Tue Feb 25 3:53pm ET
By ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Pro Football Writer
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."
Interview with a Champ
The Detroit Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford will reportedly part ways this offseason, with Detroit exploring trade options for the former No. 1 overall pick. The Lions will likely look to take a rookie quarterback early in April's draft, something that will likely limit the overall effectiveness of their passing attack. As for Stafford, teams like the 49ers and Colts could be interesting landing spots that would see Stafford's fantasy arrow trending up.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday, and he's now on track to become the first player in NFL history to play for two different teams in the same postseason. Williams started the playoffs with the Ravens before signing with the Packers. More importantly, Williams' elevation to the active roster could be a sign that cornerback Kevin King (back), who is questionable for the NFC Championship game against the Buccaneers, won't be available on Sunday. King landed on the injury report on Friday and didn't practice, so he could be on the wrong side of questionable. Losing King would be a downgrade for Green Bay's defense against a Tampa offense that has plenty of aerial weapons, even with Antonio Brown (knee) not playing.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Kenny Stills has been promoted from the practice squad to the active roster for the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Bills signed Stills to their practice squad after he was cut by the Houston Texans late in November, and he was initially brought on for wide receiver depth when Cole Beasley injured his knee in Week 16. The 28-year-old has not played in a game since Week 11 with Houston, but he could have a small role if rookie Gabriel Davis (ankle), who is questionable for Sunday, is unable to play. Stills' elevation from the practice squad could be a sign that Buffalo doesn't expect Davis to play. Isaiah McKenzie could also have a slightly larger role behind Stefon Diggs, John Brown and Cole Beasley if Davis is inactive.
Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland (concussion) has cleared the league's concussion protocol and has no game status for Sunday. He will play in the AFC Championship against the Buffalo Bills. It's good news for a Chiefs secondary that will be trying to slow down All-Pro wide receiver Stefon Diggs and breakout quarterback Josh Allen as they try to secure back-to-back trips to the Super Bowl. The 29-year-old Breeland was hit with a four-game suspension during the regular season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, but he still managed to record 38 combined tackles, two interceptions, nine passes defensed, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 11 games in 2020. KC's defense allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this year, so they'll need Breeland in order to contain Buffalo's passing game.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's playoff matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was able to get in some limited work late this week, but it sounds like the team is still unsure if he'll suit up. His absence could mean more targets for Stefon Diggs, Cole Beasley (knee), and possibly Isaiah McKenzie gets more involved. DFS players might want to stay away from Davis even if he does suit up for this game. It doesn't sound like he'll be 100 percent healthy, so it's unlikely he puts up productive numbers.
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has shown some signs of life in the second half of the season. However, the Bills still don't have a significant role for him in the offense. Last week, Knox hauled in two receptions for 18 yards in the win over the Baltimore Ravens. He has been playing better lately, but is still the fourth or fifth option in this offense. It's unlikely that he gets enough targets to make a significant impact versus the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown surprisingly had a solid game against the Baltimore Ravens last week. He hauled in eight receptions for 62 yards in the win. Brown has battled injuries all season long, but plays well when he's actually on the field. The Kansas City Chiefs are likely going to do everything in their power to slow down Stefon Diggs. That means, Brown could be against some below average defenders, which could mean he has a solid game. DFS players should highly consider using Brown for this matchup since he has plenty of upside.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley (knee) was removed from the injury report ahead of Sunday's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. This is great news considering Beasley has been dealing with lingering knee issues for a few weeks. It's unclear if Beasley will be limited at all for this matchup. He finished with a goose egg last week versus the Baltimore Ravens. Beasley does have plenty of upside, but might be too risky for DFS players this weekend.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary remains the workhorse lead back for this offense while Zack Moss (shoulder) is sidelined. However, Singletary didn't see many carries during the victory over the Baltimore Ravens last week. He rushed seven times for 25 yards and hauled in three receptions for 12 yards through the air. It's unlikely that his production increases by much against the Kansas City Chiefs. Maybe there's some low-end appeal here, but it's tough to imagine Singletary finding much room to run on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs continues to put up video game numbers and it seems like no defense has an answer for him. Last week, Diggs hauled in eight receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown in the win over the Baltimore Ravens. Honestly, it seems like Diggs goes over 100 receiving yards in just about every game. He'll continue to see plenty of targets versus the Kansas City Chiefs this weekend. He should be considered a must-have DFS option.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is one win away from a ticket to the Super Bowl. Last week, he threw for 206 yards with one passing touchdown in the win over the Baltimore Ravens. Allen is a dual threat quarterback that has been lighting up opposing defenses all season long. The Kansas City Chiefs are not exactly a bad defense, but Allen hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He'll remain a top tier DFS option for the playoff games this weekend.
Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King (back) is listed as questionable for the NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Defensive lineman Kingsley Keke (concussion) was ruled out. King popped up on the injury report on Friday and did not practice. Mid-week additions to the injury report are usually never a good sign, especially this late in the week. Jaire Alexander will likely be matched up against Mike Evans on one side of the field this weekend, but a King absence could benefit Scotty Miller or rookie Tyler Johnson the most in Tampa's passing attack with veteran Antonio Brown (knee) already ruled out. Chris Godwin could also have a big game for the Bucs out of the slot.
Los Angeles Rams impending free-agent LB Leonard Floyd is a player head coach Sean McVay hopes to re-sign this offseason.
Las Vegas Raiders impending free-agent WR Nelson Agholor may be too expensive for the Raiders to re-sign this offseason, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez.
Fantasy Spin: Agholor is coming off a career season and probably will receive interest from multiple teams. He should have fantasy value no matter where he signs but probably will not be a weekly starting option in fantasy leagues.
Baltimore Ravens impending free-agent LB Matt Judon has been looking for $20 million per season in a new contract, according to a source.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense prepares to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Tampa Bay had a strong showing against the Saints last week, creating four takeaways, though they didn't register a sack. They will need to put more pressure on Rodgers than they did Brees, or they'll have a long day. If the Buccaneers follow their Week 6 formula- they sacked Rodgers four times and intercepted him twice- they'll be in a great position to win, as well as delivering for fantasy managers who turn to them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate is playing well heading into a playoff matchup with Green Bay. Brate has at least 50 receiving yards in each of his last two games and has seen 11 targets in that span. However, he's been out-snapped by Rob Gronkowski in both playoff wins, which makes it hard to trust him fully. Both tight ends could have good games, with Gronkowski being more of a touchdown favorite- and Brate more of a between-the-20s guy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski takes on the Packers in the NFC Championship game on Sunday. Gronkowski has been out-produced by his teammate Cameron Brate lately, but the former has been on the field far more than the latter. The former Patriot also saw the same amount of targets as Brate last week and even had a touchdown catch fall just out of his reach. Both players could have good games, but Gronkowski is due for a strong performance- and he's no stranger to big games. Bet on Gronkowski seeing more looks with Antonio Brown (knee) sidelined against Green Bay, a team who allowed a 5-78-1 line to the big tight end in Week 6.
Green Bay Packers RB Jamaal Williams (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Jan. 22, but is not on the injury report for the NFC Championship game.
Fantasy Spin: Williams should see a decent amount of carries in the championship game but will be facing one of the better run defenses in the NFL. He can be a possible flex option in some leagues but can be benched if better options are available.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (quad) was limited in practice all week but was removed from the injury report for the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin's availability takes on a little bit more importance with Antonio Brown getting ruled out Friday. While Tampa Bay has plenty of depth at receiver, Godwin will likely be asked to do a bit more now. Although his expected matchup in the slot with Chandon Sullivan is not an easy one, Godwin could end up being a great contrarian play in DFS if the market is off of him after a bit of a disappointing effort last week when his 4-34-0 dud - which included a drop in the end zone - ended a four-game scoring streak.