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NFL PLAYER NEWS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.