Fantasy News Home

With Jimmy Graham, Seahawks could run more multiple TE sets

Monday, August 3, 2015, 9:20pm

Seattle Times - [Full Article]

They call themselves the “Bash Brothers,” a nod to the Mighty Ducks movies from the ‘90s and not the tandem of Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco from the ‘80s.

However they label themselves, tight ends Jimmy Graham and Luke Willson present Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell with an interesting two-headed chess piece. It seems likely that Bevell and the Seahawks will deploy even more two-tight-end formations than in previous seasons after adding Graham via trade this offseason. (The Seahawks also have tight ends Anthony McCoy, Cooper Helfet and RaShaun Allen competing for roster spots.)

“I think a lot of double- and triple-tight-end sets for us are really going to start to come out this year and really give defenses a fit,” Graham said. “We’re going to be able to run the ball so effectively with all those tight ends in the game. But also in the pass, play-action is going to be pretty amazing.”

In June, Bevell said the Seahawks’ two-tight-end formation is one of his favorites because of the difficult choices it forces defenses to make.

Fantasy Impact:

If the Seahawks go with more two-tight-end formations, they will need Graham to block for running back Marshawn Lynch. Graham’s blocking has long been one of the few concerns about him, the story said. Graham added he's been banged up the last two years and didn't block like he's capable of. The story also added that Graham knows he won’t see as many passes in Seattle as he did in New Orleans, which means he will have to capitalize on the important ones and he's prepared to do that. Graham still ranks as our number-two TE and it sounds like he's going to be a big part of the offense even if his targets drop. Multiple TE sets could also hurt the fantasy value of Seattle WRs.

Bucs Beat: Doug Martin must lead the way on ground

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:46pm

Tampa Bay Times - [Full Article]

After a spectacular rookie season, Bucs RB Doug Martin has turned in two seasons that have been plagued by injuries and an alarming lack of production. His career is at a crossroads. No longer a kid, the 26-year-old enters his fourth season and, frankly, the Bucs have no idea if the former first-round pick still has what it takes to be an effective back in this league. It's why they declined a fifth-year option on his contract.

Now the Bucs have little time to figure out Martin's future. Because as much as the focus seems to be around rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, the Bucs offense (and Winston's season) will be a lot more productive if the Bucs can move the ball on the ground.

"Definitely a key for us," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. "We talked about being able to establish the run. Doug will be the lead guy doing that, so it's very important that we open up some holes and let him do his thing."

Fantasy Impact:

Martin hasn't come close to his rookie year performance, but you don't have to tell that to fantasy owners who keep taking a chance on him. By now many have likely jumped on board with some of the Bucs other backs like Bobby Rainey, Mike James and Charles Sims. But, the author feels none of them has the talent of Martin. Martin ranks way down our list at 32. It's possible Jameis Winston and the threat of a passing game can help out the Bucs running game, but right now it's tough to predict how many touches Martin will see a game. The story said Martin spent the offseason in California with a new workout routine that has lowered his weight and body fat and increased his stamina. Right around 220 pounds, Martin knows he is playing to, perhaps, stay with the Bucs and maybe even stay in the league.

Gruden: Robert Griffin III 'on steady climb'

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:32pm

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

The Redskins have been in training camp for five days now, and reports are that quarterback Robert Griffin III has looked sharp. On Monday, head coach Jay Gruden echoed that sentiment.

"I feel like he's on a steady climb," Gruden said in a press conference. "And we just gotta keep him that way."

But while Griffin's reported progress is a great development for the team overall, Gruden knows that having all the focus on #10 isn't the way things need to be.

"We're trying to make this more about the team than Robert," he said.

Fantasy Impact:

Gruden said it's more knowledge of the system and repetition that's helped RGIII look more comfortable. The coach added they want to keep building him and build his confidence and surround him with a good running game and defense.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:26pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Ace Sanders has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season for another failed drug test, sources have told ESPN.

Sanders was also suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

The Jaguars released Sanders on July 17.

After Sanders returned from his four-game suspension, he never figured prominently into a receiver rotation that included second-round picks Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee and undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, who ended up leading the Jaguars in receiving yards (677) and receiving touchdowns (six).

Sanders caught just six passes for 55 yards.

He was drafted in 2013 primarily as a punt returner but was forced into significant action at receiver as a rookie because of injuries. He ended up with 51 catches for 484 yards and a touchdown.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:23pm

Tampa Bay Times - [Full Article]

Bucs QB Jameis Winston performed like — well — a rookie NFL quarterback in practice Monday, throwing three interceptions in his first five pass attempts during a team blitz period.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith, who was pleased to see his defense create turnovers, nonetheless said he wanted to give Winston defensive looks early in training camp that he inevitably will see during the season.

"Our goal is to get Jameis ready," said Smith, who named Winston the Bucs' starting QB when players reported Friday. "We're doing a lot of things that we normally don't do this early, too, to try and give him as many looks as we possibly can. And it was the one blitz period is where he had his most trouble and that's how it should be for a young quarterback.

"We're not inventing defense or anything like that with what we're doing on the other side. Jameis will tell you on some of those plays he just can't make, but it's part of the process of becoming a good quarterback in the league to go through some days like this. Keep in mind there are some scholarship players on the other side that we feel pretty good about. With my glass being half full, I'm pretty fired up about those takeaways we got on the defensive side."

Winston rebounded with a better 11-on-11 period to end practice.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 7:19pm - [Full Article]

Here are some notes from Monday's Lions camp:

- Tight end Eric Ebron, always a focal point, made a pair of nice grabs across the middle of the field. A couple snaps later, Ebron made a difficult back-shoulder grab over linebacker Stephen Tulloch, leaping and twisting to haul in the Matthew Stafford throw.

- Stafford picked up right where he left off from minicamp, with good accuracy at all levels. He completed eight of his first 10 passes in team drills, with the two incompletions both being knocked away from Corey Fuller by a defender. Late in the session, Stafford connected on a bomb down the middle to Calvin Johnson, over Darius Slay and Glover Quin.

- Johnson, perhaps energized by the crowd and the first day of the camp, was more aggressive than usual. The star wide receiver ended up on the ground multiple times during the non-contact session, including a diving grab on an out route against Slay in one-on-one drills. Coach Jim Caldwell said he'll need to remind Johnson not to willingly leave his feet during practice.

- We can still only tell so much without pads, but running back Ameer Abdullah's ability to change direction and burst through the running lane is evident. He also successfully ran a nice delayed screen, weaving his way through the second level of defenders. The second-round draft pick has shown steady improvement from the day he stepped on the field with this organization and looks like he's going to be a significant contributor from the start.

- Joseph Fauria looks healthy after missing much of the early portion of the offseason program. The big tight end caught a pass down the middle, double-clutching it as safety Don Carey dove in front trying to knock it down. Fauria then sprinted all the way to the end zone and revved up the crowd with a little, let's call it gyration.

- Joique Bell worked out on the side with a trainer, with the running back aggressively running suicide sprints. It doesn't appear he'll be out of action long.

Melvin Gordon back at camp Monday

Monday, August 3, 2015, 5:41pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

Chargers running back Melvin Gordon returned to practice Monday, one day after not working.

But Gordon stressed he isn't hurt.

"Just to get myself back right," he said of his respite.

"It's been good going with the pads," he said. "This is real football, this is the game of football in the NFL. You get some time with the offensive lineman, get in sync. This is what training camp is for."

The Chargers moved up to draft Gordon, a Heisman Trophy finalist, and secure the physical presence his game brings. Gordon didn't shy away from contact Monday, with numerous Chargers taking their best shot.

Fantasy Impact:

The story said Gordon, the Chargers' first-round draft pick, didn't look compromised in a run-heavy training camp session. He hit the hole with authority, danced around would-be tacklers and looked every bit the star he was at Wisconsin. It was third consecutive day in pads for the Chargers. Gordon is expected to get a big workload this year for the Chargers and is ranked 17th among our RBs, the highest among rookies.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 5:35pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appeared to get frustrated at one point because of a lack of protection, as well as solid coverage, that forced him to run out of bounds twice and get sacked.

Don’t blame left tackle Michael Oher, though. HC Ron Rivera thought Oher practiced better on Sunday than media reported, and likes what he’s seen from Oher so far.

Fantasy Impact:

We've had recent news items that stated the Panthers want to be a top offense this year and think they have the weapons around Newton to do that. But, the team will need to improve up front and it appears, at least right now, the blocking is still an issue that could hold back the Panthers offense.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 5:35pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton appeared to get frustrated at one point because of a lack of protection, as well as solid coverage, that forced him to run out of bounds twice and get sacked.

Don’t blame left tackle Michael Oher, though. HC Ron Rivera thought Oher practiced better on Sunday than media reported, and likes what he’s seen from Oher so far.

Fantasy Impact:

We've had recent news items that stated the Panthers want to be a top offense this year and think they have the weapons around Newton to do that. But, the team will need to improve up front and it appears, at least right now, the blocking is still an issue that could hold back the Panthers offense.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:19pm - [Full Article]

Eagles camp notes from Monday:

- Jordan Matthews gets my “Camper of the Day” award. Practices that limit contact tend to highlight the passing game and those mostly involved, but Matthews had a standout performance by any estimate. He did most of his damage from the slot. I think we’ll see more of Matthews on the outside than we did last year, but why limit his effectiveness when there probably isn’t another option as comparable on the roster? Most of his catches came from Sam Bradford and there were a variety.

- DeMarco Murray was back in action after sitting out team and 7-on-7 drills yesterday. He said it was a coach’s decision to limit his action on the first day of camp. I’m not sure why he would need to rest after a six-week layoff, but he looked fine on Monday. He didn’t seem to go 100 percent when he was involved, but after last season when he logged almost 500 touches, it doesn’t seem necessary for Murray to push himself this early.

- A day after taking all of the first team repetitions at quarterback, Bradford was under center for the majority. He looked a little more comfortable on Day 2.

- Mark Sanchez took his first series of snaps with the first team. I’m not sure that constitutes as a quarterback competition, but it’s a start. His best toss during the series was downfield to Huff on a comeback route. Working with the second team, Sanchez knew who would butter his bread. He kept going to Nelson Agholor on the outside. The rookie wide receiver continued to get the best of rookie corner Eric Rowe. Contact at the line is limited, so I wouldn’t make any assumptions about Rowe just yet, but Agholor has looked more than competent.

- Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow split third team reps again. If Kelly wants a pure quarterback at the third spot, the job is clearly Barkley’s. But if he wants someone that has an “X” factor or can be effective in zone read plays, then Tebow would seem to have the advantage.

- The Eagles practiced punt returns and the returners were Darren Sproles, Agholor, Matthews, Kenjon Barner, Riley Cooper and Miles Austin.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:14pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

The Arizona Cardinals have activated tight ends Jermaine Gresham and Troy Niklas.

Gresham, coming off back surgery, was on the physically unable to perform list, and Niklas, out with a hamstring injury, was on the non-football injury list.

The Cardinals signed Gresham to a one-year contract on July 24. Niklas, a second-round draft pick out of Notre Dame last year, has been plagued by injuries in his brief NFL career.

Coach Bruce Arians said both will be limited to walkthroughs for now.

Issues between Rueben Randle, Giants appear improved

Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:11pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Last year wasn't the easiest for New York Giants wide receiver Rueben Randle.

The 2012 second-round pick sat and watched as Victor Cruz wrecked his knee in Week 6 and Randle's own former college teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., raced past him into stratospheric stardom. Along the way, Randle struggled to produce consistently on the field and clashed with his New York Giants coaches, getting benched twice late in the season for issues that came up in practices and meetings during the week.

But Randle closed the year strong, catching 12 passes for 290 yards combined in the final two games. And as the Giants get to work in training camp, they expect big things to continue into Randle's fourth season.

"Rube has been working hard, has done everything we've asked of him, so I feel good moving forward," Giants receivers coach Sean Ryan said Monday ."To me, the past is the past and we're looking at 2015 and what's in front of us. Lessons have been learned, and I expect nothing but the best of him this year."

Fantasy Impact:

The story went on to say Randle doesn't like to talk about what went on between him and the coaching staff last season, but a lot of the issues had to do with Randle's ability to be on time consistently for meetings and his handling of some assignments in practice. But it was clear by the end of the season that he and the coaches believed the hurdles had been cleared and they were all ready to put the trouble behind them. Randle could be a forgotten man for defenses this year with Beckham and Cruz also roaming the field, but we note that could also hurt his targets, especially when you factor in RB Shane Vereen as another option. Cruz finished 32nd in PPR formats last year, making him a solid WR3, but we rank him in the 50s heading into this season.

Jamaal Charles feeling healthy

Monday, August 3, 2015, 4:03pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

The Chiefs understand how important RB Jamaal Charles is to a successful season. Nobody else on the roster can change a game as quickly. So to ensure he's on the field late in the year, when Kansas City hopes to be in the playoff hunt, the teams' brain trust spent much of the offseason dreaming up ways to keep him healthy, not only in training camp but beyond.
'You want to make sure he is healthy late in the season,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said, ''so if that means giving a guy like Knile Davis some reps - whatever you have to do, number one, to keep him healthy for 16 games, and you do that each week.''

Pederson said one of the biggest challenges is noticing when Charles is operating at less than 100 percent. The former Texas standout hates to take time off, even from practice.

''We have to be smart and work with our training staff and our medical staff to just stay in tune,'' he said. ''Communication is obviously the utmost importance when it comes to those kinds of situations. We have to be smart and give him that proper rest, you know? And he has to communicate with us and tell us when he may be a little banged-up or maybe can't go here or there.''

Fantasy Impact:

For now, Charles feels the best he has in a year, maybe even longer, the story said. While Andy Reid has always rode his top RB dating back to the Eagles, it's possible the team gives Davis more work. But we still forecast Charles as one of the top RBs this season. Davis is a nice handcuff option to anyone who owns Charles this year, though.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 3:55pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was one of eight players the team held out of Monday’s practice to rest. Manning has been held out of practices previously in his time with the Broncos as a result of injury, most notably ankle injuries in 2013, but Monday was the first time new head coach Gary Kubiak has instituted the team’s plan to give the 39-year-old quarterback a break once in a while.

“I know it’s hard on him, we all know that," Kubiak said. “But I think he understands what we want to do."

Cornerback Aqib Talib, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., safety T.J. Ward, linebacker Von Miller, guard Louis Vasquez, tight end Owen Daniels and linebacker DeMarcus Ware were the other veteran players who were held out of Monday's workout.

Monday, August 3, 2015, 3:52pm

CSN Chicago - [Full Article]

Here are some notes from Bears camp on Monday:

- He led the NFL in giveaways during the 2014 season, but Bears quarterback Jay Cutler finished his fifth day of two-plus-hour practices still without either an interception thrown or a fumble lost.

The results are precisely in line with goal No. 1 for Cutler, to reduce the turnovers that have been his undoing and unfortunately his hallmark through nine NFL seasons. Audibles have been minimized to reduce decision-making, long considered a weakness in Cutler’s overall game.

- That was the good news of the day, that the Bears No. 1 quarterback has not given the ball away. The bad news is that Bears backups were not quite so pristine in their execution. Jimmy Clausen threw his first pick of camp, overthrowing his receiver in coverage and landing the ball in the hands of cornerback Al Louis-Jean. No. 3 Shane Carden continued to struggle, missing several open receivers but also having a ball go off the hands of wideout Ify Umodu and picked off by safety Anthony Jefferson. That was followed shortly by an interception by veteran safety Sherrod Martin.

- The offense threw another creative surprise at the defense but if failed to connect when Marquess Wilson appeared to run the proper route, at least based on the look and hands on hips by Cutler. The two talked after the play with offensive coordinator Adam Gase in an effort to clarify the missed connection.

- Alshon Jeffery sat out practice after dinging his shoulder on Sunday, leaving the Bears without either of what was projected to be their 1-2 receiver tandem. Kevin White remains on the PUP list, doing some cardio work to maintain fitness, but his camp debut is uncertain.

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