Tue Mar 12 5:13pm ET
By JOHN WAWROW
AP Sports Writer
In this Oct. 14, 2018, file photo, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver John Brown catches a pass as Tennessee Titans' Adoree' Jackson (25) defends in the first half of an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. The Buffalo Bills continued their major foray into free agency on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, by agreeing to sign receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley and hulking offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe. (AP Photo/James Kenney, File)
In this Dec. 2, 2012, file photo, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) pushes off Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Curtis Marsh (31) during the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. The Buffalo Bills continued their major foray into free agency on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, by agreeing to sign receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley and hulking offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
In this Nov. 11, 2018, file photo, Washington Redskins offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe (79) blocks against Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) during the second half of an NFL football game in Tampa, Fla. The Buffalo Bills continued their major foray into free agency on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, by agreeing to sign receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley and hulking offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) The free-spending Buffalo Bills are using their sizeable salary-cap space to provide quarterback Josh Allen an overhauled offense entering his second season.
The Bills continued their major foray into free agency on Tuesday by agreeing to sign receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley and hulking offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe.
A person with direct knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press that Brown agreed to a three-year, $27 million contract. A second person told the AP that Beasley agreed to a four-year, $29 million contract.
Both people spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the signings won't be official until the NFL's new year begins Wednesday.
Nsekhe's agent, Vince Taylor, said his client agreed to a two-year, $14.5 million contract, with $7.7 million guaranteed.
The deals come a day after the Bills agreed to sign center Mitch Morse, running back Frank Gore and tight end Tyler Kroft. Buffalo confirmed Tuesday that it signed cornerback Kevin Johnson to a one-year contract.
The Bills' main focus has been addressing needs on offense to upgrade a unit that finished 30th in yards gained during Allen's rookie season and was hampered by a lack of established receivers and a patchwork offensive line.
Buffalo entered the signing period with more than $70 million available to spend under the salary cap after spending the previous two offseasons purging its roster of high-priced players. The overhaul coincided with coach Sean McDermott's hiring in January 2017 and was followed by general manager Brandon Beane taking over five months later.
Beane has taken a bold approach in rebuilding the Bills by spending the past two years trading away veterans - including defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and quarterback Tyrod Taylor - and stockpiling draft picks.
After a 6-10 finish, Beane in January said he intended to be ''judicious'' in filling holes in free agency, while continuing to add talent in the draft next month, when the Bills are scheduled to have 10 picks.
Johnson, speaking on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, was impressed by the new additions.
''I think you can see this is a team on the rise,'' he said. ''We're just trying to add to this culture, and they've got a good one in place. And like I am, I'm sure the other guys are ready to come in here and work.''
Brown is a speedy downfield threat, and Beasley is a proven underneath slot receiver. They join a team whose two top returning receivers were Zay Jones, entering his third year, and Robert Foster, an undrafted rookie last season.
Brown had 42 catches for 715 yards and five touchdowns last year in his only season with the run-oriented Baltimore Ravens.
The Bills targeted Brown in free agency a year ago, but he turned them down in part because Buffalo was unsettled at quarterback after trading away Taylor and before drafting Allen in the first round.
Brown spent his first four seasons with Arizona, where he combined for 173 catches for 2,515 yards and 17 touchdowns. His best season was in 2015, when he had 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven TDs.
Beasley spent his first seven seasons with Dallas and had a 65 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns last year. Beasley's most productive season was in 2016, when he had 75 catches for 833 yards and five touchdowns.
Running back LeSean McCoy took notice of the offensive line additions by posting a note on his Twitter account that read: ''It's always good signing fat boys hahahahah welcome welcome.''
Morse is listed at 6-foot-6 and 305 pounds, while the 33-year-old Nsekhe is listed at 6-foot-8 and 330 pounds.
Nsekhe has five NFL seasons of experience dating to 2012 with the then-St. Louis Rams. He spent the past four seasons with Washington, where he had 16 starts in 54 games playing behind tackles Trent Williams and Morgan Moses, while also getting playing time at guard.
Johnson joins a defense that allowed the second-fewest yards last season and will compete for the starting job opposite Tre'Davious White. Johnson's first four seasons in Houston were hampered by a series of injuries, including a pair of concussions that forced him to miss the final 15 games of last season.
''All that stuff's behind me,'' he said. ''I think I learned that I don't got any quit in me. I went through a lot of things, adversity as far as dealing with injuries. And every time, I came back strong from it.''
Johnson is reunited with Bills defensive backs coach John Butler, who held the same role in Houston from 2014-17.
Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed seven of 13 passes for 74 yards in Thursday's exhibition against the Falcons. Despite how well Haskins has played this preseason, he's still likely to start the year out as Washington's backup behind Case Keenum. The positive outlook is that Haskins has performed well enough to legitimately give head coach Jay Gruden something to think about. With Haskins looming in the background after an impressive trio of preseason outings (minus his two interceptions in the first one), Keenum's leash won't be especially long if things aren't going well. In any case, Haskins is best left on the draft board and addressed via the waiver wire when the time comes.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terrelle Pryor was on the field for the first time this preseason in Thursday's loss to the Miami Dolphins, catching three passes for 26 yards before exiting with a hamstring injury. It's the same issue Pryor's been dealing with all preseason, and a flare up at this point while Pryor is fighting with Tre McBride for the final roster spot at wide receiver isn't going to help Pryor's case. Even if he does make the final roster, it's hard to see much usage for Pryor, though he could carve out a small role as a big target in the red zone.
Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine carried the ball four times for 16 yards in Thursday's preseason game, with his highlight coming in the form of a three-yard touchdown trot. Perine's teammate and ostensible lone competition for the fourth RB spot, Byron Marshall, racked up only 11 yards on as many carries. Neither Perine nor Marshall have looked the least bit interesting this preseason outside of the touchdown by the former, so it's anyone's guess as to whether Thursday's performances helped or hurt either in the depth chart battle. Either way, keep your distance from this situation in all fantasy formats.
Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson did not play on Thursday night against the Falcons, ceding the backfield work to Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson instead. Both had positive showings in his absence, especially Guice, who had not played a live game since tearing his ACL in August 2018. There's not much to see here in terms of Peterson being given the night off. He's 34 years old with a well-documented track record of high-level performance in the regular season. Peterson's 2019 ceiling is limited thanks to Guice, and could be much lower if Guice runs away with the workhorse role at some point in the season. But he could be looking at a high floor early on as the Redskins split carries between the two in order to ease Guice back into action.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn didn't play against the Falcons on Thursday. Per a Redskins.com report, Quinn rested so as not to aggravate a thumb injury he sustained earlier in the preseason. Like teammate Paul Richardson, Quinn has not appeared in either of Washington's last two preseason games. Unlike Richardson, Quinn has PPR intrigue in his role. You're probably better off avoiding both on draft day, but Quinn isn't a bad bet to begin the season seeing a usable target share out of the slot.
Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson did not play on Thursday against the Falcons, sidelined with a quad injury, per Redskins.com. Richardson has not been utilized in any of the Redskins' three preseason games to this point, and with the fourth contest traditionally serving as a last stand for fringe 53-man roster hopefuls, he might not get any action in prior to Week 1. Richardson's big-play potential may resurrect his fantasy value at some point down the line, but you don't need to factor him into your draft plans.
Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed exited Thursday's preseason game due to injury, and was subsequently evaluated for a concussion, per an NFL.com report. Reed's injury borders on uncanny, as his otherwise good health leading up to it has been one of the more positive stories from Washington's camp. From a human standpoint, you just hope he's okay and the head injury is nothing serious or long-term. From a fantasy standpoint, you'll obviously want to monitor his situation if you were planning on drafting him in the next couple of weeks (or if you already did). We're a little over two weeks away from the first NFL Sunday, which isn't an extensive amount of recovery time. If Reed is unable to go to start the season, Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle would both figure to see more snaps--though neither would be a viable fantasy option.
Washington Redskins quarterback Case Keenum completed nine of 14 passes for 101 yards in Thursday night's preseason game. He also lost a fumble, but from a passing standpoint it was his best performance of the preseason. Keenum has probably shown just enough to fend off Dwayne Haskins for the Week 1 starting job. It's worth noting his most successful season as a quarterback came in 2017 with a Vikings team that ran the ball often and played exceptional defense--the same formula the Redskins are going to try to win with in 2019. Keenum likely won't be asked to do enough to vault himself into the upper echelons of fantasy scoring among QBs, but he has much higher upside than any of the Redskins' options at the position from last year. He's at least worth paying attention to early on.
Oakland Raiders kicker Daniel Carlson lifted his team past the Green Bay Packers in Thursdays Week 3 preseason contest. On an 80-yard shortened field in Winnipeg, Carlson didnt have any problems kicking on the questionable turf nailing all three field goals including the game-winner from 33 yards out with eight seconds remaining. His other two kicks went for 40 and 42 yards, keeping his perfect preseason kicking percentage intact. The 2018 fifth-rounder was given the boot after Week 2 by the Vikings last season, but the Raiders have reaped the benefits of his new team-record 94% success rate since picking him up for the final 10 games of 2018. On this improving offense, Carlson could hold sneaky fantasy value for fantasy footballs most overlooked position.
New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon is getting a significant amount of work this training camp as head coach Adam Gase made it clear he wants the sophomore tight end to be ready when his suspension is up. Gase wouldn't even rule Herndon out for the team's fourth preseason game, a rarity for NFL starters. The league hasn't decided if Herndon can be around the Jets practice facility during the suspension, but Herndon said he has a trainer lined up just in case to make it as game-like as possible to stay sharp if he needs to be away from the team. Herndon caught 39 of 56 targets last season for 502 yards and was a favorite target of Sam Darnold on third down and in the red zone. The sophomore tight end won't be available until week 6, but he is a great stash candidate in deep leagues if you miss out on a top-flight tight end.
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie Ryquell Armstead played in his first preseason game on Thursday as the Jaguars lost to the Miami Dolphins and...it didn't go so well. Armstead had 18 rushing yards on eight carries and caught three passes, but finished with negative receiving yardage. As long as Alfred Blue (ankle) is out, Armstead is the number-two back in Jacksonville, but this is clearly Leonard Fournette's backfield, and head coach Doug Marrone would likely look to a healthy Blue first should Fournette deal with an injury. Armstead can be ignored in re-draft leagues.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Marcell Ateman caught one of his four targets for 19 yards in Thursdays preseason game versus the Packers. Hes now caught one pass in each of the teams first three exhibition contests, racking up a total of 52 yards. Ateman hasnt impressed all that much so far this preseason and has been getting outplayed by the rest of the wide receiving corps. His roster spot could be in jeopardy, although he wouldnt carry any fantasy value if he made the squad regardless.
Atlanta Falcons running back Qadree Ollison was extremely active in Thursday's preseason game against the Redskins, carrying the ball 12 times for 42 yards, good for 3.5 yards per carry. Ollison has gotten a lot of run this preseason. He led the team in both carries and rushing yards in the Falcons' previous outing against the Jets with nine rushes for 44 yards. The rookie fifth round pick will likely be third on the team's depth chart at running back to start the season behind Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith. He isn't worth drafting in standard leagues but in deep dynasty formats, he's worth keeping an eye on.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel finished with two receptions for 16 yards during Thursdays loss to the New York Giants. The 23-year-old was targeted three times on the night and outproduced most of the receivers on the roster, including D.J. Moore, who caught only one pass for three yards. He continues to look impressive and could end up surpassing Moore in production despite being listed as the No. 2 option on the teams depth chart. Fantasy managers will want to grab him earlier in drafts as he has been a popular fantasy option thus far, especially in the sixth or seventh rounds, depending on league size.
Washington Redskins running back Derrius Guice finally got onto the field in the team's third preseason game Thursday, and he showed fantasy owners what they've been looking for. He rushed 11 times for 44 yards and hauled in his only target. Simply having been medically cleared to participate is a massive step in the right direction for Guice's early-season fantasy value, but to see him perform well in his first live game action since tearing his ACL is the icing on the cake. This backfield is still best viewed as a timeshare, with veteran Adrian Peterson still hanging around. The Redskins will almost certainly avoid putting too much on Guice out of the gate. His value for the first few weeks, while positive, could be capped by limited volume.
Atlanta Falcons running back Ito Smith was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise underwhelming offensive display for the Falcons on Thursday. In a game where the team totalled just 80 passing yards and seven points, Smith had five carries for 23 yards and a touchdown and also added a nine-yard reception. Lead running back Devonta Freeman played only one drive in the game before giving way to Smith. With Freeman being healthy to enter the season, Smith doesn't have much intrigue as a fantasy target. He probably won't be seeing much more than about five touches per game out of the gate and can be left undrafted in standard fantasy leagues.
Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson carried the ball three times for 20 yards on Thursday night, with a 16-yard scamper accounting for most of that total. He was also targeted three times in the passing game, hauling in two of them. It's not much, but just about any usage at all was going to be more encouraging than what he did last week: one carry, negative-one yard rushing, zero targets. Thompson's fantasy value stems entirely from his role in Washington's passing game, as Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson will handle the lion's share of the ground attack. He's still probably best left alone outside of deeper PPR leagues, but his involvement in Washington's third preseason game may have reopened some eyes.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey made his preseason debut in the loss to the Patriots, finishing the night with 16 yards on three carries to go along with one reception (two targets) for 10 yards. With the team looking to monitor its star backs workload, McCaffrey may not suit up for the teams preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, especially after quarterback Cam Newton left this one in a walking boot. He arguably will remain the top overall fantasy pick in all drafts, regardless if he sees any more action this preseason.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Justin Hardy was the team's receiving yards leader on Thursday and all it took was one catch. Hardy was only targeted once in the game and reeled the target in for a 24-yard gain. The team's passing game wasn't quite operating on full efficiency, totaling just 80 passing yards on the night. Matt Ryan played the first half and was relieved by Danny Etling in the second half. The absence of lead receiver Julio Jones was a contributing factor to the low offensive output but it was a clearly conservative gameplan from the team as a whole. Hardy isn't a viable fantasy option going into the season as he's buried behind Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu on the team's depth chart.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had a quiet game on Thursday with just one reception for two yards on two targets. The Falcons had a pretty run-heavy attack during the game with over 30 rushes compared to just 20 pass attempts. Hooper is a low-end starting option at tight end this year. He totalled 660 receiving yards and four touchdowns last year and is likely to be right around those same numbers this year.