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According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the Bills are considered one of the favorites to land free-agent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Fowler reports Buffalo has "been lurking," although the organization would need to get "creative," considering its limited cap space. Hopkins is coming off a down season, finishing the 2022-23 campaign with 64 catches for 717 yards and three touchdowns. However, after the Cardinals failed to find a trade for the multi-time Pro Bowler, he was released on Friday. Nonetheless, there will be numerous updates on the veteran's potential plans, with Fowler also mentioning the Chiefs, Jets, Cowboys, and Saints as other teams in the running to acquire his services. As a result, Hopkins' fantasy outlook will remain a mystery until he signs with a new club. Of course, if he lands in Buffalo, it would certainly improve Josh Allen's fantasy stock.
Free-agent quarterback Tom Brady told Sports Illustrated that he won't un-retire. "I'm certain I'm not playing again, so I've tried to make that clear and I hate to continue to profess that," said Brady. "I've already told people that lots of times." He later commented that being involved as an owner is a "dream come true." Many have speculated that the 45-year-old could be back under center in 2023-24 as a member of the Raiders, especially if he successfully purchases a piece of the franchise. Talk about Brady's potential comeback picked up more steam after it was reported Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) hadn't passed a physical. That said, it sounds like the multi-time Super Bowl winner is done playing, although most won't believe it until he isn't on the field this season.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, defensive tackle Ed Oliver agreed to a four-year, $68 million ($45 million guaranteed) extension with the Bills. The 2019 No. 9 overall pick totaled 151 tackles (96 solo), 14.5 sacks, 11 passes defensed, and four forced fumbles in his first four seasons as a professional (62 games). He would have been playing on the fifth year of his rookie deal. However, Oliver will stay in Buffalo, where he's expected to remain a vital component of a potent Bills defense.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields topped NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of most explosive runners from last year. Only Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray has been more explosive on the ground in the last three seasons. The Bears lacked weapons offensively in 2022 and struggled because of it on offense, but Fields kept them afloat most of the time with his legs. His ability to create positive gains with his legs has already put him in the QB1 conversation heading into his second full season as the team's starter. The 24-year-old led the league with 1,143 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground at his position on 160 attempts in 15 games. Fields also took 55 sacks and fumbled 16 times, though, so it wasn't all good. But if he can progress as a passer and decision-maker, Fields' fantasy ceiling is through the roof.
Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III provided the team with a reliable, powerful option in the backfield in 2022 in his rookie season, and he finished third in NFL.com's Nick Shook's explosive score thanks to a big-play resume. He led all rushers in top speed reached with the ball in his hands at 22.09 mph, tied for third in gains of 10-plus yards over expected (15) and hit 20 mph on four carries on the year (tied for fourth). Walker averaged 4.6 yards per carry and topped 1,000 yards rushing while scoring nine rushing TDs in his first NFL season. The addition of rookie Zach Charbonnet to Seattle's backfield this year could take some work away from Walker, mainly in the passing game, but the 22-year-old should still be their lead back after his performance last year. Consider Walker a low-end RB1/high-end RB2 in fantasy.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. was sidelined his entire rookie year with a foot injury, but he made up for lost time in 2022 with his versatile skill set out of the backfield. He finished with 1,125 rushing yards (5.1 yards per carry) and five touchdowns while adding another 316 yards through the air. Etienne was one of the most explosive ball-carriers last year, mainly because of his ability to hit full speed with the ball in his hands. He tied for the second-most runs at 20-plus mph among qualified runners with six, trailing only Justin Fields. The 24-year-old also had 13 gains of 10-plus yards over expected. There's a chance that Etienne sees a bit of reduced workload in 2023, but even with that possibility, his playmaking abilities put him on the RB1/2 borderline in fantasy.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's injury issues have been well-documented over the last two years, as he's been limited to 12 games each year. He still managed to qualify for NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of most explosive ball-carriers last year with 112 rushing attempts. Jackson wasn't among the leaders in top speed reached, but he still recorded 15 gains of 10-plus yards over expected, and his ability to pick up chunks of yards saw him break 10 yards on 27.7 percent of his attempts. The Ravens plan to dial back some of Jackson's designed runs in 2023 in an attempt to keep him healthy, but part of the reason he's such a dynamic talent at the QB position is ability to pick up chunk gains with his legs when plays break down. There is injury risk, but the 26-year-old remains in play as a top-five fantasy QB.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) remained absent from workouts at organized team activities on Friday after having offseason ankle surgery. Taylor had successful arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right ankle in January, but he's still not ready to get back onto the practice field after also missing the final three games of the regular season in 2022. It's not really a surprise that the 24-year-old isn't practicing yet, and the Colts are fully expected to take things slowly with their No. 1 running back this offseason. However, he's expected to be fully ready for training camp at the end of July, barring any setbacks. Taylor isn't going to be the No. 1 overall fantasy pick in drafts this fall, but he should still be considered a top-five fantasy RB.
The Minnesota Vikings seem all but certain to get rid of running back Dalvin Cook this offseason, and The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson writes that he is "a real possibility" for the Miami Dolphins if he's released. The Dolphins could also choose to trade for Cook, who is currently training in South Florida while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The 27-year-old is coming off his fourth straight 1,000-yard rushing season, but injuries have been an issue in recent seasons and he also had a career-low 4.4 yards per carry in 2022. All signs point to Minnesota giving the reigns to Alexander Mattison as their featured back in 2023 and moving on from Cook, so he's becoming a very shaky RB2 in fantasy. If he were to land in Miami, Cook would be joining an already crowded backfield that includes Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson Jr. and rookie De'Von Achane.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded Riley Patterson to the Detroit Lions last week for a 2026 conditional seven-round draft pick. Patterson rejoins the Lions after kicking for them in 2021, hitting 13-of-14 field goals in seven games. He lost the starting job in Detroit the following season to Austin Seibert before landing with the Jaguars. He will now compete with Michael Badgley and John Parker Romo this offseason for the kicker spot in Detroit. Will he win the job? Is he a good fit with the Lions? Let's dive in. Will Riley Patterson Win the Starting Kicker Job? Patterson likely has the best shot to be the Lions' Week 1 kicker of the three kickers on the roster. Not only did Detroit trade a future draft pick for him, but the 23-year-old kicker has been a reliable kicker in his first two seasons. He's converted on 87.8% of his field goals (43-for-49) and 98.1% rate (52-for-53) on extra points in his career. Last season in Jacksonville, Patterson went 30-for-35 on field goals in the regular season and went 3-for-3 in the playoffs, including a game-winner against the Chargers in the Wild Card round. https://twitter.com/NFL/status/1614480033648906240?s=20 Badgley, though, has a great shot to be the Lions' starting kicker as well. He appeared in 12 games for Detroit last season and went 20-for-24 on field goals and 33-for-33 on extra points. In his career, Money Badger is 59-for-94 (81.7%) on field goal attempts. Romo, on the other hand, has no NFL experience but went 17-for-19 with the San Antonio Brahmas in the XFL in 2023. It will likely come down to Patterson and Badley for the starting kicker job in Detroit. Both have an equal shot at winning the job and will depend on their performances in camp this summer. Is Riley Patterson A Good Fit With The Lions? The fit for Patterson in Detroit is a favorable one, considering the Lions' high-level offense. If he wins the starting kicker job, he can be a streamable fantasy kicker with the potential to be a weekly kicker option. Last season, the Lions averaged the fifth most points per game in the NFL (26.6), and that boosted Badgley's fantasy value in 2022. He averaged 8.4 fantasy points per game with three double-digit performances in the final six weeks. He was also the number two overall kicker in total points between Week 10 and Week 15. If Detroit continues to score points in 2023, that will help Patterson's fantasy outlook in 2023. The Lions only attempted 1.8 field goals per game -; which ranked toward the bottom of the league -; but if that number trends up this season, that would be a big boost for Patterson in fantasy.
According to Rams head coach Sean McVay, the team will continue to be smart with wide receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle). "I think we'll just take that a day at a time," McVay said. "Whenever he does come back, we'll be smart with how we kind of onboard him and get him back up to speed." McVay's stance is certainly understandable, as Kupp has been a productive wideout for years. He finished last season with 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns in nine games before missing the remainder of the season because of a high-ankle sprain that required surgery. But assuming things turn out well, the 29-year-old should be one of the first receivers taken in fantasy drafts heading into Week 1.
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