Connect with us


Are Incentive-Laden Contracts the Future for Running Backs?



As NFL evaluators work to maximize their efficiency and find cheaper ways to find production, the running back position has become devalued. Spending heavily at the position immediately draws ire from analysts and pundits, even when the league’s best running backs clearly make a difference on game days.

Arguably the best running back in the NFL, Christian McCaffrey, said, “The running back position has been undervalued,” considering the number of touches the position gets. This led to Chris Simms of NBC Sports recommending that teams provide incentive-based contracts for running backs.

We’re diving into whether incentive-laden contracts can be the future for RBs and why it makes sense.

How Incentive-Laden Contracts Can Be the Future for Running Backs

After seeing McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara receive huge contracts in 2020, this offseason was the next chance to see how the NFL would treat the latest batch of star running backs. Ezekiel Elliott was handed a $90 million contract in 2019, and McCaffrey and Kamara each got over $34 million guaranteed. But in the time since then, large contracts for Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, Elliott, and even McCaffrey became maligned as injuries took their toll on each player.

As fans, analysts, and teams have become more data-oriented, large running back contracts have become an immediate hot topic. Even Elliott, whom Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones vehemently defended for years, drew Jones’ ire for being picked “too high” in retrospect.

We then saw an offseason where both Josh Jacobs and Saquon Barkley were franchise tagged instead of being extended, and Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook were thrown into trade rumors because their futures are in doubt.

Despite Jacobs’ pleading for the Raiders to make a good long-term offer, Henry expressing excitement over a possible extension, and both the Giants and Barkley saying they want a career-long partnership, it feels like we’ve seen the last mega-deal for a running back.

MORE: Highest-Paid RBs in the NFL in 2023 

Why would the Los Angeles Chargers suddenly pay Austin Ekeler, and why would the Cowboys repeat their “mistake” of paying Elliott by handing Tony Pollard a long-term deal when no other team seems willing to?

Instead of paying top-end backs, Atlanta and Detroit drafted Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs in the top-12 picks of the 2023 NFL Draft. They’re getting fresh bodies for the next five years at a cost-controlled rate. Both Robinson and Gibbs are on cheaper deals than less talented players like James Conner and Miles Sanders, though they did cost a premium draft asset.

McCaffrey was right in pointing out how much the top backs in the league are doing. There’s a big difference in what he and Henry do than a mid-tier back like Sanders does. But teams have also paid the price for not structuring deals with favorable outs after the first two years in case of an injury.

The best answer for running backs to be paid and for teams to be protected is to do incentive-heavy contracts. The NFL gave out $336 million in performance-based pay last year, and none of the top 25 recipients were RBs. With NFL owners firmly against guaranteeing all contracts, the running back position would be wise to adopt a strategy of maximizing realistic incentives to go with appropriate guarantees.

MORE: Best RBs in the NFL in 2023 

It’s also possible the league could set up a positional-specific program to enhance incentives for playmakers at the position. If Robinson leads the NFL in yards and touchdowns in 2023, and he can’t renegotiate his deal for another few years, providing him with some level of financial reward would be appropriate.

It’s not a matter of fairness, but players will start switching positions well before college if they know their earning potential of being an elite back is significantly lower than any other position.

Such a change may not help Henry or McCaffrey since both are free to hold out now, but rookie contracts limit players to their negotiation rights from Day 1 through their first three seasons.

Teams have drastically too much power in this current setup, and the Player’s Association is at fault as well for not caring about future players but looking to take care of the current generation of established veterans.

If negotiated with tact, there can be a balance found where players are fairly rewarded for breaking out, and teams aren’t punished with huge cap charges after the season.

Teams want to benefit from the value that comes from good scouting and drafting by finding quality contributors at the lowest price possible. Players want to be compensated like their peers. This shouldn’t be an impossible impasse to get over, and the running back position is ripe to push for an overhaul of how the position is treated in the future.

Source link


Fade Cincinnati if Joe Burrow Is Out?




Although QB Joe Burrow is currently listed as questionable for tonight, it seems more likely than not that he will not be playing tonight in the Cincinnati Bengals‘ Week 3 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. League sources have confirmed to PFN’s Bengals reporter Jay Morrison that Burrow’s teammates expect him to be inactive.

When the betting odds for Rams vs. Bengals first opened after Week 2, Cincinnati was a 6.5-point favorite. As it became clear that Burrow might not be playing, the line quickly began to drop. It’s now all the way down to Bengals -2.

Burrow’s injury obviously has played the biggest factor in the point spread dropping 4.5 points, but the Rams have been better than expected so far this season. It starts with rookie WR Puka Nacua, who has filled in for an injured WR Cooper Kupp wonderfully.

After Week 2, the fifth-round draft pick was leading the NFL in receptions. Yes, not just rookies — all players. Nacua is also questionable for tonight, but he is expected to play.

If the Bengals signal-caller is inactive tonight, Jake Browning will get the start at quarterback for the Bengals. This is his third season with the Bengals, but he has yet to attempt a pass in his NFL career since going undrafted in 2019.

Can Browning help the Bengals avoid going 0-3 in his first career start? Let’s check out the Rams vs. Bengals predictions, picks against the spread, player prop bets, and more from the PFN betting team.

Our Betting Lines page has the freshest lines and promos to get BANG for your buck. PFN’s FREE Parlay Calculator and Betting Odds Calculator are also available for your betting process! New to sports betting? Check out our guide on How to Bet on the NFL. Visit our Sports Betting Legal Tracker on how to bet legally in the U.S.

Rams vs. Bengals Betting Lines, Start Time, and More

All odds are from DraftKings Sportsbook unless stated otherwise.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Cincinnati Bengals Prediction

  • Spread
    Bengals -2
  • Moneyline
    Rams +105, Bengals -125
  • Total
  • Game Time
    8:15 p.m. EST
  • Location
    Paycor Stadium
  • How To Watch

Soppe: WR Tutu Atwell has 17 targets so far to go along with a 14.4-yard aDOT (Nacua: 7.8 yards). That gives him the quantity/quality target profile that we love.

MORE: Live Betting Odds and Newest Promos

The Bengals have allowed a 30-yard catch to the secondary option in the opponent’s pass game in both games this season (Cleveland WR Elijah Moore in Week 1 and Baltimore WR Zay Flowers in Week 2), a fact that only solidifies my confidence in Atwell if Nacua suits up.

Pick: Tutu Atwell over 54.5 receiving yards (-114 at FanDuel)

Katz: Through two weeks, Puka Nacua leads the NFL with nearly a 40% target share. Despite catching 25 passes for 266 yards, he’s yet to find the end zone. That’s because 80% of the Rams touchdowns have come via the ground. Simply put, that won’t continue. The run/pass TD ratio will regress to the mean.

Based on his yardage total, Nacua should have about two touchdowns this season. How about one on Monday night?

Pick: Puka Nacua anytime touchdown (+195 at DraftKings)

Longshot Pick: Puka Nacua first touchdown (+1100 at DraftKings)

Blewis: I got the Rams at +6.5, as that line seemed too high to me, even if Burrow was playing. Now, it has obviously come way down and is not available. That also wasn’t very helpful at all, so here’s a suggestion that you can actually still bet on.

This week, the Rams traded away Cam Akers, who had fallen out of favor with HC Sean McVay and was nearly traded last year. In our first look at this Rams’ rushing offense without Akers, it was the Kyren Williams show, who was the only running back to get a carry last week.

MORE: NFL Week 4 Betting Lines

If Burrow is officially out tonight, that improves the Rams’ chances of winning this game immensely. With a greater chance of a positive game script, Williams’ rushing props look awfully tempting after seeing how much usage he got last week — especially against a Bengals defense that was 31st in rushing yards allowed per game entering Week 3.

His rushing yards prop is 61.5 at FanDuel, but you can bet the over at 56.5 with DraftKings. This is why you sign up with multiple sportsbooks — so you can line shop.

Pick: Kyren Williams over 56.5 rushing yards (-115 at DraftKings)

Listen to the PFN Betting Podcast

Listen to the PFN Betting Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Betting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms. Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Source link

Continue Reading


Dak Prescott Explains How the Dallas Cowboys Will Move Forward After a Humbling 28-16 Loss




The Dallas Cowboys are now 2-1 after a deflating loss to the Arizona Cardinals, who went into the game with no wins on the season. QB Dak Prescott described the loss as humbling and broke down what led to the team’s downfall.

How Penalties Kept the Cowboys From Secuing a Victory

An undisciplined and sloppy game on all sides of the ball showed all of the Cowboys’ weaknesses on full display. One of the biggest downfalls of the game was the amount of penalties the Cowboys had, racking up 13 for 107 yards.

MORE: NFL Week 3 Winners and Losers

According to the Fox broadcast, that was the most by an NFC team in 11 years.

Prescott acknowledged the self-inflicted wounds that the penalties created for the team, saying, “We’re able to overcome some of them. But even when you’re able to overcome them, I think that’s just you’re making it hard on yourself, and you’re taking yourself out of that rhythm. And it was tough, and obviously, we couldn’t overcome it.”

Red-Zone Struggles Continue

Another domino effect of the penalties was keeping Dallas behind the chains, which made it hard enough to get down to the red zone.

However, the Cowboys’ offense was one of five for successful trips to the red zone.

Prescott acknowledged this as being a reoccurring issue for the team, noting, “Obviously, that’s an area that we haven’t been good in these last two weeks. And even with the win last week, that was the sore spot in the win. And obviously, look at this loss. Move the ball up and down the field and just couldn’t score. And so that’s your reason for this loss.”

The quarterback said they need to get back to the drawing board to figure it out, but it starts with him making plays, big throws, and being more mobile.

The only receiving touchdowns the team has is with tight ends and running backs. No receivers have caught a touchdown this year.

When asked about it, Prescott stated, “We’re taking attempts. We just have to convert, simple as that.”

Dak Prescott Did What He Could With What He Had

Prescott had a decent game, considering three of his starting offensive linemen were inactive.

“They fought their asses off. I thought they did a great job, gave me enough time, allowed us to move the ball up and down the field. We didn’t convert in the red zone. That’s the story of this game, period,” Prescott said when asked how Chuma Edoga, T.J. Bass, and Brock Hoffman played in this game.

The offensive line changes led to Prescott releasing the ball as quickly as possible. He finished with 255 passing yards on 25 completions of 40 attempts, which gave him a 78.0 rating.

After weeks of the critics staying quiet about interceptions, Prescott recorded his first of the season, which ended the game.

MORE: Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

He said he knew it would be a tough throw, as he tried to get the ball behind Arizona LB Kyzir White’s ear.

He said that the team was well aware of the adversity they were facing, but ultimately, they didn’t get the job done. He blamed himself and the offense in the red zone.

How the Cowboys Move Forward Now

Regarding how the team moves forward, the quarterback said they’re staying in the moment because that’s who they are as a team.

“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of adversity just throughout the week, and it wasn’t easy. Nobody was making excuses. We thought we had a great opportunity to come in here, even with the adversity, and get a win. And we didn’t,” said Prescott, who admitted resetting after a loss is easier than resetting after a win.

When asked if this was a wake-up call after everyone built them up within the first two weeks of the season, Prescott said the media did that, and they always knew who they were.

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast

Listen to the PFN Cowboys Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Cowboys Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Cowboys Podcast on our NFL YouTube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading


Targets Include Matt Gay, Ka’imi Fairbairn, and Others




Week 3 isn’t even officially in the books yet, but it’s time to start looking ahead to the next week and identifying the players that can help us win our fantasy football matchups!

With that in mind, here are my top Kicker streaming options for Week 4 and early rankings!

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer and Start/Sit Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

Top Kicker Streamers For Week 4

Matt Gay, Indianapolis Colts – 9% Rostered

It’s now been two back-to-back weeks of solid production for Matt Gay here in Indianapolis, and he had a dominant performance in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.

MORE: Fantasy Buy Low, Sell High Week 4

Gay had 4 50+ yard field goals this past week, and he now gets a matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. He’s already a solid pickup based on what he just did, but a little revenge narrative never hurt anyone, right?

Ka’imi Fairbairn, Houston Texans – 1% Rostered

We’ve seen Ka’imi Fairbairn have his stretches of being a solid fantasy asset, but no one anticipated that being the case here in 2023 for the Houston Texans. This offense just may end up being better than we anticipated, and Fairbairn’s getting onto the field.

In a matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers defense in Week 4, we could see the Texans settle for field goal opportunities over touchdown drives, which will put the veteran kicker onto the field quite a bit.

Dustin Hopkins, Cleveland Browns – 2% Rostered

AFC North matchups always come down to field goals. These are tightly contested games that feature defense, running the football, and low-scoring outputs. This means that kickers have a greater opportunity to get onto the field and make a long attempt to fall.

Dustin Hopkins is coming off of a solid performance against the Tennessee Titans, and his momentum could continue into this one against the Baltimore Ravens.

Early Kicker Rankings for Week 4

These are my very early Kicker rankings for Week 4, but make sure to check in on our PFN Consensus Rankings throughout the week to see how these shifts and change as we get closer to kickoff.

1) Harrison Butker | KC | (@ NYJ)
2) Justin Tucker | BAL | (@ CLE)
3) Jake Moody | SF | (vs. ARI)
4) Cameron Dicker | LAC | (vs. LV)
5) Jake Elliott | PHI | (vs. WAS)
6) Tyler Bass | BUF | (vs. MIA)
7) Brandon Aubrey | DAL | (vs. NE)
8) Brandon McManus | JAX | (vs. ATL)
9) Younghoe Koo | ATL | (@ JAX)
10) Jason Myers | SEA | (@ NYG)
11) Riley Patterson | DET | (@ GB)
12) Jason Sanders | MIA | (@ BUF)
13) Greg Joseph | MIN | (@ CAR)
14) Matt Gay | IND | (vs. LAR)
15) Daniel Carlson | LV | (@ LAC)
16) Evan McPherson | CIN | (@ TEN)
17) Dustin Hopkins | CLE | (vs. BAL)
18) Ka’imi Fairbairn | HOU | (vs. PIT)
19) Brett Maher | LAR | (@ IND)
20) Wil Lutz | DEN | (@ CHI)
21) Blake Grupe | NO | (vs. TB)
22) Nick Folk | TEN | (vs. CIN)
23) Chase McLaughlin | TB | (@ NO)
24) Anders Carlson | GB | (vs. DET)
25) Chris Boswell | PIT | (@ HOU)
26) Graham Gano | NYG | (vs. SEA)
27) Joey Slye | WAS | (@ PHI)
28) Eddy Pineiro | CAR | (vs. MIN)

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.

Source link

Continue Reading