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Patriots release veteran tight end Ben Watson

Mon Oct 7 5:57pm ET

Players: Benjamin Watson, Rob Gronkowski, Matt LaCosse, Ryan Izzo

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The Patriots have released tight end Ben Watson.

The team announced the move on Monday. It came shortly after Watson tweeted that he didn't do enough to earn a roster spot.

Watson was eligible to make his debut for the Patriots against Washington on Sunday. But the 38-year-old wasn't activated after serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following the 2018 season.

Watson planned to retire after last season but was courted by several teams. The Patriots eventually signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal as they looked to fill the hole created by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.

But with Watson out the Patriots got by with 27-year-old Matt LaCosse and 23-year-old Ryan Izzo sharing snaps.

Player Notes
Russell Wilson Jun 2 12:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has been one of the best deep passers in the NFL since 2016. He threw 32 TD passes on deep throws from 2016 to 2018 and had 1.5 yards of target separation on deep passes last season, which was the lowest in the NFL. Wilson makes a habit of extended plays outside the pocket and finding his receivers deep down the field, mainly Tyler Lockett. Seattle's wideouts had 32 deep receptions in 2019, also the most in the league. Wilson led all quarterbacks with nine DIMES (30-plus air yards and a tight window resulting in a completion). If the Seahawks let Wilson throw the ball more with Lockett and D.K. Metcalf at his disposal, he should be able to finish as a top-five fantasy QB in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jun 2 12:00pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott tops NFL.com's Nick Shook's list of the top-10 deep passers from the 2019 season. Prescott relied mostly on wide receiver Amari Cooper, who was efficient on deep targets by catching 12 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns on passes 20-plus yards downfield. Prescott had a completion percentage of 44.4 percent and an expected completion percentage of 31 percent on deep throws, with a TD-to-interception ratio of 6:2 and a passer rating of 109.7. Now that rookie wideout CeeDee Lamb is in the mix, he has some of the best surrounding offensive weapons in the league. Prescott had a career year in 2019 despite not making the playoffs and could be even better in 2020. He's coming off the board as the No. 3 fantasy QB behind Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes.

From RotoBaller

Marlon Mack Jun 2 9:53am ET

Indianapolis Colts RB Marlon Mack has inherent respect as the starter, according to head coach Frank Reich. 'I see it as a 1-1 (punch),' Reich said, referring to Mack and second-round pick RB Jonathan Taylor. 'The way the league has gone and the way roleplaying has been elevated in our league, it's made it prominent. We used to say in San Diego that when we had Danny Woodhead. He was not our starter, he was our 'role-playing' starter. He played such a significant role. He had 80 catches in a year. You look at a guy like Nyheim Hines. We talk about Marlon and Jonathan, but what about Nyheim? He's such a good third-down back that he'll play a prominent (role). In some ways, (Hines) is a starter. He's a role-playing starter.'

Fantasy Spin: It sounds to be a true committee in Indy with Mack holding RB2 status in fantasy and Nyheim Hines an RB3 in PPR. Taylor could play a larger role, but he'll open draft season as an RB4 or RB5 handcuff.

From TheHuddle

Patrick Mahomes Jun 2 9:20am ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other members of the team's offense have been conducting informal workouts. This is not welcome news for those who have been unable to practice as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially since the Chiefs have already displayed one of the most potent offenses in the league over the last few years. After finishing 2018 as the league's top fantasy producer at the quarterback position, the 24-year-old was relegated to 14 games last season after dislocating his knee cap during the Thursday night encounter with the Broncos while also seeing statistical regression across the board throughout the year. However, with some extra reps added in before the start of the regular season, the former MVP may be on track for another stellar season.

From RotoBaller

Emmanuel Sanders Jun 1 11:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders posted a plus-7.2 percent catch-rate difference last year with the Broncos and 49ers and broke 850 receiving yards while fighting through press coverage on almost 30 percent of all routes run. He was also targeted in a tight window 20.6 percent of the time while covering an average of 23.5 yards per route run. In total, the veteran ran 481 routes and covered 11,303.5 yards while catching passes from Joe Flacco and Jimmy Garoppolo. The 33-year-old is getting up there in age, but he remains incredible efficient and has a great opportunity in New Orleans with Drew Brees now throwing him passes. Even though he doesn't score often, Sanders is an undervalued pass-catcher that could put up WR3 numbers in his new home.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Jun 1 11:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders has his sights set on being named the MVP in 2020 while also maintaining confidence that he can serve as an effective three-down back for the team. Despite splitting time with Jordan Howard and Boston Scott last season, the sophomore back still finished with a respectable 818 yards and three rushing touchdowns off of 179 attempts. He also added 50 receptions for 509 yards and three additional trips to the end zone. With Howard no longer in the mix, the 2019 second-round pick has a chance to thrive as both a runner and a pass-catcher, making him a desirable selection in all formats, especially in PPR leagues.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Jun 1 11:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown had an excellent rookie season and beat defenders with his combination of size and strength. Quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota had a combined passer rating of 127.6 when targeting Brown in 2019. Brown faced pressure at the line of scrimmage 38.3 percent of the time but still had 52 catches for over 1,000 yards receiving. Cornerbacks blanketed the young wideout on 33.3 percent of all of his targets, and he was open on just 25 percent of his targets. Brown finished strong to help fantasy owners get to the promised land, but don't overvalue him as a WR1 because of his strong first season. The soon-to-be 23-year-old should be a force in this league for years to come, but he had just 84 targets and remains in a run-first offense.

From RotoBaller

Vinny Curry Jun 1 11:33pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles DE Vinny Curry pressured the quarterback on 15.9 percent of his pass rushes in 2019, tying Cameron Jordan for the third-highest mark among defensive linemen with at least 100 pass rushes.

From TheHuddle

George Kittle Jun 1 11:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had just 5.7 air yards per target in 2019, as the 49ers looked to get him the ball early and often to utilize his yards-after-the-catch skills. He racked up 641 (60.9 percent) of his 1,053 receiving yards after the catch. Kittle's average yards-per-catch mark of 12.4 was better than Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. He had a catch rate of 79.4 percent and an expected catch rate of 71.8 percent. It's no secret that Kittle and Travis Kelce are the top two fantasy tight ends in the league, with both of them likely to come off fantasy boards in the middle of the second round.

From RotoBaller

Shelby Harris Jun 1 11:23pm ET

Denver Broncos DL Shelby Harris deflected five passes and broke up nine passes in all during the 2019 season. Both marks were the most among defensive linemen.

From TheHuddle

Kenny Golladay Jun 1 11:20pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is projected to place third in the league in receiving yards in 2020, according to Pro Football Focus, finishing behind only Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. Golladay finished as the third-best wideout in standard formats in 2019 by compiling 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns off of 65 receptions. He was also one of the league's most opposing deep threats, averaging 13.6 YBC/R and doing so despite the prolonged absence of Matthew Stafford, who missed eight games with a back injury. With the longtime signal-caller seemingly back at full-strength, the third-place projection may be more accurate than not in 2020, with the potential for a top-two finish for the 26-year-old also a realistic possibility.

From RotoBaller

Hunter Henry Jun 1 11:20pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry caught 72.4 percent of the passes intended for him last year in his first season after tearing his ACL in 2018. He had a positive catch-rate difference of over eight percent and caught 60 percent of his targets in the end zone for three of his five total touchdowns. For a tight end, his 10.2 air yards per target would've been good for even the top receivers. Henry did this with a tight-window percentage of just 13.2 percent, so he definitely knows how to find the soft spots in an opposing defense. The 25-year-old has an issue with staying healthy, though, and he'll be dealing with a QB change in 2020. But if he can stay on the field, Henry should easily be a top-10 fantasy tight end.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jun 1 11:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp has seen his average depth of catch decline each year, going from 9.0 yards as a rookie in 2017 to 8.3 in 2018 and 7.0 in 2019.

From TheHuddle

Dak Prescott Jun 1 11:10pm ET

While opposing defenses often pressed Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper at the line of scrimmage last year, he had an average of 2.6 yards of separation by the time the ball arrived. He also had a tight-window percentage of 25.2, but for the most part, Cooper was able to successful beat press coverage. Quarterback Dak Prescott had a 114.4 passer rating when targeting his top receiver, and Cooper had a 23.8 percent average of targets per routes run in Dallas' offense. Cooper had a catch rate of 66.4 percent and an expected catch rate of 57.8 percent. It will be interesting to see how the addition of rookie CeeDee Lamb will affect Cooper's efficiency and target share in 2020. The 25-year-old should be considered a low-end WR1 target in fantasy drafts.

From RotoBaller

Brandin Cooks Jun 1 10:53pm ET

Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks' catch rate of 59.2 percent in 2019 with the Los Angeles Rams was the second-lowest mark of his career, and Jared Goff recorded a passer rating of only 83.2 when throwing in his direction. However, Cooks' catch rate in three of his previous four seasons was at least 65.1 percent, and his quarterbacks over that stretch enjoyed a passer rating of 103.2 or better in each of the four years when targeting him.

From TheHuddle

Marvin Jones Jun 1 10:40pm ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. only had 779 receiving yards last season, but NFL.com's Nick Shook lists him as the fourth-best wide receiver from a year ago. Despite only having quarterback Matthew Stafford for half the season because of an injury, Jones had a catch rate of 68.1 percent and an expected catch rate of 57.7 percent. Detroit's backups gave Jones few chances to make plays, but the receiver still performed better than expected. He also missed three games due to injury. Jones also had the second-highest tight-window percentage (29.7) among Shook's top-10 pass-catchers but still managed a positive catch-rate difference. A full season with a healthy Stafford will make a huge difference, and Jones is going undervalued as a low-end WR3.

From RotoBaller

Calvin Ridley Jun 1 10:40pm ET

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley had a catch-rate difference of plus-8.7 percent last year and did it while seeing double teams 5.4 percent of the time. Ridley also had a nice cushion on his routes, with an average of 6.6 yards at the time of the snap. Because of his 4.43-second speed, opponents rarely pressed him at the line of scrimmage, and instead preferred to cover him with multiple defensive backs. Atlanta's QBs had a 113.5 passer rating when targeting Ridley in 2019. An injury also limited the 25-year-old last season, so he could easily put up high-end WR2/low-end WR1 numbers over a full season in 2020, even with Julio Jones commanding the lion's share of the looks.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Jun 1 10:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught just 63 passes in his final season with the Vikings, but he had a yards-per-reception rate of 17.9 on his way to 1,130 total yards. Diggs' catch rate of 67 percent wasn't as high as the top performers on NFL.com's Nick Shook's list, but Diggs had a plus-10.7 percent catch-rate difference by winning press challenges at the line of scrimmage. He was pressed on 42 percent of his routes run and had just 2.5 yards of separation on average. Most of Diggs' success in the Vikings aerial attack came in single coverage, and that could continue in his new home with Cole Beasley and John Brown helping to take some attention away from him. Diggs has home run potential when he catches the ball, but targets might be hard to come by from a QB that has been erratic in his young career. Consider Diggs more of a low-end WR2 in his first season in Buffalo.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jun 1 10:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce has caught no fewer than 83.5 percent of his catchable targets over the last five seasons, and quarterbacks have recorded a passer rating no worse than 105.8 over that stretch. In 2019, he hauled in 84.3 percent of his 115 catchable targets and his quarterbacks recorded a 112.2 passer rating when targeting him.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Lockett Jun 1 10:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett is ranked second by NFL.com's Nick Shook among the best pass-catchers of 2019. Lockett had a catch rate of 74.5 percent and an expected catch rate of 61.9 percent. His catch-rate difference was nearly equal to Michael Thomas, who was ranked No. 1 on the list. Lockett had more of an average cushion than Thomas, which aided in him having over four more air yards on average. Opponents rarely pressed Lockett at the line of scrimmage, however, because they were more fearful that he might beat them deep. Lockett owned the highest wide-open rate of the top 10 2019 pass-catchers at 22.7 percent. The 27-year-old can disappear at times and was hurt a bit by D.K. Metcalf's emergence in the second half, but he should remain a strong WR2 in 2020 with one of the best QBs in the game in Russell Wilson still throwing him passes.

From RotoBaller