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#167 Have We Been Drafting The Wrong Eagles WR?

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Last night marked the start of the first full week of the 2021 NFL season and there were some interesting usage and performances to discuss…

* Washington Football Team’s RB Antonio Gibson had 5 carries for 15 yards and 2 receptions for 25 yards. Some people were freaking out about J.D. McKissic playing on passing downs, but Gibson was the focal point of the offense when he was on the field. I still think it’s a safe bet that his usage expands this year in the passing game.

* Patriots rookie QB Mac Jones was 13-for-17 for 87 yards and looked much better than Cam Newton in limited action with an average pass length of 7.2 vs. Newton’s 0.3. 

* Patriots rookie RB Rhamondre Stevenson scored 2 TDs last night, including a carry he took 91 yards to the house. Days after being told he needed to improve on “everything”, Stevenson looked pretty, well, improved.

* I’ve been drafting Travis Fulgham as my favorite Eagles WR sleeper, but it’s pretty obvious that Quez Watkins needs to be mixed in more to my portfolio. He only had 2 targets, but took one of them 79 yards for a TD. The Athletic Zach Berman’s believes in Watkins as well: “After missing time early in camp with an illness, Watkins has been the Eagles’ best receiver since DeVonta Smith’s injury. If he keeps this up, a case might be made to start Watkins – even over 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor.”

* Yesterday we mentioned that Benny Snell was a cut candidate and it does look like Anthony McFarland Jr. is the back to target behind Steelers starting RB Najee Harris. McFarland had 9 carries for 34 yards and a TD last night.

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* Kyle Meinke on Lions TE TJ Hockenson: “He might be having the best summer of anyone in Allen Park, and has been Jared Goff’s No. 1 target in the passing game. He’s been the best target in camp, and it’s not close." Hockenson has the talent and situation to produce a volume-fueled, Darren Waller-esque campaign this year. 

* CBS's Jonathan Jones thinks Chargers RB Justin Jackson has a "stranglehold" on the No. 2 RB job behind Austin Ekeler. I think it’s still likely that one of Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree steals some short yardage and goal line work, but it sounds like Jackson would assume most of Ekeker’s usage in the event of an injury. 

* The Broncos are such a tricky team for fantasy. All of their exciting skill position players have been garnering buzz during training camp—Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Noah Fant—and yet the QB situation is beyond shaky. Now 2nd year WR KJ Hamler is getting hype as well: “If this guy can stay healthy, he’s going to be a big-time weapon for us,” said Broncos GM George Paton. Hamler flashed as a rookie, even scoring 2 TDs in Week 14 last year vs. the Panthers.

* I am legally obligated to pass on this continued Marquez Valdes-Scantling buzz even if I remain highly skeptical: “I have a hunch Valdes-Scantling is going to have a monster season, for him at least. I’m talking 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. His hands have looked much more reliable during camp than they have in seasons past, and I think he’ll be far more than just the deep-ball threat he has been so far in his career,” said Matt Schneidman in The Athletic. 

 

🚑 The Injury Ward 

* Please no, not another injured rookie WR that we all love: Rookie Jets WR Elijah Moore is being evaluated for a quadriceps injury after leaving practice during one-on-one drills yesterday. He won’t play Saturday and is scheduled to receive a MRI. If he misses any significant amount of time this will open the door for Keelan Cole and dare I say...don’t say it...please don’t say it...ok, of course you’re gonna say it...Denzel Mims

* Cardinals RB James Conner has been added to the reserve/COVID-19 list after being flagged as a high-risk close contact. Why do I have a feeling that I’m going to write some version of this blurb a million times this year?

* Rashod Bateman had core muscle surgery and is expected to return sometime in September, although that is likely too optimistic. If you’re drafting Bateman I wouldn’t expect to start him for the first quarter of the season. 

* CBS’ Brian Mitchell on Curtis Samuel: “I heard through the grapevine that if they were playing a real game (yesterday), he could probably go."

 

🗣️ Players Hyping Their Teammates

Players hyping their *former* teammates…

 

Happy Friday. See ya tomorrow.

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