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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

OBJ feels Browns on verge of 'special' season in 2021

Sun Jul 25 1:18pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

File-This Oct. 4, 2020, file photo shows Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., (13) scoring a touchdown after a long run as Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith (54) attempts the stop in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. Beckham Jr. believes he and his teammates are poised to do something big this season. Appearing at his youth football camp, Beckham, who has made a speedy recovery from a season-ending knee injury in 2020, said there's a vibe about the Browns. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)


CLEVELAND (AP) Odell Beckham Jr. doesn't want to miss a single moment this season.

The star wide receiver believes he and his Cleveland Browns teammates are poised to do something big.

Appearing at his youth football camp, Beckham, who has made a speedy recovery from a season-ending knee injury in 2020, said he has high hopes for this year's Browns.

''It's just something that feels special about this team,'' he said Sunday at Gilmour Academy. ''I think there's something special going on and something special with this city. Cleveland needs a championship. And I think that's the goal and mentality in that building.

''And that's what I want to be a part of.''

Beckham's comments were his first to media members since he got hurt early in a game at Cincinnati on Oct. 25.

While he was out, quarterback Baker Mayfield thrived and the Browns ended a long playoff drought and won their first playoff game - against rival Pittsburgh - since 1994. Cleveland lost to Kansas City in the division round.

Beckham said it was tough not being able to contribute.

''I watched them compete last year and it was like the one game that hurt me the most was watching Kansas City,'' said Beckham, who came to Cleveland in a 2019 trade with the New York Giants. ''Feeling like, man, I know I could've made one play -- just something to help the team.''

The Browns will open training camp Wednesday with high expectations for 2021. Beckham moved well on the field during a recent minicamp, but would not say if he's 100 percent or if he'll be full go this week.

''At this point, we're just running our race,'' he said. ''I feel like in the past, I've been caught up in this question. I'm not really here for it anymore. Whenever I'm ready to get out on the field, that's when it will be.

''Whenever the team, the docs, my team, gets cleared, we'll be ready to go. Whenever that is, Week 1, Week 17, I don't know. Whenever we're ready, we'll be ready.''

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Player Notes
Odell Beckham Jr. Jul 25 12:20pm ET

While speaking at his youth football camp on Sunday, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (knee) told reporters on Sunday that his knee "is feeling great." Beckham had surgery on his ACL after tearing it during Week 7 of the 2020 season. He would not elaborate on when he would be full-go again as camp opens this week or whether he would be out there for the Week 1 season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, although he is expected to be. A likely scenario would be for the Browns to bring him along slowly during camp as he ramps up for the regular season. Playing on a run-first offense, Beckham is best treated as a high-end WR3 in fantasy leagues this year.

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Justin Watson Jul 25 12:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Justin Watson (knee) is expected to miss four months. The 25-year-old landed on the PUP list after having a procedure done on his knee, and it means he will miss at least the first six games of the 2021 campaign. Nonetheless, Watson is in danger of not making the team, but even if he does, he will have to battle for looks with Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, and Rob Gronkowski, among others. As a result, Watson likely won't have a place on many fantasy rosters when the season begins in September.

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Tom Brady Jul 25 11:40am ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (knee) was on the field for the first day of training camp on Sunday. "Oh, he looks great," head coach Bruce Arians reported when asked about how the seven-time Super Bowl winner appeared. Brady had minor surgery to repair the MCL in his left knee back in February, an ailment he sustained during his final season in New England. Nonetheless, the latest report is good news for fantasy managers, and Brady should remain a top option at the position heading into the season, especially with so many weapons at his disposal on the offensive end.

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Deshaun Watson Jul 25 11:30am ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will report to training camp on Sunday. The star signal-caller requested a trade back in January, and since then, he has been caught up in controversy after 23 lawsuits were filed against him for alleged sexual assault. However, under the new collective bargaining agreement, Watson would face a $50,000 fine for each day he didn't report, which unlike in previous years, couldn't be forgiven. Nonetheless, the 25-year-old has been an effective fantasy option at the position over the years, finishing the 2020 campaign with nearly 5,000 passing yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions while adding 444 yards and three scores on the ground. Although the latest development would seem to indicate he will be with the team when the regular season begins in September, nothing has changed regarding his desire to play for a new club. The former Pro Bowler may also be facing a suspension, something that would also undoubtedly impact his fantasy stock.

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Benardrick McKinney Jul 25 10:43am ET

The Miami Dolphins restructured the contract of LB Benardrick McKinney Friday, July 23. However, terms of the restructured deal were not disclosed.

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Anthony Miller Jul 24 9:33pm ET

The Chicago Bears traded WR Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans Saturday, July 24, in exchange for a late-round draft pick, according to league sources.

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Anthony Miller Jul 24 9:20pm ET

The Houston Texans have traded for Chicago Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller, with the Texans betting on Miller to win their No. 3 receiver job heading into the 2021 season. Houston has Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb already, but there have been big questions about the other receiver slot, with rookie Nico Collins and veterans like Donte Moncrief and Chris Conley competing for that role. Of course, both Miller and Cobb are best in the slot, so maybe this doesn't end up solving anything for Houston. Miller is coming off a season in which he caught 49 passes for 485 yards and two touchdowns. Consistency has been a major issue for Miller, so while there's still some upside, he's a late-round dart throw at best in an offense that'll likely struggle to move the ball through the air with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback.

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Malik Hooker Jul 24 7:20pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to sign defensive back Malik Hooker to complete their 90-man roster. Hooker and the Cowboys met for a second time on Friday and as long as everything checks out with his medicals, he should be joining the team soon. Hooker is coming off an Achilles injury that required surgery. The former first round pick has missed 17 games over the past two seasons, but he's always been a ball hawk while on the field. He's a high-upside signing for a Cowboys defense that needs help in the secondary.

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Dak Prescott Jul 24 7:10pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) said that he "definitely want[s] to play" in the preseason. "I obviously want to get out there and get some reps before it's real," he continued. Coach Mike McCarthy said that he does expect his quarterback to get some preseason playing time. Prescott will likely not play much, but they'll get him into some game action to make sure he's ready to go in Week 1. With Prescott expected to be back to full strength, all of the Cowboys skill position players have their fantasy arrows pointing up.

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Dede Westbrook Jul 24 6:43pm ET

Free-agent WR Dede Westbrook (Jaguars) plans to sign a one-year contract with the Minnesota Vikings, according to a source.

Fantasy Spin: Westbrook likely will compete for the No. 3 receiver job for the Vikings and could see a decent amount of targets if he wins the job. He has a chance to be a late round pick in deeper leagues.

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Justin Watson Jul 24 6:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Justin Watson (knee) recently underwent a procedure on his knee and is expected to be sidelined for around four months, according to a source.

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Tommylee Lewis Jul 24 6:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Tommylee Lewis (Saints) and undrafted free-agent QB Jackson Erdmann (St. John's) recently worked out for the Minnesota Vikings.

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Duke Dawson Jul 24 5:53pm ET

Denver Broncos CB Essang Bassey (undisclosed), LB Baron Browning (undisclosed) and CB Duke Dawson (undisclosed) were placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday, July 24.

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Abry Jones Jul 24 4:33pm ET

Tennessee Titans DT Abry Jones was placed on the Reserve/Retired list Saturday, July 24.

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Bud Dupree Jul 24 4:23pm ET

Tennessee Titans LB Bud Dupree (knee), OT Ty Sambrailo (undisclosed) and RB Jeremy McNichols (undisclosed) were placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday, July 24.

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Cameron Brate Jul 24 4:13pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers TE Cameron Brate (undisclosed) and WR Justin Watson (undisclosed) were placed on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list Saturday, July 24.

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Malik Hooker Jul 24 12:40pm ET

Malik Hooker, a former first-round draft choice of the Indianapolis Colts, is close to signing with the Dallas Cowboys pending a physical. It's no secret that Dallas has been looking for secondary help following a disastrous 2020 season on the back end of their defense, and Hooker could be just what the team is looking for if he stays healthy. Per Michael Gehlken, Hooker would make the 90-man roster if and when he signs with the team. Hooker has missed 28 games in his four seasons to this point, but he has been productive when he's been on the field. In 36 career games Hooker has racked up seven interceptions, 11 passes defensed, 124 tackles, and two fumble recoveries. Expect Hooker to line up as a traditional free safety in 2021 alongside strong safety Donovan Wilson.

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Greg Newsome II Jul 24 12:40pm ET

The Cleveland Browns officially signed rookie cornerback Greg Newsome II to a four-year deal after selecting him 26th overall in April's draft. Newsome was a three-year standout at Northwestern University, finishing top five in passes defensed among all Big Ten players in 2019 and 2020 while also receiving third-team All-American honors in 2020. Newsome figures to compete with Greedy Williams for starting snaps across from star corner Denzel Ward, and reviews about his performance in offseason workouts were strong. Expect Newsome to contribute significantly in 2021 even if he doesn't earn a starting outside corner job by week one.

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Aaron Rodgers Jul 24 12:40pm ET

The Green Bay Packers signed third-round pick Amari Rodgers to a four-year deal that officially completes the signing of all of the team's 2021 draft picks. Rodgers, a 5-foot-9 slot weapon, was very productive at Clemson and projects to be used creatively in the Packers offense regardless of who lines up under center. In college, Rodgers excelled in a gadget/kick returner role as well as in the slot receiver role, which speaks to his explosiveness with the ball in his hands. Rodgers' fantasy value in 2021 is a mystery at this point in time due to his lack of experience and the uncertainty surrounding quarterbackAaron Rodgers, but the 21-year-old wideout is an intriguing dynasty asset going forward.

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Javonte Williams Jul 24 12:40pm ET

The Denver Broncos completed the signing of their 2021 draft class by signing second-rounder Javonte Williams to a four-year contract on Friday. Williams was electric in his final year at North Carolina, posting 1445 total yards and 22 total touchdowns while averaging 7.3 yards per carry. The Broncos brass has talked up Williams throughout the offseason, and the fact that the team invested significant draft capital into selecting him bodes well for his fantasy prospects in 2021. Going into camp, Williams will be competing with Melvin Gordon for the bulk of backfield touches. Williams' current fifth-round ADP is well ahead of Gordon, who is currently being taken in the seventh round in most drafts. Williams has a great chance to take over this backfield early in the season and he should be considered a volatile, but exciting RB2 going into 2021.

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