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Volume 19, #13 -- Friday Night, May 5th, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Good Saturday to you. The world may be all about NBA and NHL but we've got the NFL News and Notes you need. Plus some great new articles on Injury Updates and Dynasty Players to watch. Let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Offseason Injury Rounds: Offense (May Update)
One of Footballguys best features is our Dr. Jene Bramel's take on Injuries. Jene is an MD and his combination of medical and football knowledge allows an insight into injuries that will give you the edge you need. In this article, Jene updates current injury status of Julio Jones, Andrew Luck, Rob Gronkowski, Teddy Bridgewater, Le'Veon Bell, Sammy Watkins, Tyler Eifert, and many other offensive players.

B. The Top 100 Developmental Players
Our Dan Hindery with a look at the the top College Prospects for Dynasty Leagues.


1. NFL - QB Jay Cutler says decision is permanent

Source: NFL.com - Kevin Patra

Updating a previous report, retired QB Jay Cutler said his decision to retire and become a broadcaster will be permanent.

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Cutler could be good as a broadcaster with his "long hair, don't care" attitude. If he starts really talking how he feels, then it could actually turn into must-see TV for football fans.

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2. MIN - Minnesota noncommittal about starting RB

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Chris Tomasson

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer did not shed any light on the identity of his team's starting running back - expected to be a two-man battle between Latavius Murray and rookie second-rounder Dalvin Cook - when asked about it Friday, May 5.

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Cook is the more dynamic back, and he could win the job eventually even if Murray begins the season as the starter. The rookie from Florida State will need to show that he's adept at protecting the quarterback if he wants to see the field. Cook also needs to do a better job of hanging onto the rock as fumbling was a problem for him with the Seminoles.

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3. LAR - WR Tavon Austin to become more of a deep threat?

Source: ESPN.com - Alden Gonzalez

Los Angeles Rams WR Tavon Austin is expected to establish himself as more of a downfield threat, similar to what DeSean Jackson for new head coach Sean McVay when he was the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins, according to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

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While the report indicates he could be like Jackson, we think Austin could be (and is similarly built to) Jamison Crowder. It will be interesting to see how the offense is crafted under McVay, and this team needs a ton of work in the passing game. Right now, fantasy owners aren't over the moon about Austin. He has a current ADP of WR79 (14.09) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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4. WAS - WR Jamison Crowder set for increased role

Source: CSNMidAtlantic.com - JP Finlay

Washington Redskins WR Jamison Crowder should exceed 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career in 2017, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic's JP Finlay.

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With DeSean Jackson (Buccaneers) and Pierre Garcon (49ers) moving on in free agency, Crowder is the player with the most established chemistry with QB Kirk Cousins in the WR corps. That chemistry could get him even more work in 2017 even though he'll be splitting targets with WRs Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson (plus TE Jordan Reed). Crowder has a current ADP of WR33 (7.07) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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5. MIN - QB Teddy Bridgewater posts workout

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Jason Gonzalez

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) posted a video of himself going through agility drills Thursday, March 4.

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Bridgewater is one his way back from the horrific knee injury suffered last year, but there's no guarantee that he even gets on the field in 2017. A free agent in 2018, Bridgewater's future in the NFL is very much up in the air.

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6. OAK - RB Marshawn Lynch joins workouts

Source: CSNBayArea.com - Scott Bair

Oakland Raiders RB Marshawn Lynch has joined the offseason training program and has taken part in individual position drills.

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We're so excited to have Lynch back in the league after he was out of football in 2016. Running behind one of the league's best offensive lines, Lynch has a ton of fantasy relevance. Fantasy owners are drafting him at RB30 (7.03) in 12-team PPR leagues...and that ADP should rise to at least RB2 levels by the time August rolls around. Be careful though as we expect the hype to be off the charts for Lynch.

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7. TEN - QB Marcus Mariota close to 'full-head running'

Source: NFL.com - Conor Orr

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota (leg) said that he feels great and is 'probably another week or two from really full-head running.' In the meantime, he's begun to do some jogging and is continuing to take things one day at a time in doing his best to be prepared for the season.

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More great news for the young quarterback here. Mariota should do nothing during the offseason work, but it seems like he's on track to fully participate at some point in training camp. The Titans added three quality skill position players to the offense with premium picks in the 2017 NFL draft (WR Corey Davis, WR Taywan Taylor, TE Jonnu Smith) so Mariota could post career-best numbers if fully healthy.

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8. CIN - Joe Mixon needs to get in shape

Source: ESPN.com - Katherine Terrell

Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon will need to get back into football shape after spending the offseason making pre-draft visits, according to head coach Marvin Lewis.

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It shouldn't take the rookie too long to get back into shape. Mixon has incredible natural talent but fell in the draft due to character concerns. He'll compete with Jeremy Hill to be the lead back for the Bengals in 2017.

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9. MIN - Coach optimistic about QB Teddy Bridgewater

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Andrew Krammer

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said he is more optimistic than in the past that QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) will be able to return eventually. Bridgewater has been rehabbing at the team's facilities this offseason.

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We're glad Zimmer is optimistic, but it's hard to be there with him at this point. There's a chance that Bridgewater never takes another snap in a game for the Vikings. His availability for this year is a huge question mark, and Bridgewater is set to be a free agent in 2018.

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10. LAR - WR Tavon Austin to sit out OTAs

Source: ESPN.com - Alden Gonzalez

Los Angeles Rams WR Tavon Austin (wrist) will miss OTAs after undergoing surgery on his left wrist but is expected to be ready for training camp, according to ESPN's Alden Gonzalez.

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Austin's role with the team might be different according to early reports. Some reporters feel that Austin could play a DeSean Jackson-like role for former Washington OC (and new Rams head coach) Sean McVay.

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11. BUF - WR Sammy Watkins' extension not a priority

Source: The Buffalo News - Vic Carucci

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins is not expected to receive an extension offer during the season, according to the Buffalo News's Vic Carucci, who believes new head coach Sean McDermott's big-picture vision for the roster doesn't include a huge investment in a receiver.

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There's a new sheriff in Buffalo, and it's all about what you do going forward. The Bills surprised many by not picking up the fifth-year option for Watkins before the May 2nd deadline. Watkins needs to prove that he can stay healthy this year...especially if he wants to maximize his value on the free agent market in 2018. If healthy, Watkins has the upside to be a truly dominant player at the position. However, that's a position McDermott isn't putting a lot of stock in for right now.

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12. CLE - DeShone Kizer eager to learn

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Doug Lesmerises

Cleveland Browns QB DeShone Kizer is 'very coachable,' according to head coach Hue Jackson, and Kizer said he is confident he can become a more accurate thrower.

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Kizer is far from a finished product, and it's a good sign that he's eager to learn because he's got a lot to work on. He's big, athletic and has a good arm. However, Kizer tends to lock onto his initial targets and does not get rid of the ball as quickly as he needs to in the pros. He'll compete to be the Browns starter this year along with Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler.

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13. HOU - Deshaun Watson will have chance to start

Source: ESPN.com - Sarah Barshop

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson will have a chance to compete with QB Tom Savage for the starting quarterback job, general manager Rick Smith said Thursday, May 4.

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Watson may be in the best situation of any rookie quarterback in 2017. The Texans have a championship-level defense, and they've got plenty of weapons on the offensive side of the ball. Watson makes big plays when the pressure is the highest, so competing for a job in training camp won't be too much for him to handle. We expect him to start plenty of games this year, and we believe he can win the starting job for Week 1.

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14. CIN - John Ross to miss minicamp

Source: ESPN.com - Katherine Terrell

Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross (shoulder) will not be medically cleared by the team's June minicamp because he is recovering from shoulder surgery, according to head coach Marvin Lewis.

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Zero surprise here. Ross was always expected to miss some time in the offseason after the shoulder surgery he had after the Scouting Combine. All signs point to the speedy rookie being ready for training camp.

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15. KC - Kansas City claims RB Kelvin Taylor

Source: The Kansas City Star - Terez A. Paylor

Seattle Seahawks RB Kelvin Taylor was claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs Friday, May 5.

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The son of former Jaguars great Fred Taylor, Kelvin has bounced around the league to now three teams in just a little over a year. A sixth-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, Taylor gives the Chiefs more depth behind Spencer Ware, Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller. He'll be hard pressed to make the 53-man roster.

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16. TB - WR Riley Cooper trying out with Tampa Bay

Source: SiriusXM Radio - Adam Caplan

Free-agent WR Riley Cooper (Eagles) is participating in minicamp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a tryout basis.

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Talk about your out of nowhere news items! Cooper was out of the league last year as the Eagles let him go in February of 2016 and he generated zero interest on the open market. The Bucs added WR talent through free agency (DeSean Jackson) and the draft (Chris Godwin), but Cooper might do enough to stick around for the offseason.

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17. GB - Green Bay signs five draft choices

Source: Packers.com

Green Bay Packers fifth-round RB Aaron Jones, fifth-round WR DeAngelo Yancey, sixth-round C Kofi Amichia, seventh-round RB Devante Mays and seventh-round WR Malachi Dupre each signed their four-year rookie contracts Friday, May 5.

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Watch out for Jones (Texas-El Paso) from this group. The Packers backfield has undergone some changes this offseason. Eddie Lacy is now in Seattle, and Green Bay selected three RBs in the 2017 NFL draft to compete with Ty Montgomery for snaps at the position. Jamaal Williams (BYU) has power and instincts for running the ball, but Jones has burst and big play ability. The UTEP runner had eight games last year where he broke off a run of 40 or more yards. Williams vs Jones vs Montgomery is going to be interesting to watch unfold in camp.

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18. CAR - Christian McCaffrey signs deal

Source: Panthers.com - Bryan Strickland

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey signed his standard four-year rookie contract Thursday, May 4.

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McCaffrey is going to be a great weapon for the Panthers offense. He's not a big back, but he can run between the tackles with great patience. McCaffrey is fantastic as a receiver -- either out of the backfield or even split out wide. The Panthers should do what they can to get him the ball in a multitude of ways. Fantasy owners in dynasty rookie drafts should be considering him for the no.1 overall pick.

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19. MIN - Vikings interested in WR Michael Floyd

Source: Life Time - Andrew Renschen

The Minnesota Vikings are 'highly, highly interested' in free-agent WR Michael Floyd (Patriots).

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Floyd has gotten zero interest on the open market after his short-lived stint with the Patriots last year. He was with the Pats for their Super Bowl run last year, but Floyd did nothing to write home about. Floyd hit the open market in March, and teams just weren't that interested. The Vikings don't have great depth at the receiver position, and that may be why they're 'highly, highly interested' in the big-bodied veteran.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J