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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney could very well end up being the No. 1 wideout for this offense. The departure of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman leaves plenty of room for Toney to step up. Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy recently praised the 24-year-old wideout. Toney didn't do much with the Chiefs last season, but he's a former first round pick with a ton of potential. He played well in the postseason for the Chiefs and appears to be meshing well with quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs don't have a ton of reliable options on offense outside of Travis Kelce. That means, Toney could end up being heavily targeted, which could result in a breakout campaign. Fantasy managers should consider Toney a sleeper option heading into next season.
Detroit Lions running back Jahmyr Gibbs has been receiving first-team reps with the offense during OTAs. The Lions selected Gibbs with the 12th overall pick during this year's draft. He was expected to split the first-team reps, but now the rookie has a head start to the starting job. Fellow running back David Montgomery (leg) is sidelined, so Gibbs is getting all the starter reps. That being said, Gibbs is likely to be the Week 1 starter, which is only going to increase his fantasy value.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth (knee) has been practicing in OTAs without any issues. That's great news after the 24-year-old suffered a sprained MCL during last season's regular season finale. Luckily, it doesn't look like this is an issue that is going to cost Freiermuth any time this season. He finished with 63 receptions, 732 yards, and two touchdowns in 16 games last season. It might be difficult for him to beat those numbers with added competition at tight end. The Steelers drafted tight end Darnell Washington in the third round of this year's draft. The expectation is that both players will be involved, but Freiermuth might see a dip in production compared to last season.
New York Jets wide receiver Randall Cobb inked a one-year deal with the team this offseason. With New York adding Aaron Rodgers in April, many felt the club signed Cobb solely to appease the future Hall of Fame signal-caller. However, while that may be partially accurate, Rich Cimini of ESPN reported that Cobb "is very much part of the receiver rotation." The 32-year-old entered the league in 2011 and has totaled 625 catches, 7,585 yards, and 53 touchdowns in 155 games, mostly with the Packers. He's battled injuries over the years and is coming off one of the worst seasons of his career. But Cimini labeled Cobb the "only pure slot receiver on the roster" while mentioning his longstanding relationship with Rodgers. Of course, Cobb's best days are probably well behind him. That said, if he can stay healthy, he could easily have a few productive fantasy showings in 2023-24. On the other hand, the veteran likely won't be a consistent performer, considering the Jets' depth at the position.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb won't let extension discussions impact his performance. "I'm not even distracted," the wideout said. "The money, definitely worried about it, but it's not something that's on my mind every day or when I come to the building. It's really all about coming in, showing my worth, and letting everything else handle itself." In 49 regular season games since entering the league, Lamb compiled 260 catches for 3,396 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had the best year of his career in 2022, so it wasn't shocking when Dallas picked up his fifth-year option in April. That said, Ezekiel Elliott and Dalton Schultz are no longer on the team. The Cowboys also added Brandin Cooks in the offseason, so the offense will certainly look different. However, Lamb is expected to remain the top producer for Dallas this season and has an excellent chance of being a top-five fantasy receiver.
Free-agent quarterback Tom Brady told Sports Illustrated that he won't un-retire. "I'm certain I'm not playing again, so I've tried to make that clear and I hate to continue to profess that," said Brady. "I've already told people that lots of times." He later commented that being involved as an owner is a "dream come true." Many have speculated that the 45-year-old could be back under center in 2023-24 as a member of the Raiders, especially if he successfully purchases a piece of the franchise. Talk about Brady's potential comeback picked up more steam after it was reported Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) hadn't passed a physical. That said, it sounds like the multi-time Super Bowl winner is done playing, although most won't believe it until he isn't on the field this season.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, defensive tackle Ed Oliver agreed to a four-year, $68 million ($45 million guaranteed) extension with the Bills. The 2019 No. 9 overall pick totaled 151 tackles (96 solo), 14.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, and four forced fumbles in his first four seasons as a professional (62 games). He would have been playing on the fifth year of his rookie deal. However, Oliver will stay in Buffalo, where he's expected to remain a vital component of a potent Bills defense.
Dynasty | Head coach Arthur Smith expects Kyle Pitts (MCL) to be ready for the regular season Dynasty Analysis: Pitts fell to an MCL injury late in November, ending his season. To say that he hasn't performed to expectations would be an understatement, but the athletic tight end did produce 1,000 yards as a rookie. The bigger issue is his lack of touchdown production, scoring only three over his first two seasons. On top of his 2022 injury, the Falcons had significant quarterback inconsistency, eventually turning to rookie Desmond Ridder, who figures to be under center when the 2023 regular season kicks off in September. Pitts only turns 23 in October and to call his third year a make-or-break campaign would be inaccurate as tight ends can possess a long integration period in the NFL. But to unlock his potential, the Falcons will need to find their quarterback of the future. Should Ridder fail in his sophomore season, the team will likely be looking for a new face of the franchise in the 2024 rookie draft, less than ideal for Pitts' future production. Found as DLF's TE1, the dynasty community clearly expects Pitts to eventually produce as the top asset at the position.
Dynasty | Titans wide receiver coach Rob Moore said Treylon Burks looks like a "different player" this year Dynasty Analysis: Burks got off to a slow start in his rookie season, initially battling his conditioning before being diagnosed with asthma. Once in November, Burks began to look the part though he only produced a single 100-yard performance and scored only one touchdown. Now a year later and conditioning and asthma seemingly no longer an issue, reports out of OTAs on the sophomore have been nothing less than stellar. Burks is said to look leaner and in better shape while his confidence is also growing. The Titans traded away superstar A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft, so anything less than WR1 performance from their second-year wideout would be a disappointment. While pads aren't yet on, Burks, DLF's WR23, has big shoes to fill but is trending in the right direction for 2023.
Dynasty | Bengals rookie receiver Andrei Iosivas is developing quickly thanks to Tee Higgins Dynasty Analysis: Iosivas has a pocked of support from the dynasty community though the 2023 sixth-round rookie from Princeton is clearly flying well below the radar. Unranked on DLF's receiver rankings and gracing only the very bottom (WR25) of our rookie rankings, Iosivas is destined to be available in all but the deepest of deep-roster formats. The Bengals are certain to have turnover at the receiver position due to contract needs for superstars Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, potentially leading to the loss of veteran receivers Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins beyond 2023. Higgins was an oft-mentioned trade candidate this offseason. Clearly a developmental prospect, Andrei Iosivas is a name to watch as the 2023 season plays out.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields topped NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of most explosive runners from last year. Only Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been more explosive on the ground in the last three seasons. The Bears lacked weapons offensively in 2022 and struggled because of it on offense, but Fields kept them afloat most of the time with his legs. His ability to create positive gains with his legs has already put him in the QB1 conversation heading into his second full season as the team's starter. The 24-year-old led the league with 1,143 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground at his position on 160 attempts in 15 games. Fields also took 55 sacks and fumbled 16 times, though, so it wasn't all good. But if he can progress as a passer and decision-maker, Fields' fantasy ceiling is through the roof.
Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III provided the team with a reliable, powerful option in the backfield in 2022 in his rookie season, and he finished third in NFL.com's Nick Shook's explosive score thanks to a big-play resume. He led all rushers in top speed reached with the ball in his hands at 22.09 mph, tied for third in gains of 10-plus yards over expected (15) and hit 20 mph on four carries on the year (tied for fourth). Walker averaged 4.6 yards per carry and topped 1,000 yards rushing while scoring nine rushing TDs in his first NFL season. The addition of rookie Zach Charbonnet to Seattle's backfield this year could take some work away from Walker, mainly in the passing game, but the 22-year-old should still be their lead back after his performance last year. Consider Walker a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 in fantasy.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. was sidelined his entire rookie year with a foot injury, but he made up for lost time in 2022 with his versatile skill set out of the backfield. He finished with 1,125 rushing yards (5.1 yards per carry) and five touchdowns while adding another 316 yards through the air. Etienne was one of the most explosive ball-carriers last year, mainly because of his ability to hit full speed with the ball in his hands. He tied for the second-most runs at 20-plus mph among qualified runners with six, trailing only Justin Fields. The 24-year-old also had 13 gains of 10-plus yards over expected. There's a chance that Etienne sees a bit of reduced workload in 2023, but even with that possibility, his playmaking abilities put him on the RB1/2 borderline in fantasy.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) remained absent from workouts at organized team activities on Friday after having offseason ankle surgery. Taylor had successful arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right ankle in January, but he's still not ready to get back onto the practice field after also missing the final three games of the regular season in 2022. It's not really a surprise that the 24-year-old isn't practicing yet, and the Colts are fully expected to take things slowly with their No. 1 running back this offseason. However, he's expected to be fully ready for training camp at the end of July, barring any setbacks. Taylor isn't going to be the No. 1 overall fantasy pick in drafts this fall, but he should still be considered a top-five fantasy RB.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's injury issues have been well-documented over the last two years, as he's been limited to 12 games each year. He still managed to qualify for NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of most explosive ball-carriers last year with 112 rushing attempts. Jackson wasn't among the leaders in top speed reached, but he still recorded 15 gains of 10-plus yards over expected, and his ability to pick up chunks of yards saw him break 10 yards on 27.7 percent of his attempts. The Ravens plan to dial back some of Jackson's designed runs in 2023 in an attempt to keep him healthy, but part of the reason he's such a dynamic talent at the QB position is ability to pick up chunk gains with his legs when plays break down. There is injury risk, but the 26-year-old remains in play as a top-five fantasy QB.
The Minnesota Vikings seem all but certain to get rid of running back Dalvin Cook this offseason, and The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson writes that he is "a real possibility" for the Miami Dolphins if he's released. The Dolphins could also choose to trade for Cook, who is currently training in South Florida while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The 27-year-old is coming off his fourth straight 1,000-yard rushing season, but injuries have been an issue in recent seasons and he also had a career-low 4.4 yards per carry in 2022. All signs point to Minnesota giving the reigns to Alexander Mattison as their featured back in 2023 and moving on from Cook, so he's becoming a very shaky RB2 in fantasy. If he were to land in Miami, Cook would be joining an already crowded backfield that includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and rookie De'Von Achane.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Riley Patterson to the Detroit Lions last week for a 2026 conditional seven-round draft pick. Patterson rejoins the Lions after kicking for them in 2021, hitting 13-of-14 field goals in seven games.He lost the starting job in Detroit the following season to Austin Seibert before landing with the Jaguars. He will now compete with Michael Badgley and John Parker Romo this offseason for the kicker spot in Detroit.Will he win the job? Is he a good fit with the Lions? Let's dive in. Will Riley Patterson Win the Starting Kicker Job?Patterson likely has the best shot to be the Lions' Week 1 kicker of the three kickers on the roster. Not only did Detroit trade a future draft pick for him, but the 23-year-old kicker has been a reliable kicker in his first two seasons. He's converted on 87.8% of his field goals (43-for-49) and 98.1% rate (52-for-53) on extra points in his career.Last season in Jacksonville, Patterson went 30-for-35 on field goals in the regular season and went 3-for-3 in the playoffs, including a game-winner against the Chargers in the Wild Card round.https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1614480033648906240?s=20Badgley, though, has a great shot to be the Lions' starting kicker as well. He appeared in 12 games for Detroit last season and went 20-for-24 on field goals and 33-for-33 on extra points. In his career, Money Badger is 59-for-94 (81.7%) on field goal attempts. Romo, on the other hand, has no NFL experience but went 17-for-19 with the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL in 2023.It will likely come down to Patterson and Badley for the starting kicker job in Detroit. Both have an equal shot at winning the job and will depend on their performances in camp this summer. Is Riley Patterson A Good Fit With The Lions?The fit for Patterson in Detroit is a favorable one, considering the Lions' high-level offense. If he wins the starting kicker job, he can be a streamable fantasy kicker with the potential to be a weekly kicker option.Last season, the Lions averaged the fifth most points per game in the NFL (26.6), and that boosted Badgley's fantasy value in 2022. He averaged 8.4 fantasy points per game with three double-digit performances in the final six weeks. He was also the number two overall kicker in total points between Week 10 and Week 15.If Detroit continues to score points in 2023, that will help Patterson's fantasy outlook in 2023. The Lions only attempted 1.8 field goals per game -; which ranked toward the bottom of the league -; but if that number trends up this season, that would be a big boost for Patterson in fantasy.
According to Rams head coach Sean McVay, the team will continue to be smart with wide receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle). "I think we'll just take that a day at a time," McVay said. "Whenever he does come back, we'll be smart with how we kind of onboard him and get him back up to speed." McVay's stance is certainly understandable, as Kupp has been a productive wideout for years. He finished last season with 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns in nine games before missing the remainder of the season because of a high-ankle sprain that required surgery. But assuming things turn out well, the 29-year-old should be one of the first receivers taken in fantasy drafts heading into Week 1.
According to Falcons head coach Arthur Smith, tight end Kyle Pitts (knee) is expected to be ready for Week 1. However, Smith declined to provide further details. The 22-year-old began his career by catching 68 passes for 1,026 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. He also made the Pro Bowl. As a result, many had assumed Pitts would progress in 2022. Yet, he had only 28 receptions for 356 yards and two touchdowns before going down in Week 11 with a knee injury that resulted in surgery. That said, the 2021 first-round pick is an excellent bounce-back candidate, even more so if quarterback Desmond Ridder improves under center.
Denver Broncos running back Javonte Williams (knee) was a limited participant at OTAs, as expected. Fortunately, things appear to be moving in the right direction. "It's been a long process, but everything is going good," Williams said. "I'm ready to get back out there." Of course, his optimism doesn't mean he'll be cleared to suit up for Week 1. But considering Williams displayed flashes of potential in his first two years in the league, he's still worth drafting heading into the 2023-24 campaign. However, anyone who picks him up should also entertain adding Samaje Perine, who may be in line for an expanded role early in the season.
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|CrimsonTide||Sun Jan 5 4:20pm ET|
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