Guest of the League
Afternoon Flex
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Divisional

Burrow shows Cincy some love, NFL teams drool over receivers

Tue Feb 25 3:53pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Courtland Sutton, Drew Lock, Noah Fant

Denver Broncos president of football operations and general manager John Elway speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Who wouldn't want to follow in the footsteps of John Elway and Eli Manning?

Joe Burrow, that's who.

The Heisman Trophy winner, national champion and consensus No. 1 pick in next month's draft said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine that he'd have no qualms playing in Cincinnati, which owns the top choice.

"Yeah, I'm not going to not play," the LSU star quarterback replied when asked if he would report to the Bengals should they select him No. 1 overall on April 23 in Las Vegas. "I'm a ballplayer. Whoever picks me, I'm going to go show up."

Burrow, who grew up in Athens, Ohio, and initially attended Ohio State, said he'd love to play professionally in his home state.

"Yeah, absolutely. It's 2 hours, 15 minutes from my house," Burrow said. "I could go home for dinner if I wanted to."

Burrow said on Dan Patrick's radio show last month that it was important for him to keep winning in the NFL and that while he wanted to be the first overall pick, "you also want to go to a great organization that is committed to winning. Committed to winning Super Bowls."

The Bengals haven't won a Super Bowl since entering the league in 1968.

Those comments sparked speculation that Burrow was skeptical about the Bengals.

“The only thing I’ve said is that I just didn’t want to be presumptuous about the pick,” Burrow said Tuesday. "That’s why I’ve been non-committal because I don’t know what’s going to happen. They might not pick me. They might fall in love with someone else. You guys kind of took that narrative and ran with it. There has never been anything like that from my end."

So, no reservations about playing for the Bengals.

"I'll play for whoever drafts me," Burrow said. "I'm just not going to be presumptuous about what they want to do. It's the draft. You guys have been covering it for a long time. You never know what's going to happen."

So, he's all in on Cincinnati should the Bengals call his name on draft night?

"Yeah, of course I want to be the first pick," he said. “That's every kid's dream. I've worked really, really hard for the opportunity and I'm blessed to be in this position. So I'm just really excited to be in this position.”

Elway was the top overall selection in the 1983 draft, the vanguard of the greatest quarterback class in NFL history, but he didn't want to play in Baltimore and the Colts traded him to Denver, where he won two Super Bowls as a player and another as an executive.

Something similar transpired in 2004 when Manning was selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers but was quickly traded to the New York Giants, where he twice beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.

Elway spent four years searching for Peyton Manning's replacement in Denver before landing Drew Lock, so this marks the first offseason since 2015 that he isn't spending a lot of time on the QB prospects such as Burrow.

Instead, he's looking at the deep class of wide receivers that punctuate this year's rookie class.

Elway already has a Pro Bowl receiver in Courtland Sutton and a rising star tight end in Noah Fant. But nowadays teams have to load up at wide receiver and this year brings a wealth of talented pass catchers to choose from.

"Oh, I think this is one of the best groups since Odell's group," Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault said in comparing this year's crop to the one in 2014 that featured first-rounders Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin.

In addition to Shenault, this year's group features Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, LSU's Justin Jefferson, Arizona State's Brandon Aiyuk and Clemson's Tee Higgins.

"I think we're talented across the board," Shenault said. "I think we check a lot of boxes. I think this class is going to do great things. It's definitely going to be a legendary class."

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

Interview with a Champ

Player Notes
Josh Allen Jan 16 5:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll has emerged as a favorite to land the Los Angeles Chargers head-coaching job, according to league sources. He is one of nine candidates to have interviewed for the job. If the Bills lose their Divisional Round game against the Ravens on Saturday night, Daboll can meet with the Chargers whenever he wants and accept the job if it's offered to him. If Buffalo wins, the Chargers must wait. He's an offensive-minded coach and has learned from some of the best coaches in the game while helping quarterback Josh Allen improve. Daboll also went to high school with Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, and the two played on the same high school football team.

From RotoBaller

Deshaun Watson Jan 16 3:50pm ET

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson wants out of Houston, according to an explosive Sports Illustrated story from Greg Bishop and Jenny Vrentas that highlights some of the issues Houston has faced over the past year. It sounds like the team's decision to give Jack Easterby an increasingly large voice in the direction of the franchise as well as the team ignoring Watson's preference for the team's GM position has led to issues. There's still a long time to go before we know what's going to happen with this situation.

From RotoBaller

Dak Prescott Jan 16 3:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) is reportedly progressing well in rehab, with Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network saying the team thinks Prescott is "going to come back better than ever." While he doesn't have a long term deal with the Cowboys and could be a free agent in 2021, it makes sense for both sides to get a deal done. Prescott is a top-five fantasy quarterback when healthy and has arguably the top three-man receiving corps in the NFL.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 16 3:20pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) is officially inactive for Saturday's playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. A huge loss for a team whose quarterback is already dealing with a thumb injury, we'll likely see Josh Reynolds step into Kupp's role. Reynolds now has some nice appeal as a DFS value play, but this is likely to be a very run-heavy game for the Rams, with Cam Akers being the real winner here.

From RotoBaller

Mark Andrews Jan 16 3:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will look to make a big impact on Saturday night when the Ravens face the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round. While Andrews has been on a downwards swing over the past few games, he gets a matchup against a Bills Defense that allows the eighth-most fantasy points per game to tight ends. If you're playing a Saturday-only DFS slate, Andrews is the top tight end play, while DFS managers playing in the Saturday/Sunday slate could find value by using Andrews over the more obvious choice, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

From RotoBaller

Mark Ingram Jan 16 3:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II will be a healthy scratch once again on Saturday when the Ravens face the Bills. No surprise here, as the Ravens seem intent on moving on from Ingram when the season ends and don't want a potential injury to complicate that. Barring a J.K. Dobbins injury, we won't see Ingram in a Ravens uniform again.

From RotoBaller

Lamar Jackson Jan 16 2:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is averaging 94.3 rushing yards per game over his past six appearances. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills allowed seven rushing touchdowns to quarterbacks this season, tied for the third-most in the NFL. Saturday's Divisional Round contest between the two teams is shaping up to be a strong opportunity for Jackson to post big numbers on the ground. Buffalo has been good at forcing turnovers, so Baltimore's best game plan might be to keep the ball on the ground as much as possible. Consider Jackson a top DFS play.

From RotoBaller

J.K. Dobbins Jan 16 2:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins saw his carries drop into single digits last week for the first time since Week 10, but the rookie rusher should be considered a top RB play in DFS contests for Saturday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo's run defense has proven to have some holes in it, as they allowed the 13th-most fantasy points to the position during the regular season. Gus Edwards could siphon off some work, but Dobbins is clearly the running back to play in this backfield this week because of his upside.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Jan 16 2:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown opened the postseason with seven catches for 109 yards against the Titans, his first 100-yard game since Week 1. And while expecting him to hit that mark again against Buffalo on Saturday might be a stretch, Brown has been playing strong football in the second half of the season. Since Week 12, he has six receiving touchdowns and should see six or more targets on Saturday. The Bills Defense has been better against the pass than against the run, but Brown should find himself well-positioned for success due to his role as Lamar Jackson's top receiver, with the threat of the run game helping to open up passing lanes.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Jan 16 2:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods made the best of an iffy passing situation last week, catching four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown in the Wild Card win over Seattle. But with quarterback Jared Goff (thumb) at less than 100 percent for Saturday's Divisional game against the Packers, it will hard to trust Woods in DFS due to the potential downside, as Goff really struggled to complete passes last week. He has touchdown upside, but isn't the safest choice in this Rams receiving corps.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 16 2:30pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) might be impacted by quarterback Jared Goff's thumb injury on Saturday in the Divisional Round game against the Packers, but his role as a short-yardage receiver should still give Kupp a solid fantasy floor. Of course, this is dependent on Kupp suiting up, as he's been dealing with a knee injury all week. If for some reason he's unable to go, Josh Reynolds would become an intriguing DFS punt play.

From RotoBaller

Jared Goff Jan 16 2:20pm ET

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (thumb) will start against the Packers on Saturday, but the injured passer is an easy choice when looking for a quarterback to avoid on this slate. Working in relief last week, Goff was just 9-for-19 against the Seahawks for 155 yards. Expect the Rams to focus heavily on the run game in this one, leaving their passing game to pick up the scraps.

From RotoBaller

Cam Akers Jan 16 2:20pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers should see plenty of work on Saturday against the Green Bay Packers, making him a strong DFS option. With quarterback Jared Goff (thumb) banged up, expect to see a heavy dose of the run game. Akers had 30 total touches last week, piling up 176 yards and a touchdown. Expect to see upwards of 20 touches again in the Divisional Round. The Packers are a bottom-half run defense in the NFL, so Akers will have plenty of chances to turn his opportunities into fantasy points.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Kerrigan Jan 15 9:43pm ET

Washington Football Team impending free-agent DE Ryan Kerrigan said there has not been any contract talks between him and Washington at this point.

From TheHuddle

Taysom Hill Jan 15 9:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (quadriceps) and quarterback Taysom Hill (knee) were both listed as questionable for the Divisional Round matchup against the Buccaneers on Sunday after getting in limited practices on Friday. The fact that they both practiced on Friday is good news for their chances of suiting up for the third meeting this year against the Bucs. If Murray, 31, cannot play, Alvin Kamara would have even more fantasy upside and would likely see more red-zone work against a stingy Buccaneers defensive front. Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery would help back up Kamara. Hill would likely only see a handful of snaps as a Swiss Army Knife on Sunday if he plays, making him avoidable in most fantasy lineups if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Baltimore Ravens Jan 15 9:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (back) and offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee) were both listed as questionable for the Divisional Round game against the Bills on Saturday night. Peters and Fluker were both limited in practice on Thursday, so they have a chance to be active against Buffalo. Peters also missed several games near the end of the regular season with a calf injury. We expect him to play through the pain in a very tough matchup with a Bills offense that can put up points with the best of them. Most DFS gamers will be avoiding Baltimore's stout defense this weekend, but they could surprise folks on Saturday night, especially if there is snow on the field.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Jan 15 9:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) has been ruled out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Sunday's Divisional Round matchup, the third between the two clubs this season. Robinson missed practice all week. New Orleans still has a solid defense overall on the edges of the secondary with Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore locking things down, but Robinson's absence will be felt at nickelback. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will be tasked with slowing down Tampa wideout Chris Godwin this weekend. The Saints Defense will still be a strong fantasy unit on Sunday, but only if they can get some pressure on future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. In two games against the Saints in the regular season, Godwin had nine catches (13 targets) for 120 yards.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Jan 15 8:50pm ET

The NFL rescinded Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon's conditional reinstatement on Friday and left him banned from the league indefinitely. Gordon was added to the team's active roster three weeks ago and was set to return to the field when he had a setback in his battle with substance abuse that broke the terms of his conditional reinstatement. He missed the entire 2020 campaign after being suspended in December of 2019. This year was the third time he's missed an entire season since entering the league in 2012. The 29-year-old has been suspended by the NFL six times and has 247 career catches while making the All-Pro team in 2013 with Cleveland. What a shame. Gordon has so much talent and is still on the right side of 30 years old, but he may never get another chance in the NFL due to his latest setback.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 15 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) is listed as questionable for the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. Kupp missed practice all week, so fantasy managers should certainly be way of quarterback Jared Goff's top target if he's active this weekend. Kupp's injury wasn't deemed serious last weekend when he left late in the wild-card win over the Seahawks, but it could very well limit him if he suits up against Green Bay. Wide receivers Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds and rookie Van Jefferson could see more targets if Kupp has his snaps limited, but all of LA's pass-catchers should be knocked down a peg with Goff fighting through a surgically repaired right thumb.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Jan 15 8:40pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as their new head coach on Friday, according to sources. Smith was the team's top choice all along, so they get their man. The 38-year-old was one of seven coaching candidates for Atlanta after the team fired Dan Quinn on Oct. 11. Smith is expected to pair with New Orleans Saints assistant general manager/vice president of player personnel, who is expect to be Atlanta's next GM. Smith spent the last 10 seasons with the Titans but stood out the last two years as the team's offensive coordinator, helping the Titans reach the playoffs the last two seasons. Tennessee was the only team in the NFL that ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game (153.5) and passer rating (107) since 2019. He'll try to help an Atlanta team that went 4-12 in 2020 and that hasn't made the playoffs the last three years. Smith should be a good fit if quarterback Matt Ryan and veteran receiver Julio Jones stick around.

From RotoBaller