5 things you need to know for Saturday
Good morning football fans! Here are the five things you need to know coming out of Friday to get your morning started right:
- One of the last one-time starting free agent quarterbacks came off the board Friday, with Ryan Fitzpatrick inking a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is the seventh different NFL team for Fitzpatrick, who had a disappointing 2016 season (he had the No. 31 PFF grade with the Jets) after grading 73.5 for the same Jets team in 2015. Fitzpatrick is just Jameis Winston insurance in Tampa Bay. His signing leaves just three quarterbacks who started a game in 2016 — Colin Kaepernick, Shaun Hill, and Robert Griffin III — as free agents.
- Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey might sit out the team’s full preseason this year, per the Miami Herald. Pouncey played only five games in 2016 — Weeks 5-9 — before a hip injury ended his year prematurely. He underwent a stem-cell procedure this offseason to help get over the injury, and will still be rehabbing from the injury in the preseason. In the five games Pouncey played in 2016, he put up the second-lowest grade of his career.
- Per LA Times reports, Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen has been running routes at full speed during OTAs as he recovers from a 2016 ACL tear. Allen led the team in targets, receptions, and receiver rating (passer rating when targeted) in 2015 before getting hurt halfway through the team’s Week 1 game. With the development of Tyrell Williams in 2016 and the drafting of Mike Williams in this year’s draft, Allen is set to fill the team’s slot role in 2017.
- Heading into his third NFL season, Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker is eying a big improvement, according to both Parker and his offensive coordinator, Clyde Christensen. Christensen was quoted as saying he expects Parker to have a “gigantic year.” Over 29 games his first two seasons, Parker has 82 catches for 1,238 yards and 7 touchdowns. He had a 79.6 PFF grade in 2016 (26th out of 115 qualified receivers) after a 73.7 (51st of 121) as a rookie. His target share more than doubled from his rookie season (13 percent to 28 percent).
- This year’s rookie class has drawn a lot of hype for fantasy, with big-name players at every fantasy-relevant position. PFF Fantasy’s Brandon Marianne Lee tosses some cold water on that hype, though, pointing out that only 11 rookies total have been fantasy-starter-worthy in the last three years, and those have all been in situations where they clearly took over their team’s No. 1 role. With many of this year’s rookie class, like RB Dalvin Cook and WR John Ross, in situations where they might have to compete for touches, the only rookies she is investing in for the 2017 season are WR Corey Davis and RBs Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey.