Washington grabbed Ohio State DE Chase Young with the 2nd pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Young was near-unanimously considered the top defensive player in this draft and the top available talent overall by many evaluators. He led the class with 1.38 sacks and 1.75 tackles for loss per game in 2019. His 16.5-sack 2019 followed a 10.5-sack 2018 for the Buckeyes. New Washington DC Jack Del Rio has said the team will play a 4-3 base, which will make Young a DE and help his fantasy value. Expect Young to sit atop our rookie rankings for dynasty leagues and within draft range when our 2020 projections come out.
The Bengals selected LSU QB Joe Burrow with the 1st pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow looked like a mid- to late-round prospect at this time a year ago. He redshirted his 1st season at Ohio State and then backed up J.T. Barrett for the next 2. Burrow transferred to LSU in 2018, when he mustered just 2,894 passing yards with 16 TDs on a 58% completion rate and 7.6 yards per attempt. Then came a massive 2019: 5,671 yards, 60 TDs, just 6 INTs, a 76% completion rate and 10.8 yards per attempt. Burrow received the highest passing grade from Pro Football Focus since the site started grading college players in 2014. We could point out the fact that the breakout season came as a 22-year-old, 5th-year senior playing with a loaded group of weapons. But watch Burrow and it’s tough to not fall in love. He has incredible pocket presence and mobility, is pinpoint accurate to all levels of the field and has underrated athleticism, totaling 767 rushing yards and 12 TDs over the past 2 seasons. He’ll be under center for Cincinnati come Week 1, whether or not QB Andy Dalton is traded. Burrow will have a nice group of weapons at his disposal in A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Auden Tate and Joe Mixon. Hopefully the Bengals use the rest of this draft to bolster their offensive line.
The Patriots are signing WR Marqise Lee to a 1-year deal, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Lee has appeared in just 6 games and totaled only 4 targets over the past 2 years because of knee trouble. That began with the August 2018 ACL tear. He joins a limited crew of receivers in New England, but we wouldn't bet on Lee cracking the top 3 -- if he even makes the regular-season roster.
The Colts have signed TE Trey Burton to a 1-year deal after he was released by the Bears earlier this week. He'll reportedly make the veteran minimum this season. Burton missed 8 games with groin and calf injuries last year but posted a 54-569-6 line in 2018. He's also familiar with HC Frank Reich's offense after spending 2016 and 2017 with him in Philadelphia. Burton will battle with TE Jack Doyle for snaps and targets in Indy.
Bucs TE Rob Gronkowski told NFL Network's Michael Giardi that he's "feeling good, feeling healthy." He admitted that his body "100% needed a rest." Gronk appeared to drop a lot of weight over the last year but said he's back up to 250 pounds -- 10 to 15 pounds lighter than he last played at. His conditioning has suddenly become 1 of the biggest fantasy storylines of the offseason, considering it'll have been about a year-and-a-half between his last 2 games.
ESPN's Adam Schefter -- and others -- report that the Buccaneers are sending a 4th-round pick to the Patriots for TE Rob Gronkowski and a 7th-rounder, pending a physical. The news follows recent rumors that Gronk was looking to return to the NFL. The trade to Tampa Bay obviously reunites him with QB Tom Brady. It also complicates the outlook for Bucs TE O.J. Howard, unless he can move on in his own trade. Bruce Arians' use of Howard disappointed fantasy owners mightily in the HC's 1st year with the Bucs. But there would be little reason for this deal unless Tampa planned to get the ball to Gronkowski plenty. The 31-year-old (as of May 14) declined in 2018 but still ranked 9th in PPR points per game among TEs.
Rams HC Sean McVay said Tuesday that the trade of WR Brandin Cook was “a big vote of confidence” for WR Josh Reynolds. “We just feel he’s a capable starting receiver," McVay added. Reynolds has spent the majority of his first 3 NFL seasons as Los Angeles' #4 WR. But he's been elevated due to injuries to the Rams' other WRs on occasion and fared decently. Reynolds has played 60+% of the offensive snaps in 14 career games and averaged 5.6 targets, 2.9 catches, 38.5 yards and .5 TDs in those outings. Cooks leaves behind an average of 6.3 targets per game over the last 2 seasons, creating a significant opportunity for Reynolds.
The Jaguars have released WR Marqise Lee. The 2014 2nd-rounder posted 63-851-3 and 56-702-3 lines in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but has appeared in just 6 games over the past 2 seasons due to knee trouble. He'll turn 29 this November. We'll see where Lee lands next, but he's unlikely to be a 2020 fantasy factor. The Jags, meanwhile, move forward with WRs D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley atop the depth chart. They'll likely add at least 1 rookie to the mix later this week.
The Bears have released TE Trey Burton. The move seemed inevitable after Chicago forked over a 2-year, $16 million deal to TE Jimmy Graham earlier this offseason. After posting a decent 54-569-6 line and TE8 PPR finish in 2018, Burton missed 8 games with groin and calf injuries and totaled just 14 catches this past year. He's currently recovering from hip surgery. We'll see where Burton latches on next, but he's not worth a pick in early best-ball drafts.
The Seahawks love what they got out of WR D.K. Metcalf as a rookie last year but believe he's capable of even more going forward. “The No. 1 thing that we know is that we can move him around and do different things with him," OC Brian Schottenheimer said. “He kind of got stuck at the ‘X’ receiver last year. This year we know we can move him around quite a bit more. There are so many more routes he can run. He’s proven he can get behind people. I just think the flexibility of moving him around and introducing some different route concepts that we can kind of get him up to speed on that will complement the things that he’s already put on film. It will be an incredible, incredible advantage for us as we head into next season.” Metcalf posted an impressive 58-900-7 line last season -- and then totaled 219 yards and a score on 11 catches in 2 playoff games. It's plenty possible that he overtakes Tyler Lockett as Seattle's top WR in 2020.
The Panthers and RB Christian McCaffrey have agreed to a 4-year, $64 million extension. That $16 million average annual salary makes CMC the league's highest-paid RB, edging out Ezekiel Elliott by a mill. Analytics folks will tell you Carolina is over-paying here (and they might be right). But at least McCaffrey is the rare RB that's dominant in both the running and passing games. He's now signed with the Panthers through the 2025 season, when he'll be 29 years old.
Shortly after signing K Lirim Hajrullahu, the Rams added K Austin MacGinnis. MacGinnis connected on all 10 of his FG attempts for the XFL's Dallas Renegades earlier this year and has also kicked in the defunct AAF. He's never kicked in the NFL. Los Angeles is clearly planning a K competition this summer and might not be done adding to the position. It's a situation to avoid in early best-ball drafts.
NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reports that the Rams are signing K Lirim Hajrullahu. The Canadian-born kicker spent the past 6 seasons in the CFL, earning 2 all-star bids. He converted 83.3% of FG attempts over that span, finishing 5 of 6 campaigns above 80%. Hajrullahu's career long of 56 yards came last season. He looks like the favorite to take over for Greg Zuerlein, who signed with Dallas this offseason. Zuerlein fell to 72.7% in FG conversion rate last year after 3 straight seasons of better than 85%.
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht praised RB Ronald Jones this week, saying he and the staff "have more faith in him now than we ever have," according to the team website. "We do think Ronald hasn't even scratched the surface of what he can be," Licht said. "He made a huge jump from year one to year two. He didn't have to do much to do that because year (one) wasn't very good for him. But year two, we felt very good about where he came, and we think he still has a tremendous amount of upside." Licht added that "some of the better teams" feature multiple RBs that they can "rely on in different roles." So even if the GM is being totally honest about their Jones assessment, don't be surprised to see Tampa bring in another significant RB or 2. At the moment, Jones looks like the easy favorite to lead the Buccaneers' backfield. But we'll see what the group looks like by the end of summer.
The Texans have traded the 57th pick in the NFL Draft to the Rams for WR Brandin Cooks and a 4th-round pick in 2022. Cooks joins the trio of Will Fuller, Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb atop Houston's WR depth chart and should be the best bet to lead the group in targets. His departure from the Rams leaves room for WR Josh Reynolds to capture more playing time -- barring a significant WR addition in the upcoming draft. The Rams also cut Cooks' playing time in the 2nd half of last season, preferring to get more TEs on the field.
The Chargers are "still very high" on RB Justin Jackson, according to The Athletic's Daniel Popper. The 2018 7th-rounder has struggled staying healthy even in a limited role over the past 2 seasons but has averaged a strong 5.1 yards per carry. Popper doesn't expect the Chargers to add an early-round back later this month to replace Melvin Gordon. If that's the case, Jackson could be in for a sneaky-big role behind undersized Austin Ekeler, who hasn't topped 132 carries in an NFL season.
The Chiefs have signed RB DeAndre Washington to a 1-year deal. The former Raider saw his most extensive action as a pro late last season with RB Josh Jacobs banged up over the final 4 games, taking 60 carries for 231 yards (3.9 YPC) and 2 TDs while adding 18 catches for 125 yards. He's averaging just 4.0 yards per carry for his career, though, and is best-suited for a change-of-pace role. That's what he figures to play in Kansas City. If this is all the Chiefs add to the backfield this offseason, RB Damien Williams is set up for big volume.
NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco believes Jerick McKinnon is in line to be the 49ers' passing-down back in 2020. "McKinnon gives the 49ers something they previously lacked: A legitimate route-runner and third-down option out of the backfield," Maiocco writes. "If he’s healthy, McKinnon will have a spot on the team." Injuries have prevented McKinnon from playing a single game for the 49ers since they signed him ahead of the 2018 campaign. But San Francisco restructured his deal this offseason and evidently still has plans for him. McKinnon caught 94 balls over his final 2 seasons in Minnesota. Maiocco adds that Matt Breida is the 49ers RB most likely to be off the roster come Week 1.
Bears GM Ryan Pace has said there's an "open competition" for the team's starting QB job, according to multiple reports. That's not surprising, given the quality of Mitchell Trubisky's play so far and the team's trade for Nick Foles. It's nice to hear the official word, though. We should either get a slight upgrade in Foles or a better-performing Trubisky in the Chicago offense in 2020. Either would mark a welcome change, with some intriguing talent in the skill-position group.
The Chiefs have agreed to a new 1-year deal with WR Sammy Watkins that pays $9 million in base salary with another $7 million available in incentives, according to Terez Paylor of The Kansas City Star. The move saves Kansas City $5 million in 2020 cap space. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the deal also includes a no-trade clause. New contracts for Watkins and WR Demarcus Robinson hurt the 2020 outlook for last year's 2nd-round pick, Mecole Hardman. The youngster could be a value in dynasty trades this offseason, though. Neither Watkins nor Robinson is signed beyond 2020. Watkins, meanwhile, should remain K.C.'s #2 wideout.
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