minnesota’s rushing performance last season caused its offense to be one-dimensional. The Vikings were forced to continually pass because of an inability to gain any momentum on the ground.

“It allowed opposing defenses to lay their ears back, play a lot of coverage,” Zimmer said. “So in a perfect world, I want to be able to run the football, [use] play action and still be able to throw like we were able to throw it.”

Related players: Jerick McKinnon

Fantasy Impact:

Jerick McKinnon will likely continue to get work, but the good news is Zimmer did compliment Murray on his pass protection and pass catching, so it seems like he could be on the field in any situation. Murray should continue to get chances at in-close touchdowns, too. Right now we have Murray ranked 22nd on our RB list.

Chiefs Beat: Feature back role could be split

Friday, March 31, 2017, 8:05am

ESPN - [Full Article]

From the look of things in late March, it doesn’t appear the Chiefs will have a player get to 1,000 yards rushing next season either. Their featured-back role could be split between Spencer Ware, a soon-to-be-acquired rookie and perhaps either Charcandrick West or recently signed veteran C.J. Spiller.

Fantasy Impact:

The story was mainly about the author feeling the team shouldn't give up on Ware, despite his struggles over the second half after a concussion. It seems pretty likely the Chiefs will be drafting a running back who could make an immediate impact so it looks as if this backfield will need to be sorted out from a fantasy angle. Right now we have Ware ranked 15th so there's still RB2 value.

McCarthy: Ty Montgomery 'definitely' has the ability to be a No. 1 back

Thursday, March 30, 2017, 12:06pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Mike McCarthy doesn’t look at Ty Montgomery as a receiver anymore. But does the Green Bay Packers coach consider the third-year pro a No. 1 running back after Montgomery made the full-time position switch midway through last season?

"I think Ty definitely has that ability,” McCarthy told reporters at the NFL annual meetings in Phoenix.

Montgomery averaged a remarkable 5.9 yards per carry last regular season, and he rushed for three touchdowns in the regular season and two more in the playoffs.

Still, there’s a big difference between the 77 carries Montgomery had in the regular season and the 239 carries that Eddie Lacy averaged per year over his first three NFL seasons. When Lacy signed with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency earlier this month, it left Montgomery as the Packers’ only running back. Since then, they re-signed Christine Michael to a one-year deal, but it contained almost no guaranteed money (just a $25,000 signing bonus) and his spot on the opening-day roster is far from assured.

This is a key offseason for Montgomery, who last spring spent the majority of his time working with receivers coach Luke Getsy. This offseason, he’ll work almost exclusively with running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who was instrumental in the conversion process for Montgomery last season.

Fantasy Impact:

Montgomery started getting significant playing time in Week 6, and from that point on, he averaged 73 total yards and 0.27 TD, not including the playoffs. This resulted in 13.0 PPG in PPR formats and 9.0 PPG in standard in that span. In two healthy playoff games (versus the Giants and the Cowboys) he gained a combined 149 yards and found the end zone twice. His fantasy stock in 2017 will depend largely on what else the Packers do at the position. Montgomery is best suited to be part of a committee since he's already shown a tendency to get dinged up. He'll be a PPR option in the middle rounds.

Browns taking wait-and-see approach with WR Josh Gordon

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 4:12pm - [Full Article]

Are the Browns willing to part ways with eternally suspended wideout Josh Gordon?

It doesn't sound like it.

"We're not in a position at wide receiver to turn down a guy like Josh if we feel like he's settled himself," Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown said Tuesday at the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, per the Akron Beacon Journal.

In the process of applying for NFL reinstatement, Gordon hasn't appeared in a regular-season game since 2014. The 25-year-old wideout voluntarily entered an in-patient rehabilitation facility last October to, as he stated, "gain full control of my life."

"Now, that's a separate question," Brown said of Gordon's off-the-field issues, "but Josh is going to have an opportunity to reapply to the NFL, and, at that time, we'll make a decision when we know what's going on."

Fantasy Impact:

Back in 2013, Gordon set the league on fire with 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in just 14 games. He followed that up with just 303 yards and zero touchdowns in five games in 2014. He's been suspended since then, but the Browns wouldn't be doing their due diligence if they didn't evaluate Gordon's current ability to contribute to the team.

Hue Jackson believes Rex Burkhead is 'going to flourish' in New England

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 4:08pm

CSN NE - [Full Article]

Before he was hired as Browns head coach last season, Hue Jackson worked closely with Rex Burkhead for three years and saw the 5-foot-10, 210-pounder's versatile skill set on a daily basis. With the Patriots, under Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels, Jackson believes Burkhead has a chance to see that skill set maximized.

"He's very talented," Jackson said during the league meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. "He's a guy that was playing behind some very talented players [with the Bengals], and so he's going to get his opportunity now, and he's going to flourish. He's a really good player. A really good player.

"He's very versatile because he's a good runner, a good pass-catcher. He's a good blocker. He's very bright. He's been a sensational special teams player there so he brings a lot of different elements to that football team."

Fantasy Impact:

With Giovani Bernard sidelined, Burkhead averaged 10.8 touches for 56 yards as the change-of-pace back. Then, in Week 17 with Jeremy Hill also out, Burkhead turned in an epic 29-touch, 144-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Ravens. As a junior at Nebraska, Burkhead rushed for 1,357 yards and scored 17 total touchdowns. He's currently first in line for goal line carries and could see his role grow from there.

Cardinals moving Andre Ellington to receiver

Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 4:05pm

Darren Urban - [Full Article]

HC Bruce Arians said Andre Ellington is coming back as a wide receiver. Will meet in the wide receivers room.

Fantasy Impact:

This could result in a significant boost to his stock, especially in PPR formats. This leaves Kerwynn Williams as the primary backup to David Johnson, though it's conceivable that Ellington could fill in if something were to happen to Johnson. Ellington will fight for targets behind Larry Fitzgerald.

Lions RB Theo Riddick recovering from surgery on both wrists

Sunday, March 26, 2017, 4:35pm

Detroit Free Press - [Full Article]

Theo Riddick, who missed the final month of the regular season last year, had surgery on both of his wrists, which prompted his season-ending trip to injured reserve, two people familiar with the procedure told the Free Press. They would not go on record because they are not authorized to talk about it publicly.

The Lions did not announce Riddick's surgery at the time he went on IR, and Riddick declined comment on his injury after the season, while he was wearing a cast on his left wrist.

Riddick is expected to be a full participant in organized team activities later this spring, but his injury is another consideration for a Lions team looking at possibly upgrading its backfield this off-season.

Fantasy Impact:

Riddick's per game average of 16.2 fantasy points (PPR) was the 8th-highest at his position. With Ameer Abdullah also returning from injury, Riddick may not see as many carries, but he should continue to play a big role in the passing game. He averaged 5.3 catches per game last year.

Panthers extend RB Jonathan Stewart through 2018

Friday, March 24, 2017, 3:18pm - [Full Article]

The Carolina Panthers want running back Jonathan Stewart around beyond 2017.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Carolina extended Stewart's contract one year, meaning he's signed through 2018.

The 30-year-old running back was slated to count $8.5 million against the salary cap in 2017. The extension alleviates part of that hefty number this season, while giving Stewart some security for next year.

This type of extension for a veteran is a common move for teams to earn cap space in the short term. What it secures, is that Stewart -- a player some thought could be a surprise cap casualty -- is in the Panthers' plans at least this season and perhaps beyond.

Fantasy Impact:

Stewart finished as the #28 fantasy running back (PPR) even though he missed three games and a large portion of a fourth. Stewart's 2017 value will depend in large part on what the Panthers do in the draft (and the rest of free agency).

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