Recent NFL Player News

Ravens' Kenneth Dixon (meniscus) out for the season

Baltimore Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon's knee surgery will cause him to miss the entire season, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

What It Means:

The initial timeline of 6-8 weeks was for having his meniscus trimmed, but Dixon will instead have have it stitched and repaired, which requires a much longer healing period and will cost him the 2017 season. This helps clear things up a bit in what was a crowded running back depth chart in Baltimore, and Terrance West and Danny Woodhead's roles are becoming increasingly defined as the season approaches.

Before the news that Dixon would miss the season, numberFire's models projected Woodhead for 89 carries, West for 80 carries and Dixon for 71 carries. Look for both Woodhead and West's projections to increase with Dixon out of the picture.

Marshawn Lynch may be kept under 200 carries in Oakland

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch may be limited to under 200 carries, suggests Jimmy Durkin of The San Jose Mercury News.

What It Means:

Durkin surmises Lynch will see a similar workload to the 195 carries that Latavius Murray saw in Oakland last season, but noting it could be less, depending on the roles of second-year backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Lynch turned 31 in April and is more than a full year removed any real NFL competition, so look for the Raiders to manage his workload a bit over the course of the year.

numberFire's models currently rank Lynch as the 25th-best fantasy option at his position for 2017. We project him to rush 174.4 times for 703.3 yards and 5.39 touchdowns this season, with another 296.6 receiving yards and 1.13 touchdowns on 36.8 catches.

Andrew Hawkins retiring from the NFL

New England Patriots wide receiver Andrew Hawkins has told the Patriots that he is retiring from the NFL, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

What It Means:

Hawkins inked a one year deal with the Patriots in May, but he spent the last three years of his career playing for the Cleveland Browns after playing his first three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him as an undrafted free agent after he played two seasons in the Canadian Football League from 2009-2010.

In 6 NFL seasons, Hawkins racked up 209 receptions, 2,419 yards and 9 touchdowns on 341 targets.

Carlos Hyde might not be on 49ers' roster past training camp

San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde could be a surprise training camp cut, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.

What It Means:

The 49ers added Tim Hightower, Kapri Bibbs, and rookie Joe Williams to their backfield this offseason, and the team's new decision-makers have publicly stated their desire for improvement at the position. Hyde, who turns 26 in September and is entering a contract year, could probably fetch a mid-to-late round draft pick from an interested suitor.

numberFire's models are much more optimistic on Hyde's outlook this season, as we currently rank him as the 13th-best fantasy option at his position for 2017. He's projected to rush 249.1 times for 1,003.6 yards and 7.34 touchdowns this season, with another 142.6 receiving yards and 0.77 touchdowns on 24.9 catches.

Ravens' Kenneth Dixon to undergo meniscus surgery

Baltimore Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon will undergo surgery to a torn meniscus on Tuesday, according to The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.

What It Means:

Depending on the nature of the tear, Dixon could miss six-to-eight weeks. Either way, he was already in line to miss the first four weeks of the season having been suspended for violating the league's PED policy. Terrance West and Danny Woodhead are Baltimore's lead backs as the team intends to add Bobby Rainey as a third back.

numberFire's algorithms project Dixon for 109 rushes, 453 rushing yards and 1.6 touchdowns in 2017. That makes him RB46, according to our projections.

Rob Kelley projected to open year as Washington's starter

Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley is expected to open the year as the team's starting running back, according to projections from John Keim of ESPN.

What It Means:

"Samaje Perine will offer tough competition early and perhaps win the job at some point, but if Kelley shows he has improved, he’ll hold onto the job for now," Keim wrote in a rather underwhelming endorsement of the current incumbent in Washington's backfield. Kelley's job security has been at risk ever since the Redskins selected Perine in the fourth round of this year's draft, and it seems inevitable that the rookie will eventually take over the starting gig.

numberFire's models project Kelley to rush 181.7 times for 746.1 yards and 6.40 touchdowns this season while adding 19.6 receptions for 149.9 yards through the air, making him our 27th-ranked fantasy running back entering the year. Perine currently ranks 42nd, and we project him to rush 144.3 times for 517.6 yards and 4.51 rushing touchdowns while catching 15.5 passes for 113.5 receiving yards and 0.61 touchdowns.

Source: ESPN.com

Bills' Sammy Watkins (foot) "close to 100 percent"

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins "should be close to 100 percent" when training camp starts, according to the Buffalo News.

What It Means:

After being limited in OTAs, isn't expected to see much time in preseason. However, things are looking positive for the former first-round pick as he enters a contract year in Buffalo.

For the 2017 season, our models like Watkins to finish the year with 65 catches, 988 yards and 7.4 touchdowns on 120 targets. His 143 fantasy points would make him WR18 in standard league scoring.

Anquan Boldin to meet with Bills Monday

Free agent wideout Anquan Boldin is set to meet with the Buffalo Bills on Monday, according to ESPN's Dan Graziano.

What It Means:

In preservation of his aging body, Boldin wisely waited until closer to training camp to make a decision on which team he would sign with. The Bills are short on quality numbers at wideout so Boldin -- who previously played with quarterback Tyrod Taylor -- figures to get a decent amount of looks in the Buffalo passing game.

As a member of the Detroit Lions in 2016, Boldin yielded 584 yards, 8 touchdowns and 106.4 fantasy points. Meanwhile, his 65.99 Net Expected Points ranked him 67th among all NFL pass-catchers a year ago.

Chargers' Mike Williams (back) may require season-ending surgery

Los Angeles Chargers wideout Mike Williams might need to undergo season-ending surgery to correct a herniated disk, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What It Means:

Williams has received two epidurals, but it doesn't seem to be getting him any closer to taking the field. If things don't get better quick, the rookie could be forced to miss his first season in the league. If Williams is ruled out for the year that would mean more to go around for Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and all other receiving targets.

Our algorithms project a healthy Williams for 48 catches, 574 yards and 3.5 touchdown grabs in the upcoming season. And with a projection of 82 targets, that's a lot left to account for in the Chargers passing game.

Cardinals and Chris Johnson agree to one-year deal

The Arizona Cardinals have re-signed running back Chris Johnson to a one-year contract.

What It Means:

Even though he was limited to only four games with a groin injury in 2016, Johnson showed promise in his limited time on the field with Arizona. He'll be 32 years old this year, while being used as a reserve back for the Cardinals to spell starter David Johnson in 2017.

Out of running backs with between 25 and 50 touches in 2016, Johnson's 0.05 Net Expected Points per rush, which ranked fifth.

Steelers' Le'Veon Bell offered more than $12 million a year

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell was offered "over" $12 million per year, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

What It Means:

According to Pelissero's report, the Steelers offered the 25-year-old a three-year deal worth $42 million overall and $30 million over the offer's first two seasons. Bell opted to take the team's franchise tag worth $12.1 million for the 2017 season.

Bell's total of 61.39 Net Expected Points placed him second among all NFL running backs in 2016. This year, we project him for 1,390 rushing yards, 713 receiving yards and 13.5 total touchdowns.

Panthers under Dave Gettleman were not interested in extending Greg Olsen

Ex-Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman was "not interested" in giving tight end Greg Olsen an extension, the Charlotte Observer reports.

What It Means:

Per reporter Joseph Person, Gettleman found it unnecessary since Olsen was just given a three-year, $22 million extension in 2015. Olsen has been making noise about a holdout, and owner Jerry Richardson seems to have grown sensitive to the perception that Gettleman was cold-hearted with veteran players. Olsen's odds of getting extended are much greater than they were 24 hours ago.

Our models project Olsen for 985 receiving yards and 6.43 touchdowns on 80 catches, making him the second-best tight end for fantasy in 2017.

Danny Woodhead best receiving back Ravens have had in years

Baltimore Ravens running back Danny Woodhead is the best receiving back the team has had since Ray Rice, quarterback Joe Flacco said.

What It Means:

"Really... we haven't had a type of back that’s quite like how Ray was and quite like how Danny is in the passing game," Flacco said. "They just have a very good feel for when they're open and how to get open, how to sit in holes, how to find my eyes, and you can already see that." The Ravens lost both tight end Dennis Pitta and receiving fullback Kyle Juszczyk this offseason, and these comments suggest Flacco will be looking for him. Also a threat in the red zone, Woodhead is being undervalued in fantasy formats.

Our models project Woodhead for 367 rushing yards and 2.84 touchdowns on 80 attempts, with 51 catches for 464 receiving yards and 0.93 touchdowns.

Steelers' Le'Veon Bell completely healed from core muscle surgery

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has recovered from offseason core muscle surgery, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports.

What It Means:

Bell will be ready for the start of training camp, although it is not a given he shows up. He has yet to sign his franchise tender, and unless the Steelers work out a surprise long-term extension with their star runner before the 4:00 pm Eastern deadline today, he will not be obligated to attend camp until he signs.

Among the 54 running backs to see at least 100 carries last season, Bell finished ninth in Rushing Net Expected Points per attempt. Our models project him for 1,390 rushing yards and 9.99 touchdowns on 295 carries, adding 85 catches for 713 receiving yards and 3.46 scores.

Bears expect Mike Glennon to start 16 games in 2017

The Chicago Bears plan for quarterback Mike Glennon to start all season, the Chicago Tribune's Rich Campbell writes.

What It Means:

Campbell adds there is no quarterback competition and "Glennon's grip on the job" is a strong one. That said, the Bears are not going to keep second overall rookie Mitchell Trubisky if he's ready – they're in a full-tilt rebuild, and this would not be the first time a team intends to start a veteran all year only to bench him midway through the season. It's still likely Trubisky sees the field this year despite the Bears' protestations.

Our models project Glennon for a 64.78 completion rate, 3,362 passing yards, 24.54 touchdowns, and 10.69 interceptions on 445 passing attempts. That's the 25th-best fantasy projection among quarterbacks this year.

Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott broke man's nose during altercation, per TMZ

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly punched a man at a Dallas-area bar Sunday night, witnesses tell TMZ Sports.

What It Means:

Witnesses say Elliott broke the man's nose, and while there's no video of the altercation taking place, there is footage of the victim laying on the ground afterward. No arrests were made and no charges have been filed, but it would probably behoove Elliott to make more of an effort to avoid these types of incidents. It was reported last week that the second-year back is preparing for a "short suspension" stemming from a 2016 domestic violence incident.

Without accounting for a potential suspension, numberFire's models project Elliott for 1,456.6 rushing yards and 11.73 touchdowns on 304.9 carries, adding 472.8 receiving yards and 2.10 touchdowns on 50.2 catches in 2017. He's currently the third overall running back in our preseason rankings.

Source: TMZ Sports

David Johnson expects 30 touches a game in Cardinals' offense

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson reiterated on Sirius XM NFL Radio that he wants to handle 30 touches a game this season.

What It Means:

"I think the biggest thing is me learning and getting better and improving. So I feel like I can definitely get that 30 touches, not all rushing obviously," Johnson said. The 25-year-old phenom averaged 24.3 touches in 15 games last season before an MCL injury forced him out early in Week 17. The third-year back says he's "100 percent" healed, however, and with Ezekiel Elliott now facing a likely suspension for a domestic violence issue, Johnson seems locked in as a top-two fantasy pick with drafts quickly approaching.

numberFire's models say Johnson is top fantasy running back this upcoming season, as we project him to rush 288.6 times for 1,309.9 yards and 11.26 touchdowns in 2017, with another 760.1 receiving yards and 3.17 touchdowns through the air on 83.6 catches.

Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott involved in altercation late Sunday

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was involved in a "late-night altercation" at a local bar, reports Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

What It Means:

Elliott's off-field behavior continues to be a growing concern. Fortunately, it doesn't sound like the police were involved, but this is awful timing for a player already at risk of suspension for an ongoing domestic violence investigation. At this time, he remains an elite RB1 who shouldn't fall past the middle of the first round in fantasy drafts.

Without accounting for a potential suspension, numberFire's models project Elliott for 1,456.6 rushing yards and 11.73 touchdowns on 304.9 carries, adding 472.8 receiving yards and 2.10 touchdowns on 50.2 catches in 2017. He's currently the third overall running back in our preseason rankings.

Dalvin Cook could earn 300 touches for Vikings

Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Dalvin Cook has the potential to see 300 touches in 2017, according to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

What It Means:

In his preview of Cook, Vensel praised the 21-year-old's speed and versatility, particularly in the passing game. In Vensel's eyes, Cook has a chance to become an every-down back if he can earn the Vikings' trust in pass protection. Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon will be in the mix as well, but Cook is clearly the lead back in Minnesota's three-man backfield.

Our models project Cook for 627 rushing yards and 4.71 touchdowns on 148 carries, with 35 receptions for 291 yards and 0.92 scores. He's our 29th-best back for fantasy.

Texans' rookie D'Onta Foreman arrested for drug and weapons charges

Houston Texans rookie running back D'Onta Foreman was arrested for marijuana possession and unlawful carrying of a weapon in Austin early Sunday morning.

What It Means:

Foreman is still being held on $4,500 bail. Foreman won last year's Doak Walker Award, given annually to college football's top running back. Particularly after Foreman reported to the team out of shape, his chances of making a 2017 impact are fast diminishing. Foreman's attorney released a statement regarding his arrest, disputing the charges. "This legal handgun was recently purchased by D'Onta and registered in his name," Lewis' statement reads. "The handgun was properly secured inside his vehicle as required by Texas law. A passenger in D'Onta's vehicle was in possession of marijuana. D'Onta did not use or possess the marijuana." Lewis also said Foreman will take a urine test to prove this claim.

Our models project Foreman for 129 rushing yards and 0.39 touchdowns on 33 carries, as well as 18 catches for 146 receiving yards and 0.46 touchdowns. He's outside our top-75 projected running backs.

Vikings' Teddy Bridgewater working out with former teammates

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is working out with former college teammate, Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker.

What It Means:

Bridgewater was pictured wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired left knee during this workout after photos emerged of him getting in work without the brace earlier this week. From what we can tell, the quarterback has a shot to return at some point this year, although he will almost certainly open camp on the active/PUP list.

Bridgewater finished 31st in Passing Net Expected Points per drop back among the 39 quarterbacks in 2015 with at least 150 drop backs.

Panthers' Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton getting workout in

Carolina Panthers rookie running back Christian McCaffrey will train with quarterback Cam Newton at the Under Armour facilities in Baltimore this week.

What It Means:

McCaffrey couldn't join the Panthers until Stanford's academic calendar ended in June. He was on hand for the team's three-day minicamp last month but still has some catching up to do. This will be the first time McCaffrey has caught passes from Newton, who has spent most of the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery and only recently resumed throwing. Carolina's other receivers will also be in an attendance, giving Newton some much-needed reps ahead of next week's training camp.

Our models project McCaffrey for 752 rushing yards and 4.14 touchdowns on 163 carries, adding 54 catches for 391 yards and 3.22 touchdowns.

Robby Anderson not a lock to keep Jets' starting job

New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson is no lock to keep the second receiver job, the New York Post believes.

What It Means:

Anderson has a clear path to targets with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker gone, but is trending in the wrong direction after a rough offseason. He’s facing a potential suspension for his May arrest, though he may not face discipline until 2018. The Jets want Anderson to be a "more complete receiver" and become a better route runner. Rookie ArDarius Stewart could unseat him for a starting role.

Our models project Anderson for 741 receiving yards and 3.60 touchdowns on 52 catches, the 52nd-best fantasy projection among wide receivers this year.

Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott likely to be suspended

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is bracing for a "short suspension" due to his involvement in a 2016 domestic violence incident, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.

What It Means:

The investigation is still ongoing, but Schefter says there is a "growing sense" Elliott will miss at least one game. He may not be worth a top-five selection in fantasy drafts with a potential suspension looming, but Zeke remains an elite RB1 heading into his second NFL season. Darren McFadden is second on the Cowboys' depth chart.

Without accounting for a potential suspension, numberFire's models project Elliott for 1,456.6 rushing yards and 11.73 touchdowns on 304.9 carries, adding 472.8 receiving yards and 2.10 touchdowns on 50.2 catches in 2017. He's currently the third overall running back in our preseason rankings.

Bills not changing offense around LeSean McCoy

The Buffalo Bills' official website expects only "subtle changes" to the Bills' running scheme under new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison.

What It Means:

Dennison is a zone disciple of Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak, but the Bills were employing plenty of zone runs under Anthony Lynn and Greg Roman. Dennison has insisted he plans to "carry over' many of the successful principles from the Bills' dominant rushing attacks of the past two seasons. Even with Shady headed into his age-29 season, he remains a safe fantasy option at the position.

Our models project McCoy for 1,262 rushing yards with 9.79 touchdowns on 260 attempts, adding 44 receptions for 352 receiving yards and 1.37 scores. He's our fourth-best fantasy running back for 2017.

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