After a one-year sabbatical, I am back with this article, and it’s a tough year to return since 2020 is the least revealing preseason in the history of fantasy football for obvious reasons.
The good news is I’ve been at this a long, long time, and I cover the NFL for fantasy 12 months a year, so I have a deep base of knowledge to form my vibes on players and teams, and I’ve been following the league closely all year, so my guesses are of the educated variety. But that’s not the only thing influencing my vibes. For one, I talk daily to various NFL beat writers and insiders, and I get a ton of tips on all 32 teams. But perhaps most importantly, since we have a legit NFL Insider on staff, we’re getting a boatload of insider notes from our guy Adam Caplan.
So add up my vast experience, my time covering the league on a daily basis this year, and access to great information, as well as strong spidey sense and intuition for fantasy football, and that’s how I arrive at all my preseason vibes, and (hopefully) it’s how I’m able to give you an advantage for your fantasy drafts.
At the very least, if you haven’t been following the NFL this summer because you’ve been distracted by (ahem), “other things.” you can get yourself up-to-speed quickly by reading what I have below. From this point forward, I’ll be looking to update this article and these vibes regularly, if not daily.
9/3 Update: The vibes on Kenyan Drake seem okay right now, but you still have to get Chase Edmonds if you take Drake.
8/28 Update: The Cardinals are lucky that they broke in a rookie starting QB and a new offensive system with a new coach last year. Year Two won’t be as smooth as it could have been if there was no Pandemic, but I was five away from their HC at the combine and all he talked about was the offense in year two, and he was really excited about having a year in the books and expanding things in his second season. That said, the vibes I’m getting are pretty good. I spoke with a Cardinal beat reporter on 8/22 and he gave a very positive review of Kyler Murray, who has bulked up while maintaining his speed. Kenyan Drake is feeling himself this month, and as long as he plays well, he will be the guy and will get a ton of touches in the run and pass game and will produce big numbers. If he has issues, then HC Kliff Kingsbury won’t be shy about featuring Chase Edmonds, so Edmonds must be drafted if you take a plunge with Drake. That’s especially true with Drake dealing with a leg injury and in a boot this week. Oftentimes, coaches will shut a player like this down in the preseason, so it could be nothing. But it’s not a lock that it’s nothing until we get more info. We’re not getting a ton of info on their receiving corps, but I continue to hear they love TE Dan Arnold, who won’t likely have any fantasy value but can help Kyler and the passing game. DeAndre Hopkins will be the go-to guy for sure with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk rounding out their top-3 wideouts. I like Kirk, but I’m not sure he’s going to get enough targets to produce at his somewhat high ADP around 100. Second-year man Hakeem Butler, I’m told, may not make the team.
Good Vibes: Kyler Murray, Chase Edmonds
Decent Vibes: Kenyan Drake
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/3 Update: There’s some clarity on the backup RB situation, with Brian Hill confirmed to likely handle most of the early-down work, but I still prefer Ito Smith, who will be in a committee with Hill and who might have some standalone value while Gurley is healthy.
8/28 Update: For one, the vibes are good because the Falcons have great continuity overall, so with no bad vibes present for Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Hayden Hurst, and certainly some positive vibrations on Ryan, Calvin and Hurst this summer, I feel good about the Falcon passing game. What I don’t feel good about is their lead runner, Todd Gurley. As I’m sure you can tell, our entire staff is in agreement that he might be cooked. He may patch together another productive season, and their OL has to be better than last year because it’s healthier, but I doubt his production will be good enough to match his top-30 ADP (although they may be tumbling a bit), and with this one I’m taking a long-term investing approach. Like if you avoided a guy who fit Gurley’s profile 100 straight times, you’ll be glad you did probably 75-80 times, which is coming out on top. I’ve been told Ito Smith should have an active role alongside Gurley to help keep Gurley fresh, so he’s not a bad late, late flyer. I’m just not sold he’s the technical handcuff, since it’ll likely be a committee with him and Brian Hill if Gurley is out.
Good Vibes: Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst
Decent Vibes: Ito Smith
Bad Vibes: Todd Gurley
9/3 Update: Man, JK Dobbins continues to ball out and I’m wondering if I should actually target him at his ADP at this point. Most likely, I’m not getting him, but that’s mainly because I plan on being set with 3 RBs by the time Dobbins goes off the board. Good vibes on Lamar, too. He’s the reigning MVP working hard to improve his game this summer. They are going to expand this passing game, perhaps supporting up to to three receivers for fantasy. That third guy is Miles Boykin.
8/28 Update: Other than the strange issues with S Earl Thomas, the vibes are good in Baltimore. Lamar Jackson hasn’t been perfect, but he’s had plenty of bright moments and Marquise Brown’s vibes are fantastic. Even fellow second-year man Miles Boykin seems to have kicked it up a notch, perhaps due to their reported interest in veteran Dez Bryant. As long as they don’t sign Bryant, Boykin is a possible value very late and/or in larger leagues. Mark Andrews seems fine, but backup Nick Boyle, known for his blocking, has upped his receiving game. Boyle may actually be a good WW pickup if Andrews is out. Rookie wideout Devin Duvernay won’t start to open the season, but he looks like he might be an impactful rotational guy in year one. So the vibes are good with the passing game. The big story here is rookie RB JK Dobbins, who has been a bad-ass in camp so far. I have been skeptical of him this year due to his high ADP of 65-70, but I also have stated I think he’ll be a #1 fantasy pick next year if Mark Ingram is gone. Ingram is clearly still the starter and Dobbins won’t usurp him unless Ingram is banged up and less effective. Dobbins is probably the favorite to win the #2 job, but Gus Edwards is quite good and gives them a different look with his size, plus they want to get Justice Hill involved as a changeup. OC Greg Roman will likely use all four backs, and his plan for Dobbins, Edwards, and Hill could change weekly. In theory, Dobbins kicking ass is not good for Ingram’s vibes, but Ingram’s ADP is only 15 spots higher than Dobbins’ and in that regard, Ingram looks like the much better pick. Dobbins is a tough call for sure, but I still have to lean to him being overvalued and Ingram to be undervalued.
Good Vibes: Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, JK Dobbins, Nick Boyle
Decent Vibes: Miles Boykin
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/3 Update: Vibes on Zack Moss continue to be good, so he’s a better pick at his 85-90 ADP than Devin Singletary at his 55 ADP. Some are speculating Moss could even take the primary back role. He has surprised with his receiving work, per our Adam Caplan.
8/28 Update: Overall, the vibes are pretty good here. Josh Allen is still a little scattershot at times, but that is probably just who he is and will always be. But he’s shown improved touch at times, his deep ball passing has improved, and we’re told they want him to get the ball more to the RBs in the passing game. That may take away from his running, but they do have two viable receivers in the backfield with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. There’s not a ton to report on Stefon Diggs and John Brown, but the vibes have been very good. Brown has been balling yet again. TE Dawson Knox has visibly improved his blocking (which is good), and also his hands, so he’s still a potential breakout guy even though the volume won’t be great. Rookie Gabriel Davis has been very good already, so the vibes with Allen’s receiving corps are really good. I haven’t liked Devin Singletary at all as a pick, and I’ve listed Zack Moss as a target in my draft plan for a month now, and the vibes on that call are good, since the vibes on Moss have been quite good. This could be a 50/50 split, which is a problem, but Moss is also 50+ picks cheaper, which is why I like him as a pick way more than Singletary. Keep in mind, while Singletary is a more dynamic weapon in the passing game, Moss catches the ball well, so he’s not just an early-down back.
Good Vibes: Josh Allen, Zach Moss, Gabriel Davis
Decent Vibes: Dawson Knox
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/3 Update: Bad vibes on the banged up Ian Thomas, although no one is counting on him. I spoke with a Panther beat writer this morning who told me DJ Moore has been great this summer. I’ve been letting him go, but FYI. Curtis Samuel has fallen off a little lately, but he opened camp with some good vibes, so he’s still a decent late flyer.
8/28 Update: Not a ton going on here, but there have been positive vibes at times with Teddy Bridgewater, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson. Teddy has been accurate, Robby has been a tough cover at times, and Samuel’s unclear role and great speed actually make him intriguing in my book, since he’s almost a free pick this year with an ADP of 150+ (granted, so is Robby, but I can’t love a deep threat with Teddy at QB). My sense is Samuel may be an active “joker” type player, but ultimately I’m still not willing to pay anything close to a premium for anyone involved in the passing game here, including TE Ian Thomas, who has failed to stand out. We still don’t know who the backup RB for Christian McCaffrey will be, but right now it actually looked like veteran Mike Davis over Reggie Bonnafon, and that the new coaching staff does want to get a second back more involved to keep McCaffrey fresh. Davis looks like that guy. The released Jordan Scarlett on 8/23, which is a good sign for Davis.
Good Vibes: Mike Davis
Decent Vibes: DJ Moore , Teddy Bridgewater
Bad Vibes: Ian Thomas
9/5 Update: Got a late, late vibe on rookie WR Darnell Mooney, who has been so good that he’s likely going to be a factor. He’s a good final pick of the draft in like a 14-team league - and a guy to watch in smaller leagues as a possible WW add.
9/3 Update: Fournette signing with the Bucs can’t hurt David Montgomery, not that they were looking at Fournette, apparently, but that could have been a problem. Overall my vibes are shaky, due mostly to their QB battle, which has no clear winner, and the Montgomery injury.
8/31 Update: The Bears haven’t yet signed a RB of note, which could be a good sign. Of course… not many good backs are out there, but we will see about Leonard Fournette and if he would interest them. If there’s no apparent interest, that could be a good sign for Montgomery, and we’re told he and the team feel okay about where he’s at.
8/28 Update: Tough call on the vibes here, but I’d lean toward the negative. There’s no major movement in the QB battle, with both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles being a little up-and-down, so that key battle has yet to be decided. Trubisky has made some mistakes and he’s been bad lately, so it’s not looking good for him at all. So we’ve moved Foles up. The best vibes were probably with David Montgomery, who I started to turn on (from neutral to positive) due to the fact that he’s dropped some weight and has looked quicker. That’s huge, and a huge role is coming, but obviously he suffered his groin injury. We are told they are optimistic and feel very good about his ability to return relatively soon from this injury, but you can’t expect him for Week 1. At the very least, I like him in the 70-80 overall range (previously the 40-50 range). Tarik Cohen’s vibes are also okay, as he’s improved on some things the coaches wanted him to work on and he’s taking things seriously. I was told that their resurgent TEs are going to help Cohen get better matchups and that was a problem last year. But we do have Cordarrelle Patterson in the mix, so Cohen’s vibes aren’t pristine. There’s been some general hype on Anthony Miler, and I do like him, too, in year three, but he’s been limited still as he comes back from his shoulder injury last year, so I can’t call him a great, great target.
Good Vibes: None of note
Decent Vibes: Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery (good before the injury)
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/3 Update: Obviously, the vibes improved with Joe Mixon, whose contract situation we no longer have to worry about.
8/31 Update: Joe Burrow has been talking up Tyler Boyd big time, so the vibes on Boyd continue to look good.
8/28 Update: The vibes are mixed but overall good right now, led by #1 overall pick Joe Burrow, who hasn’t been perfect but who has been pretty damn good and is showing good leadership and skills already. That’s even more impressive, considering he was without WRs AJ Green, Tee Higgins, and John Ross for most of their padded practices (damn near all of them, but they are back). With no off-season, there’s no other way to describe those three wideouts’ vibes as bad. I wasn’t expecting much from Higgins, anyway, and Ross’ track record does not inspire confidence with his time missed. As for the veteran AJG, his hammy pull and subsequent shutdown is probably not a big deal, but his recent injury issues are hard to ignore. But with those guys out, Burrow has quickly developed a rapport with Tyler Boyd, who I added to my target list in my Draft Plan last week. Auden Tate is also balling out and even veteran Alex Erickson has been excellent, so it’s clear the Bengals have great depth at receiver. Joe Mixon’s vibes were okay, even great if they’re really going to use him in the passing game, and Gio Bernard is clearly the #2 option behind Mixon. But the recent “migraine” report is a little worrisome because his pending free agent status in 2021 may have something to do with his issue. We’ll track the story as best as we can.
Good Vibes: Joe Burrow, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate
Decent Vibes: Joe Mixon
Bad Vibes: AJ Green, Tee Higgins, John Ross
9/3 Update: For keeper leagues, the vibes are fantastic for my guy Harrison Bryant, who is a good bet to be a TE1 in two years.
8/28 Update: Other than the Nick Chubb concussion and a slow start for Baker Mayfield and the passing game in their first few practices, the vibes have been pretty good here. I have been in on Odell Beckham all off-season - even though that’s a little scary - and so far the vibes have been very good, as OBJ has been flashing big time. The best vibes are probably for Austin Hooper, who has been very active working with Baker, and since David Njoku has another wrist issue in camp. For those in dynasty leagues, it’s worth noting that my guy Harrison Bryant has shown very well, and Donovan Peoples-Jones’ talent has been evident. You won’t likely find much on Kareem Hunt in terms of vibes, but our guy Adam Caplan continues to tell us over and over again how much they love him, and a lot of that has been confirmed to me by several Browns insiders I know.
Good Vibes: Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham, Austin Hooper
Decent Vibes: Baker Mayfield
Bad Vibes: David Njoku
9/5 Update: Bad vibes on the OL with RT La’el Collins on IR. Not sure what to do with it, but if you’re on the fence with Zeke Elliott, it’s okay to pivot to Alvin Kamara, for example.
8/28 Update: There’s not a ton going on here, but overall the vibes are good, as expected. One of the big stories of camp so far as been CeeDee Lamb, who has been consistent, “splashy,” and strong from a mental standpoint, so it seems the entire roster is already sold on their #1 pick. I’ve been told to expect him to man the slot mostly, but he’s gained praise for picking up and showing the ability to play all three WR spots, which bodes well for the whole season. But in the slot, he should get the best matchups most weeks. Dak Prescott, from all reports, has been solid and reported to camp in good shape. Ezekiel Elliott did miss a month of training in June, but he “has something to prove” after holding out last year and starting off slow. I would absolutely want Tony Pollard if I drafted Zeke, FYI. He will get more chances this year, but he’d be a borderline RB1 if he had to pick up most of the slack for an injured Elliott.
Good Vibes: CeeDee Lamb
Decent Vibes: Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/5 Update: Again, there’s word out of Denver that Melvin Gordon will give up 50% of the RB touches to Phillip LIndsay. I’m still not buying it, but to be safe, let Gordon slip a little and don’t go get him.
9/3 Update: Decent enough vibes here, but I don’t think these guys are ready for an offensive breakout.
8/28 Update: A lot has been made of Courtland Sutton’s third training camp this summer, and it’s clear he’s made another leap in this third season and that he and Drew Lock have good chemistry. It makes sense to assume Lock will lock in on Sutton, since the duo actually have played together, unlike their two rookie WRs. Jerry Jeudy has been as advertised, no big surprise (although he may have gotten hurt on 8/28, check that), but KJ Hamler, after a strong start, injured his hamstring and should miss two weeks of very valuable time. I haven’t actually expected much from him, anyway, since they should be a lot of 2-TE sets. Noah Fant is a lot more comfortable in year two, and he’s bulked up and is lining up all over the place in Pat Shurmer’s TE-friendly offense. In the backfield, I’m still not buying into the notion that Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay will split up the workload fairly evenly, but that’s been their usage in camp thus far. Gordon did seem to start separating from Lindsay last week, but he was slowed by his rib injury and is also still adjusting to the altitude. But someone I trust said he’s looked fine/good otherwise and they fully expect Gordon to be their top back, third-down back, and goal-line back.
Good Vibes: Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant
Decent Vibes: Melvin Gordon, Drew Lock, Jerry Jeudy
Bad Vibes: KJ Hamler
9/6 Update: Welp, now you can see the main reason my affinity for D’Andre Swift increased greatly over the last 2-3 weeks: Kerryon Johnson’s knee issue is potentially chronic, so with Swift showing so well this summer before missing time himself, I saw a great opportunity with Swift. It’s less of an opportunity with Adrian Peterson signed, but Peterson isn’t going to crush Swift’s chances. He may cap Swift’s upside, but Swift is still a solid pick at his ADP. He’s just not incredibly appealing as I thought he was before the Peterson signing.
9/3 Update: Again, I’m in on Swift, due to my lack of confidence in Johnson. Swift is affordable, and very talented.
8/31 Update: D’Andre Swift returned to practice today, which is obviously a good sign. I’m okay worrying a little about his time missed because it’s pushing Swift down just a little bit. I still have zero confidence in Kerryon Johnson.
8/28 Update: The first thing that stands out to me is the vibes on Kerryon Johnson, which are terrible. At this point, I don’t know if we’ll ever see the player from 2018, and with Bo Scarbrough also hurting (and opening a door for veteran Jonathan Williams), it’s good news for D’Andre Swift. I have not been into him because of his landing spot, but it’s looking better and better and better, so I’m now into Swift at his ADP if I have a strong need at RB in the 50-60 overall range. We’re also told that TE TJ Hockenson has looked great lately in camp, so I’ve moved him up. I absolutely love TJH, but have been cautious with his recovery from his ankle injury seemingly not totally there just a few weeks ago. The best vibe otherwise has been for rookie WR Quintez Cephus, who has been a big surprise. He’s not really draftable this year, but he’s a good dynasty pick and does help their overall depth at receiver. Otherwise, I generally struggle with the Lions lately (last 2-3 years), and I don’t love anyone else, but Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Matthew Stafford are fine at their ADPs, and I can’t make a strong case against them.
Good Vibes: D’Andre Swift, TJ Hockenson
Decent Vibes: Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones
Bad Vibes: Kerryon Johnson
Green Bay Packers
9/3 Update: Terrible vibes for my guy Jace Sternberger, not that I pushed him as someone to truly count on this year or early in the season. He also missed like two weeks due to Covid-19. He can be dropped, but I don’t think we’ve heard the last of him for sure. Robert Tonyan is not the answer.
8/31 Update: Their WRs behind Davante Adams are tough to handicap, but I’d still put Allen Lazard at the top of the list. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though, may be right behind him, per reports. Also, improved vibes for MVS, who I have interviewed somewhat recently and is very, very serious about football.
8/28 Update: There’s been some activity here, but nothing earth-shattering. Aaron Rodgers has had a good month and has shown he can still sling it with the best of them, which means the vibes on Davante Adams are good. It looks like Allen Lazard is set as a starter, but Equanimeous St. Brown has shown some growth and promise, so he’s a potential WW add once the season starts. AJ Dillon made an impression just by showing up wearing shorts and showing off his legs, but it does appear that a somewhat significant role is opening for him - at the very least as their closer, so he’s a good late-round RB target even if you don’t have Jones. The bad vibes for Jace Sternberger may not be his fault, and it may not matter at all in November and December, but his lost ground due to his Covid-19 quarantine, so he’s not a guy you can draft with the expectation that he can help you early in the season. He’s still a great prospect and worth rostering if possible, but we should expect him to need some time before he’s ready to contribute meaningfully.
Good Vibes: Davante Adams, AJ Dillon, Equanimeous St. Brown
Decent Vibes: Allen Lazard, Aaron Rodgers
Bad Vibes: Jace Sternberger
8/28 Update: There’s not much going on here, and I guess that’s a good thing? The TEs have been making noise, but they have 37 of them on the roster and in the mix (slight exaggeration), so I’m not endorsing anyone as draftable. If I had to, I’d go Jordan Akins. Keke Coutee of all people is also making noise, but he’s not going to play much over Randall Cobb, due to Cobb’s contract. It looks like they will go “heavy” at times with a FB for David Johnson, but I’d rather see them spread the field with 3-4 WR sets to help create space for Johnson, but they will certainly do that a lot, too. Johnson apparently looks okay, but I’m still out on him.
Good Vibes: None of note
Decent Vibes: None of note
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/3 Update: Although banged up, getting a late vibe on Trey Burton, who showed well this summer, and it’s a TE-friendly offense. He’s still more of a WW guy, but keep an eye on him. He’s going to miss some early in the season, which should help Jack Doyle.
8/31 Update: It was good to see some good reports on WRs TY Hilton and Michael Pittman over the weekend, so the vibes there have improved.
8/28 Update: I know I’m “all-in” on him, but my vibe on Jonathan Taylor is almost as good as I’d have hoped 2-3 weeks ago. His hands catching the ball have been a little shaky at times, but he’s also catching it a fair amount, which is a good sign, and he caught a TD pass in practice on 8/24. He’s otherwise looked pretty incredible. I know Marlon Mack is the “starter” and that JT may be lucky to catch 20-25 balls, but I want Taylor in the third round in every competitive draft I’m in. Just keep in mind he will likely be 1-2 rounds cheaper in most “regular” leagues, making him even more appealing. I’m not ignoring his fumbling problems in college, by the way. It’s a concern, but I know he’s worked on ball security, and we’re not hearing anything about his fumbling in camp. Miles Sanders last year had a serious fumbling knock on him from college, yet he was fine last year. The vibes have been good on my other guy on the Colts, Michael Pittman. It’s clear both rookies will have large roles right away and that they have been welcomed additions to the club. However, it’s odd how the WRs (Hilton included) have been quiet in camp. Mack is still the starter, and he turned in a great day in camp on 8/24, so he’s viable as a standalone pick 85-95 picks into a draft (ideally, he slips further). I’d like to get him around 100 picks in if I owned Taylor, just in case, but Mack’s ADP is all over the place. Sometimes, he slips to like 125 overall; sometimes he’s gone around 90 overall. The vibes are solid on Philip Rivers, but he’s looking more like an efficient game manager than the gunslinger of old, so I don’t see any upside. I still like Parris Campbell as a late pick (but his recent accident and time missed doesn't help) and I’m still a little wary of the aging TY Hilton. Rivers has been throwing a ton to the RBs and TEs, so Jack Doyle could be a sneaky PPR guy. I’ve always had an affinity for Doyle, but he’s incredibly unsexy in a season with a lot of sexy options at the position. But Doyle could be a great TE2 value in large leagues, since his ADP is usually 150+.
Good Vibes: Jonathan Taylor
Decent Vibes: TY Hilton, Michael Pittman, Marlon Mack, Jack Doyle
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/5 Update: The return to Covid-19 list is bad news for Ryquell Armstead, so I moved him down considerably. He’s a guy to consider for depth if he slips to 125+ overall, and Devine Ozigb isn’t too far behind him at this point in terms of desirability. UDFA James Robinson is also in the mix, but the new staff like Ozigbo.
9/4 Update: Welp, I didn’t exactly address it below, but we’ve obviously been way down on Leonard Fournette this year, and he was ranked way below his ADP. And we’ve also been high on Ryquell Armstead as a good stash-and-hope pick late. Armstead has already gone 52 overall in a high-stakes draft conducted hours after the news broke. That’s a too high for me and I’d rather get him around the 8th or 9th round. I have to think he’ll handle 200+ touches even with Chris Thompson moving up in the world and Devine Ozigbo being an intriguing player. I would draft Ozigbo in a deep league, for sure. UDFA James Robinson is also making noise this summer, but I’d imagine he’ll be the #3 RB at best. I’d say the vibes are neutral for Gardner Minshew and the passing game with this news, but it could be argued they will have to throw it more, so this might help Minshew and DJ Chark.
8/28 Update: It’s a little quiet here, but the vibes are definitely good with Gardner Minshew, and correspondingly with receivers DJ Chark and Tyler Eifert, who will be needed more with promising youngster Josh Oliver on IR. Eifert also has a head start on things having played in Jay Gruden’s offense before, so he’s handled Gruden’s voluminous playbook. Rookie WR Laviska Shenault opened camp with a flurry of hype, so the vibes there are obviously fine, if not good. As for Leonard Fournette, I have heard that he looks good, but that they are liberally working in other backs, and not just Chris Thompson, who will really hurt Fournette’s catch totals as long as Thompson is healthy. It’s been Ryquell Armstead and Devine Ozigbo getting looks, so Fournette’s massive role is in question.
Good Vibes: DJ Chark, Ryquell Armstead, Gardner Minshew, Tyler Eifert
Decent Vibes: Laviska Shenault
Bad Vibes: None of note
Kansas City Chiefs
9/5 Update: Darrel Williams is the guy behind CEH, as Washington was cut. He’s not a bad pick very late, but a so-so handcuff, although he’d have to play more if CEH was out.
8/28 Update: It’s all good in KC, a team blessed with talent, coaching, and continuity. Every single report or update I’ve received on Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been glowing, and that’s including reports from Adam Schefter, whose podcast I did earlier this month, from GM Brett Veach on Adam Caplan’s Inside the Birds podcast, and more. The main question is who the #2 RB is, and it’s not an easy call with Darrel Williams coming on. I think we have to give the early season nod to Williams, given his experience in the offense and showing in camp. I’ve gotten good reports on WRs Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson, as Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins have been a little dinged up.
Good Vibes: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Patrick Mahomes, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson
Decent Vibes: Tyreek Hill
Bad Vibes: None of note
Los Angeles Chargers
9/3 Update: Looks like it’ll be Tyrod Taylor for the foreseeable future, not that it means much to me. He’s got availability concerns, and I don’t think he’ll start more than 8-10 games, no matter what the team says. High #1 picks at QB play year one. We also got good news health-wise on Mike Williams, who I actually do have a good vibe on this year, given the downfield abilities of their two QBs. Williams should play Week 1 and he isn’t a bad later-round pick.
8/28 Update: The vibes would be okay here were it not for the Mike Williams shoulder injury from 8/24. It could be a real problem, and he was flashing improved route-running and there have been glimpses of the downfield action I’ve expected all off-season with Tyrod Taylor. Williams out would help Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, I suppose. Tyrod has been steady as usual and Justin Herbert has been up-and-down, as expected. Probably the best vibe early on is for a RB I’ve been in on for months, rookie Joshua Kelley, who has shown some juice running the ball in camp, which is not what he’s known for. He will have a good chance to play over Justin Jackson relatively early on this year, so I like him as a late flyer RB.
Good Vibes: Joshua Kelley
Decent Vibes: Tyrod Taylor, Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry
Bad Vibes: Mike Williams (100% injury-related, vibes were good otherwise)
Los Angeles Rams
9/5 Update: I’ve said that I’d prefer Malcolm Brown as a cheaper handcuff for Cam Akers, and I’m not surprised that Brown may “start” Week 1.
9/3 Update: I have some clarity on a guy I have liked all off-season but didn’t go “all-in” on and it’s Tyler Higbee. He won’t be as great as he was down the stretch last year, that’s impossible, but I am officially on board as a pick, especially since he’s dropped a bit, and I’m expecting a top-7 season. Also, great vibes on rookie WR Van Jefferson, which can only help Jared Goff.
8/28 Update: I’ve had good vibes for months on the Rams, and as you can see we’re in on a lot of their players, especially Cam Akers and Robert Woods. But I’ve also had a good vibe on Jared Goff all year, as well. The Rams are loaded at TE and now have four quality wideouts for Goff, including rookie Van Jefferson, the son of former pro and current WR coach Shawn Jefferson. The rookie has been a quick study and is learning all three WR spots, so he should be able to contribute if they need him. Woods has been steady, as usual, so good vibes there.
I do like Cooper Kupp, who has also been strong this summer, but we’re a little less high on him as his ADP reflects the masses are, due in large part to how they may use their personnel packages a little differently this year due to the great success they had in “12 personnel” late last year with TE Tyler Higbee. Higbee is a tough call and he might be a little up-and-down, as they cater their personnel packages to their opponents from week-to-week. But ultimately, they gave him a big new contract and Gerald Everett is gone next year as a free agent, and there’s no way they can ignore how awesome Higbee was last year, so I expect him to be a top-10 TE. If I drafted Higbee, I just want to ensure I’m getting at least decent value (90-100 overall is ideal) and that I also draft a promising TE just in case Higbee is a little week-to-week. As for their RBs, Akers has taken his lumps at times as he learns on the job, but the Darrell Henderson hamstring injury has added to Akers’ time with the ones, which overall is good, and they do love Akers. Henderson should be okay for Week 1 and he was making progress before the injury, so decent vibes there. I have not heard much at all about Malcolm Brown, but he remains a viable handcuff/insurance policy for Akers and he’s a free pick, unlike Henderson
Good Vibes: Jared Goff, Cam Akers, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Tyler Higbee
Decent Vibes: Darrell Henderson
Bad Vibes: None of note
Las Vegas Raiders
9/5 Update: The vibes got better for Josh Jacobs, since they traded Lynn Bowden, and cut Theo Riddick. That’s gotta help, and Devontae Booker is the handcuff now for Jacobs.
9/3 Update: With Tyrell Williams done, the vibes improved for Byan Edwards, for sure. I’m not expecting the world, but he’s absolutely worth a late pick for WR depth. He’s a great prospect and he’s going to have a good career.
8/28 Update: I’ve had a good vibe here all summer. I know Derek Carr has issues and needs to hang tougher in the pocket and let plays develop, but they have surrounded him with a lot of weapons, and their OL is one of the 5-6 best in the league with a lot of continuity. They are intrigued by Marcus Mariota’s mobility, but Mariota the passer is a lot more underwhelming than Carr, and we’re told he’s been very meh so far (no shock). The Josh Jacobs passing game role conundrum has been annoying since I’m convinced they do want him to catch the ball more; I was at the podium at the combine when GM Mike Mayock talked extensively about it in February, but their actions say they may have concerns about overexposing him, since they have four receiving specialist types on the roster. I don’t think Theo Riddick or Devontae Booker will make the team, but that’s just a guess. I’ve also heard rumblings that they may still have concerns about his overall health and his shoulder, so for good measure we moved him back outside the top-12. He’s still appealing, but I’m more comfortable with him at 13 overall than 10. I’ve actually been out on TE Darren Waller because there are so many more options in the passing game this year, but he’s still going to be a huge part of their offense, so the vibes are fine. The vibes on Henry Ruggs have been good for months, and I’ve been all-in for months. I do love Bryan Edwards as a prospect, but some seem to believe he’s going to start, which he won’t unless Tyrell Williams’ injury keeps him out. Edwards is worth a late flyer for sure, but keep expectations in check. With all their added weapons, their personnel packages will change often, so I’m actually not loving Hunter Renfrow as a pick, even though I like Renfrow a lot.
Good Vibes: Henry Ruggs, Derek Carr, Bryan Edwards
Decent Vibes: Darren Waller
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/5 Update: Adding Lynn Bowden may not mean much for the other RBs, since they seem to like him as a receiver.
9/4 Update: Parker has been out of practice for a while, so be careful not to overpay for him and his sketchy body of work.
8/31 Update: It could be nothing, but DeVante Parker has been a little banged up lately and out of practice, and injury issues are always a little scarier with Parker.
8/28 Update: I can’t say I’m following the Dolphins as closely as some other teams for fairly obvious reasons, but one player with very good vibes, despite coming back from an ACL, is wideout Preston Williams, who looks recovered and has been borderline dominant in practice. The vibes are good on DeVante Parker, who reported to camp in great shape and who’s showing off great leadership. Both guys have chemistry with Ryan Fitzpatrick, which should help them get up to speed in their new offense run by Chan Gailey, who Fitz played for in Buffalo. Rookie Tua Tagovailoa has been healthy and has had some good moments, but he’s been up-and-down, so Fitzpatrick should be locked into the starting lineup for 6-8 weeks at least. I have not heard anything good or bad on Mike Gesicki, but keep in mind he’s in his third offense in as many years and he’s been a guy dating back to college who needs time before he starts excelling, so I’m passing on Gesicki with so many appealing young TE2 options. In the backfield, Jordan Howard and Matt Breida are locked into the first two spots, and it’s been Myles Gaskin separating himself from the pack. Gaskin is kind of a Phillip Lindsay type, and he did run for 1000+ yards four straight years in the Pac 12 with 19-21 catches in each of his final four seasons. If he’s the #3, he may get some play, given Breida’s injury history.
Good Vibes: Preston Williams, DeVante Parker
Decent Vibes: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Bad Vibes: None of note
8/31 Update: It’s not really a major point for their skill player, but the Yannick Ngakoue is good news overall, since it should prove to the players that they’re still trying to get better at this late stage of the preseason, and they did have a big hole on the right side of their DL that is now filled. The Vikings have a pair of young, deadly, and athletic DEs.
8/28 Update: It’s actually been a little quiet this year in Minnesota, so there are no major vibes to report good or bad. The vibes are solid at worst with Adam Thielen, though, as Kirk Cousins has been firing accurate passes to him in tight windows. The receiving roles and rotation is a little unclear overall, with guys jockeying for position. Olabisi Johnson has worked at X, and when they are in 3-WR sets, it’s been Chad Beebe in the slot a lot. They have liked Beebe for a while, but obviously Justin Jefferson needs to get on the field. I’m sure he will, but I can’t say the vibes are great, although he’s made some impressive catches. Jefferson isn’t that expensive, so I can’t say I’m avoiding him, but I’m not making it a point to draft him. If they end up cutting Beebe, that’s a good sign, since it’ll give Jefferson more slot snaps, which is ideal. I have no real vibe on their RBs, but I am worried about my guy Adam Schefter’s comment this week about Dalvin Cook’s contract situation giving him “pause” in terms of drafting him for fantasy. Also no real vibe on the TEs, but I still love Irv Smith as a general statement, yet he’s nothing more than a late flyer.
Good Vibes: None of note
Decent Vibes: Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins
Bad Vibes: None of note
New England Patriots
9/4 Update: Harris is going to miss some time, so we have downgraded him. This backfield is now looking worse than it did a week ago. Even Rex Burkhead is moving up in the world.
9/3 Update: I had Mohamed Sanu potentially off the roster 5 days ago, and it can’t hurt N’Keal Harry. Harry has been up-and-down, but someone has to catch the ball here and he’s the top outside guy, so I actually do have solid vibes. Damien Harris has been out of practice for a few days, so the vibes there have calmed down a little.
8/31 Update: Bill Belichick heaped a bunch of praise on Cam Newton today, so clearly he’s got the job won and probably won’t have to look over his shoulder.
8/28 Update: Obviously, it’s the Patriots, so it’s hard to have a concrete vibe on most, but Damien Harris, a guy we’ve been on for months, is clearly moving up in the world. Sony Michel was spotted at practice on 8/26, but it sure feels like Harris will have at least 5-7 weeks of being considered for starting lineups. Harris and Michel’s ADP are nearly identical, at least among savvy players, so it’s a tough call to pick one, but I have to go with Harris, who is showing himself to be a way more effective receiver. Harris was playing a lot with the ones even after Sony returned. I do not think Lamar Miller will make it, so for now I’m glad I ignored him. James White isn’t a great value, but I’m fine with him in the 8th round or so if I need RB catches. I warmed up to N’Keal Harry this off-season (hated him last year), but it’s hard to say the vibes are good. He opened camp heavy and sluggish, then he had two great days this week, then he flopped in practice on 8/28 (this, per a NE beat guy to me). I still think they’re inclined to start him on the outside because they have few options, and he is very cheap with an ADP around 170. I can’t back Mohamed Sanu, by the way, in part because he’s slow and can’t separate on the outside, and also because the speedy Damiere Byrd, who I isolated as a deep sleeper two months ago, has had a good (and very active) camp. One reporter counted him atop the WR reception count so far in camp. Sanu may not even make the team, I’m told. Overall, I’d say the vibes are pretty solid on Cam Newton, who is probably a lock to open the season as the starter, but this passing offense looks pretty shaky here overall. On the bright side of things, the vibes are excellent on rookie TE Devin Asiasi, who is doing it all.
Good Vibes: Cam Newton, Damien Harris, Devin Asiasi
Decent Vibes: None of note
Bad Vibes: N’Keal Harry
New Orleans Saints
9/3 Update: I think we’re good on the Alvin Kamara front.
8/31 Update: We may have an Alvin Kamara contract situation, as you’ve likely heard. It would strike me as very odd, though, if he began a full-fledged holdout at this late stage.
8/28 Update: Things have been pretty quiet here, and in this case no news is probably good news, since the Saints have an excellent roster and great continuity. Rookie TE Adam Trautman’s vibes have been good right out of the gate, so while we still can’t expect much this season, his stock is rising and perhaps Jared Cook deserves a slight downgrade. The other player of note with good vibes is RB Ty Montgomery. No one knew if he would make the team and be a factor, but it looks like the answer is yes on those two fronts. Hopefully, he won’t be a thorn in Alvin Kamara’s side and steal some production, but Montgomery is on the radar as possibly rosterable in deep PPR leagues. Otherwise, I’ve heard good things about Emmanuel Sanders, Kamara is healthy, Drew Brees and Michael Thomas have been doing their thing, and the defense looks to be taking things to another level this year, so the vibes overall are good.
Good Vibes: Emmanuel Sanders, Drew Brees, Michael Thomas
Decent Vibes: Adam Trautman, Ty Montgomery
Bad Vibes: None of note
New York Giants
9/3 Update: Overall, still a good vibe on Daniel Jones and the whole offense.
8/28 Update: The Giants have been a little tough to get a handle on vibe-wise as they work with a new head coach and with a new offensive system, but overall the vibes are solid-to-good. They suffered a key injury in the secondary with Xavier McKinney (foot) needing surgery and likely to land on IR, wiping out most of his season. That could work in their passing game’s favor, since their shaky defense should force them to throw more and open up some garbage time opportunities for Jones. Jones reported to camp bulked up, and he’s worked on his ball security. His schedule to open the season is probably the biggest concern, since the vibes on his receivers are good. Evan Engram is healthy and is showing very well, Saquon Barkley’s role in the passing game looks to be increasing, and their top-3 WRs have all been fine at worst. They did lose some depth with Cody Core on IR, but youngster David Sills, who’s big and talented, has shown well. The vibes were quite good with Darius Slayton earlier this month, but he’s been dealing this week with an undisclosed injury. Assuming he’s fine, and we can’t panic unless we get definitive info, every Giant insider I talk to believe he’s Jones’ favorite receiver, which makes sense because they broke into the league together and have practiced together a lot.
Good Vibes: Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley
Decent Vibes: Daniel Jones, Darius Slayton
Bad Vibes: None of note
New York Jets
9/3 Update: We got good news on Breshad Perriman this week. He’s still out of practice and might deal with a tricky knee all year, which is not good, but it looks like he will be available Week 1, and they desperately need him, so I’m still taking him at his affordable ADP.
8/31 Update: The Jets didn’t practice today, so we will likely learn about the severity of Breshad Perriman’s knee injury. They talked about him returning to practice this past weekend, but it didn’t happen. If he misses more time this week, that’s not a good sign.
8/28 Update: There’s some volatility here, in that the vibes were very good 3-4 days ago on Le’Veon Bell and Breshad Perriman, but Perriman has been dealing with a knee issue (swelling, which is a tad worrisome), and Bell had his social media statements relating to his role in the offense and whether or not he was hurt. The vibes were good previously, as fantasy enemy Adam Gase was going out of his way to compliment Bell and his conditioning, but they quickly got shaky. Gase subsequently started pumping Frank Gore, who according to Gase looks like he did 12 years ago (when Gase was an assistant with Gore’s 49ers). It kind of feels like Gase is trolling Bell, which is not good, but it also feels like Gase wants Gore to handle a healthy percentage of their RB snaps, which is also not good. I’m out on Bell at this point, not that I’ve ever been in this summer. On Perriman, I’ve been told that he was fantastic before the injury, so assuming he’s back practicing on 8/29 or no later than 9/1, which was the hope, the vibes are good. But the vibes on Chris Herndon are by far the best here. I’ve been on Herndon for months and routinely draft him in my Draft Plan article because his cost + upside is very appealing. I also do have a very good vibe on Jamison Crowder, who, for what it’s worth, I was way higher on last year than the masses. He’s not quite the value like last year, but he’s balling in camp and has fantastic chemistry with Sam Darnold.
Good Vibes: Jamison Crowder, Chris Herndon, Breshad Perriman (assuming knee is ok)
Decent Vibes: Sam Darnold
Bad Vibes: Le’Veon Bell, Denzel Mims
9/5 Update: I’m a little worried about Miles Sanders for Week 1 at this point, but I guess it’s a good sign they kept only 3 RBs. Of course, they could always sign someone.
8/31 Update: The vibes got shaky on Jalen Reagor over the weekend, and his shoulder injury is going to cost him probably three games. That obviously hurts his vibes as well as Carson Wentz’ vibes. The vibes on DeSean Jackson have to improve a little, though. Rookie John Hightower is making a late run for some playing time, which is a positive development, so the vibes aren’t yet scary for Wentz in my book. Honestly, if Wentz has Jackson, I think he’ll be fine.
8/28 Update: The vibes here were good, but their OL took another hit with LT Andre Dillard out for the season. If it’s any consolation, we’re told he was not good before the injury and that Jason Peters was working out well at G. He’ll likely move back to LT now. DeSean Jackson, who I jokingly (not jokingly) referred to as their “2019 MVP” all of last year, has been fantastic and is still easily separating from top defenders, like Darius Slay. I called him their MVP because his vertical abilities are a game-changer for their offense. It maximizes Carson Wentz’ effectiveness, since he’s a good deep-ball thrower, and it really opens things up for their two excellent TDs underneath and over the middle. And now we add Jalen Reagor into the mix, and he’s been very good (although his hands are a little shaky). Reagor could see his snaps minimized once Jeffery is back, but he’s still set for a large role. Philly has way more options this year in the passing game compared to last, likely including Alshon Jefferey at some point early in the season, so I think Wentz has legit 35+ TD potential if all goes well. Miles Sanders, per our Adam Caplan, will be fine for the regular season. Boston Scott remains Sanders’ handcuff. Corey Clement has been healthy and solid, so he will get some opportunities. The only other challenge I have with the Eagles is the fact that their TEs are tough to handicap, since they can potentially hurt each other’s fantasy prospects any given week, so I’m not that into Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, even though they’re good.
Good Vibes: DeSean Jackson
Decent Vibes: Miles Sanders, Carson Wentz
Bad Vibes: Jalen Reagor
9/4 Update: Oh, baby. I said it on the radio earlier this week and then yesterday saw reports right in line with my thinking: Ben Roethlisberger is starting to feel it throwing the ball downfield to Diontae Johnson, who we all love. JuJu has had a quiet camp, which could mean nothing but it doesn’t help my unsure vibe on him this year.
8/31 Update: We continue to hear good things about rookie WR Chase Claypool, James Washington, and Eric Ebron, so the vibes remain good for Ben Roethlisberger. But I’m still struggling with JuJu Smith-Schuster.
8/28 Update: The overall vibes have no doubt been good, especially for Ben Roethlisberger, who claims to be feeling as good as he’s felt throwing the ball in a long time. Perhaps that won’t be the case once he starts getting hit, but it’s fair to be optimistic because he has no shortage of weapons. Our insider Adam Caplan tells us that Diontae Johnson will be fine (leg). I’m convinced Johnson is a baller, and I want to draft him, but volume could be a small problem because we continue to hear good things about rookie Chase Claypool, and James Washington is still presumably in the mix with a solid camp. Eric Ebron’s vibes have also been good. I’m not actively targeting Ebron, but he’s a decent TE2 with 6-7 TD upside if he picks things up quickly here. This all leads us to JuJu Smith-Schuster, who I have struggled with all off-season. It’s been a very quiet camp for JuJu, which could be a result of them wanting to get Big Ben on the same page as his receivers not named Juju. Still, he’s likely gone as a free agent in 2021, and it does look like his target share may not be great. On the other hand, the other weapons in the passing game could help open things up for him in the slot, and he clearly benefited playing alongside Antonio Brown. Ultimately, I’m passing on JuJu most likely because there are myriad WRs going off the board near him I like as much or feel a little better about. With James Conner, I’m not actively targeting him, but a lot of our other staff members are. I think he’s appealing based on his role and solid talent, so I’m really only concerned about his availability.
Good Vibes: Ben Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool
Decent Vibes: Diontae Johnson, Eric Ebron
Bad Vibes: None of note
9/4 Update: Our insider Adam Caplan has confirmed to me that they will look to throw it more early in games, which is good. Now, that doesn’t mean they will throw it more, keep in mind.
9/3 Update: Josh Gordon is back, which helps the vibes a little for Russell Wilson and could hurt DK Metcalf’s upside. But I can’t worry about Gordon until we see more evidence he’s going to hurt Metcalf.
8/28 Update: Not a lot going on here, but there’s one player with really good vibes and it’s a player I (and we) have been in all year: DK Metcalf. The Seahawks do have a little more around him this year, especially at TE, so his targets won’t be super high, but he’s showing signs of have Julio Jones-like dominance, and he’s definitely talented enough to do what Julio once told me he looks to do to defenses, which is to impose his will on them. His ADP is up there as a fourth-round pick, but he’s probably worth it. Greg Olsen has had a good camp, so the vibes certainly aren’t bad for Russell Wilson, but I don’t think they will #letrusscook, which was a social media movement aimed to convince Seattle to throw more and earlier in games. They may throw more earlier in games, but they probably won’t throw more overall. Chris Carson has been dealing with a personal issue this week, but his vibes aren’t great, since HC Pete Caroll has been pumping up Carlos Hyde, so Carson may not be a lock for 20 touches or more each week if healthy, and health is always a concern. I’m not totally against Carson if I need a RB, but I haven’t drafted him yet. I’ve also been told that rookie RB Deejay Dallas has shown well in camp, particularly in the passing game, so he’s a solid dynasty pick. Rashad Penny may be ready by the second half of the season, and he did look to be turning a major corner before his injury late last year.
Good Vibes: DK Metcalf
Decent Vibes: Russell Wilson, Tyler Lockett, Greg Olsen
Bad Vibes: Chris Carson
San Francisco 49ers
9/5 Update: Good vibes all around with Deebo Samuel expected to play Week 1, great news for Jimmy G.
9/4 Update: The vibes keep getting better for Jerrick McKinnon. Maybe he’s fool’s gold, but I’m in on him as a 150+ pick.
9/3 Update: Good vibes on Trent Taylor, who should be taken 200+ picks in for most deep leagues. Also good vibes with Dante Pettis, actually.
8/28 Update: It’s a mixed bag here due to their injuries, but I do have solid vibes overall here. Jimmy Garopollo is healthy and two years removed from his ACL, so I still have a pretty good vibe on him, despite their injuries at receiver. And due to those injuries, my vibe on George Kittle is good. Deebo Samuel has not been ruled out for Week 1 yet, so the vibe there is improving, but I’d still take him only about 90 picks into a draft. Brandon Aiyuk has garnered plenty of praise this month, but he’s been down with a hamstring for a little while and has lost valuable time. Still, they need him badly so I’m still fine with him at his affordable ADP around 140 overall. My focus here is on three low-end guys, though. Jerick McKinnon has been making LBs look foolish in practice, and not just any LBs; guys like Kwon Alexander, who’s great in coverage. McKinnon is absolutely worth a late pick, and his ADP is 170+ so he’s almost free. Keep in mind everyone was in on him as a third-round pick about 25 months ago. Trent Taylor has picked up where he left off last year, and Kyle Shanahan told me in February he was their best player in camp last summer, plus he’s working well with WRs coach Wes Welker and has chemistry with Jimmy G. And Dante Pettis lives. Shanahan seemed very high on Pettis when I asked him about him in February 2019 and he told me he likes his ability to play all three WR spots, which helps his chances. Even Jordan Reed has solid vibes (for now). Things have been quiet on the Raheem Mostert front, but with McKinnon re-emerging, Mostert is too pricey for me, and I don’t trust Tevin Coleman enough to draft as his ADP of 100-110.
Good Vibes: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon, Trent Taylor, Dante Pettis
Decent Vibes: Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk
Bad Vibes: None of note
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9/4 Update: The release of Dare Ogunbowale helps the stock of LeSean McCoy, who looks like a lock now to make the team, and also Leonard Fournette, whose opportunities will increase with Dare off the roster. Dare let their RBs in routes run last year.
9/3 Update: Obviously, despite being Bruce Arians’ guy still at RB, Ronald Jones’ vibes are horrible. He may be the guy, but he’s the guy until he’s not the guy, which could be like Week 3. Leonard Fournette will be polarizing and he won’t be cheap as a 4th rounder or 5th rounder, but I have to say my gut instincts tell me this move will be a success. As Greg Cosell agreed with on our 9/3 livestream, you don’t sign a volume back like Fournette for decent money and hand him only a small role.
8/28 Update: Overall, the vibes are certainly good in Tampa, thanks to Tom Brady, who has looked youthful in camp and has been good. He’s working well with Mike Evans, and he’s worked well with Chris Godwin for months, but I’m still not likely taking Brady, who is somewhat costly. My biggest issue is his lack of reps this year, on his new team. I talked to his former OC Charlie Weiss this week and Charlie agreed with my assessment that Brady may be a little slow out of the gate, so with myriad options at QB who I like available later, I’m passing on Brady. I continue to hear very good things about OJ Howard, so he’s a viable late, late pick. I’m not out on Rob Gronkowski because his potential vs. his cost is fine, but I don’t find myself considering him in actual drafts. The vibes have certainly been good for Ronald Jones, and he’s taken a step forward this year and clearly has a large role to open the season. But his work in the passing game continues to be shaky - although perhaps improved still, overall, plus he did get banged up on 8/28 (Bucs don’t seem that concerned). After a slow start due in part to Covid-19, Ke’Shawn Vaughn has elevated the last week, so I actually prefer Vaughn at 130 overall vs. Jones at 60 overall. They will likely use a pass-catching specialist like LeSean McCoy or Dare Ogunbowale, so Jones may need TDs to come through. Pass protection will be the key, so the veteran McCoy gets the edge for now. Finally, slot receiver Scotty Miller has generated a lot of buzz, and he is intriguing, but Justin Watson is also in the mix for snaps, and they will go with a lot of 2-WR sets only, so I’m not that interested in Miller right now.
Good Vibes: OJ Howard
Decent Vibes: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski
Bad Vibes: Ronald Jones
8/31 Update: I drafted Derrick Henry 8th overall on Friday night!
8/28 Update: I’ve been a Derrick Henry hater in the past, and I can’t seem to get myself to draft him. But I’m finally higher on him this year, since I’ve been told for months that he’s going to be used a little more in the passing game, and that’s been playing out in camp and with his unique conditioning work this year. I’ll take 25-30 grabs and will be happy. Henry is potentially a real problem in the passing game on screens, for one. Otherwise, not a lot going on here but my vibes on Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, and Jonnu Smith are solid. Tannehill looks dialed in, and we’re told they are going to expand the passing game some this year, which could help offset the forthcoming TD regression for Tannehill. But I’m fully convinced last year was not a fluke (full disclosure: I’ve been a Tannehill truther for 5+ years). As for rookie RB Darrynton Evans, he’s made some rookie mistakes, but they are clearly working toward him having a role, once he proves himself in pass protection.
Good Vibes: Derrick Henry
Decent Vibes: Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown, Jonnu Smith
Bad Vibes: None of note
Washington Football Team
9/4 Update: Obviously, a big shakeup today with Adrian Peterson released. This makes Antonio Gibson a league-winning type, and we’ve moved him way up, but Bryce Love also has a 3-down skill set and is now a viable late-round pick for upside. They do still have Peyton Barber, though, and in theory he could be their early-down back. But Gibson’s upgrade is indisputable.
8/28 Update: Were it not for Ron Rivera, the vibes would be awful in Washington, obviously. Ron helps, but we still have issues here. I can’t say that the vibes are wonderful for Dwayne Haskins, and they have yet to name a starter (which could mean something, or nothing, honestly). Haskins, I was told this week, has progressed this year, for sure. We know Adrian Peterson is the early-down back, and he’s set for 200+ carries if healthy. They have put Antonio Gibson on the fast track and have fed him a lot of their running game and work in the passing game. He’s made some plays, but he’s also shown that he needs some more time to develop, so people need to be patient. If he’s not ready for an early-season role, JD McKissic will likely handle a lot of the third-down and passing work. Bryce Love looked good early, but he’s faded a bit and has been with the second-team offense, so he’s not a 100% lock. Terry McLaurin will be a marked man, and they know this, so the plan is to move him all over the place, which should help. Steven Sims is locked into the slot role, with a little time at “Z,” and he’s been good, so he remains a great late-round PPR target. Logan Thomas has made quite an impression so far, so he’s their best option, but he’s still not draftable and it’ll likely be a TEBC.
Good Vibes: Steven Sims
Decent Vibes: Terry McLaurin
Bad Vibes: Daniel Snyder