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Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said he expects quarterback Ryan Tannehill to be the starter in 2023. Vrabel also said that Tannehill is improving after suffering a season-ending ankle injury last December. The Titans also have last year's third-round pick, quarterback Malik Willis, on the roster, but it was clear at the end of 2022 that the Titans view him as a work in progress under center. The 34-year-old Tannehill completed 65.2 percent of his passes in 12 starts last year, throwing for 2,536 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Tennessee's offense will likely remain run-heavy in 2023, although they should be looking to add receiving help in next month's draft. If Tannehill is starting in Week 1, he'll be a low-ceiling QB2 in fantasy.
The Panthers made some changes to their running back room this offseason by adding Miles Sanders and letting D'Onta Foreman walk in free agency. Chuba Hubbard, though, remains in the mix as the RB2 in Carolina. Hubbard, a former fourth-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is entering his third year in the NFL. He was a backup to Christian McCaffrey for one and a half seasons in Carolina in his first two years, and he will likely back up Sanders in 2023. But will he have a bigger role in the offense this season? Is he going to be the Panthers' short-yardage back? Let's take a look. Chuba Hubbard 2022 Season Following the McCaffrey trade that sent the All-Pro running back to the San Francisco 49ers, Hubbard saw an uptick in playing time alongside Foreman. The two running backs co-existed as the RB1 in Carolina and split playing time. Hubbard ran for 432 yards on 89 carries (4.85 yards per carry) with two touchdowns and added 13 catches for 170 yards in nine games after McCaffrey's departure, while Foreman had 191 carries for 877 yards (4.59 yards per carry) and five touchdowns in 11 games during that same stretch. Hubbard only had 29 total yards in the first six weeks of the season as the backup to McCaffrey, but the 23-year-old back was a vital part of Carolina's rushing attack after he left, delivering 12-plus touches in four of the final six games of the season. In Week 16, he also ran for a career-high 125 yards against the Lions. Is Chuba Hubbard the Panthers' short-yardage back? It would be hard to imagine Hubbard as the lead short-yardage back in the Panthers' offense with Sanders there. The former Philadelphia Eagles running back figures to carry a large workload in Carolina and have an impact in the backfield in all aspects. Last season, Sanders had 13 carries inside the five-yard line, seven of which turned into touchdowns. Hubbard, on the other hand, had just one rush inside the five all year. His teammates Foreman (10) and Raheem Blackshear (2) had more carries in such situations. How the backfield completely shakes out depends on the team's willingness to get Sanders more work in the passing game. If he sees an uptick in receiving and opportunities on third down, Hubbard could function more as the short-yardage back this season. But with Sanders' efficiency last year in those close-yard situations, it might be difficult to bank on Hubbard as that type of back in 2023. As the RB2 in Carolina, he likely won't be fantasy relevant this season and should go undrafted in most leagues.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said that offensive tackle Abraham Lucas (shoulder) had shoulder surgery this offseason, which is why he's been limited at organized team activities. However, Carroll said Lucas should be ready for the start of the regular season. Lucas was the 72nd overall pick in last year's draft and managed to start 16 games for Seattle in 2022 as their right tackle. As long as the 24-year-old offensive tackle is able to take part in training camp, he should be ready for Week 1 as the team's starting right tackle for his sophomore season in the NFL.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said again on Thursday that there remains no firm timetable on the returns of safety Jamal Adams (quadriceps) and linebacker Jordyn Brooks (knee), and that they won't have a timetable for six to eight weeks or so. Still, both players are doing well in their rehab and have their sights set on being ready for the regular season. Adams set an NFL record for defensive backs with 9.5 sacks in 2020, but he's played in just 25 games combined in the last three seasons due to injury. But if he's healthy in 2023, he'll be a force in IDP fantasy leagues. Brooks, the former 27th overall pick in 2020, has totaled 345 tackles in 33 games in his first two NFL seasons, but he tore his ACL in Week 17 of 2022. His fantasy value will depend on whether he has a realistic chance to be ready for Week 1.
Dallas Cowboys rookie tight end Luke Schoonmaker (foot) was wearing a protective boot on his right foot at organized team activities on Thursday and is dealing with a case of plantar fasciitis that has limited his activity. Schoonmaker is missing out on valuable repetitions heading into his first NFL season, but hopefully he'll be able to work out in full once training camp commences at the end of July. If healthy, the 24-year-old second-rounder should compete for playing time immediately in his first NFL season with fellow tight ends Jake Ferguson and Peyton Hendershot. Schoonmaker has plenty of long-term upside at the position as a pass-catcher, but it's tough to see him making a huge splash in fantasy in his first year in Dallas.
Washington Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was quick to praise quarterback Sam Howell after organized team activities on Thursday. "His demeanor does not change and I will say this: he autocorrects himself as well," Bieniemy said. While Howell will compete with Jacoby Brissett in training camp this summer, the 22-year-old Howell is expected to have the leg up for the starting gig to open the 2023 regular season in D.C. The fifth-round pick last year impressed the coaching staff in last year's season finale against Dallas, and he has an intriguing skill set as a dual threat at the QB position. He certainly has the weapons around him to succeed and be a worthwhile QB2 in superflex leagues if he earns the starting job.
It's unknown whether the Cleveland Browns will make an attempt to sign free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and reunite him with quarterback Deshaun Watson, but Watson has shopped the Browns to Hopkins as a potential landing spot. Watson said, "of course we would love to have him," but that those decisions are made "out of my range." The addition of Hopkins in Cleveland would definitely make Watson a more intriguing low-end QB1 in fantasy, but it would also be bad news for wideouts Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Elijah Moore. ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on Thursday that Hopkins is open-minded about teams league-wide, and he's prepared to be patient. Minicamp could be considered a soft deadline for the 30-year-old to pick a new team, while training camp would be more of a hard deadline.
Chicago Bears rookie second-round cornerback Tyrique Stevenson should be in line to start at outside cornerback across from Jaylon Johnson in his first year in the NFL with second-year corner Kyler Gordon moving to the slot full time in 2023. "He uses his length well," cornerbacks coach and pass-game coordinator Jon Hoke said. "He's really, really instinctive. He has a way of getting his hands on a lot of footballs. He does know the game of football. It comes relatively not easy, but he does understand concepts easier than some guys do, so it's been a real plus." Rookie fifth-round corner Terell Smith has also impressed Hoke during organized team activities this week.
Despite Chicago Bears running back Khalil Herbert averaging 5.7 yards per carry as the No. 2 behind David Montgomery last year, the Bears signed veterans D'Onta Foreman and Travis Homer and drafted Roschon Johnson. "You know how things go in the NFL now. They're doing things running back by committee," Herbert said. "You need one, two, three really good guys that really carry the rock and there be no drop-off." Herbert said he added five pounds to his core this offseason, but he plans to stay between 215 and 220 pounds for the season. The 25-year-old will mainly battle for early-down carries with Foreman, but Johnson's presence also lowers Herbert's fantasy ceiling. And when you add the rushing prowess of quarterback Justin Fields, Herbert suddenly becomes more of a dicey RB3/flex in fantasy.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said "no one has worked harder than Justin Fields in this offseason," dating back to February. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams is already seeing improvement in Fields' leadership, decision-making and accuracy during organized team activities. The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain said Fields' work leading the offense in a two-minute drill that ended in a touchdown was notable despite it being voluntary OTAs. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said in early May that Fields was "light years ahead of where he was" last offseason. The 24-year-old must get better as a passer to take the next step, but he led all QBs in 2022 with 1,143 rushing yards and also scored eight TDs on the ground. If Fields can avoid sacks and become more efficient with his arm, he'll soon be in the elite tier of QB1s in fantasy.
As a rookie in 2022 after being the team's top draft pick, Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon was asked to play both outside and inside cornerback. This year, the plan is for Gordon to be their slot corner. "He's a good blitzer because he's physical, understands the timing, understands how to beat a block," cornerbacks coach and pass-game coordinator Jon Hoke said. "In zone coverage, he understands how to route-match based on what he's got. He understands the concepts that he's being attacked with." The move inside should allow the 23-year-old at more chances for tackles, meaning he could become valuable in fantasy IDP formats after he had 71 tackles (55 solo), three interceptions, six passes defensed, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble in 14 starts last year.
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