Sun Jan 24 1:25pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
FILE- In this Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, file photo, Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's facility in Indianapolis. The Philadelphia Eagles are nearing a deal to hire Nick Sirianni to be their head coach, according to two people familiar with the decision. Both people spoke to The Associated Press Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't officially announced the hiring. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Three days after choosing Nick Sirianni to be their new coach, the Philadelphia Eagles made it official.
The team announced Sirianni's hiring on Sunday, posting on Twitter a photo of Sirianni wearing an Eagles visor and the caption: ''Copped ourselves a head coach.''
Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts the past three seasons. He worked under coach Frank Reich, who was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when the Eagles won the Super Bowl three years ago.
The 39-year-old Sirianni previously served as an assistant coach with the Chiefs and Chargers.
The Eagles fired Doug Pederson following a 4-11-1 season, less than three years after he led the team to the franchise's only Super Bowl title.
Sirianni worked with Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett and Philip Rivers in Indianapolis and coached Rivers in San Diego and Matt Cassel in Kansas City. Now he's tasked with figuring out how to get Carson Wentz back to his 2017 form. Wentz finished third in NFL MVP voting that season and helped the Eagles earn the No. 1 seed in the NFC. He tore two knee ligaments in Week 14 and watched Nick Foles lead the team to victory over New England and earn Super Bowl MVP honors.
Wentz is coming off the worst season of his five-year career and was benched for rookie Jalen Hurts for the final four games. Wentz's $128 million, four-year contract kicks in this year, making it difficult for the Eagles to trade him. Sirianni's top priority has to be solving the quarterback dilemma.
Sirianni began his NFL coaching career as offensive quality control coach in Kansas City in 2009. He also served as an assistant quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach during four seasons with the Chiefs.
Sirianni held the same positions during five seasons with the Chargers from 2013-17. He joined the Colts when Reich left Philadelphia to take over as head coach in 2018. The Colts finished in the top 10 in points and yards in two of Sirianni's three seasons as offensive coordinator. They were top 10 in rushing offense the other season.
Interview with a Champ
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers doesn't have an easy matchup in the NFC Championship Game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his performance this season makes him a solid fantasy play still on this week's two-game slate. Rodgers threw multiple touchdown passes in all but two regular-season games, though one of those games was against Tampa. In that Week 6 meeting, Rodgers completed a season-low 45.71 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and two interceptions. It was by far the worst Rodgers has played. But that memory might make DFS players pivot off of him more than usual, which could pay dividends for those who do play the veteran passer.
The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms with Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon to be their next defensive coordinator, according to sources. Gannon worked with new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni in Indianapolis. Gannon was with the Colts as their defensive backs coach since 2018, so he worked with Sirianni for the last three seasons. Under Gannon's help in 2020, Indianapolis' defense had the No. 8 defense in the NFL, and he played a huge role in developing young defensive backs such as Xavier Rhodes, Rock Ya-Sin, Kenny Moore, Khari Willis and Julian Blackmon. Gannon was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Vikings for four seasons prior to joining the Colts. His first job in the NFL was in 2007 as a defensive assistant with the Falcons.
The Houston Texans head-coaching hire is not expected to change quarterback Deshaun Watson's thinking and he is still expected to want out of Houston, according to sources. The rift started last year when Houston dealt All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson, and the gap widened early this offseason when the Texans didn't consult Watson before hiring general manager Nick Caserio, as they said they would. The 25-year-old signal-caller has a full no-trade clause in his contract and is reportedly interested in playing for the Dolphins, but it's unclear if Houston as any interest in actually dealing him. This storyline surrounding Watson will be one to watch this offseason, as the top-five fantasy QB could even increase in value heading into 2021 if he lands in a better situation.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers stud rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in practice late in the week and is questionable to play on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game, but right now he's leaning toward being active. Winfield is a true game-time decision and will be tested in pre-game workouts. The 22-year-old has been a big part of Tampa's rise defensively in 2020, so losing him for this big game against Aaron Rodgers and company would be a big downgrade to the Buccaneers Defense if you were planning on running with them in fantasy lineups this weekend. Winfield had a big forced fumble in the Divisional Round win over the Saints and recorded 94 combined tackles, one interception, six passes defensed, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and three sacks during the regular season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would like to bring wide receiver Antonio Brown back for the 2021 season after taking a chance on him with a one-year contract this season, according to a source. Brown won't play in the NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but the 32-year-old managed 45 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular season games in 2020. He's also had three receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games this year. Both Brown and Chris Godwin are set to become unrestricted free-agents this offseason. Brown could be even more attractive to fantasy managers next year if he re-signs with the Bucs and Godwin goes elsewhere, as he'd be the No. 2 behind Mike Evans, and quarterback Tom Brady has already shown that Brown has been one of his favorite targets in the passing game.
The Kansas City Chiefs will test wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) in pre-game workouts, but the team doesn't sound optimistic that he'll be able to play against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game on Sunday. He'll be a true game-time decision and is extremely hard to trust for fantasy managers, even if he's active. Watkins was limited in practice this week, but he hasn't played since Week 16 and was already an extremely inconsistent fantasy option in a loaded Chiefs offense. The 27-year-old will be an unattractive boom/bust fantasy wideout if he's able to play against Buffalo. If he misses another game, pass-catchers Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson will have more big-play appeal down the field, with Hardman being the preferred DFS play.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (toe) was diagnosed with turf toe on his left foot, according to sources. It's an injury that affected his preparation for the AFC Championship game against the Buffalo Bills more than his time in the concussion protocol. Mahomes was cleared from his concussion and will play against the Bills, but his toe limited his effectiveness on the field last week against Cleveland and in practice this week. He'll be re-evaluated after the season by a foot specialist to determine if he'll need surgery on his toe. The 25-year-old All-Pro will be much more risky based on his DFS price this weekend if he's not 100 percent healthy because of his injured toe, especially if he isn't able to scramble as much and create off-script plays with his legs.
The Detroit Lions will be hiring former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn as their next offensive coordinator, according to sources. Lynn had other options, but he wanted to work with new head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, who played for the Cowboys when Lynn coached in Dallas. The 52-year-old Lynn was with the Chargers from 2017 to 2020 and went 33-31. Prior to that, he was the offensive coordinator in Buffalo in 2016. Lynn was the running backs coach in Dallas in 2005 when Campbell was a tight end. Lynn had the best rushing offense in Buffalo in 2016, as the team averaged 164.4 yards per game and 5.35 yards per carry. With the Lions moving on from Matthew Stafford this offseason, Lynn will likely be working with a new QB, but second-year back D'Andre Swift will be in good hands in an offense that will likely lean heavily on the ground attack.
The Kansas City Chiefs will likely be without running back Le'Veon Bell (knee) in the AFC Championship against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, according to a source. Bell wasn't able to practice this week and should not be in any fantasy lineups for championship weekend. The good news for the Chiefs is that they are expected to be getting rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip) back in the fold. The impressive rookie hasn't played since Week 15 against the Saints, but he did have a season-high 26 carries for 161 yards rushing in the Week 6 win over the Bills, so he should be heavily involved in the game plan if he's active. However, Darrel Williams should also be involved and will be a nice low-cost DFS sleeper against Buffalo on Sunday. Make sure to remove Bell from any of your lineups.
The Kansas City Chiefs expect to have running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, though backup running Le'Veon Bell (knee) isn't expected to play. Edwards-Helaire should see the highest share of touches out of this backfield, but we could see head coach Andy Reid using Darrel Williams more in this game. CEH had 161 rushing yards in the first meeting of these teams, while Williams found the end zone on one of his six carries. The Chiefs running game isn't likely to be as effective Sunday, but both players have some solid DFS upside.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Le'Veon Bell (knee) is not expected to play in the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Jan. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Bell had been listed as questionable on the injury report after sitting out the final two days of practice during the week. Assuming he is declared inactive for this game, RBs Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams will likely share playing time in the Kansas City backfield this evening.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) will be a game-time decision for the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills Sunday, Jan. 24.
Fantasy Spin: Watkins had been listed as questionable on the injury report after participating in all three practice sessions during the week on a limited basis. He makes a very risky fantasy play this weekend since he would not be competing at 100 percent if he is declared active, in addition to the fact that he hasn't recorded more than 62 receiving yards in a game since the season opener.
The Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford will reportedly part ways this offseason, with Detroit exploring trade options for the former No. 1 overall pick. The Lions will likely look to take a rookie quarterback early in April's draft, something that will likely limit the overall effectiveness of their passing attack. As for Stafford, teams like the 49ers and Colts could be interesting landing spots that would see Stafford's fantasy arrow trending up.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley's 23 receptions of 20-plus yards in 2020 were tied for the league lead.
Fantasy Spin: Ridley's 90 receptions, 143 targets and 1,374 yards all shattered his previous career highs, and while injuries to Julio Jones created more opportunities, credit Ridley for being able to take advantage. Barring a major overhaul of Atlanta's offense, he should be no worse than a WR2 in 2021.
Washington Football Team RB J.D. McKissic's 589 receiving yards and 80 receptions trailed only New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara among running backs in 2020.
Fantasy Spin: McKissic's 7.4 yards per reception were far from impressive, but he did finish in the top 25 in catches. Unless Washington dramatically upgrades its offensive firepower in the offseason, McKissic should have value as a PPR flex option, especially in deeper leagues.
Cleveland Browns DE Myles Garrett was double-teamed on 26 percent of his pass rush attempts in 2020 and ranked third in the NFL in pass rush win rate.
Los Angeles DT Aaron Donald faced more double-teams when rushing the passer than any defensive tackle in the NFL in 2020 and posted pass rush wins at the highest rate of any player.
Indianapolis Colts QB Jacoby Brissett will be under consideration to be the starting quarterback in 2021, according to general manager Chris Ballard. 'I don't want to discount Jacoby,' Ballard said. 'We still like Jacoby Brissett and think he's a good player. Let's not take Jacoby out of the mix completely here.'
Fantasy Spin: Brissett was occasionally a fantasy option when starting 15 games in the 2019 season. He finished with 2,942 passing yards and 18 touchdowns against six interceptions while adding 228 yards and four TDs on the ground. He would be a streaming option in more appealing matchups, but he would likely lower the value of WR Michael Pittman Jr.
Carolina Panthers QB Teddy Bridgewater will be evaluated as new general manager Scott Fitterer assesses the current roster and isn't guaranteed to be the starter for the 2021 season. 'I'm not going to get into hypotheticals, but what I will tell you is we will be on every deal,' Fitterer said when talking about being aggressive in transactions this offseason. 'We're going to look at a lot of people, bring a lot of people in the building, really churn the roster on the back end. Just really take a look at a lot of different people to see what's out there, what fits our team and how we can build this going forward.'