Wed, Jun 23rd 3:39pm EDT
By Connor Rigg
Dolphins Head coach Brian Flores says that he wants Tua Tagovailoa to focus on being more aggressive downfield and to take more chances than normal. (Source: Cameron Wolfe of ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: The 2020 season was a rollercoaster year for the former Alabama QB. He was constantly taken in and out of the lineup for Ryan Fitzpatrick and couldn't find a rhythm for most of the season. Tagovailoa did flash though and there is room for optimism. The Dolphins did a great job at surrounding Tua with weapons and a good run game. Now, he has to focus on being more aggressive downfield and taking more chances. He has receivers who can make plays downfield, so he needs to capitalize on that. While he isn't an elite quarterback just yet, he is ultimately set up to improve in his sophomore season. With some rushing upside, he can be a good late-round target for those waiting on QB.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll believes Gerald Everett will have a breakout campaign in 2021. (Source: Pro Football Talk)
Fantasy Impact: Everett is in his first season with the Seahawks after spending his first four years with the Rams. The Seahawks have 144 targets up for grabs after off-season additions and departures. Their top two receiving tight ends, Jacob Hollister and Greg Olsen, are no longer on the team and left behind 77 targets. There is an avenue for the four-year pro to become Russell Wilson's No. 3 option in the passing game behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. David Moore also left in free agency. If Everett occupies the targets left behind by Hollister and Olsen, he could be a sneaky back-end TE1 for the 2021 season. Selecting him at his current ADP comes with little risk, but with high upside as Wilson is one of the most efficient passers in the NFL. If fantasy managers are waiting until the later rounds to select their first tight end or plan on streaming the position, Everett is a great player to target.
Tue, Jun 22nd 7:20pm EDT
By Robert Lorge
Cordarrelle Patterson will be a major part of the special team's plan in Atlanta. He's most likely to be used in a gadget role but could also see a more traditional role for the Falcons. (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: The depth chart at running back behind Mike Davis is wide open and it's possible Patterson could carve out a role as a gadget player in the backfield. However, a more traditional role may result in the former Bear playing more snaps at receiver where the Falcons are also lacking options behind Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage. Ultimately, the eight-year pro is unlikely to receive enough touches every week to be a dependable fantasy asset. Patterson continues to be off the radar for redraft and dynasty purposes except in the biggest of formats that score return yards.
Tue, Jun 22nd 7:06pm EDT
By Dave Kluge
Adam Jahns with The Athletic is reporting that "The Bears expect [David Montgomery] to surpass all those numbers in his third season" and adding that he worked with a speed coach this offseason. (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: Montgomery had his best year as a pro in 2020, racking up 1,508 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns, both team highs. He finished as the RB4 in PPR leagues after closing out the season on a tear. From Weeks 12-17, Montgomery was the overall RB1, averaging a ludicrous 25.7 points and racking up eight touchdowns in those six games. After setting the bar high, many experts are expecting regression heading into his third year. An offseason proclamation from the staff that he can surpass his career year wouldn't typically mean much, but the Bears are expected to switch from veteran Andy Dalton to rookie Justin Fields at some point in the season. That move could cause the Bears to lean on Montgomery, who showed an ability to handle a heavy workload last year. Our Expert Consensus Ranking has him as the RB22, but a steady usage could help him surpass that. Tarik Cohen returning from an ACL tear and Damien Williams signing both muddy the waters a bit in Chicago, but Montgomery has a relatively safe floor and high ceiling for his draft position.
Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan stated that Chris Evans has the most natural hands for a running back he has ever seen. (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: Fantasy managers have been hoping for a three-down workload for Joe Mixon for several years and with the release of Giovani Bernard earlier this off-season, it appeared as if that would finally come to fruition in 2021. Evans was selected in the sixth-round largely because of his receiving ability and it has already caught the attention of his new coaches in Cincinnati. If the rookie is able to carve out a role as the Bengals pass-catching back, he could provide value to fantasy managers in full-PPR leagues. This is not certain yet and the most likely scenario still involves Mixon being the primary, three-down back for Cincinnati. However, the Bengals have been reluctant to utilize the four-year pro in that kind of capacity thus far in his career, and it has led to Bernard racking up 155 catches over the past four seasons. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor how the Bengals assign backfield duties throughout this off-season.
Tue, Jun 22nd 9:03am EDT
By Brendan Tuma
Vic Tafur of The Athletic believes Raiders TE Darren Waller will top last season's 1,196 receiving yards "as he continues to get better." (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: Tafur notes that the Raiders are insistent that Henry Ruggs III helped the offense by taking the top off opposing defenses last year. It stands to reason that this opened things up for Waller in the middle of the field. Still learning the nuances tight end position, it isn't out of the question that Waller continues to improve in 2021. He's a no-brainer top-three tight end in fantasy leagues. Many analysts see him as the clear-cut No. 2 option behind only Travis Kelce.
Mon, Jun 21st 3:00pm EDT
By Matthew MacKay
Baltimore Ravens WR Sammy Watkins reportedly looked impressive and emerged as the best wide receiver during minicamp, per beat reporter Jamison Hensley. (Source: Jamison Hensley on ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: The Ravens completely revamped their receiving corps this offseason, signing Watkins to a one-year, $5 million contract to help provide a big, experienced wideout for former MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson to target. The Ravens ranked last in total targets to their wide receivers in 2020, as Jackson targeted Marquise "Hollywood" Brown 100 times but only connected on 58 of the pass attempts, which forced him to distribute 88 targets to tight-end Mark Andrews. Drafting Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace in the first round and fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft adds size, speed, and depth alongside Watkins and Brown. Based on his early performance in Ravens' minicamp, Watkins could be a fantastic late-round value, as his current ADP is 210 with an expert consensus ranking of WR79. He is going largely undrafted and could emerge as a key weapon within Baltimore's passing attack if he continues to build chemistry with Jackson throughout training camp.
Mon, Jun 21st 2:31pm EDT
By Matthew MacKay
Chicago Bears rookie QB Justin Fields is expected to get a lot of work during upcoming preseason games, per Albert Breer. (Source: Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated)
Fantasy Impact: The Bears used the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who is expected to get a lot of work during the shortened three-game preseason. Fields totaled 63 passing touchdowns and 5,373 passing yards as a two-year starter for Ohio State, displaying his dual-threat ability by rushing for another 867 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fields spoke to reporters previously and acknowledged his role on the team as a rookie behind veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, stating, “My job is, strictly, get better and be the best quarterback I can be, and hope my team wins. That’s what I’m going to do whether it’s starting, whether it’s sitting, I’m going to do whatever is going to help us win.” It appears that Fields will get his opportunity to prove he is worthy of becoming the Bears' QB1 beginning in mid-August.
Sat, Jun 19th 12:07pm EDT
By Andersen Pickard
Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham is expected to be featured in the team's three-receiver sets once training camp commences. He will line up in the X or Z spot with Reagor in the slot and Smith outside. (Source: NJ.com)
Fantasy Impact: The Eagles used Ward in three-receiver sets during their offseason program, but Fulgham is expected to replace him during training camp. The wideout caught 29 passes for 435 yards and four touchdowns from Week 4 to 8 last season but then 9/104/0 over the final eight weeks. He's listed as the WR100 in the latest expert consensus draft rankings.
Sat, Jun 19th 11:58am EDT
By Andersen Pickard
Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin has improved on the field this offseason. Now filling a TE2 role following Kyle Rudolph's departure, Conklin continues to "show the impact he can make" during minicamp. (Source: Vikings.com)
Fantasy Impact: Conklin's emergence as an above-average TE2 could pay dividends for an electric offense that often features two-tight end sets. This is a system with a lot of mouths to feed, but Conklin, alongside Irv Smith Jr., has shown what he brings to the table. "It's a bigger role for Tyler Conklin," detailed head coach Mike Zimmer. "He has kind of emerged as a guy that's moving upward, and with those two guys, we have a lot of weapons there. ... We're excited about these two young tight ends that we have." Conklin ranks 51st among tight ends in the latest expert consensus draft rankings, though that could change as the offseason progresses.
Sat, Jun 19th 1:58am EDT
By Ari Koslow
Nick Chubb said he wants to stay in Cleveland following the conclusion of his rookie deal. (Source: ESPN )
Fantasy Impact: "It would mean a lot," Chubb said. He mentioned Kevin Stefanski and the Browns offensive line as the primary reasons why he wants to stay with the team. Cleveland extended Kareem Hunt last September. The Browns may look to lock up Chubb relatively soon.
Lions have signed Amon-Ra St. Brown to his rookie deal. (Source: Pro Football Talk on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: St. Brown lands in a very good position to make an instant impact in 2021. The main competition for targets in the WR room are Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman. None of them are anything to write home again, so he has ample opportunity to run a lot of routes and produce. Although, Hockenson and Swift will be the main targets, St. Brown can establish himself as the WR1 for the Lions by the time the season rolls around.
Adam Schefter of NFL Network reports that the Jaguars have signed WR Laquon Treadwell. (Source: Adam Schefter on Twitter )
Fantasy Impact: Treadwell gets another shot with a new team. This time, he gets Trevor Lawrence throwing him the ball. Treadwell didn't do much this past season in Atlanta catching six passes for 49 yards and two touchdowns. The Jaguars have a loaded WR room, so he will have to fight for playing time.
With Tyler Higbee not practicing, rookie tight end Jacob Harris has seen first-team reps during OTAs. The Rams' coaching staff has been impressed by the fifth-round pick, who has proven he can move around the field and serve as a true mismatch headache for other teams. In addition to being a tall and agile pass-catcher, Harris is expected to have a major role on special teams. When commenting on the rookie, head coach Sean McVay said, "I think he’s a guy that has a tremendous amount of upside. Wes Phillips has done a really nice job of getting him up to speed. His natural range, catch radius, body control for a player of his size is pretty rare. I think you guys can see — for NFL guys to stand out the way that he has done, in some of these limited settings, in shorts and in helmets, he’s definitely made a positive impression." (Source: The Athletic)
Fantasy Impact: McVay isn't the only Rams coach excited about Harris. Rams scout Michael Pierce, who first tipped the team on potentially drafting Harris, said, "If you think that he can be a tight end—which, I think he can be a tight end—then you say, ‘Let him develop, and he’ll win a spot at tight end because he’s so athletic, so fast, he can jump so high and he has that determination that you want out of the position. But then you think, ‘OK, he can be a receiver,’ because he’s got that top-shelf speed, he can really get to the top of coverage, he can jump and attack the ball." There is also a data side to the hype surrounding Harris. “I have done some studies over the past few years, looking at positions where, in those later rounds, what is going to give you the most success?” explained Sarah Bailey, a football analytics manager. “Tight end is one of those positions where the athlete has more probability of actually making it. I look at probability of playing, and when he switched his position from wideout to tight end, he actually increased his probability of playing by almost 20 percent." Ultimately, the stars are all aligning for Harris. Offseason coachspeak should be taken cautiously and Harris may not be an immediate breakout candidate, but he's still an intriguing stash regardless.
Thu, Jun 17th 3:02pm EDT
By Avram Avramov
Per ProFootballTalk, WR Terrace Marshall Jr. has signed his four-year rookie deal with the Carolina Panthers. (Source: ProFootballTalk on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Marshall was selected 59th overall by the Panthers in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The former LSU Tiger was reunited with offensive coordinator Joe Brady who also previously spent time at LSU. The details of the contract are still unknown, but Marshall figures to have a big role in this Carolina offense providing another big, physical WR for QB Sam Darnold. While Marshall might struggle a bit to fully breakout in 2021, as he will have to compete with D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, his long term upside is substantial especially with Anderson's deal being up after this year and Moore not having a long term contract yet. Marshall had 106 catches for 1,594 yards and 16 TD's in his three seasons at LSU. Fantasy wise the ceiling for Marshall is a WR 2 finish in 2021, with great value in dynasty.
Thu, Jun 17th 9:23am EDT
By Andersen Pickard
It looks like the Chiefs may have found a steal in tight end Noah Gray, whom they selected in the fifth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after trading up with the Jets. Gray recorded "another strong practice Tuesday, catching multiple passes in the middle of the field from Patrick Mahomes," according to Nate Taylor of The Athletic. All signs point to him having a legitimate shot at the No. 2 tight end role out of camp.
Fantasy Impact: Gray has even drawn praise from Travis Kelce, whom many see as the best tight end in all of football. “It’s been a lot of fun so far, and [Gray] has got a very unique way of understanding football,” explained Kelce. “He’s years ahead of being a rookie, which is awesome. You can kind of give him pointers and he’s running with everything. He’s absorbing all the information that the coaches are giving him. He’s having a lot of success. He’s going to definitely help us this year.”
Thu, Jun 17th 9:15am EDT
By Andersen Pickard
As ESPN's Mike Triplett writers, Saints speedy wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith understands and recognizes that 2021 hold a great opportunity for him to break out and emerge as a top piece in the New Orleans offense. "I definitely feel like it’s a big opportunity for me, knowing that they didn’t [sign] any veterans and didn’t draft a high receiver,” Smith said. “I feel like they expect me to show up this year. And that’s just what I’m gonna do, and I appreciate that.” (Source: ESPN.com)
Fantasy Impact: Smith rotated throughout roles in the Saints' offense, spending time as the team's WR1, WR2, and WR3 depending on the injury statuses of Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Smith dealt with the injury bug, too, missing two games. He also exited midgame sometimes and ultimately finished the year on injured reserve with an ankle ailment. When healthy, Smith caught 34 passes for 448 yards and two touchdowns. He also has a close rapport with Jameis Winston, as the two connected for a huge playoff touchdown last year and also spent time training together in California this offseason. Smith currently ranks as the WR73 in the latest expert consensus draft rankings.
Wed, Jun 16th 3:57pm EDT
By Connor Rigg
Raiders HC Jon Gruden says WR Henry Ruggs looks much better than last season and wants to get him more involved. (Source: Vic Tafur on Twitter)
Fantasy Impact: Ruggs was the first WR taken in the 2020 draft over CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, and Justin Jefferson. This was a very questionable move looking back at this pick. Ruggs only caught 26 passes for 452 yards and two touchdowns on the season. This is a positive report though, and hopefully he can be used more in the slot, where he excels. He could be a nice sleeper this season if they plan on getting him the ball more.
Wed, Jun 16th 2:27pm EDT
By Ari Koslow
Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones is expected to move around and play some defensive end this season. (Source: ESPN)
Fantasy Impact: "He is an imposing player inside," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "We all know that." Jones could potentially see a higher sack rate as he sees more snaps on the outside each week.