Recent NFL Player News
Packers' Jimmy Graham could be split out wide more often this season
Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham could be used more often as a wide receiver this year, according to Packers News' Aaron Nagler.
This would certainly be a boost to Graham's yardage potential. Though he scored 10 times last season and led the league in red-zone targets, Graham totaled just 520 receiving yards, the lowest output since his rookie season.
We project Graham to finish the season with 77.3 receptions, 816.4 receiving yards, and 5.7 receiving touchdowns.
Jets' ArDarius Stewart reportedly suspended 2 games for PEDs
New York Jets wide receiver ArDarius Stewart has been suspended two games by the NFL for violating the league’s PEDs policy, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Stewart finished his rookie season with just 6 catches and 82 scoreless yards on 13 targets after being drafted in the third round out of the University of Alabama. He will be eligible to return in Week 3.
Prior to this, numberFire's models projected Stewart to catch 19.4 passes (39.6 targets) for 232.2 yards and 1.50 touchdowns in 2018, placing him outside the top-100 receivers in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Deshaun Watson (knee) expects to be 'full-go' at Texans training camp
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (knee) expects to be "full-go" for training camp next week.
“I feel great,” Watson said. “I’m getting ready for next week when we report to The Greenbrier; I’m going to be full-go." His rookie campaign was cut short when the talented young quarterback tore his ACL during a November 2 practice.
numberFire's models project Watson to throw for 3,845.8 yards with 30.58 touchdowns and 14.2 interceptions during the 2018 season, with another 372.8 yards and 3.55 scores on the ground. He's the QB5 in our preseason fantasy football rankings.
Robby Anderson expected to evolve for Jets this season
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson will "explode and become a more complete player" this season, believes position coach Karl Dorrell.
“There are some different roles on our team, doing secondary jobs to help other people out and I think that is something he will learn and grow with,” Dorrell said. “He’ll be better at that now that he knows the scope of it. I think Robby is really going to explode and become a more complete player because of it." Anderson finished with 941 yards and 7 touchdowns in 16 games for the Jets in 2017.
numberFire's models project Anderson for 884.5 receiving yards and 4.33 touchdowns on 63.6 catches (117.7 targets) this upcoming season. He is currently the WR31 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Allen Robinson (knee) to enter Bears' training camp without restrictions
Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (knee) avoided the PUP list for the start of training camp.
Robinson tore his ACL in the first game of the season last year while with the Jacksonville Jaguars but it sounds like he will be ready to roll for his Bears debut in Week 1, barring any unfortunate developments during training camp and the preseason. The 2014 second-round pick turns 25 next month.
numberFire's early models project Robinson to catch 75.2 passes (121.3 targets) for 1,031.8 yards and 5.78 touchdowns in 2018. He's the WR
Julio Jones reportedly won't receive new deal from Falcons
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has been informed by the team that he will not receive a new contract this year, reports The Athletic's Jeff Schultz.
Jones held out through OTAs and minicamp but the Falcons are hopeful he will report to training camp on time. If Jones continues to skip practice, he could be fined for every session he misses. After Brandin Cooks signed a new deal with the Los Angeles Rams earlier this week, Jones is now the ninth-highest paid receiver in the league, per Spotrac. The two-time All-Pro turned 29 in February and is entering his eighth year in the league.
numberFire's models project Jones for 98.6 catches (163.2 targets), 1,541.5 yards, and 7.74 touchdowns in 2018, making him the WR2 in our 2018 preseason fantasy rankings.
Packers' Randall Cobb out of walking boot, feels 'great'
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (foot) is no longer sporting a walking boot.
Cobb was spotted in a walking boot last month but says it was "for protection" and that he will be "involved" at training camp, although there could be some restrictions from the medical staff. That said, there aren't any concerns about the wideout's status for Week 1. "I look great. I feel great," Cobb declared. He will celebrate his 28th birthday next month.
numberFire's models currently project Cobb to catch 73.4 passes (106.6 targets) for 772.5 yards and 5.05 touchdowns in 2018. He's the WR33 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Saints add Shane Vereen to backfield
The New Orleans Saints signed free agent running back Shane Vereen, formerly of the New York Giants.
Vereen, 29, has more receiving yards (1,865) than rushing yards (1,489) through seven seasons in the league, but he's only found the end zone once over the past two campaigns (21 games). The Saints also signed Terrance West earlier this offseason and drafted Boston West in the sixth round, so Vereen may not be a lock to make the final roster behind Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Trey Edmunds and Jonathan Williams are also in the mix.
Vereen finished with 417 scoreless yards on 45 carries and 44 receptions (53 targets) for the Giants last season.
Cardinals' Ricky Seals-Jones arrested for assault
Arizona Cardinals tight end Ricky Seals-Jones was arrested and charged with assault, disorderly conduct, and criminal trespassing in Scottsdale, Arizona this past Saturday.
Seals-Jones apparently shoved an employee who denied him access to a guests-only bathroom at the W Hotel in Scottsdale. It sounds relatively minor but the NFL has the authority to discipline players as they seem fit, so there could be a suspension somewhere down the line. Seals-Jones, a second-year undrafted free agent, turned 23 in March and is expected to open the season as the Cardinals' starting tight end.
numberFire's models currently project Seals-Jones to haul in 34.3 catches (63.1 targets) for 402.3 receiving yards and 4.90 touchdowns in the 2018 season. He's the TE19 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Rams ink Brandin Cooks to a 5-year contract extension
The Los Angeles Rams have signed wide receiver Brandin Cooks to a 5-year contract extension, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Cooks was set to become a free agent at the end of the season, but locked up through 2023, the 24-year-old is clearly in the long-term plans for the Rams' offense.
numberFire's models project Cooks for 66.1 receptions, 975.8 yards and 7.4 touchdowns on 120.7 targets this year. He is our 18th-ranked fantasy wideout for the season.
Steelers' Le'Veon Bell expected to skip training camp, report for Week 1
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell is expected to skip training camp but report for Week 1, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.
This is the same thing Bell did last season, and is not a huge surprise after the sides failed to come to terms on an extension that would keep Bell in Pittsburgh beyond 2018. Fowler reports that it would "be a shock" if Bell held out for any regular season games.
numberFire's models expect Bell to see a huge workload again this year. We project him for 1398.8 yards and 10.2 touchdowns on 315.2 carries, as well as 662.9 yards and 2.8 touchdowns on 81.5 receptions.
Saints' Cameron Meredith (knee) hopes to be ready for training camp
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Cameron Meredith (knee) is hopeful that he will be cleared for the start of training camp.
Mereith tore his ACL last season, and back in May the Saints commented that he was "way ahead of schedule" in his recovery. If he can't go in the start of training camp, Ted Ginn could push for a bigger role while rookie Tre'Quan Smith may see some additional opportunity. With a chance that he's ready for training camp, expect Meredith to be ready for game action by Week 1.
As a sophomore in 2016 (his only full season in the NFL), Meredith turned 97 targets into 66 receptions, 888 yards and 4 touchdowns. Our models project him for 39.7 receptions, 513.7 yards and 3.1 touchdowns on 68.1 targets this year.
Earl Thomas would like to be traded if Seahawks don't offer contract extension
Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas want to be traded if the team does not sign him to a contract extension.
Thomas is on the last year of his deal, and stands to make $8.5 million in 2018. He has threatened a holdout for training camp, and is targeting $12 million per year for his next contract.
The Seahawks finished eighth in numberFire's Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play metric last year, but after already losing Richard Sherman, losing Thomas would be another big blow to their secondary.
Rob Gronkowski won't hold out for Patriots' training camp
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will not hold out from training camp, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Gronk skipped the team's voluntary OTA's, but he reported to mandatory minicamp and will not hold out from training camp. He is set to earn $17 million over the next two years if he were to play out his current contract, but a restructure is likely.
Gronkowski played 14 games in 2017, turning 105 targets into 69 receptions, 1084 yards and 8 touchdowns. numberFire's models project him for 71.5 receptions, 1010.2 yards and 12.5 touchdowns on 108.0 targets in 2018.
Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald open to playing beyond 2018
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald won't rule out playing beyond the 2018 season.
The 34-year-old Fitzgerald will reach the end of his contract at the end of the 2018 season, but he has said that if he does pursue a new deal, the Cardinals are the only team he will consider.
Fitzgerald is coming off his third-straight season with at least 100 receptions, having caught 109 of his 161 targets, notching 1156 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2017. numberFire's models project him to fall just shy of 100 receptions, with 99.9 for 1055.1 yards and 5.7 touchdowns on 150.3 targets this year.
Ravens' Kenneth Dixon (knee) fully cleared to start training camp
Baltimore Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon is not on the active/PUP list to begin training camp.
Dixon missed all of the 2017 season after suffering a torn meniscus which required a full repair last summer, so it's encouraging to see him fully cleared heading into training camp. The 24-year-old back will likely compete with Buck Allen for a secondary role in the Ravens' backfield behind Alex Collins.
numberFire's models project Dixon to total 513.4 yards from scrimmage and 3.26 offensive touchdowns on 84.9 touches (33.5 catches) this season. He falls just inside the top-60 running backs in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence will play under franchise tag
Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence will play under the franchise tag this season.
Lawrence has no qualms with playing and earning a long-term deal this season but he will not play under the tag again in 2019, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. The 26-year-old lineman will make $17.1 million guaranteed this season as the Cowboys' franchise player.
Lawrence recorded 15 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 16 games last season.
Le'Veon Bell to play under tag again, likely done with Steelers after 2018
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell will play under the franchise tag for a second straight season.
The two sides failed to reach a long-term agreement, and as a result, Bell likely won't return to the Steelers after this season, his agent, Adisa Bakari, told ESPN's Adam Schefter. "It became clear the Steelers wanted to pay the position, not the player," Bakari said. Last season, Bell sat out all of training camp and didn't report to the Steelers until nine days before Week 1, and Schefter reported earlier Monday that the 26-year-old running back may sit out the first half of the season if a deal wasn't reached. He will yield $14.544 million under the tag in 2018.
As of now, numberFire's models expect Bell to play a full season and have him rated as the top overall running back in our preseason fantasy football rankings. We project him for 1,398.8 yards and 10.15 touchdowns on the ground, with another 662.9 yards and 2.79 touchdowns on 81.5 catches.
Cowboys' Blake Jarwin 'regularly targeted' during offseason
Dallas Cowboys tight end Blake Jarwin was "regularly targeted" by Dak Prescott during the offseason program, writes Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News.
Jarwin reportedly worked as the Cowboys' number-one tight end during OTAs and minicamp, and it sounds like the second-year undrafted free agent may be asked to step in as Dallas' top pass-catching tight end following Jason Witten's retirement. Geoff Swaim is expected to start but will likely be used more as a blocker. Rico Gathers and fourth-round rookie Dalton Schultz fill out the rest of the depth chart.
Jarwin caught 41 passes for 616 yards (15.0 yards per reception) and 5 touchdowns during a three-year career (28 games) at Oklahoma State.
D.J. Moore able to help Panthers' offense right away
Carolina Panthers first-round wide receiver D.J. Moore "can help the offense immediately," writes Max Henson of the team's official website.
Henson reiterated that Moore "looked more than ready to contribute during spring practices" and emphasized the receiver's "unique skill set" for his ability to make plays after the catch. The 21-year-old rookie should open the year as the Panthers' second starter opposite Devin Funchess, but he will still have to compete with Greg Olsen and Christian McCaffrey for targets.
numberFire's early models project Moore to catch 44.0 passes (72.5) targets for 556.8 yards and 3.26 touchdowns during his rookie campaign. He's the WR58 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Jay Ajayi in line for more work with Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi has a "good chance" of seeing a "much higher workload than he had a year ago," writes Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski.
Ajayi is entering a contract year and LeGarrette Blount is gone, so Kempski believes the Eagles will maximize their investment and fill the backfield void by feeding the 25-year-old the rock. Including the playoffs, Ajayi averaged 11.2 carries in 10 games for the Eagles after arriving in Week 9, topping out at 18 in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings.
numberFire's models expect Ajayi to lead the Eagles' backfield with 953.4 rushing yards and 6.23 touchdowns on 231.5 carries, to go with 176.6 receiving yards and 0.36 touchdowns on 24.8 catches. He's the RB22 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings.
Christian McCaffrey could see similar role in Panthers' backfield
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey's carry total "won’t go up by much," predicts Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.
McCaffrey toted the rock 117 times (7.3 carries per game) while playing a complementary backfield role during his rookie season. Rodrigue expects more of the same in 2018, with free-agent addition C.J. Anderson apparently replacing Jonathan Stewart as the Panthers' "traditional running back." However, McCaffrey's role in the offense isn't expected to remain completely stagnant, as Rodrigue also predicted that the versatile 22-year-old will record 900 receiving yards in his second NFL season.
numberFire's models are under the assumption McCaffrey will see more work on the ground next season, as we have him pegged for 150.3 carries for 660.3 rushing yards and 3.98 touchdowns, in addition to 79.3 catches for 771.3 receiving yards and 4.74 scores. He's the RB14 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Darren Sproles (ACL) expected to see reduced role in Eagles' offense
Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles (ACL) will play fewer snaps on offense this season, believes Philly Voice's Jimmy Kempski.
Sproles turned 35 in June and is coming off a torn ACL that limited him to 3 games last season, so this isn't a surprising prediction, especially with the emergence of 2017 undrafted free agent Corey Clement. Kempski writes that Sproles will maintain a reduced role on offense but that the majority of the veteran's contributions will come on special teams. Sproles previously announced that next season will be his last.
Sproles is the RB65 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings, behind starter Jay Ajayi (RB22) and Clement (RB53). Our models project him for 509.3 yards from scrimmage and 1.53 offensive touchdowns on 83.1 touches (42.8 catches).
Packers' Aaron Rodgers would 'love to play to 40'
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he would "love to play to 40."
“I just think that number means a lot," Rodgers, who turns 35 in December, explained. "Obviously, Tom [Brady] is kind of rewriting the book. Brett [Favre] had a good season when he turned 40. My goal is be able to move like I do or close to how I do and still be able to do that at 40." Rodgers is expected to sign a long-term extension before the season starts.
Rodgers is the QB1 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. We project him to throw for 4,621.0 yards with 37.69 touchdowns and 7.6 interceptions, as well as rush for 322.4 yards and 3.01 touchdowns.
Carson Wentz (ACL) not guaranteed to be ready for Eagles by Week 1
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (ACL) isn't guaranteed to be ready for Week 1 against the Atlanta Falcons, head coach Doug Pederson said.
“I can’t say," Pederson replied when asked if he would bet on Wentz being ready for the September 6 season opener. "I don’t know now. I can tell you it’s not going to be a Doug Pederson decision. It will be a doctors’ decision. Carson will have to be 100 percent before he takes the field. I am going to rely totally on my medical staff.” Despite the coach's comments, Wentz participated in 7-on-7 drills during OTAs and previous reports have indicated he will be under center for the Eagles at the start of the 2018 season.
Assuming he plays 16 games, Wentz is the QB7 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. We have him pegged for 3,980.3 passing yards with 27.81 touchdowns and 10.0 interceptions, as well as 311.6 rushing yards and 3.05 touchdowns.
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