Every NFL Team's Biggest Potential Fantasy Breakout Star in 2021

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystJune 8, 2021

Every NFL Team's Biggest Potential Fantasy Breakout Star in 2021

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    Rich Schultz/Associated Press

    An initial glance at fantasy football rankings finds all the familiar names at the top of the list. Everyone will go into their drafts hoping to land the Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry, Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams, and Kansas City Chiefs' Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes. 

    Those are given because they produce at an elite level for their respective positions. 

    However, leagues are often won and lost by unexpected contributions from players who exceed expectations. More accurately, deft fantasy players target those on the precipice of breaking through to high-end production. 

    Some seem obvious; others are not. 

    For example, Josh Allen's potential had been discussed ad nauseam in his first two seasons, but he finally blossomed in year three. On the flip side, no one had undrafted free agent James Robinson as a top-10 running back during his rookie campaign, yet he emerged as well. 

    The key is identifying and properly evaluating those who will break through to push your team to a championship. The following players are each positioned to make significant strides this fall based on the opportunities in front of them.

Arizona Cardinals: RB Chase Edmonds

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Chase Edmonds shared the backfield with David Johnson and Kenyan Drake during his initial three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. The organization signed James Conner in free agency this offseason. But Edmonds is positioned to be the unit's featured back for the first time. 

    "I've finally got my opportunity really and truly in front of me to have a pretty big role in this offense," Edmonds told reporters. "It's something I've been dying for, praying for, since my first three years in the NFL. It seemed like it would never happen, but I've finally got this opportunity, and I've got to make the most of it."

    Edmonds has been quite effective over the last two seasons with an average of 4.8 yards per carry. He caught 53 passes a year ago as well. Conner may steal some short-yardage and goal-line carries, but Edmonds is the ideal fit in Kliff Kingsbury's offensive scheme. 

Atlanta Falcons: TE Kyle Pitts

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Usually, rookies at the tight end position take time to acclimate. The Atlanta Falcons' Kyle Pitts is different. 

    First, Pitts shouldn't be viewed as a tight end. He's a 6'6", 245-pound offensive weapon, which made him the highest-drafted prospect ever at his designated position.

    "We're excited about the player's skill set. He's a unique player," head coach Arthur Smith told reporters after the Falcons drafted Pitts. "Obviously we'll get him in here, we'll get him started, then let his role grow for us. We think we can play him in multiple spots." 

    Secondly, the first-year pass-catcher enters an offense that no longer features Julio Jones. Pitts should quickly grow into Matt Ryan's favorite target even with Calvin Ridley on the roster. This year's fourth overall pick brings NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year potential and possibly top-tier tight end production. 

Baltimore Ravens: RB J.K. Dobbins

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the Baltimore Ravens in rushing yardage the last two seasons. The situation could and should change this fall based on what running back J.K. Dobbins showed during his rookie campaign. 

    Dobbins finished second on the team in 2020 with 805 rushing yards. Impressively, he led all backs with an average of 6.0 yards per carry. Dobbins didn't even get rolling until Week 8. Now, he'll have a chance to put together an entire season without Mark Ingram II on the roster. 

    Plus, the Ravens plan to use the running back more in the passing game. 

    "We'd love to really have a threat out of the backfield. J.K. is a very talented athlete," offensive coordinator Greg Roman told reporters. "... I think he has got the skill set and the talent to really include him as a viable weapon in the passing game. That's a big focus of what we're doing right now."

Buffalo Bills: WR Gabriel Davis

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The Buffalo Bills swapped veteran wide receivers this offseason when Emmanuel Sanders took John Brown's roster spot. Sanders can be a significant part of the Bills offense, but he may have to move aside and allow second-year target Gabriel Davis more room to operate. 

    As a rookie, Davis finished third on the team with 35 receptions for 599 yards.

    The sophomore target should be more than a vertical threat this fall, though he excels as a downfield target. According to Pro Football Focus, Davis led all rookies last season with five touchdowns of 20 or more yards downfield. More importantly, he didn't register a single drop on those targets. 

    Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley will get theirs within the offense. Sanders is a valuable veteran as well. Davis should force his way into more opportunities as his development continues. 

Carolina Panthers: WR Terrace Marshall Jr.

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    The Carolina Panthers are a difficult projection because no one knows exactly what the offense has in quarterback Sam Darnold and the projected offensive line should scare the bejesus out of owners looking at options beyond Christian McCaffrey. 

    Assuming Darnold flashes and his front five plays at a competent level, rookie second-round pick Terrace Marshall Jr. brings an intriguing skill set alongside Carolina's top two targets, DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. 

    The 6'2", 200-pound Marshall is a true X-receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, LSU quarterbacks posted a 158.3 passer rating when they targeted Marshall to lead all collegiate wide receivers. He's an excellent downfield threat capable of winning most 50-50 balls, as long as he's healthy. 

    "We came in with a plan to get him ready for training camp. He's doing a good job in the meetings. He's still out here for walkthroughs and things like that," Panthers head coach Matt Rhule told reporters. "... He had a couple injuries in college. So we want to make sure he's whole before we start the season." 

Chicago Bears: QB Justin Fields

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    The idea of Andy Dalton being the Chicago Bears' QB1 is laughable. The organization with the worst history of finding a franchise quarterback didn't trade up to this year's 11th overall pick to secure Justin Fields' services for nothing. 

    Fields is the present and future of the Bears organization. After all, the Ohio State product posted the best completion percentage over expected (CPOE) metric of all first-round quarterbacks since 2015, per Pro Football Focus

    Early returns are promising. 

    "Everything that we thought he was going to be when he got here with learning and being obsessed with everything that we teach him and then being able to be himself out on the fieldhe's really doing things in a really good way," head coach Matt Nagy told reporters

    So, let the Bears coaching staff play its little game of how Fields must "earn" the starting spot. He's going to be in the lineup sooner rather than later. 

Cincinnati Bengals: WR Ja'Marr Chase

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    Even if a person doesn't agree with the Cincinnati Bengals' decision in this year's first round (myself included), Ja'Marr Chase was easily the top wide receiver prospect in the draft class and a fantastic talent to play alongside last year's No. 1 overall pick, Joe Burrow. 

    Chase immediately brings the capabilities Cincinnati's offense lacked the last few seasons as A.J. Green dealt with injuries. The incoming target is a true X-receiver, but he provides flexibility since his skill set translates to multiple different roles. 

    "What I really like about Ja'Marr is he has the size and the speed to play outside and the physicality," head coach Zac Taylor told reporters. "He also has the quickness and the body control to play inside as well."

    As long as Burrow remains upright behind a suspect offensive line, the quarterback will regularly target his favorite receiver. 

Cleveland Browns: WR Rashard Higgins

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The rapport between Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and wide receiver Rashard Higgins is undeniable. 

    The two have been on the same page since Mayfield worked as the squad's second-string quarterback throughout his rookie training camp, and their connection hasn't dissipated over the subsequent two seasons. 

    Obviously, Jarvis Landry remains on the roster and Odell Beckham Jr. is expected back as a big part of the offense after last year's season-ending torn ACL. Even so, Mayfield posted a 119.2 passer rating when he targeted Higgins last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Higgins had 662 receiving yards from Week 7 through the postseason. 

    The 26-year-old target should benefit greatly from Mayfield spreading the ball around more conscientiously than he did before Beckham's injury. 

Dallas Cowboys: WR CeeDee Lamb

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    Brandon Wade/Associated Press

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb played well as a rookie, but he should be even better in year two. 

    "I think CeeDee is an excellent example of what you are looking for in your second-year player," head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. "The second-year player benefits the most in the full offseason program. They make the second-year jump. He is very comfortable, very natural. CeeDee is definitely making that move you like to see in your second-year players."

    Last season, Lamb turned into a solid second or third receiving threat with 935 receiving yards and five touchdowns. But with his first full professional offseason under his belt, those who draft Lamb should expect near-WR1 production. 

    "It has definitely been helpful for me because I feel stronger, faster and a bit more explosive," Lamb said. "The results are going to show itself come the season."

Denver Broncos: RB Javonte Williams

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    As Melvin Gordon III enters the last year of his current contract, the veteran running back can't help but see the writing on the wall. 

    Javonte Williams will be the Denver Broncos' lead back at some point in the near future. The Broncos traded up in this year's second round to ensure the team landed its preferred ball-carrier. 

    "We like his skill set," head coach Vic Fangio told reporters. "We think he's a good all-around back. ... He's capable of running around and catching the ball out of the backfield."

    Initially, Williams will enter this season in a rotational role. But one should assume he'll eventually take over as the primary option. The Broncos may value the position and prefer a loaded backfield, yet the team's investment in the rookie runner shows how highly the staff thinks of his potential. 

Detroit Lions: TE T.J. Hockenson

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    A tight end serving as the primary threat in an offense's passing game isn't a new idea.

    The Kansas City Chiefs feature the game's most explosive offensive unit, and Travis Kelce is the team's No. 1 target. A similar argument can be made with the San Francisco 49ers when George Kittle is healthy. 

    The Detroit Lions are built to make T.J. Hockenson their go-to option. The 2019 eighth overall pick's value derived from his abilities as a receiver and blocker. 

    But the team's wide receiver corps is depleted. Jared Goff will need a security blanket. And new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn sees something special in his tight end. 

    "Watching the tape last year, you know, I thought he was a good tight end. But getting him here in person and just being around the young man, I think the sky's the limit for him, and I think he can be a matchup nightmare," Lynn told reporters

Green Bay Packers: RB AJ Dillon

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    A befuddling aspect of the Green Bay Packers' decision not to draft a wide receiver last year centered on the front office's selection of running back AJ Dillion in the second round only to have the coaching staff rarely use him. 

    Dillion carried the ball more than six times only once in his 11 appearances. During that contest against the Tennessee Titans, the rookie toted the rock 21 times for 124 yards and two touchdowns. 

    The 247-pound back is an impressive athlete. But the Packers already had Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams on the roster. Williams left in free agency this offseason, though. As such, Dillion's usage should greatly increase in year two. 

    "You look at us and you see thunder and lightning, which absolutely we are. But you know, the lightning guy, Aaron, he can also grind out some yards," Dillion told reporters. "And the thunder guy, myself, I'd like to say I can still beat some guys running away from them."

Houston Texans: WR Nico Collins

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    The Houston Texans are a mess, so it's hard to determine who will be what this season after so much turnover. The best place to start with a new regime is its incoming draft class. 

    In the Texans' case, the team didn't own any first- or second-round draft picks because of previous trades, but new general manager Nick Caserio chose wide receiver Nico Collins in the third round. Both Collins and tight end Brevin Jordan, whom Houston selected in the fifth round, present intriguing potential. 

    "The way they're going out and making plays has definitely impressed me, and I'm looking forward to working with those guys throughout the season and getting those guys plenty of balls to catch for sure," quarterback Tyrod Taylor told reporters

    Collins holds an edge as a fantasy prospect because the Texans prioritized him first, Houston has more uncertainty at wide receiver, and the rookie brings a big body to work outside the numbers as a traditional X-receiver. 

Indianapolis Colts: WR Michael Pittman Jr.

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    The Indianapolis Colts had to solve the quarterback position after Philip Rivers' retirement. The organization traded for Carson Wentz. 

    Whatever level of success Wentz experiences this fall will help determine which skill position performers post fantasy-worthy numbers. The 28-year-old quarterback is in the right situation to succeed

    An interesting aspect of any new quarterback is trying to determine who will become his favorite target. T.Y. Hilton remains with the Colts. But a changing of the guard may happen after seeing Michael Pittman Jr.'s transformation throughout his rookie campaign. 

    Pittman caught five passes for 90 yards in the Colts' playoff appearance against the Buffalo Bills. He posted a 100-yard game two months earlier against the rival Tennessee Titans. In total, 87 percent of Pittman's rookie production came after Week 8. Yet, his 331 yards after the catch still ranked third among rookies, per Pro Football Focus

Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Travis Etienne

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    A running back who receives a significant target rate in the passing game is the golden goose of fantasy football. Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara changed how everyone viewed the position because both can be legitimate lead backs while simultaneously serving as their team's No. 1 target. 

    Travis Etienne may be cast in the same mold. 

    "He's the Percy Harvin, we're hoping. I mean, those are big shoes, when you say something like that," Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer said during an interview on 1010XL 92.5 FM JAX Sports Radio (h/t the Spun's Chris Rosvoglou). "But you've got Parris Campbell, you've got Curtis Samuel, those types of players. Offensive coordinators love those kind of guys who can do multiple things."

    The Jaguars also have James Robinson, and he's no slouch. But Etienne's utilization in the passing game should more than make up for any lost carries he experiences. 

Kansas City Chiefs: TE Noah Gray

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    With quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce, last year's first-round pick, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and wide receivers Tyreek Hill, Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson already on the roster, very little wiggle room exists for someone else to break into the Kansas City Chiefs lineup and become yet another threat. 

    The Chiefs did spend a fifth-round pick on tight end Noah Gray. The rookie has made a positive early impression, and Kelce turns 32 later this year. 

    "Noah has been really goodI think he has a veteran-type skill set where he knows how to get himself open even if it's not exactly what the play is designed to do," Mahomes told reporters. "He knows how to get his eyes back and how to get on the quarterback's timing."

    Kansas City used heavy doses of 12 personal in 2018 and '19. With Sammy Watkins gone, head coach Andy Reid may vary up his looks a little more. 

Las Vegas Raiders: WR Bryan Edwards

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    Over the last two seasons, the Las Vegas Raiders passing game consisted of tight end Darren Waller and...

    Yes, the organization drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards in last year's first and third rounds, respectively, but both need to show more during their sophomore campaigns. Of the two, Edwards may be more likely to do so. 

    "He's going to be a great one," head coach Jon Gruden told reporters after last season. "He's going to be a heck of a player. He's got a lot of the intangibles off-the-field that we're looking for."

    Edwards never should have been a third-round selection, but the wide receiver suffered a broken foot during predraft training. A year removed from the injury, Edwards can show he's a big-time target working outside the numbers. 

    Fellow receiver Hunter Renfrow called Edwards "an all-around baller" after seeing him in organized team activities, per KSNV News 3 Las Vegas' Jesse Merrick

Los Angeles Chargers: WR Tyron Johnson

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Chargers feature one of the league's best wide receiver duos in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. But the team found itself in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end and three wide receivers) during 71 percent of last season's snaps, per Sharp Football's Warren Sharp

    Obviously, things could change with new head coach Brandon Staley and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi leading the way. Either way, the Chargers will be looking for a third wide receiver. 

    "We've got these two young guys, T-Billy [Tyron Johnson] and Jalen Guyton, who can roll," Staley told reporters. "They are legit 4.3 [40-yard-dash speed] guys, and when you have guys who are legit 4.3 and can get deep on you and take the top off the coverage, it just opens up a lot more in the passing game."

    Of the two, Johnson gains an edge because he made the most of his opportunities last season as the more reliable option when targeted (20 receptions on 26 targets). 

Los Angeles Rams: RB Cam Akers

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    Cam Akers didn't produce a breakout rookie campaign after the Los Angeles Rams drafted him in the second round last year. Akers managed 625 rushing yards and only 11 receptions. But he's poised to become far more productive in year two. 

    "Mentally, everything has just slowed down, everything is easier for me," Akers told reporters. "I understand the playbook a lot more. I understand blocking schemes. I understand who I need to block."

    The Rams feature a solid one-two punch with Darrell Henderson Jr. on the roster. Even so, Akers will likely be more involved in the entire offense this fall. 

    "I think it's just continuing to become more and more complete," head coach Sean McVay said. "He's got the skill set. He's capable."

    On top of Akers' natural progression, new quarterback Matthew Stafford and his ability to push the ball downfield should loosen up defenses and create more space. 

Miami Dolphins: QB Tua Tagovailoa

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    The Miami Dolphins organization made a statement this offseason when it decided to trade out of the third overall pick before the NFL draft began, thus ensuring Tua Tagovailoa would be the team's starting quarterback now and into the future. 

    In turn, the front office built around its second-year signal-caller with the additions of wide receivers Will Fuller V, who will miss the season opener as he finishes a league-mandated six-game suspension, and Jaylen Waddle. 

    An improved surrounding cast coupled with better overall preparedness from the quarterback should elevate Tagovailoa's overall play. 

    "I wasn't comfortable calling plays [last season]," Tagovailoa admitted to reporters. "... I just didn't have the comfortability of checking plays, alerting plays and doing that. I just rode with the play, even if I knew it wasn't going to work. I was going to try to make it work still."

Minnesota Vikings: TE Irv Smith Jr.

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    The tight end position is a critical component of the Shanahan offensive system. The Minnesota Vikings' new offensive coordinator, Klint Kubiak, learned the vaunted outside zone from his father, Gary, who once played for and coached under Mike Shanahan. 

    Now, the younger Kubiak sees what he has in Irv Smith Jr. 

    "Irv has come back in phenomenal shape," Kubiak told reporters. "He's really been working at it since we last saw him in the building, but I don't want him to do anything different. I want him to be himself. And now he's going to have more opportunities, and I'm excited to see what he does with it."

    Smith finished third on the team last season with 365 receiving yards. But he will no longer have veteran Kyle Rudolph blocking his way. The third-year tight end will now be a featured part of the Vikings' offensive approach. 

New England Patriots: WR Kendrick Bourne

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    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    The New England Patriots' flurry of signings at the start of free agency caught almost everyone off guard. The organization decided to take advantage of its amassed salary-cap space while other franchises struggled to deal with the lowered cap number. 

    In doing so, the Patriots signed wide receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne to significant deals. The latter may be the most surprising since Bourne never produced more than 667 receiving yards in any season. 

    Granted, New England's tight ends, Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, will be a focal point of the team's offensive approach. Still, Bourne should exceed his previous production as a prominent part of the Patriots' passing attack. 

    "It was a no-brainer to come here. How much they believed in me and appreciated my play style was just awesome in and of itself," Bourne told reporters

New Orleans Saints: TE Adam Trautman

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    The New Orleans Saints will undoubtedly look different this fall after Drew Brees' retirement. While the quarterback's replacement has yet to be decided, other positions must help the offense evolve. 

    Tight end is a perfect example. Jared Cook led the team last season with seven touchdown receptions and finished third with 504 receiving yards. The Saints were forced to cut Cook this offseason because of salary-cap restrictions. 

    The Saints front office prepared for the inevitability. General manager Mickey Loomis selected Adam Trautman in the third round of the 2020 draft and brought him along slowly as a rookie. 

    "You know, they kind of eased me into it. And I as I [got] more comfortable, and [played] better, my big thing was to gain their trust so that they feel comfortable with me out there," Trautman told reporters last season. 

    A big target over the middle of the field will certainly help whoever orchestrates the offense. 

New York Giants: QB Daniel Jones

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    No more excuses exist for Daniel Jones. The quarterback enters a make-or-break season in year three as the New York Giants' starting quarterback. 

    Last season, missteps were understandable. Standout running back Saquon Barkley missed most of the campaign with a torn ACL. The offensive line was in flux. And the team's wide receivers were suspect, at best. 

    Now, Barkley is expected back, the offensive line has had a year together, and the Giants added wide receiver Kenny Golladay in free agency and drafted Kadarius Toney in this year's first round. 

    Everything is in place for Jones to excel. The 24-year-old signal-caller must take care of the ball, of course. Turnovers have been a problem in the past. A little ball security will go a long way with all the talent found around the 2019 sixth overall draft pick. 

New York Jets: RB Michael Carter

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    The New York Jets may have pieced together a franchise-defining draft class this spring.

    Zach Wilson's selection with the second overall pick is a given since the quarterback will be the face of the franchise. The team used its second opening-round selection to trade up and solidify the offensive front with Alijah Vera-Tucker. Elijah Moore in the second round will give the Jets a dynamic slot option.

    But the fourth-round choice of running back Michael Carter could prove to be the best value. According to The Athletic's Connor Hughes, Carter already received reps with the first-team offense in organized team activities. 

    The year's 107th overall selection is an ideal fit in Mike LaFleur's outside zone scheme. Carter is a slashing runner with outstanding vision. 

    "I think my change-of-direction and my stop-start ability, I think it complements this system well," the rookie runner told reporters. "I've been running pretty much wide zone since I was born." 

Philadelphia Eagles: QB Jalen Hurts

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    Chris Szagola/Associated Press

    A year ago, Jalen Hurts was merely trying to understand his role after being a surprise second-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles. Carson Wentz had been the face of the franchise. Ultimately, the organization decided to pull the trigger on Hurts as the starter and build around the young signal-caller this offseason. 

    The 22-year-old is a natural leader who is already taking command of the entire team. 

    "I think his confidence, it really stands out," tackle Jordan Mailata said, per ESPN's Tim McManus. "He's trying to be the leader, trying to be the first one in the building and the last one to leave. ... He's done a real phenomenal job [with his attention to detail], and came into this OTA with the confidence that we needed."

    From a fantasy perspective, Hurts provides value as A) a starting quarterback option and B) a dual threat who will provide points each week even if he doesn't have a great passing game. Besides, everything now goes through Hurts in the Eagles offense. If he isn't successful, no one else will be.  

Pittsburgh Steelers: RB Najee Harris

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    The Pittsburgh Steelers don't care about what anyone thinks. The organization values the running back position and happily selected Najee Harris with this year's 24th overall pick. 

    As a first-round running back, Harris' value is already sky-high. He'll be the first selection in many dynasty leagues. 

    Everyone already knows he's going to be a focal point of the Steelers offense, especially as the team tries to reestablish its identity with a 39-year-old quarterback behind center. Last season, the Steelers finished dead last in rushing offense. Furthermore, none of the team's other backs deserve many touches. 

    But Harris may be even more valuable than expected based on his usage in Pittsburgh's passing game. 

    "I'm about to be utilized everywhere, so they want me to know multiple positions," Harris told reporters. "... I'm ready for the challenge." 

San Francisco 49ers: RB Trey Sermon

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Any new addition to the San Francisco 49ers running back room is catnip to fantasy football owners. Kyle Shanahan's system churns out quality runners, as long as they can stay healthy. 

    Recently, Raheem Mostert hasn't stayed healthy. On top of that, Jeff Wilson Jr. is dealing with a knee injury. 

    As such, the team's lead back is in question. However, the organization surprisingly chose Trey Sermon in this year's third round. He's the highest selected running back since Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took over the organization. 

    Sermon presents the type of skill set to flourish if he's featured. 

    "He's such an aggressive runner. He's a big body. He just likes to run through people, but he still has a finesse to his game, which is awesome to see," tight end George Kittle told reporters. "He's a fast guy that runs downhill, and I love that in this offense."

Seattle Seahawks: TE Gerald Everett

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Rams chose tight end Gerald Everett with their initial pick (second round) of the 2017 NFL draft, but he never developed as the Rams envisioned. Instead, Tyler Higbee, who the franchise drafted a year earlier, overshadowed Everett. 

    Now, Everett is a member of the Seattle Seahawks organization after signing a one-year, $6 million free-agent deal. The tight end followed previous Rams quarterbacks coach Shane Waldron, who now serves as the Seahawks offensive coordinator. 

    "Gerald brings versatility to any offense, so we're excited to be able to get him here and really utilize him as a weapon that can move around and do a lot of different things within an offensive structure," Waldron told reporters

    Seattle can get so much more from the tight end position since no one among last year's group managed more than 25 receptions. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: WR Jaelon Darden

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are loaded everywhere with proven talent at all of the skill positions. The ability to identify someone poised to break through is difficult based purely on what the reigning Super Bowl champions return from last year's squad. 

    As such, attention turns to the incoming rookie class and how it projects.

    The Bucs spent a fourth-round pick on wide receiver Jaelon Darden, who ranked first with 131 receptions and 26 touchdowns from the slot over the last two seasons, per Pro Football Focus

    "It's all over the college tape," offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich told reporters. "... I was a big fan of his. He's not a big guy, but a smaller guy that can pluck the ball. Very fast, very similar—mannerisms are very similar to [Antonio Brown]." 

Tennessee Titans: TE Anthony Firkser

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    Brett Carlsen/Associated Press

    Corey Davis' and Jonnu Smith's offseason departures from the Tennessee Titans created 157 available targets for those on the roster. 

    In case anyone missed the news, the organization acquired Julio Jones and a 2023 sixth-round draft pick from the Atlanta Falcons in exchange for '22 second- and '23 fourth-round draft picks. 

    Obviously, Jones will pick up a significant portion of last season's lost targets. Plenty should go to tight end Anthony Firkser as well.

    Firkser is a versatile receiving threat who can be used all over the formation. Actually, the 26-year-old tight end had only 12 fewer targets than Smith a year ago. Tennessee didn't add anyone of significance to the position, so Firkser's usage rate should significantly increase. 

    With yet another former tight ends coach calling plays in Tennessee, Todd Downing won't forget about the position in his scheme. 

Washington Football Team: WR Curtis Samuel

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    Brian Westerholt/Associated Press

    Antonio Gibson is already a favorite to become an early-round running back target. Curtis Samuel isn't even the highest-regarded fantasy option at wide receiver on Washington's roster. Terry McLaurin is. 

    To be fair, McLaurin posted his first 1,000-yard campaign in 2020 and is already counted among the league's better, young targets. 

    However, Washington plunked down a three-year, $34.5 million free-agent contract to sign Samuel. The reason is simple: Washington's coaching staff plans to use the versatile receiver. 

    "When the ball is in his hands, the production is tremendous," head coach Ron Rivera told reporters. "The thing we got to do is make sure we have him on the field and make sure that he gets the opportunity to touch the ball. The analytics show that this is a guy that has to be a big part of your offense."


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