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Strong missing time with hamstring injury

Draft Sharks - Tue, 06/16/2015 - 04:31

Texans WR Jaelen Strong injured his hamstring on the first day of OTAs and hasn't been back on the field since.  HC Bill O'Brien deemed the injury minor, but any missed time for a rookie is bad news.  Strong is competing with Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington for Houston's #2 WR job.  The winner won't be an intriguing fantasy option.  The Texans are a run-heavy offense with QB questions, and WR DeAndre Hopkins will dominate targets.

Update: Strong returned to practice on Tuesday.

Bounce-back season in store for Vernon Davis?

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 14:30

Coming off career-worst season

Vernon Davis had the worst season of his career last year, one in which he missed two games due to injury and caught only two touchdown passes - both in Week 1. The downfield catches that had been the staple of his career all but vanished as well. After averaging more than 16 yards a catch in 2013, he averaged a career-low 9.4 yards per reception last year. "Whenever I'd run, like, my deep over routes there was a safety sitting over there already," Davis said. "It was just game planning and nothing really ever opened up. But I wasn't really ever a factor in the offense last year. ... The first game, yeah. But the second game, the tight ends (weren't) really involved as a whole." (Sacramento Bee)

FF Today's Take: Tony Sparano will be tasked with the job of getting more out of Davis & Co. this year. He fits the Niners' hopes for a stern, old-line position coach like Carolina assistant Pete Hoener, who coached the tight ends in San Francisco from 2005-10 and is the man Davis has long credited for shaping him into a well-rounded player, but their request to interview him was blocked. San Francisco's desire to go downfield more often this year should mean a bounce-back season for Davis, who could easily return to fantasy TE1 status.

Back from injury, Woodhead looking like old self

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 13:55

Missed final 13 games with broken ankle in 2014

A running back has finished with at least 49 catches each season since Philip Rivers became the team's starter in 2006. But that changed in 2014. Branden Oliver led running backs with 36 catches for 271 yards. The reason for that decline, of course, is the early season injury to third-down back Danny Woodhead, who suffered a broken ankle against Buffalo in Week 3. Woodhead has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Chargers so far during offseason work. He has flashed the quickness and elusiveness that makes him one of the best pass-catching running backs in the league in his return from a serious ankle injury. (ESPN)

FF Today's Take: Woodhead totaled 1,034 yards from scrimmage in 2013, including 76 catches for 605 yards and six touchdowns. He finished tied for third among running backs with 86 targets and topped all running backs with 21 red-zone targets. If the former Patriot is this impressive now, it probably means he is going to get the majority of passing-down work ahead of first-round rookie Melvin Gordon. While Gordon should have early-down duties to himself, little-to-no work in the passing game means he will struggle to be the best rookie running back in fantasy in 2015.

Royal impressing Bears with grasp of the offense

Fantasy Football Today - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 13:40

Ex-Charger, Bronco has 10 red-zone TDs over last two seasons

Eddie Royal's resurgence over the past two seasons and his early grasp of the Bears' new offense has him in great position to play a prominent role right away. The staff seemed excited about him when (ESPN's Mike Sando) visited Bears camp earlier in the offseason. Royal has 10 red zone touchdowns over the past two seasons, tied for ninth in the league among wide receivers. (ESPN)

FF Today's Take: New OC Adam Gase was the Broncos' WR coach during the second and third year of Royal's four-year stay in Denver, so his quick assimilation of the playbook should not be a surprise. Royal doesn't figure to be more than a slot receiver in Chicago, but rookie Kevin White is raw and may have some growing pains before realizing his potential. Royal was quite proficient as a red-zone receiver and has worked with Jay Cutler before, so another high-score season (eight in 2013, seven in 2014) cannot be ruled out.

Charles more comfortable with offensive line

Draft Sharks - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 10:30

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is more comfortable with his offensive line heading into this season than he was last.  "I feel like we’ve got some guys that have been playing for a while," J-Chaz said.  "We’ve got vet guys up there that can help the young guys. I feel so comfortable with that line now. Not saying I didn’t last year, but I feel a lot more comfortable than I did last year.”  G Jeff Allen missed 15 games last year, while OT Donald Stephenson was suspended for the first 4.  Getting those guys back -- plus the addition of 2nd-round rookie G/C Mitch Morse -- should help an offensive line that ranked 19th in Pro Football Focus' run-blocking rankings last year  That's important for a 28.5-year-old RB who's probably past his prime.  Of course, Charles still averaged 5.0 yards per carry in 2014 and will continue to play a big role in Kansas City's passing game.  He's a top-end RB1 across fantasy formats.

Woodhead excelling in OTAs

Draft Sharks - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 07:28

Per beat writer Eric Williams of ESPN, Chargers RB Danny Woodhead has been a “pleasant surprise” for the team in offseason work. Williams adds that the RB has “flashed the quickness and elusiveness that makes him one of the best pass-catching RBs in the league.” Woodhead fit that description in 2013, catching a whopping 76 balls as a 1st-year Charger. But a broken ankle last September ended his 2014 season. Now healthy, he’s a candidate to re-emerge as a flex option in full PPR leagues.

Brown "primed to be a star"

Draft Sharks - Mon, 06/15/2015 - 04:19

Cardinals insider Darren Urban came away from minicamp believing that WR John Brown is "primed to be a star."  Brown has been buzzing all spring, drawing praise from teammates, coaches and the media.  He's added about 10 pounds of muscle, and it doesn't sound like he's lost any speed.  "With a little stronger frame and an understanding of what it means to be an NFL wide receiver, Brown is in a good place with his career and in this offense," Urban writes.  The biggest concern for Brown's fantasy outlook is his target count in a passing game that also features Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andre Ellington.  But it's feasible for the 2nd-year WR to finish 2nd or even 1st on the team in targets.  And there's not much risking in snagging him at his current 9th-round ADP.

Allen Hurns benefiting from injuries to receiving corps

Fantasy Football Today - Sun, 06/14/2015 - 17:00

Marqise Lee, Alle Robinson sidelined

What remains constant around the Jaguars: Allen Hurns taking advantage of his teammates' injuries. Hurns has continued his trajectory, partly because Marqise Lee (knee), Allen Robinson (foot), Bryan Walters (hamstring) and Damian Copeland (quad) missed all nine OTAs or were slowed at some point. It's only June 14, but my receiver Trust Chart (not depth chart) would be 1. Robinson; 2. Hurns and 3. Rashad Greene. (Florida Times Union)

FF Today's Take: Hurns notched two touchdowns in Week 1 last season and posted another two-touchdown game in Week 9. With Lee expected to miss the upcoming minicamp, Hurns will continue to get reps with the first team. Even if he's able to win a starting job out of training camp, it will be difficult to get excited about his fantasy prospects until the Jacksonville offense proves it can be more efficient.

Ridley won't commit to being ready for start of camp

Draft Sharks - Sun, 06/14/2015 - 16:20

Jets RB Stevan Ridley won't guarantee that he'll be ready for the start of training camp. "I really can't predict the future, man," Ridley said. "I just know that, for me, I've got to be ready for Week 1. That's the goal right now. I'm not going to set myself up for any false hope or say that I'm going to do something that I'm not."  It's notable because players are usually over-optimistic about their rehab, so Ridley's might be behind schedule.  He tore his ACL last October and didn't get any 11-on-11 work this spring.  Ridley needs to be ready to roll when camp opens if he wants to beat out Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy for the lead RB job.

LaFell in a walking boot

Draft Sharks - Sun, 06/14/2015 - 16:08

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell was spotted with a walking boot on his left foot this weekend.  He hasn't been participating in the team's recent workouts, according to insider Shalise Manza Young.  Of course, the Patriots haven't provided any update on LaFell's status.  He played all 16 games last year and never appeared on the injury report with a foot issue.  We'll see if he's able to get on the field for the start of training camp next month.  LaFell ranked 23rd among WRs in fantasy points last year and, if healthy, should be a solid WR3 again in 2015

Roddy White not worried about smaller role in new offense

Fantasy Football Today - Sun, 06/14/2015 - 10:00

New OC Kyle Shanahan likely to have more balanced approach

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White is not worried about his role being diminished in the new offense. "I just don't think we're going to go out there and throw it 30, 40 times a game like we did in the past," White said. "I'm not saying that we didn't like that, but it's going to be different. We have to get back to our old (style) where we run the football. Play-action passes and convert on third downs." (Atlanta Journal Constitution)

FF Today's Take: The Falcons finished third in pass attempts (632) last season throwing it 62-percent of the time. New OC Kyle Shanahan will likely want a more balanced attack that could cut into White's targets. Whether or not that balanced attack comes to be is another issue. Julio Jones will be the focal point of the passing game.

Bryant threatening to hold out into Week 1

Draft Sharks - Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:52

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is threatening to sit out the season opener if he doesn't get a long-term contract.  "This is not a rumor," Bryant said, according to NFL Network's Mike Silver.  It's only mid-June, so both sides are playing hardball.  They have until July 15 to agree to a multi-year deal.  Dallas absolutely needs Bryant on the field, and Bryant would lose about $1 million if he sits out Week 1.  That's plenty of motivation for a deal to get done.  At this point, we'd be extremely surprised if Bryant wasn't on the field for the Sunday-night opener against the Giants.

Vikings planning to monitor Peterson's workload

Draft Sharks - Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:29

Vikings RBs coach Kirby Wilson strongly hinted that RB Adrian Peterson's workload will be monitored this season.  "No question that the workload will be a lot more balanced than in the past because the organization has done an outstanding job of acquiring talent and other explosive pieces," Wilson said. "And just as the natural progression as an older back ages, the workload decreases anyway."  That doesn't mean Peterson will be hurting for work.  Just don't expect him to reach the 290 carries he averaged prior to last year.  DS Insiders can see exactly how many carries we project AP for this season when our 2015 projections are released on Tuesday.

Giants high on Donnell

Draft Sharks - Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:20

The Giants "love" TE Larry Donnell and believe he's "still on the upswing," according to insider Dan Graziano.  Donnell came out of nowhere to post a 63-623-6 line and 11th-place fantasy finish last year.  His targets might take a small hit this season if Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle can all get and stay healthy.  But Donnell is a screaming value at his current 13th-round ADP.  "They believe his ceiling his high, that he fits the offense well, that Eli Manning trusts him and that he can be one of the more dynamic playmakers in a dynamic offense," Graziano adds.

Jennings the favorite to lead backfield in touches

Draft Sharks - Sat, 06/13/2015 - 15:15

Giants insider Dan Graziano expects RB Rashad Jennings to lead the 2015 backfield in touches.  "Based on the conversations I've had, I believe the Giants still want Rashad Jennings to get the early-down work and that they'll give it to him as long as he can stay healthy," Graziano writes.  Of course, staying healthy has been a problem for Jennings.  He's never played a full 16-game season and has missed 12 games over the past 3 seasons.  Graziano expects RB Shane Vereen to dominate 3rd-down work and RB Andre Williams to be "sprinkled in."  Jennings and Vereen are both going in the 7th round of June MFL10 drafts, which seems like fair price tags.

Wright returns to Tampa Bay

Draft Sharks - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 15:17

The Bucs claimed TE Tim Wright off waivers. He returns to the team that signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is locked in as Tampa Bay’s starter, so Wright will need an injury to become fantasy relevant.

Dez considering sitting out first game

Fantasy Football Today - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 12:00

Has not signed his franchise tag

Dez Bryant is contemplating not reporting to the Dallas Cowboys for the regular-season opener unless he is signed to a long-term contract by July 15. "This is no rumor; it's legit," Bryant told the NFL Network, confirming what sources familiar with the receiver's negotiation strategy earlier told ESPN. Bryant has not signed his franchise tag, which would guarantee him $12,823,000 for the 2015 season. (Chris Mortensen)

FF Today's Take: It wouldn't be an off-season without a player holding out of workouts and/or training camp in hope a new deal. It's hard to imagine this situation concluding in Bryant missing any action on the field, but it has happened before... Emmitt Smith (1993) and Vincent Jackson (2010) come to mind. Stay tuned...

RB coach discusses Adrian Peterson's workload

Fantasy Football Today - Fri, 06/12/2015 - 10:23

"More about snaps not the carries"

"No question that the workload will be a lot more balanced than in the past because the organization has done an outstanding job of acquiring talent and other explosive pieces," Vikings running backs coach Kirby Wilson told Around The NFL on Thursday. "And just as the natural progression as an older back ages, the workload decreases anyway." (NFL.com)

FF Today's Take: Wilson went on to say "I think it's more about snaps per game, because that's what you have to watch in regard to the wear and tear." It's common for coaches to talk about reducing a running back's workload during June and July but when the lights come on, they find it hard to take their best player off the field. Adrian Peterson is an RB1 while Jerick McKinnon is an intriguing mid-to-late round upside pick.

Thomas could hold out of training camp

Draft Sharks - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 17:52

Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas is not expected to report to training camp next month without a new deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.  DT was slapped with the franchise tag earlier this offseason but wants a long-term deal.  That's understandable for a guy who's among the top 3 in total catches, receiving yards and receiving TDs over the past 3 seasons.  QB Peyton Manning is reportedly angling for a new contract for Thomas, which should carry plenty of weight in the Denver front office.  We're ultimately expecting the 2 sides to come to an agreement before camp opens.  Thomas is a viable target in the back half of the 1st round of fantasy drafts.

Rodgers gushing over Adams' approach

Fantasy Football Today - Thu, 06/11/2015 - 14:20

Second-year WR had "humongous upside"

A little over a year after he'd challenged Davante Adams - although not by name - to step up his preparation, Aaron Rodgers couldn't stop talking Wednesday about the approach Adams is taking to his job now. "In my mind, he has humongous upside - and he's starting to reach that upside," Rodgers said after the team's open-to-the-public OTA practice. "I think the opportunities are going to come for him. He's got two great guys to play with. His attention to detail is very impressive and his approach." (ESPN Wisconsin)

FF Today's Take: Let's not forget that two seasons ago, Rodgers helped then-third receiver James Jones catch an NFL-high 14 touchdown passes. Even though some of that was due to the fact Jordy Nelson missed four games that season, the point to be made is that Rodgers can support three fantasy receivers. Although his production figures to be inconsistent again in 2015 behind Nelson and Cobb, the second-year wideout should expect a fairly sizable increase from his 38-446-3 rookie line.