2023 NFL OTA News Tracker

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2023 NFL OTA News Tracker

The NFL is into “Phase Three” of the off-season, which is the final stage of the off-season program before contact practices begin with the start of training camp in late July. We’ve seen a steady stream of news since OTAs (organized team activities) started in late May, and it always gets a little more interesting in June when veteran players are required to report for one mandatory minicamp unless they have an excused absence.

I went team by team to round up the most important fantasy headlines coming out of all 32 workouts. You can also check out every headline in our News Feed. I’ll be updating this article through June 15, which is the final day of team activities in Phase Three. Check back often for regular updates!

Notes

  • Any ADP data used in this article is based on the last month of drafts with our partners over at Underdog Fantasy.

  • Each news item will have a date at the end of it for when it was updated or added to the article.

American Football Conference

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

  • Stefon Diggs reported to Buffalo for mandatory minicamp but left the team’s facilities before practice, which prompted Sean McDermott to say he was “very concerned” about Diggs’ absence. Josh Allen said Diggs’ issue wasn’t football related and that he’d doing everything to get Diggs back on the field. Allen also said they’d do a better job “to incorporate him” into the offense. Diggs showed up for practice a day later and McDermott reversed course and said they’re “in a real good spot.” It’s tough to know exactly what is going on with Diggs but there appears to be some fissures from his tirades in their Divisional Round loss to the Bengals. Diggs forced his way out of his first NFL home with the Vikings, and he’s still apparently chafed at the way Buffalo’s 2022 season ended. It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet but this is officially a situation to be monitored if Diggs decides to burn everything down for the second time in his career. Second-year WR Khalil Shakir has made some noise with extra run and is pushing to be the #3 WR behind Diggs and Gabe Davis. Shakir is worth a look late in drafts (195, WR83) and he has some upside if the Diggs situation gets worse. (June 15)

  • The Bills traded up for Dalton Kincaid late in the first round, but OC Ken Dorsey threw a little cold water on Kincaid’s potential role out of the gates this season. Dorsey said at OTAs, “We’re nowhere close to knowing what the big picture is going to be because we have to learn him and he has to learn us.” Rookie TEs typically struggle to make significant fantasy impacts, and Kincaid is one of the most severely overdrafted TEs with his current ADP sitting at 119 (TE11). The Bills are also among the favorites to potentially add another ball hog, DeAndre Hopkins, next to Stefon Diggs. (May 31)

Miami Dolphins

  • Tua Tagovailoa is testing out a new helmet designed to protect quarterbacks and he intentionally bulked up this off-season all in an effort to better protect himself in his fourth season. Tua briefly contemplated retirement this off-season after a tumultuous 2022 because of a series of brain traumas, and he’s seemingly doing everything in his power to stay available in 2023. He’ll go down as a massive value at his current ADP (100, QB12) if he’s able to stay healthy, but he’s had massive durability issues dating back to his days at Alabama. (June 9)

  • The Vikings finally released Dalvin Cook after months of speculation about his future with Minnesota. I’ve pumped the brakes on drafting Dolphins RBs since Miami appears to be the most likely destination for the South Florida native to land either via trade or after he’s released. Cook would be the favorite to lead Miami in touches and snaps but this backfield has the potential to turn into a major headache with four backs competing for work. (June 9)

New England Patriots

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster is sitting out OTAs while he continues to nurse a knee injury he suffered last season and played on through the postseason. Smith-Schuster has posted 800+ yards in each of the four seasons when he’s played 14+ games, but he has durability concerns with multiple concussion, knee, and shoulder issues through his first six seasons. JuJu is being overdrafted (101, WR50) as a low-upside, high-floor pick, and I’m not actively targeting him because of his durability concerns and his move from the Chiefs to the Patriots this off-season. The Patriots are also actively courting DeAndre Hopkins, which could be related to their concerns about Smith-Schuster’s lingering knee issues. (June 14)

  • Rhamondre Stevenson is preparing himself for another sizable workload after Damien Harris left in the off-season, and he considers himself “kind of the guy” as the team’s top remaining back. Bill Belichick has a long history of using backfield committees with LeGarrette Blount (2016) being the only player to top 300+ touches in the last 18 seasons. Stevenson is in line for a huge workload after 279 touches last season, and the Patriots have a ton of question marks with the likes of second-year RBs Pierre Strong and Kevin Harris behind him. New England released James Robinson before he even played a snap because of more injury issues during OTAs. Stevenson’s ADP (28, RB10) is a bit scary considering Belichick’s past distribution of work in his backfields, but he’s the clear top runner and receiver in New England. Strong is a more dynamic back and a little more appealing if you want to take a crack on one of these backs who are free in drafts right now. (June 13)

  • Tyquan Thornton, who was listed at 6'2”, 183 pounds as a rookie, spent the off-season bulking up to help his durability after he missed time for a broken clavicle early last season. New OC Bill O’Brien prominently featured him in the schemes installed in a My 31 practice, and Thornton’s 4.28-speed stood out in the non-padded practice. Thornton (184, WR81) is the only player outside of Rhamondre Stevenson that I’m currently targeting from the Patriots in early best ball drafts. (June 1)

  • The Patriots forfeited two voluntary OTAs for violating the league’s off-season rules, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. The two missed voluntary practices won’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a missed opportunity for OC Bill O’Brien to implement his offense on the field. (May 25)

New York Jets

  • Breece Hall isn’t participating at OTAs but HC Robert Saleh is optimistic he’ll be ready for Week 1 while noting that Hall is already hitting 22 mph on their GPS system. Hall tempered expectations in his own press conference saying he doesn’t want to jeopardize his future by returning too soon, but he importantly noted that he’s been cutting on the field in addition to his running. Hall’s ADP (30, RB11) has slid a bit in recent weeks and we could get a nice buying opportunity if he continues to fall with the tepid news out of Jets camp. (June 1)

  • Aaron Rodgers suffered what he called a “tweaked” calf in a pre-practice run in late May, but he doesn’t believe his injury is “too serious.” It’s a bit of an ominous start for New York’s new quarterback, but it sounds like his calf injury should be a minor issue moving forward. He’ll miss out on some reps with his new Jets teammates, but his tweaked calf shouldn’t affect his ADP (112, QB15) moving forward. He returned to all drills except for 11-on-11 work on June 6 so it appears that his calf issue won’t hold him back moving forward. (June 6)

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

  • Rashod Bateman practiced at the start of OTAs after he needed surgery in November for a Lisfranc foot injury, but he needed a “cortisone-type shot” to relieve pain in his foot in June. HC John Harbaugh later clarified that he needed the shot to help the healing process after having the screws taken out of his foot, which is a bit of a relief. Adam Caplan told us in our Town Hall series that Bateman suffered the worst type of Lisfranc injury but that he returned to running this off-season. Bateman was Lamar Jackson’s no-doubt top option in a weak WR corps last season, but GM Eric DeCosta brought in Odell Beckham and Zay Flowers to compete for targets this off-season. I’ve yet to draft Bateman at his bloated ADP (86, W44), which is inflated considering the capital the Ravens used on OBJ ($15 million guaranteed) and Zay (2023 first-round pick) in a passing attack that already has Mark Andrews. At least we know he won’t be needing surgery later this year to have the hardware removed from his foot. (June 15)

  • Gus Edwards has been working off to the side during voluntary OTAs. HC John Harbaugh said Edwards didn’t have a setback after missing the first half of last season for his slow recovery from a torn ACL in 2021, and he added that Edwards will be “fully ready” for training camp. J.K. Dobbins has been absent from the voluntary section of OTAs as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. The team said he’s missing mandatory workouts because of a “minor” soft-tissue injury but it appears he’s sitting out in hopes of a new deal. Edwards isn’t guaranteed to be the #2 back behind Dobbins but Baltimore didn’t touch its backfield this off-season. He’s worth a dart throw at his ADP (189, RB59) and Dobbins is looking like a strong value (57, RB18) if his “soft-tissue” injury and/or contract situation doesn’t linger into training camp. (June 15)

  • Lamar Jackson told the media that he’ll be doing “less running and more throwing” when asked about Baltimore’s offense under new OC Todd Monken. I wrote after the draft that Jackson was likely to have fewer designed runs with Monken leading the offense after averaging 9.0 FPG as a runner since becoming Baltimore’s full-time starter in 2019. The Ravens finally threw him a bone by signing Odell Beckham, drafting Zay Flowers, and hiring Monken to call plays, who is an Air Raid guy at heart. Jackson has never topped 3200+ passing yards and averaged more than 210+ passing YPG just once in his first four full seasons. Lamar said Monken “is basically just giving us the keys to the offense” when he talked about his ability to make more calls at the line of scrimmage. Baltimore’s passing game should finally open up some to offset some of the production he loses as a runner, but I’m concerned enough about his dip in rushing production to be below market on Lamar as my QB6 behind Joe Burrow and Justin Fields. (June 12)

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Irv Smith has quickly impressed his new team and HC Zac Taylor said he’s picked up “the nuances in the scheme of playing tight end in this system.” Smith’s competition for snaps, Drew Sample, called him a smoother route runner than previous Bengal TEs Hayden Hurst and C.J. Uzomah. Hurst finished with 4+ receptions in 11-of-16 games overall (postseason included) last season but averaged just 8.0 YPR and 1.07 yards per route run. Smith should bring more juice after the catch and he’d smash his ADP (151, TE17) if he sees a similar workload to Hurst’s 2022 usage. (June 16)

Cleveland Browns

  • Deshaun Watson had multiple deep connections with Marquise Goodwin during a May 31 practice, and OC Alex Van Pelt noted afterward that the coaching staff prioritized creating more explosive plays in the passing game this off-season. The Athletic’s Zac Jackson noted that Elijah Moore has been used on short passes that let him create after the catch, and he’s been used in motion and all over the formation. Jackson called Moore an “easy pick as an early breakout candidate” based on his performance at OTAs. The Browns acquired speedy WRs Moore (4.35-second 40-time) and Goodwin (4.27) and drafted Cedric Tillman with their first pick to play alongside Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Watson is likely to be my most-drafted quarterback at his relatively cheap ADP (84, QB9), and I recently bet over his passing yards total of 3500.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook. It’s also not difficult to stack Watson with Moore at his reasonable ADP (97, WR48). (June 1)

  • Jerome Ford is working as the top back in the first round of OTA practices with Nick Chubb taking the voluntary workouts off. The Browns let Kareem Hunt walk in free agency and they’ve been noticeably quiet at the position this off-season. The Athletic’s Zac Jackson wrote that Ford is headed for a much larger role after he “impressed the team’s decision-makers” as a rookie. GM Andrew Berry said they were drawn to Ford’s ability in the passing game and that he’ll have opportunities to “showcase those skills on a more extended level.” Cleveland could still make a move behind Chubb later in the summer but it looks like the team is currently content with Ford and their RB depth chart for the moment. Ford has been one of my favorite final RB picks with his rock-bottom ADP (196, RB60) considering Chubb hasn’t played more than 70% of the snaps in any season and more than 56% just once in five years. He also missed seven games in 2020-21 before playing all 17 contests last season. (June 16)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • OC Matt Canada said it’s obvious what the Steelers want to do this season, “We want to run the ball, be physical and be a good team that throws the ball down the field. I think our identity is well-known.” The Steelers averaged just 94.9 rushing YPG in their first eight games in 2022 and reached 100+ yards just three times in that span. They averaged 146.2 rushing YPG after their Week 9 bye and hit the century mark eight times from November on. Pittsburgh signed Isaac Seumalo and drafted Broderick Jones and Darnell Washington to bolster its rushing attack even more. Harris doesn’t have the same fantasy juice going from Ben Roethlisberger to Kenny Pickett — he went from 138.7 FP to 81.9 FP as a receiver from 2021 to 2022. He’s also fending off last year’s impressive UDFA Jaylen Warren for opportunities, but Najee is still looking like a strong value at his current ADP (37, RB12). (June 15)

  • Calvin Austin lost his entire rookie campaign to a foot injury that required season-ending surgery, but Connor Heyward and Patrick Peterson believe he’s back to 100% based on his performance at OTAs. Peterson said he struggled to keep up with Austin’s speed even on the perimeter, and Heyward noted that Austin attended “all the meetings” last season despite never playing a snap. Austin isn’t on the redraft radar except in deeper formats but he could be a waiver wire target this season if there’s an injury in front of him or if he flat-out passes Allen Robinson for slot duties at some point. (June 9)

  • Allen Robinson has worked mostly out of the slot in his first workouts with the Steelers, an area where he’s run at least a third of his routes in four of his last five seasons. Robinson has been limited in OTAs by a foot stress fracture he suffered, which cut short his disappointing one and only season with the Rams after Week 11, but he returned to 11-on-11 drills in early June. A-Rob is merely a final-round pick in best ball drafts for Kenny Pickett stackers, and his biggest impact will be felt as a big target near the goal line after Pickett posted a league-low 1.8% TD rate. (June 7)

AFC South

Houston Texans

  • C.J. Stroudseized” the team’s first-team reps from Davis Mills in the second week of OTAs, and HC DeMeco Ryans said the #2 overall pick was more confident and proficient in the offense with each passing week. Ryans later said during mandatory minicamp that Stroud and Mills will have an “open quarterback competition” during training camp. Stroud would have to fall all over himself in August to not be the team’s Week 1 starter, but he won’t offer a lot of upside if he doesn’t run like he failed to do for most of his college career outside of the playoffs. Stroud is at least dirt cheap (189, QB26) and easy to stack late in drafts with John Metchie, Tank Dell, and/or Robert Woods. (June 14)

  • John Metchie was reportedly a full participant in Phase 1 of Houston’s off-season program in April after missing his rookie season for acute promyelocytic leukemia missing practices, but he’s sitting out practices in the final stage for a hamstring injury. HC DeMeco Ryans categorized the injury as a strain and said Metchie will be ready by training camp. It’s a concerning development since he could use the maximum number of reps he can get after a lost first season, and hamstring injuries can linger if not properly healed. The Texans used significant capital on Tank Dell (2023 third-round pick) and Robert Woods ($10 million guaranteed) this off-season, which indicates they’re not completely sold on Metchie’s availability for this season. Metchie is still more than worth drafting at his rock-bottom ADP (187, WR81) since he has a path to being the top target for second-overall pick C.J. Stroud, but his summer is off to a shaky start. (May 24)

  • Dameon Pierce (ankle) and Nico Collins (foot) are both practicing at OTAs after each of them finished 2022 on the injured reserve. It’s not a huge shock that both players are back to full strength since the tanking Texans had little incentive to rush their two young skill players back to action late last season. Both Pierce (63 ADP, RB20) and Collins (141, WR63) will face additional competition for touches after Houston loaded up at the skill positions this off-season, but their ADPs are far from prohibitive in what should be an improved Texans offense. (May 24)

Indianapolis Colts

  • Jonathan Taylor is sitting out mandatory minicamp after having surgery on his ankle in January. He called the procedure a clean-up and he targeted a return in training camp at the time of his surgery. It’s slightly concerning that he’s still on the sidelines in June but there’s no reason to stop drafting Taylor in the second round. (June 14)

  • Jelani Woods (hamstring) and rookie Josh Downs (knee) missed the first round of team practices at OTAs, but HC Shane Steichen categorized Downs’ injury as “nothing major.” Woods is looking to emerge at the top of Indy’s TE depth chart ahead of Mo Alie-Cox and Kylen Granson while Downs is hoping to be the team’s slot receiver ahead of Isaiah McKenzie. The Indianapolis Star believes that Woods has the best chance to emerge from Indy’s crowded TE room to be Steichen’s Dallas Goedert as a seam stretcher for Anthony Richardson. (June 14)

  • HC Shane Steichen had Anthony Richardson split first-team reps with Gardner Minshew in the first OTA workout open to the media. Steichen said it’s a major step in their evaluation of Richardson, who turned just 21 years old on May 22. It’s clear that Steichen isn’t going to hold the fourth overall pick back this summer as long as he continues to show he’s ready to take on more responsibilities. Richardson isn’t a lock to open as the team’s starter in Week 1 with his most important benchmarks lying ahead in training camp and preseason action. Still, his early progress and premium draft capital make him the odds-on favorite to take the first snaps against the Jaguars on Sept. 10. (May 26)

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • ESPN’s Michael DiRocco believes the Jaguars will be cutting back on Travis Etienne’s workload after he handled 74% of the RB carries following James Robinson’s trade. The Jaguars signed D’Ernest Johnson and selected Tank Bigsby in the third round to beef up their RB room behind Etienne. OC Press Taylor said the breakdown of snaps and touches won’t be decided until the season. Etienne added that more of a committee would help with the “wear and tear” on his body. His ADP (39, RB13) has been trending in the wrong direction since Jacksonville selected Bigsby and it won’t be long until he settles into the fourth round this summer. The Florida Times-Union’s Demetrius Harvey believes Bigsby will have the chance to out-touch Etienne in some games if he gets the hot hand. (June 12)

  • Calvin Ridley is turning heads with his on-field performance at OTAs, and he’s “ahead of schedule” with his knowledge of the offense heading into his first year with Jacksonville. OC Press Taylor and the Jaguars coaching staff have watched every snap of Ridley’s career this off-season to put him in the best position to succeed in Jacksonville. Ridley last took an NFL field in October 2021, but he’s quickly knocking off the rust after missing last season for his gambling suspension. Ridley has plenty of new target competition from Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones, but he’ll be Trevor Lawrence’s most-talented receiver if he can return to his old form. Ridley is dripping with upside after seeing some of Zay’s blow-up games on the perimeter last season, but he’s being drafted near his ceiling (35, WR17). (May 25)

Tennessee Titans

  • Tyjae Spears has been a “stand out” during OTAs and he’s regularly putting in extra work catching the rock after practice. His performance hasn’t gone unnoticed with OC Tim Kelly remarking that they’re going to give Spears “as much as he can handle.” Spears is unlikely to carve out a big enough role to have standalone value behind Derrick Henry, but the rookie could cap Henry’s upside a bit by taking a few carries and passing-down work away from him. It’s yet to be seen if Spears will be a true handcuff as he’ll compete with Hassan Haskins to be the lead runner if Henry were to go down. (June 8)

  • Treylon Burks has consistently been Ryan Tannehill’s favorite during OTAs — not that Tannehill has many choices with his league-worst receiving corps. Reporter Jim Wyatt noted that Burks has yet to drop a pass during OTAs. Ryan Tannehill and WR coach Rob Moore also stated that Burks is in great shape and flying around this off-season after a rough off-season last summer. Burks said his confidence is “out the roof” and that he’s not thinking too much on the field in his second year. Burks (74, WR39) and TE Chig Okonkwo (130, TE12) aren’t sexy fantasy options in Tennessee’s run-heavy attack, but they’re headed for massive target shares in an offense that is likely to be playing from behind more with an aging Derrick Henry at running back. (June 12)

AFC West

Denver Broncos

  • Sean Payton pumped up Greg Dulcich after he tore up Payton’s defense in a June 1 practice. The new HC said his second-year TE could play the “Joker” role in his offense because of his “unique skill set.” Payton previously used RBs like Alvin Kamara, Darren Sproles, and Reggie Bush as his Joker because of their abilities to create a mismatch from anywhere on the field. Payton stopped just short of putting Dulcich in the same class as some of his past TEs like Jimmy Graham, Jeremy Shockey, and Jason Witten. I wouldn’t be surprised if Dulcich (146, TE15) rises above Cole Kmet (140, TE14) and Dalton Schultz (131, TE13) in the upcoming weeks based on Payton’s praise. (June 2)

  • Russell Wilson is in the midst of learning a new offense for the third straight off-season, and he sported a trimmed-down physique at OTAs. He said he feels “leaner and meaner” but wouldn’t disclose how much weight he’s lost from last season. I’m not going to put a whole lot of stock into Wilson’s slightly altered figure, but it’s at least a sign that the oblivious Wilson is aware that the heat is on him after the franchise hired Sean Payton to fix last season’s debacle. (May 26)

  • Javonte Williams surprisingly was dressed and participated in Denver’s first OTA session open to the media, albeit a walk-through practice. He was seen cutting and running routes during individual drills as well, and HC Sean Payton said Williams worked in a limited capacity. It’s a positive sign in his recovery from multiple ligament tears last October, but I’m still hesitant to put too much emphasis on a light practice in May. Williams’ ADP (91, RB29) has been sliding for most of the off-season, but it could rebound with his participation at OTAs. (May 25)

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Justyn Ross is making plays with Patrick Mahomes in OTAs after missing his entire rookie campaign for foot surgery. Andy Reid said Ross “feels good” this off-season off of his surgery and that Mahomes has “trust” in his young receiver. Ross once looked headed toward being a first-round pick after his first two seasons at Clemson, but a congenital neck and spine condition scared teams away. It’s going to be tough for any Chiefs receiver to break through behind Travis Kelce in this WR by committee, but Ross is skilled enough to bet on with a final pick (214, WR97) in drafts. (June 2)

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Jimmy Garoppolo is sitting out OTAs as he continues to recover from a left foot injury that he initially suffered in early December while playing with the 49ers last season. The Athletic’s Tashan Reed and Vic Tafur reported that Jimmy G had surgery on his foot in March after the Raiders discovered he needed a procedure during a physical before his signing. HC Josh McDaniels acknowledged Garoppolo could be out until at least training camp, but Las Vegas doesn’t seem too concerned about the issue since they went through with his signing even after they discovered he needed surgery. The Raiders do have the ability to terminate the agreement up until he passes a physical and is active for at least one game. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Jimmy G has been present for basically all off-season activities and that he’s expected to be healthy enough to practice “long before” training camp. Jimmy G’s durability issues are inescapable at this stage of his career. He suffered three season-ending injuries in six years with the 49ers, and he had shoulder and thumb surgeries last off-season. I won’t talk anyone out of drafting Jimmy G as a QB3 at his rock-bottom ADP (189, QB26), but the vibes are already toxic in Las Vegas after Davante Adams voiced his displeasure with the team’s front office. Adams has burned anyone who has doubted him the last three years, but I’ll be below market on him this summer. (June 7)

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Justin Herbert is participating in 7-on-7 drills during OTAs after undergoing labrum surgery on his non-throwing shoulder in January, and The Athletic’s Daniel Popper believes he’ll enter training camp with minimal physical limitations. Keenan Allen said his quarterback has a “cannon” and that they’re “going deep” in Kellen Moore’s new offense. The Chargers should remain among the league leaders in pass attempts per game — they finished behind only Tampa Bay with 41.9 in 2022 — but this passing attack could have some untapped potential in Moore’s new scheme. (June 9)

  • Austin Ekeler ended his contract dispute and will stick with the Chargers after $1.75 million in incentives were added to the final year of his current contract. Ekeler posted a staggering 107 receptions on 128 targets last season to easily pace all NFL RBs. He was by far the biggest beneficiary of former OC Joe Lombardi’s horizontal passing attack, finishing as the RB1 (22.1 FPG) in 2022 and the RB2 (21.7) in 2021. New OC Kellen Moore will want to push the ball more downfield, and Cowboys RBs combined for the ninth-fewest targets at the position last season with 85, which equated to a 15.2% share. Ekeler was already a prime regression candidate thanks to his 38 touchdowns over the previous two seasons, and his 17.9% target share from 2022 should also take a step back. With all that said, Ekeler is still my RB2 in Underdog drafts in the middle of the first round after Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce go off the board. (May 24)

National Football Conference

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

  • Michael Gallup said he’s feeling “springy again” at OTAs after averaging an ugly 30.3 receiving YPG in his first season off his late-season 2021 ACL tear. HC Mike McCarthy put some of the blame on Dallas’ coaching staff for Gallup’s down season, noting that Gallup played almost exclusively as the X receiver and ran too many go routes. McCarthy wants to move Gallup around more and to diversify his route tree, but he’ll also face stiffer competition for WR targets with Brandin Cooks added this off-season. I’ve warmed up a bit to Gallup since Dallas’ quiet draft at wide receiver, but his ADP (144, WR65) is in line with where I think he should be drafted. (May 26)

  • Tony Pollard, who fractured his fibula in late January, is practicing in Dallas’ “reduced-tempo” OTAs — the team was fined for too much physicality in OTAs the last two years. Pollard has been expected to be ready for training camp and his participation in OTAs is a strong sign his off-season rehab is going well. Pollard spoke on June 1 and told reporters his rehab is ahead of schedule and that he plans to be ready for training camp. He’s worked his way to the top of the depth chart after the Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott this off-season, and HC Mike McCarthy has said he wants to “run the damn ball” after firing pass-happy play-caller Kellen Moore. The Cowboys are candidates to add a back later this summer, but the efficient Pollard — he owns career averages of 5.1 YPA and 8.3 YPR — is still set to see the most volume in his fifth season. (June 2)

New York Giants

  • Saquon Barkley won’t report to New York’s mandatory minicamp as he looks for a new contract. He hasn’t signed his franchise tag, which means he’s not technically under contract and thus forced to report to minicamp. I’m not worried about Barkley missing time at this juncture but it’s still a story to keep an eye on later this summer. (June 12)

  • The Giants have one of the league’s deepest receiving corps, and their senior-most tenured WR is trending toward defending one of his spots on the roster in training camp. Sterling Shepard was spotted running routes in 7-on-7 drills during OTA workouts, which indicates he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in Week 3 last season. Shepard has been Daniel Jones’ top target when on the field in recent years, and he wouldn't be a bad bet to lead New York in receiving if he was guaranteed to stay available. That’s big if since he’s missed 34 of his last 66 contests (51.5%) the last four years, including 24 of his last 34 games (70.1%) the last two seasons. The good news is that he’s absolutely free (WR116 ADP) if you want to stack him with Daniel Jones with the final pick in drafts. (May 26)

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Rashaad Penny is participating in OTAs after missing the final 12 games of his Seahawks career with a broken fibula. Philly could have an explosive backfield with Penny serving as the primary runner and D’Andre Swift working in passing situations, but that’s all contingent on both Penny and Swift remaining on the field. Few players possess Penny’s upside as a pure runner, which makes him a dangerous threat playing next to Jalen Hurts behind one of the league’s best O-lines. Penny is the type of high-risk, high-reward RB to target around his ADP (114, RB37) if you go light at the position early in drafts. (June 2)

  • Dallas Goedert is working with Philadelphia’s WRs this spring “to sharpen his routes and releases” and to pick the brains of studs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, per Dave Zangaro. His receiving YPG and catch rate have risen in four straight seasons, but he’s had trouble scoring, with just 19 career TDs on 341 targets (5.6% rate). Goedert is a bit of the forgotten man in Philadelphia’s potent passing attack, which includes three Eagles (Brown, Jalen Hurts, and Smith) being drafted inside the first two rounds, but drafting him is the easiest way to get a piece of this passing game with his ADP of 68 (TE6). (May 24)

Washington Commanders

  • Sam Howell has taken all first-team reps this off-season, but HC Ron Rivera said Howell and Jacoby Brissett are still in a competition for the starting job. Our Adam Caplan said in our NFC East Town Hall that Howell will open the season as the starter unless he totally bombs during training camp and the preseason. Jahan Dotson called Howell “our guy” and said the quarterback situation is settled during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show. Brissett could see significant playing time at some point this season with Rivera hanging onto his job by a thread and a new owner entering the mix so I’ve preferred other QBs around Howell’s ADP (199, QB28). (June 16)

  • Ron Rivera told our John Hansen that the Commanders want to get Brian Robinson more involved as a receiver on early downs. Robinson finished with just nine receptions in 12 games as a rookie after posting 35/296/2 receiving in his final season at Alabama. B-Rob will never be a prolific receiver but he has more potential in the passing game than he showed in 2022. It’s also understandable that the Commanders didn’t want to put too many passing-game responsibilities on Robinson’s plate after he was shot before the season and lost valuable practice reps. The Athletic noted that the Chiefs ran 28 RB screens (3rd most) last season compared to 10 (25th) for the Commanders. Rivera also talked about using Antonio Gibson’s speed on perimeter runs and using him as a mismatch piece in the passing game — new OC Eric Bienemy wants to get him the ball in space. Robinson (106 ADP, RB34) and Gibson (122, RB40) are two of the best fantasy values on the board right now, especially when you consider how run-centric Rivera wants to play with essentially a rookie QB in Sam Howell. (June 16)

  • Intriguing second-year TE Armani Rogers suffered a torn Achilles while running at OTAs. He’ll undergo surgery next week, and the injury could cost him the 2023 season. Rogers played quarterback at UNLV and Ohio before transitioning to TE as an undrafted free agent last year, which is reminiscent of the path his teammate Logan Thomas took to the NFL. Rogers was unlikely to make his way to fantasy relevance in 2023, but the Commanders have one of the NFL’s weakest and most wide-open TE depth charts with Logan Thomas and John Bates at the top. (May 24)

NFC North

Chicago Bears

  • Chase Claypool is “dealing with a few things” this spring according to HC Matt Eberflus, and his issues have kept him from practicing the last few weeks. Claypool still has time to turn things around in Chicago but the Bears have to be extremely frustrated with the early returns from their trade for the fourth-year WR. Claypool isn’t worth a pick (189, WR81) unless you stack him with Fields late in drafts. (June 14)

  • OC Luke Getsy said they’re working with Justin Fields to improve his decision-making and “football IQ,” but he promised they wouldn’t make him a “robotic” player. Fields easily led the league with 66/642/2 rushing on scrambles last per our Fantasy Points Data. His overall rushing production has nowhere to go but down a bit after posting 160/1143/8 rushing, which is by design after adding stud WR D.J. Moore this off-season. S Jaquan Brisker said Fields and Moore already look like “best friends” during early practices, and Fields said he’s “quickly” built chemistry with Moore. Fields will try to make up for less rushing production with more passing volume after averaging just 21.2 attempts per game and 149.6 passing YPG. Fields looks like an ADP bargain (46, QB5) compared to Lamar Jackson (33, QB4) at the moment. (June 11)

  • Khalil Herbert confirmed the Bears will be rotating multiple backs after adding Roschon Johnson, D’Onta Foreman, and Travis Homer to replace David Montgomery. Herbert told The Athletic, “They’re doing things running back by committee. You need one, two, three really good guys that really carry the rock and there be no drop-off.” Herbert has received first-team reps during OTAs but RB coach David Walker said “all bets are off” as to who will emerge as the lead back. The biggest question in this backfield is who will play in passing situations. Herbert has done boxing training this off-season to improve one of his weakest areas in pass protection, and our Brett Whitefield called Johnson the best pass protector in this year’s rookie class. I’m not actively targeting any Chicago RB with Justin Fields set to take production away from this RB committee, but Johnson is the one back I’ve taken some around his ADP (142, RB45). (June 8)

  • Darnell Mooney missed the start of voluntary workouts because he’s still “progressing” in his rehab from his ankle injury suffered in late November. Mooney said he had tightrope surgery to repair his broken fibula and that he had screws inserted into his foot during an appearance on the St. Brown Brothers’ Podcast. He also noted he’s been running and that he just started to cut on his repaired ankle. HC Matt Eberflus said in early June that Mooney is “right on track” to be ready for training camp. Mooney’s role in Chicago’s passing attack was already up in the air with D.J. Moore added to the mix, and it doesn’t sound like he’s a lock to be ready for training camp. I haven’t been interested in Mooney at his current ADP (123, WR55), but it could dip to a more acceptable spot if he misses mandatory workouts in June. (June 6)

Detroit Lions

  • Dan Campbell called Jared Goff a better quarterback now than during his time in Los Angeles where he led the Rams to a Super Bowl appearance in 2018, and Goff agreed with that sentiment saying he played the “best football” of his career. This is a critical season for Goff after the Lions drafted Hendon Hooker in the third round, who could be seen as the quarterback of the future if Goff is unable to sustain his high level of play in 2023. The Lions, and specifically their offense, have massive expectations this season but Goff can be had at a reasonable ADP (127, QB17). (June 7)

  • David Montgomery left a May 25 OTA practice early with a left leg injury, which left a few more reps for rookie Jahmyr Gibbs, who previously battled a minor ankle issue during rookie camp. Montgomery continued to miss OTA practices in the first week of June, which has led to “considerable run with the first-team offense” for Gibbs. This development doesn’t really change our projection for this split backfield, but it’s worth remembering that both backs are learning a new system under Ben Johnson and that Gibbs is getting the early advantage in reps. Gibbs said he “loves” how Johnson has used him in different areas on the field in early practices. (June 9)

Green Bay Packers

  • Romeo Doubs was the early favorite target for Jordan Love in three OTA practices open to the media, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. He also noted Love has thrown “more than a couple of wobblers” on deep passes during early practices, which has affected his connection with Christian Watson. The Packers are still early in the process of transitioning to Love this summer, but this early development is one to keep an eye on to see if it carries into training camp. (June 13)

  • Rookie Luke Musgrave is earning first-team reps in Green Bay’s wide-open competition at tight end during OTAs. HC Matt LaFleur called him different from the other TEs he’s had in the past, noting that he’s a quick learner with elite speed and a large target, to boot. The 42nd overall is a bit of a raw prospect entering the league and the Packers selected Tucker Kraft 36 picks after him, but Musgrave stands out as an intriguing final pick (213, TE32) for Jordan Love stackers. Musgrave could emerge as a waiver wire target at some point this season in a wide-open passing-game pecking order in Green Bay. (June 1)

Minnesota Vikings

  • The Vikings finally released Dalvin Cook after months of speculation about his future with Minnesota. HC Kevin O’Connell has been busy pumping up Mattison during OTAs, calling him a three-down back who’s been “capable” of playing that role “for a long time.” Mattison is still a bargain for now but his ADP (77, RB22) should rise by a round or two with Cooks officially out of the mix. A big question now is who will emerge as the #2 option behind Mattison between Ty Chandler (5th round, 2022) and DeWayne McBride (7th round, 2023). OC Wes Phillips said on June 6 they’re going to give Chandler opportunities in the run and pass game, and he noticeably left McBride out (who is a rookie) when talking about the different options in Minnesota’s backfield. Chandler has the early edge to be Mattison’s top backup heading into training camp, and I’ll be loading up on him late in drafts just in case he turns this into a committee backfield with Mattison. (June 8)

  • Jordan Addison is sitting out all of OTAs with what HC Kevin O’Connell characterized as a minor undisclosed injury. Addison picked up the issue at the end of rookie minicamp and O’Connell added that they're being overly cautious with their first-round pick. We’ll keep an eye on Addison’s health moving forward but his absence in OTAs should affect his rising ADP (70, WR36) too much. (June 14)

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

  • Kyle Pitts has been absent from OTAs as he continues to rehab from a late-November surgery to repair a torn MCL. HC Arthur Smith said the team would be smart with Pitts’ recovery but declined to offer a timeline for his return, generically stating that he anticipates “everybody being ready to go Sept. 10.” Smith said Pitts is trending in a “positive direction” later in OTAs. I’m slightly concerned that Pitts isn’t doing light team drills six months removed from MCL surgery but we’ll see if that changes during mandatory OTA sessions. Pitts is fairly priced in the mid-sixth round (68, TE5) after being severely overdrafted last season. (June 14)

Carolina Panthers

  • Miles Sanders is preparing himself to get “more opportunities” with his new team, which could mean more snaps on all three downs after playing Philly’s RBBC last season. Sanders’ receptions (50>28>26>20) and receiving yards (509>197>158>78) fell for four straight seasons in Philadelphia, and his pass protection issues made him a liability in long-distance situations. He has some upside at his current ADP (63, RB19) if he can earn more third-down work than he saw the last three seasons with the Eagles. z(June 12)

  • Bryce Young opened practice with the first-team offense on June 8, which marked the first time he began to practice with the starters in sessions open to the media — Andy Dalton previously opened practices as the team’s starter. There’s an outside chance that Dalton is the team’s Week 1 starter but Young would likely have to really struggle during training camp and the preseason for that to happen. (June 8)

  • Hayden Hurst missed the start of off-season workouts as he recovers from sports hernia surgery, while D.J. Chark was held out of team drills after undergoing off-season ankle surgery. Hurst and Chark are set to resume field drills against air on June 2. Hurst returned to practice on June 15. The Panthers are shaping up to have a wide-open battle for targets in 2023, and they’ll each miss out on some early reps with first-overall pick Bryce Young. Adam Thielen is the slight favorite to lead the Panthers in targets, but Chark will see more valuable downfield targets and offers more fantasy upside. It’s tough to get too excited about Chark with his durability concerns, but at least his current ADP (148, WR66) isn’t too prohibitive. Hurst is an inefficient receiver who will be playing with a rookie quarterback under a head coach, Frank Reich, who likes to spread snaps around to his entire TE room. (June 15)

New Orleans Saints

  • The Saints don’t appear to be changing the way they use Taysom Hill in their offense even with Derek Carr added at quarterback. Hill “worked out everywhere” in mandatory minicamp, including at quarterback. He totaled a career-high 96 carries last season but attempted just 19 passes after combining for 155 attempts in 2020-21. He said “the hope and the expectation” is his role as a receiver expands after totaling just 9/77/2 receiving in 2022. Hill’s QB work should be kept to a minimum once again after paying Carr $100 million guaranteed this off-season. Taysom is better suited for best ball leagues (174, TE21) than redraft formats because of his volatile production from week to week. (June 16)

  • Michael Thomas is working off to the side during OTAs after having some “hardware” removed from his foot in early May. He said he would be “full speed” for the first day of training camp and that he’ll be back to the form that “everyone’s used to.” Thomas is looking to get his once-burgeoning career back on track after playing just 10 games over the last three seasons because of ankle/foot injuries. He led the league with three TD receptions in the first three weeks before yet another ankle/foot issue shut him down. Thomas is impossible to trust to stay healthy but at least his cost isn’t prohibitive (95, WR47) as a WR4/5. (June 7)

  • Jeff Duncan reported that the Saints brought in Jon Gruden during the first week of OTAs to help with the installation of their offense with Derek Carr joining the roster this off-season. Carr had some of his best seasons in Gruden’s West Coast offense in 2018-21, and he’s transitioning to a similar offense in New Orleans that Sean Payton helped to install. Payton learned much of his offense during a one-year stint as a QB coach under OC Gruden for the 1997 Philadelphia Eagles. The Saints also signed Foster Moreau and Bryan Edwards to help Carr’s transition to a new franchise. New Orleans is going all-in on Carr after handing him $100 million guaranteed over four years this off-season. The Saints face the easiest schedule based on win totals and Carr could have a deep receiving corps if Michael Thomas is able to stay healthy, which makes him a value QB2 at his ADP (146, QB19). (May 30)

  • The Saints signed Foster Moreau to a three-year deal with $8 million guaranteed in early May, which came after he stepped away from football in March following his diagnosis with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. HC Dennis Allen said he expected Moreau to participate in OTAs at the time of his signing, and the former Raider TE did as his new coach expected with a full workout on May 23. Moreau is thankfully in good health and trending toward being ready for padded practices in training camp. Juwan Johnson was shaping up to be a must-target TE2, but he’s lost momentum since Moreau arrived in New Orleans, with his ADP dipping to 158 (TE18). Johnson’s contract (two years, $8.5 million guaranteed) indicates that he’ll be the top weapon at the position, but these two TEs will be locked into a committee. It doesn’t help that new QB Derek Carr has played the last four seasons with Moreau and likely lobbied for his Las Vegas teammate. (May 25)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Russell Gage is sitting out mandatory minicamp practices with an unspecified injury, which has sidelined him this spring. He dealt with hamstring issues several times during 2022 and he suffered a scary head injury he Tampa Bay’s loss in the Wild Card Round. Gage is off the radar in all but deeper formats heading into training camp. (June 14)

  • Rachaad White told our John Hansen that “there’s probably a lot of my balls coming my way” in the passing game, and that Dave Canales’ playbook makes heavy use of empty sets — RBs move from the backfield to near the line of scrimmage in empty. White also noted his extensive background as a receiver and that he emulated Le'Veon Bell growing up. Per Fantasy Points Data, Baker Mayfield finished 13th in check-down rate (9.6%) out of 33 passers with 200+ attempts last season. Tampa Bay’s offense could be among the league’s worst but White appears headed toward a huge, three-down role with little competition, which makes him a strong value at his ADP (85, RB26).

  • HC Todd Bowles said Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask are splitting first-team reps this off-season. The competition for the starting job isn’t exactly off to a blistering start based on the local news TV low-light reel of passes that’s gone viral since the start of OTAs. Trask has slimmed down to around 220 pounds the last two years after coming into the league around 240 pounds, and he’s done it to help out with his mobility in Dave Canales’ offense that features more rollouts and bootlegs. Mayfield is still the favorite to win the job in training camp, but Tampa’s QB situation is shaping up to be a headache for former fantasy studs Chris Godwin (57, WR29) and Mike Evans (66, WR32). Godwin said he didn’t feel at 100 percent in his first season back from his ACL injury in 2022 but that “a lot of my explosion is coming back” this off-season. (June 1)

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

  • Marquise Brown sat out a June 13 mandatory minicamp practice for precuationary reasons because of a foot issue but he was back in action the next day. Hollywood has dealt with multiple foot injuries throughout his college and pro career, including five missed games for a foot injury last season. Hollywood’s ADP (61, WR32) has risen by a round since DeAndre Hopkins’ departure. I’m pulling back just a bit at his current price because of his history of foot injuries, and because the Cardinals are actively trying to suck in 2023. (June 14)

  • Jonathan Gannon said Zach Ertz is eager to return after his ACL tear suffered in Week 10 last season, but Gannon wouldn’t give a potential timeline for his TE’s return. Ertz had 47 receptions before his season-ending injury, which was second to only Travis Kelce. GM Monti Ossenfort may not be done with his moves to worsen their 2023 roster, and Ertz could be the next player released or traded as soon as he can pass a physical off of his 2022 ACL injury. Trey McBride is a talented second-year player to bet on as a TE3 (204 ADP, TE27) especially if Ertz is gone and Rondale Moore continues to underwhelm. (June 13)

  • After months of speculation, the tanking Cardinals finally parted ways with DeAndre Hopkins, eating $22.6 million to void the final two years of Nuk’s contract. Hopkins is widely expected to seek out a contending team as his next destination like Kansas City or Buffalo. Nuk is still one of the NFL’s biggest ball hogs after averaging 10.7 targets per game last season, and he’s remarkably averaged 9.9 targets per game over the last nine seasons. The concern is that he could be losing a step as he enters his 11th season at 31 years old. He matched a career-worst mark in YPR (11.2) and had his second-worst average in yards per target (7.5). Hopkins still averaged a solid 1.98 yards per route run, and it’s notable that Colt McCoy threw the majority of passes in four of his nine games in 2022. Marquise Brown is the clear top beneficiary in Arizona after averaging 80.8 receiving YPG and 10.7 targets per game in six games that Nuk sat for a PED suspension. I hope you loaded up on Hollywood while you could because his ADP (78, WR39) is sure to rise by at least a round in the upcoming weeks. Hopkins’ release could also be a signal that the Cardinals will be in no rush to get Kyler Murray (141, QB19) on the field early in the season. I hope you grabbed the Arizona Cardinals under 5.5 wins back when I released it in April because Arizona’s win total continues to plummet after the draft. (May 26)

Los Angeles Rams

  • Fifth-round pick Puka Nacua has impressed with extra reps with Los Angeles’ top receivers sitting out much of OTAs, and the coaching staff “openly tested him with more responsibility each week.” The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue noted that Cooper Kupp was the last rookie receiver to make a significant contribution in Sean McVay’s offense back in 2017. Los Angeles’ depth chart is extremely thin behind Kupp with just Van Jefferson and Ben Skowronek currently the #2 and #3 options. Nacua is a player to keep an eye on in the preseason and training camp to see if he can climb into one of the top three spots in McVay’s offense. (June 9)

  • Kyren Williams is “sharing reps with starter Cam Akers” during OTAs, per Gary Klein. Akers is seen as the top back in Los Angeles after finishing last season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He’s staying in Sean McVay’s good graces by working at voluntary OTAs when other top RBs train away from the team. McVay is also monitoring his reps in spring practices, which could portend a sizable role is looming this season. He also called Akers a “stud” and a “central figure” in their offense this season. Williams is still seen as the #2 RB after a shaky rookie performance, and he could see most of his snaps in passing situations. Akers is shaping up to be one of the best RB values on the board with his cheap seventh-round ADP (77, RB23). (June 16)

San Francisco 49ers

  • Deebo Samuel called his 2022 performance “awful” and “sluggish” and vowed to “never put nothing on tape like that again.” He blamed his contract negotiation from last off-season as the biggest reason for his down performance in 2022. The Athletic’s Matt Barrows noted that Deebo still doesn’t appear to be in peak condition as he works mostly in individual drills, while Brandon Aiyuk was the best player during OTAs. Deebo is going off the board more than a round later (34, WR17) compared to 2022, but he’s also facing more competition for touches from Christian McCaffrey and an ascending Brandon Aiyuk. It also looks like Brock Purdy will open the year as the starter, and he’s had an affinity for his TEs dating back to his Iowa State days. (June 7)

  • Brock Purdy officially resumed throwing the week of May 29 according to GM John Lynch. Lynch also called Purdy the “leader in the clubhouse” for the starting job but added that the job will be “open for competition.” Purdy underwent throwing-elbow surgery on March 10, and he’s on track to be ready for the season opener against the Steelers on Sept. 10. Trey Lance has taken the first-team reps to start the off-season with Sam Darnold leading the second-team offense. Kyle Shanahan said the reps would even out as Darnold became more familiar with the offense. Lance also sported a “smoother, more compact delivery” after working with throwing coach Jeff Christensen this off-season. Purdy remains on pace to quarterback one of the NFL’s best offenses, which makes him a steal at his ADP (196, QB27) after throwing for multiple TDs in his first seven NFL starts. (June 1)

Seattle Seahawks

  • None of note.

Tom is a Senior Writer at Fantasy Points who specializes in fantasy and betting analysis. He’ll be helping you to navigate the waiver wire and manage your fantasy teams while also keeping our betting content robust all year long, especially during the season. Tom's Best Bets against the spread won at a 60% clip or better in each of the last two seasons and he owned the last undefeated team out of 3000 entries in Scott Fish Bowl 12.