The NFL offseason is underway with teams going through OTA workouts. That has given us a chance to see players on new teams and what some coaches plan to do this season. And we can start to examine some crucial position battles.
It's fun for the football diehards and informative for you to start preparing for your upcoming Fantasy drafts later this summer. With that in mind, here are some news items or stories I found interesting for all the AFC teams.
You can see the separate story for the. Hopefully, this helps you get an idea of what to watch for in training camp -- and certain players to target for your Fantasy rosters.
Ravens: Jackson to throw more, run less?
Lamar Jackson spoke at length about what to expect in Todd Monken's new Ravens offense, and the biggest takeaway was he will throw more and run less. When asked if Monken will call for fewer quarterback runs, Jackson said with a smile "absolutely," and he talked about his new receivers in Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers joining Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman.
"Just being able to throw the ball down the field," Jackson said. "Running can only take you so far. I feel like, with this new era of teams and offenses in the league, I feel like we need that. Coach Todd Monken, what I'm seeing in this offense so far is tremendous."
Now, Fantasy managers might panic about Jackson rushing less. Since 2019, Jackson has averaged 10.7 rush attempts per game and has two 1,000-yard seasons. I doubt he's going to stop rushing, and hopefully the uptick in passing keeps him healthy after two injury-plagued seasons in 2021 and 2022.
I'm still drafting Jackson as a top-five Fantasy quarterback. He should be selected by Round 4 in one-quarterback leagues and Round 1 in Superflex and two-quarterback formats.
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Bills: Kincaid's role "to be determined" in camp
The Bills traded up in the first round of the NFL Draft to select rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid from Utah at No. 25 overall. While the expectation is Buffalo will use Kincaid as a big slot receiver, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey said Kincaid's role is "to be determined" until they start getting into training camp and live game action, according to The Athletic.
"We're nowhere close to knowing what the big picture is going to be because we have to learn him and he has to learn us," Dorsey said.
Despite the uncertainty of his role, Kincaid remains worth drafting in all redraft leagues with a late-round pick as a low-end starting option. In rookie-only drafts for dynasty leagues, Kincaid is worth a first-round pick. He will likely be a big part of Buffalo's passing game along with Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox, and that's a good thing since Kincaid is associated with Josh Allen.
At Utah, Kincaid finished 2022 with 70 catches, 890 yards and eight touchdowns, and he could be a standout playmaker in the NFL. While he might struggle as a rookie tight end given the history of the position, he still has the potential to succeed in a big way.
Bengals: Boyd remains committed to Cincinnati
The Bengals have a lot of contract extensions to deal with in the near future, including Joe Burrow and Tee Higgins. Tyler Boyd, who is a free agent after the 2023 season, hopes to remain in Cincinnati as well.
"I know I'm going to be a free agent next year, and at the end of the day, it will come down to money," Boyd said in The Athletic. "I have a great, strong feeling that they will come with an offer to where it's still going to be tough for me to leave 'cause this is my family. I spent my whole career here.
"Whether statistically or numbers-wise for me or anybody else, I don't worry about all that. I know what type of caliber player I am. I know I do well in this offense. I just want to win, and that's the biggest evolution of coming here and starting here and being where I am. We are a winning franchise now, and we are going to continue to win."
Boyd is clearly the No. 3 receiver for the Bengals behind Ja'Marr Chase and Higgins, but Boyd can still make an impact for Fantasy managers. While he only averaged 10.4 PPR points per game in 2022, which was his lowest output since 2017, he still managed six games with at least 12 PPR points.
We'll see if new tight end Irv Smith impacts Boyd's production in a negative way, but I still like drafting Boyd with a late-round pick in all leagues. He can be a serviceable No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues, and if Chase or Higgins miss any time due to injury, Boyd can be a potential starter in all formats.
Browns: Watson "right where he needs to be"
During the first round of OTAs for the Browns, Deshaun Watson was struggling to connect with his receivers, especially down the field, according to The Athletic. But that's not something to worry about -- for now.
Amari Cooper (abdomen) and David Njoku weren't at practice, and Watson is still getting used to new receiver Elijah Moore. The Browns defense, under new coordinator Jim Schwartz, is also going to be aggressive. But coach Kevin Stefanski is pleased with Watson this offseason, especially compared to last year when he had a pending 11-game suspension heading into the season.
"I don't think it's fair to compare (to last year)," Stefanski said. "I would just tell you Deshaun has done a really nice job throughout this entire offseason of being diligent about understanding the playbook, understanding his teammates every single day. ... There are always going to be things that you want to get back and do a little bit differently. That's no different than every player at every position, but he's right where he needs to be."
Watson, despite averaging just 16.5 Fantasy points per game in 2022, remains a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback coming into the season. He's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in one-quarterback leagues and Round 2 in Superflex and two-quarterback formats.
Broncos: Williams takes part in practice
Running back Javonte Williams (knee) might be able to return to full speed sooner than expected. He was able to take part in drills during OTAs while wearing a brace on his knee.
"He's working in a limited capacity," Sean Payton said. "We are being smart. Obviously -- and I said this to you before -- we were encouraged heading into this time of the season. It's good to have him out here."
We'll see how much work Williams gets in training camp, but this is a great start to his offseason. When he tore multiple ligaments in his knee in Week 4 last season, there was speculation if Williams could return for Week 1 this year. It appears like Williams is ahead of schedule.
I'm still taking a cautious approach with Williams, who should be viewed as a flex option. The earliest I would draft Williams is Round 6 in the majority of leagues. I'll probably end up with more shares of Samaje Perine, who was signed as a free agent this offseason, than Williams given Perine's expected role in the passing game. And you can draft Perine later than Williams in most formats.
Texans: Which WRs can you trust this season?
The receiving corps for the Texans is wide open, with no true No. 1 option on the roster. Nico Collins should be the lead receiver in Houston, but there likely won't be much of a gap between Collins, John Metchie III, Robert Woods and Tank Dell.
The latter performed well in OTAs, which impressed Woods. Dell is a third-round pick from the University of Houston, but he's small at 5-foot-8. Woods told Sports Illustrated that as long as Dell is making plays it shouldn't matter how tall he is.
"From a receiver standpoint, good technician, good feet, good hands — you see him run his routes crisp with his feet," Woods told SI.com. "He has all the physical abilities to be able to play in this league: fast, quick, really just want him to be able to have an impact right away."
Over his last three collegiate seasons, Dell recorded 3,155 yards and 32 touchdowns on 228 catches with the Cougars. He should come in as a polished receiver by rookie standards, and he's already making plays with fellow rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud.
Fantasy managers should draft Collins first with a mid-round pick, and he could emerge as a weekly starter in three-receiver leagues. I'd gamble on Metchie next, and thankfully he's healthy after he missed his entire rookie season in 2022 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Metchie is dealing with a hamstring injury, but coach DeMeco Ryans said he expected Metchie to be ready for training camp. He's worth drafting in all leagues with a mid-round pick.
And you can take a flier on Dell, especially if his training camp progress is positive. Dell could emerge as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues if he continues to make plays for Stroud.
As for Woods, I'm not drafting the 31-year-old, who struggled with the Titans last year at 6.8 PPR points per game, which was the worst production of his 10-year career.
Colts: Richardson fighting Minshew for starting job
The Colts aren't giving Anthony Richardson the starting quarterback job. They are making him earn it in a battle with Gardner Minshew. The Athletic reports Richardson and Minshew split first-string reps at OTAs.
Despite the competition, new coach Shane Steichen has been impressed with Richardson so far, saying he's displayed "some great throws, great decisions -- some really next-level stuff," which will hopefully continue in training camp.
"You've got a guy who is really talented and comes in and, shoot, you want to see where he's at," Steichen said. "So, let's get him going early in the process and see where he's at. So far, it's been a good process, and we're going to continue to do that."
I expect Richardson to be the starting quarterback for the Colts in Week 1, but we'll see what happens with Minshew. Barring a surprising decision, Richardson should be drafted as a No. 1 quarterback in all leagues. Given his potential as a dual-threat option, Richardson has top-five upside in all leagues.
You should draft Richardson with a mid-round pick in one-quarterback leagues and Round 2 in Superflex and two-quarterback formats. Richardson could be exceptional in his rookie campaign.
Jaguars: Ridley makes strong first impression
Calvin Ridley made a strong first impression during his first OTAs with his new team. The reports were glowing.
Per Sports Illustrated, "Ridley simply moves differently than any other wide receiver on the field. The pacing and tempo in his routes, the quickness of his feet, and his ability to change up his approach to routes even when he isn't getting the ball all stand out. So did two impressive catches he made on Monday, including one play where he plucked a fastball from Trevor Lawrence out of the air with ease."
Ridley hasn't played in a game since October of 2021 when he was injured with the Falcons before being suspended for all of the 2022 campaign. Doug Pederson said the Jaguars are going to ease him back into football shape so he's full go by training camp, but clearly Ridley is ready to rock.
"I've been really impressed with Calvin," Jaguars offensive coordinator Press Taylor said. "I've watched every snap Calvin's played in the NFL, just like a lot of our guys have. So we're very confident in the player we're getting."
I like Ridley as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4. He could emerge as a top-15 Fantasy receiver in his comeback with the Jaguars.
Chiefs: Edwards-Helaire stepping up with Isiah Pacheco out
Isiah Pacheco (hand/shoulder) was out for OTAs, which allowed Clyde Edwards-Helaire to step up in practice. He got the "great shape" nomination from multiple reports, and Andy Reid said Edwards-Helaire looked "quick and strong."
During one practice, Edwards-Helaire caught a touchdown down the sideline from Patrick Mahomes during a 7-on-7 drill, and Edwards-Helaire might be a surprising factor in 2023. Even though the Chiefs declined his fifth-year option, he could still be someone Kansas City relies on this season.
Pacheco is still the Chiefs running back to target for Fantasy managers, and if he's healthy in training camp then he's worth drafting as early as Round 6. Jerick McKinnon will also have a prominent role in the passing game, and he's worth a late-round flier in PPR. But you should also take a flier on Edwards-Helaire as well.
He should still get the opportunity to prove himself, and so far, he's doing a good job in OTAs. And last year, despite his struggles once again, he scored at least 14 PPR points in each of the first four games before tailing off. If Pacheco struggles or gets hurt then Edwards-Helaire could re-emerge as a flex option in all leagues.
Chargers: Ekeler gets incentives to stay with Chargers
One of the biggest storylines this offseason for Fantasy managers was Austin Ekeler requesting a trade. Thankfully, we don't have to worry about that after the Chargers added $1.75 million in incentives to the final year of his contract.
Ekeler did not take part in OTAs, but coach Brandon Staley expects him at the mandatory minicamp. Last year, Ekeler missed all of OTAs last year before joining the team for mandatory minicamp, so whatever he's doing is working for him.
Ekeler, 28, has been one of the best Fantasy running backs over the past two seasons, scoring 38 touchdowns in 33 games over that span, while averaging 96.8 scrimmage yards per contest. He's at an age where you can fear a breakdown, but it's hard to bet against Ekeler, especially in a contract year.
He should be considered a first-round pick in all leagues, and it's easy to draft Ekeler as the No. 2 running back behind Christian McCaffrey. For the past two seasons, Ekeler has averaged at least 21.4 PPR points per game, and hopefully, he'll reach that mark for the third year in a row.
Raiders: Garoppolo (foot) could be out until camp
Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is out for OTAs while he recovers from foot surgery he had in March, according to The Athletic. He could return in time for training camp, but coach Josh McDaniels didn't provide a timeline or details on Garoppolo's recovery.
"Everything that's happened since we signed Jimmy, we knew ahead of time," McDaniels said. "Certainly had an awareness of all of it. Our preference is not to push it and rush anybody back at this point in time."
The Raiders apparently discovered that Garoppolo needed surgery during a physical exam, after he'd avoided any procedure in December when he suffered the left foot fracture while in San Francisco. With Garoppolo out, Brian Hoyer will run the first-team offense.
A major concern for the Raiders is Garoppolo building chemistry with his receivers, specifically Davante Adams. The No. 1 receiver has already shown some level of discontent with the franchise, and Adams can't be happy of the potential of Hoyer opening the season as the starter.
We'll see what happens in training camp. Even when healthy, Garoppolo is only worth drafting in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues with a mid-to late-round pick. But if he's out then Adams' Fantasy value takes a hit, and he might be a risky option even in Round 2 if Hoyer is going to get an extended run as the starter in 2023.
Dolphins: Achane shows off speed
Third-round rookie running back Devon Achane from Texas A&M is fast, and he ran a 4.32 second, 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He showed off that speed at OTAs, according to Sports Illustrated. According to the report, Tua Tagovailoa connected with Achane on what would have been a 25-yard pass down the sideline during one practice.
We'll see how much Achane works in the passing game during the season, but it will be interesting to watch how Miami uses all of its running backs in training camp with Achane, Jeff Wilson and Raheem Mostert. I expect Achane to get drafted first in the majority of Fantasy leagues, especially if more positive reports like this continue.
But don't reach for Achane, who is small at 5-foot-9, 188 pounds. Barring an injury to both Wilson and Mostert, Achane isn't expected to be an every-down back. The earliest I would draft Achane is Round 8 in the majority of leagues, with his value higher in PPR.
The best approach to the Dolphins backfield for Fantasy managers is to wait for the last one on Draft Day, which will likely be Mostert. I expect all three of them at some point in the season to be relevant, and while Achane might have the most upside, it's not a bad idea to stash Wilson or Mostert on your bench until we get some clarity during the season.
Patriots: Montgomery could be a factor in passing game
We're all excited about Rhamondre Stevenson this season, and rightfully so. The Patriots running back had a breakout season in 2022 with more than 1,400 total yards, six total touchdowns and caught 69 of 88 targets. He averaged 13.8 PPR points per game, and he could be even better in 2023 with limited competition for touches now that Damien Harris is in Buffalo.
But one person associated with the Patriots said Stevenson might have more competition than you expect. According to ESPN, retired running backs coach Ivan Fears said Ty Montgomery, who was limited to one game in 2022 because of a shoulder injury, could have a role in the passing game.
Per the ESPN story, Fears is still a regular presence around the team and said of Montgomery on the "6 Rings and Football Things" podcast, "I think he has a great chance to be the third-down back and take some of the load off Rhamondre, so [Rhamondre] can be fresh when we really need him on first and second down carrying the ball as the featured guy. We need some help for Rhamondre, and I think Ty is looking really good right now. He's healthy."
The hope is Stevenson gets over 250 carries while maintaining his role in the passing game, and the Patriots offense will hopefully improve in 2023 with new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. But if Montgomery cuts into those receptions then Stevenson might not be worth a second- or third-round pick in the majority of leagues.
I'm still bullish on Stevenson despite this report, and I would draft him toward the end of Round 2. Whether it's the 30-year-old Montgomery, James Robinson, Pierre Strong Jr., Kevin Harris or J.J. Taylor, someone is going to spell Stevenson in some capacity. But I still expect him to dominate the workload, and this report shouldn't scare you away from drafting Stevenson, who has top-five upside in 2023.
Jets: Rodgers fine despite tweaking calf
Aaron Rodgers' first OTAs with the Jets didn't end the way he wanted when he suffered a tweaked calf, but no one seemed concerned. Rodgers said, "I don't think it's too serious," but we'll just need to see what happens in training camp. His appearance at the Taylor Swift concert in late May seemed to indicate Rodgers is fine.
He was already making an impact with the team prior to getting hurt, and he wants to be a leader for this Jets roster.
"You can't just come out there and go through the motions, check a box and focus so much on doing things the right way that you become a robot out there," Rodgers said. "Everything we do needs to have a purpose and intention."
Rodgers has the chance to be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this season, but he's better off being drafted as a borderline starter with a mid-round pick in one-quarterback leagues. In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, Rodgers should be drafted in Round 3.
Injury of note: Breece Hall (ACL) did not practice but will hopefully be ready by training camp.
Steelers: Warren to play in tandem with Harris?
Mike Tomlin has been one of the steadiest coaches when it comes to featuring his running backs, and we love him for it. And rarely has he ever put running backs on the field together at the same time.
Per The Athletic, the most he ever did that was in 2019 with James Conner and Jaylen Samuels 11 times. But last year, the Steelers had Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren on the field together eight times, and that's something we could see more of in 2023, at least in theory.
"They have said they are planning to find ways to get us both on the field at the same time and just do different things with me," Warren said in The Athletic. "Najee is still the starter and whenever he needs a break is when I will go in, but we might mix things up some. I just want to help the team any way I can. Whatever that takes I'm willing to do."
You shouldn't worry about Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren playing together. You should have some slight concerns that Warren might make this more of a committee than we've ever seen under Tomlin.
Warren played in 16 games last season and had 77 carries for 379 yards and one touchdown and 28 receptions for 214 yards. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry, which is a yard better than what Harris has averaged in his two-year career.
Now, Harris does have over 300 total touches in each of the past two seasons, and he should be in that range again in 2023. But you should expect closer to his 2022 stats (13.1 PPR points per game) than his rookie numbers (17.6), which is why he's a Round 3 pick in the majority of leagues.
Warren, meanwhile, is a fantastic late-round pick in all formats. He could turn into a surprise flex option if he plays over 30 percent of the snaps again this season. And he's clearly a lottery ticket if something were to happen to Harris.
Titans: Burks impressive in OTAs
Last offseason, Treylon Burks struggled during rookie minicamp and OTAs due to what appeared to be conditioning issues or as a result of having asthma, but that's clearly behind him. He's off to a good start this offseason and stood out at OTAs.
According to the team's official website, Burks looks "fit and faster," and he made at least three catches during team drills in one practice. Prior to OTAs, Burks told the Tennessee media, "I feel faster because I can breathe."
Burks should be considered a breakout candidate in his sophomore campaign. He missed six games last season because of various ailments, and he finished 2022 with just 33 catches for 444 yards and one touchdown on 54 targets.
But he showed flashes of his potential, and in his final six outings, Burks scored at least 12 PPR points in three games over that span. I like Burks as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver coming into the year, but he could be a starter in all formats if he stays healthy and picks up where last season ended. He's worth drafting as early as Round 6.