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Little Andrew Hawkins making a big impression

Fantasy Football Today - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 14:20

Ex-Bengal WR drawing praise from coaches and players

Andrew Hawkins has been a star of the offseason for the Browns. He was signed away from the Bengals as a restricted free agent for four years and $13.6 million and has made an immediate impact. With Josh Gordon facing a possible suspension and several other receivers signing late or dealing with injuries, Hawkins has been the stabilizing force among the wideouts. "He's been one of our most consistent guys through spring," coach Mike Pettine said. "Comes out here, he's one of the hardest workers." (The Chronicle-Telegram)

FF Today's Take: At 5-7 and 180 pounds, Hawkins is ideally suited for the slot, although he is probably going to get every chance to be an every-down player in Cleveland in 2014 because he is one of the few Browns not named Josh Gordon who can get deep. With Gordon likely to miss a significant part of the season, don't be surprised if "Baby Hawk" leads the wide receivers - and maybe the team - in receptions.

Fantasy Football Tips: Josh Gordon, Ben Tate and tight ends

KFFL News Feed - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 12:09

Some Cleveland notes, including a recent fantasy draft, and tight end news from two potent offenses.

Stewart ... actually healthy?

Draft Sharks - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 08:50

Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart has been constantly dealing with injuries since entering the league back in 2008.  He's missed 19 games and been limited in a bunch more.  But Stewart is supposedly enjoying his healthiest offseason in a while.  "Very excited about having Jonathan on the field," HC Ron Rivera said. "He's healthy again. He's moving the way we need him to move. I like what we're getting out of him. Even Jonathan is saying this is the first time he's been healthy [in a while]. So that's a good thing."  We remain skeptical of Stewart's ability to stay healthy.  And he still has DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Cam Newton to contend with for carries.  But Carolina wants to go run-heavy this season, and Stewart is still only 27.  His ADP is sitting in the 17th round, which means he's going undrafted in a lot of league.  Stewart isn't a bad flier to take at the end of drafts.

West to play "major role" in 2014

Draft Sharks - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 05:40

Browns insider Glenn Moore expects RB Terrance West to play a "major role" this season.  Cleveland is clearly high on their rookie, who is already seeing 1st-team practice reps.  "West has shown power through the first level and quickness when eluding defenders," Moore observed.  Of course, the Browns also added RB Ben Tate in free agency and RB Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent.  The workload split in this backfield will be one of the biggest fantasy storylines of the summer.  There's tons of production to be had in a run-first offense piloted by OC Kyle Shanahan.

Colston says foot feels fine

Draft Sharks - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 05:34

Saints WR Marques Colston doesn't believe his nagging foot pain will be an issue this season.  “Feels completely different … no restrictions,” he said.  That's a much more optimistic report than we got earlier this offseason from HC Sean Payton, who said Colston's practice reps would need to be monitored all year.   The truth probably lies somewhere in between the 2 stories.  Colston just turned 31 and has a lengthy injury history.  But he was a top-12 fantasy WR over the 2nd half of last season and will remain an integral part of an explosive passing game in 2014.  Colston is a fine WR3 target in fantasy drafts this summer.

Marshawn Lynch to skip Seahawks minicamp?

Fantasy Football Today - Thu, 06/12/2014 - 04:00

Reasoning unclear

When the Seattle Seahawks convene for mandatory minicamp next week, the team doesn't expect star running back Marshawn Lynch to be there, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking. Lynch reportedly hasn't appeared at any of the team's voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) thus far, is thought to be unhappy with his contract, though it's not clear if that is the only football-related reason the running back is considering skipping or reporting late to minicamp. (Yahoo Sports)

FF Today's Take: Lynch is set to earn $5 million this season and $5.5 million in 2015. He's skipped voluntary workouts before but has never missed a mandatory session in his career. It's hard to comment on this topic until we understand Lynch's reasoning, but he's not likely to get a renegotiated deal considering the league-wide decline in running back salaries. Perhaps he's miffed at the prospect of Christine Michael eating into his workload.

Lynch gearing up for contract conflict?

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 21:35

Yahoo! and ESPN report that Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is expected to skip the team's upcoming mandatory minicamp in search of a contract extension.  "It's very, very unlikely that Lynch will be there,'' said a source close to the situation. "He wants the Seahawks to renegotiate his current contract and provide him with more up-front money."  Lynch skipped the team's visit to the White House earlier and reportedly hasn't participated in any OTAs.  Sitting out mandatory sessions could result in fines, though.  Lynch is due $10.5 million in base salaries over the next 2 seasons with a lot more money available via per-game roster bonuses.  All of that would finish up a 2012 contract that looks exorbitant compared with the current RB market.  We'll see if there's more to this than money.  Skipping workouts certainly won't help the fantasy outlook for a veteran back who has seen heavy workloads in recent seasons.  We'll be watching Lynch closely through the summer -- along with his high-ceiling backup, Christine Michael.

Richardson: "I'm going to be a punt returner"

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 12:14

Seahawks rookie WR Paul Richardson was recently asked about his role this season.  "My role is to come in and just do what I can on special teams," he responded. "I'm going to be a punt returner, so I look forward to doing that and making an impact and changing the game when I can from punt return."  That should put a fork in any hopes of Richardson emerging as a fantasy factor this season.  He figures to serve as Seattle's #5 WR behind Percy Harvin, Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice and Jermaine Kearse.

DeSean Jackson nursing strained hamstring

Fantasy Football Today - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 11:20

Back at practice, not yet 100%

Wide receiver DeSean Jackson this week returned to action after spending last week on the sideline nursing a strained hamstring. Jackson tweaked his hamstring two weeks ago, during the Redskins' first week of offseason practices, and he sat out last week's session while allowing it to heal. (Washington Post)

FF Today's Take: Jackson went through practice Wednesday without incident but was a little tentative out of breaks. Head coach Jay Gruden called it a "minor deal" so fantasy owners shouldn't be overly concerned at this time.

Rodgers impressing as pass-catcher

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 08:00

Packers HC Mike McCarthy likes what he sees from rookie TE Richard Rodgers in the pass-catching department so far.  "I just think he's a natural in space," McCarthy said.  "I'm excited to see him when we get into the in-line work into training camp, but as far as all of the movement, playing in space, picking up the scheme, I think Richard's off to a very good start."  We'll see how Rodgers fares when the hitting starts in training camp, but the 3rd-round rookie certainly has a chance to win a significant role in 2014.  He's battling for snaps with Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and Colt Lyerla. 

Gresham recovering from sports hernia surgery

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 07:25

ESPN's Field Yates hears that Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham is recovering from offseason sports hernia surgery.  Cincinnati hasn't revealed any details about his status, but he's been sidelined all spring.  Gresham's availability for training camp is uncertain.  The veteran is nothing more than a low-upside TE2 anyways.  He finished 21st at his position in fantasy points last year and will likely cede more targets to TE Tyler Eifert in 2014.

Burleson back on the field

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 07:22

Browns WR Nate Burleson had the cast on his left arm removed on Monday and was back on the field on Tuesday.  He should be a full-go for training camp.  Burleson has a good chance to win 1 of Cleveland's top 3 WR spots, but he's unlikely to emerge as a fantasy asset.  The soon-to-be 33-year-old hasn't reached 12 yards per catch since 2009.

Browns running zone-read with Manziel

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 07:19

Browns HC Mike Pettine revealed that the team has installed some zone-read plays for QB Johnny Manziel.  Remember that Cleveland's offense is being run by Kyle Shanahan, who worked with Robert Griffin in Washington the past 2 years.  RG3 ran for 826 yards and 7 scores in his 2012 rookie campaign.  Manziel's ceiling might not stretch that high, but his rushing ability will give him sneaky fantasy appeal.

Crabtree unlikely to receive extension this year

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 07:04

49ers insider Matt Maiocco says it'd be a "major surprise" if the 49ers signed WR Michael Crabtree to an extension this year.  Crab is in the final year of his rookie deal.  We like this news for his short- and long-term fantasy outlooks.  He'll have some extra motivation this season as he plays for what will likely be his biggest NFL contract.  And getting out of San Francisco's run-heavy offense beyond 2014 might be a good thing for Crabtree's dynasty value.  If he re-signs a big deal with the Niners, it might force the team to chuck it a bit more.

More deep balls for Reed

Draft Sharks - Wed, 06/11/2014 - 06:55

Redskins insider Rich Tandler expects TE Jordan Reed to see more action in the deep passing game this season.  Only 2 of Reed's 60 targets came 20+ yards downfield last year, according to Pro Football Focus.  But Bengals TEs Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert were targeted a total of 13 times on passes of 20+ yards.  Former Bengals OC Jay Gruden is now running the show in Washington.  Reed's 4.72-second 40 time is right in line with Eifert's 4.68 and Gresham's 4.66, so it's fair to expect Gruden to utilize him the same way.  It's also worth noting that QB Robert Griffin finished 5th in PFF's deep passing accuracy back in 2012.  He dropped to 36th this past season, but we're expecting him to return to rookie-year form in 2014.  Look for plenty of deep-ball connections from RG3 to Reed.

Weatherspoon done for the year

Draft Sharks - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 18:45

Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon ruptured an Achilles' tendon in a limited workout with trainers Tuesday.  The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the team says he'll have surgery soon and miss the entire season.  Weatherspoon was working back from a 2013 knee injury but was expected to be ready for training camp.  The talented LB lost 9 games to injury last year, the 3rd time in his 4 seasons he missed at least 3 contests.  You'll need to take his injury risk into account when considering him in your IDP draft going forward.  If the Falcons play more 3-4 fronts this season as expected, it could lessen the impact of losing Weatherspoon.

Niklas has broken hand

Draft Sharks - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:50

Cardinals TE Troy Niklas broke his hand last week when it got caught up in a jersey.  HC Bruce Arians expects the rookie to be ready for training camp, but the missed time is still bad news.  Remember that Niklas was sidelined earlier this offseason after undergoing sports hernia surgery.  If nothing else, expect him to get off to a slow start this season.  We're not optimistic about his chances of emerging as a reliable fantasy option at all this year.  Niklas will be battling for snaps with TEs Rob Housler and John Carlson.

Julio Jones limited in OTAs

Fantasy Football Today - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:43

Falcons receiver recovering from foot surgery

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones finished another grueling workout off to the side with the team's training staff Tuesday, while the rest of the team trudged through OTA No. 7. "The last couple of weeks, I've been cutting and running a handful of routes," Jones saide. "Nothing major, but you've got to start somewhere. We have to get back out there and get going, but I feel pretty good." (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

FF Today's Take: It's somewhat alarming that Jones still has restrictions considering surgery was done last October, however the team insists that he is ahead of schedule and should make a full recovery. Julio was easily on pace to finish as a top five fantasy WR in any format last season and should be drafted as such this season until further notice.

Fantasy Football: Arian Foster's role is changing?

KFFL News Feed - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:10

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster's role as the go-to back is a thing of the past, if you listen to head coach Bill O'Brien. Cory is listening, but does he trust the Bill Belichick disciple?

Romo will be at 100% for start of training camp

Draft Sharks - Tue, 06/10/2014 - 10:26

Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) is on track to be at 100% for the start of training camp next month.  “I think earlier on, right after surgery, you kind of go through that mode of getting healthy, kind of having to not do too much right away," Romo explained.  "But now I’m to a point where I can push it and kind of go, and I feel like at this point I could play in a game if I had to.  Obviously you wouldn’t want to right yet, just to let it completely scar up and heal in all the areas that you want. In the next couple weeks I think I’ll be 100 percent ... Your ultimate goal is to be 100 percent on Day 1 of training camp so you don’t miss any time."  Romo has been working in individual drills this spring and has yet to encounter a setback.  At this point, there's no reason to believe the back will be an issue in 2014.  With a 9th-round ADP, Romo is looking like one of the best values at the QB position in fantasy drafts.