OTA News Tracker

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The NFL is into “Phase Three” of the off-season, which is the final stage before contact practices begin with the start of training camp in late July. We’ve seen a steady stream of news since the start of OTAs 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, and our Joe Dolan is providing analysis on the top fantasy stories there. I’ll be updating this article through June 17, which is the final day of Phase Three, so check back for regular updates!

Notes

  • The NFL and NFLPA announced that a player designated for return from the IR must miss a minimum of four games, and each team can designate up to eight players for return for the entire season.

  • 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

  • Adam Caplan told us during our Town Hall series how Gabriel Davis was one of the smartest rookie WRs the Bills had seen back in 2020, and Davis is continuing to add to his game entering his third year. Davis detailed to Mike Giardi how he’s worked on getting lower in his initial stance based on a tip from veteran Emmanuel Sanders. Davis has massive potential as he gets his big shot to be the #2 WR in Buffalo’s top-flight offense, and we’re willing to pay the price at his mid-fifth-round ADP. (June 2)

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

  • The Patriots still haven’t named an offensive play-caller and there’s a chance they never officially name one this season. Our Adam Caplan believed that Joe Judge will do the play-calling during our Town Hall Series, but a source told The Athletic’s Jeff Howe that it’s currently trending toward Matt Patricia handling the duties. Judge has been working with the quarterbacks during OTAs and he appeared to be handling the installation of passing plays. Patricia has worked with the offensive line and has been installing the running game. Bill Belichick has also been heavily involved on the offensive side in early OTA practices. Belichick deserves the benefit of the doubt after more than two decades of excellence in New England, but his potential decision to split the duties between Judge and Patricia has me thinking a little less of New England’s offense entering the season. (June 6)

  • The Patriots don’t have a lot of star power at the top of their WR depth chart, but they have a deep group after signing DeVante Parker and drafting Tyquan Thornton in the second round. In early OTA practices, Parker has been working as the X, Kendrick Bourne as the Z, and Jakobi Meyers as the slot in 11 personnel. Nelson Agholor has been the fourth option while Thornton gets his feet wet. The Patriots’ WR depth chart is likely to be a fluid situation this season with Parker and Meyers as the best bets to lead the group in targets with their ADPs sitting in the 12th round. Bourne is my favorite player to bet on in the 17th round after he averaged more than two yards per route run last season. (June 1)

  • Second-year RB Rhamondre Stevenson said he focused on his route-running and being a third-down back this off-season, which is music to fantasy owner’s ears. Stevenson finished with just 14/123 receiving on 18 targets and he ran just 80 routes as a rookie. Stevenson showed some passing-game chops at Oklahoma despite checking in at 6’0”, 230 pounds, and New England’s passing-back role is up for grabs in training camp. Brandon Bolden bolted for Las Vegas and James White is a cut candidate as he tries to come back from a career-threatening hip injury. Stevenson flashed as a runner last season, averaging 4.6 YPC, and he’s looking like a strong value in the 10th round if he has the potential to be involved as a receiver. (June 8)

New York Jets

  • OC Mike LaFleur said Zach Wilson was “trying to see too much” as a rookie quarterback last season and that he was accurate when his eyes were in the right spot. The coaching staff has been working with Wilson to go through his progressions to get his eyes in the “right spot at the right time,” and LaFleur added that there’s a sense of urgency to get Wilson to where he needs to be. Wilson has more weapons at his disposal with Garrett Wilson, Tyler Conklin, and C.J. Uzomah added to his receiving corps. He has the potential for a second-year leap if the game can slow down in his head and his 14th-round ADP certainly isn’t prohibitive as a low-end QB2. (June 2)

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

  • Lamar Jackson didn’t attend voluntary OTAs for the first time in his career. Jackson, who is representing himself without an agent, indicated earlier this off-season that he wanted to wait until after the season to start discussions on a new contract. HC John Harbaugh said he’d let Lamar “speak for himself” on why he wasn’t attending OTAs. Mark Andrews wasn’t too concerned about Lamar’s absence saying his QB would be ready to go later this summer. The Ravens signed Brett Hundley to be a third practice arm with Lamar missing the start of OTAs. Jackson showed up for Ravens minicamp, which is a good sign that he won’t hold out once training camp rolls around. He said he added 15 pounds of muscle mass to tip the scales at 220 pounds, which is yet another sign that the Ravens are getting back to their run-heavy ways from previous seasons after they aired it out more in 2021. (June 17)

  • The Ravens rested both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards during OTAs as both players return from ACL injuries from last August. The team previously stated that they’re going to play it safe with their running backs, which means they could be eased into the mix at training camp and early in the season. Dobbins suffered LCL damage in addition to his ACL tear while Edwards’ ACL tear happened a few weeks after Dobbins’ injury in early September. Baltimore signed Mike Davis and drafted Tyler Badie in recent weeks, but Dobbins still projects to be the lead back with Edwards filling in behind him…if their health checks out. Beat writer Jeff Zreibec, like many others, believes the Ravens are going back to the “2019 offensive recipe” when they led the league with 206.0 rushing yards per game. Both backs are reasonably priced in the fifth and 14th round, respectively, but their health will need to be monitored once August rolls around. (June 6)

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Tee Higgins is sitting out of OTAs after undergoing left shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in March. His left arm is no longer in a sling and he’s expected to be ready for training camp. This is a situation to monitor but his early third-round ADP should remain unchanged for now. (May 23)

  • Joe Burrow has ditched the brace on his surgically repaired left knee that he wore throughout his second season. It’s a good sign that Burrow is back to full health off his 2020 ACL injury, which is scary for the rest of the league since he led the Bengals to the Super Bowl last season. Burrow could run a bit more this season after averaging just 2.5 carries and 7.4 rushing yards per game with two TDs in 16 contests last season. He previously averaged 3.7 carries and 14.2 rushing yards per game with three TDs in 10 games before his injury as a rookie. Burrow’s rushing isn’t going to move the needle much for fantasy, but we’ll take any little extra running that we can get (June 17)

Cleveland Browns

  • David Njoku sat out voluntary OTAs while he worked out a long-term deal to stay with the Browns, and the two sides ironed out a whopping four-year, $56.8 million extension that included $28 million guaranteed. The 2017 first-round pick has been mostly a fantasy disappointment to this point in his career and a sixth-year breakout seems a bit unlikely. Still, Njoku is an athletic freak at just 26 years old this season, and he’ll be playing with by far the best quarterback of his career if Deshaun Watson isn’t suspended for the entire season. The Browns also must see something in him if they were willing to lock him up to a massive long-term contract. Cleveland’s WR corps is one of the weakest in the league so there are worse bets to make 150+ picks into fantasy drafts, but his days as a 150+ pick are likely numbered because of his new contract. (May 31)

  • Deshaun Watson has found himself in even hotter waters in recent days just when it looked like the NFL might announce a suspension for Deshaun Watson in the near future. Two additional lawsuits have been filed against him, raising the total to 24, and a New York Times report from Jenny Vrentas detailed how he booked appointments with 66 women in a 17-month period, among other revelations. The NFL will likely need additional time to investigate the latest claims, which could delay a suspension announcement, but it’s getting harder to see him playing in Week 1. Watson is headed toward a massive suspension and, at the very least, the NFL is going to place him on the commissioner’s exempt list if they can’t come to a decision on the length of his suspension before the start of the season. Watson is a complete avoid in drafts and I’ve moved all Browns' skill players down since it’s looking like Jacoby Brissett is going to start all or the majority of games this season. (June 9)

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Diontae Johnson is the latest fourth-year WR entering the final year of his rookie contract who sat out a portion of OTAs. However, Diontae ended up showing up for the second week of voluntary OTAs to ease concerns of a potential contract dispute. He hopes to iron out a new contract before the start of the season, but the Steelers have been content to let their young WRs walk in the last decade-plus — Antonio Brown was one of the few exceptions. Johnson is unlikely to have a future with the Steelers if he’s seeking a top-of-the-market deal, and the Steelers were preparing for life without Diontae when they drafted George Pickens and Calvin Austin in April. Diontae can continue to be drafted in the late third round with a holdout looking unlikely. (May 31)

  • Najee Harris showed up to voluntary OTAs at a thick 244 pounds after being listed at 232 pounds last season. It should be noted that he arrived at his first training camp at 240 pounds last year so this is the second consecutive off-season that he’s bulked up a bit. In general, we’d much rather see running backs shedding weight rather than gaining weight, but we’re not about to get worked up about Harris’ current size. Harris did say at mandatory minicamp that the Steelers may try to watch his workload more this season, “I will not be on the field for certain plays. We’re still going to talk about that, though. I do want to play. A lot…Any time I can. But at the same time, it’s all about being smart.” The second-year RB is bracing for a huge workload based on how he’s hit the gym. Pittsburgh failed to add to their backfield and Mike Tomlin has a long history of featuring one back, so Najee is still one of the favorites to lead the league in touches. (June 8)

AFC South

Houston Texans

  • Second-round pick John Metchie is ahead of schedule in his recovery from early December ACL surgery, according to Alabama team doctor Lyle Cain, who performed the surgery. Cain believes Metchie could be ready to return to the field this summer, which would give him a chance to be ready for Week 1 in September. Metchie is still an outside candidate to start the season on the PUP list since the Texans have no reason to rush his recovery, but they also wouldn’t want to hold him back if he’s ready to practice and play. I’ve found myself pairing Metchie with Davis Mills with my final picks in best-ball drafts. (June 2)

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Travis Etienne was cleared for all practice activity after missing his entire rookie season to a Lisfranc injury. He will be a full year removed from his injury at the start of the season, which is notoriously a tough injury to overcome. His main backfield competition is James Robinson who is still working his way back from a late-season Achilles injury — he just resumed running on the field. There’s some risk drafting a running back returning from a Lisfranc injury, but some of the danger has been taken away with ADP currently sitting in the late fifth round. Beat writer John Shipley wrote that Etienne’s explosiveness is back and that he’s looked like “his old self” during OTAs. Etienne could start to build some momentum this summer, especially if it looks like J-Rob may miss the start of the season, so his fifth-round ADP could be gone by August. (June 6)

Tennessee Titans

  • Robert Woods was running routes and catching passes during voluntary OTAs, albeit with a large brace on his surgically repaired left knee. He said a week earlier that he feels “really good” and he joked that the team was holding him back a bit. It seems that Woods’ recovery is going extremely well after he tore his ACL before Week 10 last season, and he’s on pace to be ready for the start of the season and potentially the beginning of training camp. He’s a fine target in the ninth round in one of the league’s worst receiving corps. (May 24)

  • First-round pick Treylon Burks’ conditioning has been a much-talked-about story coming out of Titans’ OTAs, and WR coach Rob Moore confirmed that Burks has asthma, which has widely been speculated since he was spotted using an inhaler. HC Mike Vrabel said Burks was “unavailable” for Titans minicamp. I’m not dying to take any Titans’ WRs, but I’ve preferred drafting Robert Woods three rounds after Burks with his ACL recovery going well. That could change if their ADPs pinch a little closer together, but Burks’ draft status has yet to take much of a hit. (June 17)

AFC West

Denver Broncos

  • Jerry Jeudy had all charges dropped from his misdemeanor, non-physical contact domestic violence case from early May. It seems extremely unlikely that Jeudy will face NFL discipline for the incident barring any new revelations so his late fourth-round ADP is unlikely to change. He also left a June 6 practice early with what HC Nathaniel Hackett called a “little tweak” of his groin, which is something to monitor moving forward. (June 7)

  • K.J. Hamler practiced during Denver’s second week of OTAs after resting at the start of OTAs as he works his way back from his ACL injury, which he suffered at the end of last September. The Broncos are likely limiting his reps early in the off-season, but it appears that he’ll be ready for training camp. Hamler will have his work cut out for him to make an impact in a deep WR room, but it’s not a major leap to see him playing the Tyler Lockett role” for Russell Wilson. (June 6)

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Skyy Moore and Mecole Hardman nursed hamstring injuries at the start of voluntary OTAs. Moore picked up his injury before the start of rookie camp while Hardman tweaked his hamstring during a May 25 practice. Moore returned to action to get some practice time during mandatory minicamp. UDFA Justyn Ross and former Buccaneer Justin Watson received extra reps with fellow new WRs Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster with Hardman and Moore missing practice. Ross had the Internet abuzz over his one-handed catch in practice while Patrick Mahomes called Watson a “pleasant surprise” because of his deep speed. MVS has generated the most buzz during OTAs, showing a strong connection with Mahomes on intermediate and deep routes. The Chiefs’ wide receiver corps could be shaping up to be a frustrating six-man committee with Tyreek Hill out of the picture, and there’s a real chance that no WR will hit a 20% target share with Travis Kelce leading this passing attack. Mahomes even said the passing game will be more spread out behind Kelce this season. Smith-Schuster is one of the most overvalued WRs with his fifth-round ADP while Moore’s ADP has gotten a bit out of control as a seventh-round pick. MVS is the best value among the Chiefs’ projected top three WRs with his eight-round ADP (June 13)

  • The Chiefs re-signed Jerick McKinnon to a one-year contract. He emerged as the Chiefs’ best back in the postseason, posting 34/150 rushing and 14/165/1 receiving in three contests. For as long as he can stay healthy, McKinnon could be a potential thorn in the side for Clyde Edwards-Helaire, especially in the passing game. CEH is still a good value in the seventh round but McKinnon showed he still has some juice last postseason and he could have at least a small weekly role as a receiver. McKinnon isn’t a bad late-round flier if you want to bet against the CEH and Ronald Jones, who each have been disappointments early in their careers. (June 14)

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Davante Adams has been lining up “almost exclusively” on the perimeter during Raiders’ minicamp, which isn’t a major surprise with Hunter Renfrow manning the slot. Adams lined up in the slot 33% of the time and he saw 44% of his targets and he scored seven of his 11 touchdowns from inside with the Packers last season (per PFF). We should expect a small drop-off on Adams’ easy access targets in the slot, but Bryan Edwards (27%) and Zay Jones (30%) lined up inside more than people might remember in 2021. (June 13)

  • The Raiders declined to pick up Josh Jacobs’ fifth-year option earlier this spring, and he stayed off the field during spring practices for an undisclosed injury. He skipped voluntary OTAs altogether before staying on the sidelines during mandatory minicamp. Vic Tafur believes the Raiders are headed toward using a backfield committee with Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Zamir White, Brandon Bolden, and Ameer Abdullah this season. I’ve been avoiding Jacobs at his early sixth-round ADP. (June 13)

Los Angeles Chargers

National Football Conference

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

  • Dak Prescott requested that CeeDee Lamb move next to this locker after his previous two lockermates, Amari Cooper and Cedrick Wilson, left the franchise during the off-season. Lamb also said that he’s “been ready” to take over for Amari as the team’s top receiver. The third-year WR already has a lot of momentum as an early second-round pick, and it’s possible it continues to build this off-season with Dak going out of his way to building up Lamb after he struggled a bit in the second half of last season. (May 26)

  • James Washington was spotted on the sidelines with a boot on his left foot during the start of Dallas’ voluntary OTAs, and Jalen Tolbert sat out the start of OTAs with a hamstring injury — he returned for minicamp. They’ll be competing with each other for playing time and targets behind top receivers CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, who are working their way back from an ACL injury. HC Mike McCarthy said Washington’s issue isn’t a long-term issue but he could miss additional practice time during OTAs. Washington and Tolbert’s ailments shouldn’t affect their late-round draft statuses, but we’ll be a little concerned if they miss more practices at mandatory minicamp in June. (May 31)

  • Dalton Schultz will sit out the rest of voluntary OTAs while he works on a long-term contract with the Cowboys, but he’s decided to attend Cowboys minicamp. He already signed his franchise-tag tender worth $10.9 million for this season so a holdout later this summer seems unlikely, but Schultz is angling for his own monster deal after David Njoku landed a four-year, $56.8 million deal. He’s in line for a massive role with Amari Cooper gone and Michael Gallup rehabbing an ACL injury, and he’s been my favorite TE target in the middle rounds. (June 14)

  • HC Mike McCarthy hopes that Dak Prescott will have more opportunities to run with another year removed from his fractured ankle suffered early in 2020. Dak averaged 3.8/19.0 rushing per game with 24 rushing TDs in his first 69 contests (.35 TDs/game) over five seasons. He dipped to 3.0/8.6 rushing per game with one rushing TD in 16 contests (.06 TDs/game) last season. Prescott didn’t see a dramatic downturn in rushing attempts last season, but his efficiency took a hit, and, most importantly, his willingness to run near the goal-line dipped. He had the same number of carries inside the five-yard line (4) in 2020 as he did in 2021 but in 11 fewer games. Prescott isn’t likely to run too much more than he did in 2021 and McCarthy’s statement shouldn’t push him up draftboards, but any extra rushing production will be a nice little bonus. (June 15)

New York Giants

  • Kadarius Toney underwent a minor arthroscopic knee procedure that kept him from practicing in OTAs, according to Pat Leonard. He’s expected to be ready for training camp but Toney has had major issues staying healthy in his first year-plus with the Giants. The second-year WR flashed big-time potential when he posted 16/267 receiving in Weeks 4-5 last season, but he’s been a mess otherwise. His ADP has drifted into the 10th round since the Giants selected Wan’Dale Robinson in the second round, and his latest injury could push him even further down draftboards. Toney has WR2 potential if he can stay healthy and focused in a Brian Daboll offense and he’s currently being drafted as a WR5. (May 23)

  • Saquon Barkley told Josina Anderson that he expects to be used more as a receiver under new HC Brian Daboll, and Saquon has been getting extra work at receiver during OTAs. He averaged a career-low 2.9 catches per game in his first season back from ACL surgery in New York’s dismal attack, but Daboll’s offense is widely expected to be much more pass-happy. Barkley also averaged career-lows in YPC (3.7) and rushing yards per game (42.4) so any additional passing-game work will offset any struggles he has as a runner. On June 8, he admitted that he didn’t fully trust his knee last season and that he has his “swagger back.” The Giants have done next to nothing behind him outside of signing journeyman Matt Breida, and Barkley is still as cheap as he’s ever been with his third-round ADP. (June 7)

  • Sterling Shepard resumed jogging in the last week of May off of his Week 15 Achilles injury, but he wouldn’t give himself an exact return date, per Josina Anderson. GM Joe Schoen said back in late March that he was hopeful Shepard would return by August, but that could be a tight timeline with just two months to ramp up to on-field work. The two sides restructured his contract to keep him around for at least this season, but he’s a candidate to open the season on the PUP list. Shepard averaged 5.1 catches and 7.6 targets per game in his seven contests last season, but he’ll be battling added competition for snaps from second-round pick Wan’Dale Robinson while trying to return from a major injury. Shepard is nothing more than a late-round dart throw unless it looks like he’ll avoid missing the start of the season. (June 2)

  • Fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger is the early favorite to start at tight end, per NJ.com’s Zack Rosenblatt. The rookie has been mostly running the first-team offense in practices open to the media, ahead of Ricky Seals-Jones and Jordan Akins. The competition for playing time will continue to play out in training camp, but it's a good sign that Bellinger is already getting premium snaps in OTAs. Rosenblatt reiterated at the end of minicamp that Bellinger looks like the starter with undrafted rookie Austin Allen also making a push for the job. He’s unlikely to make a major impact as a rookie but there are worse picks to make in the final round if you’re looking for a third TE. (June 13)

Philadelphia Eagles

  • OC Shane Steichen will continue to call plays this season after he took over for HC Nick Sirianni in the middle of last season. It’s unclear when the switch occurred in 2021, but the Eagles went from a 61% pass rate through the first seven games to a league-low 43% pass rate in Weeks 8-17. The Eagles have signaled this off-season that they want to move back toward a more pass-heavy approach by trading for A.J. Brown, but Jalen Hurts' development will ultimately determine just how much they throw this season. The Eagles will likely settle into some middle ground from their two approaches from the first and second halves of last season. Hurts has once again been one of my favorite targets with his early sixth-round ADP because of his dual-threat ability and the addition of Brown to his receiving corps. (June 6)

Washington Redskins

  • Terry McLaurin skipped the start of voluntary OTAs as he looks for a new contract before his current deal expires at the end of this season. The WR market has been blown out with several mega-deals handed out this off-season, but ESPN Jeremy Fowler reported that the Commanders watched their spending this off-season in hopes of signing McLaurin to a long-term deal. HC Ron Rivera also sounded optimistic when he said it was just a “matter of time” before a deal gets struck. Nick Jhabvala reported that the two sides remain “far apart” on contract talks and that McLaurin was unlikely to report to minicamp. McLaurin is missing out on some reps with his new QB Carson Wentz while rookie first-round pick Jahan Dotson has been the talk of the spring through OTAs. (June 13)

  • Curtis Samuel took advantage of the extra reps while Terry McLaurin sat out of OTAs, and Samuel had no restrictions in practice after he managed only 84 snaps last season because of groin and hamstring injuries. The Commanders drafted Jahan Dotson in the first round, which means Samuel will battle with Logan Thomas to be the third fiddle in this passing game. Thomas sprinted on the side at OTAs but he wasn’t ready to practice after tearing his ACL in December. It’s difficult to get too excited about any of Washington’s secondary receivers behind McLaurin with Carson Wentz taking over the offense. The Commanders also used a third-round pick on Brian Robinson so they’re going to lean heavily into their running game. Samuel totaled 1000+ scrimmage yards in his last full season with the Panthers in 2020, but he’s likely to be more of a thorn in the side for Washington’s fantasy-relevant receivers. (May 25)

  • It wasn’t a good sign for Antonio Gibson when the Commanders hosted visits with Breece Hall, Kenneth Walker, and Brian Robinson among other RBs before the Draft. The Commanders then added Robinson with the 98th overall pick, and they have every intention of using three backs after J.D. McKissic landed $3.6 million in guaranteed money this off-season. HC Ron Rivera said as much at OTAs, ​​“I think, for the most part, it’s going to be by committee.” Rivera envisions Gibson as the “slasher” and Robinson as the physical back. There’s a chance Gibson could lose goal-line work and the closer role based on Rivera’s views of his top two runners, and McKissic will continue to be the passing back. Gibson’s ADP has plummeted to the fifth round since the Draft, which is still a bit rich for me. I’ll be mostly avoiding this backfield outside of some late-round darts on Robinson with his ADP sitting in the 16th round. (May 24)

  • Logan Thomas is hoping to be ready for Week 1 after tearing his knee and having surgery in mid-December, and he revealed that he also sustained MCL, LCL, and meniscus. Our Edwin Porras believes the best-case scenario is that Thomas is ready by Week 3. Thomas was already on my “Do Not Draft” list since he wasn’t going to miss out on reps with Carson Wentz and with the Commanders adding Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel to the fold, and his additional ligament injuries cement his status as a player to avoid. (June 15)

NFC North

Chicago Bears

  • Cole Kmet told reporters that Justin Fields will be on the move a lot more this season without going into “too much detail”, and Fields has impressed throwing on the run and with off-schedule throws. New OC Luke Getsy learned from college offensive guru Joe Moorhead, and his mentor believed Getsy’s offense would be an “RPO-based run game that takes advantage of a quarterback’s running skill set, combining that with a West Coast system that takes a ton of shots down the field.” Chicago’s offense could be mighty appealing for Fields’ fantasy prospects after he struggled in Matt Nagy’s stagnant offense as a rookie. Fields could go down as a major value with his ADP sliding into the 12th round after a disappointing NFL Draft. (June 2)

Detroit Lions

  • OC Ben Johnson admitted that it could be a “struggle” to get rookie Jameson Williams integrated into the offense on the fly this season. Williams is a candidate to start the season on the PUP list after he tore his ACL in the CFP National Championship in early January, which means he’d miss at least six games while not being able to practice until October. HC Dan Campbell said he doesn’t see the rookie WR being ready for training camp. I’m pretty high on Williams’ long-term outlook but I’m having a tough time spending a 10th-round pick on him over at Underdog. He’s likely to miss at least six games, the Lions suddenly have a lot of mouths to feed, and they still have one of the worst QB situations with Jared Goff. (June 3)

  • D’Andre Swift’s new yoked-up look has been the talk of Detroit’s OTAs (it’s that time of year, folks), and he appears ready to take on a bigger workload if asked to do so. RB coach Duce Staley wants Swift to stay on the field more in his third season after missing seven total games in 2020-21 due to shoulder issues and a concussion. Staley said he had a conversation with Swift about the difference between being injured and hurt, and he wants Swift to be able to play through some injuries. Availability is one of the biggest factors in fantasy success, and Swift was the RB10 with 16.1 FPG but he appeared in just 13 games last season. He’s been a target of mine in the mid-second round with his RB8 ADP. (June 3)

Green Bay Packers

  • Allen Lazard was the only player not at Packers' mandatory minicamp, but he wasn’t required to attend because he hasn’t signed his second-round tender as a restricted free agent. His tender was a one-year, $4 million contract that must be signed by June 15, and he did just that on June 13. Lazard was hoping for a longer-term deal with the Packers, but he didn’t have a whole lot of bargaining power as a restricted free agent. The more fantasy-worthy news about Lazard came from Aaron Rodgers who said, “[Lazard has] been our dirty-work guy for most of his career here. Now he’s getting an opportunity to be a No. 1 receiver. I’m not worried about him at all stepping into that role.” A-Rod runs the show in Green Bay and I need to be higher on Lazard if Rodgers is calling him his top receiver. I’m pumping Lazard up to an eighth-round ADP in my rankings to get ahead of the market a bit. (June 14)

Minnesota Vikings

  • Irv Smith is nine months removed from his meniscus in Minnesota’s final preseason game last year, but he hasn’t been cleared for full participation in OTAs. The Vikings are taking an extremely cautious approach with Smith, and the franchise’s lack of activity at tight end shows they’re confident he’ll be ready to go for training camp. The Vikings let Tyler Conkin walk in free agency and they added just Johnny Mundt and seventh-round pick Nick Muse to the TE room. Cousins has averaged 115.7 targets to his TEs per season with 49 total touchdowns in seven years since becoming a starter in 2015. Irv is reasonably priced as a 12th-round pick heading into the summer, and his ADP is likely to rise if he doesn’t have any setbacks in August. (May 31)

  • The Vikings’ offense under new HC Kevin O’Connell is set to look much different than they have in recent years under Mike Zimmer. O’Connell said of his offensive philosophy, “Spreading the field out, not playing the game in a phone booth has been a productive thing for some offenses. Putting the game in the quarterback’s hands a little more, trying to run some premier plays versus premier looks. And really, when in doubt, trust space-rhythm-timing of offenses to hold you true to your core and what you’re trying to get accomplished.” Justin Jefferson described Minnesota’s previous offenses as “old-style”, and he believes they’ll be much “less predictable” under O’Connell. Outside of Jefferson who is being drafted fourth overall, Vikings’ skill players are being undervalued across the board, including Dalvin Cook (11.1 ADP), Adam Thielen (73.8), and Irv Smith (141.6). (June 6)

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans

  • Jameis Winston is practicing at voluntary OTAs just seven months removed from tearing his ACL at the end of October last year, and he did almost everything at the practice open to reporters. He revealed that his recovery from his meniscus injury has limited him the most, and Nick Underhill reported that Winston practiced with a limp. He still appears to be well on track to return for the season opener and it would be a mild upset if he isn’t a full-go by the start of training camp. Winston averaged just 167.1 passing yards per game in his first season with the Saints, but they could be more multi-dimensional with Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, and potentially Michael Thomas in the fold. This is still a team that’s going to lean on their top-flight defense so Winston isn’t the most appealing quarterback available at his current 14th-round ADP. (May 31)

  • I said the Saints could potentially have Michael Thomas back this season because he somehow still isn’t all the way back from his ankle issues from the last two years. HC Dennis Allen said in early May that Thomas still had a “few hurdles” to climb, and Thomas wasn’t ready to participate in voluntary OTAs — he was at least at the Saints’ facility for the start of practices. Allen said at voluntary OTAs that Thomas is doing well and the plan is for him to be ready for training camp. He also won’t be ready for mandatory minicamp with Allen saying he isn’t “100 percent healthy” at this time. Thomas, 29, hasn’t played a snap since the 2020 postseason, and he’s no longer a lock to be a ball hog if he’s healthy enough to play (or if he wants to play) with Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave in the mix. I’m avoiding Thomas for the second straight summer, this time at his sixth-round ADP. (June 10)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Rob Gronkowski hasn’t announced his decision for the 2022 season, but he’s been spending some quality time with Tom Brady and Brady’s personal trainer, Alex Guerrero, in the Tampa area. Gronk insists that he’s undecided on his future and the Tampa Bay TimesRick Stroud believes Gronk will wait until after Tampa Bay’s mandatory minicamp to announce a decision. Gronk is a massive value in the 11th round if you believe he’ll play and, in my opinion, it’s a risk worth taking at that price. (May 24)

  • Leonard Fournette has been enjoying the off-season since inking a three-year deal with $12 million guaranteed. He reported to mandatory minicamp at “240-something” and he said his ideal playing weight is around 228-230. Fournette has plenty of time to work his way into shape, but this is still a bad look especially after the Buccaneers invested a third-round pick into Rachaad White. I want RBs in Tom Brady’s offenses after Buccaneers’ RBs scored the sixth-most FPG (26.7) last season. I’ve been drafting quite a bit of both Fournette or White on Underdog teams — they’re each in my top six RB exposures in early June. I’m not going to overreact to Fournette’s weight in June, but it won’t be surprising if Fournette’s late second-round ADP slips into the third round and if White’s 12th-round ADP rises heading into training camp. (June 7)

  • Russell Gage is headed toward a massive early-season role with Chris Godwin rehabbing his ACL injury and potentially missing the first 3-6 games after early January surgery. The Buccaneers handed Gage $20 million guaranteed this off-season, and Tom Brady said he quickly needs to get on the same page with Gage. Brady added “He has to have a big year. That is a very important role for an offense that throws the ball as much as we do.” The Buccaneers had three WRs finish inside the top-12 at the position in 2021, and Gage has been my most drafted WR in early drafts. The market has started to catch up on his value with his ADP on a steady rise to the early eighth round. (June 13)

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

  • Kyler Murray skipped the first week of Arizona’s OTAs as he continues to look for a contract extension from the Cardinals, but he rejoined the team for the second week of practices. Adam Schefter reported that there have been no new developments on the contract front between the two sides, and this will continue to be a situation to monitor this summer. Murray is the QB5 and he’s slipped into the late fifth round after a tumultuous off-season, which included losing DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games of the season. (June 2)

  • The Cardinals had one of the most unsettled backup situations in their backfield heading into OTAs, and they helped the situation by signing Darrel Williams. He’ll immediately vault to the pole position for the handcuff role behind James Conner, but the Cardinals will still have a camp competition between Williams, Eno Benjamin, and sixth-round pick Keontay Ingram. Williams is a solid if unspectacular backup who posted 144/558/6 rushing (3.9 YPC) and 47/452/2 receiving (9.6 YPR) on a 48% snap share with the Chiefs last season. We’ll keep an eye on this training camp battle, but Williams is once again set up to be a late-round RB to target with his three-down skillset, especially playing behind a back with durability concerns like Conner. The signing is also good for Conner since Williams isn’t a major threat to his potential bellcow role, though Williams is likely to get some passing-game work since he’s a solid receiver and pass protector. Conner could go down as a value in the mid-third round if he stays healthy, but that’s been a big IF to this point in his career. (May 24)

  • HC Kliff Kingsbury has been busy building up Rondale Moore this off-season, and he said his second-year WR is going to play a lot more after making “real strides” this off-season. Kingsbury said earlier in OTAs that Moore is ready to step into Christian Kirk’s former role as the top option in the slot. Moore owned just a 45% snap share with a miserable aDOT of 1.3 yards as a 2021 second-round pick while every other Cardinals receiver owned an aDOT of at least 11 yards, including Kirk at 12.1 yards. I’ve been mostly cool on picking Moore unless I select Kyler Murray earlier in my drafts, but I’m warming up to him with an improved role potentially coming and with DeAndre Hopkins out of the mix early in the season. (June 15)

Los Angeles Rams

  • Matthew Stafford will wait to throw until closer to training camp after receiving an injection in his throwing elbow earlier this spring. The Rams will have to drag Stafford off of the field this season, but the elbow injection is a good reminder that he dealt with throwing arm, ankle, and back issues in his first season with Los Angeles. Stafford is 34 years old but he has the body of an older quarterback after playing in Detroit for the first decade of his career. Stafford said he’ll definitely be ready to throw by training camp and he added he has “a lot of work to do physically just to get ready to go.” I’m not fading Stafford in drafts but I will be backing off of him a bit after this story. (June 9)

  • Rookie Kyren Williams was spotted in a walking boot and he needed the assistance of a scooter to get around during the second week of OTAs. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that he broke his foot during OTAs and needed surgery. The Rams hope that Williams will return during training camp, but his injury is a good reminder that Darrell Henderson is a strong early-summer value for the second straight year. Henderson is dealing with his own soft-tissue injury and is on the sidelines at mandatory minicamp. Sean McVay said he picked up the injury earlier in OTAs and that it was an issue from last season, which means it’s likely his quadriceps injury again. Henderson is currently being drafted in the 14th round and this time around starter Cam Akers is coming back from an Achilles injury. (June 8)

San Francisco 49ers

  • Elijah Mitchell is looking to become the first player to lead the 49ers in rushing yards in consecutive seasons since Kyle Shanahan took over as head coach in 2017. ESPN’s Nick Wagoner reported that Mitchell wants to play 15 pounds heavier this season at 215 pounds to stay healthy in his second season. The 49ers used a third-round pick on Tyrion Davis-Price to give them more size in their backfield after they finished last in RB conversion rate when they needed three or fewer yards on third and fourth downs (per Wagoner). Davis-Price could become San Francisco’s short-yardage runner as he’s expected to play around 220-225 pounds, and he could take a few carries away for both Mitchell and Deebo Samuel. (May 23)

  • Speaking of Deebo Samuel, he was spotted receiving Draymond Green’s jersey and hanging with Micah Parsons at the Warriors-Mavericks game in Dallas on May 22, but Deebo wasn’t present for the start of 49ers OTAs. He’s entering the final year of his rookie contract and is seeking a contract extension, and the 49ers are in a tough spot with the WR market blown out with several mega-deals handed out this off-season. The initial trade talk from before the Draft has quieted down in recent weeks, and GM John Lynch told reporters that he’d “be a fool” to trade Deebo. HC Kyle Shanahan also said he expects the relationship between the team and Deebo to “get back to normal.” He expected Deebo to participate in their mandatory minicamp in mid-June, and Deebo did in fact report on June 7. Deebo crushed for us last season but there are reasons for concern as a mid-second round pick between his contract situation, a potential switch to Trey Lance, and a reduction in carries. I’m unlikely to have much of Deebo unless his ADP backs up a bit. (June 7)

  • HC Kyle Shanahan said he still expects Jimmy Garoppolo to be traded but he added that it’s not guaranteed because of Garoppolo’s off-season surgery to repair his throwing shoulder. Shanahan’s admission is an indication that the team is ready to move forward with Trey Lance as the team’s starting quarterback, but this situation will get interesting if they can’t find a trade partner by the start of training camp. The 49ers excused Jimmy G from their mandatory minicamp, which wasn’t a major surprise since he’s still recovering from his shoulder surgery. Lance has massive fantasy potential because of his dual-threat ability, and drafters haven’t been scared off by San Francisco’s lack of trade activity with his ADP sitting just outside the top-100 picks. (June 7)

Seattle Seahawks

  • The Seahawks rested Rashaad Penny over a “slight hamstring issue” at the start of voluntary OTAs in late May, but he returned for their second week of practice. Kenneth Walker still got “long looks” with the first-team offense even with Penny back at practice. We’re not going to get too worked up about Penny’s issue with the Seahawks watching his workload with over three months to go until the start of the season. Still, the decision to rest Penny is a good reminder that the Seahawks are well aware of his extensive injury history as they try to get him through the next eight months. Walker picked up his own hamstring injury in mandatory minicamp and is missing time. Chris Carson wasn’t cleared for mandatory minicamp off his neck injury and the Seahawks would save $4.6 million by cutting him after June 1. Seattle is looking to maximize Penny’s availability after he failed to reach 120+ carries in each of his first four seasons. The most logical setup for this backfield is to use Kenneth Walker as the lead runner with Penny operating as a change-of-pace back with his game-breaking speed. Walker is a value with his eighth-round ADP while Penny could have some value if his ADP slips out of the 10th round after sitting out the start of OTAs. (June 10)

  • D.K. Metcalf is absent from mandatory minicamp as he negotiates a new contract with the Seahawks. The Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Duggar reported that his absence is unexcused as he recovers from foot surgery in February, and the team could opt to fine him for each missed practice. Metcalf attended the opening, voluntary portion of OTAs, which makes his absence at mandatory minicamp more unusual. The Seahawks could piss Metcalf off if they decide to fine him, which could hurt their ongoing negotiations. This is a storyline to monitor as we’ve already seen a number of big-name WRs moved this off-season. (June 8)

  • For those lunatics interested in this quarterback battle, Geno Smith holds a slight lead over Drew Lock at the conclusion of Seattle’s off-season workouts, per Pete Carroll. Pete acknowledging that Geno is in the lead is at least a sign that the Seahawks aren’t just going to hand the job to Lock after trading for him this off-season. The Seahawks are seemingly trying to prove that Russell Wilson was a system quarterback with this bizarre quarterback competition. We’ll find out soon enough when the balls begin to fly in Seattle and Denver in September. (June 10)

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 61.5% clip in 2019 and he was a perfect 8-0 on his Best Bets for season win totals in 2020.