The NFL offseason is underway with teams going through OTA workouts. That has given us a chance to see players on new teams and what some coaches plan to do this season. And we can start to examine some crucial position battles. It's fun for the football diehards and informative for you to start preparing for your upcoming Fantasy Football drafts later this summer. With that in mind, here are some news items or stories I found interesting for all the NFC teams.
We'll have a separate story for the AFC teams as well. Hopefully, this helps you get an idea of what to watch for in training camp -- and certain players to target for your Fantasy rosters.
Cardinals: Brown the new No. 1 WR
With DeAndre Hopkins no longer on the Cardinals, the new No. 1 receiver in 2023 is Marquise Brown. This isn't a new role for Brown since he was the top receiver in Arizona to open 2022 when Hopkins was out for the first six games due to suspension. In those six games, Brown had 43 catches for 485 yards and three touchdowns on 64 targets. He had at least 11 PPR points in each game and scored more than 20 PPR points three times.
Now, Kyler Murray was healthy then, but Murray is coming off a torn ACL this season, so take that into account when evaluating Brown. The Cardinals also have a new coaching staff, and this offense should be different, potentially for the worst. But if Murray is ready by Week 1 then Brown has top-20 upside in all leagues. He's worth drafting as early as Round 5 in all formats.
As for the receivers behind Brown, I would gamble on Rondale Moore with a late-round pick. Third-round rookie Michael Wilson from Stanford is also a potential late-round flier, but Murray's health will likely determine how much interest Fantasy managers have in this passing game.
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Falcons: Allgeier hopes to compete with Robinson
Bijan Robinson is the new star in Atlanta, and Fantasy managers should be excited to draft the rookie running back in Round 1 in all leagues. But what about the guy Robinson is replacing for the Falcons in Tyler Allgeier, who set the team rookie rushing record last season with 1,035 yards? Allgeier said he was "excited" about adding Robinson to the backfield.
"The guys upstairs do things for a reason and are bringing the right guys in here," Allgeier said via The Athletic. "It's just competition. That's the name of this game. Should be fun."
Allgeier is still someone to target with a late-round pick in all leagues. He'll be the handcuff to Robinson in case he ever misses any time, and the Falcons also led the NFL in rushing attempts last season with 559. That means there could be enough carries for both Robinson and Allgeier where Allgeier might be worth using as a flex option in deeper leagues.
Injury of note: Kyle Pitts (knee) still isn't practicing coming off November knee surgery.
Panthers: Dalton says Young's height not a problem
The photos of rookie quarterback Bryce Young standing behind his offensive line in practice were definitely glaring, but no one expected Young to grow when he entered the NFL. Fellow Panthers quarterback Andy Dalton doesn't think Young, who is listed at 5-foot-10, will have a problem in the NFL because of his height.
"He's never let it affect him," Dalton said to the Carolina media. "I actually think he probably uses it in his favor. Yeah, I am 5-10, and I'm still doing this. One of those mentalities."
Young isn't worth drafting in most one-quarterback leagues, but he could emerge as a waiver-wire option during the season. In Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, Young is worth a mid-round selection.
I'm not worried as much about Young's size as I am about his receiving corps in 2023. I'm not sure the group of Adam Thielen, Jonathan Mingo, D.J. Chark and Terrace Marshall Jr. is going to enhance Young's production. I'm expecting Young to struggle as a Fantasy option in his rookie campaign.
Bears: Fields, Moore working on rapport
"Strength, speed, body control, great hands," Fields said of Moore in The Athletic. "I think he knows how to use his body to get open. I think that's a big part for receivers. He knows how to tip a route, so he's rarely ever going to be running a hundred percent on all the routes. He has that second gear to go get the ball. I think that's what makes him a great receiver, just his understanding of the coverages, seeing the defense well."
Moore should be considered a low-end No. 2 receiver now that he's in Chicago, and the earliest he should be selected is Round 4 in the majority of leagues. While I like the pairing with Fields, I still want to be a little conservative with Moore in this offense. He has top-20 upside for sure, but I don't want to reach for Moore on Draft Day.
As for Fields, getting a receiver like Moore only enhances the ceiling for what should be a top-five season. Fields has already shown he can run at an elite level for a quarterback, but now he has a legit No. 1 receiver to help his passing stats. Fields is worth drafting in Round 4 in one-quarterback leagues and Round 1 in Superflex and two-quarterback formats.
Cowboys: Gallup still "important" to Cowboys
The Cowboys acquired Brandin Cooks this offseason, and he should be the No. 2 receiver in Dallas behind CeeDee Lamb. But don't forget about Michael Gallup, who is a year removed from the ACL tear he suffered at the end of the 2021 campaign. Gallup told ESPN that he feels "springy again" with his knee, which could lead to a surprise season.
"Michael's very important," Mike McCarthy said. "I think that the biggest thing with Michael -- and I know he wants it too -- he just wants to have a healthy season. He's been through these injuries here and he looks good. I mean this is really the first time in my time here he's had a full offseason program. Yeah, he's very important."
Gallup finished last with 39 catches for 424 yards and four touchdowns on 74 targets. He missed the first three games of the season while still recovering from the ACL surgery. In the 11 games he played, he had two or fewer catches six times, and he had more than 49 yards receiving in a game just twice.
This year, he could struggle for targets again behind Lamb and Cooks, but with Dalton Schultz gone as a free agent to Houston, we could see Dak Prescott support all three receivers at a high level. I like drafting Gallup with a late-round pick in all leagues.
Injury of note: Tony Pollard (leg) was able to participate in reduced-tempo OTA practices.
Lions: Williams "miles ahead" this offseason
Second-year receiver Jameson Williams is suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league's gambling policy. But that hasn't stopped Williams from working hard this offseason. Last year at this time, Williams couldn't do anything coming off a torn ACL, but now he's taking advantage of his time at OTAs and making an impression on his coach.
"We're already miles ahead with him," Dan Campbell told the Detroit media. "We didn't get this with him last year -- he wasn't able to do any of it. So that in itself is like, man, just to be able to build from the ground up, not the season, he's already in .. here we go, three weeks, four weeks, you see progress. So I think that's just it. Let's get him better. He's got a lot of room to grow and develop, and he needs this, this time. I think that's what it's about, man. We've got to sharpen every little thing with him, sharpen the routes, sharpen all of it -- like any of the guys -- but just get him as much time on task as we can at different positions."
Williams has the chance for a breakout season in 2023, but Fantasy managers who draft him will have to be patient due to the suspension. The earliest I would draft Williams in Round 7, but he could be a significant difference maker when he returns to the field.
Packers: All eyes on Love
According to The Athletic, Love had a couple of balls swatted near the line of scrimmage by cornerback Keisean Nixon and defensive tackle T.J. Slaton. Love also threw a wobbly, underthrown deep ball to Christian Watson into traffic.
But Love also had a pretty pass down the sideline to A.J. Dillon that would have been a touchdown if Dillon didn't drop it. He connected with Watson on a touchdown in the back of the end zone through traffic on another drill. And he hit Romeo Doubs for a 10-yard touchdown.
As the report indicated, Love is looking like a first-time starter -- a work in progress -- which is something he acknowledged.
"I think it's still early right now," Love told the Green Bay media. "This is our first week practicing, starting live practicing against the defense. It's not perfect right now. We know it's not going to be perfect. I think the meter for us is continue building, make sure we're doing the right things, in the right place on routes and route depth, timing, things like that. Building that trust to take from the meeting room to the field and make sure everything's dialed in from that aspect. We love when we can capitalize and score touchdowns, but just don't get down on ourselves when a play's not perfect or it goes off schedule or things don't work as we want."
It's going to be fun to see how Love develops. and he could emerge as a weekly Fantasy starter in deeper leagues. He's not worth drafting in one-quarterback formats, but in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues, Love is worth a mid-round pick.
Rams: Nacua makes strong first impression
The Rams receiving corps is wide open behind Cooper Kupp, and there is a chance for someone to step up and help the team and Fantasy managers. While Van Jefferson is likely that receiver, keep an eye on rookie fifth-rounder Puka Nacua from BYU. He's already making a strong first impression on his teammates.
"Puka has done a nice job. He's gotten some reps really in all three groups," Matthew Stafford said in The Athletic. "Every time I look up, he's running around somewhere."
Added Jefferson: "He has come in and taken ownership of the playbook and tried to learn the best he can. You can just see how it (translates) on the field. He's been having a great two days that he's been out here."
Keep an eye on Nacua in training camp, and he could be worth a late-round flier in all redraft leagues. In rookie-only drafts for dynasty leagues, Nacua is worth a third-round pick.
Vikings: Is Cook done with the Vikings?
Dalvin Cook wasn't present at OTAs since he's coming off shoulder surgery, but he also might not return to the Vikings this season. Cook, 27, has a $14 million salary-cap number, and he's coming off a down year where he averaged 13.9 PPR points per game, which was his worst production since 2018.
If Cook is traded or released -- and he's being linked to Miami and Dallas as possible destinations -- then Alexander Mattison would take over as the lead running back in Minnesota. And that would make Mattison a breakout candidate in all leagues.
Mattison has 14 games in his career with at least 10 carries, and he scored at least 15 PPR points in seven of those outings. He's averaging 13.4 PPR points over that span.
It's a story to monitor for the rest of this offseason, but a Cook departure would make Mattison worth drafting as early as Round 4 in all leagues. And then either Ty Chandler or DeWayne McBride could be worth a late-round flier, with McBride having the higher ceiling.
Saints: Williams impresses as pass catcher
We know a big storyline to monitor this offseason is a potential suspension for Alvin Kamara. If that happens then the replacements for the Saints are Jamaal Williams and rookie Kendre Miller. During OTAs, Williams was impressive catching the ball from Derek Carr, according to Sports Illustrated.
The SI report said "we watched Williams and Carr connect on multiple occasions in their first practice together as well. So it is clear that the team and back are on the same page about how he will fit into the system." It also said "Williams looked fluid and natural during the first OTA session, now the interesting next step will be tracking the progress."
Williams only caught 38 passes in the past two seasons with Detroit, but he had 122 receptions in four seasons with Green Bay. He could perform better than expected in the passing game if he starts for the Saints if Kamara is out.
We'll have to see what the Saints do with Miller as well, but Williams will be a popular mid-round pick if Kamara gets suspended. And even when Kamara is healthy, Williams should still have a prominent role after he scored 17 rushing touchdowns in 2022, along with 1,139 total yards.
Giants: Who are the starting WRs?
The Giants have collected a lot of talent at receiver this offseason, but they have a lot of question marks with the position as well. Namely, who is going to start, especially with Wan'Dale Robinson (ACL) and Sterling Shepard (ACL) coming off injuries?
While Shepard ran routes during OTAs, it's hard to count on him being ready for Week 1, and Robinson will probably be limited as well. That leaves Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder as the likely options for the top three spots.
The Athletic reported that Hodgins and Slayton are the likely starting outside receivers, and Campbell should have the first chance to man the slot. Hyatt, the third-round rookie from Tennessee, can play either spot, and he might have the most upside of the group.
"I'm not going to come in here and say I only play slot, or I only want to play outside," Hyatt said in The Athletic. "That's why I said I'm dynamic and explosive. I want to play everywhere. Wherever coach wants me at, that's where I'm going to play at, and I'm going to do what I have to do."
When drafting the Giants receivers this season, none are worth selecting prior to Round 8. As of now, Hodgins should be the first one off the board, and I would gamble on Robinson second if reports of his health are positive. Hyatt is also in the mix if he looks good in training camp, which is hopefully the case. Everyone else is either a late-round flier or someone to add off the waiver wire.
Eagles: All eyes on the RBs
Figuring out the backfield for the Eagles is among the biggest priorities on offense, and the team has several guys competing for a role in D'Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and Trey Sermon. Swift and Penny have the most upside, if they can stay healthy, and one of them should be the starter.
It's a big competition to monitor since Mile Sanders' departure leaves behind a lot of touches and production (259 carries for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns and 20 catches for 78 yards on 26 targets). Fantasy managers would love to see Swift win the job, and he could be someone to draft as early as Round 5 in the majority of leagues.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of a great organization with tremendous history, a team that's connected," Swift said following his trade from Detroit. "I'm excited to build relationships with the guys in the locker room and just be a piece to the puzzle."
Coach Nick Sirianni likes what Swift can do in the passing game, saying Swift can "separate from tight coverage out of the backfield and has really good hands." Hopefully, that means Swift can show his dual-threat ability, but Jalen Hurts isn't likely to target his running backs often in this offense.
Still, if Swift can stay on the field there's a chance he could emerge as a top-20 Fantasy running back in all leagues. Go into the season with Swift as a flex option, but he could emerge as a starter in all formats.
49ers: What's happening at QB?
Brock Purdy (elbow) can start throwing this week, and Kyle Shanahan is hopeful Purdy will be ready for Week 1. It appears like the 49ers are committed to Purdy as their starting quarterback, which makes him a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in all leagues. He's only worth drafting with a late-round pick in Superflex and two-quarterback formats.
With Purdy out for OTAs, Trey Lance is trying to prove he should start ahead of Sam Darnold if Purdy doesn't return for the season-opener. Lance is coming back from the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 that knocked him out for the rest of the year.
"As far as the stuff with Brock, my opportunity is to come in to compete, and that's all I wanted," Lance said. "So for me, I don't want to take anything away from Brock, and nobody should be able to take anything away from Brock. He did what he did last year, and he deserves all the credit in the world for it. But for me, I just wanted an opportunity to compete."
Lance would be an intriguing Fantasy option if he started for the 49ers, so keep an eye on what's happening with Purdy's health. If Purdy can't return for Week 1 then consider Lance a potential starter in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues.
Seahawks: Charbonnet tries to unseat Walker III
The Seahawks got their first look at rookie running back Zach Charbonnet, and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron was impressed with the second-round pick from UCLA.
"Seeing him in person, he feels big and fast, so he's a good guy to have on our team," Waldron said to Sports Illustrated. "He was able to average such a high yards per carry at UCLA (7.0 in 2022), so I know he's able to run some guys over, but it wasn't like he was running someone over every snap. A lot of it was from some of the speed and burst that he was able to show on college tape that will translate here, and we will see where it progresses from OTAs to minicamp."
The report says Charbonnet will likely open the season behind Ken Walker III, but Charbonnet "will immediately vie for snaps as a complementary backfield weapon." And there's a chance Charbonnet can be a factor in the passing game, especially after he had 37 catches for 321 yards at UCLA last year.
Walker should be drafted in Round 4 in the majority of leagues, but Charbonnet is worth drafting by Round 9. We'll see how the two work together, but Charbonnet can potentially become a flex option if he gets enough work in tandem with Walker. And if Walker misses any time then Charbonnet could be a top-20 running back in all formats.
Buccaneers: The QB battle is underway
Tom Brady's retirement has left the quarterback spot open in Tampa Bay, and the guys trying to replace Brady are Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Mayfield should win the job, but his first OTAs with the Buccaneers was somewhat shaky, according to reports.
"He's picking up the scheme well, he's doing all of the necessary things well individually and he's making progress," coach Todd Bowles said.
We'll see what happens with Mayfield and Trask in training camp, but the winner of this competition will just be a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in the majority of leagues and only worth a late-round pick in Superflex and two-quarterback formats. In reality, we just want the Buccaneers starting quarterback to keep Chris Godwin and Mike Evans playing at a high level.
I'm still drafting Godwin as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver, but the earliest to target him is Round 4. Evans is a little more risky given the quarterback change, and he's now a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. Evans is worth drafting in Round 6.
Commanders: Howell could be a Fantasy surprise
The Commanders are another team with a quarterback competition this offseason, and Sam Howell vs. Jacoby Brissett will be interesting to watch. Fantasy managers should want Howell to win the job, and he could emerge as a starter in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues.
Howell started Week 18 for the Commanders in 2022 and scored 19 Fantasy points with 169 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception, along with 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. Howell could be a surprise rushing quarterback since he ran for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns at North Carolina in 2021, and that would make him appealing for Fantasy managers.
He also has solid weapons in Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel and Logan Thomas. We'll see what happens in training camp with Howell and Brissett, but Howell has more upside and hopefully wins the job in 2023.