NFL Player News

Taysom Hill
New Orleans Saints

Taysom Hill

New Orleans Saints • #7 TE

Saints' Taysom Hill expected to retain utility role in 2024

New Orleans Saints head coach "confirmed emphatically" that veteran tight end/quarterback Taysom Hill will retain his utility role in the team's 2024 offense.

What It Means

With a new offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak in tow for the upcoming season, there was some speculation as to whether or not the Saints would continue making use of Hill in the role we've come to expect from him in recent years. However, early OTA practices and quotes from the team have seemingly confirmed that the soon-to-be 34-year-old will remain heavily involved in his "gadget" role. Viewers at OTAs witnessed Hill lining up across the formation, as well as taking snaps at each spot in the backfield as the team ran various plays.

He accrued 401 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns in the Saints' underwhelming offense last year, sometimes even taking over for starting quarterback Derek Carr close to the end zone. While 2023 saw him almost completely phased out as a passer, but his overall usage in the offense trended up.

Notably, Hill caught a career-best 33 passes for 291 yards and 2 scores last year, operating as a traditional tight end more frequently than we've seen in past seasons. If he can continue to develop that role in 2024, he could become a consistent every-week producer for fantasy.

Hill's truly unique profile makes him difficult to project, but he does have enviable fantasy upside due to his involvement all over the field. He is currently projected as the TE16 for the 2024 season, but the Saints' thin roster could push them into relying on him more than ever this season.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Aidan O'Connell
Las Vegas Raiders

Aidan O'Connell

Las Vegas Raiders • #12 QB

Aidan O'Connell staying level with Gardner Minshew in Raiders' quarterback battle

Second-year Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell has reportedly played on par with free agent signing Gardner Minshew so far in the team's OTA sessions per The Athletic's Tashan Reed.

What It Means

Reed noted that neither quarterback has particularly excelled against the Raiders' defense so far this summer, but that the duo have split the first-team reps down the middle throughout their early offseason program. O'Connell took over as the team's starting quarterback down the stretch of the 2023 season, but will now battle against Minshew for the Week 1 starting gig over the rest of the summer.

O'Connell finished his rookie season ranked 26th in adjusted yards per attempt (6.2), just barely behind the more-seasoned Minshew's 23rd-ranked 6.5 adjusted yards per attempt mark with the Indianapolis Colts. Neither was a particularly effective quarterback, but each led offenses that produced fantasy-relevant players at points of the season.

While the fantasy fates of teammates like Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, and Brock Bowers may now rest on O'Connell's and Minshew's shoulders, neither quarterback is expected to produce much fantasy value on their own. The projections at numberFire have them finishing with a combined 236.5 FanDuel points this year, which would rank as the QB28 overall.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Marquise Brown
Kansas City Chiefs

Marquise Brown

Kansas City Chiefs • #5 WR

Chiefs' Marquise Brown "showed promising chemistry" with Patrick Mahomes in OTAs

The Athletic's Nate Taylor writes that new Kansas City Chiefs receiver Marquise Brown "showed promising chemistry" with quarterback Patrick Mahomes in OTAs this summer.

What It Means

Brown signed a one-year, $7 million contract to play with the Chiefs in 2024 and should slot in as the team's top receiver for the season with Rashee Rice facing a potential suspension and first-round pick Xavier Worthy getting his bearings. His pres

Brown has put up respectable numbers each year since entering the league while playing in offenses led by Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray, but could produce his first 1,000 yard season since 2021 with Mahomes under center. He'll get to operate as the team's top wide receiver without the pressure of playing as the top pass-catcher, somewhat mirroring the circumstances in which he posted 1,000 yards while playing alongside Mark Andrews as a Raven.

The early projections from numberFire put him close to that 1,000-yard mark -- he's slated for 922.2 yards and 7.4 touchdowns on 78 receptions as the team's top receiver. He is currently projected to finish as the WR31 league-wide for fantasy in 2024.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Adonai Mitchell
Indianapolis Colts

Adonai Mitchell

Indianapolis Colts • #10 WR

Wideout Adonai Mitchel dubbed the "standout player" at Colts OTAs

Indianapolis Colts second-round pick Adonai Mitchell was the "standout player" and "has shined" in the team's 2024 OTA practices according to James Boyd of The Athletic.

What It Means

Mitchell was the 52nd overall player drafted in the 2024 NFL Draft, becoming the fifth Day 2 receiver the team has drafted over the last 6 years. Of that group, only Michael Pittman Jr. has truly lived up to expectations, but reports from the team's OTA sessions this summer imply that Mitchell could join Pittman in that group.

Mitchell had a tumultuous tenure at the collegiate level, spending two up-and-down seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs before joining up with the Texas Longhorns for his final season, where he caught 55 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns while playing alongside first-round receiver Xavier Worthy and fourth-round picks Ja'Tavion Sanders and Jonathan Brooks.

If he can continue to play at the high levels he showcased at various points in college, he could become Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson's WR2 on a thin pass-catching depth chart.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Brandin Cooks
Dallas Cowboys

Brandin Cooks

Dallas Cowboys • #3 WR

Cowboys' Brandin Cooks showing chemistry with Dak Prescott on "deep ball throws"

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks has shown improved chemistry with quarterback Dak Prescott during the team's OTA sessions, Jon Machota of The Athletic reports.

What It Means

Machota noted that Cooks and Prescott seemed like they had taken their connection to another level this summer, particularly on "deep ball throws". Cooks compiled 657 yards and 8 touchdowns on 54 receptions in his first season with the Cowboys, and looks to be putting himself in position for an even bigger campaign in his second year with the team.

The 31-year-old is currently projected for a WR51 finish in numberFire's early 2024 projections, with 52 grabs for 658.6 yards and 5.2 scores. If he and Prescott have truly honed their connection, he could exceed those projections in what has often been one of the most prolific offenses in the league. With former teammate Michael Gallup now in Las Vegas, Cooks could see more work in 2024 by default.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Tee Higgins
Cincinnati Bengals

Tee Higgins

Cincinnati Bengals • #5 WR

Tee Higgins signs tag, expected to be at Bengals training camp

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins signed his franchise tag over the weekend, according to multiple reports.

What It Means

Higgins is reportedly now expected to show up for training camp in July. However, according to Adam Schefter, a long-term deal between Higgins and the Bengals is "still considered a longshot." Higgins missed five games due to injuries last season and set career-lows with 42 catches for 656 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Bengals don't have any proven options in the passing game behind their top two receivers, so if Higgins can stay healthy in 2024, he should have plenty of opportunities to bounce back in what will likely be a contract year.

Higgins is currently the WR20 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 82.6 receptions, 130.0 targets, 1,080.3 yards, and 7.27 touchdowns during the regular season.

Written by Joshua Levinson on
Mike Gesicki
Cincinnati Bengals

Mike Gesicki

Cincinnati Bengals • #88 TE

Bengals' Mike Gesicki moving around the formation in OTAs

The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. noted that new Cincinnati Bengals tight end Mike Gesicki "shifted all around the line of scrimmage" in OTAs this summer.

What It Means

Gesicki has been out of the fantasy limelight in recent years, but could enjoy a bounce-back year on a Bengals team that has routinely produced streaming-caliber fantasy options at the tight end position since Joe Burrow became the starter. He signed a one-year deal with the team this offseason and now projects to be their TE1 heading into Week 1.

Gesicki had been one of the Dolphins' top pass-catching options between the 2018-2021 seasons, but fell out of favor with the team when they pivoted to a wide-receiver heavy offense under Mike McDaniel in 2022. He then struggled to catch on with a Patriots team ill-suited to take advantage of his pass-catching prowess in 2023, resulting in a disappointing last two years for the former second-round pick.

According to Dehner Jr.'s notes from Bengals OTAs, it sounds like Gesicki could get another shot at putting up receiving numbers in 2024, especially with the departure of longtime slot receiver Tyler Boyd in free agency. Gesicki could become a reliable tight end option for fantasy if he catches on with Burrow and company this year.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Gus Edwards
Los Angeles Chargers

Gus Edwards

Los Angeles Chargers • #4 RB

Chargers' Gus Edwards (undisclosed) expected back by training camp

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh told media members that running back Gus Edwards (undisclosed) has a "high possibility" of being 100% healthy by training camp later this summer.

What It Means

As the Chargers closed out their annual OTA practices, free agent signing Gus Edwards was notably absent. The former Baltimore Ravens rusher had been present at mini-camp earlier in the offseason, but worked with trainers instead of his teammates in those sessions (as injured players do).

We don't know what kind of injury Edwards is dealing with, but it seems like it could be more than just a minor issue. After moving on from longtime back Austin Ekeler this offseason, the team will now be relying on Edwards, the oft-injured J.K. Dobbins, and sixth-round pick Kimani Vidal to carry the load for them in 2024.

Harbaugh is expected to lean heavily on the run in his first year back as an NFL head coach, but may find himself shorthanded when the season rolls around. If one back can stay healthy and consolidate the lion's share of the running back opportunities, they could churn out a fantastic fantasy season. But currently, our model projects Edwards and Dobbins to split the work, with Edwards projected for an RB32 finish and Dobbins behind him at RB49.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Ja'Lynn Polk
New England Patriots

Ja'Lynn Polk

New England Patriots • #1 WR

Ja'Lynn Polk turning heads at Patriots OTAs

New England Patriots wide receiver Ja'Lynn Polk has reportedly been making a good impression on the field during the team's OTA sessions.

What It Means

Polk, the 37th-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft, has reportedly been making a good first impression with his on-field work during the Patriots' OTA sessions. Polk has been making plays while working with the first-team offense, including multiple touchdown grabs from current starter Jacoby Brissett.

Polk could be in line for a considerable workload as early as Week 1 given the lack of target-demanding options elsewhere on the roster. With veteran wide receiver DeVante Parker headed for retirement, Polk will vie for targets alongside second-year wideout Demario Douglas, oft-injured veteran JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kendrick Bourne (ACL), and K.J. Osborn.

The former Huskies wideout put up 1,159 yards and 9 touchdowns on 69 grabs while playing alongside first-round pick Rome Odunze last year. Similar production would be well-received in New England given their lack of consistent receiver play in recent seasons -- no Pats receiver has hit 1,000 yards since Julian Edelman's final campaign in 2019.

Written by Aidan McGrath on
Pat Freiermuth
Pittsburgh Steelers

Pat Freiermuth

Pittsburgh Steelers • #88 TE

Steelers' Pat Freiermuth "looked like a legitimate playmaker" in OTAs

The Athletic's Mark Kaboly writes that Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth "looked like a legitimate playmaker" during the team's OTA work.

What It Means

Freiermuth was reportedly targeted heavily throughout OTAs, and "looked like a legitimate playmaker" while doing so according to Kaboly. The third-year tight end has shown flashes of becoming a difference-maker in fantasy football and could take the leap this year with the offseason departure of Diontae Johnson via trade.

Freiermuth's first two seasons in the league were full of promise, with the young pass-catcher notching 123 grabs for 1,229 yards and 9 touchdowns. Like most Steelers, though, his production cratered in 2023 as the team's offense collapsed. With Russell Wilson in town, the hope is that Freiermuth can pick up where he left off in 2022 and become one of the league's premiere talents at the position.

Freiermuth is currently projected to finish as the TE15 this year in FanDuel points. If Wilson shake off his woes from the past two seasons and recapture his prowess from his Seahawks days, Freiermuth could certainly vault into the top 12 players at his position for fantasy.

Written by Aidan McGrath on

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