Mon May 13 9:04am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Walker could rebound this year
The NFL has released schedules, so it is time to see how this impacts the fantasy world. Next up, the tight end spot.
Using our rules for our money leagues, we came up with a schedule strength ranking for the tight end position. We are using our fantasy defenses report to calculate the rankings. This report can be found in all of our leagues under the "reports" heading. We took the schedule of each team and entered the average number of fantasy points allowed to tight ends last season from all of their opponents to get our fantasy points allowed number. This is a good indication of the tight ends with the most favorable schedules for fantasy scoring for the coming season.
The tight end position was very top heavy last year, so finding the players that could emerge this year might be vital to a lot of fantasy teams if they hope to win their league this year. Players with a favorable schedule could help push their production forward. Delaine Walker battled injury last year but was heavily targeted when on the field. He could be a good buy-low candidate this season, having the easiest fantasy schedule for tight ends. Some other players with favorable schedules are Hunter Henry, Eric Ebron and Charles Clay. You might want to bump up these players in your rankings a little. Things are looking up for them because of an easy fantasy schedule for tight ends.
Some players that might be a concern this year are Jason Witten, Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen. Witten is coming out of retirement to face the toughest fantasy schedule for tight ends. The year end might help but he showed signs of slowing down his last year in the league and this schedule won’t help matters. Reed has all sorts of potential but hasn’t lived up to the hype and gets the third toughest schedule for tight ends. And Olsen is coming off another injury-plagued season and is a year older. He also has the fifth toughest fantasy schedule for tight ends. Take a look at the entire list below closely before ranking your tight ends for the coming year.
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Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
July 5th: Tightend Preview
Seattle Seahawks third-year linebacker Shaquem Griffin is one of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta's "bubble" players for training camp this summer. He has yet to carve out a role as a starting linebacker after being a fifth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2018. Seattle has also added three draft picks in the last two years -- Jordyn Brooks, Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven -- at the position, in addition to starters Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Veteran Bruce Irvin is also in the picture. Griffin will likely need to add something as a pass-rusher in order to have a shot at making the regular season roster out of camp. His salary cap number also continues to go up ($829,405) this year, but with practice squads likely being increased to 16 in 2020, there's a chance he sticks with the team even if he doesn't make the roster.
The Miami Dolphins have yet to discuss a contract extension with running back Matt Breida after giving up the No. 153 overall pick in April's draft to acquire him from the 49ers. The running back is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after the 2020 season and is scheduled to make $3.3 million in the final year of his deal. Breida's career highs of 153 carries and 814 yards came with San Francisco in 2018. He is expected to share the backfield load with free-agent pickup Jordan Howard. Miami has understandably held off on extensions with uncertainty over how COVID-19 will affect the 2021 salary cap. The 25-year-old had 623 rushing yards in 2019 and is the better and cheaper fantasy option over Howard if he can just stay healthy.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed second-round wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. to his rookie deal on Thursday. When fully healthy, Shenault can end up being one of the most explosive receivers in a stacked class at the position. Shenault played at Colorado and was the 42nd overall pick in the draft. He was twice an All-Pac 12 player and is expected to make an immediate impact in Jacksonville's passing attack in 2020. The 21-year-old is versatile and could fill a variety of offensive roles with the Jags right away, but that typically hurts the development of young players like Shenault. He does have injury concerns and will have one of the weaker QBs in the NFL throwing to him, Shenault can put up big numbers if he's given the opportunity. Consider him a late-round flier in redraft leagues with DJ Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook ahead of him.
The New York Jets announced on Thursday that they signed rookie running back Lamical Perine to his rookie contract after they selected him in the fourth round (120th overall) back in April. The Florida product became the fourth of the team's nine draft picks to sign. He rushed for a team-high 826 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior and ran for 676 yards and six touchdowns in 13 starts in 2019. Perine also added a career-high 40 catches for 262 yards and five touchdowns. There's upside in the long-term in New York once Le'Veon Bell is out of the picture, but there's not a lot of 2020 upside with Bell and veteran Frank Gore in the backfield. The rookie could factor in on some third downs in his first season, but he's way more attractive in dynasty/keeper affairs.
Updating previous reports, New England Patriots QB Cam Newton can earn $7.5 million next year if he hits all the incentives and wins the Super Bowl. He has a $1.05 million base salary, which $550,000 is guaranteed. He can earn $43,750 per game in roster bonuses, up to $700,000. He can earn a maximum of $3.75 million in playing-time incentives with $500,000 in Pro Bowl and All-Pro bonuses. He can earn a maximum of $1 million from $250,000 bonuses for each playoff win with above 50 percent playing time.
Fantasy Spin: Newton is in the best spot he could have wished for, but the team still lacks proven weapons around him. He'll be a midrange QB2 in fantasy, but he could ultimately outplay that draft status if he's finally healthy.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has been negotiating a long-term deal with the team but the two sides still differ on the length of the contract as the extension deadline looms. The Cowboys have a contract offer on the table, but it is reportedly longer than Prescott wants. Prescott is scheduled to make $31.4 million under the franchise tag this year, but both sides have expressed desire to keep the Mississippi State Bulldog in Dallas long term. Franchise tagged players have until July 15 to work out a contract extension. Only two quarterbacks have played under the franchise tag, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins, and both signed with new teams in their ensuing free agency which could affect Prescott's dynasty value if the sides cannot agree on a new deal by next week.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II is ready to get back to playing football, but he also wants to make sure it is in a safe environment. In a short interview clip that aired on NFL Total Access on Wednesday, Ingram said, "I'm basically just listening to the updates from the team, from the [players association], from the league and, I want to play ball, but I think it needs to be in a safe, effective and efficient way. I know there's standards and protocols and guidelines and all that to make sure everybody's healthy and safe. And we're doing everything to make sure nobody's at risk. I'm hopeful that we'll be playing." The concern for safety has been shared by several of Ingram's colleagues of late and will be a frequent topic of discussion as training camps are scheduled to begin at the end of July. Ingram faces increased competition for backfield touches with second-round rookie J.K. Dobbins in the fold, rendering the veteran as more of a flex option in fantasy for 2020.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Jack Cichy (elbow) is expected to be play primarily on special teams in 2020 after missing most of last season with an elbow injury.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Kendell Beckwith (ankle) was activated from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list in February, but he is not a lock to make the 53-man roster in 2020.
Indianapolis Colts FS Malik Hooker is expected to be one of the starting safeties this upcoming season.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert requested a trade on Wednesday, per his agent, Brett Tessler. Mostert and his representation simply want to bring him in line with the highest-paid running backs on the team. Tevin Coleman will make $4.55 million in 2020. Mostert has two years left on his deal, which initially paid him as mainly a special teams player. He became the team's lead back down the stretch last year, helped lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance and led the NFL in yards per carry. It's likely that the two sides work something out, but if not, Tevin Coleman would become a lot more interesting. Even though he's set to be San Fran's lead back in 2020, Mostert could lose touches to Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, making him more of a low-end RB2/high-end RB3.
New England Patriots QB Cam Newton officially signed his contract with the Patriots Wednesday, July 8. Official terms of the contract were not disclosed.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert has requested a trade, according to his agent.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is coming off the best season of his career with 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns but has not received the new contract he is looking for this offseason. Fantasy players should monitor the situation to see where Mostert will play this season because he can be at least a flex option in leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs tweeted on Tuesday that he'd "be lying if I said I was comfortable starting back up" amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NFL has plenty of questions to answer regarding safety protocols for player health before training camps and the regular season begins, and it's possible that players will decide to opt out of playing altogether. If Diggs ultimately decides to play in 2020, he'll be the No. 1 wideout in his first year in Buffalo, but his fantasy ceiling might depend on how much Buffalo throws the ball and whether quarterback Josh Allen can make strides as a passer. John Brown and Cole Beasley will take targets away and give Diggs a lower ceiling as more of a low-end WR2 in fantasy.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said the team will consider free-agent kicker Stephen Gostkowski. A left hip injury cost Gostkowski most of his final season with the Patriots, but his .874 field-goal percentage is the fifth-best all time. "We certainly have confidence in Greg Joseph, I thought Greg did a great job for us, came in there at the end of last year and did a great job for us and helped us," Robinson said. "Itd be his job to lose but we want as competitive a position there as possible." Joseph has only attempted four field goals in the NFL, and they all came in 2018 with the Browns. He did make all nine of his extra points in two games with Tennessee last year, but if the Titans signed Gostkowski and he proves to be fully healthy, the veteran could easily take over and become fantasy relevant once again.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson has continued discussions with running back Derrick Henry's representation on a long-term contract extension with just one week left to reach an agreement before the July 15 deadline. If the sides can't agree, Henry will play 2020 on the $10.278 million franchise tag. Henry led the NFL with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns in 2019. He led the team to the AFC Championship game and added 446 rushing yards in three playoff games. The former Alabama star had six 100-yard rushing games in the regular season and two more in the postseason. The bruising 25-year-old back will continue to be featured in this run-first offense, which makes him a top-five fantasy football running back that will come off the board in the first round.
Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said that he would like to see free-agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in-person before he would consider signing him. However, the Titans still can't bring Clowney in for a physical after the pass-rusher had core muscle surgery in the offseason. With the Browns likely out of the running for Clowney's services, it could be just Tennessee, Seattle and Las Vegas in the running. The oft-injured Clowney will have to settle for a one-year deal before testing free agency again next offseason, but he'd definitely bring an added pass-rushing dimension to the Titans Defense. Clowney would prefer to sign with a team before training camps get underway later this month.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jalen Hurd is expected to play the big-slot role for the 49ers this season. Hurd was a third-round pick in last year's draft, but he never saw the field in his rookie season because of an injury. But the 24-year-old out of Baylor is one of those weapons that head coach Kyle Shanahan loves to utilize all over the field and at different positions. With Deebo Samuel (foot) potentially missing the beginning of the season, Hurd could make even more of an impact in the passing game. Hurd played running back in college, and it's clear that the Niners would like to get him involved as a playmaker in 2020. He's certainly a name to keep an eye on as we approach training camp this month.
Knowing that Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is under contract with the team for the next 12 years, 62-year-old head coach Andy Reid isn't even considering retirement anytime soon. If Reid were to stick around until the end of Mahomes' extension, he'd be 74 years old. Bills great Marv Levy and Bears founder George Halas coached when they were 72 years old. The combination of Reid and Mahomes could be great for a long time to come, and some are discussing their names with the likes of great coach/quarterback couplings such as Belichick and Brady, Payton and Brees and Walsh and Montana.