Recent NFL Player News

Denver's Jerry Jeudy participating in sessions with Drew Lock

Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy has been participating in throwing sessions with quarterback Drew Lock.

What It Means:

According to Klis, Jeudy has been spending extra time recently with Drew Lock by participating in throwing sessions at a local field with K.J. Hamler and Phillip Lindsay. Expect the Broncos' first round pick to see major playing time as a starter alongside Courtland Sutton.

For the upcoming season, Jeudy's projections include 56.8 receptions for 725.3 yards and 4.0 touchdowns on 94.9 targets.

Source: Mike Klis

Mehta: Jets reportedly talk to Kyle Long about possible return

According to Manish Mehta and the New York Daily News, the New York Jets have talked to offensive guard Kyle Long about coming out of retirement.

What It Means:

After several major injuries, Long stepped away from the game last season but appears at least open to a potential return. Expect the veteran to play at left or right guard if he un-retires.

On 164 pass snaps last season, Long allowed one sack, two quarterback hits, and 14 total pressures.

49ers' believe Jimmy Garoppolo can be an all-time great

The San Francisco 49ers believe that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo can be one of the best of all-time at the position, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

What It Means:

Shanahan told reporters during a video call on Thursday that "Jimmy has a goal to be that (one of the best of all time)" and "I believe he has the ability to be that and that's what both of us are going for". Garoppolo bounced back from a season-ending injury in 2018 to pilot the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a Super Bowl appearance last season. The 49ers only threw on 49% of their plays, second-fewest in the NFL, but tied with the Tennessee Titans for the highest yards per attempt at 8.5. Garoppolo completed 329 of 476 attempts (69.1%) for 3,978 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. His yards per attempt was third-best in the league behind Ryan Tannehill and Matt Stafford, and he finished the season a Pro Football Focus' 16th rated quarterback. San Francisco added another weapon to their offense by selecting wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the first round of April's draft to work alongside rookie standout Deebo Samuel and star tight end, George Kittle.

Garoppolo is the QB20 in numberFire's fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 3,907.4 yards, 27.2 touchdowns, and 12.0 interceptions with another 127.4 yards and 1.4 touchdowns on the ground.

Marvin Jones working with younger Lions

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones (ankle) worked out with fifth-round rookie wide receiver Quintez Cephus and free agent addition Victor Bolden at his house.

What It Means:

Jones appears to be recovered from the ankle injury that forced him on injured reserve for the final three games last season. He was also limited to nine games in 2018 by a knee issue. Prior to Matthew Stafford going down last year, Jones averaged 66.9 yards over eight games and scored 6 touchdowns. His 9 receiving scores were tied for second in the league when Jones was placed on injured reserve. Now 30, Jones appears to be embracing his role as a veteran leader on the team. He's expected to start opposite Kenny Golladay again in 2020.

Jones is the WR33 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 109.8 targets, 66.8 catches, 854.3 yards, and 5.7 touchdowns.

Devonta Freeman says Buccaneers can reach out directly

Free agent running back Devonta Freeman said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can reach out "directly" to him if looking to negotiate a contract.

What It Means:

"A number of teams are interested, but we can’t negotiate through the media," Freeman stated on Twitter. "The Buccaneers can reach out to me directly." Bucs head coach Bruce Arians recently told the media that the team would be interested in Freeman "if his price tag was reasonable," but that the veteran back is "asking for a lot of money." The two sides have plenty of time to reach a deal before the season starts if the Bucs want to add a veteran to their young backfield. Freeman was limited to two games in 2018 and then averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry last season. He failed to clear 100 yards in 14 games. Freeman turned 28 in March.

Freeman averaged 12.0 FanDuel points (RB23) and 76.1 offensive yards with 6 touchdowns in 14 games last season. He managed just a 29.4 percent success rate, compared to 42.7 percent for the rest of the Falcons' backfield. The Bucs ranked 27th as a team in numberFire's advanced rushing metric.

Baker Mayfield working with Browns on footwork

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has been working on his footwork through virtual meetings, new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said.

What It Means:

Van Pelt previously suggested Mayfield's footwork led to some accuracy issues in 2019, but he says the reason for the change is to better fit his West Coast system. “It’s just the philosophy of the offense and the way I coach the quarterback, that’s what I am looking for,’’ Van Pelt said. “I’ve studied all three different types of gun footwork, and I’ve decided this is what fits the quarterback the best in the system that we’re running, and that’s it.” Van Pelt believes it will "ultimately add to the rhythm and the timing of the pass game" following a disappointing second season from Mayfield. He threw the second-most interceptions (21) in the league and his yards per attempt fell from 7.7 yards as a rookie to 7.2 yards in 2019. Mayfield's touchdown percentage also dropped from 5.6 to 4.1.

Baker is the QB19 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 4,076.8 yards, 27.0 touchdowns, and 15.3 interceptions with another 129.9 yards and 1.5 touchdowns on the ground. Mayfield ranked 32nd last year in Net Expected Points per dropback among the guys to drop back at least 150 times.

Giants' Daniel Jones working on ball security

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones' top offseason priority has been improving his ball security, writes Dan Duggan of The Athletic.

What It Means:

Jones committed a league-high 18 fumbles across 12 starts as a rookie and also threw 12 interceptions. He's added on some muscle to give him a stronger grip on the ball and is learning how to become smarter as a runner. Jones scrambled on 5.2 percent of designed pass plays last year, ninth-highest among passers with 200 or more designed pass plays. He also reached out to Tony Romo, who averaged 10.7 fumbles in his first three seasons as a starter, but then improved to an average of just 6.4 fumbles in his last five full seasons as a starter. Despite the turnover problems, Jones did show some promise as a passer with five 300-yard performances and three games with 4-plus touchdowns. He also finished with the seventh-most rushing yards (249) among all quarterbacks.

Jones is the QB18 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 4,023.3 yards, 24.4 touchdowns, and 13.5 interceptions with another 266.4 yards and 2.4 touchdowns on the ground.

Patriots' Jarrett Stidham, Julian Edelman working together regularly

New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham has been working out with wide receiver Julian Edelman in Massachusetts during the offseason, per Stidham's Instagram.

What It Means:

Stidham is the favorite to be the Patriots' starting quarterback this season and Edelman is expected to be his top target. Stidham only played 15 snaps as a rookie behind Tom Brady, but he was impressive last preseason. The fourth-round pick completed 61-of-91 passes (67.0 percent) for 731 yards (8.0 per attempt) with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. That earned Stidham the sixth-highest overall passing grade (72.2) and second-best adjusted completion percentage (84.1) from Pro Football Focus among the 20 quarterbacks with at least 68 preseason dropbacks. Brian Hoyer is currently next in line on the depth chart if Stidham struggles.

Stidham is the QB29 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 3,841.2 yards, 23.8 touchdowns, and 15.5 interceptions with another 128.2 yards and 1.9 touchdowns on the ground.

Bengals' William Jackson now fully healthy after tearing labrum

Cincinnati Bengals defensive back William Jackson is fully healthy as preparation for the 2020 season begins, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

What It Means:

Jackson revealed to Wilson that he actually played with a torn labrum for the entire season, saying "I don't know how I did it, but I did it. It was painful every game. I'm fully healthy and ready to go." The former first-round pick's injury likely accounts for his career-worst performance a year ago, leading to just a 53.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus - he posted a sterling 90.2 in his debut season in 2017 (his "rookie season" in 2016 never happened due to a torn pectoral).

Our models project Jackson for 63.83 tackles, 1.18 interceptions, 0.68 fumble recoveries and 4.88 pass defenses.

Seattle's K.J. Wright ahead of schedule in shoulder rehab

Seattle Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright is on track to be ready for Week 1 of the 2020 season, he announced Thursday.

What It Means:

In an interview with 950 KJR Seattle, Wright announced that his recovery from shoulder surgery is in fact ahead of schedule, and he fully expects to be ready to go when the 2020 season begins. There aren't many specifics regarding the shoulder injury and subsequent surgery, only that it was announced in early May. But regardless of what it was, it seems that the 30-year-old has put it behind him.

Our models project Wright for 119.69 tackles, 0.78 sacks, 3.46 interceptions, 0.48 fumbles recovered, 6.68 pass defenses and 0.22 touchdowns.

Steelers' Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald could have training camp battle

Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends Eric Ebron and Vance McDonald could be competing for the starting job in training camp, writes Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

What It Means:

Ebron was added in free agency this offseason while McDonald has spent the past three years with the Steelers. It will be a battle of two veteran tight ends who are both coming off disappointing campaigns following career years. Ebron was limited to 11 games by an ankle sprain and McDonald was stuck in a terrible quarterback situation. The former was held to 3 touchdowns after totaling 14 touchdowns in 2018. Despite seeing a career-high 68.5 percent snap share, McDonald averaged just 19.5 yards on 3.9 targets a game. His 5.0 yards per target was the veteran's worst effort since his second year in the league. Ebron has the more impressive track record, as he has caught 47 or more passes in four of his last five seasons and found the end zone 28 times. Meanwhile, McDonald has cleared 40 receptions just once and totaled 15 touchdowns in that span. Assuming Ebron wins the gig, he will likely emerge as a go-to option for Ben Roethlisberger, targeted his tight ends 111 times of 675 attempts (17.6 percent) in 2018.

numberFire's models believe Ebron will beat out McDonald for the starting job, as he is the TE24 in our preseason fantasy rankings while McDonald is the TE42. Ebron is projected for 39.4 catches on 61.3 targets for 445.7 yards and 3.74 touchdowns.

CeeDee Lamb could be used as Cowboys' punt returner

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is in line to be used as the team's primary punt returner, according to team reporter Nick Easterman.

What It Means:

Lamb is expected to help boost the Cowboys' already potent offense, which ranked 2nd in the league in offensive DVOA, per Football Outsiders. However, it seems as though his talents won't be contained to just one aspect of the game. Entering with plenty of experience as a punt returner in college, Lamb is expected to continue that role with Dallas in 2020.

Our models project Lamb for 57.02 catches on 94.00 targets for 778.21 yards and 4.94 touchdowns.

Jaylen Samuels not a lock to make Steelers' roster

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Samuels is not a lock to make the 53-man roster, writes Bob Labriola of the Steelers official website.

What It Means:

There appears to be an open competition between Samuels, Benny Snell, Kerrith Whyte, and fourth-round rookie Anthony McFarland for the backup job behind James Conner. Last season, Samuels struggled on the ground (2.7 yards per carry), but he did catch 47 passes on 57 targets for 305 yards and a touchdown.

numberFire's models project Samuels for 47.1 carries, 196.5 rushing yards, 13.5 catches (17.5 targets), 98.1 receiving yards, and 2.0 touchdowns this season. He's the RB68 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Buccaneers open to Devonta Freeman for right price

Free agent running back Devonta Freeman could be an option for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the right price, head coach Bruce Arians said.

What It Means:

"If his price tag was reasonable," Arians replied when asked about Freeman being on the team's radar. "He's asking for a lot of money and we don't have a lot of money." This indicates the Buccaneers may be looking to add to a backfield that already includes Ronald Jones, third-round rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and pass-catching back Dare Ogunbowale. Freeman averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry last season and failed to clear 100 yards in 14 games. The 28-year-old back has been limited to just 16 combined appearances over the last two seasons due to multiple injuries.

Freeman averaged 12.0 FanDuel points (RB23) and 76.1 offensive yards with 6 touchdowns in 14 games last season. He managed just a 29.4 percent success rate, compared to 42.7 percent for the rest of the Falcons' backfield. The Bucs ranked 27th as a team in numberFire's advanced rushing metric.

Buccaneers say base offense will be 12 personnel

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said 12 personnel will be the team's base offense.

What It Means:

That means the Buccaneers are frequently going to have two tight ends on the field. Arians added that he even likes using three tight ends on occasion. Rob Gronkowski figures to see the most snaps, but it remains to be seen if O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate will be able to lock down the other starting job. The downside is that this likely means Chris Godwin will see less work in the slot since the Bucs won't be running as many three-wide sets. It also means fewer formations featuring both Ronald Jones and third-round rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn.

Howard is the TE30 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 48.4 targets, 31.2 catches, 361.0 yards and 2.4 touchdowns. Brate (TE51) is pegged for 27.5 targets, 17.5 receptions, 145.1 yards, and 1.5 touchdowns.

Titans' Corey Davis a "big part of the offense"

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis is "a big part of the offense" according to offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

What It Means:

Smith raved about Corey Davis in a zoom call on Wednesday, adding that "there were some huge explosive plays last year that Corey was the unsung hero to...hes a big part of this offense and I think he'll take another step." The fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Davis caught 43 of 68 targets (63.2%) for 601 yards (14 per reception) and 2 touchdowns last season. His reception percentage and yards per reception marks were new career-highs, and he also set a career-high in NFL passer rating when targeted at 101.4. Working alongside emerging star A.J. Brown, Davis should see lesser coverage this season, but his volume remains an obstacle in the Titan's run-heavy offense.

Davis is the WR63 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 75.6 targets, 44.4 receptions, 609.1 yards, and 3.4 touchdowns.

Source: Jim Wyatt

Titans confident in Ryan Tannehill and passing offense

Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith expressed his confidence in quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his excitement for the team's passing offense heading into his second season on the job.

What It Means:

Smith told reporters on a zoom call Wednesday that he is "excited about Ryan and where we can go with the passing offense. I feel confident in Ryan. I am excited about the leadership Ryan brings, too." Tannehill had the best season of his career after taking over for Marcus Mariota in week 6, finishing the season as Pro Football Focus' top-graded quarterback. He led the league in yards per attempt (9.6) and was third in completion percentage (70.3%) among quarterbacks with at least 70 attempts. His league-leading passer rating of 114.2 was 20.7 points higher than his previous career-best mark of 93.5 from 2016. It's easy to see why Arthur is excited about the future.

Tannehill is the QB17 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 3,947.1 yards, 24.5 touchdowns, and 12.6 interceptions with another 271.4 yards and 2.5 touchdowns on the ground.

Source: Jim Wyatt

Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. has been "awesome" in offseason program

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been an active participant in the team's offseason program, according to Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

What It Means:

Van Pelt added that Beckham has bought in, is all-in, and has "been awesome" this offseason. It's a good sign as Beckham looks to rebound in his second year in Cleveland, following the least efficient season of his career in 2019. Last season Beckham set career lows in reception percentage (56.9%), yards (1,035), and touchdowns (4), excluding his 2017 season which was cut short due to injury. numberFire's models expect him to improve on all of those marks this upcoming season.

Beckham is the WR9 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 132.3 targets, 79.1 receptions, 1,132.2 yards, and 7.6 touchdowns.

Browns looking to "find ways" to get Kareem Hunt the ball

The Cleveland Browns have an idea of what running back Kareem Hunt's role will be in their offense, and would like to see how he runs routes, according to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

What It Means:

Van Pelt added that they "have to find a way to put their best players on the field. Have to find ways to get him the ball". Last season, Hunt was a major factor in the passing game once he returned from his suspension in Week 10, totaling 37 receptions on 43 targets (86%) for 285 yards (7.7 per reception) and 1 touchdown. He added 44 attempts for 171 yards (3.9 per attempt) and 2 touchdowns on the ground, combining for an average of 10.1 touches per game over the final eight weeks of the season. He earned a receiving grade of 83.4 from Pro Football Focus, 9th in the NFL among running backs and well above Nick Chubb's mark of 56.5.

numberFire's models project Hunt for 112.4 carries, 505.9 rushing yards, 49.7 receptions (69.7 targets), 431.6 receiving yards, and 6.81 touchdowns. He's the RB30 in our preseason fantasy rankings.

Browns praise Baker Mayfield for offseason leadership

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is impressing new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in virtual meetings.

What It Means:

“He’s done everything I’d expect from him as a starting quarterback,’’ Van Pelt said Wednesday. “His work ethic is great ... He’s all in. He’s doing it exactly how we expect him to do it.’’ Van Pelt added that Mayfield has picked up the new offense quickly during the Browns' virtual offseason program and that he's asking the right questions. Mayfield also hosted a throwing session for about nine teammates in his hometown of Austin, Texas. The combination of better chemistry and a new coach could have the former top overall pick poised for a bounce-back campaign after a dismal second season. He threw the second-most interceptions (21) in the league and his yards per attempt fell from 7.7 yards as a rookie to 7.2 yards. Mayfield's touchdown percentage also dropped from 5.6 to 4.1.

Baker is the QB19 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 4,076.8 yards, 27.0 touchdowns, and 15.3 interceptions with another 129.9 yards and 1.5 touchdowns on the ground. Mayfield ranked 32nd last year in Net Expected Points per dropback among the guys to drop back at least 150 times.

Seth DeValve released by Panthers

Tight end Seth DeValve has been released by the Carolina Panthers due to a non-football injury, according to ESPN's David Newton.

What It Means:

DeValve, a former fourth-round selection by the Cleveland Browns in 2016, played 12 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, totaling 12 receptions on 17 targets (70.6%) for 140 yards (11.7 per reception). He was signed by the Panthers in March but was released on Wednesday due to a non-football injury.

DeValve was Pro Football Focus' second-highest-rated pass-blocking tight end last season, earning a grade of 82.4.

Titans' Derrick Henry's workload dependent "on how games go"

Tennessee Titans' running back Derrick Henry's workload will depend on how games go, according to offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

What It Means:

Smith added that he wants to make sure he has a lot of guys get touches. Neither piece of news is great for Henry's outlook this season, but also wouldn't represent much of a departure from how the Titans used Henry last season when he won the rushing title. "How the games go" didn't have much of an impact on Henry's usage last season, with the Titans running the ball on 38% of plays when trailing (fifth-most in the NFL), 64% of plays when leading (most in the NFL), and 49% of plays when tied (fourth-most in the NFL), per Sharp Football Stats. Their 197 rushing attempts while trailing was only 33 attempts lower than their 229 attempts while leading. Henry totaled 321 touches last regular season, and numberFire's models currently project him for 319 this upcoming season.

numberFire's preseason projections expect Henry to record 293 attempts for 1,379 yards and 12.38 touchdowns on the ground, and 26.2 receptions on 34.3 targets for 226.1 yards and 1.20 touchdowns in the passing game. He is the RB5 in their preseason rankings.

Source: Jim Wyatt

David Njoku 'great' in Browns' meetings

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has been "great" during offseason meetings, per offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.

What It Means:

Van Pelt added that he expects Njoku to bounce back after a disappointing season. The Browns exercised Njoku's fifth-year option in April, but he may struggle to find steady snaps following the offseason additions of Austin Hooper and fourth-round rookie Harrison Bryant. Njoku caught 5 passes on 10 targets for 41 yards and 1 touchdown in four appearances last season.

Njoku is the TE38 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 41.9 targets, 24.8 receptions, 276.0 yards, and 2.3 touchdowns. Njoku's 4.1 yards per target last season was fourth-fewest out of 83 tight ends with at least 10 targets. He's been below-average in numberFire's advanced per-target receiving metric all three of his years in the league.

Spencer Pulley 'in lead' for Giants' center job

New York Giants center Spencer Pulley is "in the lead for the starting job," according to Paul Schwartz of New York Post.

What It Means:

Nick Gates and Jon Halapio, who tore his Achilles tendon in last year's season finale and remains unsigned. Pulley only played 95 snaps last year after making nine starts with the Giants in 2018. The former undrafted free agent has made 26 NFL starts between the Giants and Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers. Gates started two games last season at right tackle and one at right guard, but he only saw practice snaps at center.

The Giants' offensive line graded 17th overall on Pro Football Focus last season. The offense ranked 24th in numberFire's advanced per-play metrics.

Titans looking to scale back Harold Landry's snaps

Tennessee Titans linebacker Harold Landry's playing time needs to be reduced in 2020, per linebackers coach Shane Bowen.

What It Means:

Landry led the entire Titans' defense with 952 snaps (85.8 percent) last season, an uncommon feat for a pass-rusher. Bowen believes a lessened workload will help Landry be even more effective on a per-play basis. He recorded 9.0 sacks last year, giving Landry 13.5 takedowns through two seasons in the league. The former second-rounder also recovered a pair of fumbles and picked off his first pass in his second season. Landry should only continue to improve in Year 3.

numberFire's models project Landry for 67.6 tackles with 7.2 sacks and 1.9 forced fumbles in 2020. The Titans D/ST is 10th in our preseason fantasy rankings.

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