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Volume 22, #56 -- Friday Night, June 12th, 2020
9 Players You Need To Keep An Eye On

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Howdy Folks,

Welcome to Saturday. It's the weekend and not a moment too soon. I hope you get to relax and recharge and I hope you get to enjoy people you love around you.

Plus, we've got the football info you need to crush your league this year.

Let's go.

J

SITE NEWS

A. 9 Players On The Rise
David Dodds picks out 9 young players to keep an eye on.

B. FFPC Best Ball Average Draft Position Data
ADP data from the last 54 FFPC best ball drafts since June 1st.

C. Commissioner Series: Overview
Chad Parsons with everything you need to know for being a Commissioner.

D. Mastering the Auction Draft, Part 4: Nomination Strategies
Drew Davenport continues his Auction Mastery series. In this one, he dives into learning different nomination strategies for auction drafting.

E. Preseason Content Landing Page
Get everything you need to crush your draft right here.

F. Auction Primer: Overview
Jeff Pasquino with all the pieces of the Auction Primer.


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1. ATL - WR1 hopes for WR Calvin Ridley

Source: NFL.com - Gregg Rosenthal

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has shown definite flashes as a No. 2 wide receiver, but the Falcons would rather he and Julio Jones produce like 'two WR1s' with the team's depth at the position lacking, according to one NFL analyst.

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Ridley is one of the top candidates to make the leap to top 10-12 "WR1" fantasy scoring this year. Austin Hooper is gone and while Hayden Hurst should take up some of the slack left by his departure, Ridley is getting into his prime and Matt Ryan will rely on him even more this year. You should be able to land Ridley with a fourth round pick in many drafts.

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2. CHI - QB Mitchell Trubisky standing ground

Source: NFL Network - Stacey Dales

Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky said Friday, June 13, that he has been motivated by the team's offseason acquisition of QB Nick Foles. 'It was kind of interesting to be, but that's the business we live in,' Trubisky said in a Zoom media conference. 'I think I was kind of pissed off in a good way. I've been motivated ever since. ... I know we're going to push each other, but I still feel like this is my team.'

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Trubisky and Foles are in an open quarterback battle, but Foles should be favored and Foles winning would be better for the offense and passing game targets unless Trubisky improves greatly this offseason. Trubisky is saying the right things, but he'll have to show that he's grasping the offense better than he did last year to follow through on this newfound motivation.

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3. NYJ - Le'Veon Bell could be playing for contract

Source: New York Post - Brian Costello

New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell has no guaranteed money in his deal after this season. If he stays, he is due to make an $8 million salary and receive a $3 million roster bonus that the team is likely not willing to shell out unless he has a monster season.

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If Adam Gase could have undone Bell's signing last year, he probably would have. Bell is almost certainly in his last year on the Jets roster. Fourth-round pick Lamical Perine has a chance to earn a long-term role with a good rookie year.

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4. JAX - Tyler Davis under contract

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Jacksonville Jaguars sixth-round draft choice TE Tyler Davis signed a four-year contract with the Jaguars Friday, June 12. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Davis is a blocking tight end who can also contribute on special teams, but chances are there's nothing there for fantasy. He did have six receiving touchdowns at UConn in 2018 and then was used sparingly in the passing game in the triple-option offense at Georgia Tech last year.

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5. SF - Brandon Aiyuk works out with QB

Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Eric Branch

San Francisco 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk participated in a workout with QB Jimmy Garoppolo and some of his other teammates Wednesday, June 10. Aiyuk said he was recently medically cleared for football activities.

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Aiyuk had core muscle surgery before the draft but appears to be on schedule to be a full participant at the open of camp. He will be battling Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis for playing time.

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6. BAL - Hopes high for WR Marquise Brown

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Josh Alper

Baltimore Ravens WR Marquise Brown has said he plans on making a 'big statement' this season -- his second NFL season -- and that has Ravens head coach John Harbaugh excited. Harbaugh added that Brown is currently working out without restriction this offseason after dealing with a nagging foot injury much of the 2019 season. 'That's going to be really interesting to see, because his talent is at a high level,' Harbaugh said in a recent radio interview. 'His motivation is at a high level. His hands are better, and really kind of a lot better, than we thought. Not that we didn't think he had good hands, but he's got really good hands. So all those things, I can't wait to see when he gets back.'

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Brown wasn't healthy last year and still made an impact. He had offseason surgery to remove a screw in his foot, which should help him get back to full speed this year. Brown is available as a WR3/WR4 who could greatly outperform his draft position this year.

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7. KC - WR Mecole Hardman excelled in slot

Source: Pro Football Focus

Kansas City Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman had six receiving touchdowns from the slot in 2019 which tied for the most in the league, according to Pro Football Focus data.

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Hardman is still relatively new to the wide receiver position, so he has plenty of room for his game to grow. The Chiefs brought back Demarcus Robinson in free agency and restructured Sammy Watkins deal to keep him, so Hardman's redraft value could be limited. He is still an excellent best ball pick at ADP and his dynasty value is sure to take off in the next year or two.

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8. NFL - QB Colin Kaepernick drawing interest

Source: The Tacoma News Tribune - Gregg Bell

Free-agent QB Colin Kaepernick (49ers) has drawn interest from an undisclosed team. Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said a team contacted him about Kaepernick Thursday, June 11. The Seahawks were interested in Kaepernick after he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017.

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The Steelers, Broncos, Rams, and Titans could also use an upgrade at backup quarterback, but this could be any number of teams. The chances of Kaepernick playing in the NFL this year have gone up significantly after recent events in the United States.

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9. KC - TE Travis Kelce made most of catches

Source: ProFootballFocus.com

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce caught 71 passes that resulted in either a first down or a touchdown during the 2019 season, which ranked first among tight ends.

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Kelce is still the clear #1 tight end and will cost you a second round pick if you want him. George Kittle was closing in before getting hurt last year and should go soon after Kelce in fantasy drafts.

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10. JAX - Laviska Shenault Jr. putting in work

Source: The Florida Times-Union - John Reid

Jacksonville Jaguars second-round pick WR Laviska Shenault Jr. (abdomen) is doing on-field work to rehab his core muscle injury he had operated on in February.

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Shenault had some concerns about durability in the draft but his ceiling is as high as any receiver in this draft. The Jaguars have plans to use Shenault all over the formation, but if he isn't ready for camp, that will be difficult to follow through on.

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11. DEN - OC: RB Phillip Lindsay to be involved

Source: 9News.com - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay will still be involved in the team's passing game despite the ballyhooed offseason signing of RB Melvin Grordon, according to new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. 'Listen, I'm all for adding good players at every position,' Shurmur said Thursday, June 11 in a Zoom media conference. 'I feel like Phillip Lindsay's an outstanding player (who) we can hand the ball to or throw the ball to. The fact that we have two running backs now (who) can be very explosive with the ball in their hands, whether you throw it or run it, I think is a good thing.'

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Lindsay hasn't proven to be as good as receiver out of the backfield as Gordon, so don't expect this split to look at all like the Ekeler/Gordon split from the Chargers offense. Lindsay is still worth drafting in typical leagues, but he'll be only a matchup flex unless Gordon gets hurt.

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12. NE - RB Sony Michel recovering from surgery

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Reiss

New England Patriots RB Sony Michel (foot) had surgery on his foot in May, according to sources. The surgery was a maintenance-based operation to help relieve discomfort that Michel had been experiencing. It's unknown whether he'll be ready for training camp.

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Damien Harris and Rex Burkhead could be more valuable in the wake of this news, but how valuable can any Patriots back be this year? Michel hasn't been the same back he was at Georgia since entering the league and his performance has been declining along with the effectiveness of the Patriots offense. He's only a late round pick until we see him back on the field and even then only a bench/depth pick.

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13. DET - Growth expected from TE T.J. Hockenson

Source: NFL.com - Gregg Rosenthal

Detroit Lions TE T.J. Hockenson was hurt more than most Lions pass-catchers following Mathew Stafford's season-ending injury in 2019, but Hockenson has the talent to blossom in his second pro season and should be a key part of an improved Lions offense, in the opinion of one NFL analyst.

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Hockenson had a lot of chances to score touchdowns early in the season but had trouble converting them. Tight ends are often slow starters in their NFL careers, even the best prospects, so Hockenson is a good candidate to target if you want to wait on tight end in drafts this year.

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14. DAL - WR Michael Gallup accomplishes rare feat

Source: ProFootballReference.com

Dallas Cowboys WR Michael Gallup became only the 70th player in league history to amass at least 1,100 receiving yards in his first and/or second NFL season in 2019.

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Gallup's ceiling this year is down a bit with the addition of Ceedee Lamb, but so is Amari Cooper's. The ADP spread indicates a widespread belief that Cooper will greatly outscore Gallup and Lamb, but the three could finish a lot closer than their ADP indicates in what should be one of the best pass offenses in the league.

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15. NFL - WR Antonio Brown avoids jail after plea deal

Source: ESPN.com - Cameron Wolfe

Updating previous reports, free-agent WR Antonio Brown (Patriots) pleaded no contest Friday, Jun 12, to charges related to felony battery of a moving-truck driver in January. Brown will avoid jail upon completing two years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and a mandatory psychological evaluation.

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Brown still has a civil sexual assault suit going forward to resolve, and it's likely the league and all teams won't move forward with reinstating or signing him until that is settled. It's very possible Brown never plays in the NFL again, but he probably can play at a high level if he does, so he's worth rostering in dynasty leagues and drafting late in best ball leagues if your philosophy of fantasy football doesn't preclude rostering players with off-field troubles like his.

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16. SF - WR Kendrick Bourne taking part in workouts

Source: San Francisco Chronicle - Eric Branch

San Francisco 49ers WR Kendrick Bourne has been working out with QB Jimmy Garoppolo on a consistent basis over the last several weeks.

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Bourne has been a "glue guy" who has been effective in the red zone and knows the Kyle Shanahan offense well. They rewarded him with a second-round restricted free agent tender of 3.259 million this offseason and he could get signed to a reasonable long term extension before the season. He doesn't have fantasy relevance but might keep every 49ers receiver other than Deebo Samuel from mattering in fantasy leagues this year.

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17. SF - TE George Kittle productive in passing game

Source: ProFootballFocus.com

San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle caught 59 passes that resulted in either a first down or a touchdown during the 2019 season, which ranked second among tight ends.

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Kittle only missed two games after suffering a leg injury that looked like it would be worse than that, and he even finished the game. He's hitting his peak and could overtake Travis Kelce to become fantasy's #1 tight end this year. He's worth the second-round pick it will likely cost to get him.

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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