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San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffreyis looking forward to the season ahead. The 26-year-old spent his entire career in Carolina before he was traded to the Niners last season. He played well under head coach Kyle Shanahan, amassing 746 rushing yards, 464 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns in 11 games. However, McCaffrey is confident he may be even more potent this season. "I'm definitely excited," said the former Panther during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show. "It's nice being able to have an offseason under my belt where I can get comfortable with the details." McCaffrey was once a top fantasy option, but injuries slowed him down considerably. But if he can stay healthy, he has an excellent of finishing the year as the most productive fantasy back.
The New Orleans Saints have brought in former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden to help quarterback Derek Carr and the offensive coaching staff install their new offense under head coach Dennis Allen. Since being drafted in the second round in 2014, Carr had spent his entire career with the Raiders. Carr and Gruden ran the West Coast offense from 2018 through 2021, which is similar to the one the Saints employ. The Saints signed Carr this offseason primarily because of his familiarity with the offensive scheme, so it should allow him to hit the ground running sooner than later in 2023. The 32-year-old QB made his fourth Pro Bowl in 2022 but completed just 60.8% of his passes for 3,522 yards, 24 TDs and 14 interceptions in 15 starts. In his first year in the Big Easy, he should be viewed as a midrange QB2 in fantasy.
The Cleveland Browns aren't expected to reunite quarterback Deshaun Watson with free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins after the two spent three years together with the Houston Texans at the start of Watson's career. In those three years, the two combined for 264 completions for 3,343 yards and 25 touchdowns. The Browns already traded for Elijah Moore, signed Marquise Goodwin in free agency and took Cedric Tillman in the third round of the draft this offseason. Hopkins is a free agent now after being released by the Arizona Cardinals, and there will surely be plenty of suitors, but his cost will be an issue. The 30-year-old former All-Pro is no longer at the peak of his career, but he can still do plenty of damage in fantasy if he lands in the right situation.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has enjoyed getting to know new tight end Darren Waller at organized team activities this spring. "But he's like a true 6-foot-6. He's a true 250, 260 (pounds) and can fly and can run, can run all the routes. He's just an impressive athlete. And, yeah, he's just been locked in. You can tell it's important to him. He's put a lot of effort into learning stuff and getting caught up and it has been fun working with him," Jones said. Waller became one of the best tight ends in the league in his time with the Raiders, but since his best year in 2020, he has slowed down a bit. Meanwhile, Jones threw for a career-high 3,205 yards with a 67.2% completion rate in 2022. Waller is still a very solid midrange TE1 target in fantasy, but fantasy managers shouldn't reach for him heading into his first year in the Big Apple.
Dynasty | Jaguars OC Press Taylor suggested the team doesn't want Travis Etienne to receiver the same number of carries in 2023 Dynasty Analysis: This news shouldn't surprise fantasy players as there's a continuing trend leaguewide to rely on a broader committee approach at the position. What used to be a two-back committee trend is now expanding to more usage of three-back committees, each with a specialized role. Etienne still figures to be the lead back capable of both early-down and passing-down work, but the team also added D'Ernest Johnson via free agency and Tank Bigsby during the 2023 NFL Draft. True workhorse backs are going the way of the dinosaur in return for a desire of less injury and greater health and effectiveness. Even with this news, Travis Etienne is found as DLF's RB6 showing that committee usage is now an accepted variable in the running back equation.
Dynasty | The Raiders could still release Jimmy Garoppolo with no compensation Dynasty Analysis: It's a very interesting development and, as pointed out by ProFootballTalk, the contract language preserves the team's ability to terminate the agreement with no further obligation, "for any reason related to the Waiver and Release attached as Addendum G." The waiver becomes null and void if at any time during the 2023 season, Garoppolo passes a physical exam, is active for at least one regular-season game, and does not suffer re-injury to his left foot in the manner described in Addendum G. Follow the link to read more about Addendum G.In short, Garoppolo is promised nothing until one of the above qualifiers is met, opening the door for the team to outright release the quarterback with zero compensation. This has opened the door for more talk about a possible return for Tom Brady, who also is seeking to become a minority owner in the team, a fact which may complicate him also playing for the team. As for Jimmy Garoppolo, his future with the team now looks far less certain. Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as DLF's QB31 and is fading quickly.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin is reportedly feeling his explosiveness coming back. The speedy wideout tore his ACL in 2021, but still ended up playing in 14 games last season. Godwin mentioned that he feels completely different during his second offseason post-surgery. Fantasy managers still received 104 receptions, 1,023 yards, and three touchdowns from Godwin last season. He looked the same on the field, but his 9.8 yards per reception was the worst of his career. Also, the three touchdowns were his lowest since his rookie campaign. The Bucs are hopeful to see more from Godwin next season, but that also depends on the reliability of the quarterback under center.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup is reportedly feeling good again at recently team workouts. The 27-year-old is now 18 months removed from a torn ACL that he suffered in the later part of the 2021 season. Gallup was healthy for a majority of last season, but didn't contribute as much as many thought he would. He finished with 39 receptions, 424 yards, and three touchdowns in 14 games. It sounds like Gallup is feeling better now and could be in for a bounce back campaign. However, he'll have to compete with Brandin Cooks and CeeDee Lamb for targets in Dallas. The expectation is that Gallup will be the starting slot receiver to begin the season. He could have some late-round value, assuming he's truly back to full health.
Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker (Achilles) is expected to return in full for training camp. The 28-year-old tore his Achilles in Week 3 and missed the rest of the season because of it. He has been able to participate on a limited basis during recent OTAs. It sounds like the team is going to ease Walker back into things coming off a serious injury. His return to the field would be a huge boost to the Lions defense. Walker is a former third round pick who has two 100-tackle seasons under his belt. The Lions could have a scary secondary with C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Walker back there.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. took 74 percent of the snaps in the backfield last season. It sounds like the Jaguars would like to reduce that amount next season, according to ESPN's Michael DiRocco. Recently, head coach Doug Pederson praised the depth this team has at running back. They've added D'Ernest Johnson and Tank Bigsby to their backfield to play alongside Etienne. The expectation is that both of those players are going to have a role as the backups to Etienne. It remains to be seen how the Jaguars decide to split up the snaps. The organization believes that having a committee at running back will help keep everyone fresh and healthy. Fantasy managers don't need to panic, but Ethienne's value could be taking a hit, assuming the Jaguars do go with a three-back committee next season.
According to Brian Costello and Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post, there's "still confidence" the Jets and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams will get a deal done, possibly by "mid-June." The 25-year-old is coming off a fantastic season, totaling 55 tackles and two forced fumbles. He also had a career-high 12 sacks and made the Pro Bowl. Williams is expected to command well over $20 million per season in a new contract. But with the Jets looking to make a deep postseason run, keeping him happy may be in the team's best interest.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Focus, Jimmy Garoppolo's (foot) contract with the Raiders contains an injury clause, permitting the franchise to void the deal he signed in March if he can't pass a physical heading into the 2023-24 campaign. The veteran signal-caller suffered a left foot injury in December while still a member of the 49ers. Since then, there have been conflicting reports surrounding the nature of the ailment. Although the 49ers' medical staff felt Garoppolo didn't need surgery, he eventually went under the knife and has been working his way back, recently missing OTAs as a result. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of eyes on this situation in the coming months, especially if Jimmy G can't get healthy enough to suit up for the Raiders. If that's the case, Vegas has Brian Hoyer, Chase Garbers, and fourth-round pick Aidan O'Connell on the roster. However, the club would surely look to add another option.
According to Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, only the Bills and Cardinals had "substantive" talks with the Cardinals about trading for DeAndre Hopkins. Of course, nobody made a move, and Arizona released him on Friday. Since the multi-time Pro Bowler became a free agent, several teams have emerged as potential suitors. However, other clubs like the Browns appear uninterested, meaning a reunion between Hopkins and Deshaun Watson probably won't happen. The Chiefs have since expressed their faith in Kadarius Toney to become the top wideout on the depth chart, while the Bills may not have the cash to make a move, considering Hopkins could command more than the $15 million Odell Beckham Jr. received from Baltimore. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of updates and speculation moving forward. But it will be hard to tell how Hopkins will look from a fantasy standpoint until he officially inks a new deal
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. entered training camp last offseason working his way back from a foot injury that cost him his rookie year. However, the 24-year-old is healthy this offseason, so he's focused on "fine-tuning" his skills. "Last year was more about getting healthy and getting back," said Etienne during OTAs. "This year, I didn't have to worry about my foot. It's great. So I'm able to work on football, all football." Although Etienne got off to a slow start in 2022-23, he still finished with 1,125 yards and five rushing touchdowns off 220 carries. He also caught 35 passes for 316 yards. Nonetheless, the former Clemson Tiger is the top option on the depth chart, so he may easily surpass his ADP projections this season.
During an interview with Cameron Cox of 12News, Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker stated he would attend training camp. "Oh yeah, of course, I'll be there when it's time to be there," said Baker. "I'll be there smiling and (be) the same regular guy that I am." The All-Pro finished last season with 111 total tackles (75 solo), seven passes defensed, and two sacks. However, he requested a trade in April after failing to secure a new deal. Nonetheless, with Arizona in rebuilding mode, it will be interesting to see the outcome of this situation.
2023 is the last year that the Cincinnati Bengals will have quarterback Joe Burrow on the cheap via his rookie deal. While it does seem inevitable a deal will get done between the two sides, how big will it be? Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Burrow should agree to a percentage of the salary each year to compensate for it going up. Nonetheless, the contract extension talks shouldn't impact Burrow's fantasy outlook for 2023. Even without a ton of rushing upside, Burrow should still be viewed as a Top 5-7 quarterback for fantasy in 2023. The Bengals ran 11 personnel at an 82% rate in 2022, good for the second-highest in the NFL. With Joe Mixon, Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, and some improvements on the offensive line, it's hard not to see the Bengals' offense as a potent foe for 2023. In the two seasons combined Burrow has averaged 4500+ passing yards and 34+ TD passes per year.
The New York Jets signed undrafted rookie wide receiver Jerome Kapp to an undisclosed deal this week and placed defensive lineman Bradlee Anae (undisclosed) on the Injured Reserve in a corresponding move. Kapp took part in the team's rookie minicamp earlier this month. In his final collegiate season at Kutztown, he produced 47 catches for 916 yards and nine touchdowns. In three total seasons at Kutztown, Kapp caught 122 passes for 2,190 yards and 22 touchdowns over 36 games. He'll be a long shot to make the team's active roster out of training camp this summer, but he could stick on the team's practice squad.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Chris Moore, who is coming off the best season of his NFL career, will look to be versatile in order to help his new team in 2023. "I can do whatever they need me to do," Moore said. "First, I am a football player, and then I'm a receiver. Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do it." The former fourth-rounder of the Ravens in 2016, Moore spent the last two years with the Texans and caught 48 passes for 548 yards and two TDs in 16 games (seven starts) in 2022. In his six NFL seasons, he's caught 116 passes for 1,286 yards and eight scores, and he also has experience as a kick returner. The 29-year-old will likely be behind Treylon Burks, Kyle Phillips and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine in the receiving pecking order, though, so he'll be off the fantasy radar to begin the year.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (thumb) had a minor procedure after last year to fix an injured thumb, and he's still working his way back, which is why he wasn't taking part in organized team activities this week. Once he's back to full health, Greenlaw expects to absorb everything new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has to offer him. The former fifth-rounder in 2019 only has two career sacks to his name, but he's hoping to be used more as a blitzer in the new defensive scheme in 2023. In his four seasons in the Bay Area, the 26-year-old has recorded 326 tackles (217 solo), 13 tackles for loss, five QB hits, three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 10 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (one for a TD) in 47 games (39 starts).
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is the team's unquestioned workhorse back. He played 80 percent of the offensive snaps last year. Matt Breida was a speedy complement to Barkley who also worked well in tandem with the star runner in multi-back packages. He's the favorite to be the backup again. Gary Brightwell had a team-high 4.5 yards per carry on 31 carries in 2022, but he's expected to be challenged for the No. 3 role by rookie Eric Gray, who brings a reputation as a "balanced, agile runner with darting quickness and steady pass-catching skills." If Gray impresses during training camp this summer, the 24-year-old Brightwell could find himself No. 4 on the team's RB depth chart to open the year.
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