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FFL: Preseason | NFL: Week 1

Texas to allow some fans at outdoor pro sports events

Thu May 28 6:30pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas will soon allow outdoor pro sports events to have spectators, but the numbers will be strictly limited, under a new order Thursday from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

Abbott revised a decision to let pro sports leagues host events without fans starting in June as part of the state's move to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott's new order allows outdoor stadiums to host fans up to 25% of their normal capacity. Leagues will have to apply to state health officials to be allowed to have fans. Indoor events will still be without spectators.

The change came the same day Texas reported a one-day high in new cases with 1,855 reported Thursday. Texas now has 59,776 confirmed cases through nearly 990,000 viral and coronavirus antibody tests. It has 1,601 deaths, a one-day increase of 39. The actual number of cases is likely far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

IndyCar is set to open its season at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on June 6, but track president Eddie Gossage said that even under the new rule, the Genesys 300 race will still not include fans.

''Nobody wants to have the stands filled with fans more than me but we're just not in a position to do that yet,'' Gossage said in a written statement, noting the race will be broadcast live on NBC. ''While the state will permit us to operate at 25 percent of capacity, there are still too many unanswered questions for an event that is just one week away.''

PGA Tour has previously said it plans to restart its season at Colonial in Texas on June 11-14 without fans attending.

Major League Baseball has proposed starting its season in early July at regular-season ballparks, if necessary without fans. Abbott's order, however, may not impact the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros because ''stadiums with retractable roofs are not considered to be outdoors,'' health department spokeswoman Lara Anton said ''stadiums with retractable roofs are not considered to be outdoors.''

State health officials did not immediately respond to questions on whether any leagues or event organizer have asked to be allowed to have spectators.

The state has set up several guidelines, including a recommendation that spectators and employees keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart from anyone not from their household. If that is not feasible, other measures such as face coverings and sanitation protocols should be followed.

Athletes will not be required to wear masks, but the guidelines encourage them to be worn on the sidelines.

The order does not address college sports events.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. However, most patients recover.

Player Notes
Joe Flacco May 28 7:00pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (neck) says that he is embracing his new role as the backup quarterback to Sam Darnold. He says that his job is to help the team get better and to help a young quarterback see things as clearly as possible. Flacco started the first eight games for the Denver Broncos before suffering a season-ending neck injury. He still believes he can be a starting quarterback in the league, but understands his new role with the Jets.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins May 28 6:50pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins expects to put up numbers in the team's pass-happy offense under head coach Kliff Kingsbury in his first season in 2020. "So myself, being a receiver, of course I see my stats going up. ... But I definitely see myself having one of my more productive seasons," Hopkins said. He also said he hasn't met up with quarterback Kyler Murray yet, but he plans on getting together with him and the other receivers "soon." Arizona has plenty of aerial weapons in an attack that will feature a lot of four-wide sets, but Nuk will be the No. 1 option for a young QB with a ton of potential. He's consistently one of the most efficient fantasy wideouts on a yearly basis and is a no-doubt top-five fantasy receiver for drafts this fall.

From RotoBaller

Eli Apple May 28 6:40pm ET

The Carolina Panthers agreed to terms on an undisclosed one-year deal with cornerback Eli Apple on Thursday. Apple agreed with the Raiders earlier in free agency, but the Raiders backed out of the deal and put Apple back on the open market. The 10th overall pick in 2016 by the Giants, Apple failed to live up to his draft billing in two-plus seasons in the Big Apple, and he was underwhelming in 15 games for the Saints last year (53 solo tackles, no interceptions, four passes defensed). But with Donte Jackson and Corn Elder currently set as the two starting corners on the outside, Apple should see plenty of playing time for a Carolina secondary with plenty of questions.

From RotoBaller

Justice Hill May 28 5:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Justice Hill played sparingly during his rookie season last year. Hill finished the year with just 66 touches after getting stuck behind Mark Ingram II and Gus Edwards. The Ravens added to their crowded running back room in the 2020 NFL draft when they used a second-round pick on J.K. Dobbins. That leaves an unclear role for Hill in 2020. Head coach John Harbaugh is still high on Hill, however, stating that he expects the sophomore runner to make a big jump. He also went on to tell reporters that there is a role for all four runners in Baltimore. Hill remains a deep dynasty stash but he may not be fantasy relevant until 2021 when Ingram is presumably out of the picture.

From RotoBaller

Nick O'Leary May 28 4:40pm ET

The Las Vegas Raiders re-signed tight end Paul Butler to an undisclosed deal on Thursday. In a corresponding move, tight end Nick O'Leary (undisclosed) was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list. Butler hasn't appeared in a regular season game in two years in the NFL with the Raiders and Lions. O'Leary was signed as a free agent after catching 13 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in 12 games (five starts) with the Jaguars and Dolphins in 2019. He was buried on the tight end depth chart to begin with, behind Darren Waller, Jason Witten and Foster Moreau. Las Vegas also has Derek Carrier and rookie Nick Bowers at the position.

From RotoBaller

Gardner Minshew II May 28 4:30pm ET

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II has impressed new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden with his work during the virtual offseason program. Gruden likes how Minshew has taken charge and seems to have a good grasp of the offense. "He has shown a skill set where he can sit in a pocket, step up, make things happen outside the pocket. He's accurate, he's tough and obviously he's a great leader, so he's got the intangibles you want in a quarterback," Gruden said. The sixth-round pick went 6-6 as a starter in his rookie season and had the highest passer rating and fewest interceptions among rookie QBs in 2019. The 24-year-old took the league by storm last year out of nowhere and has the ability to make things happen outside the pocket and with his legs, as he rushed for 344 yards in 2019. All things considered, though, Minshew is a low-end QB2 that will likely see more inconsistency in his second season.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers May 28 4:10pm ET

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is looking for his offense to find more explosive plays under quarterback Aaron Rodgers in 2020, the coach admitted on ESPN Wisconsin's Wilde & Tausch. The Packers ranked 19th in explosive-play rate in 2019, according to Sharp Football Stats. However, other than free-agent addition Devin Funchess in the passing game, the Packers didn't really give Rodgers any added help outside of receiver Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones. It will be on LaFleur to scheme up more explosive situations this year, but it definitely helps to have Rodgers throwing the passes, even if he's getting older. What's certain is that the Packers will need someone besides Adams and Jones to step up for Rodgers to hold off the naysayers.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo May 28 3:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers left tackle Trent Williams agreed to a restructured deal in the final year of his contract in 2020. Williams is due to make $12.5 million this year, but the 49ers agreed to give him some of that up front after he didn't make any money in 2019. The Redskins traded Williams to San Francisco during the draft in April, where he'll immediately become the blind-side protector for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after not playing at all last season. Even though Williams will turn 32 years old in July, the seven-time Pro Bowler is an immediate upgrade for the team's offensive line and should continue to be one of the better left tackles in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Chandler Jones May 28 2:40pm ET

Arizona Cardinals All-Pro linebacker Chandler Jones has more sacks and forced fumbles than any defender since he entered the league in 2012, and his 96 sacks through eight seasons are four more than Bruce Smith, the all-time sacks leader, at the same point in his career. Jones was one of two players in NFL history in 2019 to have 19-plus sacks and eight-plus forced fumbles in a single season. He's been really good, but he wants to work on improving against the run, his eye placement and his hand work. Jones plans to spend more practice time with the defensive line so that he can get more comfortable playing between the tackles. The two-time All-Pro and member of the league's 2010s All-Decade team can certainly get to the QB, but he'll need to improve his tackling numbers in order to justify his high price in IDP leagues.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Peterson May 28 2:20pm ET

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said he hasn't really had any contract talks with the team as he enters the final year of his current deal. "I feel I have a lot to prove," Peterson said. He also said he would love to stay with one team in his career and praised the organization. The 29-year-old was suspended for the first six games of 2019 and was a bit rusty upon his return. He finished with 53 tackles (46 solo), two interceptions, seven passes defensed and one forced fumble in his 10 games. The Cardinals have potential on defense with some playmakers in the middle of the field, but they'll need Peterson to return to his All-Pro form in order to make some noise in a loaded NFC West division.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders May 28 1:20pm ET

The Philadelphia Eagles are interested in both running backs Devonta Freeman and LeSean McCoy, who remain free agents. The Eagles offered a contract to Carlos Hyde before he signed with the Seahawks. Freeman also received an offer, but he's also weighing another offer from the Buccaneers. Philly has yet to make an offer to McCoy. The Eagles would like a veteran presence behind Miles Sanders as he heads into his second NFL season, with Boston Scott as his current backup. Both Freeman and McCoy are past their prime, but they could be effective in spurts while spelling Sanders behind a solid offensive line. Freeman would probably have more fantasy appeal as a handcuff on early downs and in goal-line situations.

From RotoBaller

Nick Kwiatkoski May 28 12:30pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski started eight games last season for the Bears before signing a three-year, $21 million deal with the Raiders this offseason to become a full-time starter. A fourth-round pick in 2016, Kwiatkoski played a bit role his first three years, but the 27-year-old showed off his abilities when he was granted more playing time in 2019 due to injuries to the position. He had 76 tackles (eight for loss), three sacks, one forced fumble and an interception while impressing as a blitzer, against the run and in coverage. Kwiatkoski will be asked to be the leader of Las Vegas' linebacking corps in 2020, and it's something he's very comfortable with. The middle of the Raiders defense has been a problem spot for a while, so they're hoping Kwiatkoski's addition will change that.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott May 27 10:43pm ET

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott was accurate on only 60.9 percent of his throws with three receivers running a route in 2019. However, that mark increased to 81.8 percent when he had four pass-catchers available to him and 79.3 percent with five receivers running a route.

From TheHuddle

Derek Carr May 27 10:33pm ET

Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr was 72.3 percent accurate on his throws in the fourth quarter of games in 2019 - the best such mark of any qualified quarterback last season.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney May 27 10:10pm ET

Free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is in no rush to sign with a team, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. The Browns and Seahawks have made offers to Clowney and the Titans have also been monitoring him, but he's in no hurry to sign with anyone. The former No. 1 overall pick is by far the biggest name still on the free-agent market. His slow market also has to do with teams wanting a physical for the six-year pro after he underwent offseason surgery for a core muscle injury that limited him to 11 starts in 2019 with Seattle. Cleveland apparently has been the most aggressive for Clowney, but it remains to be seen if he'll choose them. Clowney's sack numbers aren't impressive, but he is still plenty disruptive as a pass-rusher when he's healthy.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller May 27 9:53pm ET

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller finished with 670 receiving yards in 2019 - the second-highest total for a player who played fewer than 12 games last season - although more than half of that total (357 yards) came in two of his 11 contests.

From TheHuddle

Lamar Jackson May 27 9:53pm ET

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson finished 19-for-25 and threw for 12 touchdowns against Cover-0 coverage - an all-out blitz with man coverage and no deep safety - in 2019.

From TheHuddle

Golden Tate May 27 9:33pm ET

New York Giants WR Golden Tate produced 676 receiving yards in 2019 - the highest total for a player who played fewer than 12 games last season.

From TheHuddle

Jadeveon Clowney May 27 9:03pm ET

Free-agent DE Jadeveon Clowney (Seahawks) is in no rush to sign with a team at this point, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

From TheHuddle

Adrian Peterson May 27 8:03pm ET

Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson will have a role in the offense this upcoming season, according to offensive coordinator Scott Turner.

Fantasy Spin: Peterson is part of a crowded running back field for the Redskins but should still see some touches each game. Fantasy players should keep an eye on his role during training camp because he could be a depth running back on fantasy roster in 2020.

From TheHuddle