Wed Feb 3 8:59am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Hill could be Super Bowl MVP
We made it. That is the best news of the entire year. It is hard to believe that the NFL was able to navigate the COVID season so well. But we made it. It can only get better from here, right? Enjoy the Super Bowl and celebrate the crazy season we just endured. It is a year and NFL season we won’t forget.
Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .
So as for the game this week, I’m going with the Bucs. I know the Chiefs are rolling and seem destined to repeat, but I have a hard time betting against Tom Brady. The Bucs offense is playing as well as it has all season and that defense has really picked it up. Plus, Tampa is playing in their home stadium, which I think is an advantage for the team. It isn’t a huge advantage, but it helps to be familiar with your surroundings. Don’t overlook that. My final score: Bucs 35, Chiefs 31.
I already wrote a column about it, so check it out. But I think the trade of Matthew Stafford is a huge boost to his fantasy value. I think he can be a top-10 fantasy quarterback next season in that offense. The Rams have great playmakers and an offensive scheme that can really help a quarterback. This is great news for Stafford’s fantasy value.
You have to wonder what Deshaun Watson will fetch in a trade after seeing all the picks Stafford got his team. Watson could really bring in a haul for the Texans. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Houston obviously wants to keep Watson, but he isn’t budging on his demand to be traded. The Texans recent history of trades isn’t very good. Hopefully, for their fans, they don’t screw this one up. A trade of Watson could really set up the franchise for years to come with a ton of picks.
If you thought the quarterback position was deep this past year, wait until next season. I have already started working on our draft guide for next season, examining the position. I really think there are at least nine quarterbacks that are capable of finishing first overall in fantasy quarterback scoring. And there are more players that are capable of emerging to be No. 1 fantasy quarterbacks. Much like this past season, I’m waiting on the position come draft day in 2021. This quarterback spot is super deep right now.
Rookie receivers were really good this past season. Several players emerged as top players and should be great for years to come. And the speculation this year is the draft class of receivers is just as deep. There are several players that are NFL ready and set to make an impact in 2021. It is an interesting time at the position, a bit of a changing of the guard. So come draft day next year, don’t hesitate to pick a rookie receiver. Remember, we had a rookie (Justin Jefferson) finish sixth overall in fantasy receiver scoring.
News and Notes: Packers head coach Matt LaFleur stated that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be with the team a long time. There was speculation Rodgers could be moving on after his post-game statements, but it seems that isn’t going to happen, especially with Jordan Love looking to be a long way from being NFL ready. . . . .The Rams traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford, sending Jared Goff and multiple picks to the Lions to complete the trade. Stafford takes over as the starter for the Rams and looks to provide more consistency at quarterback. Goff will take over as the starter for the Lions until his successor (whoever that might be) is ready to play.
Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs. Hill had a monster year and has continued to play well in the playoffs. He has two straight 100-yard games and has 17 receptions in this two playoff games. Hill actually had his best game of the season against the Bucs in Week 12. He scored a whopping 57.9 fantasy points in that game, catching 13 passes for 269 yards and three touchdowns. The Bucs defense is playing much, much better this year, but this game has to be a concern for the Tampa. Hill has a good chance to produce big once again.
Leonard Fournette, RB, Bucs. Fournette is playing his best football during the playoffs for the Bucs. He has scores three straight and at least 18 fantasy points all three of the playoff games. Ronald Jones is healthy and playing, but Fournette is leading the backfield right now for the Bucs. Don’t expect that to change against the Chiefs. It would make sense for the Bucs to try to run a little more often to keep the Chiefs explosive offense off the field. Look for Fournette to keep his strong play going in the Super Bowl.
Mike Evans, WR, Bucs. Evans remains a bit of a touchdown dependent player. He has scores two straight games, which is a positive, but has just four catches for 54 yards in those games. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points three of seven games. He scored twice against the Chiefs earlier this year but had just 50 yards. The Chiefs defense is playing at a different level right now, especially the pass defense. Kansas City has allowed fewer than 235-passing yards each of their playoffs games, including their last game out against a top Bills pass offense. Evans could disappear in this one.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs. Edwards-Helaire might be back and starting once again for the Chiefs, but that doesn’t mean he belongs in fantasy lineups. He scored a touchdown his last game out but ran six times for just seven yards. He has fewer than double-digit fantasy points three of his last four games. He could have another disappearing act this week against a good Bucs rush defense. Tampa was first overall against the run in the regular season and allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Bucs. Gronkowski has been kind of the forgotten man in the playoffs for the Bucs, having two catches for 43 yards in three games. He has been targeted just seven times. He has a great rapport with Tom Brady, though, and it would not surprise if Brady looked his way more in the big game. Plus, Gronkowski had his only 100-yard receiving game all season against the Bucs in Week 12, catching six passes for 106 yards.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs. It is hard to depend on Watkins in his first game back from injury, but he has some upside for the Super Bowl. Watkins is a big-game player, having five receptions for 98 yards in last year’s Super Bowl. He had at least 76 yards all three playoff games for the Chiefs last year. He might be a player to take a chance on this week. He has a high ceiling when getting the looks in this explosive offense.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Chiefs/Bucs.
Low Scoring Games: None.
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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Former Miami Dolphins safety Bobby McCain is signing an undisclosed one-year deal with the Washington Football Team on Friday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. McCain was a starter and team captain over six seasons with the Dolphins before he was released this offseason, but he should immediately play a key role in Washington's secondary in 2021. His arrival could put Troy Apke's roster spot in jeopardy this summer, and McCain will give Kamren Curl some competition for the free safety spot. The 27-year-old was a fifth-round pick by Miami in 2015, and he spent the first six seasons of his NFL career with the Dolphins. McCain totaled 46 tackles (39 solo), one interception and five passes defensed in 16 games (15 starts) last year. He has seven career interceptions and 30 passes defensed.
Denver Broncos wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (knee) has suffered a torn ACL, according to sources. It was reported on Thursday that the Broncos were waiving Hamilton due to a surplus of depth at the position, but he hasn't officially been waived and the team had been trying to work out a trade. In light of this injury, the Broncos are unlikely to find any trade suitors for the 26-year-old now, so expect him to be officially waived in the near future. Waiving Hamilton will save the team $2.8 million in salary cap space. He'll become the odd man out of a loaded wideout corps that includes Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick. Hamilton had 23 catches for 293 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games for Denver last year.
Free-agent wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2018, is trying out with the New York Giants during their rookie minicamp this weekend as a tight end. Benjamin was a first-round pick by the Carolina Panthers back in 2014, when current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was in charge. His best season came as a rookie, when he put up a 1,000-yard season with nine touchdowns in Carolina. He gained weight and fell out of favor, leading to a trade to Buffalo, where he played 18 games with minimal results. Benjamin played in three regular season games with the Chiefs in 2018, but hasn't seen the field since. The Giants already have Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph at the position, so it would be a long shot for Benjamin to resurface in the Big Apple as a tight end.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Joe Tryon (knee), who was the team's first-round selection in this year's draft, is not taking part in rookie minicamp this weekend and recently had a minor surgical procedure on his knee, according to head coach Bruce Arians. Tryon came off the board at No. 32 overall in the first round last month. He opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 but managed eight sacks in 2019 in his final college season. He will need to be developed at the next level, but he's an exciting pass-rushing prospect off the edge that should fit nicely with a much-improved defensive unit in Tampa.
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur reiterated that the team wants quarterback Aaron Rodgers to return in 2021 and beyond. "We still obviously feel the same way. We want him back in the worst way. I know he knows that. We'll continue to work at it each and every day," LaFleur said. It was reported on draft day last month that Rodgers wanted out of Green Bay, and rumors have been swirling ever since. Green Bay has no plans to trade Rodgers, and several of his ex-teammates believe the situation is fixable. The Packers are apparently pleased with Jordan Love's development despite the fact that he didn't play at all in his rookie year after being a first-round pick. Rodgers, last year's MVP, continues to play at a high level despite nearing the end of his career. Wherever he's playing in 2021, he'll be a highly coveted high-end QB1, that's to be sure.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown is facing a civil lawsuit over allegations of assault and battery stemming from an altercation with a moving truck driver last year. Brown and his trainer, Glenn Holt, both face one count of battery and one count of assault in the lawsuit. Brown pleaded no contest to a felony burglary charge and misdemeanor charges of battery and criminal mischief in the same incident and received two years of probation. His attorneys are questioning the new lawsuit, which was filed more than a year after the incident. The wideout was suspended for the first eight games of last year for violations of the league's personal-conduct policy, but it's unknown if he might face another suspension for this new lawsuit. Brown had 45 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns last regular season.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields, who the team traded up for to select at No. 11 overall in this year's NFL draft, will be taking part in the team's virtual rookie minicamp this weekend. Head coach Matt Nagy, who was present in Kansas City when the team transitioned from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes, would ideally like to see Fields sit behind Andy Dalton for a year before he took over the starting job. Don't forget, Nick Foles is also in this QB room. Fields was rated as high as No. 2 in this year's quarterback crop, although the Bears don't seem intent on rushing him with Dalton signed to a one-year contract. Fields is extremely athletic, but fantasy managers in single-year leagues shouldn't expect much from him in 2021.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said it's fair to assume that linebackers Isaiah Simmons (last year's first-round pick) and Zaven Collins (this year's first-rounder) will line up together as starters this season. It means that Jordan Hicks is the odd-man out, and it was reported this week that the organization has given Hicks permission to seek a trade. It doesn't mean that a trade will happen, but Hicks' role would be significantly downgraded if he were to remain with the Cardinals. Collins was taken 16th overall by Arizona in this year's draft and will give the team plenty of versatility as another defensive chess piece.
Former Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle signed his four-year, fully guaranteed rookie contract with the Miami Dolphins on Friday, according to a source. Waddle was the sixth overall pick in this year's NFL draft. He's expected to immediately line up in three-receiver sets alongside DeVante Parker and Will Fuller in his rookie season, and he'll be reunited with college quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Based on how Tagovailoa performed in 2020, fantasy managers in single-year formats shouldn't be expecting too much from the rookie pass-catcher in his first year in the NFL, but he'll certainly be an exciting dynasty/keeper pickup. Expect Miami to use Waddle more in the slot, which could make him a favorite target of Tua.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (knee) plans to resume throwing next week after he said he had a 'pretty serious knee surgery' after the Super Bowl.
Fantasy Spin: Brady doesn't have a lot of upside as the fourth or fifth QB in fantasy, but you know what you'll get from him.
Free-agent QB Kyle Sloter (Raiders) will participate in the Chicago Bears upcoming rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.
The Washington Football Team signed all 10 of their 2021 NFL draft picks to their rookie contracts, including first-round linebacker Jamin Davis. Davis was taken at No. 19 overall out of Kentucky after a junior season in which he recorded 102 tackles and three interceptions in 10 games. He'll join an already nasty defense in D.C. after impressing during his school's Pro Day in the pre-draft process. Davis can play in the box but also excels in pass coverage. The 6-foot-3, 234-pounder has excellent athleticism all across the field and should earn the right to start right away in his rookie season. Davis may not be a beast right out of the gates in Washington, but he has extremely high long-term upside.
Free-agent WR Kelvin Benjamin (Chiefs) is expected to participate in the New York Giants rookie minicamp this weekend on a tryout basis, according to a source.
Minnesota Vikings CB Mike Hughes has been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, May 13, in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round draft choice. The Chiefs will also receive a 2022 seventh-round draft choice in the trade.
New York Giants DE Breeland Speaks was waived Thursday, May 13.
The Kansas City Chiefs acquired cornerback Mike Hughes and a 2022 seventh-round pick from the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday in exchange for a 2022 sixth-round pick, according to a source. Minnesota declined their fifth-year option on the former first-round pick a week ago after the 24-year-old has dealt with serious injuries throughout his time with the Vikings. Hughes played in just four games last season and has 80 tackles, 13 pass breakups and two interceptions (one for a touchdown) in 24 games (seven starts) in his three seasons in the NFL with the Vikes. The writing was on the wall for Hughes in Minnesota when the team signed All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson in free agency. The Chiefs will take a low-risk flier on Hughes and cross their fingers that he can stay healthy to give them extra cornerback depth.
The Indianapolis Colts are signing free-agent kicker Eddy Pineiro to an undisclosed one-year deal on Thursday, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus. Pineiro made 82.1 percent of his 28 field-goal attempts in 2019 with the Chicago Bears in his first NFL season, but he suffered an injury last season and never attempted a kick. The 25-year-old proved to be clutch in high-pressure situations and missed just two of his 29 extra-point tries in 2019 as well. He'll head to Indianapolis, where he'll represent valuable kicking depth behind Rodrigo Blankenship. Fantasy managers can avoid Pineiro in all leagues unless he takes over the kicking duties at some point next season.
Free-agent CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Cardinals) attended an in-person meeting Thursday, May 13, with the New England Patriots.
Former Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is visiting with the New England Patriots on Thursday, according to a source. The former Alabama first-round pick could resurface with head coach Bill Belichick. The 31-year-old was the 17th overall pick of the Bengals in the 2012 NFL draft and spent the first eight years of his career in Cincinnati before joining the Cardinals last year. In 14 games (11 starts) for Arizona in 2020, Kirkpatrick had 56 tackles (53 solo), a career-high-tying three interceptions and seven passes defensed. In his nine-year career, he has 358 combined tackles (307 solo), 13 interceptions (two for touchdowns), 72 passes defensed, three fumble recoveries and three sacks in 113 games (78 starts).
The Denver Broncos are waiving wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton on Thursday, according to a source. The Broncos have a surplus of depth at the position and had trade talks involving the former fourth-round pick, but they couldn't finalize a deal. There's a strong possibility that Hamilton is claimed off waivers by another team. The 26-year-old caught 23 of his 44 targets last year for 293 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games (two starts). In his three seasons with the Broncos, Hamilton recorded 81 receptions for 833 yards and five touchdowns in 46 games (nine starts). With Courtland Sutton returning from injury this year, the Broncos will also have second-year wideouts Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler and Tim Patrick in the fold in four-receiver sets.