Latest fantasy football news and notes | Moody’s Mailbag

NFL news happens each and every day. In fantasy football, it is important to have an awareness and understanding of the news and its potential implications. Moody’s Mailbag will address that news and answer questions from a statistical angle to help you understand what’s happening during the season and offseason.

Fantasy Football News | Could Amari Cooper miss time?

Question: Should there be any concerns over Amari Cooper missing time with the reports of a minor setback?

It is a legitimate concern considering Cooper’s injury history. After having ankle/foot surgery back in January, Cooper has spent the last few months recovering. Will he be able to participate in training camp? This is the question fantasy managers are asking.

Quarterback Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury derailed Dallas’ entire season. Still, Cooper had a solid year and finished as the WR15 in PPR formats. The veteran receiver finished with a career-high 92 receptions, 1,114 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns. Cooper also became the fourth player in Cowboys history to finish with 90 or more receptions in a season.

Cooper will cut it close, but I’d be surprised if he misses time during the regular season. He can be viewed as a high-end WR2 in PPR formats and is a nice value at his ADP due to all the attention teammate CeeDee Lamb has garnered this offseason. If you are very risk-averse, consider drafting Cooper and Michael Gallup late in your draft. Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup all have the potential to see 100+ targets and exceed 1,000 receiving yards in 2021.

Moody’s Mailbag | Is Chase Edmonds’ stock trending up after Adam Beasley’s report?

Question: After Adam Beasley’s report on Edmonds expected to be RB1 in Arizona, how’s it impact his draft stock in redraft leagues?

We could see Edmonds ADP trend up in all formats. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, he’s being drafted in the sixth round of 12-team PPR formats.

Two running backs with a similar ADP are Javonte Williams and Leonard Fournette. Unfortunately, both are tethered to committees. Edmonds is in a great position to set career highs in multiple statistical areas this season. He could see the largest opportunity share of his career. Edmonds’ ADP could rise as high as the fourth round as the season nears.

Fantasy Football News | Can Derrick Henry and Darrynton Evans co-exist in Tennessee?

Question: Could Darrynton Evans hurt Derrick Henry’s ceiling in the 2021 season?

I don’t believe so. Henry has averaged 24 opportunities (rushing attempts plus targets), 125 total yards, and 20 PPR fantasy points per game since 2019. He may not accumulate a ton of receptions, but the veteran running back is the starter on a run-first team in Tennessee with one of the top offensive lines in the NFL.

Evans will operate as more of a change of pace option. We have him projected for around 100 opportunities in 2021. Henry, on the other hand, is projected for around 360 opportunities. Last season, Henry averaged 0.81 fantasy points per opportunity. As a result, he can be viewed as a mid-range RB1 in 2021.

Moody’s Mailbag | Mid-tier tight ends

Question: Who are the best mid-tier tight ends to target?

Three of my favorites are Dallas Goedert, Noah Fant, and Logan Thomas.

Last season, Goedert played 3.5 games with the Eagles’ new starting quarterback Jalen Hurts, accumulating 24 targets. If we extrapolate that to a full year, Goedert would finish with around 120 targets. His ceiling could be even higher when we have confirmation that Zach Ertz has moved on.

The quarterback situation isn’t ideal in Denver. Fant will be competing with receivers Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy for targets in 2021. He provides fantasy managers with a TE2 floor and a low-end TE1 ceiling. Fant is projected for around 90 targets in 2021.

Last year, Thomas caught 72 of 110 targets for 670 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns on 74% of offensive snaps. He finished as a TE1 in 56% of his games in PPR formats.

Thomas will also play in the same offense for a second season for the first time in his NFL career. He won’t have to spend time learning a new playbook and can instead use that additional time studying other tight ends like George Kittle, Travis Kelce, and Darren Waller. Moreover, he can refer to film from the previous year to analyze how defenses covered him. All of these things will allow Thomas to make adjustments to his overall game.

The veteran tight end will be catching passes from a competent quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and is projected to see around 100 targets.

Fantasy Football News | Offensive line play is important

Question: How much do you factor in a team’s offensive line when choosing which running backs to pursue?

It is extremely important and the foundation of my analysis. A running back’s statistical body of work, advanced metrics, and game film can paint a picture of if he can transcend poor offensive line play. Not every running back is athletically gifted like Dalvin Cook, Henry, or Saquon Barkley. Still, that doesn’t mean he can’t be productive for fantasy managers.

When evaluating offensive line play, some of the statistics or information I look at are depth, experience (combined career starts for the unit), number of different starters, number of rookies, blocking schemes, and blown blocks. A running back’s yards before and after contact are also useful.

Moody’s Mailbag | What to expect from the Steelers’ offense in 2021?

Question: With an aging Big Ben and rough offensive line in 2021, what’s the outlook for Pittsburgh’s offensive weapons?

Ben Roethlisberger’s return in 2020 from an elbow injury that tanked his 2019 season left much to be desired. Regardless, the Steelers will be more pass-heavy than many anticipate.

According to Pro Football Reference, the veteran only needs 3,093 more passing yards to pass Dan Marino and Philip Rivers as the No. 5 QB in NFL history.

We have Roethlisberger projected for 600+ pass attempts and 4,200 passing yards. Thus, receivers Diontae Johnson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Chase Claypool will all exceed 100+ targets.

Johnson will be the Steelers receiver to have on your fantasy roster. From Week 7-17 last year, he averaged 10.7 targets, 70.6 receiving yards, and 17 PPR fantasy points per game. Johnson is in a position to see 130+ targets in 2021. He’s undervalued and could be viewed as an upside WR2.

Najee Harris is the best running back in Pittsburgh since Le’Veon Bell. He’s projected to have 300+ touches and generate 1,300 total yards. Don’t sleep on the Steelers in drafts this summer.

Want more fantasy football analysis and news?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay current with all things around the NFL and the upcoming 2021 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our fantasy football section for more coverage and up-to-date rankings.

Eric is a Senior Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers Association). You can read more of his work here and follow Eric on Twitter @EricNMoody.

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