With Desmond Ridder as their quarterback, the Atlanta Falcons have shown a strong preference for targeting their running backs, ranking 7th in the league in this regard. Ridder’s propensity for checking down the ball has been a key factor in this strategy. One player who has been making waves in the team is rookie Bijan Robinson. However, it would be a mistake to simply label him as a running back. Robinson’s versatile skills make him more of an offensive weapon, a point I highlighted in my report on NFL Total Access on the NFL Network.
Green Bay Packers
Moving on to the Green Bay Packers, Christian Watson is a player to watch. Last year, he received a target for every 4.1 pass snaps he played. If he can maintain his health this season, he’s projected to participate in over 600 pass snaps, which could result in a target share close to 150. To put this into perspective, only 11 wide receivers received more than 150 targets last year. While there’s a lot of hype around the Packers’ volume, Watson’s potential contribution can’t be overlooked.
In Miami, Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has been making a name for himself with his impressive work over the middle of the field (MoF). Tagovailoa’s command of this area is undeniable, and the unique space that McDaniel and the wide receivers create is a testament to this. What sets Tagovailoa apart is his unwavering confidence, impeccable timing, and quick release.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints’ Alvin Kamara has recently agreed to plead guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge related to his alleged involvement in a 2022 Las Vegas fight. This plea means that the felony charge he was facing will be dropped.
New York Giants
The New York Giants are facing a potential issue with Saquon Barkley, who has expressed his aversion to the franchise tag. If Barkley doesn’t receive a long-term deal from the Giants, his availability for Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys could be in jeopardy. As the deadline for a long-term deal approaches, negotiations between Barkley and the Giants remain at a standstill. The Giants are undoubtedly a stronger team with Barkley, but if a deal isn’t reached by Monday’s deadline, they may have to proceed without him. The question of whether Joe Schoen will add a running back to the roster remains unanswered.
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers’ Kyle Juszczyk has been taken aback by the transformation of Brandon Aiyuk, as evidenced by the OTAs and minicamp film. Juszczyk noted Aiyuk’s increased efficiency and explosiveness, attributing it to his heightened confidence and reduced need to think on the field. According to Juszczyk, Aiyuk’s performance has set him apart from the rest of the team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie receiver Trey Palmer has had an impressive start to his career with the team. His speed and ability to execute deep routes have caught the attention of the coaches, including wide receiver coach Brad Idzik. Palmer’s performance in the rookie mini-camp and the first week against the veterans has legitimized his role on the team, forcing opponents to respect his speed on every snap.
Finally, the Tennessee Titans are reportedly the favored destination for DeAndre Hopkins, according to DraftKings. The odds for Hopkins joining the Titans have significantly improved from +500 to -300.
The following players’ stock seems to have gone up:
- Desmond Ridder (Atlanta Falcons): His ability to effectively target running backs and check down the ball has been a key factor in the Falcons’ strategy, which could increase his value.
- Bijan Robinson (Atlanta Falcons): As a rookie, Robinson is already making waves in the team and is seen as more than just a running back, but an offensive weapon. This versatility could boost his stock.
- Christian Watson (Green Bay Packers): If Watson stays healthy, he’s projected to have a significant target share, which could increase his value.
- Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins): His command over the middle of the field and quick release have been highlighted, which could raise his stock.
- Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers): His transformation and increased efficiency and explosiveness have been noted, which could boost his stock.
- Trey Palmer (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): His impressive start with the Buccaneers and his speed and ability to execute deep routes have caught the attention of the coaches, which could increase his value.
- DeAndre Hopkins (Tennessee Titans): The odds for Hopkins joining the Titans have significantly improved, which could indicate an increase in his stock.
On the other hand, the following players’ stock seems to have gone down:
- Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints): His legal issues could potentially affect his stock negatively.
- Saquon Barkley (New York Giants): His aversion to the franchise tag and the uncertainty around his long-term deal with the Giants could potentially lower his stock. His availability for Week 1 is also in question, which could further impact his value.