Thu Jan 27 10:11am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
There are just a handful of players on the injury list this week, which is great news for the four teams involved. These teams should be at pretty full strength for their big games this weekend. Hopefully, this makes for some good games once again.
Here is the latest. . . . .
Van Jefferson, WR, Rams. Jefferson is out of practice to start the week because of a knee injury. This is a new injury and he is being called day-to-day. His status is up in the air right now. He is no sure thing to play. He might need to get in some practice before the weeks out if he hopes to suit up this week.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers. Samuel took a helmet to the knee during last week’s game and was a little hobbled during the game. He is not even listed on the Injury Report this week, though. This injury doesn’t seem to be an issue for Samuel. He should be fine to use and get his usual workload.
Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Chiefs. Mathieu suffered a concussion last week and was forced from the game. He is not being ruled out for this week, though. The Chiefs hope to have him available, but he will need to pass the concussion protocols before the week is out. Keep an eye on the player notes for the latest. The loss of Mathieu would be huge for the Chiefs defense.
Jeff Wilson, RB, 49ers. Wilson is dealing with an ankle sprain. He is out of practice right now and is questionable for the game. Wilson is getting next to no work even when active, but he is the No. 2 back behind Elijah Mitchell. At this point, we don’t expect him to play.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (knee) posted a video on Instagram that shows him doing throwing drills without a brace on his left knee. Winston's recovery from a torn ACL last year has gone well enough that he was on the field during organized team activities, and now it looks like he's removed his brace. He wore the brace through OTAs and minicamp and said the plan was to wear the brace throughout the 2022 season. Barring any setbacks in training camp this summer, the 28-year-old is on track to be ready for the start of the regular season as the Saints starting QB. Winston could be getting a healthy Michael Thomas (ankle) back and he also has first-round wideout Chris Olave at his disposal, but he should still be viewed as more of a low-end QB2 coming off a serious injury.
USA TODAY's Mike Moraitis lists Tennessee Titans running backs Dontrell Hilliard, Trenton Cannon, Julius Chestnut and Jordan Wilkins on the roster bubble ahead of training camp, with Derrick Henry, rookie Hassan Haskins and fullback Tony Carter as roster locks. Hilliard is close to a roster lock as one can get, Moraitis suggests, while Cannon is a good bet because of his special teams prowess. The Titans might be looking to lessen the load slightly on Henry this year, but there's no telling who might be the primary backup, as of right now. Most of the available snaps up for grabs will likely be on third downs, and Hilliard has the edge here thanks to experience, but he is vulnerable. He had his struggles in pass protection and is an average pass-catcher. Haskins was a reliable receiver and pass protector in college, but he'll have to prove it at the next level, and his best bet to see snaps in his rookie season is as a rusher.
The Buffalo Bills are working to make the offense more versatile for quarterback Josh Allen, and it began when they signed tight end O.J. Howard and receiver Jamison Crowder, and it continued when they drafted running back James Cook and receiver Khalil Shakir. During offseason workouts, returning players sometimes lined up in new spots and ran different routes to mix up what the offense can do to create better matchups. "There's gonna be so much versatility in this offense now, 12 and 13 personnel," tight end Dawson Knox said. "Bring us in, run the ball, spread us out, and get us good matchups." Allen finished as the QB1 last year and will most likely be the first signal-caller off the board in fantasy drafts this fall.
The Athletic's Daniel Popper sees Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Easton Stick making the roster again in 2022 behind starter Justin Herbert and veteran backup Chase Daniel. The Chargers didn't want to risk cutting Stick and losing him on waivers last year, and they are grooming him to eventually take over as Herbert's primary backup once Daniel retires. The risk of losing him on waivers this year is the same as it was in 2021. Even though Stick hasn't made an impact on the field in the regular season, he's been around the team and has familiarity with the offense. The Chargers should be trying to keep the infrastructure around Herbert as identical as possible, and that would include keeping Stick around.
The Athletic's Daniel Popper thinks the starting fullback spot this year is rookie Zander Horvath's to lose. The Bolts have been looking for a fullback that can be a key contributor on special teams since Derek Watt left in free agency in 2020. They thought Gabe Nabers could fill that role after they signed him in 2020, but it's clear they want an upgrade after drafting Horvath in the seventh round this year. Like Watt, Horvath was initially planning to play linebacker in college before converting to a fullback at Purdue. Horvath is slightly stronger and more athletic than Watt, and if Horvath can prove his worth on special teams, he could carve out a Watt-esque role on the roster in his rookie season.
Buffalo Bills wide receivers Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder will compete for the starting slot role in training camp this summer now that Cole Beasley is no longer around. McKenzie has been with the Bills, but with a new offensive coordinator in Ken Dorsey, he might need to earn his way onto the field. He has more explosive athleticism than Crowder and is very quick in his cuts. Crowder probably won't break any big plays, but he's as technically sound a slot receiver as there is. He's been a target magnet in his career at times because of his ability to find soft spots in zone defenses. Given McKenzie's two-year deal, the Bills are likely hoping he can take the job and run with it, but Crowder should still have a role regardless. Rookie fifth-rounder Khalil Shakir is unlikely to become a legitimate receiving asset unless injuries open up an opportunity.
Of the Buffalo Bills players on the 53-man roster last year, wide receiver Marquez Stevenson faces the biggest battle to make the team again in 2022. The Bills were hoping he could seize the return-specialist role when he came back from Injured Reserve, but as a rookie, he didn't inspire much confidence with ball-security issues and he was inactive in both playoff games and the regular season finale. Stevenson is buried on the receiving depth chart and struggled with drops this spring. If he cannot turn it around and show a spark in the return game, the Bills might cut him and try to bring him back on the practice squad. Tavon Austin likely faces an uphill battle to make the team, and his best hope will be as a return specialist.
Washington Commanders second-year wide receiver Dyami Brown flew under the radar during offseason workouts. The former third-rounder had high expectations in his rookie season, but injuries and overall inconsistent play led to an underwhelming first season in the NFL, when he finished with 12 catches on 25 targets for 165 yards and no touchdowns in 15 games (six starts). Brown caught just four of 12 targets for 32 yards in the first three games of the season with Curtis Samuel sidelined, and from there he was in and out of the lineup and was never able to establish himself in the offense. The 22-year-old got to run with the first-team offense for the majority of the offseason program with Terry McLaurin absent, but he'll likely enter the season as the No. 4 wideout behind McLaurin, rookie Jahan Dotson and Samuel.
The Carolina Panthers are acquiring quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday in exchange for a 2024 conditional fifth-round draft pick, according to sources. The deal is pending a physical, and all parties split the financials to make the deal happen. The long-awaited trade has finally happened. Mayfield will join a QB room in Carolina that includes Sam Darnold and rookie Matt Corral, and he should be the clear favorite to start for the Panthers under center in Week 1 against, ironically, the Browns. Mayfield played injured for most of the 2021 campaign and didn't have much to work with in the passing game in a run-first offense, so he should be better this year on a new team, although fantasy managers probably shouldn't consider him as anything more than a QB2. The acquisition of Mayfield is also a boost for running back Christian McCaffrey and top wideout D.J. Moore.
The Atlanta Falcons signed free-agent defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to an undisclosed one-year deal on Wednesday, according to a source. Interior defensive line depth was a question mark for the Falcons with training camp approaching, so the 28-year-old Goldman is a nice pickup. Atlanta is banking on young defensive tackles Marlon Davidson and Ta'Quon Graham to step up alongside Grady Jarrett. The Chicago Bears tried to trade Goldman before releasing him this offseason. In his sixth season with Chicago in 2021, he had 22 tackles (14 solo) and half a sack in 14 games (10 starts). The former second-round pick in 2015 has a total of 175 tackles (116 solo), 18 tackles for loss, 21 QB hits and 13 sacks in 81 career games.
The Carolina Panthers don't plan on trading quarterback Sam Darnold after acquiring Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday, and they envision a training camp competition between Darnold and Mayfield. Rookie Matt Corral will sit and watch in his first NFL season unless Darnold and Mayfield both miss time due to injuries. Darnold really struggled in his first year in Carolina in 2021, and the fact that Carolina actually traded for Mayfield should make him the favorite to start in Week 1, barring a terrible training camp from Mayfield. Mayfield played through injuries most of the season last year with Cleveland and was extremely disappointing as well, but he probably gives the Panthers a better chance to win. Neither QB is anything more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy as the starting signal-caller.
Dynasty | With the trade of Baker Mayfield to the Panthers, the Browns could turn to Jacoby Brissett as their starter should Deshaun Watson face a long-term suspension. Dynasty Analysis: Deshaun Watson is potentially looking at a year-long suspension, or even an indefinite one. With Mayfield off to Carolina, Cleveland has Brissett now as the stopgap solution should Watson miss significant time. At this point, it seems highly likely Brissett is under center in week one and he's going to hold some potential in-season value. Brissett is currently unranked, but that's likely to change with the news of this trade.
Dynasty | The 49ers are likely going to be forced to release quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Dynasty Analysis: With Baker Mayfield off to Carolina, the number of suitors for the services of Jimmy G have dwindled yet again. At this point, Seattle may be the best bet for his next landing spot, but a trade between those two division rivals seems very unlikely. The 49ers will likely have to bite the bullet here and release him to get his salary off the books. Seattle still looks like the most likely destination for him moving forward.
Miami Dolphins RB Chase Edmonds appears to be the leading candidate for the starting running back job at this point but will share snaps with several other backs, in the opinion of DolphinsWire's Mike Masala.
Fantasy Spin: Edmonds probably will receive a majority of the carries in the running game but will not see extended playing time because of the other running backs on the roster. Edmonds could be considered a No. 2 or No. 3 back in fantasy leagues.
Free-agent DT Eddie Goldman (Bears) signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons Wednesday, July 6. Financial terms were not disclosed. The team also waived S Brad Hawkins.
Dynasty | Sam Darnold is the odd man out after the Panthers traded for quarterback Baker Mayfield. Dynasty Analysis: The Panthers acquired Mayfield today, moving Darnold to the bench. The Panthers famously traded a second, fourth and sixth round pick just last season in the hopes Darnold could be their long-term answer. Unfortunately, he faceplanted in 12 games, throwing for 2,527 yards, nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. His QBR of 33.2 tells you just about everything you need to know about his season. Darnold was even briefly replaced by Cam Newton after floundering. He should compete with Mayfield this off-season, but it's highly unlikely he beats him out. Darnold's dynasty value is on life support and his ranking of WB37 will likely drop even further now.
Updating a previous report, Carolina Panthers QB Baker Mayfield agreed to trim $3.5 million off his 2022 base salary and the Cleveland Browns will pick up $10.5 million more, leaving the Panthers to pay around $5 million for him this coming season. Cleveland also saves $8 million against the salary cap with this deal.
Fantasy Spin: The financials make this even more of a win-win trade for both sides. The Browns get rid of one of their problems and save money in the process, and Carolina gets a look at a potential long-term solution at quarterback for a very cheap price tag. Mayfield enters 2022 as a QB2.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield was traded to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday, July 6, in exchange for a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick, per sources. The deal is pending a physical and it isn't clear exactly how much of Mayfield's money the Panthers will pick up.
Fantasy Spin: Mayfield will now join a Panthers roster that has a good amount of weapons in DJ Moore, Robbie Anderson and Christian McCaffrey. Assuming he wins the starting role, Mayfield is a QB2.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport is reporting the Panthers are acquiring quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Browns for a 2024 conditional 5th-round draft pick. The deal is pending a physical.
Dynasty | Chase Edmonds is currently at the top of the Dolphins depth chart. Dynasty Analysis: The Dolphins depth chart currently consists of Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel, Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed, ZeQuandre White, and Gerrid Doaks. In short, this is a mess. The most likely scenario this season is all of these running backs fail to have very much real value as they're nearly destined to vulture off each other. On the plus side, Edmonds is likely the best pass catcher of the group and while Mostert and Michel will split carries on early downs, he looks like the favorite to handle the passing game work. Edmonds remains our RB35 at this point in the season.