In the 2020 content hub, you can find best ball strategy and optimal roster construction per position as well as player rankings that are updated through the offseason. Throughout the offseason, we have been updating player movement in best ball drafts. This allows us to maintain a more current pulse for where players are now being valued that were impacted by recent news.
What we are starting to see, given the unique nature of this offseason, is that tangible player movement has been few and far between. With no OTAs happening and training camp pushed back, we just do not have a lot of spice moving players around the top of the board. That said, we did have a significant signing and injury occur since we last checked in back in June, while we have a few “potential” stories looming that could jostle some players.
*ADP from 6/22-7/6
The most recent news we have gotten is that Cam Newton has officially joined the New England Patriots. The Patriots have been Newton’s best shot at a starting job in 2020 since the NFL Draft and Newton has been the best quarterback available for New England for some time. It just made sense that the two finally were able to come together. The organization is saying the right things early on Jarrett Stidham having a shot at starting still and competing with Newton, but given New England’s current championship window, it is hard to see a healthy Newton be on the bench.
We just do not have full clarity on how healthy he is. Newton just turned 31 years old last month and is coming off a Lisfranc injury that resulted in him appearing in just two games a year ago. This was also coming off offseason shoulder surgery, the second time in three seasons that Newton required his right throwing shoulder to be operated on. Newton’s health, passing acumen, and surrounding talent have all been question marks before over the course of his career and he has still provided strong fantasy outputs.
But those question marks at age 31, coming off a foot injury, changing teams in one of the most unique offseasons the sport has ever had, while paired with a defense that may not require a ton of heavy lifting make Newton a high reward and risk fantasy option, but one that offers insulation in Best Ball formats to play solely on the reward side of the equation.
Since entering the league, only Drew Brees has more 30-point fantasy games (20) than Newton (18) has while Newton is fourth on that list in 20-plus-points games with 55.
We have gotten one injury of note over since we last did this, with Deebo Samuel having surgery on his foot to repair a Jones Fracture. This is the same injury that has impacted the post-return production for Sammy Watkins, Dez Bryant, Julian Edelman, and Greg Olsen amongst others in recent seasons. Samuel is still in play as a late-round dart, but now comes with a lot of risk on estimated return to the lineup, potential re-injury, and potential of a declined performance when he does return.
With Samuel’s injury, first-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk has gotten the biggest bump up the board. The 49ers traded back up in the first round this spring to take Aiyuk as a replacement for Emmanuel Sanders among other things, but Aiyuk’s strengths lend themselves to what the San Francisco passing game does best, which maximize the ability to use their players after the catch. Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards after the catch last season at Arizona State while no quarterback had a higher rate of his passing yardage come from yards after the catch than Jimmy Garoppolo a year ago (54.2%).
While Aiyuk can have his role accelerated in the offense, second-year wideout Jalen Hurd has the profile of someone who can take on some of the unique assignments Samuel had in the offense. Samuel led all NFL wideouts in rushing yardage (159 yards) and touchdowns (three) in 2019. Hurd is a former college running back at Tennessee that transitioned to wide receiver at Baylor, with 637 collegiate rushing attempts for 2,844 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground under his belt. Like Samuel. Hurd has had a hard time avoiding injury, but fits the mold of filling the creative usage Samuel was receiving in the offense.
Antonio Brown has been popping up all over this offseason, posting videos of himself catching passes from Lamar Jackson, Dwayne Haskins, and the latest with Russell Wilson, in creating speculation that the best fantasy wideout from the previous decade is still attempting to play somewhere in 2020. Over the past two weeks, Brown has made a two-round jump at FanBall while making a 40-pick climb over in FFPC formats. Those spikes still have him checking in at WR66 and WR63 in those formats, so it is not as if fantasy players are sinking high investment into Brown, but he is on the radar now as a late-round dart throw.
We still do not know if a team will actually take a shot on the veteran wideout, as well as if there is still a potential suspension incoming for Brown from the league for multiple allegations of misconduct and a potential assault case from this January. Peter King believes that will be inevitable and that any team signing Brown will be doing so with the postseason in mind. The talent still exists for Brown — he caught 4-of-8 targets for 56 yards and a touchdown on just 24 snaps in his only game last season — and he easily has the most upside of any receiver you could select at that point. I have no issues taking swings on Brown in these formats, but have a lot of pause in sinking a potential weekly league draft spot into him.
The other “potential” news we have gotten since last month is that Dalvin Cook has announced that he is threatening to hold out should he not receive a contract extension from the Vikings. The new CBA agreed upon this offseason makes it harder for players on their rookie contracts to sit out a season, but given how similar events have played out for Le’Veon Bell and Melvin Gordon the past two seasons, nobody is taking anything for granted. With that, Alexander Mattison has crept up a bit in draft cost. Mattison posted 4.9 yards per touch on 110 opportunities as a rookie behind Cook, while Cook has missed multiple games in each of his first three seasons.
Bringing things home, a pair of rookies in Jalen Reagor and Zack Moss have made subtle moves up draft boards as we approach mid-summer.
Reagor’s surge is paired with a first-round investment this spring and the unknown timetable still on when Alshon Jeffery will return to the field this season. That said, the Eagles have expressed that Reagor will be an understudy to DeSean Jackson for his rookie season. While that takes some air out of things initially, the 33-year-old Jackson himself has not appeared in all 16 games since 2013. The Eagles also are starved for production from the wide receiver after a year ago with question marks all over the position due to age, injury concern, and performance from their current roster. Reagor himself also stands to be involved in the return game, averaging 17.8 yards per punt return and 24.2 yards per kickoff return over his career at TCU.
Moss is now climbing up boards after Devin Singletary was one of the players slipping in cost a month ago. Brandon Beane has suggested that Moss will initially play a role similar to what Frank Gore played a year ago. If that is the case, Singletary averaged 18.9 touches per game over his final nine games in 2019, but it was Gore who handled 11 carries inside of the 5-yard line last season compared to just two for Singletary.
That can give Moss the potential to be a goal line back and an end of the game thumper for a team forecasted for 9.0 wins this season. But Moss also does have some receiving chops as well. Out of the backfield, Moss caught 66 passes for 685 yards at Utah while averaging 13.9 yards per catch on 28 receptions this past season.
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