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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Speaking with the Raiders website Saturday, HC Jon Gruden had some high praise for 2nd-year WR Bryan Edwards: "He's got great ability. I'm excited about him. You see, he looks like T.O. He looks like one of the #1 wideouts in the league." Gruden then added that WR Henry Ruggs "is putting it together; I think his experience shows." It's one soundbite from an early-camp interview. But it sure sounds -- and looks from Gruden's expression -- as though last year's Round 3 WR is impressing him more than the 1st-rounder. Gruden went on to name Willie Snead and Hunter Renfrow as "crafty little slot guys" and said he's "really excited" about TE Foster Moreau. We'll keep our eyes on the progression of this offense, which presents wide-open opportunity for roles behind lead target Darren Waller.

The Raiders have activated RB Kenyan Drake off the NFI list. Now we get to start learning more about his role with the new team. Vegas also placed RB Theo Riddick on the reserved/retired list

Raiders WR Henry Ruggs said during his Wednesday press conference that he packed on 13 pounds this offseason. “It was my focus. It’s a man’s game now and I’m not the biggest guy, but I have to get to where I can compete with grown men now,” Ruggs said. “So that was one of my biggest things that I hammered on was getting bigger, eating all the time, and just hammering down in the weight room. And people [have been] saying I look noticeably bigger, so I guess it’s paying off.” We've seen some speed guys in the past try to add weight and lose some of the speed that set them apart, so we'll be interested to see Ruggs in action. The 2nd-year wideout seems mindful of that. “Even in the weight room, you work on different things, but when you’re gaining weight, you still have to do the little-guy things that I’m known for,” Ruggs said. “So, still hammered on those things and just got better in the things that I needed to work on.” Ruggs remains outside the top 50 WRs in ADP, so there's little risk in betting he can step into Vegas' top role.

The Raiders have placed RB Kenyan Drake on the non-football injury list to open training camp. The team didn't announce what injury is keeping Drake out. He was seen working on the side with trainers at Wednesday's practice, though. We'll keep an eye on his status in the coming days. RBs Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick, meanwhile, landed on the COVID list. Maybe Josh Jacobs will get a few more chances to show Vegas coaches he can catch passes.

Update: Drake returned to practice on July 30.

Raiders QB Derek Carr talked up 2nd-year WR Henry Ruggs after minicamp. “Man, he’s been impressive,” Carr said via The Athletic. “The way he’s running routes. He’s being violent in his cuts. I think something clicked in his head. Just like with everybody, you play a season in the NFL, you go back and watch the tape and you’re like, ‘Wow, I know what it takes now.’ And you either do it or you don’t. And he’s showing already that he said, ‘Nah, I’m going to do it.’ And it’s been so impressive.” In 2020, the Raiders miscast Ruggs as a downfield WR, helping contribute to a poor 26-452-2 line (13 games). The ‘Bama product has added weight this offseason and will start opposite either Bryan Edwards (the WR2 favorite) or John Brown. Ruggs is well worth a look in the double-digit rounds of best ball drafts.

S Trevon Moehrig joined the Raiders in the 2nd round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He has simply produced at every level. Moehrig collected 7 INTs over his 3 seasons at TCU, with 26 total passes defensed over his 2 years as a full-time starter. He earned 1st-team all-conference in 2019, and then claimed the Jim Thorpe Award (nation’s top DB) last year. Even as a freshman part-timer, Moehrig was voted Horned Frogs’ special-teams MVP. Moehrig looks like a strong candidate to win the FS role right away in Vegas.

The Raiders signed WR Willie Snead to a 1-year deal. The 28-year-old had a couple of nice seasons with the Saints back in 2015 and 2016 but hasn't topped 651 yards since. He's averaging a pedestrian 12.3 yards per catch for his career. Snead isn't a difference-maker in real life or fantasy football. He figures to back up Hunter Renfrow in the slot in Vegas.

The Raiders signed RB Kenyan Drake to a 2-year, $14.5 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. It's a head-scratching investment after the team spent the 24th overall pick of the 2019 draft on RB Josh Jacobs, who's been solid for 2 seasons. Per Rapoport, Raiders HC Jon Gruden "sees Kenyan Drake as a jack-of-all-trades — a joker, as they say. He’ll figure prominently in the passing game." Drake will certainly be a bigger drain on Jacobs' volume than guys like Devontae Booker, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington have been. The signing is bad news for both Jacobs and Drake's fantasy values.

Adam Caplan reports that the Raiders have agreed to a 1-year deal with WR John Brown, worth up to $5.5 million. The Bills released the 30-year-old (31 in April) earlier this offseason in a cost-cutting move. Brown averaged a nice 14.5 yards per catch on 4.4 receptions per game over 2 years in Buffalo. Brown saw his numbers limited last year by knee and ankle injuries plus Stefon Diggs' hostile takeover of targets. With the Raiders, Brown carries upside at least into WR3 range for fantasy, which is where Nelson Agholor ranked in his rebound 2020 season (33rd in PPR points).

The Raiders have agreed to a 2-year, $26 million deal with DE Yannick Ngakoue, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. It's a questionable signing for a defense that has Maxx Crosby and 2019 first-round pick Clelin Ferrell in place, plus Carl Nassib, who arrived on a sizable free-agent deal last offseason. The money certainly points to Ngakoue taking over a primary pass-rushing role. We'll see what that means for everyone else's playing time. Ngakoue endured a rough 2020 that saw him get traded twice (from Jacksonville to Minnesota to Baltimore). His 8 sacks matched the previous season, but Ngakoue managed a career-low 11 QB hits (including just 3 over 9 games with the Ravens). We won't be pumped about Ngakoue in IDP drafts for 2021.

The Bills released WR John Brown, saving $7.9 million against the 2021 salary cap. Brown posted a career-best 72-1,060-6 line in his Buffalo debut in 2019 but missed 7 outings and saw his per-game numbers decline this past season. He turns 31 in April. The Bills have an in-house replacement in 2020 4th-rounder Gabriel Davis, who averaged 17.1 yards per catch and scored 7 times as a rookie. His numbers should take a nice leap forward this coming season. We projected Brown to be cut by the Bills, so there are no changes to the rankings.

The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia expects the Bills to release WR John Brown this offseason. It'd save the team $7.2 million against the 2021 cap. Brown turns 31 in April and missed 7 games this past season with calf, knee and ankle injuries. Buffalo has a ready-made replacement in WR Gabriel Davis, who was impressive on his way to a 35-599-7 line as a rookie. Highlight Davis as a sleeper in 2021 fantasy drafts.

Ravens WR Willie Snead (ankle) is active for today's game against the Titans. Snead sat out Week 17 after leaving the Week 16 win early. But he returned for limited practices Thursday and Friday. In most cases, there's not enough upside to Snead to make him worth the re-injury/limited-use risk.

Ravens WR Willie Snead (ankle) is listed as questionable for this weekend's Wild Card game vs. the Titans after getting in limited practices on Thursday and Friday. We'll get his game status around 11:30 am ET on Sunday.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs was arrested for DUI in Vegas early Monday morning, according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. Jacobs was brought to a hospital for minor injuries after police responded to his 1-car crash. Jacobs' lawyers released a statement saying their client will plead not guilty. "No complaint has been filed against our client and there are no blood test results to support a suggestion of impairment," the statement reads. "We intend to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of Mr. Jacobs if he is ever charged." We'll see where the situation goes this offseason.

Buffalo
11:01am EST 1/3/21

Bills WR John Brown (ankle) is active for today’s game against the Dolphins. It’s unclear how much he’ll play coming off the ankle injury in a game that Buffalo might not be going all out to win.

Bills WR John Brown has been activated from the COVID list. He still hasn't played since a Week 10 ankle injury. We'll see if Buffalo brings him back for Sunday's regular-season finale vs. Miami.

The Raiders have activated LB Nicholas Morrow off the COVID list. He spent less than a week on there, so was clearly just a close contact rather than a positive test. Morrow should be ready to face Denver -- and get back into IDP lineups -- this Sunday.

The Bills did actually activate WR John Brown from IR on Monday, but they then placed him on the COVID list. So Brown is still out for tonight's game against the Patriots. We'll see whether he can make it back for Week 17 against Miami.

Update: Brown was deemed a close contact to RB T.J. Yeldon, who tested positive for COVID. Brown will be eligible to play Week 17 if he continues to test negative.

The Bills are not expected to activate WR John Brown (ankle) for tonight's game vs. the Patriots, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Brown reportedly has a chance to return for Week 17. Rookie Gabriel Davis will continue to operate as Buffalo's #3 WR tonight.

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