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Volume 22, #42 -- Friday Night, May 29th, 2020
How does the size of your league change your strategy?

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J

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A. How League Size Changes Strategy
Jordan McNamara dives into the question: How does the size of your league change your strategy?

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1. NO - WR Michael Thomas ridiculously good on slants

Source: NewOrleans.Football - Nick Underhill

New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas has been targeted 118 times on slant routes over the course of his four-year career and caught 97 of them for 988 yards - good for a success rate of 85 percent.

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Michael Thomas is just ridiculously good...period. It doesn't matter the type of route he runs, Thomas is going to get open and come down with the ball. The Saints added free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders to the mix this offseason and that should only help Thomas see better coverage. Thomas is a WR1/no-brainer/must-start every week.

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2. JAX - QB Gardner Minshew familiar with Laviska Shenault Jr.

Source: Jaguars.com

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew is familiar with the talents of rookie WR Laviska Shenault Jr. and what he can do for an offense from their time playing against each other in college. 'Every time he touched the ball you just got nervous because you know he could break it,' Minshew said.

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These guys both played in the Pac-12, Minshew for Washington State and Shenault for Colorado. Shenault is a rare athlete who has strength, speed, body control and the versatility to line up anywhere in the formation...even in the backfield as a running back or Wildcat quarterback. The rookie from CU just needs to stay healthy in order to be productive. We love him in dynasty leagues but in re-draft leagues he's more of an end-of-the-bench player at this time.

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3. PHI - No offer yet for RB LeSean McCoy

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer - Jeff McLane

Free-agent RB LeSean McCoy (Chiefs) hasn't yet received an offer from the Philadelphia Eagles, despite interest from the team in bringing him back.

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There's no rush to bring McCoy in right now. The offseason is still in the 'virtual' mode with facilities just opening up around the league. McCoy is a seasoned veteran who knows the team, knows the offense and won't take much time to get up to speed. We'll see if the team brings him in as a veteran backup to Miles Sanders when training camp gets here.

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4. MIA - Miami expected to use two RBs

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins RBs Jordan Howard and Matt Breida are both expected to receive solid playing time this upcoming season, but it is not known which one will start.

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Howard is the power back who could be used to pick up short-yardage situations. He may also be the favored back when the team is near the end zone. Breida is the big-play back with the ability to hurt a defense as a runner or receiver out of the backfield. We're seeing Breida come off the board at RB36 (8.04) and Howard at RB39 (8.09) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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5. BUF - QB Josh Allen works out with pass catchers

Source: The Buffalo News

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen worked out with several of the team's pass catchers in Florida Thursday, May 28, including WR Stefon Diggs. RB Devin Singletary, WRs John Brown, Isaiah McKenzie, Nick Easley, WR Gabriel Davis and Isaiah Hodgins and TEs Dawson Knox, Tommy Sweeney, Jason Croom and Nate Becker were among the players participating in the workout.

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The Bills have a new-look passing attack in 2020 with the addition of WR Stefon Diggs. He should be the no.1 receiver for Josh Allen this year, opening things up for other guys in the passing attack like WR John Brown and TE Dawson Knox. If Allen takes further steps as a passer, this team could be in line to win the AFC East.

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6. WAS - QB Dwayne Haskins finished strong

Source: Pro Football Focus

Washington Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins ranked 10th among quarterbacks in terms of Pro Football Focus passing grade over Weeks 9-17 of the 2019 season.

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Haskins did flash at times during his rookie season. He appeared in nine games and mostly struggled due to a lack of talent around him. Haskins has a strong arm and the ability to extend plays, making him an interesting developmental prospect. He will compete with Kyle Allen for the starting job in training camp.

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7. IND - QB Philip Rivers feeds off run game

Source: The Associated Press - Michael Marot

Indianapolis Colts QB Philip Rivers brings a strong play-action game to the team's attack, and head coach Frank Reich says the Colts plan to take full advantage. 'In 2013 when (current Colts offensive coordinator) Nick (Sirianni) and I were first there, (Rivers) had statistically one of his better years and we ran the ball well that year,' Reich said. 'Then you go back and look at the years with LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) and how effective he was in the passing game. He's always been great in the passing game, but I don't think there's any doubt he's been most efficient and played his best football when he has a good running game.'

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Good thing the Colts can run the ball effectively. Not only do they have Marlon Mack to bang it between the tackles, but they also selected Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor in the 2020 NFL draft. That is a fantastic 1-2 punch (or 1-1 punch) for the Colts offense and should help open things up for Rivers and the play-action passing game.

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8. SEA - RB Carlos Hyde contract terms

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde's one-year contract with the team has a base value of $2.75 million, which includes a $750,000 signing bonus, $1.5 million base salary and $500,000 per-game roster bonuses. The deal also includes incentives worth $1.25 million with a maximum value of $4 million.

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Hyde was an important piece for the Seahawks to add this offseason. He's a proven 1,000-yard rusher who could start and be productive if called upon. In Seattle, Hyde is going to be a valuable reserve behind starter Chris Carson.

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9. PHI - John Hightower a deep threat

Source: Philadelphia Daily News - Paul Domowitch

Philadelphia Eagles fifth-round pick WR John Hightower had 12 receptions of 40 or more yards in two seasons at Boise State. He averaged 9.6 yards per carry on 16 runs last season and should be used in gadget situations with the Eagles.

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Hightower's game is all about speed, speed and more speed. He was a track athlete in college but excelled at football as well. Hightower does a good job of varying his speed in his routes and knows how to lull defenders to sleep then blast by them. The Eagles needed a lot of help at the WR position for 2020 and beyond. Hightower is someone in dynasty formats we are keeping an eye on.

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10. NYJ - Le'Veon Bell's hands as good as ever

Source: ProFootballReference.com

New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell posted a catch rate of 84.6 percent in 2019 - the third-best mark by a running back with at least 50 targets last season.

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Bell is still a dangerous back, just not quite as productive as he used to be. The Jets have talked about utilizing him less in 2020, but he's still the lead back. Frank Gore will give Bell a breather this season.

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11. TB - WR Mike Evans amasses gaudy air yard numbers

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans has posted three of the top six totals in regards to intended air yards over the last five seasons among running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Evans finished with a career-high 2,572 intended air yards in 2016 (the second-best mark by any player since 2015), 2,188 yards in 2015 (fifth) and 2,187 in 2016 (sixth). Evans' 1,779 intended air yards in 2019 was his lowest total over that span.

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Evans is a spectacular receiver and one of the best in the game at his position. His deep speed and ball-tracking ability allow him to stand out on big throws down the field. New QB Tom Brady is incredible at placing deep passes accurately and this new combination should be as productive as any duo in the NFL.

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12. ATL - WR Julio Jones tops in intended air yards

Source: Sports Info Solutions

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones led all running backs, wide receivers and tight ends with 1,912 intended air yards in 2019.

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Jones is dominant all over the field. He's capable of turning short passes into long gains, and he's capable of tracking passes deep over his shoulder. Jones could score more touchdowns from a fantasy perspective but is still a WR1 you start every week.

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13. MIA - WR Gary Jennings receives high praise

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins WR Gary Jennings 'put on a clinic' during a recent seven-on-seven exercise, according to trainer Pete Bommarito.'His routes were outstanding. We're talking about two straight hours going against some of the top defensive backs in this league. He was a 4.3 guy (at West Virginia) and is still a 4.3 guy. I had All-Pro cornerbacks on those fields (last Friday), and they said he's the real deal. All he needs is a shot. He has all the skills to be big time,' Bommarito said.

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Jennings was a fourth-round pick for Seattle in the 2019 NFL draft. Coming out of West Virginia, Jennings showed a game that was all about speed. When he arrived in Seattle, Jennings could not do enough to stay with the team and was waived. His athletic profile gave him a second chance in the NFL with the Dolphins but he is currently buried on the team depth chart. We'll see if he can impress in training camp and earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

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14. MIA - WR Albert Wilson quicker than ever?

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins WR Albert Wilson is one of several Dolphins players working out with longtime trainer Pete Bommarito this offseason, and Bommarito says it has been Wilson's best. 'Wait until you see him run,' Bommarito said. 'This is the fastest I have seen him. Not only does he have that bad-ass shifty side and quick feet, but you look at his second gear and he looks spectacular. You will see the second gear this year.'

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If healthy, Wilson should catch around 35-40 passes for the Dolphins this year as a reserve receiver. That doesn't make him much of a fantasy factor no matter how much his quickness has improved.

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15. NYJ - Denzel Mims takes priding in blocking abilities

Source: 247 Sports - Jaylon Thompson

New York Jets WR Denzel Mims says his blocking ability is one of his top traits and it helps him in other areas of his game. 'I can say the strongest part of my game is really my blocking,' Mims said. 'I am a guy that really loves to block and I take pride in that. You got to block for your running backs and your quarterback because if I want the ball and I want them to be able to trust me, I feel like I need to think the game when it comes to blocking first. Then, I will be able to catch the balls.'

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Mims has incredible speed as a receiving threat and can take the top off the defense. He also has strength to work well as a blocker. The Jets offense is not one to heavily invest in from a fantasy perspective, so Mims is someone to love in dynasty formats but keep on your waiver wire speed dial in re-draft leagues.

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16. BAL - QB Lamar Jackson to improve deep passing?

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson can improve on his MVP 2019 campaign by taking advantage of defenses stacking the box, according to head coach John Harbaugh Thursday, May 28. 'Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on some downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it. We absolutely have to make them pay,' Harbaugh said. 'The ability to make them pay for tilting their defense toward stopping our run game with a really, really efficient passing game. I do believe that's the next step of this offense. I really do believe Lamar is going to take the next step.'

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The Ravens could help Jackson by getting him better wide receivers. The players in place have talent but guys like Marquise Brown need to stay healthy to be productive. Jackson is a better passer than some think, and he'll continue to develop his talent in 2020 and beyond.

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17. NFL - RB Devonta Freeman weighing two offers

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer - Jeff McLane

Free-agent RB Devonta Freeman (Falcons) is weighing contract offers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles, according to sources.

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The Buccaneers could use help at the running back position. It's the only weak spot on their offense and Freeman could help in a RBBC with Ronald Jones. The Eagles are looking for a veteran backup to Miles Sanders and Freeman is near the top of the list, although they are looking at guys like LeSean McCoy as well.

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Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J