Fantasy Football: Chris Godwin, Devonta Freeman, Geronimo Allison getting rave reviews this offseason
Jamey Eisenberg spent time with several NFC coaches at the NFL's annual league meetings in Phoenix, and he has news and notes on several players, including Chris Godwin, Devonta Freeman and Geronimo Allison, among others.
PHOENIX -- Do you want to know how Tevin Coleman will fit with the 49ers? What about Jared Cook now that he's a member of the Saints? And is Todd Gurley's knee still a potential problem for the upcoming season?
These are just some of the things I wanted to find out about at the NFL's annual league meetings. And all the coaches meet with the media at the event, which is great to bring you plenty of information on a host of players.
We're breaking this-- NFC and AFC -- and we'll go with the NFC here. Hopefully, some of these news items can be applied to your Draft Prep this season.
News: New receiver Randall Cobb could line up everywhere
Quote to note: "If you watch him throughout his career, both in college and with Green Bay, he's been able to do so many different things," coach Jason Garrett said. "You see him line up inside and outside, you see them throw him a variety of routes. He's very capable of running any route that you have in your route tree. And then you just see them getting the ball to him in a lot of different ways. He's just one of those kinds of players. Those are the things we liked about him and hopefully we'll get him here and he'll get to work and dig into what we're doing."
Fantasy outlook: The Cowboys signed Cobb to a one-year, $5 million contract to replace Cole Beasley in the slot. While he could play outside some, it doesn't make much sense for Dallas to use him in that role with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the roster. Cobb hasn't topped 66 catches, 653 yards or four touchdowns in a season over the past three years, and his Fantasy value is limited in this offense. He's just a late-round flier at best in most leagues.
News: Garrett expects more from Dak Prescott
Quote to note: "One of the great things about him is he's always working so hard at getting better," Garrett said. "He's focused on understanding the game better, becoming better physically, technically -- all of those things. He's a driven guy, and he works as hard as anybody in our building. We're lucky to have him, and he'll continue to grow in all areas in the course of his career."
Fantasy outlook: Prescott has the chance for a solid season in 2019 with the addition of Cobb and the return of Jason Witten, along with Cooper, Gallup and Ezekiel Elliott. Additionally, the offensive line could get a boost with the healthy return of center Travis Frederick (illness). Garrett said of Frederick, "he's certainly on the right road" in his recovery. Prescott should be viewed as a low-end No. 1 quarterback worth drafting with a late-round pick.
News: Eagles won't rush Carson Wentz (back) this offseason
Quote to note: "Obviously, he's still rehabbing and getting himself healthy and strong," coach Doug Pederson said. "Again, just like we've done in the past with him, we're going to be patient and let him get strong, and we're not putting any timetable on him. When he's ready, he's ready. We're optimistic that he'll be ready to go for OTAs, but again, we're not going to push it and force anything."
Fantasy outlook: Wentz will hopefully be fine for Week 1, which is the expectation, and he should be considered a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues. He gets a new weapon in DeSean Jackson to go with Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery. Nelson Agholor and Dallas Goedert, and Wentz was playing well when healthy last season. In 11 games, Wentz scored at least 20 Fantasy points eight times. He's an excellent mid-round pick and a quarterback to wait for on Draft Day.
News: Pederson excited to have Jackson back in Philly
Quote to note: "DeSean is a very explosive receiver," Pederson said. "We know him. He's been an Eagle before. We're excited to get him in the room and get him caught up to speed and really looking forward to working with him."
Fantasy outlook: Jackson should be third in line for targets behind Ertz and Jeffery, and he's an interesting Fantasy receiver to target with a late-round pick. In 2018 with Tampa Bay, he had 41 catches for 774 yards and four touchdowns on 74 targets, and he scored at least 11 PPR points in seven of his first nine games.
News: Giants to use Golden Tate in different spots
Quote to note: "I am excited about him," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said of Tate. "His skill set is like Sterling (Shepard). When we run the ball, they are gritty blockers, and you can play them on the edge and in the slot. Then, when you throw the ball, they have both done good work in the slot and have had production outside. You can play both guys wherever."
Fantasy outlook: Tate struggled last year when he was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia, but Shurmur isn't concerned about that. Said Shurmur, "He got there right in the middle of the movie, right? I think once they establish an offense and there is many reps with certain guys, it takes some time to fit a guy in. I am not worried about that." With the Giants, Tate will likely be the third-best weapon in the passing game behind Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley. And with Eli Manning at quarterback -- for now, at least -- Tate doesn't present much upside. He's a No. 4 Fantasy receiver worth a mid-round pick, with his value slightly higher in PPR.
News: Jay Gruden said Jordan Reed will be healthy
Quote to note: "Jordan is going to be just fine. I promise you," Gruden said. "He's is working his tail off as he did last year. Coming into the season, I think he's going to be more healthy than he's ever been. Coming into the season last year, he had the procedures done on his feet or ankles or what have you. I think this year he's going to be more in tune with his body and in better shape where he can produce more early, which will help him in the long run."
Fantasy outlook: It would be great to have Reed healthy, but he's missed 13 games over the past two seasons and hasn't played 16 games in a season in his six-year career. Washington could use Reed given the state of the receiving corps -- the top receivers are Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Trey Quinn -- and the quarterback situation is also dicey with Case Keenum the likely starter. But if Reed is ready for Week 1 then consider him a low-end starter worth drafting with a late-round pick in all leagues.
Quote to note: "That's an interesting dilemma right there," Gruden said. "No. 1 is Guice has got to get healthy. He's got to take care of his body. He's young. I'm sure it will be effortless for him to get himself back in shape. But still, we're talking about a major knee injury for a running back, so it's something we have to really look at and make sure he's 100 percent and make sure he still runs with the type of energy and charisma and effort that he played with before the injury because sometimes those injuries have an effect on you mentally. I don't think it will with Derrius. ... Having AP back is nice. He rushed for over 1,000 yards. He's getting a little bit older, but he doesn't look it. He's in great shape. I saw him the other day. It's a great dilemma to have those two guys."
Fantasy outlook: Gruden said Guice will be ready for training camp "for sure" but also added he could be ready for "individual type stuff at OTAs." He's clearly trending in the right direction, but Washington bringing back Peterson isn't ideal. Guice should be viewed as the better Fantasy option coming into the season, but he's a flex option at best worth drafting with a mid-round pick. Peterson should be selected later, but don't rule him out as a potential flex option as well, especially if Guice suffers a setback with his knee.
News: Matt Nagy fond of new running back Mike Davis
Quote to note: "I thought he had really good vision," Nagy said. "He was a guy that can make you miss between the tackles. He has that in him. We liked that. We thought that would be a good addition to our side of the ball on offense. We're intrigued to get him in and start learning who he is as a person. From all the research we did on him, we thought it was a great fit."
Fantasy outlook: With Jordan Howard now traded to the Eagles, Davis gets a tremendous opportunity to work in tandem with Tarik Cohen. In 2018 with Seattle, Davis was the No. 3 running back behind Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, but he had five games with double digits in carries and scored at least 14 PPR points in four of them. Davis has the chance to be a low-end No. 2 running back with the Bears, especially if he gets the majority of Howard's 270 touches from 2018. Look for Davis starting in Round 7 in most formats.
News: Nagy expects more from Mitchell Trubisky this year
Quote to note: "You'll see how much he grew," Nagy said. "I think you will. I can tell you how much he grew mentally. The huddle procedure, calling the play, at the line of scrimmage, making the checks, flipping it. All that. With that he did awesome. We have a little wordy offense at times. And he aced it. And then for him to put it on the field. Midway through the season, beginning of the season, we talked about next-play mentality. He conquered that. He had a couple games in there where he'd be the first to tell you that he felt like he could have played better. And he was hanging onto previous plays. He got by that. So all that growth, he is so excited to get in there. There might be some times this year where I say, hey, just take this series. In OTAs or training camp, hey, call this series right here. I'm going to let you run the show. I couldn't do that last year because he didn't know what to call. This year, he'll be able to do that."
Fantasy outlook: Trubisky finished 2018 as the No. 15 Fantasy quarterback, and he should be in that range again coming into the season. He's a low-end starter in most formats, and he's a great quarterback to wait for given his potential upside. As Nagy said, hopefully he improves on the field, which would only enhance his Fantasy value.
News: Matt LaFleur excited to work with Geronimo Allison
Quote to note: "Getting Geronimo back from injury, how he responds is going to be critical because he's another guy that has a lot of flexibility to play inside or outside," LaFleur said.
Fantasy outlook: Allison should return as the No. 2 receiver for the Packers behind Davante Adams, and he's in line for a breakout campaign in 2019. In 2018, he had 19 catches for 289 yards and two touchdowns in the first four games of the season on 29 targets. Over 16 games, that would be 76 catches for 1,156 yards and eight touchdowns, and he has that kind of upside playing with Aaron Rodgers. I plan to target Allison in all leagues with a mid-round pick.
News: Kerryon Johnson likely to have limited workload
Quote to note: "Regardless of Kerryon, it's a position-specific thing where those guys take a lot of hits," coach Matt Patricia said. "They're in those situations a lot where their bodies are taking a pounding. You want to be conscious of how many plays they're getting, especially early on in the year. Obviously, we just want to win. That's the most important thing, but you do have to look at big picture. Great, we could run a couple plays now, but if we wear this guy out, it's not going to help us in the long run."
Fantasy outlook: This shouldn't scare you off Johnson this season as a starting Fantasy running back, but he might not get the touches we hope for given his talent. He also has injury concerns after missing the final six games of the 2018 season with a knee injury. Still, Johnson should get the majority of work in Detroit's backfield, and he's worth drafting in Round 5 in most leagues. Before he was injured as a rookie in 2018, he scored at least 14 PPR points in four of his final five games.
News: Sean Payton has high expectations for Jared Cook
Quote to note: "We feel like Jared has a unique skill set, and we saw a lot of good tape from him," Payton said. "I think he can run. I think he's a really good receiver in space. I think he does a good job after the catch, his yards after the catch. He's comfortable playing in a lot of different spots."
Fantasy outlook: Cook signed a two-year deal with the Saints for $15 million, and this should be a good marriage for both parties. The Saints have been looking for a capable tight end since Jimmy Graham was traded in 2015, and Cook is coming off his best NFL season in 2018 with career highs in catches (68), yards (896) and touchdowns (six) on 101 targets in Oakland. Cook should be considered a low-end No. 1 Fantasy tight end worth drafting with a mid-round pick.
Quote to note: "We have an idea of what we think Murray can do and how we want to use him," Payton said. "Obviously we want some balance to what we do offensively. Alvin's a tremendous back, and we'll work closely each week to make sure we are maximizing his touches and complementing him with the other runners."
Fantasy outlook: Murray will replace the departed Mark Ingram (Baltimore), and that should lead to about 150-175 total touches (Ingram had 159 total touches in 12 games last year). Kamara will be the lead back, and he should once again be viewed as a first-round pick in all leagues. But Murray has sleeper appeal in all formats, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick.
News: Dan Quinn excited to have Devonta Freeman (groin) back
Quote to note: "He has such a style about him with how he runs," Quinn said. "He's a slasher. As he's going through the hole with his physicality, when he puts his foot in the ground violently, he can explode to get back up and get on to the second level and make somebody miss. Then the second piece is him in the passing game. His ability to work outside the slot or at receiver, he can really break guys off one on one. He can play slot. That's how quick and sudden he is with good hands. We want to feature him in every way that we can. But man, we're excited to get him back."
Fantasy outlook: Freeman dealt with a groin injury in 2018 and was limited to just two games. He should benefit this season if he can stay healthy with Tevin Coleman (San Francisco) gone. While second-year running back Ito Smith will replace Coleman and has sleeper appeal -- Quinn raved about Smith as well -- it should be Freeman who is back as the No. 1 running back for the Falcons. You should consider drafting Freeman as early as Round 4 in the majority of leagues.
News: Cam Newton (shoulder) not being rushed back
Quote to note: "Everything has been good," Ron Rivera said of Newton. "We're really pleased with his workouts. Reports we got have been all positive. I look forward to seeing him soon, but just very happy that things are trending in the right direction."
Fantasy outlook: Rivera added that he's in no hurry to get Newton back on the field during OTAs. "I can't give you a time frame," Rivera said. "I think that would be unfair because you don't want to put pressure or force anybody to do something they're not ready for. I'm going to stay away from time frames." We hope Newton is back on the field for training camp, and he should be fine for Week 1. He's still worth drafting as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues with a late-round pick.
News: Bruce Arians continues to rave about Chris Godwin
Quote to note: "I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot," Arians said. "He's never coming off the field."
Fantasy outlook: Godwin is a huge winner this offseason with the Buccaneers moving on from DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries (Tennessee). In six games over the past two seasons without Jackson on the field, Godwin has scored at least 12 PPR points in four of them. Arians is clearly fond of Godwin, and he's a third-year breakout candidate to target in all leagues as early as Round 5. I'm all in on Godwin this season.
News: Sean McVay indicates Malcolm Brown can back up Todd Gurley
Quote to note: "I think right now you feel really good about Todd and Malcolm," McVay said. "What they can both provide specifically to really being all purpose backs. Before Malcolm got injured that was a big loss for us because he had played really well when he had to step in or just being able spell Todd on first, second or third down. He can really do everything -- protection, run the football. So we're really excited about getting Malcolm back. As far as what we do, be it the draft or things like that, we're always looking to add playmakers, but we're excited to get Malcolm back."
Fantasy outlook: The Rams matched Brown's two-year, $3.25 million offer sheet from the Lions, and he could be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Gurley this season. Last year, Brown was the backup to Gurley before he suffered a broken collarbone in Week 13, which opened the door for Los Angeles to bring in C.J. Anderson. As we know, Anderson stepped in for an injured Gurley for the final two games of the regular season, and Gurley's knee is now a concern heading into this year. McVay said Gurley's knee is "good," which hopefully is the case, but you should monitor who ends up as the No. 2 running back for the Rams in case Gurley goes down again. Brown could be worth a late-round flier in all leagues.
News: Pete Carroll says Doug Baldwin needs hernia surgery
Quote to note: "In one respect there's never been anybody that's tougher and more able to come back from whatever challenges he's (faced)," Carroll said of Baldwin. "He's been extraordinarily adept at figuring out how to return from and understand the circumstances of being banged up. I have no doubt in that. But it's a been a challenging offseason for him. He's had a lot of stuff he's been working on. This latest one is going to take some time again. Whatever he has to do we're going to follow, support and believe in it. If anybody can do it, he can get it done."
Fantasy outlook: Baldwin could be looking at a 6-8 week timetable from his hernia surgery, and he already had operations done on his knee and shoulder this offseason. He'll be 31 in September, but it feels like he's breaking down after dealing with a knee injury for most of the 2018 season. Baldwin struggled with his fewest catches (50) and yards (618) since 2013, and his five touchdowns were his fewest since 2014. He should be considered a low-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best heading into this season, and he's only worth drafting with a mid-round pick.
News: Kyle Shanahan excited to get Tevin Coleman
Quote to note: "We didn't go into free agency at all thinking we were going to add a running back," Shanahan said. "And it was just the way the market worked out. We were extremely fortunate to end up with Tevin. ... He's a great kid, he's a very good player, and I think he'll mix in very well with our group of our backs."
Fantasy outlook: The 49ers have a crowded backfield with Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Coleman, but Coleman should be considered the lead rusher. And Shanahan said Coleman could be the power back for the 49ers, which should mean short-yardage work at the goal line. "Tevin runs hard and he's physical," Shanahan said. "Tevin plays like a big back to me." Coleman should be considered a low-end No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 5, and McKinnon and Breida are only late-round picks in most formats.
News: Shanahan has high expectations for Dante Pettis
Quote to note: "Dante had a typical rookie year where he had some good games and some good plays, but a lot of ups and downs," Shanahan said. "He battled through some injuries early on which I thought set him back, but the way he finished the year was very exciting. He got a lot more opportunities at the end of the year. He earned those opportunities. You always want to see how guys do when they're out there, and he got better, he didn't get worse. He got better the more he played. He got better with experience, and I think that really helped him going into this offseason. I'm pumped to see him here in about a month."
Fantasy outlook: Pettis should be San Francisco's No. 1 receiver this season since the rest of the depth chart is Marquise Goodwin, Jordan Matthews, Trent Taylor and Kendrick Bourne. Obviously, George Kittle is on the roster as well, but Pettis should stand out. Now, Shanahan did say the 49ers aren't done adding to their receiving corps, but Pettis should build on his rookie campaign when he had 27 catches for 467 yards and five touchdowns on 44 targets, including at least 13 PPR points in four of his final five games. He's a breakout candidate to target in Round 6 in all leagues, especially with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (ACL) coming back in time for training camp.
News: Kliff Kingsbury has big plans for David Johnson
Quote to note: "I think he's going to be really excited with what we do," Kingsbury said of Johnson. "I know he really wants to get back to the form he had in previous years, and that's our goal. To make sure we're doing things he's comfortable with and can excel at and he likes to do. I haven't had a chance to sit down with him and go over things, but we're going to try and build things around him."
Fantasy outlook: Johnson didn't have a great season in 2018, but he still managed more than 1,300 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He has the chance to improve on those stats under Kingsbury, especially with a better offense around him. In 2016, Johnson had more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns before dealing with a wrist injury in 2017. He should still be considered a low-end No. 1 running back worth drafting in Round 2 in all formats.
News: Kingsbury doesn't see Larry Fitzgerald slowing down
Quote to note: "He can still play at a high level, watching the film last year and watching late in the year how hard he was playing," Kingsbury said. "The speed he plays the game with, he's got such great route savvy, he's going to be very effective in our offense."
Fantasy outlook: Fitzgerald, 35, decided to play again in 2019 instead of retiring, and hopefully he can go out with a bang. The quarterback situation in Arizona remains something to monitor, but Fitzgerald can still be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver, especially in PPR. He had a down year with Josh Rosen in 2018 with 69 catches for 734 yards and six touchdowns on 112 targets, but he still has the potential to be productive with Kingsbury. Keep an eye on the quarterback situation with the Cardinals, but Fitzgerald is still worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
News: Kingsbury will use Christian Kirk inside and outside
Quote to note: "He can play both," Kingsbury said. "If you watched him last year, due to necessity he was outside. He wasn't usually out there in college, and I thought he held his own. That's encouraging that if you need to get him out there, you can get him out there. And we know what he can do in the slot."
Fantasy outlook: Kirk should be the No. 2 receiver for the Cardinals this season behind Fitzgerald, and he should improve on his rookie campaign, which was 43 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns on 68 targets in 12 games. He's a mid- to late-round pick in all leagues, but he should be considered a sleeper on Draft Day this year.
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