As fantasy football owners desperately click refresh on Adam Schefter’s Twitter page for news of Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon, we were privy to one extension. It just wasn’t the one we were hoping for.
Adam Schefter reports Jared Goff and the Rams have come to terms on a deal worth $134 million to keep him with the team through 2024. At just 24 years old, Goff will receive $110 million in guarantees - an NFL record, topping QBs Matt Ryan, Kirk Cousins, and Aaron Rodgers, who previously held the titles.
After being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in 2015 and getting off to a shaky start under the regime of Jeff Fisher, there were plenty of question marks about his capability in the NFL. Then came head coach Sean Mc-Bae (McVay). Although youngest coach in the NFL, what he lacks in age, he makes up for in play design and scheme, which has only helped Goff’s development in their two years working together.
Jared Goff’s often been called a “system quarterback,” but it’s difficult to take shots against a quarterback simply because his coaching staff has managed to scheme a gizmo offense and balance a defense as well to put their QB in ideal offensive situations. Just two years into his tenure with Sean McVay, he’s shown progression in terms of his ability to make reads and navigate the field. With a clean pocket, Goff ranked fourth in NFL passer rating among those with 350 or more drop backs, a marker indicative of what he's able to do when given the time to work the field.
In each of Goff’s three seasons, he’s made progress in terms of completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns, and yards per attempt. He’s been an underrated asset to fantasy football, finishing as the QB12 in his first season with McVay and QB7 in his second. Although there have been plenty of owners skeptical of his ability to continue to repeat this feat, inking a deal to keep him in LA for the long haul, presumably with Sean McVay, is the best thing for his fantasy value. Goff is a QB1 barring injury or major loss to his offensive weapons.
As we continue to see guaranteed money pile up for quarterbacks in the NFL, we continue to ask ourselves - what about the running backs?
Zeke Deal is Close
If you’ve been paying attention to the reports on Ezekiel Elliott, chances are that your head is spinning at this point. After previous reports that there were hiccups in the negotiation process, it seems each side is heating up as rumors circulate about a potential deal.
On Tuesday, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported that the deal was looking like a six-year, $90 million dollar extension, and would be maddening if true. Todd Gurley currently holds the record for the highest paid running back at the position, and this contract would beat him by a mile.
Even if we ignore the blurbs of local beat reporters, there are still plenty of signs that point to an eagerness for both sides to complete a deal prior to Week 1. Zeke did make the move to fly into Dallas from Cabo, where he’s camped out in the offseason. His agent, Rocky Arceneaux, stated that they didn’t arrive “not to do a deal”. Dallas right tackle La’el Collins also made headlines Tuesday, after signing a deal for a five-year extension worth $35 million in total guarantees. He saw the 9th most run blocking snaps among tackles in 2018, and the Cowboys should be happy to lock up an asset of the offensive line for whoever is starting at running back. Interestingly enough, this move cleared over $5 million in cap space for 2019, which might come in handy should the team be making plans for another big extension on the horizon.
Tony Pollard was looking like a steal in the late rounds of fantasy drafts, but Zeke’s return renders him useless. If the deal is finalized by Sunday, Zeke is an automatic RB1 versus the Giants in the Dallas home opener.
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The Gordon Saga Continues
The Chargers have officially announced that they will no longer be attempting an extension with running back Melvin Gordon until the end of next season.
ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that at least one team has been in contact with the Chargers with interest in acquiring holdout Melvin Gordon. The Chargers are reportedly seeking a first and fifth round pick in exchange for Gordon, further narrowing the list of teams that can afford both the draft capital to trade and cap space to pay Gordon the kind of money he’s seeking. Ian Rapoport has stated that a trade sounds unlikely, and given his price tag, it’s true.
Given the sentiment that each party has drawn a line in the sand, it’s officially time to panic, Melvin Gordon owners. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson will get the nod in Week 1 until Gordon returns, if he decides to, and should see close to a 50/50 split for carries. The Chargers get a taste of some top 10 rushing defenses in the first half of 2019, including the Texans, Titans, Steelers, and Bears. Best to temper expectations these weeks.
Will Fuller says he is “ready” headed into Week 1 of the NFL season. Fuller tore his ACL just less than a year ago and saw reps through training camp. Fuller has been active just 30 games of his three seasons in the NFL, but when active, boasts a passer rating of 102.2 in 2017 and 147.2 in 2018 when targeted. … Newly acquired wideout Kenny Stills has been listed behind Will Fuller on the Texans' Week 1 depth chart. … Matt Breida was listed as the 49ers' starting running back ahead of offseason acquisition Tevin Coleman. Coleman out-snapped Breida while Garoppolo was under center, but Breida certainly looked the part through training camp and the preseason. The two should split carries, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 49ers decided to ride the hot hand through the season. … Journeyman Terrelle Pryor is officially a free agent after receiving an injury settlement Jacksonville. His last stint of relevance was with the Browns in 2016, and we can continue to disregard him as a fantasy asset moving forward. … Giants’ rookie wideout Darius Slayton remains out after aggravating a hamstring injury last week in practice. If you’re looking to stream a fantasy defense, any opponent of the Giants should be in consideration. With Golden Tate’s four-game suspension looming, their starting wide receiver corps is thin, with Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler leading the way. … Miami WR Albert Wilson will play in the slot this season. He hit a top speed of 21.74 MPH last year, and with that kind of speed, he might be worth a look as a sneaky late round flyer in PPR leagues. … Packers’ rookie tight end Jace Sternberger was placed on IR with an ankle injury, leaving Jimmy Graham to have at it. The Packers ranked 9th in percentage of target share to the tight end position in 2018, and for a touchdown specialist like Graham, he may be headed for a bounce back season. … Bengals RB Giovani Bernard was signed to a two-year, $10.3 million dollar extension. Early this offseason, it was reported by Paul Dehner of The Athletic that Bernard should see 11-13 touches per game alongside Mixon. … Michael Crabtree rounds out the initial Cardinals starting roster as the WR3. Crabtree saw 100 targets in 2018 and didn’t do much with him. He can be avoided in redraft leagues, at least for now. ... Rookie DK Metcalf has been listed as a starter on the Seahawks initial depth chart. Coming off the knee scope, he's a risky play early in the season, but worth monitoring his production in an offense lacking depth at the wide receiver position.