Tue Apr 20 2:43pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Chase should be a hot item
The NFL draft is right around the corner, so we thought we would give you a quick look at the big needs for every team. Below is a team by team look at the positions these teams could target come draft day. It should be an interesting draft with surprises, trades, reaches - you name it. Enjoy the draft!
Bears: The Bears have all sorts of needs offensively. Andy Dalton is going to start this year but he is not the long-term answer at the position. The Bears still need to find their franchise quarterback, so expect this to be addressed during the draft. The team also has some offensive line concerns, making this a position the team takes a strong look at early in the draft. And it wouldn’t hurt to add a few more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, mainly at the receiver position.
Bengals: Cincinnati has two big needs come draft day. They need to find more weapons for Joe Burrow in the passing game and better pass protectors along the offensive line to keep him upright. Both these spots should be addressed early and often for the team.
Bills: The Bills are coming off a great season, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They don’t have a lot of needs offensively, but might consider adding another receiver. Emmanuel Sanders is not the long-term answer as the starter opposite Stefon Diggs. The biggest need for the Bills might come at cornerback, looking to add quality depth at the position and find that top starter to put alongside Tre’Davious White.
Broncos: Denver used a high pick on Drew Lock a few years back, but is he the answer at the position? We should find out come draft day. If they don’t think he is their guy, look for the team to take another quarterback early come draft day. Other news for the Broncos include linebacker and cornerback. Denver is not too young at linebacker with Von Miller leading the way for that unit. And the cornerback spot struggled to make plays last year, so improving that position makes sense for the Broncos.
Browns: The Browns might try to get younger at receiver, especially with the position being so deep this year in the draft. It makes sense for the team to take a look at the position with both Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry being the clear top two options in the passing game. The team could also look to shore up the defensive tackle position. The ends are great but getting a top run stuffer in the middle could bolster that line even more.
Bucs: The defending Super Bowl champs get the luxury of just drafting maybe the best available when they are up to pick. The team doesn’t have a lot of glaring needs. Tampa might want to get a little younger along the defensive line, especially with their edge rushers and tackles. Tampa also might want to get another receiver with Antonio Brown likely gone.
Cardinals: Arizona’s defense could use some upgrades. The Cardinals could really use some help at cornerback, trying to find that lockdown corner for years to come. This should be the top need for the team. The Cardinals also might want to look at adding some new offensive lineman to help keep Kyler Murray on his feet.
Chargers: Like many teams in this draft, getting some help along the offensive line should be a priority for the Chargers to keep their young, star quarterback healthy and on the field. Look for the Chargers to address that position very early in the draft, especially the tackle position. Los Angeles might want to think about getting younger at tight end and receiver, getting Justin Herbert some more weapons to work with offensively.
Chiefs: Kansas City came up short in the Super Bowl, mainly because Patrick Mahomes was running for his life most of the game. The offensive line needs to get younger and better, so expect the Chiefs to make that a priority in this draft. The Chiefs also might look at adding another receiver after letting Sammy Watkins walk this offseason.
Colts: The Colts have one of the better offensive lines in football but it isn’t a young unit. Finding some younger players for the line makes sense for the team. And getting another top receiver for Carson Wentz makes sense, especially with T.Y. Hilton not getting any younger. These are two positions that should be addressed in the draft for the Colts.
Cowboys: Dallas had more issues on the defensive side of the ball than on offense, especially the cornerback spot. The Cowboys could use a top corner to put in the lineup. Dallas has lacked some consistency at the position in recent years. The defensive line could get younger and better as well, getting some new players at tackle and along the edge. So look for the Cowboys to go heavy on defense in this draft.
Dolphins: The Dolphins have a slew of draft picks to use and are likely to load up on the skill positions offensively to get Tua Tagovailoa some help. The receiver and running back spot are likely to be targeted early for Miami. It makes sense to get more playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, making that the priority of the team this draft.
Eagles: The Eagles are in desperate need of some help at receiver. This should be the top priority of the team early in this year’s draft. Jalen Hurts needs some playmakers. The Eagles also could use some help in the secondary - both at safety and cornerback. So don’t be surprised if those positions are addressed early.
Falcons: Matt Ryan isn’t getting any younger so finding the quarterback of the future seems likely for Atlanta. The Falcons could act early on a quarterback. Atlanta could also look at the running back spot, which is a glaring need for the team right now. The Falcons could try to find that franchise back.
Giants: The Giants could use some more playmakers for Daniel Jones on the offensive side of the ball. Getting Kenny Golladay was a plus but adding another receiver or tight end seems the right move for the team. This is an offense-first league now and the Giants lack some top options on that side of the ball. New York also could add some better offensive lineman to help Jones stay on his feet.
Jaguars: The Jaguars have the first pick, so getting their franchise quarterback (Trevor Lawrence) is going to happen. This fills a huge need for the team. With that said, the Jaguars need playmakers for Lawrence to succeed. Getting new blood at receiver, tight end and running back makes sense. Look for the Jaguars to add plenty of new depth on the offensive side of the ball.
Jets: New York got rid of Sam Darnold, so getting a new quarterback is the biggest need of the team. They will get their guy with their first pick in the draft. After that, the Jets still need a franchise back and a true No. 1 receiver. These positions should be addressed early in the draft for the Jets. The Jets need to get that offense going, so look for the team to add playmakers offensively.
Lions: The Lions did not retain Kenny Golladay this offseason, so the team is in big-time need of new receivers. It would not surprise to see the Lions use a first-round pick on receiver to shore up that spot. Detroit could also use some help along the offensive line, finding Jared Goff some top blockers to give him time to throw the ball.
Packers: It seems like we say this every season, but finding a top option at receiver opposite Davante Adams would make sense for Green Bay. If they have two top options at receiver, the offense could be that much better. The Packers offensive line also is getting older, so that is a another position that could use some help through the draft.
Panthers: The Panthers signed A.J. Bouye this offseason but could use some help in the secondary. The cornerback position is one the team could target early in this draft. The offensive line is another spot of need for Carolina. Getting a top tackle would make sense, finding Sam Darnold a solid protecter for his blind spot.
Patriots: The big needs for the Patriots come on the offensive side of the ball. New England needs to find their franchise quarterback. We aren’t sure when that will happen in this draft, but the Patriots are going to take a quarterback. And the receiver spot remains a big issue for the team. New England does not have a legit No. 1 receiver on the team.
Raiders: The Raiders have huge needs along the offensive line. The team lost several of their top starters from last year, so this position should get plenty of new players throughout this draft. Derek Carr is going to need some new talent along the line if he hopes to build on last year. Las Vegas also could use some upgrades at linebacker, so that is another position that likely gets a look early in the draft.
Rams: The Rams have some talented offensive tackles, but both players are getting old. The Rams should get some new offensive tackles in this draft, looking towards the future. And the Rams lost Gerald Everett this offseason, so finding another tight end to pair with Tyler Higbee would make sense. These seem the biggest needs for the Rams.
Ravens: Baltimore signed Sammy Watkins but that doesn’t really solve their need for an elite receiver for Lamar Jackson. It would make sense for the Ravens to act early on one of the talented receivers in this year’s draft. The Ravens also could use some help on defense, looking to get a talented edge rusher and maybe a new safety.
Saints: Michael Thomas had a season to forget and Emmanuel Sanders left via free agency, making the receiver position one the Saints could look to target early in the draft. The team could use some more playmakers for whoever plays quarterback for the team this year. The tight end spot also is a big concern after losing Jared Cook. New Orleans also could use some help at cornerback, lacking some top playmakers at that position.
Seahawks: Russell Wilson has been running for his life the last few years, so shoring up that offensive line makes a lot of sense for Seattle in this draft. Seattle also has lost some edge rushers in recent years so getting a playmaker on the outside defensively is likely to happen.
Steelers: Pittsburgh let James Conner leave, making the running back spot a bit of a mess right now for the team. The Steelers should use an early round pick on a running back, trying to find their franchise back. Pittsburgh also could use some new blood on the offensive line to help open holes for that new running back. The Steelers also need some new talent at cornerback with Joe Haden not getting any younger.
Texans: The Texans have all sorts of voids to fill on both sides of the ball. The team could use some new cornerbacks and edge rushers defensively. And the offense needs some help at receiver and tight end. The team could go any numbers of ways early in the draft, looking to fill a lot of needs of players that left or were traded. Plus, you have the whole Deshaun Watson situation, which is a mess and you aren’t sure how it is going to play out. Maybe something will happen come draft day.
Titans: A.J. Brown is the Titans top receiver but things fall off in a hurry at the position for the Titans after him. Getting a top receiver to pair with Brown should be a priority for the Titans. Tennessee could also look at the tight end position after losing Jonnu Smith. It makes a lot of sense for the Titans to surround Ryan Tannehill with some more talent after how well he has played in recent seasons with his new team.
Vikings: The Vikings don’t have a lot of needs offensively, so look for the team to address the defense early in the draft. The team could try to get younger at cornerback and safety. Two positions that are very important in the pass-first NFL. Minnesota also could look to add an edge rusher to pair with Danielle Hunter.
Washington: Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the starter for Washington this year, but that doesn’t solve their longterm need at the position. Washington might look at the quarterback spot once again in the draft, looking for that franchise quarterback. Washington also is likely to address the offensive line in the draft, looking at the tackle spot.
49ers: The 49ers traded up in the draft with the belief they will be addressing the quarterback spot, landing that franchise player for years to come. San Francisco also should look at getting a new elite cornerback. That position is getting older for the team, so getting some new talent at that spot makes sense.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
The New York Giants placed linebacker Todd Davis on the reserve/retired list Tuesday. The 29-year-old called it a career on Tuesday. "I had to work hard to get to a certain point in my career, and it felt like people were asking me to start all over," said Davis. "It's time for me to move on to other ventures." Davis led the Broncos in tackles 2016, 2018-2019, and was part of the Super Bowl 50 championship team. Davis racked up 505 tackles, three sacks, one interception, and two fumble recoveries across 96 games in his NFL career.
New York Giants linebacker Blake Martinez was activated from the reserve/COVID list Tuesday. He was cleared to rejoin his teammates after spending a about a week on the COVID list. Martinez led the Giants with 151 tackles last season to go along with 3.0 sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles across 16 games in 2021. The 27-year-old is the Giants' top inside linebacker and will have a vital role in the Giants defense this year. Martinez is expected to be all systems go by Week 1, and fantasy managers in IDP league formats can draft him as a top-10 linebacker in upcoming drafts in 2021.
New York wide receiver Kadarius Toney is practicing for the first time at training camp on Tuesday. He was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list last week and had been cleared to take the field. The Giants reportedly will "take it slow" to integrate Toney into practices. Toney was catching passes, running drills, and fielding punts on Tuesday. The 20th of the NFL Draft pick will try to carve out a role in the Giants passing attack and is currently fourth on the wide receiver depth chart behind Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton. Toney has WR5 upside and is worth a late-round flier in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Free-agent wide receiver Josh Doctson will work out for the New York Giants this week. The former first-round pick last played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings in 2019, appearing in one game without recording a catch. Doctson opted out of the 2020 season and was released by the New York Jets in May. The Giants are deep at wide receiver, and even if Doctson makes the roster, the 28-year-old is not on the fantasy radar in 2021.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts had an impressive day Tuesday during the team's first padded practice. Pitts made an incredible leaping catch for a score at practice, showing off both his ability to make contested catches as well as his concentration. Contested catches are nothing new for the 20-year-old, as he led all 2021 rookies with 24 such receptions over his last two college seasons. Having lined up on the line, out wide, and in the slot so far in camp, Pitts seems headed for a healthy share of targets in 2021, considering the lack of proven options behind Calvin Ridley. He won't come cheap at a 49 ADP, but the talent and opportunity in front of him could make him one of the more productive tight ends in fantasy football.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley told reporters that his foot is "totally, definitely fixed" at training camp Tuesday. Ridley played through the injury last season, asserting his status as one of the league's best wideouts with a 90-catch, 1,374-yard, nine-touchdown season. The Falcons are understandably working him into camp slowly, as he is now the unquestioned number-one target in the offense with Julio Jones in Tennessee. Now fully healthy, Ridley could command a target share as high as any pass-catcher in the NFL this season, making him an excellent choice as a WR1 for fantasy teams at his current 23 ADP, particularly in PPR formats.
Washington Football Team DT Matt Ioannidis and CB Chris Miller were activated from the Reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan's connection with quarterback Aaron Rodgers in practice on Tuesday was described as "unstoppable" by those in attendance. Tonyan enjoyed a breakout campaign last season, catching 52 passes for 586 yards while tying for league lead among tight ends in touchdowns with 11. It may only be a week into camp but Tonyan's connection with Rodgers appears to be in midseason form. Tonyan may be hard-pressed to repeat his touchdown totals from last season but should be a high-end fantasy choice among tight ends based on the targets he should see in the offense.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is back with his old team and already is making plays in camp. The veteran receiver has made plays over the middle consistently during practice and was seen wide open down the field but failed to connect with backup quarterback Jordan Love. Cobb's numbers dipped in almost every category last season, catching only 38 passes for 441 yards and three touchdowns while also battling injuries. Cobb may not be the player he once was but could be rejuvenated in Green Bay catching passes from future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers would reportedly like to sign linebacker T.J. Watt to a contract extension before the start of the regular season. Watt, who has 29.5 sacks over the past two seasons, has one year remaining on his rookie deal. Team president Art Rooney II told reporters on Tuesday that he thinks the team will be able to get a deal done with Watt before the regular-season opener. Rooney stated, "Yeah, we'd like to get T.J.'s deal done before the start of the season. That's the goal. I don't like to get into those details in terms of the discussions, but we're going to try to get it done by the start of the season." Watt will play for $10.089 million in 2021 with the possibility to enter free agency following the season, although it appears unlikely that the Steelers will allow their star pass rusher to leave.
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin revealed on Tuesday that Mason Rudolph will be the team's starting quarterback in the Hall of Fame Game against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. It sounds as though Dwayne Haskins will finish the first half with Joshua Dobbs finishing the game. Not surprisingly, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will not take the field in the team's first preseason game. Rudolph is still the team's No. 2 quarterback while Haskins and Dobbs are in a position battle for the No. 3 job. That being said, Haskins has reportedly been impressing during camp and could overtake Rudolph if he can play well in Pittsburgh's preseason contests.
Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence (back) passed his physical and was removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera was asked if he was concerned with Curtis Samuel's absence from the start of training camp, but Rivera made it known that he is confident Samuel can come in and be comfortable in the offense right away. Samuel is familiar with Rivera and offensive coordinator Scott Turner, as he played in that offense during his time with the Carolina Panthers. Samuel was held out of OTAs with a groin injury which also kept him off the field for the beginning of camp. Samuel was then added to the COVID-19 reserve list, further delaying his arrival at camp. He will need some time to get on the same page with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, but he should have plenty of time to build a rapport prior to week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Samuel should have the biggest role of his career in 2021, making him a WR3 in fantasy with upside for more.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera wanted friendly competition for the starting quarterback spot during training camp, as veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke battled for the starting nod. It seemed it was Fitzpatrick's job to lose, and that continues to be the case as we head into the second week of camp. During the full pad session on Tuesday, Fitzpatrick connected multiple times with tight end Logan Thomas in the end zone and got running back J.D. McKissic involved in the passing game as well. Fitzpatrick is surrounded by a formidable group of skill position players and has been put in a position to succeed under Scott Turner's offensive system. He is a QB2 in fantasy with weekly streaming appeal.
Washington Football Team running back Lamar Miller is having an impressive training camp as he battles for a roster spot. Zach Selby reports that Miller has been taking off for some nice runs and making plays during his practice reps. Miller will need to continue to impress if he wants to crack the Washington roster, as they will likely only have three running backs when the season starts. Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic are locked into the RB1 and RB2 roles, so Miller is battling with Peyton Barber, Jaret Patterson, and Jonathan Williams for the final spot on the depth chart. Even if Miller makes the final roster he won't possess any fantasy value unless Gibson or McKissic miss any time.
Washington Football Team tight end Temarrick Hemingway, who is battling for a roster spot, has built a connection with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick according to team reporter Zach Selby. The 28-year-old has spent time with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams before he joined Washington in 2020. He has seen just two targets in his career, turning it into one catch for 10 yards. Washington is likely only rostering two tight ends, with Logan Thomas having the top spot on the depth chart locked up. Hemingway will battle with Ricky Seals-Jones, Sammis Reyes, and rookie John Bates for the backup role. Whoever wins the backup role in Washington will not have any fantasy value unless Logan Thomas misses some time.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (thumb) sustained an injury during Tuesday's practice when his thumb struck a teammate's helmet. X-Rays came back negative, which thankfully pointed to nothing more serious. However, he is still expected to miss a few days of practice at a minimum according to a source. As long as this injury remains minor and doesn't linger, he'll have fully recovered by the time the season rolls around.
Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (undisclosed) has been nursing a minor undisclosed injury recently, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury told reporters Tuesday, Aug. 3, that he expects Kirk back 'soon.'
Chicago Bears RB Tarik Cohen (knee) is 'weeks away' from being activated off the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to comments made by head coach Matt Nagy on Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Fantasy Spin: It appears as though Cohen is not a lock for the regular-season opener, which should give David Montgomery and Damien Williams a slight bump early in the season. The absence of a more definite timeline is troubling, but he should return to his usual satellite role when he is ready. Until then, fantasy managers can feel confident about locking Montgomery in as a high-end RB2.
Updating an earlier report, Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (foot, ankle) was looked at by the trainers Monday, Aug. 2, for a foot or ankle injury. He was held out of practice Tuesday, Aug. 3, due to the lingering injury.
Fantasy Spin: Watson is a risky low-end QB1 in fantasy while this cloud off the field hovers.