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Sports Data APIs for Individuals!
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth is impressing onlookers early in camp. According to reports, the rookie tight end out of Penn State is catching everything in the early days of training camp and had a great day of practice on Saturday. Freiermuth still needs to prove that he can block in the NFL, but if he can, then the rookie could be in store for a big role on offense in 2021. He could even push starter Eric Ebron for snaps and targets. It is generally not advisable to target a backup rookie tight end in redraft fantasy leagues but Freiermuth is picking up steam as a high-upside prospect to stash in dynasty leagues.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt could be in line for an increased role on offense in 2021, according to Cleveland.com beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot. Cabot cites that the coaching staff is more familiar with what Hunt can do and that they trust him in clutch situations. In addition, with the newly-implemented 17-game season, running back depth will be even more important than ever as teams look to keep their backfields fresh. Cabot is also on record as saying she does not believe the Browns will consider trading Hunt to the Los Angeles Rams if they come calling. His name was one that was speculated on as a potential replacement when the Rams lost Cam Akers to a season-ending injury last week. Hunt has standalone RB3 value in fantasy this season with RB1 upside if Nick Chubb goes down with an injury.
Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack (Achilles tear) is reportedly entering training camp at 100 percent health, indicating that he'll be competing right away for backup running back snaps along with Nyheim Hines. Of course, Mack is dealing with the worst possible injury for a running back, so being fully recovered doesn't mean Mack will have the same burst and movement that he had before the injury. But if healthy, Mack should be able to earn the No. 2 role and would have some appeal in the later rounds of fantasy drafts, though Taylor's projected role doesn't leave much room for other players to have consistent fantasy value.
According to David Lombardi of The Athletic, the San Francisco 49ers could use their running backs in a unique way this season, with rookie Trey Sermon getting early work in games to soften the defense, with Raheem Mostert coming in later in games. Lombardi expects that Sermon could lead the team in starts at running back, but head coach Kyle Shanahan's system will mean that Mostert is still the likely team rushing leader. Still, in an offense based around the run, Sermon getting early work could lead to some strong fantasy games if he can bust a few big runs. He's an interesting late-round pick in redraft leagues.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has reportedly indicated to people close to him that he'll play for the Packers in 2021, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. The Rodgers situation has been an issue for months, will much speculation on if Rodgers would play with Green Bay this season, play somewhere else via trade, or retire. It sounds like Rodgers is leaning towards playing, which would be a huge boost for the Packers offense. Rodgers is a strong QB1 in Green Bay and Davante Adams should be locked in as the overall WR1 in fantasy drafts if this latest development ends up being the final resolution for the Rodgers situation. Of course, fantasy managers shouldn't count their chickens before they hatch here, as we want to see Rodgers actually in a Packers uniform before we're sure he'll be playing in Green Bay this season.
Tight end is one of the most intriguing positions on the Indianapolis Colts, with Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox, and rookie Kylen Granson all competing for minutes. While Doyle and Alie-Cox have both had some strong showings in the past, Granson has reportedly impressed the Colts coaching staff this offseason. Zak Keefer of The Athletic believes that "the door's open at the Y tight end position," and that a strong training camp from Granson could get him on the field immediately, with a chance to earn some targets from quarterback Carson Wentz, who did a good job involving tight ends when he was with the Eagles. That doesn't mean you need to draft Granson in redraft leagues, but he's a name that fantasy managers should keep an eye on.
Indianapolis Colts receiver Parris Campbell has played in just nine games over his two seasons in the NFL because of various injuries. But the former second-round pick remains the team's most exciting option for the slot, and Zak Keefer of The Athletic believes that a healthy Campbell will be "a key cog" in Indianapolis' offense this year. Of course, hoping Campbell plays a full season might be wishful thinking based on his NFL track record, but fantasy managers who take a risk on Campbell in deeper leagues could be rewarded. He's got big-play potential and is currently being drafted as the WR69. At that price, Campbell's a great sleeper pick.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacob Eason enters training camp in better shape than he was in for the 2020 season, with Zak Keefer of The Athletic reporting that Eason "converted 10 pounds of his 231-pound frame into muscle," which dropped his body fat to 5.9 percent. But being in better shape doesn't necessarily equate to better play, and Eason will need to prove that he can make plays in practice and the preseason if he wants to lock in the team's No. 2 quarterback job behind Carson Wentz. Eason didn't see the field as a rookie last season, but could in 2021 because Wentz, the team's new starting quarterback, has a history of missing time with injury. Eason should be rostered in Superflex dynasty leagues, but even if he winds up subbing for Wentz at times this year, he'd be a low-end QB2 option at best.
Tennessee Titans running back Jeremy McNichols will open camp on the NFL's Physically Unable to Perform list for undisclosed reasons. While unlikely to be a serious issue that lingers into the regular season, the battle for the No. 2 running back role behind Derrick Henry is a interesting one at this point, with McNichols, Darrynton Evans, and Brian Hill all fighting for those snaps. Unfortunately for all of those players, there's not going to be a ton of snaps to go around behind Henry. A lack of preseason practice time could be all it takes for McNichols -- who had 47 carries for 204 yards plus 12 receptions in 2020 -- to fall behind the rest of the competitors for that role. He shouldn't be on any fantasy draft boards.
The Houston Texans have reportedly changed their stance on quarterback Deshaun Watson's trade request. Watson -- who reported to camp on Sunday -- requested a trade during the offseason, but the Texans were reluctant to engage in discussions for their star quarterback, who led the NFL in passing yards last year with 4,823, plus added a career-high 33 touchdowns. But Watson has spent the offseason embroiled in controversy, as he's been the subject of 22 lawsuits for sexual misconduct. The trade demand and the potential suspension for Watson make it unlikely he plays another game in a Texans uniform. Watch for a team like the Eagles to make an offer for Watson, but it might be 2022 before he's back in an NFL uniform.
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