Player Notes

  • DeMarco Murray thinks he's still a top-end RB
    DeMarco Murray "definitely" believes he is still a top-end running back.

    Advice: "I am very confident in myself and I am excited," Murray said. "I am excited about the future, and my future. I know what kind of player I am." It would be surprising for him to say anything else, but the reality is Murray took a step back in his age-29 season even before being sidelined by a knee injury late in the year. The Titans can wipe all of Murray's $6.5 million salary off the cap by cutting him, making that the most likely outcome. Yesterday, 7:36 am
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Bell 'definitely' wants to stay in Pittsburgh
    Le'Veon Bell said he "definitely" wants to re-sign with the Steelers.

    Advice: "I never want to leave this city, but obviously, circumstances and things like that," Bell cautioned. The running back has threatened to sit out or retire if the Steelers hit him with the franchise tag again -- he waited until September 4 to sign his tender last season -- but that appears to be where this situation is headed. The tag will be worth around $14.5 million for Bell. Yesterday, 6:17 am
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Rex Burkhead (knee) expected to play in AFCCG
    NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Rex Burkhead (knee) is expected to play in the AFC Championship Game.

    Advice: Burkhead was close to suiting up against the Titans, so he should be ready to go following another week of practice. That said, Burkhead reportedly was not moving well in practice last week, although he did show improvement later in the week. Dion Lewis will remain the lead back even if Burkhead suits up. Yesterday, 6:04 am
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Mark Ingram struggles in loss to Minnesota
    Mark Ingram managed just 25 yards on 10 carries while catching his only target for a three-yard gain Sunday in the Saints’ Divisional Round loss to the Vikings.

    Advice: Ingram never got anything going on Sunday, which was probably to be expected against Minnesota's top-tier run defense. It didn't help that New Orleans spent most of the day playing from behind and essentially abandoned the running game altogether after halftime. Ingram limped to the finish line, ending the year on a three-game touchdown drought while struggling to just 2.56 yards per carry during that span. It's not the finish Ingram was hoping for, but this was still by far his best season as the 28-year-old set career-highs in both rushing yards (1,124) and touchdowns (12). Even with Alvin Kamara playing a major role, Ingram should be in the RB1 conversation in 2018. Sunday, 6:45 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Latavius finds pay-dirt as Vikings advance
    Latavius Murray earned 50 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries while snagging two catches for 17 yards on two targets Sunday in the Vikings’ Divisional Round win over the Saints.

    Advice: Murray had a touchdown called back in the second quarter—it was negated by a Mike Remmers holding penalty. But he didn't have to wait long for his next opportunity, finding the end zone for a one-yard score just five plays later. Murray out-touched backfield-mate Jerick McKinnon by a wide margin (21-11 was the final tally) but mostly squandered his big workload by averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. He'll have his work cut out for him against a stout Eagles run defense in next week's NFC Championship. Sunday, 6:20 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Jerick McKinnon scores in win over Saints
    Jerick McKinnon rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on eight carries while adding three catches for six yards on four targets Sunday in the Vikings’ Divisional Round win over the Saints.

    Advice: McKinnon got the scoring started by punching in a 14-yard touchdown on the Vikings' opening drive. Riley Reiff absolutely leveled Marshon Lattimore on the play, allowing McKinnon to waltz into the end zone untouched. McKinnon was relatively quiet in the second half, gaining just nine yards on four carries after halftime. For the game, Latavius Murray out-touched him by a convincing 21-11 margin. A trip to the Super Bowl will be on the line next week when the Vikings travel to Philadelphia to face the top-seeded Eagles in the NFC title game. Sunday, 6:18 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Kamara rolls to 105 yds and a TD versus Vikes
    Alvin Kamara produced 43 yards on 11 carries while adding four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown on seven targets Sunday in the Saints' Divisional Round loss to the Vikings.

    Advice: He out-touched backfield-mate Mark Ingram 15-11 including 10-3 in the second half. Kamara looked like he was shot out of a cannon on every touch and made a sensational leaping catch over Eric Kendricks for a 14-yard touchdown with 3:01 remaining in the fourth quarter. That put New Orleans ahead by one, though the Vikings would eventually end the Saints' season on a walk-off touchdown by Stefon Diggs. The 22-year-old dominated in 2017, finishing the regular season with 13 touchdowns while leading all running backs in receiving yards. The likely Rookie of the Year should be a top-five running back option in fantasy drafts next summer. Sunday, 5:43 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Yeldon excels as role player in win over PIT
    T.J. Yeldon rushed five times for 20 yards and a touchdown and caught 3-of-3 targets for 57 yards in the Jaguars' Divisional Round win over the Steelers.

    Advice: The Jaguars gave Leonard Fournette a second-quarter breather and Yeldon handled back-to-back carries in scoring position, hitting pay dirt on the second from four yards out. With Chris Ivory inactive, Yeldon took over as the Jags’ feature back for most of the second quarter after Fournette aggravated his longstanding ankle injury. Fournette returned to begin the second half, pushing Yeldon back into change-of-pace work. Yeldon contributed one of Jacksonville’s longest completions on a 40-yard swing pass in the fourth quarter. A serviceable role player, Yeldon has settled in as the Jaguars' best option at No. 2 running back behind Fournette. If Fournette's ankle acts up at all during the forthcoming practice week, Yeldon could see increased usage in Week 20 against the Patriots. Sunday, 2:15 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Fournette scores 3 TDs in Jaguars upset win
    Leonard Fournette rushed 25 times for 109 yards and three touchdowns and caught 2-of-4 targets for ten yards in the Jaguars' Divisional Round upset win over the Steelers, 45-42.

    Advice: Fournette got Jacksonville on the board first with a leaping goal-line score on fourth down to cap an eight-play opening drive. He put the Jags up 14-0 on an explosive sideline run to the house from 18 yards out. Fournette badly tweaked his long-troublesome ankle at the end of a ten-yard reception early in the second frame, only to return on the Jags’ first second-half drive, presumably after a painkilling injection. Although Fournette’s efficiency dipped in the final two quarters, he helped seal the win with a third touchdown on a goal-line score following Keelan Cole’s 45-yard bomb. Fournette’s health will be worth monitoring ahead of the AFC title game in New England. Sunday, 1:28 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Chris Ivory inactive against Pittsburgh
    Jaguars declared RB Chris Ivory, DT Eli Ankou, LB Deon King, WR Jaydon Mickens, OL William Poehls, OL Chris Reed and OL Josh Walker inactive for Sunday's Divisional Round game against the Steelers.

    Advice: Ivory was not listed on the injury report, which means he's a healthy scratch. T.J. Yeldon will back up Leonard Fournette, who rushed for a career-high 181 yards when these teams squared off in Week 5. Blair Brown, who had been questionable with an ankle injury, is active for Jacksonville. Sunday, 8:36 am
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Dion Lewis totals 141 yards; vultured 3 times
    Dion Lewis rushed 15 times for 62 yards and caught 9-of-10 targets for 79 yards in the Patriots' Divisional Round win over Tennessee.

    Advice: Held to 18 yards on his first six carries, Lewis got loose for his first big gain on a ghost-reverse screen pass that gained 31 yards early in the second quarter. He ripped a 14-yard catch over the middle on the very next snap and stayed dominant in the passing game throughout against a Titans defense that gave up a league-high 60.4 receiving yards per game to running backs this season. Unfortunately, Lewis was vultured three times in scoring position – twice by James White and once by Brandon Bolden. Regardless of Rex Burkhead’s (knee) Week 20 availability, Lewis has earned featured duties in New England’s backfield entering the AFC title round. Saturday, 9:03 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • James White scores twice in Patriots blowout
    James White rushed four times for 11 yards and a touchdown and caught 4-of-7 targets for 29 yards and an additional score in the Patriots' Divisional Round win over the Titans.

    Advice: After Dion Lewis put the Patriots in second-quarter scoring position, White put the Pats into the end zone on a shovel-pass touchdown from five yards out. Less than three minutes later, White scored his second TD on a six-yard carry. White could have had a much bigger yardage day, but he dropped two passes that would have gone for significant gains. Although it was still a productive effort from New England’s main passing-down back, White’s role in the AFC Championship game will be affected by Rex Burkhead’s (knee) health. Saturday, 9:01 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Derrick Henry stymied: 49 yards on 15 touches
    Derrick Henry managed 28 yards on 12 carries and caught 3-of-4 targets for 21 yards in the Titans' Divisional Round loss to New England.

    Advice: The Titans showed no ability to generate push in the run game after RT Jack Conklin’s first-quarter knee injury, and Tennessee continued to underutilize Henry in the passing game despite the big-play ability he showed on receptions in each of the last two weeks. Henry was up and down in three late-season starts, struggling against the Jaguars and Pats and ripping apart the Chiefs in between. Henry will be a hyped 2018 breakout candidate if the Titans cut DeMarco Murray, but we wouldn’t rule out the team adding another fresh-legged back. The coaching staff has shown minimal faith in Henry in all phases of the passing game. Saturday, 8:48 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Devonta Freeman played through knee sprains
    Devonta Freeman revealed that he played the end of the season with sprains to both his MCL and PCL.

    Advice: Freeman clearly lacked explosiveness in Atlanta's playoff loss to Philadelphia, and he was limited in practices leading up to both the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds. "I hope I don't have to," Freeman said of the possibility of undergoing offseason surgery. We suspect Freeman will be all systems go for OTAs. Saturday, 6:46 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • LeGarrette Blount rushes for TD vs. Falcons
    LeGarrette Blount rushed nine times for 19 yards and a touchdown in the Eagles' Divisional Round win over the Falcons.

    Advice: As he did down the stretch of the regular season, Blount looked sluggish. Jay Ajayi will lead the rushing attack in the NFC Championship Game. Saturday, 5:50 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Jay Ajayi posts 98 yards vs. Falcons
    Jay Ajayi rushed 15 times for 54 yards in the Eagles' Divisional Round win over the Falcons, adding three receptions for 44 additional yards.

    Advice: Ajayi was arguably the Eagles' most effective offensive player, but he lost a brutal early fumble that made it look like it might be a short afternoon for the home 'dog Eagles. Ajayi was mothballed down the stretch of the first half, but resurfaced after the break. 20 will be his over/under for touches in the NFC Championship Game. Saturday, 5:39 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Tevin Coleman totals 93 yards in playoff loss
    Tevin Coleman rushed 10 times for 79 yards in the Falcons' Divisional Round loss to the Eagles, adding a 14-yard reception.

    Advice: Coleman remained the 1B to Devonta Freeman's 1A this season, essentially duplicating his 2016 numbers. His 927 yards from scrimmage were just 14 fewer than he posted during the Falcons' Super Bowl campaign. Still frustratingly boom or bust, Coleman saw his yards per carry dip to 4.02. He posted mixed results as a starter when Freeman missed Weeks 11 and 12 with a concussion. Headed into the final year of his rookie deal, Coleman's usage does not figure to change much in 2018. Saturday, 5:11 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Mike Gillislee inactive for Divisional Round
    Mike Gillislee (knee) is inactive for the Divisional Round against the Titans.

    Advice: As is Rex Burkhead (knee). Dion Lewis will lead the Patriots' backfield, with James White getting snaps in passing situations. Saturday, 3:57 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Browns hand out reserve/future contracts
    Browns signed RB Kelvin Taylor, CB Corey White, LB Max Bullough, DL Ricky Ali’ifua, DL Jeremy Faulk and OL Joseph Cheek to reserve/future contracts.

    Advice: A 2016 sixth-rounder, Taylor has never appeared in a regular season game. He took the rock 18 times for 58 yards (3.22 YPC) last preseason. Thursday, 1:32 pm
    Week 17 Projected Rank
  • Jets expected to move on from Matt Forte
    ESPN's Rich Cimini reports Matt Forte's "days are numbered" with the Jets.

    Advice: Hampered by a knee injury which did not allow him to practice and eventually landed him on injured reserve ahead of Week 17, Forte rushed for just 381 yards and two scores on 103 carries. He did continue to add value in the passing game, but the Jets need to get younger at running back. Cutting Forte will save New York $3 million against the cap. Thursday, 7:08 am
    Week 17 Projected Rank
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