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NFL PLAYER NEWS
Titans' Corey Davis a "big part of the offense"
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis is "a big part of the offense" according to offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
Smith raved about Corey Davis in a zoom call on Wednesday, adding that "there were some huge explosive plays last year that Corey was the unsung hero to...hes a big part of this offense and I think he'll take another step." The fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft, Davis caught 43 of 68 targets (63.2%) for 601 yards (14 per reception) and 2 touchdowns last season. His reception percentage and yards per reception marks were new career-highs, and he also set a career-high in NFL passer rating when targeted at 101.4. Working alongside emerging star A.J. Brown, Davis should see lesser coverage this season, but his volume remains an obstacle in the Titan's run-heavy offense.
Davis is the WR63 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 75.6 targets, 44.4 receptions, 609.1 yards, and 3.4 touchdowns.
Titans confident in Ryan Tannehill and passing offense
Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator Arthur Smith expressed his confidence in quarterback Ryan Tannehill and his excitement for the team's passing offense heading into his second season on the job.
Smith told reporters on a zoom call Wednesday that he is "excited about Ryan and where we can go with the passing offense. I feel confident in Ryan. I am excited about the leadership Ryan brings, too." Tannehill had the best season of his career after taking over for Marcus Mariota in week 6, finishing the season as Pro Football Focus' top-graded quarterback. He led the league in yards per attempt (9.6) and was third in completion percentage (70.3%) among quarterbacks with at least 70 attempts. His league-leading passer rating of 114.2 was 20.7 points higher than his previous career-best mark of 93.5 from 2016. It's easy to see why Arthur is excited about the future.
Tannehill is the QB17 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 3,947.1 yards, 24.5 touchdowns, and 12.6 interceptions with another 271.4 yards and 2.5 touchdowns on the ground.
Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. has been "awesome" in offseason program
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been an active participant in the team's offseason program, according to Offensive Coordinator Alex Van Pelt.
Van Pelt added that Beckham has bought in, is all-in, and has "been awesome" this offseason. It's a good sign as Beckham looks to rebound in his second year in Cleveland, following the least efficient season of his career in 2019. Last season Beckham set career lows in reception percentage (56.9%), yards (1,035), and touchdowns (4), excluding his 2017 season which was cut short due to injury. numberFire's models expect him to improve on all of those marks this upcoming season.
Beckham is the WR9 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 132.3 targets, 79.1 receptions, 1,132.2 yards, and 7.6 touchdowns.
Browns looking to "find ways" to get Kareem Hunt the ball
The Cleveland Browns have an idea of what running back Kareem Hunt's role will be in their offense, and would like to see how he runs routes, according to offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt.
Van Pelt added that they "have to find a way to put their best players on the field. Have to find ways to get him the ball". Last season, Hunt was a major factor in the passing game once he returned from his suspension in Week 10, totaling 37 receptions on 43 targets (86%) for 285 yards (7.7 per reception) and 1 touchdown. He added 44 attempts for 171 yards (3.9 per attempt) and 2 touchdowns on the ground, combining for an average of 10.1 touches per game over the final eight weeks of the season. He earned a receiving grade of 83.4 from Pro Football Focus, 9th in the NFL among running backs and well above Nick Chubb's mark of 56.5.
numberFire's models project Hunt for 112.4 carries, 505.9 rushing yards, 49.7 receptions (69.7 targets), 431.6 receiving yards, and 6.81 touchdowns. He's the RB30 in our preseason fantasy rankings.
Browns praise Baker Mayfield for offseason leadership
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is impressing new offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt in virtual meetings.
“He’s done everything I’d expect from him as a starting quarterback,’’ Van Pelt said Wednesday. “His work ethic is great ... He’s all in. He’s doing it exactly how we expect him to do it.’’ Van Pelt added that Mayfield has picked up the new offense quickly during the Browns' virtual offseason program and that he's asking the right questions. Mayfield also hosted a throwing session for about nine teammates in his hometown of Austin, Texas. The combination of better chemistry and a new coach could have the former top overall pick poised for a bounce-back campaign after a dismal second season. He threw the second-most interceptions (21) in the league and his yards per attempt fell from 7.7 yards as a rookie to 7.2 yards. Mayfield's touchdown percentage also dropped from 5.6 to 4.1.
Baker is the QB19 in numberFire's preseason fantasy rankings. Our models project him for 4,076.8 yards, 27.0 touchdowns, and 15.3 interceptions with another 129.9 yards and 1.5 touchdowns on the ground. Mayfield ranked 32nd last year in Net Expected Points per dropback among the guys to drop back at least 150 times.
Seth DeValve released by Panthers
Tight end Seth DeValve has been released by the Carolina Panthers due to a non-football injury, according to ESPN's David Newton.
DeValve, a former fourth-round selection by the Cleveland Browns in 2016, played 12 games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, totaling 12 receptions on 17 targets (70.6%) for 140 yards (11.7 per reception). He was signed by the Panthers in March but was released on Wednesday due to a non-football injury.
DeValve was Pro Football Focus' second-highest-rated pass-blocking tight end last season, earning a grade of 82.4.