Footballguys.com

Volume 20, #13 -- Friday Night, May 4th, 2018

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Hi Footballguy,

Welcome to Saturday. In the midst of NHL and NBA and Baseball, we've got the NFL News and Notes you need. Let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. 12 Players On The Rise After The Draft
Our Phil Alexander with a look at 12 players who saw their offensive roles and fantasy opportunity solidify as a result of their teams' inaction on draft weekend.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. NYJ - Sam Darnold has shot to start Week 1

2. MIA - Miami adds QB Bryce Petty

3. ARI - Elijhaa Penny to assume utility role

4. DAL - Committee approach at tight end

5. ATL - QB Matt Ryan getting paid in 2018

6. PHI - RB Darren Sproles terms

7. NE - RB Jeremy Hill finally healthy

8. TB - Ronald Jones adds new element

9. ARI - Bigger role for Ricky Seals-Jones?

10. CLE - Denzel Ward limited

11. BAL - Orlando Brown to drop weight

12. SEA - Three draft picks sign contracts

13. OAK - DE Armonty Bryant cut

14. NYJ - Trenton Cannon signs rookie deal

15. SEA - DE Cliff Avril sent packing

16. NYJ - Chris Herndon getting some work in

17. OAK - ILB Derrick Johnson headed to Oakland

18. SEA - S Earl Thomas wants to be in Seattle?

19. NYJ - QB Christian Hackenberg reworking delivery


1. NYJ - Sam Darnold has shot to start Week 1

Source: ESPN - Dianna Russini

New York Jets QB Sam Darnold will be given the chance to beat out Josh McCown and win the starting job in training camp, according to head coach Todd Bowles.

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Darnold should sit and learn for a bit, but if he's ready to roll then the Jets have no time to waste. Coming out of USC, Darnold has to learn how to better care for the football. He has a propensity to turn the ball over with too many interceptions and fumbles. In addition to cleaning that up, Darnold could use some tweaks to his throwing mechanics. Oh yeah, he's also just 20-years old so perhaps a little more time would be best for his long-term outlook in the pros.

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2. MIA - Miami adds QB Bryce Petty

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

The Miami Dolphins claimed QB Bryce Petty off waivers from the New York Jets Friday, May 4, according to a source.

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That was quick. Petty was released by the Jets on Thursday but lands with another AFC East team on Friday. He'll compete with David Fales to be the third-string quarterback behind starter Ryan Tannehill and veteran backup Brock Osweiler.

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3. ARI - Elijhaa Penny to assume utility role

Source: Mike Jurecki

Arizona Cardinals RB Elijhaa Penny is reportedly making the transition from backup running back to a role in which he will play some fullback, H-back and tight end while maintaining his usual special teams duties.

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The Cardinals are changing things up in the backfield behind starter David Johnson, and fantasy owners who love to handcuff need to take notice. We expect rookie fourth-round pick Chase Edmonds to be the primary backup behind Johnson in 2018. Penny may have a difficult time transitioning to more of a blocking role at 235 pounds.

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4. DAL - Committee approach at tight end

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jon Machota

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to use some combination of TEs Dalton Schultz, Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and Rico Gathers as a committee to fill the void left behind by the retired Jason Witten, according to the Dallas Morning News' Jon Machota.

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That makes sense, and it sounds like a situation fantasy owners should be avoiding in 2018. We like Schultz to eventually emerge as the top target at the position, but rookie TEs usually take some time to acclimate to the pros. Monitor this situation but don't get too excited by this group essentially vulturing points from each other on a weekly basis.

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5. ATL - QB Matt Ryan getting paid in 2018

Source: Spotrac.com

Updating previous reports, Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan will make $52.5 million in 2018, due in large part, to a $46.5 million signing bonus.

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Ryan will become the first NFL quarterback to cross the $30 million annually threshold. Don't be too shocked, this is going to be the norm for franchise quarterbacks going forward. The Falcons have helped him greatly this offseason by adding top WR Calvin Ridley in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.

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6. PHI - RB Darren Sproles terms

Source: NFL Network - Tom Pelissero

Updating previous reports, Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles received a one-year, $1.415 million deal with $1 million guaranteed and a $400,000 signing bonus. He can earn a maximum of $1.433 million with incentives.

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The Eagles brought back Sproles on April 28th, but the terms were unknown until now. Jay Ajayi will be the lead back for the Eagles, but Sproles and Corey Clement should get time as pass-catchers or change-of-pace backs out of the backfield in 2018. Sproles used to have flex value in PPR leagues but splitting time/touches with Clement might put him more in the 'what the heck' flex category (if that) for fantasy owners.

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7. NE - RB Jeremy Hill finally healthy

Source: The Providence Journal - Mark Daniels

New England Patriots RB Jeremy Hill said he is finally feeling like himself again after having ankle surgery last season. 'I really didn't have the flexibility and the strength in it that I needed to be the back that I wanted to be,' Hill said. 'I'm glad that I got it done and I can get it back to 100 percent and be the back I know I can be.'

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It's been quite some time since Hill was a 1,000-yard rusher (rookie season in 2014) and an effective back in the pros. He's struggled to gain much positive yardage on a per-carry basis over the last three years, and in 2017 Hill only had 37 carries even though he started seven games before getting hurt. The Patriots use a RBBC and Hill could be the red-zone option for them...and that does have a bit of fantasy value. We'll see how this committee shakes out during camp.

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8. TB - Ronald Jones adds new element

Source: NFL Network

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones adds 'juice' that the backfield has been lacking, according to general manager Jason Licht.

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Jones is a big play waiting to happen. He wore 25 at USC in honor of Jamaal Charles, the back he patterns his game after. Like a young Charles, Jones has speed to burn and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. Jones should bring plenty of 'juice' to the Bucs backfield, and we expect him to take over as the lead back at some point during his rookie season.

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9. ARI - Bigger role for Ricky Seals-Jones?

Source: FOX Sports Radio 910 - Mike Jurecki

Arizona Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones said he likes the new system offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has installed, and Mike Jurecki of Fox Sports Radio 910 expects Seals-Jones to have an expanded role in 2018.

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McCoy has been known to create TE-friendly offenses during his time in the NFL (see Chargers), so it will be interesting to see what he does in Arizona. Seals-Jones is an under-the-radar prospect for fantasy owners who could have TE2 production in 2018.

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10. CLE - Denzel Ward limited

Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Nate Ulrich

Cleveland Browns CB Denzel Ward (undisclosed) did not participate in team drills Friday, May 4, because of a possible injury. Head coach Hue Jackson said the team will see how Ward feels Saturday, May 5.

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Not a good way for Ward to begin his Browns career. The no.4 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft has the upside to be a starting corner in the league, and he could start from day one in Cleveland.

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11. BAL - Orlando Brown to drop weight

Source: The Baltimore Sun - Jeff Zrebiec

Baltimore Ravens OT Orlando Brown Jr. said he currently weighs 340 pounds but wants to get down to 325 pounds this offseason.

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Brown's weight fluctuation was a concern for some in the scouting community. That, and his poor combine performance, were part of the reasons why Brown fell to the third round of the 2018 NFL draft.

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12. SEA - Three draft picks sign contracts

Source: Seahawks.com - John Boyle

Seattle Seahawks fourth-round draft choice TE Will Dissly, fifth-round draft choice P Michael Dickson and sixth-round draft choice DE Jake Martin signed four-year contracts with the Seahawks Friday, May 4. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Dissly is a former defensive end who is still raw at the tight end position. He's currently just a 'Y' tight end, meaning he's got the capability of being an all-purpose player who can block and catch.

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13. OAK - DE Armonty Bryant cut

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

Oakland Raiders DE Armonty Bryant was released Friday, May 4, with a non-football illness designation, according to a source.

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You never know what could possibly be going on with Bryant. He's been suspended three times since entering the league and had off field issues during his college days at East Central (Oklahoma).

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14. NYJ - Trenton Cannon signs rookie deal

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Josh Alper

Sixth-round RB Trenton Cannon signed a four-year undisclosed contract with the New York Jets on Friday, May 4.

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Cannon is undersized at 185 pounds to take on a large workload in the NFL. He's a dynamic athlete who can make big plays happen with his speed. Cannon can also contribute on special teams as a return man.

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15. SEA - DE Cliff Avril sent packing

Source: Seahawks.com - John Boyle

Seattle Seahawks DE Cliff Avril was released with a failed physical designation Friday, May 4.

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Avril suffered a neck injury last year that could end his career. The move to release him was expected.

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16. NYJ - Chris Herndon getting some work in

Source: New York Daily News - Manish Mehta

New York Jets TE Chris Herndon (knee), who is coming off an MCL injury, participated in individual drills Friday, May 4.

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Herndon is an interesting name to monitor in TE-premium dynasty leagues. He injured his knee during his final college game for the Miami Hurricanes in the regular season finale and did not get to test during the pre-draft process. He's a raw player as a blocker and receiver, but there's a bit of Delanie Walker to his game. With the Jets poor TE situation, the rookie could see more playing time than some think.

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17. OAK - ILB Derrick Johnson headed to Oakland

Source: NFL Network - Michael Silver

Free-agent LB Derrick Johnson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract with the Oakland Raiders on Friday, May 4.

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The long-time Chiefs linebacker stays within the division with this move. Johnson may not be the same player he used to be, but at 35-years old last year he showed the ability to continue to make plays against the run.

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18. SEA - S Earl Thomas wants to be in Seattle?

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas won't hold out, according to general manager John Schneider, and Schneider said he has a 'sense' that Thomas wants to remain a Seahawk.

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That's an interesting statement considering the team has been trying to trade him for some time now. The draft is over, so the chances of the team moving on from Thomas now is rather slim. He'll play one more year with Seattle (barring some trade) and leave on the open market in 2019.

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19. NYJ - QB Christian Hackenberg reworking delivery

Source: NFL Network - Mike Garafolo

New York Jets QB Christian Hackenberg has been working with quarterback coach Jeff Christensen this offseason in an attempt to rework his throwing motion.

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The Jets are now stacked at the quarterback position and Hackenberg is fourth on the depth chart at best. Josh McCown may begin the season as the starter while rookie Sam Darnold is clearly the franchise quarterback of the future. Behind those two is Teddy Bridgewater, and who knows if he'll be traded away later this year or not as he's only on a one-year deal and clearly not part of the long-term picture. Hackenberg has not yet seen the field in two years as a pro.

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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