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Cameron Brate: The League’s Hot New Fantasy Tight End

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(Photo by ESPN.com)

Now that New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is heading to injured reserve for the second time in four years, it is safe to say that his reign as the NFL’s best tight end is over. He was already losing ground by missing two games earlier in the season and not producing with Jimmy Garropolo and Jacoby Brissett as his quarterbacks. Let us not forget, Greg Olsen is averaging more yards per game and has as many touchdowns with worse quarterback play and questionable coaching by his side in Carolina.

Two back surgeries in the NFL and NCAA have already been strenuous for Gronkowski to overcome and have exacerbated his long-term durability.

With him possibly leaving under the Patriots mantra of getting rid of players one year too early rather than one year too late culture, it might be time for us to crown someone else as the new king of tight ends.

And when I say “King,” I am only thinking about the kind that could help you win in fantasy, including FanDuel or DraftKings (or whatever their name will be amidst their apparent merger).

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released their underachieving 2014 second-round pick, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a Harvard-graduated undrafted free agent from Seferian-Jenkins’ draft class, Cameron Brate, emerged. In his first game after the release, Brate caught five passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Jameis Winston, and lately he has gone in for some more end zone retreats. In his last six games, Brate has caught four touchdown passes, more than any tight end in the NFC South, including the aforementioned Olsen.

Photo by Scout.com

Photo by Scout.com

But much of his scoring has come when the Bucs have been in great scoring position. Including his last four, all of his touchdowns have come in the red zone, an area of difficulty for the Bucs.

Due them punting 4.5 times per game, they are unable to make the trips there. What is also not helping is Winston’s struggles in Bucs territory, an area that goes from their own 1-yard line till midfield. He has thrown ten interceptions and completed just 60.2 percent of his passes there in 2016, and, as a result, is accumulating a disappointing Buccaneers territory passer rating of 65.7.

Until they clean up their mistakes in that area of the field, Brate cannot get better numbers inside or outside the red zone. Except, he might as well be the solution there as Winston has a Bucs territory passer rating that has dropped by 15.1 points from the season before (80.8 passer rating in Buccaneers territory in 2015) and is in need of a replacement for Vincent Jackson.

In eight games where he has been on the field for more than 60 percent of the team’s snaps, Brate has racked up thirty-five balls for 431 yards and five touchdowns on fifty-one passes. Best of all, he has dropped none of his passes and his red zone targets, receptions, and yards only make up 25.4, 22.0, and 11.2 percent of his overall targets, receptions, and yards respectively.

Making Brate a strict passing game solution might be easy said but done, except using him as another blocker at 235 pounds would likely injure him and waste any talent that would make him special for the Bucs. Right now, the Bucs are making the best of what they have, and until they get extra blockers to help Brate flourish as a pass catcher, they will not win more because feeding him coincidentally makes them better.

Denver Broncos

Broncos’ Von Miller Avoids Charges for Bloody Shark Photo on Instagram

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Denver Broncos superstar linebacker Von Miller will not face charges for catching and posing with a bloody hammerhead shark back in 2018, according to documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (h/t Deadspin).

Miller came under fire for a controversial photo posted on his Instagram story last year showing him with the bloody shark.

According to Florida Law, catching and releasing in this particular scenario would be fine, as long as the shark was “immediately returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed.”

Per TMZ Sports, Miller and the group pushed the shark back overboard after catching it, and the compilation of Miller’s Instagram story shows that process as well as the shark swimming away.

Despite that, and as Deadspin’s story points out, the picture doesn’t exactly 100% convince that the shark was “unharmed”.

According to USA Today, the boat Miller was on was called ‘Spellbound’ and the owner and operator of the boat were not as fortunate as Miller in regards to the investigation.

“Owner and operator were charged under the Magnuson-Stevens Act for fishing for sharks without the proper permit and for failure to release a shark in the manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival. A $2,000 NOVA was issued.”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission classifies hammerhead sharks as a Group 3 shark, and harvesting them in state waters can be met with a second degree misdemeanor.

In the state of Florida, second-degree misdemeanors are punishable by up to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail, as determined by a judge.

Miller defended himself following the post, claiming that the shark didn’t die; “Everybody knows that I hunt and fish. It’s what I do” Miller said (h/t ESPN).

“But I also believe in conservation. I’m not just out there going crazy. We followed the rules. I did everything I was supposed to do.”

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NEWS

Raiders’ Antonio Brown Settles Lawsuit

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New Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was acquired via trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this offseason, has struck a settlement with a man, Ophir Sternberg, that claimed that he nearly killed a toddle by throwing furniture off of a Miami apartment building balcony, according to TMZ.

In the lawsuit, Sternberg claims his 22-month-old son was walking around the pool at the high-end apartment complex back in April 2018 when suddenly “large objects started to fall from the building many floors above them.”

Sternberg claimed that Brown tossed everything from vases, an ottoman, and other pieces of furniture from the balcony and they landed within feet of the toddler.

Brown had denied throwing the items, claiming that it was another person who had access to his apartment on that day.

Police responded to the scene and reported that Brown was “very agitated” and yelling when they arrived, noting that people have been trying to calm Brown down.

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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NBA

Eagles’ Jalen Mills Arrested

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Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Jalen Mills was arrested in Washington D.C following an altercation with Washington Wizards player Devin Robinson, according to the Associated Press’ Howard Fendrich (via the Washington Post).

Both men were charged with disorderly affray, which is described as fighting in a public place.

According to the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner, a verbal altercation broke out between the two that escalated into a physical fight that took place on the sidewalk.

Robinson was transported to a hospital following the fight with Mills and upon his release he was taken to to department’s 2nd District station where Mills was detained.

Mills and Robinson were “involved in a verbal altercation which escalated into a physical altercation on the sidewalk adjacent to the Opera Night Club” in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to the police report.

Both teams have since responded, with the Wizards essentially parting ways with Robinson due to the incident.

“We are aware of the incident this morning involving Devin and are disappointed in his actions. We will not extend him a qualifying offer for the 2019-20 season,” the Wizards said in a statement.

The Eagles issued a statement saying that they are “aware of the situation” and “continuing to gather more information.”

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