Fantasy Football mock draft: The zero running back strategy in full-point PPR scoring

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Mock drafts are useful for trying new things. It’s why we encourage you to do as many as possible before your actual Draft Day. You get to experiment with different strategies and figure out what works best for you in building your Fantasy team.

In our latest 12-team, PPR mock draft — you can watch the live results here — I tried something different from the No. 12 spot by taking a Zero RB approach. It’s the first mock draft this season where I’ve gone Zero RB, and I have mixed feelings on the results.

My first five picks, in order, were Tyreek Hill, Stefon Diggs, CeeDee Lamb, Julio Jones and Lamar Jackson. I went with Lamb over Amari Cooper in Round 3 with Cooper still dealing with his ankle injury, but otherwise, these were

Why the Steelers have been using void years rather than restructuring more contracts


NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Even the two bigger contracts the Steelers signed this summer included void years to reduce their 2021 salary cap hit.

After getting reports of the one-year deals the Steelers signed with Trai Turner in June and Melvin Ingram in July, it was later discovered both contracts have void years with them in order to reduce the salary cap it for the 2021 NFL season. This per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.

In my most recent salary cap update article, I adjusted for the Steelers using void years for Melvin Ingram. By doing so, the Steelers saved $2.34 million off of this year’s salary cap which will be applied, most likely, all to next year. Apparently Trai Turner’s deal also has void years included. The exact number of years has yet to be reported, but when it is another salary cap update will be forthcoming.

As a reminder, void years are placed on the end of a player’s contract in which they do not have a base salary and are not tied to the team. If a player has two void years at the end of their contract, it means they are set to be a free agent during that first void year. If that becomes the case, the money from all the remaining void years will count that next season towards the team’s salary cap.

For now, I’m going to assume Turner’s contract has four avoid years with it just like Mark Ingram‘s. If so, the Steelers are saving another $1.54 million for the season. If you’re keeping track, that makes $3.88 million saved just with the last two contracts of players the Steelers have brought in this summer to bolster their roster for 2021.

What is interesting is the Steelers have opted to go with this method of saving money at this time of the year. In 2020, the Steelers saved as much salary cap space as they could by restructuring every possible contract. As another reminder, a contract restructure is basically taking as much of a player’s base salary as they can (usually reducing it to the league minimum) and converting it into a signing bonus which gets prorated out over the remaining years of the players contract. So if a player only has two years left on their deal and $4 million gets converted into a signing bonus, $2 million get pushed out into the next year and that is how much the team saves by doing the restructure. Remember, they only save the money for this year as every penny will be accounted for at some point. That point is just in the future.

Another thing to remember is a typical restructure is pointless for a player with only one year left on their contract. The obvious reason for this is that a signing bonus can’t be spread into additional years (because there aren’t any) and would all count toward this season anyway. That is, unless void years are added to the contract. This is what the Steelers did with Eric Ebron as they converted $4.88 million into a roster bonus for 2021, the final year of his contract, and added four void years to his contract. This reduced Ebron’s salary cap number by $3.904 million for 2021, but that money is set to count towards the salary cap in 2022.

Both of these examples, restructures and void years, are what is meant by teams “kicking the can down the road.” The player gets paid the same amount of money, but based on how and when they are paid the team is able to account for it against the salary cap at different times.

As noted for 2020, the Steelers use contract restructures all the time in order to gain more salary cap space for a given season. The 2021 offseason is the first time the Steelers have used void years in contracts in order to save money. The Steelers have now used these years for the contracts of Ben Roethlisberger, Eric Ebron, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cam Sutton, and now both Melvin Ingram and Trai Turner. Cam Sutton‘s contract is different than the other five as he signed a two-year deal with three void years added after 2022. So he is the only one of these players still under contract for next season.

As for the other five players, they are set to be free agents in 2022. Depending on each of their contracts, when the void years kicks in has to be specified. Typically, this date comes the week after the Super Bowl. If the player signs an extension with the team before this deadline, it is my understanding the void years will continue to be spread out over the new contract and won’t all come due the next season.

If the dates for these void years to kick in are the first week after the Super Bowl, it does not give the Steelers much time to sign any of these players in order to spread out the salary cap hit. It does not mean that the Steelers cannot sign these players later on, but the full dead money hit will already be in place.

So why have the Steelers chosen do use void years over the remaining restructures they could do this offseason? The Steelers had already restructured Cameron Heyward and Derek Watt in order to lower their salary cap hit for 2021, but the Steelers still have two players with multiple years remaining on their contract that they could restructure in Stephon Tuitt and Chris Boswell.

I outlined back in February while restructure for these two players would be difficult based on the fact their contracts were signed during the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement. Even though the NFL had not announced the 17th game at the time of the previous article, the fact that it was looming, and eventually happened, created a different situation.

To sum up the difficulty with a restructure for these players, the Steelers would actually have to pay more money and add more to the salary cap in order to do the restructure fairly in terms of the player. The only way around that would be for these players to take a loss in salary which they generally do not do during a restructure. This all comes down to the league compensating players with contracts under the old CBA for playing in a 17th game. This money is based off their base salary and does not count towards the salary cap. I explained this in another article back in February if you want a greater explanation.

As stated in the previous article, a player such a Stephon Tuitt would be due to pick up an extra paycheck of $530k for the extra game. If Tuitt reduces his base salary in a restructure, he will receive less than this, if anything at all. If his salary would be reduced to the league minimum, he would not receive any extra money as agreed upon in the last CBA.

A Stephon Tuitt restructure would save the Steelers less than $4 million on the salary cap for 2021. Ironically, the savings from a Tuitt restructure would be almost the same amount the Steelers just saved by adding void years to both Melvin Ingram’s and Trey Turner‘s contract.

Could it be the Steelers added void years to these two contracts when they did not have to in order to have the extra money they would have gained by restructuring Stephon Tuitt? If that was the case, they were just able to save the money without having to pay more out of pocket or add extra money to the salary cap.

This does not mean that the Steelers can’t restructure Tuitt and Boswell if they find that they still need the extra money. But by adding the void years to both Turner and Ingram when they had the room to sign both of them without having to do so, it has now created a situation in which the money that got pushed down the road is dollar-for-dollar and they don’t have to do the final two possible restructures.

Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson sidelined after positive COVID-19 test

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens kicked off their first training camp practice Wednesday without franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson after the fourth-year pro was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list. 

Coach John Harbaugh confirmed after practice that Jackson, along with running back Gus Edwards, had tested positive for COVID-19.

“Those two guys will be put in the protocol, and that’s really the extent that we can comment on those two guys at this time,” Harbaugh said.

It’s unclear how long Jackson will be sidelined. 

“It’s just part of the deal. It’s just the way the world is right now,” Harbaugh said. “We have 90% vaccinated, and I think we’re going to go above that, too, real soon here. So we’re in really great shape with the vaccinations.”

Vaccinated individuals who test positive and are asymptomatic can return to duty after two negative tests taken 24 hours apart. Unvaccinated individuals must first quarantine for 10 days and test negative before receiving clearance. 

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) passes the ball during an OTA at Under Armour Performance Center.

Jackson has declined to say whether he has been vaccinated.

“Just like everyone in society, it’s their decision, keeping that to themselves,” Jackson said in June. “But I feel we do a great job here of taking the vaccine, staying away from COVID, following the right preparation and stuff like that, staying away from the outside to the people that are attracting it.”

Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 last November and missed the Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Keep reading this sports article on USA Today - NFL Top Stories.

Podcast: The Steelers Fantasy Football Fix, I want my quarterback



Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.

Fantasy Football is a phenomenon and some of us could use a little help with our drafts and during the season. With that in mind, BTSC is debuting a new weekly show surrounding all aspects of the world of fantasy football with a black-and-gold twist. Welcome to the Steelers Fantasy football Fix. Join BTSC’s Jeremy Betz for weekly fantasy football talk as it pertains to the Pittsburgh Steelers, your draft and for success in any of your leagues.

Check out the rundown of the show:

  • The quarterback you need for your Fantasy Football team!
  • and MUCH MORE!

Jeremy Betz of BTSC walks you through everything you need to know regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers in the landscape of Fantasy Football and then some.

Check out all episodes on the following platforms:

Apple Users: CLICK HERE
Spotify: CLICK HERE

Google Play: CLICK HERE

You can listen to the show in the player below.

Tokyo Olympics medal tracker: Gold, silver and bronze counts for Team USA and every country at the 2020 Games

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are here. Events are underway, and that means medals are being handed out. Below is a list of all the medals won during the 2020 Summer Olympics. In total, 339 medals will be awarded across 33 sports. 

The record for the most gold medals won at a single Olympics is 83, which the United States achieved at the 1984 Summer Games. Will history be made in Tokyo?

Follow our updated medal tracker below to find out.

COUNTRY

GOLD

SILVER

BRONZE

TOTALS

Japan

13

4

5

22

China

12

6

9

27

United States

11

11

9

31

Russian Olympic Committee

7

10

6

23

Australia

6

1

9

16

Great Britain

5

6

5

16

South Korea

4

2

5

11

Germany

3

2

Fantasy Football: QB camp battle updates, first day of training camp notes, and the latest QB and RB rankings

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

I bet the first day of training camp for NFL players is a lot like the first day of school. You’re all anxious about seeing all your old friends again, and you know you’re going to make a whole bunch of new friends. 

But you also know the first day isn’t going to necessarily be full of action. It’s just about getting reacquainted, figuring out what your new year is going to look like, and getting settled in. Teams weren’t throwing on pads and installing new packages Tuesday, they were just reporting, getting their physicals, getting tested, and getting ready. 

But from our perspective, there was quite a lot to keep track of. Because the first day of training camp is also the day we get a bunch of injury updates, quotes

MLB trade rumors: Max Scherzer talks intensifying; Yankees, others interested in Starling Marte

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The MLB trade deadline looms on Friday. With just a few days to go, the rumor mill is churning. We’ll round up the hottest rumors here throughout the day. 

Scherzer talks intensifying

According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the Nationals‘ trade talks involving ace Max Scherzer are “intensifying,” to the point where a deal could be reached before Thursday. Morosi adds that the three top teams in the National League West — the Giants, Dodgers, and Padres — are believed to be involved, along with other clubs.

Scherzer’s situation is more complex than the typical trade candidate’s. He has the ability to block any trade thanks to his 10-5 rights (as in, 10 years of major league service and five consecutive with his current team), and his agent Scott Boras has implied that he may require

BTSC Roundtable: Who are you most excited to see in the Hall of Fame game?


NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers Minicamp
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the main players on the sideline, who are you excited to get a look at?

With the Hall of Fame game approaching the BTSC team is here to give you their picks for the player they are most excited to see take the field in Canton Ohio. While Ben Roethlisberger will join many of the Steelers best known players on the sideline, the hall of fame game will be the first chance many new faces and returning depth players will have to show Steeler fans what they can do. Here are our thoughts on the players to look for.


Dave Schofield: Kendrick Green

Thanks to my nephew Kyle, a new nickname has been given as “Quadrick Green.” If you’re unsure why Green would get this nickname, check out any coverage from Tuesday’s practice at Heinz Field. The Steelers third-round rookie is already in line to start the Hall of Fame Game and Steelers Nation wants to know how close he is to grabbing the starting role for the 2021 season. Until the pads come on, we’ll never truly know what Green has to offer. Since he’s getting the start, we should see Green matched up against the best players who will appear on the other side of the ball.


Big Bro Scho: James Pierre

There has been plenty of talk that Pierre could challenge Cam Sutton for the starting spot opposite of Joe Hadden. We got a very small sample size from Pierre last season, but what we got looked VERY good. He should get plenty of opportunities this preseason to show the coaching staff exactly what he can do. I really like his size and speed and am excited to see more of what he has to offer this secondary.


Bryan Anthony Davis: Isaiah McKoy

In a college season that was only four games, Kent State’s McKoy had 25 receptions for 455 yards, an 18.2 yard average, and five touchdowns in 2020. Isaiah is big at 6’2” and is a fast, deep threat that can add to an already talented stable. I want to see if McKoy can thrive in the NFL and make things even more interesting in Pittsburgh.

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K.T. Smith: Antoine Brooks

The Steelers need someone to step up and claim Mike Hilton’s role in the nickel. Brooks is being given a shot to do it. Like Hilton, he was a great tackler and aggressive blitzer coming out of college. I’m excited to see how he looks.

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Shannon White: Buddy Johnson

Buddy Johnson is a more athletic run thumping inside linebacker in the mold of Vince Williams. He is a hard hitting Buck linebacker who may very well be Robert Spillane’s backup in this his rookie season. He has been lauded for his tackling and leadership qualities, and his solid athleticism suggest he should improve in pass coverage through hardwork and improved coaching. Beyond excited to watch him in the Black and Gold.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Michael Beck: Pat Freiermuth

it’s been a very long time since the Steelers have had a tight end with the athletic and receiving ability of Freiermuth’s. If this kid plays as well as he’s reportedly done at training camp he may revolutionize the Steelers offense.


Andrew Wilbar: Anthony McFarland

After an unproductive rookie year behind a struggling offensive line, McFarland will be hungry to prove doubters wrong. He will obviously be running behind the backup linemen, but with his former college coach Matt Canada running the offense, I expect McFarland’s skill set to be utilized much better in year two. Despite the vanilla play calling we will see in the Hall of Fame game, I am excited to see McFarland have an opportunity to shine.


Anthony Defeo: Quincy Roche

Roche, selected in the sixth round out of Miami in the 2021 NFL Draft, was super productive in college. He had 30.5 career sacks in four years—including 26 in three seasons at Temple before transferring to Miami in 2020. Why was he drafted so low? If he bucks the odds and plays above his draft pedigree, that could bode well for the Steelers and their depth at outside linebacker—at the very least. Roche figures to go up against players at his level or lower during the preseason. Will he dominate? Will he struggle? I’m excited to find out.


Jeff Hartman: Dwayne Haskins

While everyone chooses rookies or undrafted players, I am excited to see what the team has in Haskins. Could he be the next quarterback for the Steelers? Some scream yes, while others scream no. How will we ever know? By watching him play this preseason and seeing if he is the first round pick, or a dud who couldn’t survive in Washington. For all those reasons, and many more, I am excited to see Haskins play in the black and gold for the first time vs. Dallas.


Be sure to follow BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.

Tokyo Olympics Men's Soccer: France, Germany, Argentina go home; Mexico, Brazil, Spain among quarterfinalists

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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics group stage for men’s soccer is in the books, and some big names have been eliminated with France, Germany and Argentina all heading home after underwhelming showings in Japan. All three finished third in their four-team groups to fall just short of the knockout phases, but none of them truly merited to advance based on their showings over three games. The host nation are the only team to have won all three of their fixtures and look one of the strongest sides heading into the latter stages.

Results

Group A:
France 0, Japan 4 (Yokohama)
South Africa 0, Mexico 3 (Sapporo)

Group B:
Romania 0, New Zealand 0 (Sapporo)
South Korea 6, Honduras 0 (Yokohama)

Group C:
Australia 0, Egypt 2 (Rifu)
Spain 1, Argentina 1 (Saitama)

Group D:
Saudi Arabia 1, Brazil 3

Larry Coon on NBA free agency, future CBA Changes, expansion and Sports Business Classroom

By | July 28, 2021 ET

On the latest edition of the HoopsHype podcast, host Michael Scotto is joined by NBA salary cap guru Larry Coon. The two discussed which teams could be the most active this summer in the free agency and sign-and-trade market, future CBA changes, expansion, and Sports Business Classroom in Las Vegas.

This episode is brought to you by Sports Business Classroom. If you’re looking to jump-start your career in the business of basketball, you can sign up for classes from August 9-14. Learn from the experts on topics including the salary cap, scouting, analytics, media, and broadcasting. Use promo code “HOOPSHYPE” to get $200 off.

For more interviews with players, coaches, and media members, be sure to like and subscribe to the HoopsHype podcast on

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