Kansas City Chiefs - Chris Jones, DL
Chris Jones simply continues to be one of the better defensive linemen that the NFL has to offer. While the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyrann Mathieu may take most of the limelight in Kansas City, Jones is a key piece to what the team does defensively. Heading into this season, the club is said to be working Jones as not just a defensive tackle, but as an edge rusher as well. This is an effort by the Chiefs to apply better pressure on the quarterback and Jones has shown the ability to succeed in limited opportunities lining up on the edge. If Jones thrives in this role, that could bring a new dynamic to the Chiefs’ front-seven and make them that much more of a force in the AFC as they look to rebound from their loss in Super Bowl LV.
Garoppolo’s actions in the immediate aftermath of the draft and Lance’s kind words speak to the temperament of the 49ers’ starter, who appears to have the right mindset to play ‘the Alex Smith role’ in keeping San Francisco competitive while aiding the development of his eventual replacement.
Smith did the same for the Kansas City Chiefs after they traded up to select Patrick Mahomes in 2017 and was the consummate teammate during his 49ers career when he lost his starting job to Colin Kaepernick during the 2012 season.
Kansas City Chiefs
Veteran in danger: Andrew Wylie, G
Why he could get cut: Wylie started 35 games for the Chiefs over the past three seasons, but the additions of guards Joe Thuney and Trey Smith and the return of Laurent Duvernay-Tardif after opting out leaves Wylie vulnerable. Thuney will start at left guard, and a battle is brewing on the right side between Smith and Duvernay-Tardif. Wiley’s best hope is to claim a backup spot. — Adam Teicher
Last year, Mahomes and Kelce had some highlight-worthy moments, but they didn’t do very well in terms of placement in the tournament. Mahomes tied for 38th place and Kelce tied for 58th place. This year, they should be a bit better-prepared after playing in Mahomes’ charity golf tournament in Hawaii.
All participants in the American Century Championship will use modified Stableford rules in the 54-hole tournament. Points are awarded as follows: 10 points for a double eagle, 8 points for a hole in one, 3 points for a birdie, 1 point for par, no points for bogey, and minus 2 for double bogey.
Players will tee off from July 9-11, but practice rounds will be played on July 7th and 8th. The first round of the tournament on Friday, July 9th will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 5:00 p.m. EST. Saturday and Sunday’s rounds will be broadcast on your local NBC stations beginning at 2:30 p.m. EST. Be sure to tune in and show Mahomes and Kelce some support.
As Jets running back Michael Carter prepares for his rookie season in the NFL, he hasn’t exactly spent much time thinking about the league’s star defensive players that he is bound to encounter over the course of the season. But if there’s any one defender that he’d like to have a run-in with before long, Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu might just be that guy, as Carter recently revealed in a Q&A with The New York Daily News.
“To be honest, I don’t know, I never even thought about that,” Carter told The News. ”My favorite defensive player right now would definitely be Tyrann Mathieu. He’s been one of the top safeties for the last 10 years. He made the all-decade team.
“You can see in his eyes, his fire. He plays the game the right way. I don’t think we will play this year, but he’s someone I would love to talk to.”
The former San Francisco 49ers running back was an under-the-radar acquisition who could help the Kansas City Chiefs offense.
“The Chiefs, they just got a fantastic teammate,” said 49ers tight end George Kittle. “He is so incredibly fast and very twitchy.”
McKinnon, who signed a one-year, $990,000 contract with the Chiefs on April 30, impressed during his first minicamp with his new team, showcasing the same soft hands and fluid moves he displayed while garnering 984 receiving yards and five receiving touchdowns during his four years with the Minnesota Vikings.
“He’s been doing this a while and he does it well,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “He sure has a nice feel of the pass game, and I look forward to giving him the whole package once we get up there, and let’s see what he can do once we get playing real football.”
Hill continues to provide fantasy league-winning upside at a deep position. Little separates the early receivers, but Hill’s presence in the Chiefs’ offense offers a rare blend of security and upside. The Chiefs have a win total of 12.5 games and the best odds to win the AFC West. In best ball drafts on Underdog Fantasy, Hill comes off the board just behind Kelce and first among receivers. While running backs continue to dominate the first round, Hill is a first-round receiver worth targeting.
Around the NFL
I’m going slightly off script and showing support for two fan bases: those of the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. Both teams are very proud franchises with glorious histories full of great players, coaches, owners and classic NFL characters — all of whom helped grow this great game. Those figures had the “shoulders of giants” that our game now stands upon, and their fans are some of the NFL’s best. However, the Cleveland Browns have not won a championship since 1964, and the Detroit Lions haven’t since 1957.
Wouldn’t it be great if these two organizations met in Super Bowl LVI? We can call it the “Rust Bowl” or “Battle of Lake Erie.” (I know Detroit isn’t ON Lake Erie, but it’s on the Detroit River, which connects Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair.) Think about all of those fans from two historic, blue-collar cities descending upon Los Angeles in February. (Plus, this would allow them to escape the snow and ice.) Not only do they need a championship, they deserve it!
2020 record: 5-11
Projected win total: O/U 8.5
Broncos tight end Noah Fant Getty Images
Despite going 12-20 under Vic Fangio and 32-48 since winning the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning, the Broncos are considered top-11 favorites to win it all this year. That has almost everything to do with Aaron Rodgers, who’s drawn their interest even though the Packers refuse to deal the star quarterback. If/when Rodgers rumors are put to rest (and assuming he doesn’t leave Green Bay), Denver will be widely projected to either challenge the Chargers for a wild card or miss the playoffs altogether. But there’s a reason Rodgers would seemingly put them over the top; unlike, say, the Jaguars or Jets or even Raiders, they’re built well enough to compete with A-Rod. Neither Drew Lock nor Teddy Bridgewater is a surefire top-15 starter, but between Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Bradley Chubb, Kyle Fuller and a healthier Von Miller, they’ve got play-makers on both sides of the ball.
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19. Linebacker Willie Gay Jr.
Gay edged out a solid group of young, situational defensive players at the fringes of this list: defensive end Taco Charlton, defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton and cornerback Rashad Fenton were all considered for this spot.
I believe Gay has the highest individual talent ceiling of that group. His top-notch athleticism helps him in coverage — arguably the most important skill a linebacker needs in the modern NFL — but he also has the burst and range to be a playmaker in run defense. Charlton and Wharton are one-dimensional players mainly used in pass-rush situations, while Gay has the ceiling to contribute on all three downs as soon as this year.
Gay has publicly expressed a better understanding of the mental side of things this offseason while also feeling recovered from his late-season knee injury. We’ve also heard good things from beat reporters that had access to practice.
He has a chance to be a difference-maker in 2021.
A tweet to make you think
Projections rank Travis Kelce as the No. 3 overall player— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) July 6, 2021
Full 2021 fantasy projections ⤵️
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