|Browns, OC Kyle Shanahan part ways|
Split reportedly due to disagreement over Manziel
By: Doug Orth | Jan 8 2015, 5:15 pm
|The Cleveland Browns' tradition of change continues, as a team source told ESPN.com Thursday that OC Kyle Shanahan and QBs coach Dowell Loggains will not return next season. Shanahan resigned and Loggains was fired, according to a league source.
Both spent one year with the Browns, and both were under contract for 2015. Sources familiar with the situation said the split was caused because the pair did not see eye to eye with the front office about QB Johnny Manziel. The front office wants Manziel to be the starter, and the source said the coaches do not believe they can win with him. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Good luck to the Browns finding another offensive mind that did what Shanahan did for their offense in 2014. The Browns were without three Pro Bowlers on offense for large portions of the season: C Alex Mack, TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon. Despite that, the Browns scored at least 21 points in nine of the first 11 games. Shanahan's departure figures to have a significant impact on the fantasy values of every Cleveland player, particularly Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West.
|Veteran Unger to return for Seahawks|
Seattle hoping to win line of scrimmage
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 7 2015, 8:30 pm
|RENTON, Wash. (AP) -- Of all the positions on the offensive line, center is the one most needing continuity. And it's been the one most like a revolving door for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Four different players have started at least three games at center this season. But just in time for Saturday's NFC divisional playoff game against Carolina, veteran Max Unger is expected to return after missing the final six games of the regular season because of an injury. (AP)|
FFToday's Take: Max Unger's expected return against the Panthers will be a big boost in a game featuring two of the NFL's top rated defenses during the regular season.
|Falcons announce front-office restructuring|
Assistant GM Pioli to see role expand
By: Jake Gordon | Jan 7 2015, 6:58 pm
|With their head-coaching search picking up steam, the Atlanta Falcons are making significant changes upstairs.
The team on Wednesday announced a front-office restructuring that hands more responsibility to assistant general manager Scott Pioli -- and essentially pulls some away from longtime Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. Dimitroff has kept his job, but the leash is tight.
FFToday's Take: Under the new front office restructuring Thomas Demitroff will see his responsibilities narrowed to those most impacting the on-the-field product. The Falcons have begun second round interviews for the team's head coaching vacancy this week, a post that could ultimately decide Dimitroff's job status beyond 2015.
| Rodgers misses practice Wednesday, calf strain|
Packers QB may practice Thursday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 5:49 pm
|Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Aaron Rodgers might practice on Thursday, but either way, his quarterback will play on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
The better question might be how Rodgers' strained left calf might limit him in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field. "I'm going on Sunday," Rodgers said Wednesday. "It's just a matter of how."
FFToday's Take: Hmmm, this doesn't inspire a lot confidence for those wanting to gamble on Rodgers in playoff or daily league formats. Rodgers was limited during the Lions victory after re-injuring his calf back in Week 17. He's going to suit up on Sunday and start unless there is a setback this week but the risk of re-injury will be significant.
| Edelman expected to be ready for Ravens|
Patriots wideout missed last two weeks with concussion
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 12:30 pm
|Wide receiver Julian Edelman said he is ready to put his concussion in the past as he gears his attention toward Saturday's playoff opener against the Ravens. (Boston Herald)|
FFToday's Take: Expect the Patriots to find a way of list Edleman as Questionable later in the week but all signs point to him returning for the Divisional game against the Ravens. Edelman missed Week 16 with a concussion then sat out the meaningless Week 17 game against the Bills. Edelman's return would mean Danny Amendola would once again take a back seat in the receiving rotation.
| Jameis Winston headed to the NFL|
Formal announcement coming Wednesday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 7 2015, 9:43 am
|Jameis Winston won't be back in a Florida State uniform next season, his father said Wednesday, opting instead to enter the NFL draft. Initially, Antonor Winston said his son planned to wait until after the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T to announce a decision, but instead, Jameis Winston came to a firm decision Tuesday night that he was ready to enter the NFL draft.
Antonor Winston said his son received a first-round grade from the NFL draft advisory committee. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: There had been rumblings in recent days that Winston was seriously considering staying in school another year but instead he will head for the NFL Draft in April. Winston and Marcus Mariota should be the top to quarterbacks drafted but both had question marks heading into the NFL. Winston's off-field concerns are real. Tampa Bay and Tennessee have the top two picks in this year's draft.
|Colts staying the course with Herron|
Likely in line for another heavy workload versus Denver
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:40 pm
|The Colts (plan to) stay the course with Dan Herron in spite of the fumbles, HC Chuck Pagano says. Reducing touches might kill a guy’s confidence. (Stephen Holder on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Indianapolis knows its other options aren't all that appealing, which is likely the backbone for Pagano arriving at this decision. Most NFL coaches have quick hooks when it comes to backs that have ball-security issues, so another early fumble this week could easily lead to an unexpected workload for Zurlon Tipton. With that said, expect Herron to be a key part of the Colts' game plan against the Broncos coming off his 141-total yard, 10-catch, one-touchdown performance against the Bengals.
|Hill's rookie year comes to disappointng end|
Bengals' RB blames himself for playoff effort
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:35 pm
|After ending the regular season with three straight games of at least 100 yards rushing, Jeremy Hill was comparatively punchless in the Cincinnati Bengals' wild-card round playoff game at Indianapolis on Sunday. The Bengals did have problems blocking all game as the Colts regularly loaded their defensive front with extra linebackers or defensive backs to minimize Hill's rushing lanes. Only two Bengals were credited with positive run-blocking grades by Pro Football Focus: LT Andrew Whitworth had a plus-0.2 while RG Kevin Zeitler had a plus-1.7.
Hill said the loaded fronts had no affect on his running.
FFToday's Take: In a game that Cincinnati had little choice but to feature its rookie running back (with A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham sidelined), it didn't. Instead of turning to Giovani Bernard as a de facto slot receiver, the Bengals used Rex Burkhead in that spot, opting to play Hill on 21 snaps of their 62 offensive snaps. Hill is too versatile to be treated as an early-down back only, but that is exactly how he was deployed in the team's season-ending loss. It is something to keep in mind when ranking him in fantasy purposes in 2015.
|Cardinals likely to eye RB in free agency|
Had interest in C.J. Spiller before shoulder injury
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:15 pm
|The Cardinals had interest (in C.J. Spiller) before the trade deadline, (but he) got hurt. They'll likely sign a RB in free agency. (Mike Jurecki on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: News that Arizona might be looking for a running back in the draft or free agency isn't exactly earth-shattering, but it is notable the Cards entertained the possibility of adding Spiller, whose game is quite similar to Andre Ellington's. Either way, keep Arizona in mind for Spiller in the likely event that he hits free agency.
|Wade Phillips to become Redskins' new DC?|
Considered early favorite to replace Jim Haslett
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 4:05 pm
|Strong sense within Washington Redskins headquarters that Wade Phillips is well-positioned to be their next defensive coordinator. Has ample support. (Jason La Canfora on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Haslett was overmatched as a defensive play-caller for most of his time in Washington, so just about any hire figures to be an upgrade. Phillips certainly qualifies as an upgrade and makes sense as a proponent of the 3-4 defense with a long history of sparking quick turnarounds with the defenses he inherits. His chances of landing the job are even stronger considering his ties with former Chargers GM A.J. Smith, who is a senior executive in Washington's front office.
|CFL star Duron Carter setting up visits|
Son of Hall of Fame WR free to sign with any team
By: Doug Orth | Jan 5 2015, 3:55 pm
|A source close to Duron Carter tells me he's working out for Colts (Tuesday), Chiefs Wednesday, Vikings soon after. (Matt Miller on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Carter, the son of Cris Carter who stands 6-5 and 205 pounds, has also visited with the Bucs. Duron went undrafted out of Ohio State in 2013 due to character concerns, but has largely rehabbed his image up north while amassing 124 catches for 1,939 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons in the CFL. If he lands in the right situation - Minnesota could certainly qualify as one - Carter could be a factor in redraft leagues in 2015. At the very least, dynasty owners should look to add him ASAP.
|Seahawks 3-0 in recent meetings with Panthers|
All close games, all played in Carolina
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 5 2015, 8:30 am
|The Panthers (8-8-1) will seek to avenge three agonizing losses to Seattle (12-4) by a total of 13 points over the past three years, including a 13-9 defeat in Week 8 this season. All of those games were in Charlotte. This will be the Panthers’ first trip since 2010 to Seattle. (Charlotte Observer)|
FFToday's Take: The Seahawks won by scores of 12-7 (2013) and 16-12 (2012) along with their 13-9 win this season. The Seahawks are currently a 10.5 point favorite. Carolina will have a tough task going on the road and attempting to keep this game from getting out of hand despite their recent close calls with Seattle. Cam Newton and the rest of the Panthers offense will be risky playoff league and DFS plays this week.
|No carries or catches for Trent Richardson |
Colts let Dan Herron carry the load
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 5 2015, 8:00 am
|Shouldering the heaviest load of his career — the Colts sat Trent Richardson for most of Sunday's win with an illness — Dan Herron responded with 141 all-purpose yards, the most from a Colts' running back in three seasons. (Indianapolis Star)|
FFToday's Take: You could see this one coming. Richardson missed practice time earlier in the week due to "illness" and while he was active on Sunday he only saw the field late in the game after Herron fumbled twice. Rookie Zurlon Tipton was the No.2 running back. Richardson is falling out of favor in Indy and can't be trusted in playoff leagues or daily formats.
| A.J. Green doubtful, Gresham questionable|
Missed practice Friday
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 2 2015, 2:35 pm
|The chances A.J. Green plays in this weekend's Wild Card game against Indianapolis took a hit Friday. And now the Bengals wait with hope giving way to reality.
He was listed as doubtful on the official injury report.Green suffered a concussion after being stripped of the football Sunday against Pittsburgh. He did not practice Wednesday, practiced in a limited capacity Thursday, was held completely out of practice this Friday.
FFToday's Take: Bad news for the Benalgs as they will be without their best wide receiver. Mohamed Sanu will attempt to fill the void but expect Cincinnati to attempt a run-heavy gameplan with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. TE Jermaine Gresham (back) did practice Friday and is listed as questionable. He will be a gametime decision.
| Le'Veon Bell out for wild-card game|
Josh Harris expected to start
By: Mike Krueger | Jan 2 2015, 2:30 pm
|Steelers running back and team MVP Le’Veon Bell has been ruled out of Saturday’s AFC wild-card game against the Baltimore Ravens. Bell hyperextended his right knee against the Bengals in the regular-season finale. He did not practice all week. Bell’s replacement is Josh Harris, who has 16 yards on nine carries in his professional career. He was inserted into the Bengals game and had a 59-yard run that was nullified by a holding penalty. (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)|
FFToday's Take: It's been the general thinking that Bell would miss this game and now it's official. Harris will get the start for the Steelers with Dri Archer used in a change of pace role. The newly signed Ben Tate is expected to be active but should clearly be the No.3 running back against the Ravens.
| A.J. Green limited in practice on Thursday|
Suffered concussion in Week 17
By: Doug Orth | Jan 1 2015, 4:25 pm
|The status of A.J. Green for Sunday's playoff game remains in question. He's officially still in the league's concussion protocol, which means he cannot return to practice or speak with the media. Green suffered a concussion in Sunday's loss against Pittsburgh and this was his first opportunity to return to the practice field.
For Bengals fans, that means they wait and see. HC Marvin Lewis will have to wait as well. "I don't know," he said when asked whether or not Green would play this weekend. "You'll see on Sunday."
FFToday's Take: Green must have passed a baseline concussion test with team doctors since he participated in warmups and installation on Thursday. He has two days to be cleared by an independent neurologist, but he's a longshot to be overly productive considering the concussion, the matchup (he should run at least half of his snaps in the coverage of top Colts CB Vontae Davis) and the fact that he could once again be a victim of an infamous Andy Dalton playoff meltdown.
|Fitzgerald not expected back w/ Cards in 2015|
Cap number expected to be $23.6 M
By: Doug Orth | Jan 1 2015, 4:10 pm
|Larry Fitzgerald does not expect to be back with the Cardinals next season, a source familiar with the situation told FOX Sports Arizona on Wednesday. That could make Saturday's wild-card playoff game in Charlotte, N.C., the final game of the Valley icon's Arizona career.
Last week, GM Steve Keim confirmed a Pro Football Talk report that the Cardinals had no plans to cut Fitzgerald despite an unworkable $23.6 million cap number next season, which would account for about 17 percent of the projected $141 million salary cap. (Fox Sports Arizona)|
FFToday's Take: Fitzgerald can still get it done at a fairly high level, but there is simply no reason to have one receiver counting that much against the cap for an offense that spreads the wealth as much as Arizona does now under HC Bruce Arians. The odds are very high that Fitzgerald will play his final game as a Cardinal this weekend.
|Doug Marrone leaving Bills|
Coach exercises opt-out clause
By: Jake Gordon | Dec 31 2014, 6:20 pm
|STATEMENT FROM BUFFALO BILLS OWNER TERRY PEGULA:
“Doug Marrone informed me late today that he has decided to exercise the option clause in his contract and relinquish his responsibilities as our head coach."
FFToday's Take: Add the Bills to the list of teams looking for a new coach this offseason. Buffalo is coming off a disappointing year and will also need to figure out what to do at the quarterback position where EJ Manuel has struggled when healthy and Kyle Orton has retired.
|Steelers make it official, sign Ben Tate|
Insurance for Le'Veon Bell
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 30 2014, 1:36 pm
|Steelers now have signed running back Ben Tate to the 53-man roster, the team announced today. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: The Steelers are using Tate as insurance for Le'Veon Bell who injured his knee in Week 17 and will likely miss the first round of the playoffs. Josh Harris and Dri Archer would likely receive the bulk of the backfield work against the Ravens is Bell is out.
| Steelers looking at Ben Tate|
LeVeon Bell probably unavailable for first round of playoffs
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 12:00 pm
|Jason La Canfora posted on Twitter: "Steelers are hosting Ben Tate today as ESPN reported, with LeVeon Bell likely out this week. He is the only RB they're bringing in" (Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: It appears that Bell is doubtful for the tilt with Baltimore in the Wild Card. Tate could make an interesting value in daily fantasy play if he gets up to speed in the offense and Bell remains out.
| Surgery not ruled out for Philip Rivers|
Chargers quarterback will take wait-and-see approach
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 11:55 am
|The season ended Sunday. Philip Rivers' stance on injuries didn't.
The Chargers quarterback remained politely protective over the specifics of a back injury that has ailed him the past month. Offseason surgery, he allowed, is considered an option. Whether it is necessary will be determined in the coming weeks.
As for further details, Rivers didn't go there.
He called such talk "self-serving," not wanting health to affect how his play is evaluated.
There were reports this month that he's dealt with a bulging disk in his lower back, reports that Rivers on Monday called "not exactly accurate." He declined to elaborate further.
Rivers made his 144th consecutive start Sunday since becoming the Chargers' starter in 2006. It's the second-longest active streak in the NFL.
"It just does me no good to say on the record what it was," Rivers said. "I was dealing with sore ribs. I was dealing with the back. Exactly what that was, really, who cares? What I mean is I don't see the reason for it.
"It had no effect on my performance, good or bad the last few weeks; it really didn't. The back maybe was a little tougher over the last few weeks, but it wasn't, 'If I didn't have a bad back, I would have made the throw.' That was never the case. … I felt good enough to play."
Rivers had a 71.2 passer rating in four December games.
It was his lowest single-month rating since November 2007 (68.8).
He was without running back Ryan Mathews and wide receiver Keenan Allen the final three games, not to mention running back Danny Woodhead and center Nick Hardwick who were placed on injured reserve early this season. The Chargers started their fifth center of the season Sunday. Rivers was sacked seven times, including six times in a 13-dropback span.
Players voted for team awards. They were presented during a Monday meeting.
Rivers, the MVP, finished the year with 4,286 yards, 31 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. (Union-Tribune San Diego)|
FFToday's Take: Rivers is a stubborn guy who can double down on this "injuries don't affect my performance take" all he likes, but fantasy owners need to remember his poor performance down the stretch when they draft their teams next summer. It's not the first time Rivers has concealed an injury and allowed his play to suffer. There are plenty of fantasy quarterbacks to choose from, folks.
|Vikings' Charles Johnson making strides for 2015|
Bears' Brandon Marshall to Johnson: 'You're a baller'
By: Antonio D'Arcangelis | Dec 30 2014, 11:45 am
|Charles Johnson entered a game last month at Chicago with six career catches. When the game was over, Bears star Brandon Marshall wanted to work out with him this offseason.
Marshall didn't know anything about the Vikings wide receiver prior to a Nov. 16 game at Soldier Field. Then he saw Johnson catch six passes for 87 yards.
"He came up to me after the game and he said, 'Hey man, much respect, you're a baller, you're really good,''' Johnson said of his first encounter with the Chicago wide receiver while Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was nearby. "Teddy was standing there and he said to him, 'Why didn't you tell me about him? Invite him to our (offseason) camp.' Teddy was like, 'We just signed him.' It was pretty cool.''
Johnson was signed off Cleveland's practice squad Sept. 20, and two months later had his breakout game against the Bears. Now, he expects to be working out this offseason not only with Bridgewater, but with Marshall, soon to be recovered from season-ending broken ribs and a lung injury suffered Dec. 4.
Bridgewater and Marshall both train at Fit Speed Athletic Performance in Weston, Fla., just outside Miami. Johnson is looking forward to getting some pointers from a guy who has five NFL 100-catch seasons while having made five Pro Bowls.
"It's great,'' Johnson said. "It was something to see that a guy like him who's established thought that I was good and acknowledged my game. He said that I had some good skills, and I really appreciated the compliment.''
Pardon Marshall if he knew little about Johnson until last month. After being a seventh-round pick out of Division II Grand Valley (Mich.) State by Green Bay in 2013, Johnson was on the Packers' practice squad before getting picked up by the Browns. Then he had knee surgery, ending his season.
Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner held that position last year with Cleveland and Minnesota quarterbacks coach Scott Turner was then the Browns receivers coach. They saw enough of Johnson to recommend he be signed three months ago.
Johnson had his first six career catches over a seven-game span before his big outing against the Bears. After that game, he replaced Cordarrelle Patterson as a starting wide receiver and finished the season with 31 catches for 475 yards and two touchdowns.
"We all respect Charles around here,'' Patterson said. "I hope he'll be here for many years.''
Johnson still has two years left on his rookie contract, paying him an economical $510,000 in 2015 and $600,000 in 2016. So he's not going anywhere anytime soon.
"I just go out there each day and just try to work, so you can see my type of talent that I have, and I think coaches can see that,'' Johnson said.
Marshall also has seen it. The two might play for rival NFC North teams, but Johnson relishes any chance he can get to learn from one of the league's top receivers. (Pioneer Press)|
FFToday's Take: It's funny that these two -- who both share the same-spelled names with other NFL players. But it's excellent news that Marshall will be mentoring Johnson, as Marshall is one of the top red zone targets in the league and a guy to emulate for his intelligence and ever-growing emotional awareness. Johnson could be a very exciting player in 2015 and could make a interesting mid-round sleeper pick who provides WR2 value.
|Ndamukong Suh suspended for one game|
Stepped on Aaron Rodgers' injured leg in Week 17
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 4:05 pm
|The Detroit Lions and Ndamukong Suh have been informed that the defensive tackle will be suspended for this weekend's wild-card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. Suh's punishment comes a day after he stepped on the leg of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Suh "unnecessarily stepped on [the] opponent's unprotected leg as he lay on the ground unable to protect himself," according to a statement released by the NFL.
Suh is appealing the suspension and his appeal will be heard by Ted Cottrell. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: If the suspension sticks, it could very well be a sad end to one of the league's most dominant interior players and his time in Detroit. The Week 17 "misstep" is the latest in a long line of dirty plays by the impending free agent, who figures to break the bank in the offseason regardless. Without Suh, Detroit would likely be down its top two defensive tackles - Nick Fairley hurt his knee in Week 6 and hasn't returned - against the Cowboys, who run the ball as well as any team in the league.
|Kyle Shanahan among candidates to be 49ers HC|
Mutually parted ways with Jim Harbaugh on Sunday
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 4:00 pm
|Browns OC Kyle Shanahan is on the 49ers list of coaching candidates, a source told The Plain Dealer. The 49ers are in the market for a new coach after announcing Sunday they mutually agreed to part ways with coach Jim Harbaugh.
Shanahan, who is the son of former NFL coach Mike Shanahan, has held the role of offensive coordinator with the Texans, Redskins and Browns. He has been coaching in the NFL since 2004.
In his first season as the Browns offensive coordinator, Cleveland ranked 23rd in total offense (324.6 yards per game) and 27th in scoring offense (18.7 points per game). (CBS Sports)|
FFToday's Take: Shanahan joins Broncos OC Adam Gase and Seahawks DC Dan Quinn among the coaches that have reportedly been asked to interview with the Niners. Shanahan is particularly intriguing hire since his preferred zone-running scheme is in direct contrast to the power-running scheme San Francisco utilized under HC Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman. However, Shanahan has had plenty of experience working with mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, which is what the Niners probably would most like to accomplish with this hire.
|Kyle Orton retires|
Veteran calls it quits at 31 years old
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 29 2014, 11:55 am
|The 10-year NFL veteran ended all the talk Monday morning when he surprisingly announced his retirement from football.
"I just have been going at it for 10 years, and it's just a family decision, and I've decided to get home and be a dad and call it a day," the 31-year-old Orton said. (USA Today)|
FFToday's Take: Kyle Orton became the Bills starting QB in Week 5 throwing for 3,018 yards, 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The Bills now find themselves with EJ Manuel and Jeff Tuel on the QB depth chart. Expect Buffalo to be shopping in the free agent QB market this off-season.
| Le'Veon Bell "can barely walk" Monday|
By: Doug Orth | Dec 29 2014, 11:45 am
|Judging by what I saw - and it's only Monday - Le'Veon Bell has little chance of playing for Steelers against Ravens. He is young, though. (Dale Lolley on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Beat writer Dale Lolley made this comment after watching Bell at the practice facility on Monday. The team has yet to give an official diagnosis on Bell's knee injury but at this point it seems less than 50-50 that he will be ready for Saturday's game against the Ravens. Josh Harris would see an expanded role if Bell can't play.
|Wallace sits the second half, didn't want to play|
Dolphins wideout aggravates teammates
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 7:00 pm
|After Mike Wallace sat out the second half, multiple reports noted that Wallace had been benched by the coaching staff. NFL Media's Jeff Darlington, though, was told by several team sources that the pass-catcher wasn't just "benched," but pulled himself from the contest. After Dolphins tight end Charles Clay scored a touchdown with 43 seconds left in the half, Wallace came off the field and told coach Joe Philbin that he no longer wanted to play, per Darlington. (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: An odd way to end the season for Wallace and Miami. There's been no explanation as to why Wallace didn't want to play or what issue led him to removing himself from the game. His diva actions may lead management to rethink his status with the team. Wallace is in the middle of a five-year $60 million deal through 2017 and is owed $9.8 million next season.
| Gronkowski, Edelman inactive for Patriots|
Tim Wright expected to start at TE
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 11:35 am
|Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman are both inactive today. Expect starters to be out in the second half, anyway (Ian Rapoport on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: The Patriots are playing it safe with their star TE in a meaningless game. Expect Tim Wright to get the start and Danny Amendola should see more targets with Edelman out. Expect to see Jimmy Garoppolo replace Tom Brady at some point during the game.
|Terrance West to start for Browns|
A week after not receiving a carry
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 28 2014, 8:58 am
|Baltimore native Terrance West will start at running back today for the Browns against the Ravens. The rookie's role fluctuated in 2014. (Jason LaCanfora on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: West didn't even play last week so this move is peculiar at best. Despite the starting nod the Browns offense is off limits in daily league play this week. UDFA Connor Shaw is starting at QB, Josh Gordon is suspended and the Ravens need a victory to make the playoffs. Look elsewhere.
|Josh Gordon suspended for violating team rules|
Missed Saturday's walk-through
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 27 2014, 2:15 pm
|Receiver Josh Gordon was suspended by the Browns for violation of team rules after he missed today's mandatory walk-through, Northeast Ohio Media Group has confirmed. The Browns activated receiver Phil Bates from the practice squad to take Gordon's spot. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)|
FFToday's Take: Gordon will miss Week 17 and could be out of Cleveland this off-season. Gordon missed 10 games this season for violating the substance abuse policy. Interesting to note that Gordon will now be a restricted free agent (not unrestricted) at the end of the 2015 because he was active in only five games, falling one game shy of an accredited season. The Browns attempted to trade Gordon prior to last season's trade deadline.
| Jonas Gray listed as Out|
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 27 2014, 7:00 am
|A whopping 18 players were listed by the Patriots on Friday’s injury report, with running back Jonas Gray and cornerback Alfonzo Dennard being ruled out of Sunday’s game. Gray has been dealing with an ankle injury, and was the only player to miss Friday’s practice. (Boston Herald)|
FFToday's Take: LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen are both listed as Questionable. With nothing to play for the entire Patriots offense is too risky to consider for DFS lineups. Brandon Bolden and James White could be the two main ball-carries for New England in Week 17.
| Rodgers, Freeman expected to split carries|
Atlanta likely to be without Steven Jackson
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:15 pm
|Rookie running back Devonta Freeman believes he’s ready to take over the rushing load if Steven Jackson does not play against the Carolina Panthers. Jacquizz Rodgers will likely get the bulk of the carries because he’s still considered a better pass protector. Also, Jerome Smith was added to the roster from the practice squad. He will be active and may play. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)|
FFToday's Take: Steven Jackson (quad) is expected to miss Week 17. As a result, expect Rodgers and Freeman to be in a timeshare against the Panthers. Freeman's 4.0 rushing average and 7.9 receiving average suggest he has the better upside over Rodgers (3.5 - 5.9).
| DeAngelo Williams listed as Probable|
Head coach won't divulge plan at running back
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:10 pm
|Coach Ron Rivera said Friday that he did not want to divulge his running back rotation beyond Stewart starting because it could give the Falcons a competitive advantage.
"I'm not going to sit here and divulge what my plan is with my players," Rivera said. "I don't want to get up here and tell you exactly what we're going to do with our players. Why do I want to give the opponent any insight into what we're going to do?"
FFToday's Take: What we do know is Jonathan Stewart will start. How much DeAngelo Williams plays, if at all, remains to be seen. Williams was listed as Questionable last week but was only available in an emergency situation according to Rivera. The Probable tag suggests he may see the field in a backup role. High-end RB2 usage from Stewart should be expected.
| Ronnie Hillman set to return, role unclear|
Listed as Probable
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 8:00 pm
|Sunday also figures to mark the return of running back Ronnie Hillman. He practiced fully for the first time this week since suffering a foot injury on Nov. 9 at Oakland. He is probable, clearing the way for him to complement C.J. Anderson. (Denver Post)|
FFToday's Take: Hillman is likely to backup to Anderson but how much of a role he will have is unclear. He could potentially take enough carries away to make Anderson more of an RB2 than RB1.
| Alex Smith out with lacerated spleen|
Chase Daniel to start against Chargers
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 12:55 pm
|Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will miss Sunday’s regular-season finale against San Diego because of a lacerated spleen.
Backup Chase Daniel will start at quarterback on Sunday, just as he did in the regular-season finale a year ago when the Chiefs, with a playoff spot wrapped up, sat their starters at San Diego. (Kansas City Star)|
FFToday's Take: Smith was injured in last week's game but didn't have any symptoms until after practice this week. Normally recovery time is six weeks an no surgery is expected. Daniel starter the final regular season game last season against the Chargers throwing 21-30 for 200 yards, 1 TD and 59 yards rushing. He makes for interesting cap relief in DFS formats this week.
|WR Louis Murphy gets 3-year extension|
Was scheduled to become free agent
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 26 2014, 9:52 am
|Wide receiver Louis Murphy has agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced Friday morning.
Murphy, 27, had been scheduled to become a free agent after the season.
FFToday's Take: Murphy was filling the No.3 wide receiver role for the Bucs and could be in for a bigger workload in 2015 if Vincent Jackson is moved during the off-season.
| A.J. Green limited on Thursday|
Right arm bruise
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:35 pm
|Also at Bengals Christmas practice, A.J. Green (arm) was limited. (Geoff Hobson on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Green was held catchless in the Bengals' Week 16 win over Denver in large part because he was hurt on the same play that Broncos CB Aqib Talib returned an interception for a touchdown on the team's second drive of the game. A limited practice on Thursday is better than a DNP, but considering how much pain he appeared to be in on Monday night, his owners need to exercise caution and wait for something more definitive before counting on him against Pittsburgh in Week 17.
| Joique Bell likely to play in season finale|
Dealing with Achilles' strain
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:30 pm
|HC Jim Caldwell didn't offer any updates on the injury status of Joique Bell (Achilles). Asked if he'll play Sunday Caldwell said "we'll see". (Tim Twentyman on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: This story gets a mention because the team's official website called Bell a full participant in practice on Thursday, suggesting Bell is on track to play against the Packers for the NFC North title. Assuming he is a full-go again on Friday, Bell should be expected for his usual 15-20 touches.
|Cards opt for Lindley to start at QB in Week 17|
HC Arians backtracks from giving rookie first start
By: Doug Orth | Dec 25 2014, 7:15 pm
|Bruce Arians uses the "quick hook" with Logan Thomas. Will go back to Ryan Lindley as starter for Sunday's game, per source. (Kent Somers on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: ESPN reported Wednesday that Thomas struggled in his first practice as the starter, which probably prompted the move. Even if that was the case, it is hard to see the upside in starting Lindley, who is a career 49.3-percent passer and has attempted a NFL-record 225 passes without throwing for a touchdown. For now, however, Arians appears to be leaning toward starting Lindley against San Francisco on Sunday.
| Cardinals may have QB Stanton back for playoffs|
'85 percent' chance
By: Mike Krueger | Dec 24 2014, 8:44 am
|Drew Stanton has an 85 percent chance of starting at quarterback for the Cardinals in the playoffs.
That's the number that head coach Bruce Arians gave to SiriusXM NFL radio in an interview on Tuesday night, adding that he would not play Stanton this weekend against the 49ers unless there was an emergency. "He's going to practice some this week, and we'll see how he goes," Arians said, via ESPN.com. "Do not plan on playing him this week unless it was absolutely necessary." (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: Arizona is expected to go with Logan Thomas at quarterback for Week 17 while Drew Stanton will only see action in an emergency situation. This deflates the fantasy values of every Cardinal for any owner vying for Championship this weekend. For owners in fantasy playoff games, the Cardinals offense would get a boost if Drew Stanton does indeed return.