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Mallex Smith SEA CF
Mariners' Mallex Smith: Won't throw for two weeks5m ago
Smith (elbow) won't throw a baseball for a least a couple weeks, Corey Brock of The Athletic reports.
The issue is apparently with a muscle, not a ligament. If Smith is cleared to throw in two weeks, he'll still have nearly a month to build up by Opening Day, so there's still a good chance the injury won't carry into the season. If he falls behind that timeline, though, a stint on the Injured List can't be ruled out.
Jake Jewell LAA SP
Angels' Jake Jewell: Throwing normally after surgery10m ago
Jewell has recovered from surgery on his right leg and is throwing normal bullpen sessions in camp, Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic reports.
Jewell underwent season-ending surgery on his right fibula in June but is ready to go to start the season. He appears to be a long shot to make the team's Opening Day bullpen but will have a good chance to add two his two career major-league innings at some point in the season.
Jacoby Ellsbury NYY CF
Yankees' Jacoby Ellsbury: Unlikely to be ready on Opening Day20m ago
Ellsbury (foot) is expected to open the season on the Injured List, Brendan Kuty of The Newark Star-Ledger reports.
A long list of injuries kept Ellsbury off the field for the entirety of 2018, and 2019 hasn't started any better. Plantar Fasciitis has prevented him from reporting to camp on time, and the team doesn't believe he'll be able to ramp up in time for the start of the season, as he remains unable to run on flat ground. Given his struggles staying on the field, the Yankees will likely be treating anything they get from him as an unexpected surprise this season.
Carlos Rodon CHW SP
White Sox's Carlos Rodon: Likely starter Opening Day2h ago
Rodon is the leading candidate to start Opening Day in Kansas City on Mar. 28, Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
After a delayed start in 2018 due to his recovery from shoulder surgery, Rodon pitched like an ace for much of the summer. The left-hander went 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA and .151 batting-average against over nine starts between July 5 and Aug. 27, but Rodon fell apart in six September starts (1-5, 9.22 ERA). There were underlying numbers to indicate his summer stretch was unsustainable -- .176 BABIP, 3.90 FIP, 4.77 xFIP, 3.8 BB/9 -- but that horrible September is not an accurate picture. The White Sox are anxious to see how the 26-year-old performs from March to September, given Rodon's full offseason of health.
Keon Broxton NYM CF
Mets' Keon Broxton: Likely ticketed for reserve duty2h ago
Broxton is expected to serve in a bench role with the Mets to begin the season, Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News reports.
After he was acquired from the Brewers on Jan. 5, there was some thought that Broxton might contend for an everyday role in center field, but those hopes were effectively quashed after manager Mickey Callaway indicated this week that Brandon Nimmo would serve as the Mets' primary option at that position. Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto are penciled in as the projected starters in left and right field, respectively, leaving the likes of Broxton, Juan Lagares and Rajai Davis to contend for depth spots. There could be an opportunity for the right-handed Broxton to handle a short-side platoon gig -- all three of the starters are left-handed hitters -- but that might not translate to enough at-bats to give him much early season appeal outside of NL-only formats.
Drew Storen KC RP
Royals' Drew Storen: Declared healthy14h ago
Storen (elbow) passed his physical and is ready to compete for a spot on the major-league roster during spring training, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reports.
Storen agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training Friday, and the deal was made official after he passed his physical. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in December of 2017, the Royals are pleased to announce that he's received full clearance and won't face any throwing restrictions, per Flanagan.
Jason Croom BUF TE
Bills' Jason Croom: Status strengthened10h ago
The Bills released Charles Clay on Friday, leaving Croom as the team's only tight end currently under contract.
Logan Thomas is a restricted free agent and could be brought back, while the Bills have a ton of cap room this offseason and a slew of draft picks to invest in tight end. While there will certainly be competition coming in, Croom -- who caught 22 balls on 35 targets for 259 yards and one touchdown in 2018 (15 games) -- is clearly going to get a chance to piggyback off a somewhat successful first pro season. While Croom has yet to wow, the upside is there as a former wide receiver still learning the ins and outs of the position.
Jaylen Watkins LAC DB
Chargers' Jaylen Watkins: Latches on for another year13h ago
Watkins (knee) signed a one-year contract extension with the Chargers on Friday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Watkins tore his ACL during the preseason and missed the entire campaign. The Chargers will retain the 26-year-old and likely test him out in a special-teams role since their secondary is strong already. It's yet to be determined whether Watkins will be ready for the offseason program.
Nicholas Grigsby DET LB
Nicholas Grigsby: Cut loose by Detroit13h ago
The Lions released Grigsby on Friday, Tim Twentyman of the Lions' official site reports.
Grigsby suited up for nine games with the Patriots and three with the Lions this season, and he only worked on special teams with the latter. The 26-year-old will look for a similar role in the 2019 campaign.
Charles Clay BUF TE
Charles Clay: Cut by Buffalo19h ago
Clay was released by the Bills on Friday, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com reports.
Signed to a five-year, $38 million contract during the 2015 offseason, Clay never quite lived up to his paycheck but did start 53 games the past four seasons despite dealing with a number of injuries. Friday's transaction clears up $4.5 million on the 2019 cap sheet while leaving the Bills with Jason Croom and Logan Thomas (a restricted free agent) at tight end. Clay celebrated his 30th birthday earlier in the week and may have to settle for a part-time role on the open market.
Sidney Jones PHI CB
Eagles' Sidney Jones: Ready for normal offseason20h ago
Jones (hamstring) said he would've been cleared for the NFC Championship Game if the Eagles had advanced past the divisional round, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Jones was limited to nine appearances (four starts) during the 2018 season, injuring his right hamstring on three separate occasions. He seems to have regained his health in time for a normal offseason routine, with the hope of adding some muscle to his 6-foot, 180-pound frame. The 2017 second-round pick will need to battle for a meaningful role in the Philadelphia defense, as fellow cornerbacks Jalen Mills (foot), Rasul Douglas, Avonte Maddox and Cre'Von LeBlanc are all under contract for at least one more season. Jones does have the benefit of youth (he'll turn 23 in May) and draft pedigree (2017 second-rounder pick).
Tracy Walker DET DB
Lions' Tracy Walker: Poised for starting job21h ago
Walker is the favorite to replace Glover Quin in the starting lineup for 2019, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.
A third-round pick in the 2018 draft, Walker came on strong at the end of his rookie season, averaging 32.5 snaps and 2.8 tackles over the final four games while also holding his own in coverage. His solid play may have contributed to the Lions' decision to release the 33-year-old Quin, a 16-game starter each of the past six seasons. The team likely intends to use Walker and Quandre Diggs as the starting safeties in 2019, with the latter coming off a 2018 campaign in which he piled up 78 tackles (64 solo), three interceptions (one for a touchdown) and eight passes defensed. Diggs is the safe IDP play, but Walker could get plenty of tackle opportunities in a defense that prefers to use its safeties interchangeably.
Andre Roberson OKC SG
Thunder's Andre Roberson: Still not doing on-court work1h ago
Coach Billy Donovan said Thursday that Roberson (kneecap) has yet to resume on-court activities, Brett Dawson of The Athletic reports.
It's fairly concerning that Roberson isn't even going through light drills after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in late May, but Donovan said he remains optimistic the wing will contribute at some point this season. Even if Donovan's prediction comes to pass, Roberson won't represent much of a fantasy asset. Over his 39 appearances in 2017-18, Roberson shot an excellent 53.7 percent from the field but averaged only 5.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks in 26.6 minutes per game.
Anthony Davis NO PF
Pelicans' Anthony Davis: Required MRI for shoulder2h ago
The Pelicans sent Davis in for an MRI on his left shoulder following his early departure from Thursday's 131-122 win over the Thunder, Ramona Shelbourne of ESPN.com reports.
The results of the MRI didn't reveal anything overly concerning for Davis, who was diagnosed with a shoulder contusion. Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Davis intends to play in Sunday's All-Star Game, but the big man's availability will hinge on how he responds to treatment leading up to the exhibition. If Davis ultimately gains clearance to play in the All-Star Game, he would presumably be ready to suit up for the Pelicans' first game out of the break Feb. 22 against the Pacers.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander LAC PG
Clippers' Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Collects three steals Friday10h ago
Gilgeous-Alexander compiled 15 points (5-10 FG, 3-7 3Pt, 2-2 FT), six assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 20 minutes during Friday's 161-144 loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Gilgeous-Alexander appeared right at home on the big stage Friday, ending the games with 15 points to go with three steals. He has been one of the more frustrating players to roster in fantasy this season with his playing time frustratingly inconsistent. Head coach Doc Rivers seems somewhat reluctant to give him big minutes and that has certainly impacted his overall value. Perhaps this will turn around as the season progresses, especially if the Clippers fall out of the playoff race. As of right now, he is a fringe standard league player but that could certainly change if his playing time creeps up to 30 minutes per night.
Lauri Markkanen CHI PF
Bulls' Lauri Markkanen: Scores 21 points Friday10h ago
Markkanen tallied 21 points (9-17 FG, 3-7 3Pt), six rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes during Friday's 161-144 loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Markkanen started for Team World and ended with 21 points, second only to Ben Simmons who finished with 28 points. After missing a large chunk of the season due to injury, Markkanen has come on strong for the Bulls and is the 22nd ranked player over the past month. If he ever manages to put up consistent numbers on the defensive end of the floor, his overall value would likely sit inside the top-20.
Luka Doncic DAL SF
Mavericks' Luka Doncic: Solid effort in Rising Stars Challenge10h ago
Doncic came away with 13 points (5-12 FG, 3-9 3Pt), nine assists, five rebounds, and two steals in 24 minutes during Friday's 161-144 loss to Team USA.
Doncic was somewhat quiet Friday but still managed to put up a solid enough line in Team World's loss to Team USA. He fell just one assist short of a double-double but did play a team-high 24 minutes. Doncic is the standout favorite for the rookie of the year and it would likely take a major injury to rob his of that award. Despite all the accolades, Doncic is just the 89th ranked player across the season, due primarily to his high turnover rate and poor shooting from both the field and the free-throw line. These are numbers that should improve with time and he could eventually find himself as a top-20 type player.
Ben Simmons PHI PG
76ers' Ben Simmons: Efficient night Friday10h ago
Simmons totaled 28 points (14-17 FG, 0-1 FT), six assists, five rebounds, and three steals in 21 minutes during Friday's 161-144 loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Simmons missed just three shots Friday, ending the game with 28 points in the losing effort. He would have been a serious contender for the MVP award, however, the fact he was on the losing side likely cruelled any chance he had. Simmons has by all accounts, had a mediocre season for the 76ers. Over the past two weeks since the acquisition of Tobias Harris, Simmons is the 255th ranked player in standard 9-category leagues. Obviously his overall value is dragged down by his poor free-throw percentage and high turnover rate, but nonetheless, it is a worrying trend for his owners.
Dustin Byfuglien WPG D
Jets' Dustin Byfuglien: Omitted from morning skate2m ago
Byfuglien was curiously absent from morning skate ahead of Saturday's home game versus the Senators, according to Scott Billeck of the Winnipeg Sun.
While it's strange that Byfuglien wasn't on the ice Saturday morning, we advise against reacting too heavily to this news until the team has a chance to issue an official update. According to Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun, the hulking defender "got tangled up" with Mikko Rantanen in Thursday's game against the Avalanche, but ultimately returned to the contest.
Tyler Bertuzzi DET LW
Red Wings' Tyler Bertuzzi: All systems go13m ago
Bertuzzi (upper body) has been activated from injured reserve, per the NHL's official media site. As a result, expect him to play against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Bertuzzi's activation comes at a good time, as the Red Wings will need to rest Frans Nielsen (illness) for the first of two games against the Flyers this weekend. Bert has compiled 13 goals on a tremendous 17.6 shooting percentage to go along with 15 helpers through 49 games in his third NHL season (technically his second as a full-timer).
Frans Nielsen DET C
Red Wings' Frans Nielsen: Won't play Saturday17m ago
Nielsen (illness) won't suit up against the Flyers in Philadelphia on Saturday, but Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill thinks the forward will be ready for Sunday's home clash with that same team.
Nielsen secured the game-winning goal against the Senators on Thursday, counting as his second tally of 2019. Fortunately, it doesn't sound like his malady is too severe. He remains an important utility player for the Red Wings, but the Wings are expecting Tyler Bertuzzi (upper body) to take his place Saturday.
Thomas Hickey NYI D
Islanders' Thomas Hickey: Sent to minors for conditioning19m ago
The Islanders reassigned Hickey (upper body) to AHL Bridgeport on Saturday for conditioning purposes, Brian Compton of NHL.com reports.
Coach Lou Lamoriello indicated that Hickey Andrew Gross of Newsday at least the two weekend games with Bridgeport before the organization reassesses where he's at in his recovery. The veteran blueliner started the season uncharacteristically slow prior to the injury, notching just four assists over 32 games. While he doesn't participate in the power play, Hickey has managed 20-plus points in four of the last five. He would need to drastically pick up the pace after returning to draw anywhere close to that mark in 2018-19, though it shouldn't be expected given his two-month absence.
Andrew Ladd NYI LW
Islanders' Andrew Ladd: Headed for conditioning stint31m ago
The Islanders sent Ladd (lower body) on a conditioning stint with AHL Bridgeport on Saturday, Brian Compton of NHL.com reports.
The Islanders can leave Ladd down for three games or more if he's willing to stay there to build back up, though coach Lou Lamoriello indicated Saturday that the organization will reassess him after the two weekend contests, per Andrew Gross of Newsday. The veteran winger has been on the shelf since Nov. 13 with his lower-body issue, but his return would certainly be welcomed for an Islanders team that has struggled to find consistent scoring of late.
Tyler Ennis TOR LW
Maple Leafs' Tyler Ennis: Back at it Saturday32m ago
Ennis (ankle) will return to action against the Coyotes on Saturday, Mark Masters of TSN.ca reports.
Ennis was activated from injured reserve ahead of last Saturday's game against the Canadiens, but the Leafs opted to keep him out for three more games post-activation. Look for the veteran winger to handle bottom-six minutes upon his return.