Fantasy Football News: Brandon Aiyuk, Deshaun Watson, Marquise Brown, Diontae Johnson (2022)
Let’s take a look at the latest news and notes around fantasy football. To stay up to date on all of the latest fantasy football news, be sure to follow @FantasyProsNFL on Twitter and bookmark the FantasyPros NFL Player News page.
According to a report from ESPN’s Nick Wagoner, San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk has been making big plays each day at practice and appears ready to make a big leap in his third NFL season. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: Aiyuk appears to be starting training camp on a positive note which is an encouraging sign for the young WR after he earned his way into HC Kyle Shannahan’s dog house this time last year and lost early season playing time. Aiyuk, a 2020 first-round pick, has flashed immense potential at various points in his first two seasons, but he has yet to maintain an elite level of production throughout an entire season. With the 49ers transitioning to Trey Lance as their starting QB, Aiyuk may ultimately be the biggest beneficiary of all the team’s pass catchers. Aiyuk spent the offseason working out with Lance, and it seems the chemistry they have built has carried over into training camp practices. Also, with Lance under center, the team should take more downfield shots than they did with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, and Aiyuk is the most likely receiver within the offense to get those high-value targets. Aiyuk is currently ranked as the WR38 in PPR formats according to FantasyPros’ ECR.
The NFL is appealing Judge Sue L. Robinson’s ruling in the Personal Conduct Policy matter regarding Deshaun Watson. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who hears the appeal. Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network reports the NFL is expected to pursue a significant increase in punishment and could seek to suspend him for the entire season. (Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: This is the news that Watson and fantasy managers have been bracing for since the initial ruling was announced on Monday. Commissioner Roger Goodell ultimately has all of the power here. He or a designee will issue a written decision, and that decision is final. The NFLPA and Watson have two days to provide a written response to the appeal, but early indications are that Watson could now miss the entire season. In the event of a season-long suspension, Jacoby Brissett is the favorite to start at quarterback for the Browns.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was arrested early this morning on criminal speeding charges. (Source: Arizona Sports)
Fantasy Impact: Brown was traded from the Ravens to the Cardinals on draft night, and the hype around his return to action with former college QB Kyler Murray has been discussed at length. With the Cardinals already missing DeAndre Hopkins for the first six weeks of the season (suspension) the last thing they need is another receiver missing time. Brown started training camp on the NFI list but was recently removed. If he is able to get on the practice field with the team sooner rather than later, that would be a positive sign for someone joining a new offense. Assuming Brown is on the field for Week 1, he is a definite buy-low, sell-high candidate as he will see a major increase in volume in the first six weeks of the season.
Diontae Johnson continues his “hold-in” at training camp but the receiver and Steelers are reportedly not close to the parameters of a new contract according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac. (Source: Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Fantasy Impact: Johnson has been participating in individual drills but has not taken part in any team sessions since training camp has begun. This is similar to what teammate T.J. Watt did last year while negotiating his new deal with Pittsburgh and Johnson was hoping “holding in” as opposed to “holding out” would make the negotiating less contentious and easier like Watt’s but it does not appear to be working as well for the Toledo product so far. Johnson’s current contract expires at the end of this season and he could choose to test free agency in 2023 if the Steelers and he remain so far apart on the compensation of a new contract before the start of the regular season next month. Johnson’s contract situation bears monitoring as training camp continues but should not affect his fantasy numbers unless Pittsburgh decides to get petty and phase him out of the offense later in the year.
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