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Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is coming off a disappointing 2022 season that saw him run for a career-low 861 yards. Part of the problem for Taylor last season was injuries, as the superstar missed six games with a nagging ankle injury. He had just four touchdowns and finished as the RB33 in PPR leagues.After finishing as the RB1 in 2021 and the RB6 in 2020 in PPR leagues, Taylor couldn't maintain that same level of success in 2022. He averaged just 13.3 fantasy points per game last season. However, the 24-year-old will be a high fantasy pick again in 2023 due to his upside in Indianapolis' offense.Is Taylor still hurt? Will he be a fantasy superstar again? Let's take a look at the report from the Colts' organized team activities. Is Jonathan Taylor Injured or Healthy?Taylor underwent ankle surgery in January to repair the lingering injury he dealt with for most of the 2022 season. The surgery will help him get back to 100% and back to that 2021-type season.Even though it's still early into the offseason, Taylor is not participating in the Colts' OTAs after the recent ankle surgery. It's not a surprise to see Indianapolis take a careful approach with their young running back. There's no need to rush him back with a long offseason ahead.https://twitter.com/romeovillekid/status/1661773113749651457?s=42&t=nmclxZ4zP1Gqt9CUbbpkHwDespite missing OTAs though, Taylor should still be in a position to be a full go for the start of Training Camp. Jonathan Taylor's 2023 Fantasy OutlookThe off-season ankle surgery will, hopefully, help Taylor bounce back from a poor 2022 season. If he can stay healthy in 2023, there's no doubt he can finish as the RB1 in fantasy football again.He's just one season removed from that RB1 finish, which saw him run for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns. He averaged almost 22 fantasy points per game that season and had nine finishes over 20 fantasy points. Taylor has the upside and potential to repeat that type of performance in 2023.Taylor has the talent to be a fantasy superstar again, but the arrival of rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson delivers a small hit to his value. With the selection of Richardson, Taylor might see fewer carries and goal-line touches with the 6-foot-4 quarterback under center. Still, the star running back should get enough volume to finish in the RB1 to RB5 range this season.
The Dallas Cowboys released running back Ezekiel Elliott this offseason after a disappointing 2022 year. The veteran back finished the season with a career-low 231 carries and 876 yards in 15 games. Elliott did rush for 12 touchdowns (tied for the second most of his career in a season) but averaged a mere 3.79 yards per carry.The release was expected because of the Cowboys' cap situation and the running back's season. Dallas saved more than $10.9 million towards their cap space in 2023, and the move opened the door for Tony Pollard to be the new RB1 in the offense.But is a reunion in the works to bring Elliott back? What would his fantasy outlook look like back in Dallas? Let's take a look. Will the Cowboys bring back Ezekiel Elliott?Owner Jerry Jones has not ruled out bringing back Elliott for the 2023 season. On Monday, Jones met with reporters and reiterated that he hasn't closed the door on a possible reunion with the former All-Pro back.https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1665774979101650944?s=20Elliott still remains a free agent and has yet to find a new home following his release in March. Shortly after being cut, the 27-year-old running shared a wish list of teams he would love to go to: Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles. But all three teams seem content with their current running back group.The return of Elliott to Dallas makes a lot of sense for the Cowboys. The team lacks a power runner behind Pollard. Malik Davis, Ronald Jones, and Deuce Vaughn all lack size. The team could roll with undrafted rookie fullback Hunter Luepke, but bringing back a veteran like Elliott, on a cheaper one-year deal, could help big time. Ezekiel Elliott's Fantasy Outlook With The CowboysIf the Cowboys bring back Elliott, he could be a solid weekly flex play with RB2 upside in 2023. He put together the worst fantasy football season of his career last season. However, he was still inserted in fantasy lineups almost every week, finishing as the RB22 in PPR formats.Elliott had 10 double-digit performances, averaged 12.39 fantasy points per game, and scored a touchdown in nine straight games he played in from Week 6 to Week 17.With Pollard locked in as the RB1, Elliott would complement him in short-yard and goal-to-go situations -- similar to how he did in 2022. He might take on a slighter workload in Dallas this year. But in a high-scoring Cowboys offense, he should be a touchdown machine again and provide weekly flex numbers, if he were to re-sign with them.
Dynasty | 49ers receivers coach Leonard Hankerson said second-year receiver Danny Gray has work ethic and continues to develop. Dynasty Analysis: Gray was a popular sleeper selection as a rookie in 2022 but only saw 87 snaps and a single reception in 2022. Hankerson referenced both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel as two other receivers who struggled to pick up the team's difficult receiver playbook before producing. With an established work ethic, Gray now needs to be "consistent" with his effort, and Hankerson noted he's made "tremendous strides" in his growth over his rookie season. Gray will compete with rookie Ronnie Bell as the team's WR4 though could have WR3 upside should current starter Jauan Jennings falter. Danny Gray remains on the fringes of the dynasty radar, appearing as a sparsely ranked WR117.
Dynasty | Speaking about Christian McCaffrey, 49ers running back coach Anthony Lynn said he believes the veteran will be even more dynamic in 2023. Dynasty Analysis: Lynn said McCaffrey wasn't familiar with the system following his trade to the team and he's looking fast and "game-ready" in OTAs. Turning 27 on June 7, McCaffrey erased all doubts about his health when he rushed for 1,139 yards and eight touchdowns while splitting time with the Panthers and 49ers, while also reeling in a total of 85 receptions and another five touchdowns. More importantly, he appeared in all 17 games. The biggest question surrounding the aging star surrounds his touch count when considering the role of oft-injured Elijah Mitchell, who has shown capability when healthy. Over his last four games in the 2022 regular season, McCaffrey rushed 70 times for 321 yards and three touchdowns and produced 17 receptions for another touchdown. His average of 17 rushes per game were greater than Mitchell's nearly-ten per game over that same stretch. Clearly, there remains a strong potential for a significant committee between both backs, but McCaffrey's dynamic as both a runner and a receiver should keep him as the easy choice as the lead back. Christian McCaffrey is found as DLF's RB4.
Dynasty | Rachaad White said he expects to see "a lot of balls" as a receiver Dynasty Analysis: In his rookie season, White was somewhat uninspiring as a runner, amassing 481 yards and a single touchdown across 129 attempts, good for 3.7 ypc. But as a receiver, the rookie showed significant ability by producing 290 yards and two touchdowns on 50 receptions. It stands to reason the Bucs will continue to lean on the sophomore as a receiver. The bigger question surrounds what the team will do on early-down snaps with only Chase Edmonds, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, and rookie Sean Tucker behind him on the depth chart. Edmonds has been unable to parlay recent roles into upside production which could mean the Bucs will give White another chance to carry the load. Or, the team could consider a free-agent veteran. In either case, Rachaad White appears to possess value-on potential in 2023 as DLF's RB26.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (abdomen) took part in 11-on-11 drills in Tuesday's OTAs. Cooper had core muscle surgery in February after playing through the issue for part of the 2022 season. His ability to participate fully on Tuesday is a good sign as he should be able to open training camp. Cooper is primed for a solid year as Cleveland's WR1 heading into 2023.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson II (foot) has been able to participate in team drills over the past week. Robinson had surgery to repair a broken foot and began the offseason working individually. Last week he began working in on 11-on-11 team drills. The Steelers traded for Robinson in April and are expecting to have him play out of the slot in the upcoming season. Robinson has turned in two straight disappointing seasons and will be tough to trust in 2023 while playing on his third team in as many years.
The Denver Broncos are not expected to take a run at acquiring Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, according to what 9News' Mike Klis has been hearing. The Vikings have been rumored to be looking to move on from Cook for most of the offseason but Kils does not believe the Broncos will be among his suitors. For one, Cook has an $11 million cap hit in 2023 while Klis cites the Broncos' lack of cap space (just $11.7 million). Klis also goes on to cite Denver's lack of upcoming draft picks due to past trades. That being said, the Broncos could look to add Cook if Minnesota ends up releasing him. For now, Denver has Javonte Williams and Samaje Perine as their top two running backs heading into 2023.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers suffered a "minor tweak" during OTAs on Tuesday, according to head coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens presumably are just being cautious with their first-round rookie as they gear up for a revamped passing attack under new OC Todd Monken in 2023. According to Harbaugh, Flowers is expected to be able to suit up for mandatory minicamp next week. Flowers is a decent flier late in redraft leagues this season while he remains a high-potential rookie stash in dynasty formats.
Minnesota Vikings running back DeWayne McBride signed his rookie deal on Tuesday after the team selected him in the seventh round of the 2023 draft. McBride's signing means that the Vikings have now signed all six of their rookie picks from the draft. The running back out of UAB could have a role behind Alexander Mattison in 2023 if the Vikings end up moving on from Dalvin Cook, a move that has been rumored for much of the offseason. McBride is a solid stash in dynasty leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB Markus Golden's one-year deal has a base salary of $1.165 million and includes a $152,500 signing bonus, per Aaron Wilson of Click2Houston on Tuesday, June 6.
San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy (elbow) is throwing three times per week and remains 'right on pace' in his recovery from offseason elbow surgery, head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday, June 6.
New Orleans Saints TE Jesse James' one-year deal is worth $1.165 million, per Aaron Wilson of Click2Houston.com on Tuesday, June 6.
The Athletic's Dan Duggan writes that it would be shocking if New York Giants tight end Darren Waller doesn't lead the team in targets in his first year in the Big Apple in 2023. Waller is the team's most accomplished receiving option, and both head coach Brian Daboll and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka have experience in offenses with a tight end as the top pass-catching option. The 30-year-old had well over 1,000 yards receiving in 2019 and 2020 with the Raiders, but he missed 14 total games the last two seasons due to injuries and wasn't as involved last year in the passing game with receiver Davante Adams around. If Waller can stay healthy, he should be able to bounce back as a strong TE1 for fantasy managers.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton's two-year, $12 million deal should assure that he's a roster lock heading into the 2023 season, but he could be on the chopping block next offseason if he regresses this year. Slayton saw a significant role in his fourth NFL season in 2022 given all the injuries at the position for the Giants, and he responded with 46 catches for 724 yards and two touchdowns in 16 regular season games (11 starts). The 26-year-old has the ability to stretch the field and make big plays, but he has much more competition this year after the G-Men added Isaiah Hodgins and Parris Campbell in free agency and rookie Jalin Hyatt in the draft. In standard 12-team fantasy leagues, Slayton will most likely go undrafted.
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones had 120 carries last year, which ranked fourth-most among QBs. Around half of those carries were designed runs, as he ranked third in the NFL with 56 scrambles. The zone read is likely to remain a big piece of the offense in 2023, so Jones' designed runs aren't necessarily expected to decrease now that he's a $40 million signal-caller. Jones ranked fifth in the NFL with 708 rushing yards at the QB position, and he added seven rushing scores, which carried his fantasy value. If the 26-year-old is going to finish as a low-end QB1 again in his fifth season in the league, he's going to need to continue picking up chunk gains with his legs while improving through the air with more offensive playmakers at receiver.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (toe) said he will be ready for training camp "Day 1, full speed." Thomas, who is taking part in organized team activities this week, also said he'll be back to form "just like everyone's used to." It's hard for fantasy managers to take Thomas at his word after the 30-year-old pass-catcher has played in only three games the last two years due to ankle and toe injuries. And even if he's fully healthy in 2023, he'll likely take a back seat to Chris Olave as the teams No. 1 target with new quarterback Derek Carr in town. With all that said, it's nice to see Thomas getting healthy again, and his 16-171-3 line in three games in 2022 gives us some optimism that he can be a value pick in the later rounds of fantasy drafts as a W4/5.
Despite cutting three running backs on the roster in the last week, the Denver Broncos aren't expected to make a run at Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, according to sources. There's no way the Broncos trade for Cook, at least not without a restructured contract. Cook is scheduled to make $11 million in 2023 with a salary cap hit of $14.01 million. Denver only has $11.7 million in cap space. The team has also traded away too many draft picks in the last two years and don't even have a second-rounder in 2024. If Cook is outright released by the Vikes, then there's more of a chance the Broncos will express interest, but it's not guaranteed. The 27-year-old had his fourth straight 1,000-yard rushing season in 2022, but he's entering the age of decline at his position. Cook's fantasy value will continue to plummet in offseason drafts until his 2023 picture is more clear.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels said that running back Josh Jacobs isn't under contract since he hasn't signed his franchise tag and therefore isn't attending mandatory minicamp this week. The Raiders don't seem too concerned about the situation, and the 25-year-old will be back with the team once training camp begins at the end of July. Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards (1,653) in 2022 on 340 carries and added 12 rushing touchdowns in 17 games played. He also added 53 receptions for a career-high 400 receiving yards on 64 targets for the second straight year. It was the first time the former first-rounder was able to stay healthy for a full season. Fantasy managers can't expect Jacobs to lead the league in rushing two straight years given his bruising style of play, but he'll remain a workhorse back and should at least be a midrange RB1.
New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is eligible for a contract extension this offseason and head coach Robert Saleh believes he'll be extended before training camp begins. "I speak for everyone -- I probably speak for Quinnen -- in that we all want (to) get (it) done sooner rather than later," Saleh said. "I'll let the business guys handle all that stuff, but it's going to get done. He'll be here for camp. He'll be ready to roll and once he is, I'm sure it'll be the same guy who was here." Williams was a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2022, and interior defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence, Jeffery Simmons, Javon Hargrave, and Daron Payne all signed new contracts worth at least $21 million annually this offseason. Williams is due for his pay day, and it looks like it'll happen any time in the next month.
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