While listening to the NFL pressers at the combine, I wanted to bring you some notable coach speak statements that could provide you insight into the 2020 fantasy football season. Agin, this is coach speak; some say what they are suppose to say and others are more straight forward. I will break down each notable presser and give you my take on the situation as well.
Away we go with the 2020 Scouting Combine Coach Speak!
2019 Stats: 313 Fantasy PPR Points, 557 Rushing Yards, 92 Receptions, 993 Receiving years, and 11 Total TDS
Tom Telesco, Chargers GM, believes Austin Ekeler could be a three down back. However, the Chargers Head Coach, Anthony Lynn, stated that he really likes moving Ekeler all over the field. He thinks Ekeler functions best with other backs in the backfield. Whether that is Melvin Gordon, Justin Jackson or someone else, it sounds like Anthony Lynn wants a running back by committee.
Chargers let Melvin Gordon walk and sign a guy like Jordan Howard. I feel like Lynn knows how the backfield should look, and the 2019 stats back it up. If you look at Ekeler’s rushing efficiency, the first 8 games (without Gordon) he averaged 3.5 YPC, and for the rest of the season WITH Gordon averaged 5.1YPC. Ekeler finished 34th in the NFL in carries, and I have to believe that is where they want him to be next year. Don’t get me wrong, I think he will be fantasy productive and get about 15 touches a game if you include targets.
2019 Stats: 318.4 Fantasy PPR Points, 1084 Rushing Yards, 49 Receptions, 474 Receiving Yards, and 19 Total TDS
Green Bay head coach, Matt LaFleur, said that the running back position is one of the tougher positions to play in terms of punishment. He stated that you will always need multiple guys to get to that “finish line”. He talked further about not only wanting to give Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams work, but he thinks they need to add a third guy in the mix moving forward.
I knew we were going to see regression in Jones’ fantasy points because of the natural touchdown regression, but I didn’t think we would have to worry too much about usage. Well, with Jones I am always a little nervous about snaps, but now I am terrified. As a fan and spectator, I believe that Jones earned that 1A role and should be a workhorse like Zeke and Barkley, but what the hell do I know. I am still drafting Jones high and believe he will finish inside the top 7 at running back, but I don’t feel great about it.
2019 Stats: 85.4 Fantasy PPR Points, 34 Receptions, 459 Receiving Yards, and 1 Total TD
The Buccaneers said they think OJ Howard will be better in the second year under Head Coach, Bruce Arians. Bruce further praised him saying he is the best blocking TE in the league and is improving as a pass catcher. The Bucs coaching staff was even asked if OJ had an undisclosed injury because of his lack of production. They responded with a blunt “No” and went on to rave about how smart he is and further attested to his great work ethic.
I am not believing in him becoming a TE1 in 2020. If it is dynasty, I would hold him, but in redraft I am fading until a late round. Now, he could have a post hype breakout, but it is a long shot. Bruce Arians has a thing against pass catching TEs and that team loves Cameron Brate as well.
Cardinals Running Backs
Drake’s 2019 (only 8 games with AZ) Stats: 157.6 Fantasy PPR Points, 643 Rushing Yards, 28 Receptions, 171 Receiving Yards, and 8 Total TDS
The General Manager for the Cardinals, Steve Kiem, made it clear at his presser from the combine that they expect to retain Kenyan Drake, but they also gave a vote of confidence to David Johnson. With that said, head coach Kliff Kingsbury made it clear that Drake fits their system better and Johnson still needs to learn the system.
The Cardinals retain Drake and sign him to a 3 year deal. He clearly excelled when coming over from Miami in week 9. I also believe they don’t keep Johnson on the books. Based on his usage once Drake was in AZ, you have to think they seek a trade partner for Johnson, even if they have to pay part of his salary.
*Pre 6/1 Release Dead Cap: $16,200,000 Cap Savings: $2,043,750
*Pre 6/1 Trade Dead Cap: $6,000,000 Cap Savings: $8,156,250
Redskins Running Backs
Adrian Peterson’s Stats: 151.5 Fantasy PPR Points, 898 Rushing Yards, 17 Receptions, 142 Receiving Yards, and 5 Total TDS
New head coach, Ron Rivera, came out and made it known that he loves Derrius Guice, but he also talked up Adrian Peterson and Bryce Love (rookie RB from Stanford who missed the season on the PUP list). He mentioned that there were reasons they picked up the club option on Peterson, talking about how he is a leader in the locker room and can still perform on the field. One common denominator that most of the staff did mention was Bryce Love. Each member that I heard speak uttered his name in some positive fashion.
The Redskins make Guice the lead back, but not as a work horse as they are afraid he can’t hold up. I believe Guice will get about 10-12 carries a game as AP fills in the rest. Love should take on a role similar to Chris Thompson, but probably at a smaller sample size.