Read ESPN’s fantasy football daily notes every weekday to stay caught up on the news you need to know and get a head start on the fantasy football content coming today and tomorrow to ESPN.com and the ESPN Fantasy App.
The news: Josh Jacobs played in the Hall-of-Fame Game on Thursday while the Raiders sat several key starters, including Derek Carr, Davante Adams, and Darren Waller.
What it means in fantasy: Fantasy managers were stunned to see Jacobs on the field. Earlier this offseason, Las Vegas declined Jacobs’ fifth year option. Now, they are treating him like a player who needs to win his job. The Raiders’ backfield is shaping up to be a frustrating one.
Going deeper: Based on live draft trends, I’d rather take Michael Pittman Jr., Terry McLaurin, Diontae Johnson and Breece Hall, all of whom have similar ADPs to Jacobs. Managers who want exposure to the Raiders backfield may be better off drafting Kenyan Drake or Zamir White much later.
The news: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Diontae Johnson signed a two-year extension with the Steelers worth up to $39.5 million and includes $27 million guaranteed.
What it means in fantasy: Johnson’s contract is commensurate with the key role he’ll play in the Steelers’ passing game. According to our projections, he will receive 141 targets, and targets are targets regardless of the quarterback situation. Johnson is currently the WR17 according to our live draft trends, which is an excellent value for last year’s WR7 in PPR formats.
The news: Isaiah McKenzie continues to impress at Bills training camp and operate as the first-team slot receiver
What it means in fantasy: McKenzie could be an important component of a Bills offense that ranked fifth last season with 389.3 total yards per game. He signed a two-year contract this offseason worth up to $8 million. McKenzie is someone to keep on your radar in deeper fantasy formats.
Going deeper: McKenzie could be more involved in the Bills offense than you think. Over the past two seasons, Buffalo has run 1,534 plays with exactly three wide receivers — fifth most in the league. (Throw in four-receiver sets and the Bills have run more than 100 plays of this nature than any other team in the league.) Additionally, Allen has targeted his slot receiver 389 times in the last two seasons. Only Patrick Mahomes (408) has done it more frequently.
The news: According to Bills coach Sean McDermott, James Cook is the favorite to land the third-down back position.
What it means in fantasy: Cook’s pass protection is still being worked on, but McDermott is confident the dots will connect before the regular season begins. Last season, the Bills ranked seventh in pass attempts per game (37.7). Based on our projections, this trend should continue in 2022. Running backs for the Bills could account for 100+ targets this season. In PPR formats, Cook is a flex option as he’s a better route runner and pass catcher than Devin Singletary.
The news: Matthew Stafford will not participate in team drills next week due to elbow tendinitis.
What it means in fantasy: Stafford received an “anti-inflammatory injection” in his throwing arm this spring. While Stafford knows the Rams’ offensive scheme, it’s not ideal that he’s missing time. He’s currently the QB12 in our live draft trends. Managers who are injury-risk averse might consider drafting Derek Carr or Trey Lance, who have a similar ADP to Stafford.
The news: AJ Brown has been the focal point of the Eagles offense so far during training camp practices.
What it means in fantasy: I know some people are asking ‘why should I care?’, but you should. After trading for Brown during this year’s NFL Draft, the Eagles signed him to a four-year, $100 million contract. They need him to be that focal point, which could translate to a career high in goals in 2022, after averaging only 6.8 goals and 15 fantasy points per game so far. Last season, only the Titans (32.1) had more rushing attempts per game than the Eagles (31.5). With Brown and Devonta Smith as the Eagles’ top two receivers, this trend is unlikely to continue. Brown is currently the WR13 in our live draft trends, but has the potential to finish in the top five. /p>
The news: Chris Godwin returned to practice Friday.
What it means in fantasy: The news is huge for Godwin, who suffered an ACL injury late in the 2021 season. The fact that he wasn’t placed on the PUP list was already encouraging. Godwin did wear a brace on his right knee. His return, and Julio Jones’ signing, reduces Russell Gage’s fantasy ceiling. Godwin’s the WR23 in our live draft trends, but that’s been climbing over the past seven days. /p>
Today on ESPN.com and in the ESPN Fantasy App
Fantasy football mock draft: 12-team NPPR
Fantasy Focus podcast, 11 AM ET: Double Trouble with the New England Patriots and the New York Jets
Eric Karabell’s annual Do Not Draft list highlights the big-name players you should let others take.
In case you missed it:
Mike Clay reveals the players he projects will score more and fewer touchdowns in 2022 based on his proprietary xTD metric.
• Fantasy Focus Podcast: Double Trouble with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins