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Footballguys.com

Volume 20, #50 -- Sunday Night, June 10th, 2018

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Howdy Footballguy,

Good Monday to you. With the NBA and NHL Finals in the books, we're officially into Baseball season. At least for regular season games. You know by now it's always Football Season here. We've got the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Footballguys Early Bird Discount Ends June 15 Plus DRAFT.com Promo
Don't miss the steeply discounted Early Bird price for our Footballguys Season Long Pro subscription. Or even better, get a free Season Long Pro by just depositing $10 into DRAFT.com for new DRAFT.com customers. Just click the "Claim Offer" orange button on the page.

B. 2018 Quarterback Regression: Touchdown and Interception Rates
Our Chad Parsons dives into historical touchdown and interception rate regression and how it affects 2018 quarterbacks.

C. Dynasty Offseason News
Our Jeff Tefertiller with a look at the recent fantasy news from a dynasty perspective.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. DAL - RB Ezekiel Elliott to see more work as receiver?

2. LAC - RB Melvin Gordon lacking efficiency

3. DAL - TE Rico Gathers added weight

4. PIT - RB James Conner shows well in OTAs

5. SEA - S Earl Thomas holding out

6. NYG - WR Cody Latimer pushing to start

7. LAC - CB Jason Verrett cleared

8. MIA - David Fales closing in on backup gig?

9. HOU - QB Deshaun Watson won't be reeled in

10. CLE - Nick Chubb to open year as the backup?

11. CLE - RB Carlos Hyde to lead backfield?

12. CLE - Antonio Callaway to return punts


1. DAL - RB Ezekiel Elliott to see more work as receiver?

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jon Machota

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott should be in line for even more touches - especially in the passing game - following the departures of Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, according to John Machota of The Dallas Morning News.

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The move to get Elliott more involved as a receiver makes a lot of sense. In two seasons as a pro (25 games), Elliott has 58 receptions for the Cowboys. It wouldn't be a shock to see him reach 50 receptions just this year with an extra emphasis on getting him the rock in any way possible. He's a top four pick in fantasy drafts of any format in 2018.

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2. LAC - RB Melvin Gordon lacking efficiency

Source: ChargersWire - Will Reave Jr.

Los Angeles Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has never averaged more than 3.9 yards per rush in his first three NFL seasons.

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Gordon's 2.08 yards-before-first-contact-per-rush average ranked 31st in the NFL last year. The team gave him plenty of carries (284) but they need to create more room for him so he can get to top speed and gash defenses on a larger per-carry basis. He could do a little better after contact to boost that number as his 1.81 yards-after-first-contact average ranked 25th in the league in 2017. Gordon is still the centerpiece of the Chargers offense, and they should work to create more space and more big-play opportunities for him in 2018.

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3. DAL - TE Rico Gathers added weight

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jori Epstein

Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers said he bulked up to 282 pounds in order to be more effective as a blocker. 'Now coming off, I'm delivering the blow,' Gathers said. 'I'm delivering the shot.'

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Gathers is a basketball convert who has never caught a pass in the regular season. He was tearing it up in the preseason last year before a severe concussion ended his 2017 season, and now Gathers is back with a larger opportunity after the retirement of Jason Witten. If you're in a deep enough draft, we'd nab Gathers as an upside play on the chance he hits. But understand there are major questions around him still. We're leaning towards none of the Dallas TEs being significant contributors this year. But again, it's just June.

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4. PIT - RB James Conner shows well in OTAs

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Joe Rutter

Pittsburgh Steelers RB James Conner caught the eye of QB Ben Roethlisberger during the team's recently completed OTAs, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune Live's Joe Rutter that Conner is 'looking really well right now' and that '(Conner) has gotten a lot better (since his rookie season).'

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That's good news for the second-year pro and for fantasy owners who have Conner in dynasty leagues. In deeper leagues where RB handcuffs are the rage, Conner is the one to attach to Le'Veon Bell in later rounds. He's not as versatile as Bell (few are), but Conner could be a thumper for the Steelers with a larger role.

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5. SEA - S Earl Thomas holding out

Source: ESPN.com - Dan Graziano

Contrary to previous reports, Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas has decided to hold out of the team's mandatory minicamp due to disappointment over his contract situation.

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Thomas is set to make a base salary of $8.5 million in 2018, and the Seahawks can fine him around $85,000 if he misses the three days of mandatory work. He wants a new deal and Seattle was rumored to be shopping him earlier this year to no avail. Seattle is going to look much different on defense in 2018 and it would help their transition if a guy like Thomas can stick around.

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6. NYG - WR Cody Latimer pushing to start

Source: New York Post - Paul Schwartz

New York Giants WR Cody Latimer could emerge as the No. 3 receiver and the kick returner this year, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

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Latimer has always been a 'what if' player in the NFL. A second-round pick out of Indiana in 2014, Latimer failed to build strong chemistry with QB Peyton Manning early in his days with the Broncos. Injuries plagued his game along with inconsistency even after Manning retired. With a fresh start in 2018, Latimer is out to prove he can play up to the potential he displayed for the Hoosiers in college. We'll see if he can connect with Eli Manning to win the no.3 job for the Giants behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard.

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7. LAC - CB Jason Verrett cleared

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers CB Jason Verrett (knee) has returned to practice and was moving well in 7-on-7 drills, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com.

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Verrett is a fantastic corner when healthy, but he's missed all but five games over the last two years. If he can get back to full strength and didn't lose some of his athleticism due to this knee injury, Verrett can be a key piece to a emboldened Chargers secondary in 2018 as a starter opposite Casey Hayward.

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8. MIA - David Fales closing in on backup gig?

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins QB David Fales has been better in OTAs than QB Brock Osweiler, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, and Jackson believes Fales is currently the leading candidate to win the backup job.

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Fales has always thrown with great anticipation, but his arm strength is lacking a leaves a lot to be desired. Osweiler has a rocket arm, plenty of starting experience and could close the gap or just win the job behind Ryan Tannehill outright in training camp and the preseason. Neither one of these quarterbacks are interesting dynasty prospects.

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9. HOU - QB Deshaun Watson won't be reeled in

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson's (knee) running ability won't be suffocated, according to quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan. 'You never want to take that away, his instincts, his ability to make plays,' Ryan said.

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Watson was setting the league on fire before a knee injury cut his rookie season short. This type of report has been coming out of Houston all offseason long. We get it -- the Texans (and Bill O'Brien) won't hold this potential superstar back in 2018. Fantasy owners certainly feel strongly about Watson as his current ADP of QB2 (4.11 in 12-team PPR leagues) is too rich for some out there.

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10. CLE - Nick Chubb to open year as the backup?

Source: ESPNCleveland.com - Tony Grossi

Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb will likely spell RB Carlos Hyde early in the year, in the opinion of Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.

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This report is likely correct as Hyde is the seasoned veteran and Chubb is the talented rookie. However, Hyde is known to get a bit banged up and that could open the door for Chubb to start. He's got the type of natural running ability that can shine through if he only gets an opportunity. If he gets a shot, Hyde may not get the starting job back. We'll watch this competition unfold in training camp and the preseason.

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11. CLE - RB Carlos Hyde to lead backfield?

Source: ESPNCleveland.com - Tony Grossi

Cleveland Browns RB Carlos Hyde will likely open the year as the starter, in the opinion of Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.

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Hyde is going to be pushed in a big way this year by rookie Nick Chubb. We'll see if Hyde can hold the talented second-round pick off while getting enough work to be a RB3 for fantasy owners. The Browns won't have a lot of positive game scripts in 2018, so Hyde's early down work could be limited. They've got Duke Johnson Jr. to work as the primary receiving back.

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12. CLE - Antonio Callaway to return punts

Source: ESPNCleveland.com - Tony Grossi

Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway is expected to return punts and may also return kicks, according to Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.

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Callaway was a dangerous return man in college for the Florida Gators, so it makes sense he would do that for the Browns in the pros. A quick-twitch athlete, Callaway can make defenders miss in the open field and he doesn't lose much speed when changing direction. The WR corps in Cleveland is jam packed with talent, so Callaway's biggest impact as a rookie may be as a return man.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of the Footballguys Family. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J