The conference championships are only a few days away. While we have two awesome games this weekend, relish in the fact we only have three meaningful games left of the season. Before I break down the latest news be sure to check out Hayden Winks’ study on expected fantasy points.
Larry Fitzgerald Not Ready to Retire
Entering his age-37 season (August 31st, 1983), Fitzgerald announced he would return for his 17th year with the Cardinals. The legend is well past his prime but signed a one-year, $11 million deal to continue playing. He reportedly was happy with coach Kliff Kingsbury’s coaching and wanted to play again. Even though he’s an older wideout, he recorded 5-or-more receptions in 9-of-16 games and 4-or-more in 12-of-16 games last season. Taking the top off defenses was never his game but he’s settled in as a low-upside pass-catcher who excels at finding pockets in opponent's zone defenses. He doesn't have much fantasy upside left and shouldn't be drafted as much more than a low-ceiling WR4. Since 1970, only 10 wide receivers 37-or-older have recorded 50-or-more receptions in a season. Half of those seasons were by the G.O.A.T., Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald’s storied career is winding to an end but it looks like we’ll be able to enjoy Fitzgerald for at least one more season.
Giants Interviewing Jason Garrett for Offensive Coordinator
Joe Judge is in charge of picking his own staff so let's hope this is just a formality. Garrett has plenty of experience as the former head coach of the Cowboys but is notorious for underperforming relative to the talent on his rosters. Nothing about his time in Dallas should excite Judge beyond being a head coach for an extended period of time. The Giants have a lot of intriguing pieces of offense with Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shephard, and Golden Tate but will need the right coordinator to maximize their potential.
Conference Championship Injury News
Chiefs DL Chris Jones (calf) did not practice Wednesday. Jones didn’t play in the Divisional Round against the Texans and is only questionable to play against the Titans this Sunday. He’s considered “day-to-day” and will likely be a game-time decision. If he’s able to get in a limited practice the next couple of days it would be a good sign for his chances of suiting up.
Dee Ford (hamstring) was sidelined for Wednesday's practice. Ford only played 22 snaps against the Vikings but recorded a sack without re-injuring his hamstring. Wednesday was likely a rest day for Ford. He’ll probably be limited to only playing as a pass-rusher this weekend against Green Bay.
Adam Humphries (ankle) returned to practice Wednesday. This is a great sign for Humphries who hasn’t practiced since injuring his ankle in Week 13. Humphries’ role was filled in by a combination of Darius Jennings, Kalif Raymond, and Tajae Sharpe. He’ll likely force all of them back to the bench in three- receiver sets. He still has to be fully cleared to play so his status is one to monitor for the next few days.
Allen Lazard (ankle) was limited for Wednesday's practice. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport noted that Lazard’s injury is only “minor” and expects him to be ready for this weekend. Lazard left the Divisional Round in the first half but returned after some time on the sideline. He’ll remain the No. 2 option behind Davante Adams.
Travis Kelce (knee) was a limited participant for Wednesday's practice. This isn’t too much of a surprise after Kelce was limited all of last week while nursing a knee injury. It didn’t seem to bother him too much as he ripped off 134 yards and three touchdowns on 10 receptions. He’ll likely see plenty of work against the Titans Defense which largely struggled to guard tight ends this season.
George Kittle (ankle) was sidelined for Wednesday's practice. This is likely just a rest day for the tight end who was in sweatpants and sneakers at Wednesday’s practice. Coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t say anything about Kittle’s injury but this is obviously something to keep an eye on heading into this weekend.
Steelers owner Art Rooney said the team still doesn't have a concrete timeline for Ben Roethlisberger's rehab. Rooney added that “everything we hear so far is positive” but it’s still “in the early stages of rehab.” Roethlisberger’s rehab is something to watch this season at age 38. … Bears hired ex-Jaguars OC John DeFilippo as QBs coach. DeFilippo is a former offensive coordinator for the Vikings and Jaguars where he was notoriously pass-heavy. Hopefully DeFilippo will be able to improve Trubisky’s accuracy.