Fantasy football news and opinion from FFToday.com
Pats optimistic Gronk will be ready for SB LII
Two weeks to clear concussion protocol
Rob Gronkowski suffered a concussion in the second quarter of the Patriots’ 24-20 victory against the Jacksonville Jaguars. However, the Pats are optimistic he’ll be cleared to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, according to a Herald source. (Boston Herald)
FF Today's Take: Gronk finished with one catch for 21 yards against the Jaguars but missed half the game after being ruled out with a concussion. Considering he'll get two weeks to recover, it would be surprise if he's not ready to face the Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
Adam Thielen expected to play
Limited in practice with back injury
There didn’t seem to be much of a doubt that Vikings receiver Adam Thielen would play on Sunday despite a lower back injury. If there were any doubt, there should be none.
According to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Thielen will play on Sunday evening, when the Vikings face the Eagles in Philadelphia. (Pro Football Talk)
FF Today's Take: Thielen missed practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday but is expected to play against the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. The Vikings could choose to feature Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph is Thielen is less than 100 percent.
Rex Burkhead expected to play
Gillislee expecte to be inactive
Despite being listed as questionable for Sunday’s AFC Championship game vs. Jaguars, Patriots’ RB Rex Burkhead will play, per source. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: Burkhead (knee) missed last week's game and was limited in practice this week but should play in the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars. His presence on the field knocks the shine of Dion Lewis' fantasy value but Lewis should still see the majority of running back touches for New England. Mike Gillislee (knee) is expected to be inactive.
Fournette limited in practice all week
Not listed on injury report
If Leonard Fournette’s ankle allows him to play with the power he showed early on against Pittsburgh, he is tough to contain. The key is his health. Before his injury last week, Fournette gained 5, 2, 5, 1 (TD), 10, 6, 18 (TD), 5, 16, 8, 4, 2 yards. After returning from his injury, he gained 4, 1, 0, 0, 2, 3 (TD), 2, 3, 1, 2, 1, 3, 5 yards. (Florida Times Union)
FF Today's Take: It appeared Fournette was slowed a bit after injuring his ankle against the Steelers. It's a good sign that not he's not listed on the injury report but how effective he will be remains a big question. T.J. Yeldon could see increased snaps if Fournette is limited or the Jaguars get behind early.
Brady mum on hand injury, listed as Questionable
Pats QB gets in limited practice Friday
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had his twice-postponed press conference on Friday afternoon, but didn’t provide any clarity about the status of his injured right hand. We’ll see,” Brady said in response to a question about how confident he is that he will play in the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars. (Pro Football Talk)
FF Today's Take: It's been reported that Brady banged his thumb on a teammates helmet, creating a cut that needed stitches. Ian Rapoport is reporting that Brady threw the bell well in practice Friday. As a result, it would be a shock if Brady doesn't play on Sunday. He's listed as questionable.
Robby Anderson arrested, 2nd time in 8 months
Subject to discipline under the NFL's personal-conduct policy
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is facing nine charges, including two felonies, after allegedly fleeing police at 105 mph and threatening to sexually assault the arresting officer's wife early Friday morning in South Florida, according to police records.
It is Anderson's second arrest in the past eight months. (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: Anderson was arrested back in May, charged with resisting arrest with violence which is a felony. When the dust settles it will be a shock if Anderson is suspended by the league for part of the 2018 season. Anderson led the Jets in receiving in 2017, posting a 65-941-7 line finishing 15th among fantasy wide receivers.
Devonta Freeman doesn't need surgery
Hampered by MCL, PCL injuries late in season
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said some players might need minor surgeries but didn't specify which ones. Said RB Devonta Freeman doesn't need surgery off the PCL tear/MCL sprain. The players to undergo surgery aren't expected to be sidelined long. (ESPN - Vaughn McClure)
FF Today's Take: Freeman started appearing on the injury report with a knee injury in early November and averaged 2.64 yards per carry over his final four games, so it is quite possible that was the cause for his lack of explosiveness late in the season. Freeman could have run for 1,000 yards and topped 200 carries for a third straight season this year had he not missed two games, but his relatively disappointing season makes it likely he will be a second-round fantasy pick at best this summer.
David Johnson back to full health
Recovered from wrist surgery
David Johnson’s wrist is healed, with his strength and full range of motion having returned, and he’s anxious to play again given that he doesn’t even feel like he played football in 2017. Johnson said he was “hit hard” by the retirement of HC Bruce Arians, and that he believes he and Adrian Peterson “can really elevate each other’s game” if they play together this season. (azcardinals.com)
FF Today's Take: Johnson figures to return to bell-cow status in 2018 regardless of whom the Cardinals hire as their next coach. With that said, Arizona will probably give Peterson a few more opportunities than any of Johnson's backups did under Arians. While Johnson figures to be a top-five pick in fantasy drafts this summer, it is possible he'll struggle to reach the statistical heights he did in 2016 with a new quarterback, an offensive line in transition and a new play-caller.
Burkhead, Gillislee limited on Wednesday
Both limited last week before being inactive
Pats -- Limited: Tom Brady (right hand), Rex Burkhead, Branch and Mike Gillislee. (Ryan O'Halloran on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: Both running backs were limited last week and both were inactive. It's likely that Burkhead will be active this week although he was seen favoring his injured knee during practice last week. From a fantasy perspective, this is still Dion Lewis' backfield despite being repeatedly vulture at the goaline last week.
Jets fire offensive coordinator John Morton
Bowles looking for third offensive coordinator in four seasons
The Jets made their first seismic move in an offseason that promises to be filled with them by firing offensive coordinator John Morton.
The Daily News broke the news Wednesday that Gang Green will be looking for a new offensive play-caller after finishing in the bottom third of nearly every meaningful statistical category this season. (New York Daily News)
FF Today's Take: It's true the Jets offense was in the bottom third of the league, but given their lack of talent at the skill positions and the outlook of team prior to Week 1, it's hard to justify the firing based on results. It sounds like compatibility with the coaching staff and players was the main issue for Morton's firing.
Steelers expected to have new OC
Todd Haley on the way out of Pittsburgh
Sources: The #Steelers are allowing OC Todd Haley to walk now that he’s out of his contract. Pittsburgh expected to have a new OC. (Ian Rapoport on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: Haley has been the Steelers OC since 2012 but rumors of Ben Roethlisberger and members of the coaching staff clashing with Haley have been circling for some time. The Steelers have been a top ten offense the last four seasons under Haley. Steelers QB coach Randy Fichtner could be promoted to OC.
Fournette uninjured after minor car crash
Expected to practice Wednesday
Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette was uninjured after being involved in a minor car crash Tuesday, the team announced.
According to Sgt. Dylan Bryan from Florida Highway Patrol, Fournette was rear-ended during a three-car, chain-reaction collision. He was not at fault in the crash, and he drove home after the incident. Fournette, who's also battling an ankle injury, is expected to participate in practice Wednesday, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. It's a positive development for his availability in Sunday's AFC title game.
FF Today's Take: Leonard Fournette and the Jags will be ready to go for this weekend's AFC Championship. Jacksonville's rookie running back was instrumental to their upset of the Steelers a week ago and will be the focal point of the offense once again against New England.
Drew Brees wants to stay in New Orleans
Doesn't plan on testing free-agent market
METAIRIE, La. -- Drew Brees says he doesn't plan on testing the free-agent market this year or waiting until the start of the new league year on March 14 to sign a new contract with the New Orleans Saints, even if that means losing the leverage that might come with other potential suitors. (ESPN.com)
FF Today's Take: Drew Brees finished 2017 with a career-best completion percentage of 72.1 but also threw far less than in previous years. Assuming the 39-year old quarterback can work out a short term extension with the Saints, Brees will be a borderline fantasy starter heading into next season.
Seahawks tab Ken Norton as DC
Replaces Kris Richard
Ken Norton Jr. is close to reuniting with Pete Carroll. With Kris Richard likely on the way out of Seattle, Norton is expected to return to the Seahawks as the team's defensive coordinator, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported. Norton served as the team's linebackers coach from 2010-2014 before leaving to become Oakland's defensive coordinator in 2015. Norton accepted an assistant head coach on Jan. 8 with the San Francisco 49ers but was allowed to speak with Seattle because it represented a promotion. (NFL.com)
FF Today's Take: Although he was handcuffed by a lack of talent in two-plus seasons with Oakland, it is telling the Raiders got a lot better on defense in short order this season after John Pagano replaced Norton. Familiarity with Pete Carroll is likely the primary reason Norton was able to land this job. In Brian Schottenheimer and Norton, Seattle has made two uninspiring hires at coordinator this week as Carroll remakes the coaching staff.
Todd Haley done in Pittsburgh?
OC, Ben Roethlisberger reportedly at odds
Todd Haley just finished the final year of his contract, and it is not common for a Steelers coordinator to return under those circumstances. They usually sign extensions before they enter that final year, unless there’s a reason not to. However, a Steelers source surmised that some biting words from Haley the day after the loss in New England prompted a frustrated Ben Roethlisberger to bring up retirement publicly. The coach and quarterback rarely talked along the sidelines, never huddled to discuss upcoming strategy while their defense was on the field. It came to a head when the coaches were unprepared to have a play ready when the Jesse James touchdown was overturned against New England. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
FF Today's Take: It's always something on the offensive side of the ball in Pittsburgh during the offseason. QBs coach Randy Fichtner is reportedly a "strong candidate" to replace Haley if he isn't re-signed. By most accounts, Haley has been a boon to Big Ben's career, as Haley's emphasis on getting the ball out more quickly has helped Roethlisberger log full seasons three of the last five years (he was rested in Week 17 this year). It's hard to imagine the Steelers will find an upgrade on Haley.
Colts expected to hire Josh McDaniels
Strong relationship between GM Ballard and McDaniels
Josh McDaniels is expected to accept a head coaching offer from the Colts, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. (NFL.com)
FF Today's Take: Previous reports suggested McDaniels would prefer to land in Tennessee but it appears he will be headed to Indianapolis join the Colts as their new head coach. A healthy Andrew Luck would go a long way in helping McDaniels get off to a smooth start in Indy. Official offer will have to wait until the Patriots are out of the playoffs.
Titans moving on from head coach Mike Mularkey
Mutually agree to part ways
Filed to ESPN: the Titans and head coach Mike Mularkey have mutually agreed to part ways, according to a league source. Mike Mularkey has agreed to part ways with the Tennessee Titans, who announced Monday that the sides "couldn't come to an agreement over the future." (Field Yates on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: Reportedly, the Titans were considering an extension for their head coach but the two sides disagreed on the best way to move forward. The Titans will now be in the hunt for Patriots OC Josh McDaniels who is rumored to be a finalist for the Colts job.
Roethlisberger wants to return in 2018
"I look forward to next year with those guys"
"I definitely have a desire to play football. I love this game. I love these guys. It's tough, it stings, you hate to lose at home. I feel bad because I feel like I let the fans down, let my teammates down, Roethlisberger said following the Steelers loss to the Jaguars in the AFC divisional round of the playoffs. "I don't know about contracts and whose coming back but I know the guys up front are, and that makes it good for me, so I look forward to next year with those guys." (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: Ben Roethlisberger reportedly contemplated retirement last off-season but shortly after their playoff loss to the Jaguars, the Steelers QB suggested he's looking forward to returning next season. Roethlisberger posted similar stats to 2016 tacking on an extra 15 fantasy points in 2017. Assuming Le'Veon Bell returns, Roethlisberger will be in the low-end QB1 discussion for 2018.
Matt Patricia expected to be Lions head coach
Pats D-coordinator in line for Lions job
Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is likely to become the Detroit Lions’ next head coach, league sources told ESPN. More on Sunday NFL Countdown. (Adam Schefter on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: The current Patriots d-coordinator has been rumored to be the Giants new head coach but it sounds like he'll be heading to the Motor City. He won't be able to officially take the job until the Pats have completed their playoff run. New England is also expected to lose offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to a head coaching role, perhaps with the Giants or Colts.
Antonio Brown participates in walkthrough
Looked fully healthy according to teammates
OK #Steelers fans, breathe easy: Antonio Brown WAS at walk through this morning. According to a couple teammates, he looked fully healthy - and ready for tomorrow's faceoff w/ #Jaguars. (Aditi Kinkhabwala on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: Brown (calf) was sent home Friday with an illness. His participation in the walkthrough Saturday suggests he'll be ready to play Sunday against the Jaguars despite being listed as questionable.