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Giants signed Rashad Jennings to be the starter
Sunday, April 20, 2014, 11:02am
The Giants signed Rashad Jennings to be their starting running back. They believe he's ready at this stage of his career, after backing up guys like Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville and Darren McFadden in Oakland, to handle a starter's workload. They believe he can catch the ball for them out of the backfield, that he can grind out yards between the tackles and that he's capable of delivering a big play. Assuming he picks up the blocking schemes and can help in pass protection, he's their guy.
That said, Wilson is still on the team, and if the 2012 first-round draft pick shows he's recovered from neck surgery, there is surely going to be a role for a player with his skills. The Giants are hearing good things about Wilson's recovery, but they know they can't count on him, so they signed Jennings and brought back Peyton Hillis in order to construct a backfield in case Wilson can't be a part of it.
I think their plan is for Jennings to get the bulk of the carries with Hillis as his backup, and if they are pleasantly surprised by Wilson's health and availability, they will find ways to work him into the offense. If healthy, he offers a lot.
Jennings was the #6 RB from Week 9 to Week 15 (when he was playing starter’s snaps for the Raiders) and that included a missed game against the Jets in Week 14. The team still believes in David Wilson, but Jennings is fully capable of winning the RB1 job outright. The Giants had a very difficult time running the ball in 2013, so they need to sort out the offensive line as well. Still, Jennings is a three-down back and has a relatively clear path to a starting gig. For a closer look at Jennings' potential workload and production, click here.
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Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:56am
Raiders beat writer Paul Gutierrez says that Darren McFadden has the inside track to be the team's RB1: "If healthy, and that's a big IF, Darren McFadden is the lead dog in the backfield, when you consider his home run potential and familiarity with the Raiders offense."
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:23pm
Cam Newton still in walking boot
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:21pm
Darin Gantt of PFT, who covered the Panthers 14 years before joining this establishment nearly two years ago, reported during Friday night’s edition of Pro Football Talk on NBCSN that Newton remains in a boot — and that the team remains hopeful Newton will be back to 100 percent in time for training camp.
Newton's offseason has been worrisome. He lost all of his receivers in free agency and he'll miss OTAs due to the ankle injury, meaning he'll miss valuable reps with his new wideouts. Given these concerns and the excellent depth at QB, he's not currently worth an early round pick in fantasy drafts.
Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:06pm
Chris Johnson told Michael Kay and Don La Greca on ESPN New York 98.7 that the Jets plan to have Geno Smith and Michael Vick compete for the starting job during the team's training camp in Cortland, N.Y. Any idea who has the inside track?
"They didn't give me no indication," Johnson said. "They said those two will battle it out in camp and may the best man win."
Colts still believe in Trent Richardson
Friday, April 18, 2014, 3:24pm
At last month’s league meetings, Chuck Pagano said the Colts will be relying on more than one back in 2014 but are looking for a “bell cow” to emerge.
With a complete offseason in a comfortable setting, Trent Richardson is primed to be that guy.
“It’s going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will,” Pagano said.
“He wants to be great. He’s got all the talent. He’s got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn’t believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign.”
Richardson averaged a woeful 2.9 YPC after joining the Colts, but he blames the learning curve he faced after joining a new offense midseason. Since they gave up a first round pick for him, he’ll have the backing of this Colts regime, but OC Pep Hamilton wasn’t afraid to give more work to Donald Brown given the disparity in the quality of play between the two backs. The offseason has gone pretty well for T-Rich — Brown is now out of the way, but the Colts did re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw while Vick Ballard is back from a knee injury. As the #20 RB off the board in the 6th round, it appears that fantasy owners are expecting Richardson to post RB2 numbers. Even that may be a stretch given his career output.
Friday, April 18, 2014, 3:11pm
RG3 starting to look like his old self
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:53am
“He looks more comfortable, because he don’t have to worry about that brace,” Moss said. “I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind, because he couldn’t do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we’re out there in conditioning and stuff, he’s running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin.”
Which reminded me that Chris Cooley recently hit a local field with Griffin, and had a similarly rave review. This was before Griffin was permitted to work out with his teammates at Redskins Park; Cooley instead took the QB to his own gym, Lifetime Fitness near Ashburn. The men took turns running routes and throwing passes to each other.
“It’s unbelievable,” Cooley reported. “He’s another person right now. I was like, ‘you’re running unbelievably well.’ It was silly to watch….When you watch him run, you’re like ‘You’re a freak. You’re seriously a freak.’ ”
Griffin is a bounce back candidate now that he's another year removed from his ACL surgery and is able to discard the knee brace which obviously limited his mobility in 2013. Jay Gruden coaxed top 5 fantasy numbers out of Andy Dalton, so it's not inconceivable that he could do the same with RG3. It doesn't hurt that the Redskins have plenty of weapons in the passing game (e.g. Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed).
Beat: Jets will use CJ?K and Chris Ivory in 'formidable 1-2 punch'
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:21am
Ivory and Bilal Powell had a nearly 50-50 split in carries last season, so it’s conceivable that Johnson could see about a 35%-40% decline in carries if the Jets stick to that formula. Johnson also provides insurance if Ivory, who has durability concerns, misses time.
A 35% to 40% decline would put Johnson in the 167-181 carry range, though we'd guess that he'll get at least 190 to 210 carries in the Jets' run-heavy offense. (Bilal Powell rushed the ball 176 times in 2013.) The Jets have averaged 493.5 carries over the past two seasons, so it's conceivable that Ivory and Johnson could both reach around 200 carries, provided they both stay healthy. Assuming 240 total touches for Johnson (200 carries, 40 catches) at his 2012-2013 FP/touch rate (.609), he would score around 146 fantasy points, or RB20 numbers.
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:01am
Former Giants OC Kevin Gilbride implied that he isn't sure Rueben Randle is a quality NFL starting WR. Coming to the defense of Eli Manning, Gilbride said, "There's been no deterioration of his arm strength, there’s been no lack of preparation and effort.” He added, "I think he’s going to be fine as soon as they solidify the offensive line. They certainly made a move to do that by bringing in three interior offensive linemen and as soon as they get somebody that’s going to be productive for them as an outside receiver. Victor Cruz is terrific, but they need somebody that when they go match up, bump and run (and) go win for them.”
Sidney Rice returns to Seattle on a one-year deal
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 8:44pm
Rice's return puts a big dent in Doug Baldwin's upside. Baldwin was looking like a nice late round sleeper as a starter for the Seahawks, but his playing time is in some jeopardy now with Rice in the mix. Russell Wilson gets another weapon in the passing game. Rice should be fantasy relevant provided he stays healthy.
Chris Johnson signs a two-year deal with the Jets
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 5:07pm
Johnson will form a one-two punch with incumbent Chris Ivory, who started to run better as the season wore on. Obviously this is bad news for Ivory, who isn't likely to see a 'bell cow' type workload with Johnson on the roster. Neither player looks like a fantasy RB2 until we have an idea of how the depth chart and workload shake out.
Rob Gronkowski to 'take his time' with his ACL recovery
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 3:07pm
It was reported this week that that New England tight end Rob Gronkowski is moving along just fine in his recovery from a torn ACL and MCL. That's all well and good, but a source close to him told me that the star player will "take his time and then take more time."
I'm told he might even take more time, and be more patient, than ever before. I'm not exactly sure when we'll see Gronkowski.
Gronkowski waited until January to have his surgery, so those expecting him to be ready to play nine months later in September may be disappointed. We may be playing the same 'will he' or 'won't he' (go on PUP) game in August when draft season is in full swing.
Giants sign Josh Freeman
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 12:10pm
Freeman will provide depth behind Eli Manning. He didn't get much of a chance to succeed in Minnesota.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 11:44am
"The healing process is going well," James said. "I've got a good opportunity to do what I need to do to get back in the swing of things and get acclimated with everything."
Asked if he has been cleared to participate in the first minicamp (April 22-24), James said the team is still "taking everything day by day." His focus is on getting back to full strength and full speed.