Volume 19, #81 -- Wednesday Night, July 12th, 2017
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Green Bay Packers TEs Andrew Quarless (13) and Richard Rodgers (14) ranked among the team's top three players in red zone targets in 2014 in 2015, respectively, before Jared Cook's injury-plagued 2016 campaign ruined the streak. Martellus Bennett signed a three-year, $21 million contract to be the team's top tight end in the offseason.
Message! Fantasy owners were already excited about Bennett signing with the Packers and that sounds even better with this historical data. Bennett could work to become a favorite target of QB Aaron Rodgers quickly ... especially when the team is near pay dirt. He's coming off the board at TE8 (7.10) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson said he will be ready to play whenever head coach Bill O'Brien believes he is ready to start. QB Tom Savage is expected to be the starting quarterback when the regular season begins.
Watson is going to compete for the job in camp, but it may take him a bit of time to get up to speed in the NFL. He plays big in the brightest moments, and Watson is potentially the quarterback of the future for the Texans. When he's ready, the team is likely to keep things simple for the rookie. With the Texans defense and a strong rushing attack, Watson could be the leader of a team that makes a deep postseason run in 2017.
Gillislee is the player most likely to take over the LeGarrette Blount role in 2017. There may not be 18 rushing touchdowns (like there was for Blount last year), but obviously Gillislee can have plenty of fantasy value. Right now, Gillislee is RB28 (6.05) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot
Cleveland Browns QB DeShone Kizer could play early in the season as beat writer, Mary Kay Cabot, believes head coach Hue Jackson wants to throw Kizer into the fire and let him learn on the fly. With an improved defense and running game, Jackson could devise gameplans to take some of the pressure off Kizer early on. Kizer will have to perform in the preseason to win the job.
The Browns need to see what they have in Kizer, so it makes sense they could play him sooner rather than later. Cody Kessler is his primary competition for the job in 2017, and he's more of a game manager with limited upside. Kizer has a big arm and is athletic...think of a poor man's version of Daunte Culpepper. The rookie has complete confidence in his arm but 'bird dogs' and stares down receivers too often while holding onto the ball too long. He'll need to improve that if he wants to make it in the NFL.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot
Cleveland Browns QB Cody Kessler could begin the season as the starter, but he doesn't fit the mold head coach Hue Jackson likes as a starting quarterback, according to beat writer Mary Kat Cabot. Jackson likes a tall, mobile quarterback with a big arm and quick decision-making skills. Kessler falls below Jackson's 6-foot-2 threshold and doesn't have the deep-ball skills Jackson covets.
That's pretty much what Kessler is -- a bridge quarterback to the next guy. That guy could be rookie DeShone Kizer, their second-round pick out of Notre Dame this year. While Kessler is safe with the football on underneath routes, Kizer has the big arm and aggressive mindset as a passer. We could see a scenario where Kessler begins the season as the starter but Kizer takes over at some point.
Washington has until July 17th to sign Cousins to a long-term deal and time is winding down. Earlier reports had a small glimmer of hope, but that's been extinguished in recent days. Cousins looks to play for the second straight season on the franchise tag. He'll make almost $24 million on the one-year tender if he doesn't get a deal done by next Monday.
His split with the Panthers was rough, so he's not going back there. He doesn't want to play in Dallas because he grew up a 49ers fan. The Browns are pretty much self explanatory and the Jaguars are better than Cleveland but not enough for Williams to want to play there. He's gotten zero interest on the open market to this point, and Williams might only get interest when injuries strike in training camp.
Indianapolis Colts RB Robert Turbin had an impressive offseason and look better than he did last offseason, according to offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski. Turbin said he would embrace a bigger role in the offensive scheme.
The positive reports about Turbin have been a constant drumbeat this offseason. Entering training camp, Turbin is second on the depth chart behind Frank Gore but he will be pushed for that spot by rookie Marlon Mack. Turbin or Mack will have little fantasy value if Gore stays healthy.
New England Patriots OT Nate Solder is entering the final year of his current contract, and the team will not be allowed to place the franchise tag on him next season because it was part of the extension he signed a few years ago.
New England Patriots WR Andrew Hawkins could be on the roster bubble during training camp if the Patriots decide to keep only six wide receivers on their final roster, in the opinion of ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss.
Hawkins was added this offseason by the Patriots, and he's certainly no lock for the 53-man roster. He does fit what the Pats want from their WRs as he's quick, shifty and elusive after the catch. His primary competition for perhaps the final spot on the depth chart at wide receiver is Danny Amendola.
A fourth-round pick out of Princeton in 2016, DeValve is a converted wide receiver who can create mismatches. He'll need to run better routes if he wants to play up to his potential as a pro. The Browns did select TE David Njoku (Miami) in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. The rookie is the more exciting of the two prospects, but it sometimes takes a year or two for TEs to make an impact at the pro level.
Cincinnati Bengals WR Joshua Malone is 6-3, 208 pounds and ran at 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. His size/speed ratio was evident on the practice field during the Bengals OTAs and minicamps.
A fourth-round pick out of Tennessee, Malone caught 50 passes for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns in his final year with the Vols. At 6'3" 208 pounds, Malone has speed to burn. In addition to Malone, the Bengals added WR John Ross (1st round) out of Washington. It's clear the team wanted to get younger and faster at the WR position. Now only if their O-Line can hold up after losing two starters in free agency.
A converted running back, Tate is elusive and tough after the catch. That's why he was no2 in the NFL (Jarvis Lanrdy, 639 yards) with 611 yards after the catch in 2016. In PPR leagues, Tate is a solid WR2 with a current ADP of WR25 (5.02).
Ingram has had 50 and 46 catches over the last two years, and he could best those numbers in 2017. With Adrian Peterson taking some carries away from Ingram, we could see him get more targets in the passing game. Of course, rookie Alvin Kamara could be used in that role too but Ingram should get the nod due to his experience and effectiveness.
Los Angeles Chargers TEs Antonio Gates (18) and Hunter Henry (16) ranked second and in a tie for third, respectively, in the league among tight ends in red zone targets. Both Gates and Henry were tied for second among all tight ends with seven targets inside the 10.
McNichols came out of Boise State as a fine receiving back. He had five plays of 25+ yards on passing plays. McNichols is a one-speed runner with little nuance to his game. He finds a crease and attacks it immediately and without hesitation. He's buried on the depth chart in Tampa behind Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers. However, we are interested in him from a dynasty perspective.