Tue May 10 12:28pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Mooney should get a lot of targets
With the NFL Draft completed, there are several impacts of what took place. But some can be because of what didn’t take place. Some players see their value increase because of what the team didn’t do during the draft. Others see their value increase because of what teams did do, like surrounding them with better talent. Either way, fantasy rankings were adjusted after the draft. Here are some players moving up our rankings because of what took place.
Cordarralle Patterson, RB, Falcons. The Falcons did draft Tyler Allgeier in the fifth round of this year’s draft, but he is a bit of a project that might not make a huge impact his rookie season. Atlanta also released Mike Davis recently, a guy that started much of last year. Patterson is the clear No. 1 back for Atlanta right now. He did stumble towards the end last year, but he is setup for plenty of touches once again. Patterson could be a big help to fantasy teams once again.
James Conner, RB, Cardinals. The Cardinals did use a late-round pick on a running back, but Conner has little competition for carries right now. Chase Edmonds really cut into his workload last year, but that shouldn’t be the case this season. Conner could even catch more passes in this explosive offense. Conner was a surprise last year, but that won’t be the case this season. He is setup for a ton of playing time in one of the best offenses in football.
Marquise Brown, WR, Cardinals. Brown was traded to Arizona right before the draft. He moves from one of the least productive passing offenses to one of the best. The Cardinals will be without No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins for six games after he failed a drug test. This leaves Brown as the likely top option at receiver for Kyler Murray during that stretch. Brown is going to have the best numbers of his career and be a huge help to fantasy teams.
Drew Lock, QB, Seahawks. It was a bit of a surprise to see the Seahawks pass on quarterback in the draft. This leaves Lock and Geno Smith to compete for the starting job this year. Lock is a much more talented player, and the Seahawks seem to think he can play the part. He should be given first shot to start in an offense with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If Lock can finally put it together, he could surprise. Maybe a new coaching staff and team will be just the thing to get Lock going. He certainly has the talent to produce in this league.
Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears. The Bears need playmakers at receiver for second-year quarterback Justin Fields, but didn’t really do much to help in that area this offseason and during the draft. Mooney is really the only top option. Mooney was targeted 140 times year and should exceed that number this season. He can take his game to an even higher level. The lack of weapons in the passing game is bad for Fields, but good for Mooney. He is going to get a huge workload.
Jared Goff, QB, Lions. The Lions added Jameson Williams in the draft. Many considered Williams the top receiver in the draft, but he fell a little because of his injury in college last year. Either way, the Lions added an elite receiver to go with Amon-Ra St. Brown and recently signed D.J. Chark. Add in a healthy D’Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson. Goff might not be an elite quarterback but proved with the Rams that he can help fantasy teams when given the weapons. He could be worth some spot starts for fantasy teams this year in an offense that is on the rise.
Daniel Jones, QB, Giants. The Giants added offensive line and receiver help for Jones during the draft. They didn’t pick up his fifth-year option but did a lot to help him have success this year. Plus, new coach Brian Daboll should be a huge plus for the development of Jones. If he is ever going put it all together, this is the year for Jones. He has playmakers at receiver and new offensive line blocking for him. At this point, we like taking a chance on him as a No. 2 for fantasy teams, especially if you have a solid starter ahead of him on your roster.
Zach Wilson, QB, Jets. The Jets just keep getting more and more help for Wilson. The team drafted both Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. Some considered both these players the top players at their positions in this year’s draft. Wilson was wildly inconsistent last year, but is a year older with a lot more weapons to work with this year. He can take a bit step forward this year. Things are looking up for the second-year signal caller.
Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles. The Eagles made a big splash. It wasn’t in the draft but in a trade, acquiring A.J. Brown. He immediately becomes the No. 1 receiver for the Eagles and Hurts. He should help elevate Hurts’ game. Plus, Hurts has DeVonta Smith in year two at receiver and Dallas Goedert as the starting tight end. Hurts has a lot more weapons to work with this year and an elite receiver finally on his side. He could be a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2022.
Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles. It was a little bit of a surprise but the Eagles did nothing during the draft at the running back spot. This leaves Sanders as the clear No. 1 back. Kenneth Gainwell showed potential last year, but looks the part of a third-down back more than anything. Sanders should get the early-down work and likely the goal-line carries in an offense that could be very good. Sanders hasn’t had that huge season just yet, but this could be the year. And for his current price tag (79.6 ADP), he is worth the risk to find out.
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.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Kenyan Drake finished with four carries for 15 yards and two catches for 17 yards in a 26-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings in the team's second preseason game. The veteran split snaps with rookie Zamir White in the first half. Drake saw plenty of work with both Josh Jacobs and Ameer Abdullah inactive for this one. He continues to be trusted in the passing game, coming in for multiple third-down situations. This specific usage gives him more value in PPR formats, but he is still only a deep-league target in a crowded backfield. Both Drake and White will look to carve out a role behind Jacobs this season.
Las Vegas Raiders rookie running back Zamir White finished with five carries for 13 yards and two catches for four yards in the team's second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings. The first-team offense did not play in this one, and the run game wasn't particularly effective. White drew the start, receiving a handful of touches on the opening drive while showing involvement in the passing game. After flashing in the Hall of Fame game, White did not show the same efficiency in his second NFL game, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. The rookie will continue to compete for a backfield role behind Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. He remains an intriguing late-round flier in fantasy drafts.
The Seattle Seahawks are acquiring wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside from the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday in exchange for defensive back Ugo Amadi, according to a source. Arcega-Whiteside will get a fresh start in Seattle after catching only 16 passes on 35 targets for 290 yards and one touchdown in his three seasons in Philadelphia after he was a second-round selection in 2019. Amadi will give the Philadelphia secondary some experience after playing in 47 games (12 starts) over three seasons in Seattle. Arcega-Whiteside has been attempting to transition from receiver to tight end, but it remains to be seen if the Seahawks view him as more of a tight end or wide receiver. Either way, fantasy managers can continue to ignore him.
The Miami Dolphins signed free-agent cornerback Mackensie Alexander to an undisclosed deal on Monday, according to his agent, David Canter. Alexander was originally a second-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2016 out of the University of Clemson. The 28-year-old spent his first four NFL seasons in Minnesota before joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 2020. He returned to the Vikings last year and had 51 tackles (33 solo) and five passes defensed in 16 games (five starts). Alexander will provide veteran cornerback depth for the Dolphins entering the 2022 regular season.
The Baltimore Ravens activated cornerback Marcus Peters (knee) from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday less than a year after he tore his ACL in 2021. Peters is back on the practice field at training camp, but he's expected to be eased into action this summer. Peters missed all of the 2021 season as a result of his knee injury, but his return in 2022 will be a gigantic boost to a Ravens secondary that was absolutely decimated by injuries last year. The 29-year-old defensive back has made the Pro Bowl five times and is a four-time All-Pro in his six NFL seasons. Peters, a former first-round selection in 2015 by the Kansas City Chiefs out of the University of Washington, isn't on the fantasy radar in IDP leagues, but he's an extremely important piece of Baltimore's secondary.
The San Francisco 49ers released cornerback Darqueze Dennard on Monday. Dennard played in just two games last year, one with the New York Giants and one with San Francisco. Dennard was originally the 24th overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in 2014 out of Michigan State, and he spent six solid seasons with the Bengals before playing with the Atlanta Falcons in 2020. The 30-year-old hasn't played in double-digit games in a season since his second-to-last season in Cincinnati in 2018. Dennard will be hoping to latch on with another cornerback-needy team before the start of the 2022 regular season.
Cleveland Browns starting center Nick Harris (knee) will likely need season-ending surgery on his right knee for an injury that he suffered in Friday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to head coach Kevin Stefanski. Harris was replaced in Friday's game by Ethan Pocic, who signed a one-year, $1.187 million deal in March. Brock Hoffman, an undrafted rookie from Virginia Tech, is the only other center on the team's training camp roster. It remains to be seen if the Browns will look to re-sign JC Tretter, their starter the last five seasons, after they released him in a cost-cutting move in March. Pocic was a second-round pick in 2017 by the Seattle Seahawks, and he started 40 of his 57 games played in Seattle. It's bad news for the Browns offense, especially with quarterback Deshaun Watson's potential season-long suspension looming.
The Cleveland Browns activated cornerback Denzel Ward (foot) off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday, clearing him to begin practicing with the team at training camp. Ward wasn't able to practice with the team to begin camp this summer, but the expectation is that he'll be ready to go for the start of the regular season in Week 1. The two-time Pro Bowler finished his fourth NFL season in 2021 with 43 tackles (34 solo), three interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 10 passes defensed and half a sack in 15 starts. While Ward isn't really on the radar in IDP fantasy leagues, he's a very important piece of Cleveland's secondary.
The Indianapolis Colts activated wide receiver Mike Strachan (knee) from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday. Strachan began training camp on the PUP list after having offseason knee surgery, but the Colts will now start working him into practices. In his rookie season, the seventh-round pick caught only two of his three targets for 26 yards in six games for Indy, but he'll be looking for a bigger role as a depth option for the Colts, behind the likes of Michael Pittman Jr., Parris Campbell and rookie Alec Pierce. Strachan will be competing with Dezmon Patmon and Ashton Dulin for the fourth receiver spot in Indy to begin the 2022 season.
The Denver Broncos activated pass-rusher Randy Gregory (shoulder) off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Monday, according to a source. Gregory had offseason shoulder surgery and was one of the team's big free-agent signings of the offseason. The expectation is that he'll be ready for Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks. The 29-year-old is likely to be eased into training camp practices and preseason games, but barring a setback with his shoulder, he should be ready for the start of the regular season. Gregory is very injury-prone and hasn't played a full season since being taken in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Dallas Cowboys, but he also had 15.5 sacks over the last three years and could be on the IDP radar if he can stay healthy all year.
The Denver Broncos signed veteran free-agent linebacker Joe Schobert to an undisclosed deal on Monday, according to a source. Schobert starred for the Cleveland Browns and was most recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, when he recorded 112 tackles (70 solo), one interception, six passes defensed and one forced fumble in 16 games. He will help fill the void created by an injury to Jonas Griffith (elbow), who will miss at least a month of action. The 28-year-old Schobert is expected to compete for a backup spot with Justin Strnad in Denver. Schobert brings plenty of experience to an already strong Broncos defense, and he's recorded 100-plus tackles in five of his six NFL seasons.
Dynasty | Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier was listed as a riser in a recent camp report Dynasty Analysis: The rookie rushed for 25 yards on three carries in his first preseason action and also had a nice blitz pickup showing that he is picking up more than just yardage on the field. As noted in the attached link, the team is going to have a make a tough cut at some point at running back but Allgeier is certain to remain. He's still expected to play behind hybrid player Cordarrelle Patterson. He's listed as DLF's RB56 and is an intriguing second-round dynasty rookie draft selection.
Dynasty | Falcons running back Damien Williams was listed as a "faller" in a recent training camp report Dynasty Analysis: Williams only managed 10 yards on three carries in the team's first preseason game and it's likely too early to make any calls on his ability to stick on the roster. The team is going to have to make a tough cut or two at the position and it means Williams or Qadree Ollison could be the first to go. Given Ollison's better performance, Williams would seem to be more on the bubble. He's very sparsely ranked as DLF's RB79.
Dynasty | Bills rookie tight end Jalen Wydermyer has been released Dynasty Analysis: It's a bit of a surprise as Wydermyer had gained a bit of a following prior to the 2022 NFL Draft and he's certain to catch on elsewhere. For now, there's no need to roster the rookie until after we see him resurface and have impact with a new team. He's unranked on DLF's tight end rankings.
Dynasty | Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu was listed as a "riser" in a recent camp report Dynasty Analysis: Nwangwu looked decisive and agile in his first preseason action as he rushed for 41 yards on seven carries while converting both of his targets for 18 yards. Fellow backfield mate Ty Chandler rushed for more yardage and also looked strong but it was Nwangwu who looked more decisive and agile. With Dalvin Cook aging and Alexander Mattison a free agent in 2023, there's change on the horizon. Nwangwu, DLF's RB76, is a well valued dynasty stash for 2023 and beyond.
Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph made both of his field goal and extra point attempts in the team's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, connecting on 20-yard and 23-yard attempts in this one. The 28-year-old made 33-of-38 field goal attempts and 70-of-78 extra point attempts during the 2021 season, so he should be a reliable option for fantasy managers in 2022. After finishing as the sixth-best kicker in fantasy a season ago, Joseph seems like a safe weekly starting option as the Vikings offense should have no trouble putting him in a position to score points this season.
Minnesota Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu carried the ball seven times for 41 yards and caught two passes for an additional 18 yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The second-year back out of Iowa State will look to earn a role in the Minnesota offense this season, as he carried the ball just 13 times for 61 yards in his rookie year. Nwangwu was mostly used in the return game, showcasing his game-breaking speed on multiple occasions. As of now, he seems like a safe bet to be the RB3 behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison, so his fantasy value could increase significantly if anyone ahead of him on the depth chart misses time this season.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Albert Wilson caught two passes for 22 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. Wilson saw just two targets in this one as he clearly made the most of his opportunity. The former Miami Dolphin will look to carve out a role in the offense as the preseason continues, but it is hard to envision him earning a role that will make him fantasy relevant. Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and K.J. Osborn are locked in as the top-three wide receivers, so Wilson will need to fend off Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Bisi Johnson for WR4 duties in the high-powered Minnesota offense. Wilson can be left off the fantasy radar for now.
Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler carried the ball five times for 50 yards in Sunday's preseason loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. The fifth-round pick out of North Carolina will need to continue to impress if he wants a role in the Minnesota offense, as Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Kene Nwangwu currently sit atop the depth chart. Head coach Kevin O'Connell praised the rookie after his strong performance, saying "he's pretty decisive in the run game, putting his foot down, getting north and south." Still, it is hard to envision Chandler having any fantasy value given that he is likely the fourth option in the backfield. The 24-year-old would need a lot to go his way to be considered for fantasy rosters this season.
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond completed 9-of-14 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the team's preseason opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. The Texas A&M collegiate product will look to gain the edge over Sean Mannion for QB2 duties throughout the rest of the preseason, as there have been reports that the 23-year-old has struggled in training camp. However, he outperformed his competition in this one, as Mannion completed 8-of-12 passes for just 79 yards. Mond won't have any fantasy value for the time being, but if he wins the backup job and Kirk Cousins misses time this season, he could be an interesting option with the Vikings' loaded supporting cast.