Roster Roundup – Round Four: NFC South

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Coronavirus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Atlanta Falcons

HC: Dan Quinn

OC: Dirk Koetter

QB: Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Kurt Benkert, Danny Etling

RB: Todd Gurley, Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison, Ito Smith, Craig Reynolds, Mikey Daniel, Keith Smith

WR: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russel Gage, Laquon Treadwell, Christian Blake, Olamide Zaccheus, Devin Gray, Brandon Powell, Jalen McCleskey, Juwan Green, Chris Rowland

TE: Hayden Hurst, Khari Lee, Jaeden Graham, Carson Meier, Jared Pinkney, Caleb Repp

Matt Ryan is as reliable as they come. He has only missed one game in the last 10 years and unfortunately, is often overlooked. In the last decade, he has only one season where he hasn’t topped 4,000 yards. Ryan has also eclipsed 300+ yards in the 64 games he’s played. That is an insane rate of production for the 35-year-old out of Boston College. Ryan has a ton of targets in the passing game and should find his way back into the top 12 in QB scoring. The rest of the QB depth chart is very underwhelming with veteran Matt Schaub as the #2. Former LSU QB turned WR turned QB, Danny Etling is also present but has an uphill battle to make the team.

Todd Gurley is on a one-year contract valued at $5.5 million. He and his hefty contract were dumped by the Rams and one day later, Atlanta scooped him up to replace Devonta Freeman. Gurley is incredible when healthy and he is a true every down back when healthy. Health is a major concern when considering rostering Gurley. His arthritic right knee coupled with a history of an ACL tear, turf toe, and ankle sprains all are reasons for concern for Gurley. But, when he’s good, he’s really good. He is a natural pass catcher with an average of 9.6 yards per catch during his five-year career, he has also posted gaudy (again, when healthy) yards per carry averages of 4.8, 3.2, 4.7, 4.9, 3.8. Yards per carry is an overblown metric but it does tell a story here that he is elite when his body allows him to be. Still just 25 years old, he is hopeful to put together a solid season that extends his life in his home of Georgia.

Behind Gurley, there is little to be excited about. Ito Smith may be the first one up before Brian Hill, but both had their chance when Freeman went down last year. Smith is the shiftier of the two with better receiving chops and Brian Hill is between the 20’s guy to move the chains. The problem is…neither were effective when given the opportunity last year. Hill left all fantasy owners in the dust that took a chance on him in 2019 with 1.83 YPC in his two starts. Qadree Ollison is their goal line banger but is too one dimensional for much more.

Julio Jones is the best receiver in the NFL. There doesn’t need to be a debate, he wins. Yes, Michael Thomas had an extremely impressive season, but nobody does it better than Julio. He has 57 career TD’s, 55 games with at least 100+ yards and has amassed an incredible 12,125 yards. Just for perspective, Julio Jones’ 12,125 career yards is the equivalent of running from New Jersey to California 5 times over. He’s a beast and he’s primed for another solid campaign in 2020. As good as Jones is, he is the highest priced receiver around at $22 million per year. Calvin Ridley is a special talent and everyone with a voice is comparing his upcoming season to a Chris Godwin-like breakout. Ridley has already made an impact on this team in his first two seasons. So far, he has been targeted over 90 times, has over 60 receptions, went over 800 yards and has 17 touchdowns in two years. Those efficiency numbers are crazy for 90ish targets a year. In order for him to “breakout”, he will have to assume some of the 133 vacated targets from Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu. Russel Gage is an undervalued player in fantasy that could be in for an expanded role from his 69 targets in 2019. He trumps Ridley in reception percentage, drop rate, and yards after catch. That doesn’t mean Gage is in any way a better receiver, it means he operates on different parts of the field and route tree. Keep an eye on him when filling out the end of your bench. The Falcons have brought in former 1st rounder Laquon Treadwell and will attempt to get some value out of him as their 4th/5th receiver.

Austin Hooper was a target vacuum operating as Matt Ryan’s safety valve. He was lost in free agency to Cleveland, so the Falcons went out and traded 2nd and 4th round picks for Hayden Hurst in March. Hurst is a capable athlete and moves well for his size (6’4”/250lbs) and will fill in nicely as the intermediate pass target. A former minor league baseball player in the Pirates organization, Hurst walked on to South Carolina and set school records as a tight end in just his second year. He is 27 years old next month and is set to become a big part of this high-octane passing game. Hurst is a fantastic value at $2.8 with this year and next left on his contract.  Graham and Lee will be his direct backups and barring injury, will have a hard time with fantasy production.

Carolina Panthers

HC: Matt Rhule

OC: Joe Brady

QB: Teddy Bridgewater, Will Grier, PJ Walker

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Reggie Bonnafon, Jordan Scarlett, Mike Davis, Rodney Smith, Alex Armah

WR: DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Curtis Samuel, Pharoh Cooper, Seth Roberts, DeAndrew White, Brandon Zylstra, Ishmael Hyman, Omar Bayless, Damion Jeanpeire JR, Keith Kirkwood, TreVontae Hights

TE: Ian Thomas, Chris Manhertz, Temarrick Hemmingway, Colin Thompson, Giovanni Ricci, Cam Sutton

Rookie head coach Matt Rhule is known for turning college programs around. He has his work cut out for him with the team that he inherited in Carolina though. With an abysmal 2019 defensive showing, the Panthers used every one of this year’s draft picks on defensive players. This team is in search of a new identity since the departure of 9-year head coach Ron Rivera, and franchise cornerstones Greg Olsen, Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly.

Rhule isn’t alone in the team’s rebuild, they also brought in new OC Joe Brady who served as the passing game coordinator for the National Champions LSU. The Panthers certainly have talent at the skill positions with fantasy star Christian McCaffrey, 2020 breakout WR DJ Moore, and newly acquired Robby Anderson. There should be plenty of opportunities for new QB Teddy Bridgewater to hike the ball in comeback mode. Bridgewater is a competent QB on a team friendly salary ($21 million/3 years) without much competition behind him. Will Grier got thrown into the fire last year as a rookie and did not perform well. It appeared it was too much too soon for the young Grier. Hopefully better days are ahead for him, but he will have to fight off XFL standout P.J. Walker for the NO.2 spot behind Bridgewater. Walker reunites with college coach Rhule after serving as the face of the XFL. He is a dual threat in both the pass and run game and is an intriguing player to add to the watch list especially since Bridgewater has only played a full 16 games once in 5 seasons in the NFL.

Christian McCaffrey is one of those players that you can build a team around in both real life and fantasy football. He is loved by his teammates and coaches for his incredible work ethic and he is just plain fun to watch. With him you get a RB1 and a WR1 in the same package. In his three seasons in the league, his rushing and receiving yards have gone up each year as well as his touchdowns, rush attempts, targets, yards per game and yards per catch. He is a fantasy owner’s dream with these incredible stats, and he is one of the last bellow backs playing over 92% of the snaps over the past two seasons. If you are comfortable with his $16 million per year salary, get this guy on your team. His backup predicts to be Reggie Bonnafon but apparently veteran journeyman, Mike Davis is also in the mix for the role of fantasy’s least used reserve running back.

The receiving group is led by 2019 breakout D.J. Moore. Moore’s target total was good for 10th in the league while having Will Grier and Kyle Allen under center. With what should be a pass heavy offense, Moore is sure to improve on his 87/1,175/4 line from 2020. Moore ($2.8 million/3 years) is a prime example of top talent meets low cost in Dynasty Owner. Joining Moore is former Jet Robby Anderson. Anderson was also coached by Rhule in his days at Temple University. Anderson’s 15 YPC are elite in NFL terms but he doesn’t quite mesh with Bridgewater’s style of play. Teddy B is not known for his downfield throwing prowess but hopefully that all changes this year. The often-overlooked Curtis Samuel rounds out the starting Panthers’ receivers and we can only hope this coaching staff can tap into Samuel’s potential. He is a dynamic playmaker that just seemed to play out of position the last few seasons. He is uniquely capable of being a sure-handed possession type receiver as well as going down field. It is now Ian Thomas time. Greg Olsen had a fantastic career as a Panther. He has since moved on to the Las Vegas Raiders, opening the door for the freakishly athletic Ian Thomas. Thomas was drawing attention as early as his rookie year training camp. Entering his third year, the former fourth round pick is poised to take a big leap as a full time starter after filling in admirably for the oft injured Olsen.

New Orleans Saints

HC: Sean Payton

OC: Pete Carmichael

QB: Drew Brees, Taysom Hill, Jameis Winston, Tommy Stevens

RB: Alvin Kamara, Latavius Murray, Ty Montgomery, Dwayne Washington, Taquan Mizzell, Ricky Ortiz, Tony Jones Jr, Mike Burton

WR: Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Tre’Quan Smith, Deonte Harris, Austin Carr, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Juwan Johnson, Marquez Callaway, Krishawn Hogan, Emmanuel Butler, Tommylee Lewis, Maurice Harris

TE: Jared Cook, Josh Hill, Adam Trautman, Garrett Griffin, Jason Vander Laan, Cole Wick

The Saints may just have the best overall team on paper. They are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball and are a favorite to go deep into the playoffs. Sean Payton has done an incredible job as head coach and play caller in his 13 seasons as head coach. The Saints are perceived to be in win now mode and they just might have the roster to award Payton with his second Lombardi trophy.  The team’s heart and soul reside with the player that wears #9. Drew Brees is iconic and has done more for the Saints organization than any other player in their history. His rapidly declining arm strength is a problem since that was always a big part of his game, but Payton adjusted accordingly the last two years and it has worked out well so far.

Brees is a bit of a Jekyl and Hyde when it comes to home/road splits. When he is home playing in a dome, he’s a must start in fantasy. When they are away is when things get dicey. He scores nearly four less fantasy points when he is away. Things may even out a bit in 2020 considering that he may not be taking so many deep shots by design. Brees’ salary is mid-range at $25 million and is in the range of Brady, Carr, Rivers. A big downer for Brees is Taysom Hill’s presence in Red Zone packages. Used more as a runner/receiver than a passer, Hill is a serious threat when the ball touches his hands. He more closely resembles a TE than a rushing QB, Hill is a gritty player that has a high price tag for a sub package QB. Rounding out the mentionable QBs is Jameis Winston. The former Buccaneer has a notorious 2019 season and was handed his walking papers by Bruce Arians and co. He signed an extremely modest deal to learn under Payton and Brees and hopes to turn his career around in 2021.

The running game again figures to be the focal point of the Saint’s offense. Kamara is a game changer but was hampered by back, knee and ankle injuries last year limiting him to just 14 games. Not only does he get the starter’s share of carries, he also averages 6 catches per game in his career. Expecting a return to form, Kamara is expected to return to top 3-5 RB status and offers a great one-year rental rate of less than $1 million this year. Latavius Murray was the number one back in fantasy when he was covering for Kamara in his 3 missed games last year. When given a chance, he could be a monster back behind this beast of an offensive line. The problem is; this offense hasn’t generated enough touches for Murray to be a viable start with a healthy Kamara in the lineup. Yes, Kamara and Mark Ingram were both top 6 fantasy back in 2017 but they also didn’t have a mature Michael Thomas soaking up 149 receptions. Ty Mongomery expects to be Alvin Kamara’s direct handcuff for 2020. Montgomery is a fun player to watch because he has the natural hands of a receiver but the running ability of a running back. Now liberated from Adam Gase’s rule, Montgomery might just niche himself a nice role in an offense led by a coach that may actually know how to use him.

This passing attack goes through one man. Michael Thomas has set an NFL record for most receptions (470) and receiving yards (5,512) in the first four years of his career. He is a true target monster that hauled in an incredible 149 receptions for 1,725 yards on an insane 80.5% catch rate. All of those metrics were NFL bests in 2019 and his receptions were good for an NFL best all-time! He figures to pick up where he left off last season but now, he has legitimate help across from him. Emmanuel Sanders proved many wrong last year as he quickly rebounded from a 2018 Achilies injury to produce a line of 66/869/5 while kicking in three 100-yard games during his stay with Denver and then San Francisco. Sanders is a spry 33-year-old that is sitting on a 2 year $16 million and is a low ceiling yet viable option in this Saints highly efficient offense. Tre’Quan Smith figures in as their WR 3-4 and the Saints are still holding out hope that he begins to put it together. Once touted as their answer to their WR2 search, Smith is long on athleticism but has yet to find all of the pieces to complete the puzzle. Often appearing lost and running the wrong routes, Smith will need to do more to make an impact in 2020. An intriguing prospect is Juwan Johnson out of Oregon by way of Penn State. At 6’4” and 230lbs, Johnson is a jump ball leaper with crazy good hands but unpolished route running. If he can clean up his game, he is someone to keep one eye on.

Jared Cook is on his 5th team in 11 NFL seasons. He eclipsed his career best 6 TD’s by scoring 9 times last year. He is a much needed big-bodied red zone threat in this offense but is somewhat limited between the 20’s with the chain-moving targets going to Thomas (188) and Kamara (104). Cook will continue his role in 2020 as a reliable red zone target and should see minimal competition from fellow TE’s Josh Hill (35 targets in 2019) and rookie Adam Trautman. Trautman is a future No.1 tight end in the NFL that may not need too long to acclimate to pro football life. PFF has graded him out as the #1 receiving talent in this year’s TE class and 2018’s as well. With training camp restrictions and no pre-season, it may be difficult for Trautman (or any rookie) to see an expanded early season role, especially in the receiving game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

HC: Bruce Arians

OC: Byron Leftwich

QB: Thomas Brady, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Griffin, Reid Sinnett

RB: Ronald Jones II, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Dare Ogunbowale, LeSean McCoy, Raymond Calais, TJ Logan, Aca’Cedric Ware

WR: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scott Miller, Justin Watson, Tyler Johnson, Spencer Schnell, Jaydon Mickens, Travis Jonsen, Codey McElroy, Cyril Grayson, John Hurst, Bryant Mitchell, Josh Pearson

TE: Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Tanner Hudson, Anthony Auclair, Jordan Leggett

If there is an NFL team that is built to win now, it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On the surface, the Buccaneers are racing against father time to win the second Super Bowl in franchise history. Tom Brady appears to have two years (at $25 million) left before hitting the links and Bruce Arians and Rob Gronkowski are sure to be right behind him. The coaching staff appears to have worthy successors but the QB room does not. Ryan Griffin is a locker room favorite that has shined in the preseason over the years, but he has never been elevated to No.2 on the depth chart, except for injury. Blaine Gabbert’s claim to fame was the unseating of Colin Kaepernick in San Francisco right before “the kneel”. He was a former Rivals.com 5-star recruit before landing in Missouri and has since bounced around between five NFL teams while owning a 48-47 TD to INT ratio. Brady is the GOAT and is sure to want to silence critics by winning yet another championship, this time without Bill Belichick. He has an enormous amount of talent surrounding but an even greater source of experience to draw from. As I tweeted back in April:

That is an insane number of trips to the endzone for these starters.

The running back position is a bit murky, but they do have a capable group. Ronald Jones bounced back nicely last year after a forgetful rookie season. He was held to a committee role with Peyton Barber and Dare Ogunbowale last year but that just may be what he is cut out for. When given the chance, he brought the juice to Barber’s molasses and gave the offense a shot in the arm with his big playmaking ability. Coming out of USC in 2018 he was criminally compared by some scouts and tauts to Jamaal Charles. Charles was a natural pass catcher and Jones was not. The breakaway speed is comparable, but the similarities end there. Jones did progress in the passing game last year when given the opportunity but the 3rd down role was owned by Ogunbowale.

Vaughn was most likely not the ideal pick at RB for Arians but it’s who they went with. He was an every down back at Vanderbilt and he can do a fine job in the run, pass and pass protection categories but he is a master of none. He’s not a punisher like Jonathan Taylor nor is he a pass catching specialist like CEH or Swift and he doesn’t have the playmaking ability of Cam Akers. Although, he just might have what it takes for this offense and that’s becoming a role player, not a superstar. This team is full of household names but that might not be needed when lining up behind Brady. Brady loves checking down and passing to his backs but what he loves more is keeping a clean jersey. Late edition, LeSean McCoy may help out here but is no lock to make this team after signing at the vet minimum for 1 year $1 million. Whichever back steps up in that department will certainly get their fair portion of the snaps.

The strength of this offense has been the receivers since Mike Evans ($16.5 million/4 years) came aboard in 2014. The strength continues in 2020 with his fellow Pro Bowl teammate Chris Godwin and up and coming talent like Scotty Miller, Justin Watson and Tyler Johnson. This is very good depth with Evans and Godwin obviously leading the way. Godwin is extremely versatile and can play inside or outside. He is equally tough playing off ball with his blocking as he is with the ball in his hands. He is working on a very attractive salary in 2020 at $821,000 and should be one of the first receivers off the board in drafts. Miller is an electric player with crazy straight-line speed, but he is being typecast as strictly a slot receiver by those outside of the organization. He and big slot Justin Watson figure to duke it out for WR3 honors while possible steal of the draft Tyler Johnson gets up to speed. Johnson was rated with PFF’s highest receiving grade in college football in 2018 and 2019. His college efficiency was off the charts improving every year leading to an impressive senior year where he averaged over 100yds and a TD a game while posting a 71.1 catch rate. He was overlooked in the pre-draft process allegedly for a falling out with a coach(s) but he has proclaimed that he will outperform everyone’s expectations.

On paper, this tight end group just isn’t fair. They have enough talent and experience for two NFL teams. The Bucs like to keep 6 receivers but may be forced to keep 5 if Calais wins the return job, they may not need to keep a sixth WR and instead use the roster spot on another TE. Gronk is the only lock but Howard and Brate don’t look like they are going anywhere anytime soon. Auclair is the long snapper, occasional FB and in-line blocker as well as locker room favorite. Hudson is a coach’s favorite that played very well in preseason last year and the coaching staff already said that he would have a role on this team. That would be five tight ends on the roster making the Chicago Bears very jealous.

That is the NFC South! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the AFC East next week.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

Roster Roundup – Round Three: AFC South

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Corona Virus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Houston Texans

HC: Bill O’Brien OC: Tim Kelly

QB: Deshaun Watson, AJ McCarron, Alex McGough, Nick Tiano

RB: David Johnson, Duke Johnson, Buddy Howell, Karan Higdon, Scottie Phillips, Cullen Gillaspia

WR: Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills, Keke Coutee, Steven Mitchell Jr, DeAndre Carter, Chad Hansen, Isaac Whitney, Isaiah Coulter, Tyler Simmons

TE: Darren Fells, Jordan Thomas, Jordan Akins, Kahale Warring, Dylan Stapleton

With the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, this is now clearly Deshaun Watson’s team. There aren’t too many other NFL QB’s as clutch as Watson. He is a gamer whose leadership will be on center stage this season. He doesn’t have a true Alpha WR this season so it will be up to him to make quicker, more assured choices without Hopkins as his safety valve. McCarron is a competent clipboard holder and is on his 4th NFL team since starring at Alabama. 

David Johnson’s short time as a fantasy stud is nearing an end. He has caught unlucky breaks with seemingly unrelated injuries over the last few years, but he is in a great situation to go out with a bang. The former Cardinal was a top 5 running back in the first 5 games of last season, injuries struck, and he appeared to come back too soon as we all witnessed his horrible performance before being shoved aside for Kenyan Drake. Fast forward to 2020 where Johnson claims to be fully healed and the Carlos Hyde-less Texans have 245 vacated rushing attempts. If the 28-year-old still has any juice left, he could be in for an ample workload.

His receiving skills are a bit redundant with Duke Johnson also in the mix. Duke Johnson did pull down a respectable 52 grabs on 72 targets for 463 yards and 3 TD’s. He was only targeted outside of 10 yards just once on the year, so he clearly operates in the shallow flat/check-down zone. Carlos Hyde only caught 14 catches for 65yds. So, this backfield may be hard pressed to find targets for their RB group even with the 168 vacated targets of Hopkins.

Which brings us to my next point; Bill O’Brien likes opening up the longball by lulling you to sleep with a grinding run game and short passing game. This team has a few guys that will go deep.  The newly acquired Brandon Cooks figures to operate as the #1 option in the passing game. The same Brandon Cooks that is coming off of his worst statistical season as a pro and is on his fourth team since entering the league in 2014. He is a dangerous player with the ball in his hands, but he has an unfriendly contract and is concussion prone. Will Fuller has been the team’s resident deep threat and he is a threat. Tyreek Hill is possibly the only other NFL receiver that absolutely crushes DB’s as well as Fuller can when going deep. Fuller is a gamble every year due to mostly lower body injuries but when he hits, he hits. He is a bonafide week winner, but you have to take the bad with the good and be willing to gamble.

Randall Cobb is another new arrival and is a sneaky good pick if you’re looking for a somewhat affordable short-term option. He is the fourth highest paid receiver on his team, and he will operate in the same area of the field as the departed Hopkins. Coming off a nice season in Dallas, Cobb could be primed for decent usage. Kenny Stills is a good player but will be pushed down the depth chart. The coaching staff seems to absolutely loathe Keke Coutee and his best days as a Texan could be behind him. The tight end group is a moderately skilled one, but it lacks high level talent. Darren Fells put up 7 TD’s, good for third best in the NFL and a 71% catch rate. Jordan Akins could be considered the chain mover of the group. 2018 pick Jordan Thomas was supposed to operate as the starter in 2019 but his season was cut short due to a rib injury. Thomas is an absolute monster of a human being, but he will need more quality playing time to move up the depth chart. Second year TE Kahale Warring is the future of this group but is essentially a rookie again after sitting out his first year due to injuries (concussion, hamstring). He is currently working out with Deshaun Watson during the pandemic along with Cobb, Cooks and Coutee.

Indianapolis Colts

HC: Frank Reich OC: Nick Sirianni

QB: Philip Rivers, Jacobey Brissett, Jacob Eason, Chad Kelly

RB: Marlon Mack, Jonathan Taylor, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, Darius Jackson, Bruce Anderson III, Roosevelt Nix

WR: TY Hilton, Michael Pittman JR, Parris Campbell, Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson, Artavis Scott, Daurice Fountain, Dezmon Patmon, Chad Williams, De’Michael Harris, Rodney Adams, Malik Henry, Ashton Dulin

TE: Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox, Matt Lengel, Xavier Grimble, Farrod Green, Ian Bunting

The Colt’s settled on Philip Rivers after kicking the tires on several other QB’s early in free agency. They knew they had to upgrade from Brisset who admirably performed to his ceiling in 2019.Rivers is as tough and fiery as they come but his arm strength was noticeably declining last year. The Colts will rely more on his experience and leadership than his statuesque athleticism and arm cannon. Rivers is known to be a millisecond slow on his reads, often “after-throwing” his open receiver but he doesn’t care. He will fire it in there anyway which bodes well for bigger targets like Jack Doyle and Michael Pittman JR. His 2019 numbers were ho-hum at best but that was under a ho-hum coaching staff. His 4615 yards were good for fourth in the NFL and his TD/INT ranked 15th (23) and 3rd(20) respectively. He is an upgrade over Brissett but in no way should be relied on to help your fantasy team except for a bye week.

If you are a Colts fan, you had to come away with a smile after this year’s draft. The running back position was a bit of a mess and was a tad underwhelming last year despite having an elite offensive line to block for them. By selecting Wisconsin stud RB Jonathan Taylor in the second round, the offense got really exciting. Marlon Mack is a respectable player and he does run hard, but he will never be a bruiser. Taylor is violent and fun to watch. He and Mack should form a solid committee and Taylor’s presence is sure to make Mack a more efficient runner. Nyhiem Hines is the passing game specialist and is sure to get game scripted out of many contests this year. Talented? Absolutely. But this team does not utilize him as the Bears use Cohen. Hines is used more situationally than rotationally like Cohen. Rivers does love checking down, but I really believe that Mack could be more of a benefactor of those passes this season than in years past.

There is room to grow after a tough season for Colts receivers last year. T.Y. Hilton topped the group with just 45 receptions and 5 TD’s. Zach Pascal led the team in yards with just 607 on the season while also hauling in 5 TD’s. There isn’t much talent on the depth chart but there is cause for excitement with the drafting of Michael Pittman JR and the return of Parris Campbell. T.Y. Hilton has been the de facto #1 receiver for some time now and has performed but we know he’s not the most consistent week-to-week fantasy producer. Hilton’s Base salary is the highest on the team at $14,542,000 and is looking at free agency after the 2020 season. The big bodied Pittman joins the team and is slated for the “X” receiver position in Frank Reich’s offense. At 6’4” 225lbs, he will be a welcome addition and a big target for Rivers. He has drawn numerous comparisons to Vincent Jackson and that is pretty high praise for the rookie from USC.

Parris Campbell returns after seeing mixed playing time in just seven games due to injuries as a rookie. The Ohio State product projects to man the slot while Pittman and Hilton operate the perimeter. There was a lot of excitement going into this crafty route runner a year ago and hopefully the former second round pick is fully healthy for the start of the season. Filling out the rest of the possible depth chart are Zach Pascal, Marcus Johnson and Dezmon Patmon if they keep 6 WR’s. Pascal performed above expectations last year and provides quality depth at the position. Johnson is a deep threat that was just re-signed and Patmon is a rookie out of Washington State that is a quick receiver that comes from a pass heavy offense. The tight end position is once again anchored by Jack Doyle. Doyle is one of the most boring picks you can make but he consistently produces. He delivers as a low end TE1 to high end TE2 and shouldn’t be cast off this year especially with the tight end loving Rivers throwing the ball. The athletic but underperforming Trey Burton figures to resume his role in Frank Reich’s offense of a move tight end while the massive man known as Mo Allie-cox will continue his role contributing as the TE3 for the Colts.

Jacksonville Jaguars

HC: Doug Marrone OC: Jay Gruden

QB: Gardner Minshew II, Mike Glennon, Joshua Dobbs, Jake Luton

RB: Leonard Fournette, Chris Thompson, Devine Ozingbo, Ryquell Armstead, Tavien Feaster, James Robinson, Nathan Cottrell

WR: DJ Chark, Chris Conley, Dede Westbrook, Laviska Shenault Jr, CJ Board, Keelan Cole, Collin Johnson, Josh Hammond, Terry Godwin, Michael Walker, Marvelle Ross

TE: Tyler Eifert, Josh Oliver, Charles Jones II, James O’Shaughnessy, Tyler Davis, Ben Ellefson

The legend of Gardner Minshew got a boost when the Jaguars traded away Nick Foles. New OC Jay Gruden seems pleased with his new QB stating “(Minshew) has got the intangibles you want in a quarterback”. Minshew was a 6th round pick and was thrown into the fire week one when Foles left with a broken clavicle and the mustached legend was born. He finished with a 6-6 record while proving that he was capable of putting a team on his back and showed his toughness and grit. He was the 10th ranked QB under pressure and had the highest QB rating in the NFL when throwing deep. He appears to be safe at the moment with not much of a starting threat behind him on the depth chart. But when the Jags are picking in the top 10 (or higher) range in next year’s draft, they may find it incredibly difficult to pass on one of the big three QB prospects.

Fournette is coming off of one his best years as a pro. Keeping the injuries at bay, he played in 15 games, running for 1152 yards while catching 76 passes for an additional 522 yards. The only bad part of his 2019 campaign was the lack of TD’s (3). He was the centerpiece of this offense but was supposedly being shopped last spring. If he remains on the team, the receptions are sure to take a hit with pass specialist Chris Thompson joining the team. Thompson reunites with Gruden and like Fournette, has struggled with injuries. Ryquell Armstead is someone who the dynasty world was keeping an eye on during the Fournette trade talk and he should be kept on watch lists. He didn’t offer much as a rookie, but he also didn’t get much of an opportunity with Fournette commanding the bulk of the snaps. Ozigbo, like Armstead, has the frame to handle a heavier workload if anything were to happen to Fournette. Additionally, at 225lbs he turned in a 4.54 forty at his Nebraska Pro Day prior to last season.

DJ Chark became the go-to receiver in his second year in Jacksonville. After boasting only 14 receptions as a rookie in 2018, he came down with 73 grabs for 1008 yards and 8 touchdowns.   It was a true breakout year for the young receiver and Gruden has already said that he’ll be used in every position in the receiving game. Dede Westbrook was the next receiver in line with 66 catches for 660 yards and 3 touchdowns. He figures to maintain a similar role in 2020 as the longest termed Jag in the receiving corps. The #3 receiver is Chris Conley who quietly had a career year with high in both receptions (47) and yards (775).  He offers big play potential while also showing his reliability as a route runner.

Laviska Shenault is an excellent athlete and could prove to be a very dangerous weapon in the NFL if used right. Coach Doug Marrone promised to line him up all over the field which always sounds good. Shenault’s versatility was showcased in college albeit in limited fashion. Nearly ¾ of his receptions were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage with many coming from bubble screens. His injury history is a bit concerning due to the pummeling he received in his quick pass role while at Colorado. If given touches in space, allowing him to use his athleticism, he could be a wildcard for fantasy position eligibility in the next few years. Tyler Eifert and Josh Oliver are the notable tight ends for Jacksonville. Eifert was a former scoring machine when he was with Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. He offers a good, reliable veteran presence with a nose for the endzone. Oliver is the more athletic of the two and should be the future TE1 on this team. He is a natural pass catcher with upper-end athletic talent. Although he missed much of 2019 due to a back fracture, the coaching staff has been quick to point out that he will be a big part in this year’s passing game.

Tennessee Titans

HC: Mike Vrabel OC: Arthur Smith

QB: Ryan Tannehill, Logan Woodside, Cole McDonald

RB: Derrick Henry, Darrynton Evans, Dalyn Dawkins, Khari Blasingame, Shaun Wilson, Senorise Perry, Cameron Scarlett

WR: AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries, Trevion Thompson, Cody Hollister, Kalif Raymond, Nick Westbrook, Kyle Williams, Cameron Batson, Kristian Wilkerson, Rashard Davis, Mason Kinsey

TE: Jonnu Smith, Anthony Firsker, MyCole Pruitt, Cole Herdman, Parker Hesse, Tommy Hudson

Ryan Tannehill capped off his impressive season from backup to leading the team to the AFC championship game with a four-year $118 million salary and $62 million guaranteed. That was a huge payday from the Titans for a position of uncertainty the last few years. Marcus Mariota was to be their future but never really put it together in Tennessee. Tannehill delivered when he got the call off the bench. More than just a game manager, he did well under pressure and pushed the ball down the field when needed. He was PFF’s #1 rated QB with a 91.0 passing grade while throwing for 22 TD’s and rushing for another four.

Derrick Henry’s contract was the talk of the early offseason. He is set to perform under a $10.2 franchise tender in 2020 but both sides are looking to get a contract done sooner rather than later. Henry is an absolute monster and has the build to take a beating as the NFL’s premier grinder. He led the league in attempts (303), yards (1,539), and tied for 1st in touchdowns with 16. He also chipped in 18 catches for 206 yards and 2 TD’s. Undervalued as a passer, the Titans have been looking elsewhere for backfield pass catchers. Pairing Henry with former Titan Dion Lewis made for an interesting duo but Lewis never seemed to fit in Tennessee’s scheme.

In the 2020 draft, the Titans went out and selected Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans in the third round. Evans offers versatility in the run, receiving, and return game. He is a decisive runner and will lower his pads but lacks the wiggle and big play threat ability. What he does offer is reliability. With just 2 fumbles in nearly 600 touches, he is a sure runner that avoids big hits but doesn’t avoid contact. He is a fantastic complement to Henry since he is accomplished in different facets of the RB game.

The 2019 Titans were not exactly a passing juggernaut, but they were fairly efficient. Rookie standout AJ Brown led the way with 1051yds on only 52 receptions. He sported an outstanding YAC total of 462yds, good for 6th best in the NFL as well totaling 8TD’s tied for 7th best. Brown’s yards per reception were equally impressive at 20.2yds per clip and his 38 first downs on 52 receptions equals a stud in the making. Brown’s production was what the Titans had hoped for when they drafted Corey Davis in round 1 (5th overall) in 2017. Davis has been just eh so far but has the skills and athleticism to put it together if he can just find that missing ingredient. So basically, he is the Mitch Trubisky of wide receivers. In the three years Davis has been with the Titans, he has amassed 157 receptions, 2,033 yards and just 9 TD’s. After declining his fifth-year option, the Titans are forcing Davis to prove he is worth keeping beyond 2020.

Adam Humphries is the elder of the Titans receivers at 27 years old. He was a coveted free agent after the 2018 season when he departed Tampa to join Tennessee. The former Clemson product was third in the team in receiving snaps while operating almost exclusively in the slot. Tied with Jonnu Smith for third on the team with 41 receptions, Humphries is a good NFL receiver shackled in a run-first offense. Speaking of Jonnu Smith, many are excited about his potential for this year after his mini breakout in 2019. He set career highs in receptions (41), yards (498), TD’s (4) and first downs (18). You would like to see your #1 TE with a slightly higher 1st down to reception ratio but this will be his first year as the true #1 and he certainly has the talent to fit the bill. Anthony Firkser is the #2 TE and showcased his red zone ability by bringing in two touchdowns in this year’s playoffs while averaging 8.5 yards per target. He won’t see much volume in the passing game but will receive his fair share of snaps along with H-Back MyCole Pruitt in the run heavy scheme of Mike Vrabel’s Tennessee Titans.

That is the AFC South! We hope you enjoyed the read. Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC South next week.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

Roster Roundup: Part Two: NFC North

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Corona Virus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we’ll take a look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we’ll examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

This week, we start in the NFC North and will follow with NFC South next week:

Chicago Bears

HC: Matt Nagy OC: Bill Lazor

QB: Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Tyler Bray

RB: David Montgomery, Tarik Cohen, Ryan Nall, Artavis Pierce, Napoleon Maxwell

WR: Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Ted Ginn, Javon Wims, Darnell Mooney, Alex Wesley, Reggie Davis, Trevor Davis, Thomas Ives, Ahmad Wagner

TE: Jimmy Graham, Cole Kmet, Demetrius Harris, Adam Shaheen, Ben Braunecker, JP Holtz, Jesper Horsted, Eric Saubert, Darion Clark

This QB position is one of the few in the league that might not be settled until after training camp. Trubisky is the incumbent starter since 2017 but will have competition from veteran Nick Foles. Foles has been a career backup that shined in the playoffs and won the Super Bowl with the Eagles in 2018. He was traded from Jacksonville this offseason for a fourth-round pick after starting only 4 games. Trubisky is at times, fun to watch but also cringe worthy. He’s a strong-arm talent with under-utilized wheels that plays better on the move. Foles, is a heady decision maker that might lack top arm strength but makes up for it with his wit and grit.

Montgomery and Cohen could be considered co-starters at the running back position. GM Ryan Pace said that Montgomery could be “the team’s feature back” and “could carry a heavier workload” this season. Montgomery out carried the diminutive Cohen 242-64, but Cohen earned his paycheck in the receiving game. While Cohen had his worst statistical year as a ball carrier, he had his best year catching the ball out of the backfield and from the slot. While his 79 catches on 104 targets were his career best, it came in check down territory dropping his 2018 YPC from 10.2 to 5.8 in 2019.

Allen Robinson is a damn good football player. You really do feel for this guy. He is a WR1 talent that has suffered from sub-par QB play his entire career. He led the team in every receiving category but that wasn’t saying much for the 2019 Chicago Bears that went 8-8 thanks to their elite defense and 28th ranked offense. While Robinson is an over-achiever, the rest of the WR’s just need to put up mediocre numbers. With the departure of cap casualty Taylor Gabriel, the path is clear for Anthony Miller to take a leap forward this year. Miller is a solid football talent that has been slowed by legitimate injuries the past two years. He finished the last six games of the year on fire while averaging 5.7 catches and 72 yards during that time. Miller is the unquestioned WR2 on this team that could return strong WR3 value on your fantasy team.

The rest of the WR’s won’t hold much fantasy value unless something unfortunate happens. Coradelle Patterson, Riley Ridley and the immortal Ted Ginn round out this receiving corps. We really don’t have to spend much time talking about the TE position. Jimmy Graham was dug up to play for yet another NFL team that obviously doesn’t watch his film. Cole Kmet was drafted with the 43rd pick in the 2020 draft and is an inexperienced, yet promising talent with a large catch radius. He may take a bit longer to develop but has plenty of tutors with a whopping 10 TE’s on the roster. Harris and Shaheen will get theirs but this TE group is not very inspiring for 2020.

Detroit Lions

HC: Matt Patricia OC: Darrell Bevell

QB: Matthew Stafford, Chase Daniel, David Blough

RB: Kerryon Johnson, D’Andre Swift, Bo Scarbrough, Ty Johnson, Wes Hills, Jason Huntley

WR: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Geronimo Allison, Quintez Cephus, Travis Fulgham, Victor Bolden Jr, Marvin Hall, Tom Kennedy, Chris Lacy, Geremy Davis

TE: TJ Hockenson, Jesse James, Isaac Nauta, Matt Sokol, Hunter Bryant, Luke Sellers

Coming off of a 3-12-1 record the Detroit Lions have a lot to improve on. The defense was absolutely abysmal grading out as the #31 defense per PFF. Their offense has lots to look forward to with the likes of Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, TJ Hockenson and newly drafted D’Andre Swift.

Stafford was in the midst of his most efficient season before succumbing to injuries related to his back and ankle. There is plenty to get excited about for Stafford’s 2020 outlook if healthy.

In his limited 9 full games from 2019, Stafford posted three or more touchdowns and over 290 yards in 5 of those games. Still just 32 years old, Stafford often returns numbers warranting him as a QB1 on your fantasy team. He is a great QB to rely on if you decide to draft a rookie and need a few years to plug him in as a viable starter.

The running back group has received an injection of speed with the drafting of D’Andre Swift. Swift was a dynamic back at Georgia excelling in both the run and passing game. His skill set was desperately needed in the lackluster run game of the 2019 Lions. While Kerryon Johnson carried a respectable 2019 2nd round ADP in dynasty drafts, his on the field play hasn’t quite translated to his draft status. He is an able runner who can be trusted in pass protection, his skill set best suits him in a rotational role with Swift and not as the bell-cow back that he was being drafted as. 2019 waiver wire disappointment Ty Johnson is still in the mix while plodder Bo Scarbrough looks to keep his role in the short yardage game.

This group of receivers, led by Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, is sure to get back on track with their efficiency. It’s been a bit of feast or famine for the two and you really can’t blame it all on the team executing the unimaginative play calling. When they are good, they are good. When they are not-so-good, they are horrible. Golladay recorded 5 games with over 100 yards last year with TD’s in all but one of them. Then he had five games that looked like this; 2/17/0, 1/21/0, 1/34/0, 3/44/0, 4/61/0. His touchdowns were certainly up last year(11), but his targets, receptions, and drops all took a bit of a hit.

Marvin Jones is admittedly not as dynamic as Golladay and is four years his senior. His touchdowns were comparable (Golladay-11, Jones-9) and his payroll is significantly higher (Jones- 4.29%, Golladay-1.08% of the team’s cap) but Jones may come way cheaper at a WR4-5 ADP range than his running mate Golladay is being drafted as a low end WR1, high end WR2. Entering his fourth season, Golladay is sure to rake in a big payday with a calculated market value of $18.9 million. Rounding out the WR position is the veteran Danny Amendola and Geronimo Allison. Amendola (642) and Alison (689) both saw significant snaps in 3Wr & 4WR sets last year but intriguing 5th round selection Quintez Cephus is one that may press for playing time.

The tight end position is anchored by sophomore T.J. Hockenson and Jesse James. Hockenson got more snaps running receiving routes and graded out better than James while runblocking. Hockenson had a solid rookie year and was thrown right into the fire early in the season. He is sure to be a staple of this offense for years to come. He, like the rest of his offensive teammates, is talented and would do far better with more imaginative and bold play calling.

Source: packers.com

Green Bay Packers

HC: Matt LaFleur OC: Nathaniel Hackett

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love, Tim Boyle, Jalen Morton

RB: Aaron Jones, AJ Dillon, Jamaal Williams, Dexter Williams, Patrick Taylor Jr, Damarea Crockett, Tyler Ervin

WR: Davante Adams, Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Devin funchess, Jake Kumerow, Equanimeous St Brown, Darrius Shepherd, Reggie Begelton, Darrel Stewart Jr, Kabion Ento

TE: Marcedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara, Robert Tonyan Jr, Evan Baylis, James Looney, Jordan Jones

The 2019 season for the Green Bay Packers told us three things; 1.) As great as he is…Aaron Rodgers had more friction with another coaching staff 2.) Rodgers desperately needed a complimentary weapon in the passing game to Davante Adams 3.) The Packers got absolutely whopped by the 49ers run game twice. The Packers 2020 draft was very entertaining and definitely told a story for those paying attention.

Instead of providing Rodgers with a weapon in a loaded wide receiver draft class, they made a statement by drafting a QB in round 1. 

Whether or not Rodgers is in the declining stages of his career is debatable. In 2019 he led first year head coach Matt LaFleur’s team to a 13-3 record while throwing for over 4,000 yards and 26 TD’s to just 4 INT’s.  He definitely took a step back in the rushing department posting his lowest yards per rush average in 11 years. But do the Packers think that Rodgers is at the end of his career or just nearing the end of their time together? Typically, you don’t find NFL teams spending a 1st round pick on a player they project to be a back-up, especially at the QB position. So, you have to assume that Jordan Love is in the Packers very near future plans.

Aaron Jones won lots of team’s fantasy championships last year. In fact, he was downright studly. While rushing for 1084 yards and 16 TD’s, he also caught 3 TD’s on 49 catches for 474 yards. Still only 25 years old, the 2017 5th rounder is in the last year of his contract and hopes to be a Packer for life. But the Packers are not known to sign their running back to second contracts so we might have some insight to why they used a second-round pick on A.J. Dillion.

Dillon is a massive man weighing in around 250lbs. He walks around on tree trunks and shows some top end speed when given the chance. He does tend to need a full head of steam to get going and is not very talented when he has to make quick decisions. He has the build to carry a full workload but will likely find himself in a committee with walk year running backs Jones and Jamaal Williams. Although there is only one ball to share, the Packers are also very high on Tyler Ervin.

As for wide receivers, you have Davante Adams…the End. Green Bay has struggled to find a consistent compliment to Davante Adams and shame on them for not drafting appropriately. Instead, they opted to build a power run game through the draft and ignore a glaring need. Although Allen Lazard rose to the top of the trash heap in 2019, Green Bay WR’s showcased very inconsistent play evidenced by the team’s 24 dropped passes. They did sign the big-bodied Devin Funchess to a $2.2 million salary, but he more or less will help replace the evacuated red zone presence of Jimmy Graham. Valdez-Scantling and St.Brown are still very young and raw and could surprise with some much needed reps. Finally, Jake Kumerow rounds out the list of notable receivers. The tight end group is led by an unaccomplished Jace Sternberger and veteran Marcedes Lewis. Sternberger was the 3rd selection in 2019 and is poised to take a leap in 2020. He is a seam stretcher with so-so blocking skills and should be good to go to replace Graham after missing half of his rookie year due to an ankle injury. He could be the most over hyped dynasty prospect to never catch a pass in the regular season. Mercedes Lewis will siphon some in the passing game while 2020 3rd rounder Josiah Deguara is a Dan Vitale clone who projects more as an H-Back.

Minnesota Vikings

OC: Mike Zimmer OC: Gary Kubiak

QB: Kirk Cousins, Sean Mannion, Nate Stanley, Jake Browning

RB: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, Michael Boone, Ameer Abdullah, Tony James-Brooks, CJ Ham, Jake Bargas

WR: Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, Olabisi Johnson, Chad Beebe, Tajae Sharpe, KJ Osborn, Alexander Hollins, Dillon Mitchell, Quartney Davis, Dan Chisena, Davion Davis

TE: Kyle Rudoplh, Irv Smith Jr, Tyler Conklin, Brandon Dillon, Nakia Griffin-Stewart

Captain Kirk’s contract has caused this team to lose talent. His two-year $66 million extension is near the top of the league and will impact the team’s roster for years to come. Luckily, they kicked butt in the draft. With the early addition of Justin Jefferson falling into their laps, promising tackle Ezra Clevland and some much-needed secondary help, Minnesota had one of the best drafts based on talent alone.

Cousins isn’t considered a top talent in industry circles, but he is a fine player. In 2019 he ranked fourth in efficiency rating, 7th in yards per attempt, and 5th in completion percentage. He does not put up gaudy numbers that will make you jump out of your chair, but he does offer that even keel consistency that you look for on your fantasy team. Behind him you have the reliable but not-so-talented Sean Mannion and the 7th rounder out of Iowa, Nate Stanley.

This backfield is very talented. Dalvin Cook is in early season holdout mode but is incredible with the ball in his hands as well as off-ball play. Cook returned value for those that drafted him last year, but will we take the gamble again this year? He carries uncertainty with his holdout as well as his injury history. Cook has a problematic shoulder which resulted in two torn labrums as well has several lower body issues. He seems to be fully recovered from the 2017 grade 3 ACL tear, but he chronically has hamstring issues. Cook has all of the talent in the world, but you cannot ignore the potential holdout and injury concerns.

Next on the RB depth chart are Alexander Mattison, Mike Boone, and Ameer Abdullah. Mattison was the top backup posting 462 yards with 1 TD in 13 games. Boone is much more comparable to Cook than Mattison is and enjoyed his week 17 “breakout” with 160 total yards and 1 touchdown. Boone is a talented player and deserves a look in the late rounds of dynasty drafts.

At wide receiver we witnessed the social media outbursts of Steffon Diggs lead to his departure to Buffalo. Surviving on the roster is his former running mate Adam Thielen. Thielen has enjoyed a rather clean injury history aside from a 2016 concussion until he slid into a wall outside of the endzone in the first quarter against the Lions. Injuring his hamstring, he missed one game and attempted a comeback against KC two weeks later and re-injured the leg resulting in a 4-game hiatus. He is undervalued due to injury recency bias and is a strong bounce back candidate that should dominate the target share on his team.

To replace Diggs, the Vikings scooped up Justin Jefferson from LSU in the first round. Running nearly 80% of his routes in the slot in his final year at LSU, Jefferson figures to kick inside in 3WR sets. Jefferson offers fantastic straight-line speed (4.41) and is a nuanced route runner. This is a great example where opportunity marries talent. Olibisi Johnson has the leg up on Tajae Sharpe for the 3rd WR spot while Chad Beebe offers more talent in the slot with his short area quickness.

Kyle Rudolph seems like he has played tight end for the Vikings forever. Still just 30yrs old, he operates on third downs and in the red zone evidenced by his 367 yards for 6 TD’s last season. Meanwhile Irv Smith is a candidate for more looks following Diggs departure. Smith played 60% of the snaps as a 20-year-old rookie out of Alabama in 2019. His yards per catch (8.6) are sure to increase, he had a respectable 36/311/2 rookie campaign in a talented offense. Former basketball player, Tyler Conklin sits third on the depth chart offering plus run-blocking ability with decent hands.

That is the NFC North! We hope you enjoyed the read.

Check back soon! We will continue with the NFC South next week.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner

2020 Wide Receivers Draft Class – Day One Picks

Author: Milos Ljubic

As I mentioned in the previous article, I will write about this year wide receivers draft class. In today’s article, I talk about day one draft picks, and in the next one, I will cover day the two picks.

The Las Vegas Raiders were the first team that takes WR on this year’s draft. From the 12th position, they selected Henry Ruggs. Ruggs was expected to be among the top three WR in the class, but this was a little surprise. The Raiders had an above-average offense this past season. They were 9th in the passing attack and 13th in the rushing attack. Derek Carr is a solid starter, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock didn’t ensure who is their starting QB would be for the future.

Carr will begin this season as a starter, but now the team has a backup option in Marcus Mariota. Josh Jacobs was great as a rookie, and there isn’t any reason not to repeat the good games in the next. TE Darren Waller played on a Pro Bowl level last season and will be the first passing option in next also. Despite the 9th passing attack, the Riders didn’t have any WRs with more than 50 catches and 650 yards. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow are very good for the 2nd and 3rd WR on the depth chart. In free agency, the Raiders signed Jason Witten and Nelson Agholor, and they will take some amount of snaps. What can we expect from Henry Ruggs? The Raiders are planning Ruggs to play WR no. 1 in this attack and to play a similar role as Tyreek Hill in KC. When we compare Ruggs with the 2014 class, three players from the first-round draft were no. 1 WRs for their teams and Ruggs is to be considered worse than all of them. Ruggs will play for an annual salary of $4,167,907. On day two of the NFL draft day, the Raiders selected one more WR, but about him in the next article.

The Denver Broncos were the second team to draft a WR in the draft. The Broncos defense was average this past season, while the offense was below average, especially their passing offense. That’s the main reason why they took a WR in the first two spots. (Also, in the third round, they added a Center to improve the offensive line). Jerry Jeudy was drafted from position no. 15. He was expected to be one of the first two choices at the WR position, so this wasn’t surprising. The Broncos offense is the youngest in the entire NFL. They don’t have a player older than 27 starting in the lineup. The biggest question for the next season will be the QB. John Elway has a lot of confidence in Drew Lock. He is in his second year and will be a starter without any reliable veteran on the bench. Their offense will be the run first. Three RBs, Phillip Lindsay, newcomer Melvin Gordon, and Royce Freeman, in their careers, they have, 1000, 850, and 500 yards per year, respectively. They will play a lot of snaps with two RBs in the field. WR no. 1, Courtland Sutton, had over 1100 yards last season. Jerry Jeudy is coming as a replacement for Emmanuel Sanders. Before he was traded last season, Sanders was on pace for 850 yards. Expectations are that Jeudy will be near that numbers. Jeudy’s annual salary will be $3,798,244. The second Broncos’ WR choice will be featured in the next article.

CeeDee Lamb was considered as the best WR prospects on this draft. Falling to the 17th position was unexpected, but Jerry Jones has no doubts about a pick in that situation. The Dallas Cowboys had a great attack game through the air last season. Only the Buccaneers were better. Dak Prescott threw for nearly 5,000 yards. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both had 1,000 caught yards. They lost Randall Cobb and Jason Witten in the free agency, and the only big addition is Lamb. Dallas’s playing style won’t be changed despite head coach changes. The biggest question, probably in the entire NFL at this moment, is a situation about Prescott’s new contract. Prescott was tagged, but there are problems with the contract extension. If Prescott plays next season for the Cowboys, this easily can be a WRs trio with 1,000 yards. Lamb’s annual salary will be $3,502,503 for the next four years.

The fourth WR in a draft, from the 21st position, was Jalen Reagor, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. Reagor wasn’t among the top 5 prospects by all pre-draft predictions. He was in the top 10 usually, but closer to 10 than to 5. Why did the Eagles take him? DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are the duos of very good WRs but from the wrong side of the ’30s. But they weren’t too healthy last year. They finished the season with WRs from the practice squad. The second TE Dallas Goedert played over 70% of snaps, and personnel with two TEs may be a concern for the number of snaps which will Reagor take. If the Eagles play more with 3 WRs, Jalen Reagor will have a similar role as Brandin Cooks had in the Saints in his rookie career. He is expected to bring the speed in this a bit older offense and will play from the slot usually. The Eagles currently have future cap problems. They are projected to be 50M dollars over the cap for the next season, and Jackson and Jeffery will be the first cap casualties after the season. Reagor’s annual salary is very friendly for the next four years at an annual salary of $3,317,669 with a lot of upside potential.

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t skip on Justin Jefferson, and they picked him right after the Eagles picked up Reagor. The Vikings were an average team last year in terms of statistics on both sides of the ball. They were great at the run game, but they had problems with the O-line and Passing game. They also had problems with the cap, and because of that, they sent the only reliable receiver from last season, Stefon Diggs, to the Buffalo. The first-round pick from this transaction was used to select Jefferson. Jefferson will be the second WR, next to Adam Thielen, who missed the middle part of the last season due to injury. The Vikings are usually playing 12 or 21 personnel, and that is one interesting fact for Dynasty Owner’s.

The San Francisco 49ers selected the last WR on day one of the draft, Brandon Aiyuk. He was drafted from the 25th position. They gave two picks to the Vikings, to move up for 6 positions, one pick in the fourth round, and the second one in the fifth round. The 49ers were great last year. They lost in the Super Bowl, as all we know, but they were the second-best defense in the league, just behind the New England Patriots. Their run game was also second in the league, behind the Baltimore Ravens. The game plan for this year will be the same. They will primarily be a run-oriented team. Besides that, the first option through the air will be George Kittle. The main formation will be with two RBs in the field, and Kyle Juszczyk will be the only fullback who is still a starter in the NFL. Brandon Aiyuk will be WR no. 2 next to Deebo Samuel, and he will have about 500 caught yards by projections.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @LjubicMilos and @Dynasty_Owner