Every offseason it seems that there are glowing reports for every player. Each player is in “the best shape of their life” and “going to have the best season of their career”. Obviously, we need to take these July puff pieces with a grain of salt. However, there are still actionable reports that we need to pay attention to.
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Below are some of the most intriguing minicamp reports.
Brandon Aiyuk: Just Looks Different
FB Kyle Juszczyk had the following to say about Brandon Aiyuk:
“I thought, ‘Oh, that’s BA? Wow. He moves different now,'” Juszczyk shared. “I told him after the meeting, ‘It’s just crazy how much more efficient and explosive you look now.’ I think it’s because he’s so confident in where he’s going. When you have to think, you play a little slower. But I’ve been talking to everyone these past two weeks: BA just looks different than everyone else on the field.”
ESPN compiled their surprise offseason standouts from beat reporters for each team. Aiyuk was announced for the Niners noting:
“There’s a good argument to be made he was consistently the best player on the field during OTAs and minicamp, as his performance left fellow wideout Deebo Samuel marveling that “you can’t cover that boy in a phone booth…”
Entering his 4th season, Aiyuk is more of a post-hype sleeper at this point. It seems each offseason, he’s supposed to be a league winner. But maybe the difference between Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel isn’t as large as fantasy drafters are making it out to be.
Aiyuk topped 1,000 yards for the first time last year and did so efficiently, averaging 9 yards per target. Out of the 49ers with at least 100 routes, he tied Christian McCaffrey for the most yards per route run (2.08).
Aiyuk didn’t top Samuel in targets per route run but he bested him and Kittle in yards per target, weighted targets per route run, and air yards per route run.
Will Rhamondre Stevenson Play 3rd Downs?
I find this question extremely intriguing as, in full PPR leagues, top running backs score points predominately in two ways: scoring touchdowns and catching passes. For Rhamondre Stevenson, playing third downs could be the difference between being the RB1 or a fade at his current price.
Patriots beat reporter Evan Lazar spoke about Stevenson’s 66% snap share last season:
“Rhamondre has been open about the fact that it wore him down. That late in the year he wasn’t the same guy that he was at the beginning of the season. We saw it, it was tangible, you could see it with your eyes…”
Former running backs coach Ivan Fears put his support behind Ty Montgomery:
“I think he has a great chance to the be the third-down back and take some of the load off Rhamondre [Stevenson], so [Rhamondre] can be fresh when he we really need him on first and second down carrying the ball as the featured guy,” said Fears. “We need some help for Rhamondre and I think Ty is looking really good right now. He’s healthy.”
If Rhamondre is pigeonholed into an early-down role, he looks unlikely to pay off at his current price. If 30-year-old Ty Montgomery and exciting sophomore Strong are just used infrequently to spell him, Rhamondre possesses sky-high upside.
Quentin Johnston: He’s That Guy
ESPN NFL Nation reporters shared their early observations for the 2023 first-round picks. Star safety Derwin James Jr. believes in Quentin Johnston:
“He’s that guy,” James said. “Him being able to get open, him being able to have the confidence to be able to go through his drills and be able to — every catch, he’s finishing his runs.”
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is also impressed:
“His range is really, really tremendous. The other thing that we’ve highlighted is his ability to make plays after the catch. You can certainly see that, his suddenness to get in and out of breaks once he catches the ball, the transition to a runner, that will be really big for him.”
Asher Molk already shared many reasons to be enthusiastic about Johnston, who appears undervalued in early drafts.
The reports out of minicamp for Skyy Moore have been overwhelmingly positive. Lead Kansas City Chiefs writer Pete Sweeney called Moore an offensive standout.
Andy Reid said, “Skyy was one of the higher-targeted receivers; he had close to the most catches. I think he’s taking a good jump. The quarterback trusts him.”
Often in fantasy football rookies are overvalued and second-year players are undervalued. In 2013, College Football Metrics writer R.C. Fischer coined this phenomenon of passing over last year’s obsession as “rookie derangement syndrome.” Savvy fantasy football drafters know how fruitful second-year breakout players can be. Moore didn’t have the best rookie year, but he still averaged 7.6 yards per target and remains a better prospect than Rice.
|Skyy Moore||Western Michigan||54||0.33||0.29||0.41||0.83||4.41||195|
Moore was more impressive as a college player and remains younger than Rice, who is a 23-year-old rookie. The Box Score Scout from RotoViz shows which college profile they prefer:
|100||Skyy Moore||Western Michigan||54||0.33||0.29||0.41||0.83||4.41||195|
|86||Elijah Moore||Ole Miss||34||0.29||0.3||0.42||1||4.35||185|
|74||Chris Givens||Wake Forest||96||0.31||0.38||0.4||0.69||4.35||198|
|69||Stephen Hill||Georgia Tech||43||0.33||0.36||0.44||0.38||4.36||215|
|99||Taywan Taylor||Western Kentucky||72||0.25||0.28||0.37||1.21||4.5||203|
|87||Bryan Edwards||South Carolina||81||0.27||0.3||0.35||0.6||212|
|86||Zay Jones||East Carolina||37||0.26||0.21||0.43||0.67||4.45||201|
|84||Markus Wheaton||Oregon State||79||0.24||0.2||0.31||0.85||4.45||189|
Without JuJu Smith-Schuster, Moore will have an opportunity to break out in a big way in Year 2. Cheap players with solid profiles who have massive upside is what we’re looking for – Moore certainly qualifies.