Chiefs looking for more in short and intermediate passing games
The Chiefs believe they need to make more plays in the short and intermediate passing games, according to NFL Network's James Palmer. Palmer notes that the team is looking to get the RBs more involved in the passing game (which we've heard multiple times this offseason) and adds that rookie TE Noah Gray could emerge as a factor with an increase in 2-TE sets. It's a situation to track this summer. There's certainly room for a 3rd viable fantasy option to emerge in Kansas City behind WR Tyreek Hill and TE Travis Kelce. We might also just see Hill and Kelce set new career highs in target share this year.
Chiefs DE Frank Clark was arrested Sunday night in L.A. after police spotted an Uzi (submachine gun) in his car, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. The situation will certainly get a review under the league's personal-conduct policy. We'll see whether it ultimately costs Clark any games.
49ers RB Trey Sermon has "made a strong first impression, particularly as a pass-catcher out of the backfield," according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner. Sermon soaked up 1st-team reps in minicamp with RBs Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert sidelined with knee issues. The pass-catching comment is particularly noteworthy since Sermon arrives to the NFL with a modest 48 receptions across 4 college seasons. We'll be keeping a close eye on this 49ers backfield in training camp and preseason. Sermon has been leaving the board in the 6th round of recent FFPC best-ball drafts.
ESPN's Jenna Laine highlighted rookie WR Jaelon Darden as the biggest surprise of Bucs minicamp. QB Tom Brady reportedly had a say in Tampa's decision to take Darden in the 4th round of this spring's draft, and the rookie has drawn comparisons to Emmanuel Sanders and John Brown from HC Bruce Arians. "He's super quick and fast," Arians said. "He's a little thicker than I thought he was going to be when I watched him. He catches punts very easily and catches the football extremely easily. He can be very explosive." Darden has an extremely difficult path to playing time in a Bucs WR corps that also includes Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller. But he's at least worth monitoring this summer and is a nice dynasty stash.
According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Ravens WR Rashod Bateman has given the Ravens, “every reason to believe he’ll be a significant contributor from Day 1.” Zrebiec adds that Bateman “hasn’t looked like a rookie.” It's tough to expect consistent fantasy contributions given a run-heavy offense and the presence of Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins. But there’s a real chance that Bateman’s role grows as the season rolls along. He's heavily discounted with a WR62 price in FFPC best ball drafts.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was a full participant in minicamp and doesn't sound at all worried about the left foot injury that required surgery after the Super Bowl. “I don’t see any problems moving forward,” Mahomes said. “Obviously I’m going to continue with the rehab and work to strengthen it. I feel I had good OTAs, a good minicamp. I was able to move around and do the things I needed to do.” Barring a setback, the foot will be a non-issue this season.
Jets TE Chris Herndon "failed to separate himself" from the rest of the team's TEs in OTAs and minicamp, according to The Athletic's Connor Hughes. In fact, Hughes says that both Tyler Kroft and Ryan Griffin looked better and have worked ahead of Herndon lately. We're still over 2 months away from Week 1, so the situation is far from settled. But it's not the report you were looking for if hoping for a bounce-back season from Herndon. We'll see if he can turn it around in August.
The Athletic's Connor Hughes believes it "might not be long before [Jets RB Michael] Carter starts to see the lion’s share of reps." The rookie has had a "promising" spring and early summer, according to Hughes, and looks like the most explosive and best receiver of the Jets' RBs. Hughes does add that the Jets "prefer a running-back-by-committee approach, so guys like Tevin Coleman, Ty Johnson and/or La'Mical Perine will be involved. But Carter is the most exciting of the group and has a chance to emerge as a weekly fantasy starter this year.
49ers HC Kyle Shanahan confirmed that QB Jimmy Garoppolo is in the driver’s seat to start Week 1. "I definitely see it as Jimmy's the starter," Shanahan said via CBS. "But if Trey's ready to compete, I have no problem with it. I don't sit there and say, 'Hey, we're not playing a rookie quarterback. We have to rest him the first year.' … I don't really make any decisions like that until I actually have an opinion on it. And that'll take to how I see him in camp. If he comes in and he's playing at a high level and we think he gives us the best chance to win, we wouldn't hesitate to do that [start him Week 1]." While Garoppolo will likely start Week 1, he’ll almost certainly turn the keys over to Lance at some point in 2021.
Bengals WR Tee Higgins has been the talk of minicamp. QB Joe Burrow said Tuesday that Higgins looks "completely different" than he did as a rookie and is "going to have a big year." Then OC Brian Callahan said the next day that Higgins has gotten "markedly more explosive." The Clemson product is coming off an excellent rookie season, tallying 67 catches, 908 yards and 6 TDs. He faces increased target competition with the arrival of rookie WR Ja'Marr Chase. But there's room for all 3 Bengals WRs (including Tyler Boyd) in what figures to be a pass-leaning offense without a real threat at TE.