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Volume 22, #29 -- Saturday Night, May 16th, 2020
Matt LaFleur Talks About Aaron Rodgers plus News And Notes and MORE

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Howdy Folks,

Good Sunday to you. Whether you start your week or finish your week on Sunday, I hope it's a great day for you.

We've got four more new Team Reports. If you haven't checked them out yet, do yourself a favor and dive in. They're some of our best work and we keep them rolling all summer.

Plus we've got the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Las Vegas Raiders Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Raiders. How will Derek Carr fare? Is Josh Jacobs ready for the next step? How does Henry Ruggs fit? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Dan Hindery Defensive Players by Justin Howe Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

B. Minnesota Vikings Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Vikings. Kirk Cousins better than QB19? Dalvin Cook this year? How do they fill the void from losing Stefon Diggs? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by James Brimacombe Defensive Players by Daniel Simpkins Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

C. New Orleans Saints Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Saints. Can Drew Brees do it again? Can Alvin Kamara bounce back? Can Michael Thomas keep it going? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Sigmund Bloom Defensive Players by Dave Larkin Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti

D. Seattle Seahawks Team Report
The Footballguys Staffers dive deep on the Seahawks. Can Russell Wilson stay at his elite level? Is Chris Carson over his hip injury? Can DK Metcalf take the next step? All that and tons more.

Offensive Players by Phil Alexander Defensive Players by Sigmund Bloom Team Philosophy and Returners by Adam Harstad Kickers and Team Defense by Sigmund Bloom Offensive Line by Matt Bitonti


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1. CHI - QB Nick Foles quickly picking up Chicago system

Source: NFL.com - Jeremy Bergman

Chicago Bears QB Nick Foles, who will compete for the starting quarterback job with the Bears, is quickly getting caught up on the team's offensive system. The system isn't new to Foles, as it is the same one he learned under Bears head coach Matt Nagy when the two were with the Kansas City Chiefs. 'It's like riding a bike,' Nagy said. 'Once you present somebody like Nick the playbook and they start looking at it, all of a sudden it just clicks.'

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Foles worked with Nagy before so picking up this system should be a breeze. We'll see if he can beat out 2017 first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky in training camp for the starting job.

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2. GB - Matt LaFleur reiterates support of QB Aaron Rodgers

Source: CBS Sports

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reiterated that QB Aaron Rodgers is the leader of the Packers. 'This is Aaron's team. He's our leader. He's our captain,' LaFleur said.

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There has been rampant speculation about the relationship between the two since the team selected QB Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft. Sure, Love may be the quarterback of the future but he would be better off developing behind Rodgers for at least two years. This is Rodgers team, and it would've been nice to see the Packers add better receiving weapons around him as they try to make another run at a Super Bowl in 2020.

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3. DAL - Addition will benefit RB Ezekiel Elliott

Source: Dallas Morning News - Michael Gehlken

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott will be one of the biggest beneficiaries with the Cowboys drafting WR CeeDee Lamb in the first round, according to a team beat reporter. Per Pro Football Focus, Elliott averaged 5.1 yards per carry when rushing in 11 personnel, fifth-highest among the 23 NFL players with at least 80 eligible carries in 2019. Additionally, Elliott led the NFL in rushing yards from 11 personnel with 823 yards on 161 attempts. With WRs Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb, defenses must respect the Cowboys' ability to pass and generally will be forced to replace at least one linebacker with a defensive back, switching to a nickel or dime sub-package.

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That only makes sense from a gameplanning standpoint. With more weapons in the passing game, defenses won't be able to stack the box to stuff the run more regularly. Elliott is one of the best in the game and a virtual lock to finish as a top-5 fantasy back (again) in 2020.

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4. NO - WR Michael Thomas tops in catch rate

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas caught 80.5 percent of his 185 targets in 2019 to lead all wide receivers with at least 75 targets.

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Thomas doesn't let many passes get past him. He's one of the most focused receivers in the league and the centerpiece of what the Saints do on offense. He's got more help at the position this year with veteran Emmanuel Sanders added in free agency. That should take some attention away from the defense, but Thomas is a top-tier talent no matter if he's double-covered or not.

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5. MIN - Immediate role for Justin Jefferson?

Source: ESPN.com - Courtney Cronin

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson has a 'chance to be a pretty impactful rookie,' according to general manager Rick Spielman.

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The Vikings need him to make an immediate impact as they traded away Stefon Diggs before the draft and it left a big hole. Jefferson is strictly a slot receiver with 109 of his 111 catches last year coming from that position. We'll see how the Vikings create an offense that features Jefferson in addition to getting a majority of the looks to veteran Adam Thielen.

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6. TEN - Tennessee could look for veteran No. 2 QB

Source: TennesseeTitans.com - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans QBs Logan Woodside and Cole McDonald are expected to compete for the No. 2 quarterback job during training camp, but the Titans could consider signing a veteran backup quarterback if neither of the quarterbacks impress during camp, in the opinion of TennesseeTitans.com's Jim Wyatt.

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The Titans won't add anyone like Cam Newton, who could be a threat to Ryan Tannehill at the top of the depth chart. Instead, look for a veteran like Joe Flacco (when healthy) to potentially be an option for the Titans as they look for veteran experience in the QB room behind Tannehill.

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7. ARI - WR DeAndre Hopkins to see a volume change?

Source: CBS Sports HQ

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins ranks first in the NFL in targets (487) and receiving touchdowns (31) over the last three seasons. He also ranks second with 315 receptions in that time.

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We'll see how the Cardinals use him in 2020, as they do have other talented WRs on the roster, but Hopkins should still be producing at an incredibly high level. It wouldn't surprise us to see some dropoff just because he's been at such an incredibly high level for years.

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8. BUF - Zack Moss high on confidence

Source: The Buffalo News - Josh Barnett

Buffalo Bills RB Zack Moss has a warning for any NFL defenders who plan on bringing him down in 2020. 'Anybody who wants to tackle me it's going to have to be a business decision,' Moss said during an appearance on 'Good Morning Football' on the NFL Network. 'It's all game, all night. The fourth quarter is punishment. ... 'I'm trying to be the most dominant player on the field every time I have that ball in my hands.'

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Moss is high on confidence and he has a no-nonsense running style that has shades of Marshawn Lynch to his game. He's not as fast or quite as brutal as Lynch was/is on the field but Moss could bring some power to the backfield behind starter Devin Singletary.

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9. SEA - QB Russell Wilson unlucky

Source: Pro Football Focus

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson threw 48 incompletions from 2017-2019 on positively-graded throws, according to Pro Football Focus.

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Wilson hasn't always had the best receivers around him. Those receivers certainly have lacked consistently and it comes through in the advanced data. Wilson isn't 'unlucky' per se but he does need more help from his wideouts.

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10. NYG - WR Golden Tate tops in open field

Source: ProFootballFocus.com

New York Giants WR Golden Tate led the position with 183 forced missed tackles from 2010-19.

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That sounds about right. Tate has always looked like a running back after the catch with his moves and quickness. He needs to stay healthy as he only appeared in 11 games last year, but Tate still has WR3/flex value for Fantasy GMs.

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11. LVR - TE Darren Waller learning from veteran

Source: The Athletic - Vic Tafur

Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller is picking up tips this offseason from TE Jason Witten, his new veteran teammate. 'He is great getting off the ball right at the snap, he will be ahead of receivers. So I'm thinking, 'I didn't know ⁦jason Witten was that fast,' but there are a lot of small details to his game that are just incredible.'

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It will be interesting to see how Waller and Witten work together in this TEBC. Fantasy GMs love what Waller did last year, finishing second in the NFL in receiving yards by a tight end. However, he only scored three touchdowns and most would like to see that number increase. It might not if Witten is taking away some looks near pay dirt. Waller has a current ADP of TE5 (5.07) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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12. DAL - Plenty to go around for CeeDee Lamb?

Source: NFL.com - Dan Parr

Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb should have 'plenty of opportunities' in 2020 because of the departures of Houston Texans WR Randall Cobb and Las Vegas Raiders TE Jason Witten, according to Dan Parr of NFL.com. Cobb and Witten accounted for 166 targets in 2019, according to Pro Football Reference.

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Lamb is too good to be left out in the cold when it comes to targets. The Cowboys have a helluva trio in wide receivers with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb. That's going to make their offense even more dangerous this season.

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13. DEN - RB Royce Freeman the odd man out?

Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Legwold

Denver Broncos RB Royce Freeman accounted for 32.3 percent of the carries in 2019 and 33 percent in 2018, and he 'appears to be the odd man out' of the running back rotation in 2020 following the addition of RB Melvin Gordon, according to Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com.

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Freeman has disappointed in two seasons with the Broncos. He was supposed to be the starter each of the last two years but he's been beaten out by 2018 undrafted free agent Phillip Lindsay. With the addition of Gordon, we should not see much of Freeman. New OC Pat Shurmur usually only uses one running back, and Gordon is the top man in Denver. We think Lindsay gets mixed in a bit more as well due to his talent and productivity but there is only a small handful of touches available for Freeman if the backs above him on the depth chart stay healthy.

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

Peace,

J