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Footballguys #47 - 6/5 - Speculation On Rob Gronkowski Returning, Wide Reciever Staff Roundtables And MORE

Volume 21, #47 -- Wednesday Night, June 5th, 2019

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Howdy Folks,

Good Thursday to you. I'm in beautiful Boise, Idaho today for a conference hosted by our friends at ConvertKit, the nice people that make delivering this email to you each day possible. If Boise's your town, hit me up and we'll grab lunch today.

We've got killer new content for you plus the News and Notes you need so let's go.

J

SITE NEWS

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B. Who Is the Top Rookie WR for 2019?
The Footballguys staff gives their opinions on which wide receiver has the most value this season.

C. Who Will Be the Top Rookie WR in 2021?
A discussion over which wide receiver has the most dynasty value.

D. Which Rookie WR Is in a Tough Situation?
Staff members name wide receivers who are in tough spots to produce this season.

E. Which Rookie WR Is in a Great Situation?
Our Footballguys Staffers dive into finding a wide receiver of average talent who is in an excellent situation.


1. NE - Rumors Of TE Rob Gronkowski Returning

Source: Mike Freeman - Bleacher Report

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski recently squashed any talk of his returning to the Patriots.

"Whatever I say, it doesn't matter. It will always be crazy out there, but you can put them to rest," Gronkowski said after getting a haircut for at One Mission Buzz Off for Kids at Gillette Stadium.

In his latest 10-Point Stance offering on Bleacher Report, Mike Freeman says you can count on Gronk returning during the 2019 season:

"Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made a public appearance recently and said he was done with football. What I can tell you is few people, including sources on the Patriots, believe that.

"The belief is that once the season gets going, and Gronkowski starts missing football, he will rejoin the team. It's not just a hunch, sources say; you can count on it."

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Let's be clear. At this point, this is just Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report saying this. Gronkowski says it's not happening.

But clearly, the Patriots can use help at TE. Ben Watson is suspended for the first four games of the season and Austin Seferian-Jenkins was released on Tuesday. Per Boston.cbslocal.com, New England currently has Watson, Matt LaCosse, Stephen Anderson, Andrew Beck and Ryan Izzo making up their tight end depth chart.

Stay tuned as you can be sure there will be more talk and speculation on this report.

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2. IND - QB Andrew Luck may be ready for minicamp

Source: The Indianapolis Star - Zak Keefer

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (calf) may be able to participate in the minicamp next week, but head coach Frank Reich said the team will not be worried if Luck misses those practices as well.

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This calf injury is seen as minor. Don't worry about Luck's participation or lack thereof.

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3. WAS - QB Alex Smith injury update

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Washington Redskins QB Alex Smith (leg) will need to wear the external fixator on his right leg for at least another month, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

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Gruden has alluded to the fact that Smith could return sooner than expected. While that's possible, nobody should be counting on that. Washington will have Case Keenum compete with 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins for the starting job in training camp. If/when Smith returns, it might be just as the No. 3 quarterback.

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4. ATL - WR Julio Jones expected at minicamp

Source: The Athletic - Jeff Schultz

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones is expected to participate in minicamp next week, according to head coach Dan Quinn.

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Extension talks with Jones are going well, but no deal is done yet. When the work is mandatory, Jones will be there. He was absent from voluntary workouts earlier this offseason.

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5. DEN - RB Phillip Lindsay on track for camp

Source: The Athletic - Nicki Jhabvala

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) should be ready for the start of training camp, according to head coach Vic Fangio.

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Lindsay should be ready for the start of camp, but don't be surprised if the Broncos ease him back into action. They're playing in the Hall of Fame Game and have five preseason games this year. There's no need to rush the 2018 Pro Bowl running back. Royce Freeman has looked outstanding in OTAs and mandatory minicamp. We should see Freeman cut into Lindsay's touches a bit this season.

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6. SEA - Drumbeat continues for WR Jaron Brown

Source: ESPN.com - Brady Henderson

Seattle Seahawks WR Jaron Brown has enjoyed an 'unbelievable' offseason, according to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who echoed earlier comments from head coach Pete Carroll that Brown could have a larger role this season.'(Brown) did so much of the dirty work for us last year that ... we kind of forgot that he's a really established receiver and he's looked dynamic out here,' Schottenheimer said.

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That's what we all should be listening for at this point in the offseason; drumbeats. It's something that has continued in the conversation/reporting about Jaron Brown. Any former Clemson receiver in the league we will keep tabs on, and we've had our eyes on Brown in dynasty formats since he got into the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Last year in his first season with Seattle, Brown had just 14 catches for 166 yards but five of those grabs were for touchdowns. We'll see if he can continue to develop and be more than a red-zone threat this season.

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7. CLE - RB Duke Johnson to have important role?

Source: ClevelandBrowns.com - Andrew Gribble

Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson is expected to play a 'significant' role in 2019, according to comments made by head coach Freddie Kitchens to Andrew Gribble of the team's website.

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Johnson would have a big role if the team doesn't trade him away like he wants. Ever since they added Kareem Hunt, Johnson has been looking to get out. No team has shown much interest and the Browns might be discouraged at that and don't want to just give him away. If he stays with the Browns, Johnson has at least 'what the heck' flex appeal in PPR leagues...that is until Hunt returns from his 8-game suspension. Stay tuned.

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8. IND - Mo Alie-Cox taking No. 1 reps

Source: The Indianapolis Star - Zak Keefer

Indianapolis Colts TE Mo Alie-Cox (6-foot-5, 267 pounds) took first-team reps at mandatory minicamp Tuesday, June 4. He drew praise while filling in for Jack Doyle (hip) and Eric Ebron (groin). 'Watching him grow is like watching your son become something special,' Ebron said. 'He's gonna play such a huge role this year.'

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We've always had an appreciation for Alie-Cox in deep dynasty formats. He never played college football and was instead a college basketball player for VCU. Undrafted in 2017, Alie-Cox has been mostly on the Colts practice squad. He did appear in nine games last season, catching seven passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

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9. NYG - WR Sterling Shepard misses practice

Source: The Bergen Record - Art Stapleton

New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard (wrist) did not participate in practice Wednesday, June 5, because of a wrist injury, but head coach Pat Shurmur said Shepard will be fine.

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It sounds like a non-issue here. With Odell Beckham gone, Shepard will have the best opportunity of his career to emerge as a No. 1 receiver for the Giants. Shepard has a current ADP of WR40 (9.04) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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10. MIA - WR Brice Butler should be fine

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

Miami Dolphins WR Brice Butler (leg) left practice early Tuesday, June 4, because of a leg injury, but head coach Brian Flores said Butler will be fine.

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Butler may be fine but he needs to stay on the field if he wants to make the team. With the additions this offseason, the Dolphins are packed at the position. Butler is likely a fifth or sixth receiver if he makes the team.

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11. BUF - WR Cole Beasley should be ready for camp

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Nate Mendelson

Buffalo Bills WR Cole Beasley (core) is on schedule in his recovery and should be ready for the start of training camp.

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The Bills are just being cautious here. Signed to a four-year, $29 million deal this offseason, Beasley is the team's slot receiver in 2019.

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12. JAX - Taj McGowan signs with Jaguars

Source: The Florida Times-Union - Phillip Heilman

Undrafted free-agent RB Taj McGowan (Central Florida) signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars Wednesday, June 5. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived DT Khairi Clark.

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McGowan is a one-speed runner with quick feet. He doesn't stand out with speed but can change direction smoothly in traffic. McGowan was not used much as a receiver in college with only 16 career catches at UCF. Undrafted this year, McGowan went to rookie minicamp with the Jaguars and the Giants. He'll have to make the 53-man roster by standing out on special teams.

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13. CIN - Ryan Finley not impressing

Source: The Athletic - Paul Dehner Jr.

Cincinnati Bengals QB Ryan Finley 'looks bad' in practice, in the opinion of beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. 'There's just no way around it,' Dehner writes. 'It's still early, but not so early that we can't begin to wonder what is going on.'

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The Bengals picked up Finley in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft. During his college career at NC State, Finley did not show well under duress. His set up time in the pocket was a bit longer than desired and he tends to wind up when throwing longer passes. Finley is a project who is nowhere near seeing the field in the pros. Looks like he could stick as the No. 3 quarterback for the Bengals behind starter Andy Dalton and backup Jeff Driskel. We're actually a bit more interested in undrafted rookie Jake Dolegala (Central Connecticut State) than we are Finley.

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14. BAL - Marquise Brown agrees to deal

Source: BaltimoreRavens.com

Baltimore Ravens first-round pick WR Marquise Brown has agreed to a four-year contract Wednesday, June 5. Financial terms weren't disclosed, and the deal includes an option for a fifth year.

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Brown is one of the most electric players with the rock in his hand. During his college career at Oklahoma, Brown frequently made would-be defenders look silly in the open field with his quickness and speed. That's going to be his role with the Ravens. Brown can become a favorite target of QB Lamar Jackson, especially because he can take any short pass and turn it into a long gain. The rookie is recovering from Lisfranc surgery he had in February but there have been no known setbacks and he should be ready for the start of training camp.

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15. SF - Deebo Samuel too heavy?

Source: NBC Sports Bay Area - Matt Maiocco

San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel needs to drop some weight in order to function more effectively out of the slot, according to WR coach Wes Welker.

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The rookie from South Carolina is listed on the team's official website at 214 pounds. He was listed around 210 pounds during his days in college. Samuel is a bully with the rock and wins with strength and run-after-the-catch ability. He's known as a hyper-competitive player and if he needs to drop a few lbs then he should be able to do that no problem. We're excited about him in dynasty formats. The rookie has a current ADP of WR56 (12.10) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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16. SEA - TE Jacob Hollister making early impression

Source: ESPN.com - Brady Henderson

Seattle Seahawks TE Jacob Hollister is reportedly off to a strong start and has caught the eye of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, who referred to his new pupil as a 'terrific acquisition.''The speed element is awesome. Really good route-runner. A lot like Tyler (Lockett) in terms of the instincts, just the ability to get open. He has a great feel for coverages, man to zone,' Schottenheimer said.

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The Patriots could've used this guy. They traded him to Seattle earlier this year as they were jam-packed at the position at the time. That's not the case now as the Patriots might start Matt LaCosse to begin the regular season. We've appreciated Hollister's game since his days in college at Wyoming when he was a favorite target of Josh Allen. Hollister is buried on the depth hart behind Will Dissly, Nick Vannett and Ed Dickson but it's good news he is impressing.

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17. NE - Damien Harris inks rookie deal

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

New England Patriots rookie RB Damien Harris signed a four-year, $3.6 million contract Tuesday, June 4. The deal includes an $886,319 signing bonus. Harris, a third-round pick of the Patriots, was the last member of the team's rookie class to be signed.

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We love Harris in dynasty formats. He'll compete for a spot in the pecking order behind starter Sony Michel, although there are some who say he could push for the starting job as a rookie. Harris is a natural runner who is capable of playing all three downs.

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18. WAS - WR Paul Richardson doing individual drills

Source: Redskins.com - Jake King-Schreifels & Kyle Stackpole

Washington Redskins WR Paul Richardson (shoulder) was in full uniform at the team's minicamp session Tuesday, June 4, but he was limited to individual workouts. The veteran wideout stood to the side during 7-on-7 drills.

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Richardson is a fast player with some upside but he's fought the injury bug dating back to his days in college at Colorado. He only made it through seven games last season and caught only 20 passes. Richardson will try to get out there and compete for a spot in the pecking order when healthy. He could perhaps put up WR3 numbers if healthy and starting for Washington in 2019.

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That'll do it for today, Folks.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J