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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster could be poised for a "huge year," according to former wideout and Good Morning Football co-host, Nate Burleson. Smith-Schuster battled a knee injury last season, which resulted in a loss of four games in addition to posting the worst numbers of his career. However, with the 23-year-old seemingly healthy, the former Trojan could be in line for a bounce-back season. He is projected to be selected somewhere in the second or third rounds in fantasy drafts for the 2020 season, but could easily surpass his ADP expectations if he performs as he did during his first two seasons in the league.
According to a Tweet by ESPN's Adam Schefter, Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku has demanded that the team trade him before training camp. The Browns responded by telling Njoku that they would like to keep him, but Njoku is "intent" on being moved to another team. Njoku's request is most likely a result of Cleveland signing tight end Austin Hooper to a large contract his offseason to be their starter. Drew Rosenhaus, Njoku's agent, stated that "it is in David's best interest to find a new team at this time." If Njoku is moved, his fantasy value would be mostly dependent on his new team. That would also represent a playing-time bump for rookie Harrison Bryant. Bryant was the Browns fourth-round draft pick in April's draft.
New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (foot) was sent to Injured Reserve last year with a Lisfranc injury a year after a turf toe injury limited him to 13 games. Between Davenport and Cameron Jordan, the Saints starting defensive ends had 19.5 sacks in the first 12 games. The Saints are being patient with their 2018 first-rounder heading into his third season. Davenport has been "busting his butt" this offseason in his rehab and is "putting the work in to come back in the best shape that he's ever been in," according to defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen. The young pass-rusher had six sacks last year and career highs in tackles (31), forced fumbles (three) and quarterback hits (16). While Davenport is a rising young defender, he's not quite in play as a starter in IDP leagues, and he must stay healthy moving forward. But the combination of him and Jordan on the Saints defensive line could be nasty in 2020.
Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee hopes to have a bigger role in 2020 despite the additions of Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb after the team traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. "Very hungry, very hungry," Coutee said. "Not a lot of talking, just ready to work. Results speak for themselves in 2020." Coutee had 11 catches for 109 yards in his rookie season in 2018, but injuries have held him to just 15 games in two seasons. He had 22 receptions for 254 yards and no touchdowns in nine games in 2019. Will Fuller V, Cooks and Cobb figure to be the starters, but Fuller and Cooks have injury concerns and Cobb turns 30 in August. But with Kenny Stills also in the fold, Coutee might be the odd man out in 2020.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II finished the 2019 campaign with 1,018 yards and 10 touchdowns and was also one of the league's most prolific threats inside the red zone. However, with Lamar Jackson back in the mix and likely to resume his dominance on the rushing end this season in addition to the team's selection of J.K. Dobbins in this year's NFL Draft, the 30-year-old could see some notable regression. While Ingram still has a chance to produce some adequate numbers on occasion in 2020, fantasy managers run the risk that he will fall short of surpassing his ADP expectations.
Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor is expected to finish the year with the most rushing yards among rookies, according to Pro Football Focus. Topping the list with 858 yards and ahead of both Cam Akers (829) and D'Andre Swift (727), the site predicts that the former Badger will end the 2020 campaign with 858 yards. With Taylor having the protection of one of the most efficient offensive lines in the league, he has a shot to be one of the best fantasy backs overall despite the potential timeshare with Marlon Mack. He is a definite first of second overall dynasty pick and a third or fourth-round selection in redraft formats heading into the regular season.
Detroit Lions running back D'Andre Swift is projected to finish third overall in rushing yards among rookies this season, according to Pro Football Focus. The site anticipates the former Bulldog to end the 2020 campaign with just over 727 yards on the ground, with Cam Akers (829) and Jonathan Taylor (858) outranking him on the list. Swift has a solid chance to end up as the team's workhorse throughout the year but will potentially concede carries to Kerryon Johnson, at least initially, while also being forced to play behind one of the league's worst offensive lines. He is surely worth a top draft pick in dynasty formats and is an adequate mid-round choice in redraft formats heading into the season.
Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers is projected to run for 829 yards this season, according to Pro Football Focus. That total ranks him second among rookies, finishing only behind Jonathan Taylor, who is predicted to surpass Akers by 29 yards to finish the 2020 campaign. The 52nd overall pick in this year's draft will battle Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson Jr. for a bigger piece of the potential backfield timeshare, with Akers expected to receive the most significant portion, especially toward the end of the regular season. While his anticipated yards total isn't encouraging, he is worth a first-round draft pick in dynasty leagues and a mid-round dart throw in redraft formats.
Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson said he does not expect the Eagles offensive line to "miss a beat" in the 2020 season. The Eagles were expecting to bring back four of their five starting linemen from last season, but right guard Brandon Brooks suffered a torn Achilles a few weeks ago and will miss the full season. Johnson said, "Obviously you can't replace a Brandon Brooks, who's the best guard in the league, so losing him was definitely a big blow for us but ultimately we still need him in the room as far as directing the young guys, pushing these guys forward." The Eagles offensive line has keeping Carson Wentz healthy as their most critical job in 2020. To keep their Super Bowl aspirations alive, the Eagles will need to keep Wentz on his feet. Pro Football Focus ranked the Eagles offensive line as the best in the league in 2019, and they should be somewhere among the top ranks again despite the loss of Brooks.
San Francisco 49ers defensive back D.J. Reed (pectoral) suffered a torn pectoral muscle during a recent offseason workout, according to a league source. It's unknown how much time Reed will miss with his injury, but he's likely to be questionable to start the season on time unless it's delayed due to COVID-19. Linebacker Kwon Alexander suffered the same injury on Oct. 31 last year and returned to practice two months later. Reed is a valuable backup for the Niners because of his versatility to play corner, nickel back and safety. He can also contribute on special teams as a returner, but he has no significance to fantasy owners in IDP leagues. Reed was a fifth-round pick by San Fran in 2018 out of Kansas State. He appeared in all 16 games last year and had 13 tackles and scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery.
Many quarterbacks around the league are enamored with the idea of throwing to free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown, and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is one of them. The two actually worked out together on Wednesday. According to a source, Brown would love to play for the Seahawks. If they make a move on him, though, it would likely take some time. It sounds like a team will sign Brown despite all of his off-the-field troubles, but they will likely wait to see how the NFL handles him. Brown is expected to receive a lengthy suspension of at least eight games, but even then, QBs would love a chance to throw to him in the second half of the season. Because Brown probably won't play anywhere close to a full season in 2020, he's unlikely to be much of a redraft target to begin the season.
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