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Bears building playbook for Cutler

Draft Sharks - Tue, 03/10/2015 - 05:00

The lack of public support for QB Jay Cutler from the front office has been the biggest story line in Chicago this offseason.  But ESPN's Chris Mortensen hears that the Bears are fully planning on having Cutler under center this season.  In fact, Mort adds that the coaching staff has been designing a playbook to "accentuate Cutler's strengths."  Despite his warts, the Bears have come to the realization that Cutler is their best option at the position.  We're still expecting more commitment to the run under new HC John Fox, though.  That, plus the loss of WR Brandon Marshall, leaves Cutler in QB2 territory.

Williams headed to Seattle

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 21:19

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Seahawks have agreed to a deal with CB Cary Williams. Perhaps it's telling that Seattle let Byron Maxwell walk in free agency and then signed the guy that Philly released. Playing across from Richard Sherman certainly wouldn't hurt Williams' IDP outlook. Assuming this gets finalized, look for Williams among our top 50 projected fantasy DBs for 2015.

UPDATE: ESPN reports it's a 3-year deal worth $18 million.

Vikings re-sign Asiata

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 19:02

Vikings RB Matt Asiata signed a 1-year deal Monday to avoid restricted free agency. The small new contract indicates that he wouldn't have drawn much interest from other suitors. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that he chose an "incentive-laced" deal over the $1.54 million RFA tender. Minnesota will be better off if Asiata plays a smaller role in 2015.

Beason restructures with Giants

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 18:59

Giants MLB Jon Beason agreed to a restructured contract on Monday, likely taking less money to stick around. That keeps him a candidate to start in the middle for the Giants in 2015, but he might need to fight off Jameel McClain for the job. Either way, we're not too interested in the oft-injured veteran for IDP purposes.

Thomas set to join Jags

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 18:55

Yahoo! Sports' Charles Robinson reports that Jacksonville has reached a deal with free-agent TE Julius Thomas, reportedly worth about $9 million per year. That sure seems like overpaying for a guy who has lost at least 2 games to injury in each of his 4 seasons. Jake Davidow of pointed to the ankle Thomas fractured early in his career as a potential recurring trouble spot. Thomas has managed consecutive 12-TD seasons and will head into his age-27 campaign in 2015. We certainly expect a significant dip in his fantasy value moving from Peyton Manning to Blake Bortles, but the move at least helps the Jags QB by giving him another talented pass-catcher.

Browns sign Brian Hartline, 2-year deal

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 16:45

Former Miami receiver returns home

The Browns' newest wide receiver, Brian Hartline. (Cleveland Browns on Twitter)

FF Today's Take: The deal is reportedly worth $6 million over two years. Hartline was released by Miami making him free to sign with any team before free agency begins on Tuesday. Hartline had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2012 and 2013 but is moving to a fantasy black hole in Cleveland. He is currently the No.1 receiving option with Josh McCown and the rehabbing Johnny Manziel on the depth chart at quarterback.

Hartline heading to Cleveland

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 15:46

WR Brian Hartline has agreed to a deal with the Browns, according to insider Dustin Fox.  It's an uninspiring landing spot for an uninspiring player.  Hartline has a couple of 1,000-yard seasons under his belt but has just 12 TDs across 6 NFL seasons.  He currently looks like Cleveland's #1 WR, so the targets should be there.  But QB play is a major question mark.  We won't be drafting Hartline as anything more than a fantasy backup this summer.

Gore-to-Philly not a done deal

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 15:25

Free-agent RB Frank Gore is having 2nd thoughts about signing with the Eagles, according to both NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and ESPN's Adam Schefter.  Philadelphia has reportedly already started targeting other RBs in case Gore heads to Indy.  We'd like his fantasy prospects a bit better with the Eagles due to scheme and offensive line talent.  But the Colts would make him the lead back in an offense that finished 6th in points this past year.  Gore would have a good chance at retaining weekly-starter fantasy value in Indy or Philly.  We should find out his new home within the next 48 hours.

Gore to the Eagles, not so fast

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 14:52

RB re-considering his options, Colts back in the mix

Free agent shocker: Frank Gore reconsiders potential/pending deal with the Eagles, I'm told. With negotiations still ongoing - no deals are final - keep an eye on the Colts for the coveted services of RB Frank Gore. (Ian Rapoport)

FF Today's Take: It should serve as a reminder to all of those who reported that a deal was complete, or would be signed on Tuesday, to be more responsible in their reports and analysis. In any case, it sounds like the Colts are back in the mix for Gore's services. Should Gore find himself in Indianapolis he would likely be the lead back in a two-man RBBC with Dan Herron.

Revis hits free agency

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 14:13

The Patriots on Monday officially declined their 2015 option on CB Darrelle Revis, which would have paid the veteran $20 million. That move isn't surprising and doesn't necessarily mean he won't return to New England, but Revis will find no shortage of suitors on the open market. Even if he's not much of an IDP factor, a healthy Revis undeniably helps any defense he joins.

Eagles keep Graham

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 14:11

The Eagles -- somewhat surprisingly -- re-signed OLB Brandon Graham on Monday with a 4-year deal worth a reported $26 million. As long as Graham stays healthy and effective, we'd expect the 27-year-old to play out that contract. Philly clearly needed Graham's edge-rushing talent after releasing OLB Trent Cole. The re-signing also signals that they don't believe 2014 first-round OLB Marcus Smith is near ready for a prominent role. As a starter, Graham should turn into a solid option for fantasy football owners playing in sack-friendly IDP leagues.

Saints dump Lofton

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 13:12

The Saints on Monday released veteran LB Curtis Lofton to clear a little more than $4 million in cap room. The 28-year-old had performed fine in New Orleans but isn't a special player in any particular area. He'll likely find a new suitor fairly quickly and continue to deliver low-LB2 to high-LB3 fantasy football production for your IDP league.

Texans release Andre Johnson

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:20

End of an era

The Texans officially released Andre Johnson on Monday, ending the wide receiver's storied 12-year career in Houston. Johnson was informed last week he would either be traded or released. The Texans parted ways with Johnson the day before free agency begins. He is now free to sign with any team in the league. (Houston Chronicle)

FF Today's Take: With no team wanting to trade for Johnson's contract, he was released... as expected. The Ravens, who are expected to lose Torrey Smith, may have an interest in the veteran wideout. DeAndre Hopkins is expected to lead the Texans in receiving this season.

Johnson released

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 12:09

The Texans officially released WR Andre Johnson on Monday.  They tried to find a trade partner, but there were no takers for a soon-to-be 34-year-old due $10.5 million in 2015.  He should find plenty of interested teams at a reduced rate, though.  Johnson still seems capable of being a valuable possession receiver, but his landing spot will be a big factor in his fantasy value.

Texans sign Ryan Mallett

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 08:00

Two-year, $7 million deal

Ryan Mallett and the Houston Texans have agreed to a two-year, $7 million deal that will pay the quarterback $1.75 million in guaranteed money, a source told ESPN. Mallett will receive the guaranteed money in the first year of the contract, according to the source. (ESPN)

FF Today's Take: The Texans are also expected to sign Brian Hoyer although the Jets remain in the picture for his services. If Hoyer is signed then you can expect a quarterback battle during training camp.

Hughes sticks with Bills

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 07:43

The Bills have re-signed DE Jerry Hughes a day before he was to reach unrestricted free agency. “Yeah there (were other teams calling), but we were still listening to Buffalo,” Hughes told the team website Monday. “I made it clear to them especially from my point of view I made it clear to my camp that (Buffalo) was the place I wanted to be.” His deal reportedly calls for $45 million over 5 years, with $22 million guaranteed. Hughes broke through for 19 sacks with the Bills over the past 2 seasons after beginning his career as a disappointing 1st-round pick in Indy. Staying in a loaded Buffalo front 7 can only help his value going forward. We'll see, however, if Rex Ryan's scheme changes Hughes' position from DL to LB for IDP purposes. We'd bet that it will, which will hurt his fantasy value in most IDP leagues.

Bears set to add McPhee

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 06:25

The Baltimore Sun reports that the Bears have reached a 5-year, $40 million deal with free-agent OLB Pernell McPhee. The former Raven never reached full starting status in Baltimore but twice reached 6 sacks over his 4 seasons as a situational player, including a career-high 7.5 in 2014. He'll play primarily OLB in Chicago's 3-4 base defense but has the versatility to line up in many spots. The Bears -- under a different coaching staff and GM -- signed DEs Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young in free agency just last year to improve the edge rush. But Houston suffered an ACL tear, Young suffered an Achilles' tear and Allen will turn 33 in April. All appear likely to remain on the 2015 roster, with Allen's $12.5 million cap number fully guaranteed. McPhee carries the most IDP upside in the group, though Houston could become a sleeper if he still carries the DL designation.

Texans re-sign Mallett

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 06:24

The Texans have re-signed QB Ryan Mallett.  The 4-year vet started the first 2 games of his career this past season, completing 54.7% of his passes for 400 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs.  Houston will hold an open QB competition this summer between Mallett and Brian Hoyer.  QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is now expected to be released.

Willis will reportedly retire

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 06:18

Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin reports that the 49ers expect LB Patrick Willis to retire. Willis lost 10 games to a toe injury last season but was expected to be ready for training camp, according to reports from just last week. He has been increasingly banged up in recent seasons, however, and might simply be feeling the physical toll. Assuming this news proves true and Willis bows out, the Niners will have a much easier time getting NaVorro Bowman and Chris Borland into the lineup. Both players will carry top-5 IDP upside into the 2015 season and rank among the top 10 LBs in dynasty leagues.

Weatherspoon set to join Cards

Draft Sharks - Mon, 03/09/2015 - 06:07

Yahoo! Sports' Rand Getlin reports that LB Sean Weatherspoon will sign a 1-year, $4 million deal with the Cardinals once free agency opens. Consider us surprised if the veteran couldn't get the same deal to stay with the Falcons, especially given that the coach and GM had said they wanted him back. Weatherspoon's biggest problem has been injuries. He has played all 16 games in a season just once since entering the league 5 years ago. Weatherspoon missed all of 2014 after rupturing an Achilles' tendon. He missed 9 games the year before because of foot and knee injuries. A 4-3 OLB in Atlanta, he'll project to the inside in Arizona's 3-4 front. The 1-year "prove it" deal adds intrigue to a player who has performed well and delivered cross-category IDP scoring when healthy. We'll keep an eye on his reports heading into and through training camp. If you can draft Weatherspoon as a low 4th or 5th LB in your 2015 IDP league, you could wind up with some sneaky value. We'll also see what his addition might mean for ILB Daryl Washington, who spent last year suspended by the league.