|Browns' backfield likely to ride the "hot hand"|
Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson considered the frontrunners
By: Doug Orth | Jul 16 2015, 6:35 pm
|Duke Johnson’s initial burst and speed in the open field were clearly established on film for the coaches to incorporate into game plans. Repetitions between all of the running backs, including Shaun Draughn and Luke Lundy, were divided pretty equally. OC John DeFilippo has made it clear there won’t be an exact science for how carries are distributed. As an example, if Terrance West were to rush for big yards in the first half of Week 1’s game against the Jets, the Browns may lean toward featuring him prominently during the second half. (clevelandbrowns.com)|
FFToday's Take: It seems appropriate that a team with a severe lack of talent in the passing game would also have no answers in regards to how it wants to split up the work in the backfield. DeFilippo has compared Johnson to Giovani Bernard on multiple occasions, suggesting he will see the bulk of passing-down work. Isaiah Crowell is expected to get the first crack at early-down work, although West and Johnson could easily emerge as the "hot hand" in any given week.
| Carson Palmer: "I'm not thinking about my knee"|
Completing rehab from ACL tear, building rapport with John Brown
By: Doug Orth | Jul 16 2015, 6:15 pm
|As it was last year, Carson Palmer has brought WR John Brown to southern California to live with him and work out. And as it was last year, Palmer feels he is throwing well, sharpening his mental game - and feeling no problems with his knee. “I’m not even thinking about my knee,” Palmer said. “I’m still rehabbing just to be on the safe side of things but I don’t need to be at rehab. I’m full go in the weight room, full go on the field, and until it’s brought up, I haven’t thought about what I’m not doing because I’m doing everything I was doing.” (azcardinals.com)|
FFToday's Take: The report is as much a thumbs-up on Palmer's state of mind as it is another reminder that Brown is poised for a breakout season if his close friend can stay healthy. Palmer, who was limited to six games in 2014, could have thrown for 4,336 yards and 29 touchdowns had he maintained his per-game average over 16 contests. Brown went 20-315-3 in Palmer's six games under center, suggesting he will have no problem building upon his 48-696-5 line as a rookie.
|Demaryius Thomas gets 5-year deal|
$43.5 million guaranteed
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 15 2015, 3:35 pm
|The Denver Broncos and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas have reached agreement on a five-year, $70 million deal that includes $43.5 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Thomas got basically the same deal as Dez Bryant but with $1.5 million less in guaranteed money. Thomas has posted double-digit touchdowns in each of the last three seasons and recorded a staggering 39 redzone targets last season. He's easily a top five fantasy wide receiver.
|Dez Bryant, Cowboys get the deal done|
$45 million in guaranteed money
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 15 2015, 3:30 pm
|Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys have agreed to a five-year, $70 million deal. Bryant's contract includes $45 million in guaranteed money. Bryant had threatened to miss training camp and some regular season games if he did not have a long-term in deal in place by the 4 p.m. ET deadline for franchise-tagged players to negotiate a multi-year contract.
FFToday's Take: With the deadline to sign franchise players to a long-term agreement closing in, the Cowboys and Bryant got the deal done. All the media posturing over the last few weeks is over and the two sides can now focus on football. Bryant posted a third-consecutive season with at least 88 catches, 1200 yards, and 12 touchdowns last season in route to finishing as the third ranked fantasy wide receiver.
|Houston, Chiefs agree on long-term deal|
$52.5 million guaranteed
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 15 2015, 12:05 pm
|The Kansas City Chiefs have signed linebacker Justin Houston to a six-year, $101 million deal, including $52.5 million guaranteed, sources said Wednesday. Houston, 26, led the NFL in sacks last season with 22. The sides had until 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to agree to terms on the multiyear contract. Otherwise, they would have been prohibited by NFL rule from executing a long-term contract until after the 2015 season was finished. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Despite news to the contrary it was a longshot that a deal didn't get done. Houston has yet to sock away a substantial amount of money (by NFL standards) and the Chiefs covet the player as one of the best at a premiere position in the league. Houston has registered double-digit sacks in each of the last three years should once again be a leader in that category this upcoming season.
|ASJ "uncoverable" during offseason workouts|
Second-year TE limited to nine games as a rookie in 2014
By: Doug Orth | Jul 13 2015, 3:50 pm
|Can Austin Seferian-Jenkins avoid the bad luck of 2014? Will be be a force in the Dirk Koetter-designed offense in the way Mercedes Lewis was in Jacksonville, and Tony Gonzalez was with the Falcons during Koetter’s time in Atlanta? Seferian-Jenkins was healthy for all of the offseason workouts, and was virtually uncoverable during the offseason OTAs and mini-camps, which has to excite the Buccaneers staff and front office. Seferian-Jenkins, who will only turn 23 in September, could turn into a great target for rookie QB Jameis Winston who utilized former Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary often during his two seasons in Tallahassee. (Pewter Report)|
FFToday's Take: The Tampa Bay offense as a whole is a sleeping giant, stocked with three pass-catching playmakers that all stand 6-5 in Seferian-Jenkins as well as WRs Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. With Winston likely to put a stranglehold on the quarterback position for the foreseeable future and Koetter providing a huge upgrade at offensive coordinator, ASJ is easily capable of catching 50-60 passes if he can stay healthy this year.
|Dez Bryant turning up the heat on Cowboys|
Deadline is Wednesday for long-term deal to be reached
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 13 2015, 9:29 am
|Sources: Dez Bryant personally called Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones to say he won't attend camp, will miss real games unless signed by Wed. (Ed Werder on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: With the Wednesday deadline looming for Bryant and the Cowboys to reach a long-term deal, Bryant is posturing by saying he'll sit out of training camp and miss regular season games. We'll see. If a long-term deal isn't reached Bryant would make $12.8 million in 2015 and would lose roughly $754,000 for each game he sat out.
| Jordan Reed expected to be ready for camp|
Redskins feel insured with Niles Paul
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 11 2015, 3:00 pm
|Ongoing issues forced him (Jordan Reed) to have a procedure on his left knee this spring, and because of it, he spent the entire offseason rehabilitating rather than practicing in an offense that has undergone some tweaks. The Redskins believe that Reed will be ready to go by the start of training camp. However, it’s hard to know if or how long coaches will be able to count on Reed. (Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: The Redskins gave re-signed Niles Paul to three-year, $6 million deal this offseason in large part due to Reed's inability to stay healthy. Reed has the athletic ability to be a difference maker at the position but his 12 games missed over the last two years is concerning for fantasy owners. Reed is a TE2 given his risk but capable of producing like a TE1 when healthy.
|Ladarius Green "seems faster than he's ever been"|
TE drawing praise from coaches, players after injury-filled 2014
By: Doug Orth | Jul 9 2015, 5:15 pm
|Ladarius Green has felt offseason pressure to perform but with Antonio Gates (suspended the first four games), Green could potentially fill a much bigger role to start the season.
"(Green) still has huge upside and possibilities. Last year he had to fight through a number of different injuries at different times, so I am excited for him this year,” TE coach Pete Metzelaars said.
“He seems faster than he’s ever been. He certainly seems that way with the way he’s moving,” QB Philip Rivers acknowledged. (Chargers.com)|
FFToday's Take: The offseason hype train may as well be named after Green, who has generated a lot of summer buzz over his first three NFL seasons only to remain stuck behind Gates and the Chargers' preference to use three-wide sets. Gates' suspension gives Green a month-long window to force his way into more playing time. While his 2015 season-long prospects will probably dim once Gates returns, a successful audition might be enough to draw a big-money contract in free agency next spring.
| Cruz thinks he'll avoid PUP list to start camp|
"I don’t think PUP will be an option"
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 7 2015, 3:41 pm
|Victor Cruz has maintained all offseason that he expects to be ready to go for training camp after tearing his patellar tendon last season and said on Tuesday that everyone with a say in the matter also feels confident that Cruz will avoid the physically unable to perform list when the team reports to training camp. (ProFootballTalk)|
FFToday's Take: Cruz's injury is a nasty one for an athlete, especially a wide receiver and it will be a nice milestone if he's able to avoid the PUP list. Ultimately how he performs in camp will give us a better idea of his availability in Week 1.
|Nick Toon has good shot at the No. 3 role |
Expected to lineup in the "Z" position
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 7 2015, 9:00 am
|Buried on the depth chart for three seasons, Nick Toon finds himself staring at a wide-open path to playing time, cleared by the offseason departures of Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham and Robert Meacham. Toon seems to have a good shot at the No. 3 role behind Cooks and Marques Colston this fall, if he can hold off a hard-charging group of young players and free agents. (New Orleans Advocate)|
FFToday's Take: Toon is set to play the "Z" position in the Saints base offense but is capable of lining up at "X". He'll do well to gain WR4 as the third or perhaps fourth option in the Saints offense behind Cooks, Colston and tight end Josh Hill. He's a late-round flier in redraft leagues.
|Rawls pushing Michael out of Seattle?|
UDFA could make push for backup spot behind Marshawn Lynch
By: Doug Orth | Jul 6 2015, 4:15 pm
|Robert Turbin is a quality backup with excellent blocking and receiving skills, but it’s uncertain if he’ll be ready to go for the start of the regular season after undergoing offseason hip surgery. It’s "step up or step out" time for Christine Michael. The Seattle coaches are high on Thomas Rawls, a free agent rookie from Central Michigan who started his college career at the University of Michigan. Pete Carroll loves Rawls’ toughness, seeing him as a bruising runner similar to Marshawn Lynch. That’s not good news for Michael. Maybe the Seahawks could trade him for a late-round pick if they decide Rawls is the better option. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Lynch skipped voluntary workouts, Turbin did not participate at all in the spring and Michael nursed a hamstring for much of the offseason, giving Rawls plenty of opportunity to catch the coaches' eye. Regardless of what he's done (or hasn't done) to this point of his career, Michael will almost certainly get a chance to latch on somewhere else if he is traded or released. Dynasty owners should hold, even if this situation gets worse before it gets better.
|Andrew Quarless arrested for firing gun|
Packers TE tried to stash the gun in a potted plant
By: Mike Krueger | Jul 4 2015, 12:25 pm
|According to a police report, Andrew Quarless fired two rounds after getting into an argument with a group of women near a parking garage; when police chased the black Porsche he was seen riding in, he allegedly tried to hide outside a restaurant and tried to stash his weapon in a potted plant. (Miami New Times)|
FFToday's Take: Oh boy. Team officials typically hold their breath during this time of year in hopes that players stay out of trouble until training camp. Quarless was likely headed for tight end timeshare with Richard Rodgers in Green Bay but instead he may be facing disciplinary action from the league.
|Gates suspended four games for PEDs|
One of four players levied with suspensions on Thursday
By: Doug Orth | Jul 2 2015, 4:30 pm
|The San Diego Chargers announced Thursday that TE Antonio Gates has been suspended four games without pay for violating the NFL Policy and Program for performance-enhancing substances.
He is eligible to return to the active roster on Oct. 5, ahead of a Week 5 matchup against the Steelers. Gates is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.
Gates blamed his positive test on "supplements and holistic medicines" he used in an effort to recover from the past season.
FFToday's Take: Jets DT Sheldon Richardson, Cowboys LB Rolando McClain and Packers DE Datone Jones were the three other players suspended. Gates had a team-high 12 touchdowns last season and crossed the 10,000 receiving yard mark in San Diego's season finale, so he will be missed. With Gates out, the Chargers will finally have a reason to unleash athletic freak Ladarius Green, who has been unable to assume a bigger role in the offense because of Gates and the team's preference to use three receivers.
|Joique Bell "I'm going to rush for over 1200 yds"|
Lions RB not concerned about injuries
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 30 2015, 9:00 am
|Joique Bell isn't worried about the knee injury that has sidelined him for the entirety of this offseason. He isn't worried about the Achilles either. "I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards," Bell told MLive.com. "That's the minimum. If I do less than that, I'll be surprised. I'll be disappointed.
"Anything more than that, I wouldn't be surprised at all."
FFToday's Take: Detroit runners have had a rough time reaching 1000 yards in recent years let alone 1200. Bell (Achilles, knee) is expected to be ready for training camp and head coach Jim Caldwell has expressed his interest to run the ball more. However, Rookie Ameer Abdullah is expected to have a role in the offense that will limit Bell's opportunities. If Bell were to hit his ceiling of 250 carries, he'd need to average 4.8 ypc to hit 1200 yards.
|Graham, Lockett among offseason standouts|
Ex-Saint TE, third-round pick catch Carroll's eye
By: Doug Orth | Jun 29 2015, 4:25 pm
|When the offseason program ended Thursday, Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll pointed to two players who stood out to him through the rookie camp and OTAs. The first one is rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
"(Lockett) has a lot of responsibilities. He’s going after this return job, he’s inside playing in the slot and been outside. We’ve just thrown everything at him because he seems to be able to handle it," Carroll said.
The other standout for Carroll is TE Jimmy Graham.
“(Graham is) a great kid. He’s as hard a worker as we could hope to get. ... He loves the challenge and coming to a new setting and having to prove himself. He’s feeding off that." (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Lockett is going to fly under the radar in redraft leagues that don't reward owners for return yards simply because the Seahawks once again don't figure to provide enough volume to make their receivers worthy of starting consideration in fantasy. The same lack of passing-game volume is expected to hinder Graham, although certainly not to the same degree. The three-time Pro Bowler will immediately become Russell Wilson's top target and should be good for at least 10 touchdowns, even if his other receiving numbers take a slight hit.
|Stevie Johnson could be Chargers' X-factor|
WR developed good rapport with Philip Rivers in offseason
By: Doug Orth | Jun 29 2015, 4:15 pm
|WR Steve Johnson appears to have found a home with the San Diego Chargers. The 28-year-old signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the Chargers in free agency and has developed a good rapport with QB Philip Rivers during offseason work.
The wide receiver group should be a plus for San Diego’s offense, and it should compete for the best combination of players at that position in the AFC West. Malcom Floyd provides familiarity and stability as the elder statesmen of the group, while Keenan Allen should be more productive in Year 3. But the X-factor will be Johnson and the impact plays he can produce in critical situations for this offense. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Johnson is expected to replace Eddie Royal as the primary slot receiver and should outperform his predecessor since he is equally capable inside and outside the hashmarks. With field stretchers like Floyd and Jacoby Jones on board, Johnson and Allen should have ample opportunity to work the middle part of the field. Johnson has top-30 receiver potential in this offense, making him a steal at his current 14th-round ADP.
| Mike Tolbert healthy, looking to regain 2013 form|
Panthers RB “didn't feel like myself" last season
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 26 2015, 12:45 pm
|Mike Tolbert said he has been particularly motivated to work out in the offseason because of a left leg and knee injury last season that cost him eight games in 2014. It was the first major injury of his career. “I didn't feel like myself,” Tolbert said. “I didn't feel like I had the power. I didn't fully trust my knee or my leg. I didn't know if it was going to break again or not. I definitely wasn't confident in my body at that point." (Charlotte Observer)|
FFToday's Take: Tolbert returned late last season from his broken leg but was ineffective. His return to health could pose a threat to Jonathan Stewart's fantasy upside as Tolbert is known TD-vulture scoring 11 times in 2010. Rookie Cameron Artis-Payne is also in the mix for carries and would likely split time with Tolbert if Stewart suffers a significant injury.
|Moeaki, Tamme competition expected at camp|
Falcons looking for answers at tight end
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 26 2015, 9:00 am
|The Falcons sought to upgrade the tight end position this offseason by signing Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki in free agency. Tamme received a two-year, $4 million contract with $400,000 guaranteed, while Moeaki, who’s been often injured, received a modest one-year, $744,000 deal. The two are expected to compete for the role of top pass-catching tight end when training camp opens on July 31. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)|
FFToday's Take: Levine Toilolo finished 37th among fantasy tight ends last season with a 31-238-2 stat line. The Falcons will role the dice with a consistently injured Moeaki and the veteran Tamme who last had fantasy relevance back in 2012 with Denver. Moeaki is the better athlete with the biggest fantasy upside of the three but his injury history and the WR-focused gameplan in Atlanta makes him undraftable even if he does win the starting job in camp.
|Melvin Gordon "as good as advertised"|
No. 15 overall pick has been a quick study
By: Doug Orth | Jun 25 2015, 5:30 pm
|So far, Melvin Gordon has been as good as advertised in offseason workouts. He’s proved a quick study, both on the field and in the classroom. And he’s been better than expected in the passing game. Most important, Gordon won’t be asked to carry the offense. With Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown, Gordon will be part of a running back by committee approach that should provide a significant improvement for San Diego’s running game in 2015. But Gordon will serve as the bell-cow running back. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: RB coach Ollie Wilson went on to compliment his study habits and intelligence. Everybody looks great in shorts at this time of the year, but this is about as much as present and future Gordon owners can ask for at the moment. It's not hard to imagine the No. 15 overall pick amassing 225-250 carries for the Chargers and 25-35 catches while stealing the occasional passing-down snap from Woodhead.
|Charles Johnson "picking up where he left off"|
Expected to have a big role in offense
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 24 2015, 2:51 pm
|Charles Johnson seemed to have gained some stability for the first time in career last year.
The wide receiver emerged as the Vikings No. 1 target last year in his second season, though he didn’t even start the season with the team. “CJ has picked up where he left off in December and he’s having a good spring,” Turner said. Johnson won’t technically be labeled as the No. 1 receiver with the Vikings trading for Mike Wallace from the Dolphins, but he’s expected to have a big role in the offense.
(Minneapolis Star Tribune)|
FFToday's Take: Johnson's fantasy value took a hit with the signing of Mike Wallace but both should be in the starting lineup come Week 1. Both also have WR2 upside in 2015 with Johnson a slight favorite in PPR leagues, playing the "X" position in Norv Turner's offense.
|Bounceback season coming from Garcon?|
Gruden wants to get Garcon more involved
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 24 2015, 1:00 pm
|There were signs, as the Redskins wrapped up last week’s minicamp, that Pierre Garcon will be featured more prominently in the 2015 game plan. Gruden said more than once last season that he wanted to get Garcon more involved in the passing game. But it never really happened, whether as a result of free agent DeSean Jackson’s addition to the receiving corps, the revolving door at quarterback or the failure of Robert Griffin III to make timely, decisive reads. (Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: It should be noted that DeSean Jackson elected to skip a number of the Redskins voluntary workouts giving Garcon an opportunity to make his way into off-season headlines. Garcon finished 47th among fantasy wide receivers last season, scoring only three touchdowns. If the coach's talk comes true, Garcon should be looking at WR3 value in 2015.
|Randle heads into training camp as starting RB|
Cowboys RB ready to have career year
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 23 2015, 7:00 am
|Joseph Randle led most of the individual drills throughout offseason workouts and regularly worked with the first-team offense. With a month to go before training camp, taking over as the lead back behind the Cowboys’ talented offensive line appears to be Randle’s job to lose. (Dallas Morning News)|
FFToday's Take: Randle's competition currently includes Darren McFadden and Ryan Williams which is part of the reason why Randle's ADP currently sits at 4.04 (RB No.20) in twelve-team leagues. Assuming he can keep his head on straight, Randle has a chance to make a big fantasy impact in his third season.
|Ahmad Bradshaw gets one-game suspension|
Pleaded no contest to marijuana possession
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 22 2015, 8:00 pm
|Free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw, who pleaded no contest to marijuana possession in May, was suspended for one game by the NFL on Monday. Bradshaw played the past two seasons for the Indianapolis Colts but was released during the offseason. He would have to serve the suspension if he's signed by another team.
FFToday's Take: Bradshaw hasn't found any takers on the free agent market this off-season. He was playing well for the Colts last season before breaking his leg in Week 11. The Colts appear set at the running back spot with Frank Gore, Dan Herron and rookie Josh Robinson.
|Royal, Cutler working to rekindle chemistry|
Pair worked together in Denver in 2008
By: Doug Orth | Jun 22 2015, 6:00 pm
|The Bears got rid of a frequent Jay Cutler target this offseason when they traded WR Brandon Marshall to the Jets, but Cutler hasn’t been left without any ties to his days in Denver. Eddie Royal signed with the team as a free agent, which reunites him with the man who was the quarterback during his rookie year with the Broncos in 2008. Royal got off to a fast start in his first year, catching 91 passes for 980 yards and five touchdowns. It was the only year that the two men worked together, but both remember it fondly and Royal says they’re putting in the same work now that they did then to build the same chemistry. (Pro Football Talk)|
FFToday's Take: As PFT states, Royal isn't going to match his rookie-year production with Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett, Matt Forte and first-rounder Kevin White also on hand. However, one has to believe new HC John Fox and OC Adam Gase will be emphasizing more high-percentage throws from Cutler. To that end, NFL Media's Albert Breer tweeted the Bears "have big plans" for Royal.
|James White "looked great" in spring|
"Looks like a carbon copy of Shane Vereen"
By: Doug Orth | Jun 22 2015, 5:35 pm
|In the battle of third-down backs, James White looks like a carbon copy of Shane Vereen. He’s lined up in all the same places, and turned in some spectacular catches, particularly on wheel routes coming out of the backfield. He’s made a few drops, but all in all, looks great. It’s important to remember he also looked great last year at this time before falling off the map.
Dion Lewis has earned praise on the field from Brady for his route-running. He’s also been a primary kick returner in drills. He has some giddy-up in his step. Travaris Cadet, another free agent who was the third down back in New Orleans, has had some good moments. (Boston Herald)|
FFToday's Take: Last Thursday, Boston Globe beat writer Ben Volin speculated that Cadet had a “leg up” on the job, which should tell owners just about everything they need to know about believing everything they read in the offseason. White should be considered as a slight favorite simply because the Patriots drafted him last year with the intention of him becoming the heir apparent to Vereen, but he’ll need to carry his offseason performance into the preseason - something he was unable to do last year.
|Eifert caught "virtually everything" in spring|
Fully recovered from shoulder, elbow injuries
By: Doug Orth | Jun 22 2015, 5:30 pm
|(Bengals TE Tyler Eifert) had a strong spring, too. He was being brought along a little slower (than WR Marvin Jones) mainly because coaches and trainers simply didn't want to run the risk of getting him hurt. He's fully recovered from late-season shoulder surgery, and his dislocated elbow has healed. Eifert looks healthy. He caught virtually everything thrown his way during open practices, and looked sharp in his routes. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: The Bengals insist they are playing it cautiously with Eifert, who was lost for the season with the elbow injury early in Week 1 after catching a pass on each of the team's first three series. With Jermaine Gresham no longer around, the No. 21 overall pick in 2013 could easily absorb the 62 catches he leaves behind and become an every-week fantasy TE1. Eifert and A.J. Green should be Andy Dalton's primary targets inside and outside the red zone, meaning Eifert could be poised for a top-10 season at his position if he can just stay healthy.
|GM: No restrictions for Cam as a runner|
"You don’t hold back a thoroughbred"
By: Doug Orth | Jun 22 2015, 5:10 pm
|Panthers GM Dave Gettleman, when asked if Cam Newton's extension will change how often he runs:
"No. He’s got to be Cam. You don’t hold back a thoroughbred, you don’t. I don’t know if you watched the Belmont (Stakes). When (American) Pharoah came around that backstretch and that horse was nipping at his heels, the jockey let him go. He didn’t whip him. He’s just, ‘Go baby!’ And that’s what a thoroughbred does. You don’t change their game. …You can’t do it." (Charlotte Observer)|
FFToday's Take: Newton was saddled with one of the worst depth charts at receiver last year and was rarely ever able to stay healthy, from his early-season rib injury to the back injury he suffered as a result of his November car accident. Once Newton got to feeling better, however, he averaged 9.5 carries for 53 yards and 0.5 rushing touchdowns over the final six games of the season (including playoffs). With his health and long-term status no longer an issue, Newton is a solid bet to finish among the top 5-8 fantasy quarterbacks this season.
|Green expected to have bigger role in offense|
We've heard this before
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 19 2015, 7:00 am
|The Chargers said it last year. They're saying it again now. Ladarius Green is expected to have a larger role in their offense, the team working to take advantage of his size-speed combo to present a mismatch for defenses. "I'd be shocked if he didn't have his most productive year," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. (San Diego Union Tribune)|
FFToday's Take: We've heard this before. Green's expected breakout last season never happened as he dealt with injuries and the consistently good play of veteran Antonio Gates. Green has immense physical skills but with Steve Johnson added to the receiving mix, Green will likely need an injury to Gates in order to make a significant fantasy impact.
|Allen Robinson "unbelievable" in offseason|
Missed final six weeks of last season with a broken right foot
By: Doug Orth | Jun 18 2015, 8:55 pm
|Allen Robinson spent last season looking for a niche. He was somewhat lost in the mix, especially after missing most of OTAs, training camp and the preseason with a hamstring injury and then ending up on injured reserve for the final six weeks with a broken right foot. The former Penn State standout has been the star of Jacksonville's offseason program, showing big-play ability all over the field and most noticeably in and around the end zone.
"He's been unbelievable," QB Blake Bortles said. "He's definitely a threat now in the red zone. ... He's physical. He can run and do everything out in the open field, so he's been fun to throw to." (AP)|
FFToday's Take: Jacksonville hasn't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005, but it appears Robinson could end that dry spell. The second-year receiver showed he was capable of being a high-volume receiver when he was healthy, so there is reason to believe this is more than just typical offseason hype. Robinson should make for a fine WR3 - with WR2 upside - in just about every league this season.
|Cadet has a "leg up" on third-down competition?|
Battling with James White to replace Shane Vereen
By: Doug Orth | Jun 18 2015, 8:50 pm
|For (Boston Globe beat writer) Ben Volin, what Patriots OC Josh McDaniels is most looking out for is the back that steps up to replace Shane Vereen, now a member of the New York Giants.
“Vereen did a lot for this offense; not only catching the ball. ... Vereen knew all the pass protections and all the audibles. There’s a lot [mentally] that goes into that role. Right now it looks like a battle between Travaris Cadet and James White, and I think Cadet probably has the leg up,” Volin said. (CBS Boston)|
FFToday's Take: Less than two weeks ago, the Boston Herald suggested White was "in the driver's seat" for Vereen's old role, so take both reports with a grain of salt; this competition will be decided in training camp and the preseason. Volin cited experience and explosiveness as two of the main reasons why he felt Cadet was the favorite and hinted that the complexity of the New England offense is what essentially forced White into a redshirt year in 2014. The winner - if there is going to be one - will be a decent flex option in PPR leagues.
|Gates rested for most of SD offseason work|
Has no idea when he plans to retire
By: Doug Orth | Jun 18 2015, 7:20 pm
|San Diego TE Antonio Gates said he’ll evaluate at the end of each season where he’s at physically and mentally in order to determine if he wants to keep playing. He’s missed most of the offseason work at Chargers Park to keep the wear and tear down on his body. On Tuesday, Gates caught the first pass from QB Philip Rivers during the first rep of 7-on-7 passing drills and then watched from the sideline for most of the two-hour practice.
“As of right now, I feel great. I feel good physically. I’m in a great place mentally. So I’ll just see how it goes. I have no expectations on how long I will play, or if this is my last year,” Gates said. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Gates finished second among tight ends in standard scoring and third in PPR, so the birthday boy (turned 35 on Thursday) doesn't need to be in a rush to leave the game. Gates was asked to block less in 2014 and the result was more consistent production late in the season than he had delivered in recent years. That will probably be the blueprint going forward as well. Gates represents a solid value in yearly leagues at his current 9.08 ADP in standard drafts and 10.05 in PPR.
| Cruz expected to be limited at the start of camp|
Believes he'll be "around 100 percent" in late July/early August
By: Doug Orth | Jun 18 2015, 6:20 pm
|Victor Cruz (patellar tear) agrees with Giants HC Tom Coughlin; he expects to be cleared for limited practice at start of training camp. (Paul Schwartz on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: If ever there was a report that should draw an eyebrow raise or eye-roll, this is that one. Patellar tears are arguably the most difficult injuries for a football player to come back from, so the notion that Cruz is going to be "around 100 percent" (as he told the New York Daily News earlier Thursday) less than a year after the injury is highly improbable. It is unlikely Cruz is going to be anything better than a fantasy WR4 in 2015.
|Agholor "as advertised" during spring practices|
No. 20 overall pick likely to start opposite Jordan Matthews
By: Doug Orth | Jun 18 2015, 6:10 pm
|Rookie WR Nelson Agholor made a pair of grabs from QB Matt Barkley, flashing good hands on a high pass near the sideline. Agholor was as advertised this spring - a shifty athlete with good hands who plays hard. (Philly Mag: Birds 24/7)|
FFToday's Take: Agholor is perhaps the safest rookie for redraft purposes in that he is versatile (can play in the slot or on the outside) and a good route-runner slated for a lot of snaps in a good offense. He cannot be expected to fill the shoes of the man he is replacing (Jeremy Maclin) in 2015 by himself, but he should be a steady WR3 in PPR leagues and a low-end WR3 one in standard formats.
| Todd Gurley's status for training camp unclear|
Rams will be cautious with rookie running back
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 17 2015, 8:27 pm
|“It’s hard to say right now. I can’t predict that,” Fisher said Tuesday. “I know he’s doing well. He had a day off today because he’s doing so well. He’ll rehab with us during the break. ... We’re just going to see how he progresses. ... If he’s not PUP-ed (physically unable to perform), then I think you could probably assume that he’s going to play sooner than you think.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)|
FFToday's Take: Todd Gurley is coming off ACL surgery in November and will likely be eased into training camp whenever he's ready to participate. Expect St. Louis to be cautious with their first round pick and it won't be a surprise if its mid-season before Gurley sees significant action.
| Kelvin Benjamin out with yet another hamstring injury|
Panthers receiver a little on the hefty side
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 17 2015, 8:00 pm
|A week after returning from one hamstring injury, second-year Panthers receiver Kelvin Benjamin has another hamstring injury that caused him to miss Wednesday’s minicamp practice. Benjamin said the injury to his right hamstring will likely keep him out of Thursday’s final minicamp practice, and Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes the hamstring issues could be related to Benjamin showing up to OTAs (organized team activities) overweight. (Charlotte Observer)|
FFToday's Take: Eight to nine pounds overweight is being reported. Sounds like the coach is using the media to get his No.1 receiver into shape. Benjamin injured his hamstring last month at OTAs. He'll have six weeks to get healed before the Panthers begin training camp in late July.
| WR Kevin White out with undisclosed injury|
Competing to be the fourth receiver
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 17 2015, 9:30 am
|An injury kept rookie receiver Kevin White out of the Bears' minicamp practice Tuesday, coach John Fox indicated. After Tuesday's practice, quarterback Jay Cutler indicated White is competing to be the fourth receiver behind Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson. (Chicago Tribune)|
FFToday's Take: Fox declined to give any details about White's injury saying only "he'll be out here when he's ready." Cutler's comments about White's place on the depth chart are noteworthy and a reminder that its an uphill process for rookies to crack the starting lineup, despite the success of last year's rookie group.
|Brandin Cooks shines at Saints minicamp|
"Cooks is the best player on offense"
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 17 2015, 8:00 am
|The roster is brimming with talented young receivers. Brandin Cooks is the best player on offense - hands down. He has another gear. The third receiver job is Nick Toon's to lose. Word of advice: Draft C.J. Spiller on your fantasy football team. The Saints are going to get him the ball in a number of ways this season. If he can stay healthy, he could have a breakout year. It certainly won't be for lack of opportunity. (NOLA.com)|
FFToday's Take: Note, these are beat writer Jeff Duncan's comments after the Saints first minicamp practice on Tuesday. The Saints will run the ball plenty with Mark Ingram but Cooks and Spiller could be heavily involved in the passing game. Spiller is going to be a player to target in PPR leagues.
| McFadden back at work, in full for Tuesday's practice|
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 16 2015, 2:00 pm
|Darren McFadden a full participant today after being limited the last two weeks by hamstring tightness. (Clarence Hill on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: We'll be tracking the Cowboys running game this entire pre-season trying to get some clarity on the expected workload distribution between McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. McFadden has been limited during OTAs, giving Randle the first shot at making a lasting impression.
|Titans release RB Shonn Greene|
Scheduled to make $3.25 million
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 16 2015, 9:32 am
|The Titans plan to release running back Shonn Greene this morning, according to sources familiar with the situation.
Greene, who signed a three-year, $10 million contract in 2013, was scheduled to make $3.25 million in the final year of his contract this year.
FFToday's Take: The Titans have drafted two running backs in the last two years. Bishop Sankey and David Cobb (rookie) will handle the bulk of the carries in 2015. Greene had back-to-back 1000-yard rushing seasons with the Jets but never found his footing in Tennessee.