Tue Aug 4 4:50pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer
In this May 31, 2016, file photo, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Andrew Billings (75) participates in NFL football practice in Cincinnati. Billings, who signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Cleveland Browns in March after spending three seasons with the Bengals, has opted out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
In this Feb. 25, 2020, file photo, Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis. Berry said Tuesday that star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has been fully committed to reporting to the team's facility. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)
In this Dec. 29, 2019, file photo, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. catches a pass before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry said Tuesday that Beckham has been fully committed to reporting to the team's facility. (AP Photo/Gary Landers, File)
CLEVELAND (AP) While there's no guarantee Odell Beckham Jr. will stay quiet, the Cleveland Browns are confident their outspoken star receiver won't be bolting from training camp.
Beckham had recently questioned the NFL's decision to push forward and h(backslash)play the 2020 season despite the COVID-19 virus continuing to spread across the country.
But first-year Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry said Tuesday that Beckham, who came to the Browns in a blockbuster trade from the New York Giants last year, has been fully committed since reporting to the team's facility last week.
''He's returned and really been focused on working hard,'' Berry said on a Zoom call with reporters. ''He's been very engaged in everything that we've done in the classroom and he's really focused on having a great year.''
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal last month, Beckham expressed concerns about playing this season with the pandemic not subsiding. Beckham condemned owners for being greedy and said they don't see the players ''as human.''
''I just feel like the season shouldn't happen,'' Beckham said, ''and I'm prepared for it to not happen and I wouldn't mind not having it.''
Beckham's interview took place before the league and NFL Players Association agreed on safety protocols so teams could open their facilities. Beckham reported on time, tested negative three times in four days for the coronavirus, and has participated in all the Browns' team activities.
Berry understands that anything the three-time Pro Bowler says gets magnified. He said Beckham needs to know that, too.
''Having a player of Odell's stature on the roster obviously generates a lot of attention,'' said Berry, who returned to the Browns' front office after one season in Philadelphia. ''And Odell's very mindful that he has to be conscientious with his words. With that being said, we've had plenty of dialogue and conversation with Odell, not only just through the summer but certainly as he's returned to Cleveland.
''And that's been a positive thing. We feel really good about everything that the league and the PA have agreed upon and everything that we've done in Cleveland.''
Beckham was slowed by a core muscle injury all last season that limited his explosiveness. He only took a few snaps at full speed in practices leading up to games. He underwent surgery in January to repair the injury he sustained in training camp - after he had skipped the team's voluntary workouts.
Beckham finished with 74 receptions for 1,035 receiving yards and four touchdowns, his fewest in the six seasons in which he has played at least 11 games.
Berry's media availability came shortly after the team announced that defensive tackle Andrew Billings is opting out of the season due to the coronavirus. Berry didn't provide any specifics on Billings' decision, but stressed the team stands by any player choosing not to play.
Billings, who signed as a free agent in March to bring some bulk to Cleveland's interior, is the third Browns player to opt out.
''For all those guys, it is deeply personal and an individual choice,'' Berry said. ''We understand that it is a difficult decision, and again, it is very, very personal. We support the three guys who have opted out so far, and I look forward to them being back with the team next year.''
NOTES: Berry acknowledged being ''a little bit'' surprised by TE David Njoku's trade demand. The 2017 first-round draft pick has since rescinded the request and Berry said he believes Njoku ''can have a fantastic year.'' ... Berry has been impressed by QB Baker Mayfield, who reported to camp ''in terrific shape.'' Berry said Mayfield cut body fat and has ''done a really nice job of what I would call almost creating community and really bringing guys together, as difficult as that can be as everybody has really been trying to function virtually.'' ... Berry had no hesitation signing DE Myles Garrett to a five-year, $125 million contract extension. Garrett was suspended for six games by the NFL last season for striking Steelers QB Mason Rudolph with a swung helmet, but Berry doesn't think the incident is an accurate reflection on Garrett's character.
Waiver Wire Adds: Week 4
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook has hauled in just one reception for four yards this season, with the time that he has seen due primarily to DJ Chark Jr.s absence last Thursday versus Miami. After back-to-back seasons with 66 receptions, Westbrook will have an uphill battle to that level of production in 2020 due to the breakout nature of rookie Laviska Shenault Jr. Despite working his way back from an undisclosed off-season injury, there likely arent many fantasy managers still hanging on for production at this stage; Westbrook is a massive risk due to his slipping role among an offense that has a plethora of options when Chark is healthy.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense may have sustained significant blows by losing Nick Bosa (knee) and Solomon Thomas (knee) for the remainder of the season in Week 2, but that didnt stop them from looking strong against the Giants in Week 3. Looking ahead, theyll face a rocky Eagles offense that has had to answer questions about Carson Wentzs starting quarterback status since Sunday, with a Dolphins squad two weeks away that is quarterbacked by Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has tossed three interceptions this season. While their status as the preeminent defensive unit may have taken a step back, San Francisco still unquestionably has a defense worth rostering and deploying on a weekly basis until the group proves otherwise.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard benefited greatly from Davante Adams (hamstring) absence during Week 3, amassing six receptions for a career-high 146 receiving yards and a touchdown. Should Adams continue to be sidelined this Sunday against Atlanta, Lazard would track up the board as a premier WR option due to the Falcons propensity for being burned by opposing wideouts through the first three weeks. Even if Adams is cleared to return, Lazard has clearly developed a rapport with Rodgers, hauling in 13 of the 17 targets that he has seen thus far in 2020. With other potential favorable matchups against Tampa Bay and Houston on the horizon, Lazard can be added in most season-long formats as an upside play for October, and potentially beyond.
The New York Giants have inked veteran running back Alfred Morris to the teams practice squad in a continued attempt to bolster their backfield situation in light of Saquon Barkleys (knee) season-ending absence. Morris last appeared in 2019 in one game for the Cardinals, receiving just one carry for four yards. His best days came as a member of Washington, where he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection in 13 and 14, before joining Dallas, where current Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was his head coach. Newly-signed Devonta Freeman carried the ball just five times Sunday versus San Francisco, although the score of the game likely dictated his workload more than the teams level of confidence in their new running back. Morris is a name to keep an eye on should he eventually be elevated to the active roster.
Free-agent safety Earl Thomas III was set to have a workout with the Houston Texans on Tuesday, but COVID-19 related protocol scuttled that meeting. Things had advanced so far between the two sides that Thomas had already taken a physical with the organization. Released by Baltimore during pre-season activities following an altercation with a teammate, the seven-time Pro Bowler would be a sound addition to the Houston secondary. With the workout cancelled Tuesday, it does throw into flux the possibility that Thomas could be available this weekend when the Texans take on Minnesota. Having allowed at least 28 points in each of their first three contests, the Texans defense is currently not a fantasy option in any-sized format.
The Los Angeles Chargers placed cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday and promoted defensive back Jahleel Addae to the active roster in a corresponding move. Harris suffered a foot injury in the Week 3 loss to the Panthers that is expected to keep him out for at least a month and potentially up to six weeks. With All-Pro safety Derwin James (knee) already out for the year, it's another blow to a strong Chargers secondary. The good news is that Harris will be back this season. Against a strong Buccaneers passing attack this Sunday, the Chargers Defense could be a bit more vulnerable, especially against wide receiver Chris Godwin in the middle of the field.
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock (shoulder) did not participate in practice Tuesday, Sept. 29. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (quad), CB Davontae Harris (hamstring) and RB Phillip Lindsay (foot) were limited. CB Bryce Callahan (wrist), DE Shelby Harris (neck, quad), S Kareem Jackson (back) and S Trey Marshall (wrist) practiced in full. The Broncos did not hold a practice Tuesday, so the report was an estimation.
The Philadelphia Eagles placed tight end Dallas Goedert (ankle) on Injured Reserve on Tuesday, meaning he'll be out at least three weeks. In a corresponding move, the team signed tight end Hakeem Butler to the active roster off the Panthers practice squad. Goedert has a small fracture in his left ankle and also an ankle sprain. He'll be back this year, though, and was a big part of the team's passing game before going down, so he's worth stashing if you have the extra roster space. A banged-up Philly receiving corps will now rely more heavily on Zach Ertz and DeSean Jackson, if he's healthy to go in Week 4. Greg Ward Jr. might be worth a flier off the waiver wire in deeper leagues.
Los Angeles Chargers CB Chris Harris Jr. (foot) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a foot injury Tuesday, Sept. 29. S Jahleel Addae was elevated from the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Carolina Panthers S Natrell Jamerson was activated from the practice squad Reserve/COVID-19 list and returned to the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Free-agent S Earl Thomas (Ravens) has already taken in offsite physical - likely in preparation to sign with the Houston Texans - but the Texans sent him home before his scheduled workout after the NFL asked all 32 teams to review their COVID-19 procedures for bringing in new players, according to sources.
Free-agent PKs Kai Forbath and Elliott Fry are expected to work out for the Atlanta Falcons on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert (ankle) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with an ankle injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Fantasy Spin: Per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, the "hope" is that Goedert can return at the end of his three-week IR stint, although it sounds like it is far from a guarantee. In the meantime, his absence should lock Zach Ertz into nearly 10 targets per game for an offense that may need Greg Ward to handle a similar workload given all the injuries at receiver. Owners should hold onto Goedert, as he has incredible upside at a position that lacks a lot of it for fantasy purposes.
Atlanta Falcons DE Austin Edwards was elevated from the practice squad Tuesday, Sept. 29. The Falcons also released CB D.J. White and LB Deone Bucannon from the practice squad.
Atlanta Falcons CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a hamstring injury Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Denver Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien is expected to get the start on Thursday against the Jets over Jeff Driskel, according to sources. Driskel looked terrible, albeit against a strong Buccaneers Defense, in the Week 3 loss, and Drew Lock (shoulder) will miss at least another week of action while he recovers from his injury. Rypien, 24, saw his first game action last Sunday with the game out of hand, going 8-for-9 for 53 yards and one interception. Even against a Jets Defense that has looked terrible, Rypien won't have much upside in an offense missing their top receiver for the rest of the season. Downgrade rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant for this one. If Rypien struggles early, don't be surprised if Denver goes back to Driskel.
Washington Football Team DE Matt Ioannidis (biceps) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Sept. 29. DE Nate Orchard was signed off the practice squad to replace him on the roster.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hamstring) may not be able to play in either of the team's next two games as he recovers from a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 3 versus the Denver Broncos.
Fantasy Spin: It appears he would have an outside chance of playing in Week 5, but the Buccaneers are scheduled to play the Chicago Bears two Thursdays from now. With Scott Miller (hip, groin) batting his own injury issues, Justin Watson could be thrust into action as Mike Evans' tag-team partner in Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers. If that ends up being the case, Watson should probably be considered a low-end flex option.
There is a chance that Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (shoulder) could play in Week 5 against the Patriots, but the Broncos have more hope that he'll return in Week 6 in a more favorable matchup against the Dolphins. This is why Denver didn't place the 23-year-old on short-term Injured Reserve. The offense was just unable to get into any kind of flow in Week 3 against a tough Buccaneers Defense, and it also doesn't help that wide receiver Courtland Sutton (knee) is lost for the season. Lock's return should make rookie Jerry Jeudy and tight end Noah Fant more attractive in season-long and DFS leagues, but the second-year signal-caller will remain a midrange QB2 until further notice with the Broncos dealing with so many injuries. Until Lock returns, Jeff Driskel is a desperation QB2 streamer in superflex setups.
New York Jets head coach Adam Gase said that wide receiver Jamison Crowder (hamstring), rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton (shoulder) and offensive tackle George Fant (concussion) will all be limited in Tuesday's walkthrough practice. All three players are trending toward playing on Thursday night against the Broncos. It's good news for a Jets offense that has been pitiful without Crowder and running back Le'Veon Bell the last two games. If Crowder suits up this week, he should be quarterback Sam Darnold's top aerial target, which would put him on the flex radar in PPR leagues. Crowder could see even more targets if Breshad Perriman misses another contest with his injury.