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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Houston Texans running back Rex Burkhead paced all Texans running backs in touches this week. He managed eight carries for 30 yards and one reception on two targets for 15 yards. David Johnson (thigh, illness) missed this game, which opened the door for Burkhead. However, Burkhead was incapable of taking advantage of the solid workload in a tough matchup. Next week, he gets a Seattle Seahawks team that should be able to wax the Texans once again, which gives Burkhead a tough setup, especially if Johnson is back in the fold. Burkhead is a viable flex option if Johnson misses another game, but neither RB has much upside as a flex option in this weak offense.
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton announced Tuesday that he would be leaving his position ahead of the 2022 season. Payton took over head-coaching duties with New Orleans in '06 and ultimately led the team to nine playoff appearances, including a Super Bowl XLIV victory. His tenure with the Saints included compiling a 152-89 regular-season record, finishing at or above .500 in 11 of his 15 seasons at the helm. Payton's high-octane offenses defined the team for a decade and a half, although that same production did not materialize in '21 amidst widespread quarterback injuries. It's unclear where New Orleans will pivot next, but it's unlikely that the Saints will be able to plug in a superior offensive mind.
Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) was forced from Sunday's win over Buffalo during the first quarter after entering concussion protocol. But reportedly, the Chiefs are looking at having their Pro Bowl safety back in the mix for the AFC Championship Game, a major boon to a secondary that was picked apart in Mathieu's absence. He finished the regular season with 76 tackles, six passes defended, and three interceptions across 16 games. Additionally, cornerback Rashad Fenton (back), who missed the win over the Bills due to a back ailment, is expected to suit up this Sunday as well. Fantasy managers exploring the DFS market will want to monitor Mathieu's status in particular, but a green light for the star safety makes the Chiefs' defense a more appealing fantasy asset.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) has a chance to play in the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams. He suffered a low-ankle sprain during the first quarter of Saturday's Divisional-Round game over the Green Packers and did not return. The 26-year-old's status for Sunday's game will be determined by the level of activity Wilson can practice this week. Wilson is the top backup to starter Elijah Mitchell but with a limited role isn't a recommended option in DFS even if he does suit up against the Rams. JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon would see an expanded role if Wilson is ruled out. Stay tuned.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski would consider returning to the team even if quarterback Tom Brady retires. "I'll never throw anything off the board," said Gronk. The 32-year-old would most likely return if Brady does but didn't rule out any possibility. He was an integral part of Tampa Bay's offense in 2021, catching 55 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns over 12 games. Gronk becomes a free agent in March and needs to be re-signed by Tampa Bay or retire. Gronkowski would be fantasy-relevant and a top-10 tight end if he ultimately decides to return. Stay tuned.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is strongly considering retirement. "It's not always what I want. It's what we want as a family, said Brady. The 44-year-old has shown no signs of slowing down, throwing for 5,316 yards, 43 touchdowns, 12 interceptions while rushing for 81 yards, and two scores over 17 games in 2021. "I think as I've gotten older, I think the best part is, is football is extremely important in my life," Brady told Jim Gray on the Let's Go! podcast. "And it means a lot to me. And I care a lot about what we're trying to accomplish as a team. And I care a lot about my teammates. And the biggest difference now that I'm older is I have kids now too, you know, and I care about them a lot as well. They've been my biggest supporters. My wife is my biggest supporter. It pains her to see me get hit out there." Brady will take some time to mull things over but indicated in the past he would like to play until he's 45. The seven-time Super Bowl champ is signed with Tampa Bay through 2022 and will decide between retirement or another year with the Buccaneers. Stay tuned.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (knee) is expected to practice on Wednesday. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, Samuel is "sore" but expects the wide receiver back at practice Wednesday. The 26-year-old took a helmet to the knee in last Saturday's Divisional Round win over the Green Bay Packers. Samuel rushed for 39 yards on 10 attempts and caught three of four targets for 44 yards. The 49ers star wideout is not expected to miss any time and should be all systems go for the NFC Championship matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Kansas City Chiefs waived wide receiver Josh Gordon on Monday. He's been inactive the last two postseason games and has been a non-factor since signing with the Chiefs in early October. The 30-year-old has caught five passes for 32 yards and a touchdown over 12 games in 2021. The Baylor product was buried on Kansas City's wide receiver depth chart behind Tyreek Hill, Byron Pringle, Mecole Hardman, and Demarcus Robinson. Gordon could be re-signed to the Chiefs practice squad if he clears waivers but hasn't been fantasy relevant despite being on a loaded Kansas City offense.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was held completely under wraps during Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, finishing with just three receptions for a season-low seven yards. Diggs' prior season-low mark was 23 yards back in Week 11, an outing that he salvaged from a fantasy perspective by scoring two touchdowns. Gabriel Davis was Josh Allen's favored target in the Divisional Round, hauling in eight catches for 201 yards, including a record-setting four touchdowns. Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards just one year ago, was back among the league's elite this season, earning his second straight Pro Bowl nod after setting a career high with 10 receiving touchdowns. He figures to reprise that top-tier role heading into 2022, but his ice cold finish to the year could give some fantasy managers pause.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce hauled in the game-winning grab during Sunday's victory over Buffalo, capping a wild, topsy-turvy contest. Kelce finished with eight grabs for 96 yards, including the score, which marks five consecutive outings with him finding pay dirt dating back to the regular season. His production came on just nine targets, giving him his highest catch percentage of the year when it mattered most. Coming short of the 100-yard plateau, Kelce saw his four-game streak of exceeding the century mark in the postseason snapped. Next up, he faces off with a Bengals defense that he accrued 25 yards against on five catches in Week 17, albeit with one crossing the goal line. He and Tyreek Hill stand to continue seeing massive passing game interest from Patrick Mahomes during what stands to be another shootout in the AFC Championship Game.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary enjoyed a touchdown deluge to conclude the 2021 year, including adding one final rushing score during Sunday's loss to the Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round. Singletary was utilized for just 10 carries and 26 yards on the ground, but he did add four receptions for 25 yards through the air. Dating back to Week 15 of the regular season, Singletary scored nine touchdowns (eight rushing, one receiving), emerging not only as the lead back for the Bills, but as a potentially game-changing back heading into the '22 season. The 24-year-old had a six-game stretch during the regular season where he did not so much as log double-digit carries once, collecting just one touchdown in that span; now, he stands to be a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 ahead of his fourth professional year.
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