Fantasy News Home

Eagles sign WR Miles Austin to a one-year deal

Monday, March 30, 2015, 10:16pm

Ian Rapoport, Twitter - [Full Article]

WR Miles Austin and the Eagles have agreed on a one-year deal worth $2.3M base with another $700K available in incentives, source said.

Fantasy Impact:

Austin finished with 47 catches for 568 yards and two touchdowns, but missed four games due to a kidney injury. Over a full season his stats extrapolate to 63-757-2.7, which equate to fringe WR4-type numbers in PPR formats. This is certainly a system upgrade in Philadelphia. It's not clear what Austin's role will be, but he has plenty of experience playing in the slot from his days in Dallas, so the Eagles could elect to move Jordan Matthews outside. Austin figures to be fantasy relevant, though his days as a starter are probably over.

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Kubiak: C.J. Anderson goes into offseason as the starter

Monday, March 30, 2015, 1:31pm

Denver Broncos - [Full Article]

Broncos RB C.J. Anderson earned his place on the first team with a performance in the second half of the season that was more productive than all but one other running back in that span.When offseason workouts start, he will remain atop the depth chart at running back -- but only if he can maintain his performance and diligence.

"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Head Coach Gary Kubiak said. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis... I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."

But he will return to find his predecessors at running back at full strength. Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman have recovered from groin and foot injuries, respectively, and will factor into the scramble for carries.

"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that... We'll give them all a chance and see how it pans out, but C.J. obviously has a good head start on things," Kubiak said.

The competition could be fierce, but Anderson's success last year and his ability to translate that to a zone-blocking scheme gives him the early lead.

"All good players fit your system, and he's a good player," Kubiak said. "So we've got some good young backs, and it's going to be very competitive from that standpoint, but, yeah, he's proven that running zone schemes and doing those types of things seem to fit him very well."

Fantasy Impact:

Anderson began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson (and why wouldn’t they?), he should thrive under Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett.

Monday, March 30, 2015, 12:48pm

CBS Sports - [Full Article]

The Panthers have signed running back Jordan Todman to a one-year deal, the team announced Monday.

"Jordan is a veteran running back who has had some success in the league," coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. "We think he has some return skills and we are always looking to be good in that area. At running back, he brings versatility. He is stout and physical enough to run the ball up inside, but he's got the quickness and speed to get outside to the corner."

Fantasy Impact:

Todman will provide depth behind Jonathan Stewart.

Gruden: RB Alfred Morris 'will be happy' under new O-line coach Bill Callahan

Monday, March 30, 2015, 12:40pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Bill Callahan, the Redskins’ new offensive line coach, will be in charge of the run game, as he was in Dallas last season. In Jay Gruden’s first year, the Redskins used a lot of zone runs while also calling power runs, more so than they had under previous coach Mike Shanahan.

Callahan’s arrival signals a change.

“Obviously his staple is being a great line coach, a physical line coach,” Gruden said. “And the running game he brings is more a physical, downhill approach that we employed some last year, but not as many as we could. Part of that is because of the type of linemen we have. We have to adjust our running game to the style we want to be, but we have to make sure we have the linemen in the building to do what we want to do.”

That also means changes for running back Alfred Morris. But Gruden said they won’t be tough for him. The sense is that Washington will run the ball more next season after doing so only 401 times last season (league average: 428, according to ESPN Stats & Information). Some of that stemmed from game situations; some stemmed from wanting to throw more than they should.

“If you’re a running back, you want to play for Coach Callahan because he likes to run the ball a lot,” Gruden said. “Alfred will be happy. There will be some different styles of runs for him, so for the most part, Alfred’s got great vision and did a great job protecting the football last year, so I think Alfred will be happy with some of the changes.”

Fantasy Impact:

In his first three seasons, Morris has finished #5, #14 and #13 in standard formats. He's more of a RB2 in PPR leagues (#7, #19, #17) since he has only averaged 0.8 receptions per game in his career. Callahan's arrival should help the effectiveness of the team's running game, which in turn will help Morris's fantasy production. He's a good value and a safe pick in the 5th round of early PPR drafts.

Panthers plan to limit Jonathan Stewart to around 15 carries per game

Sunday, March 29, 2015, 12:53pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

The Carolina Panthers may have given up on all-time leading rusher DeAngelo Williams, but they haven’t given up on the two-back system.

Coach Ron Rivera said on Wednesday at the NFL owners meeting the Panthers ideally would like to get about 15 carries from Jonathan Stewart and then 8-10 from another back.

“The thing you’ve got to be careful about in this league is you can’t rely on one player at one position,’’ Rivera said during the NFC coaches breakfast. “Running back has definitely been proven that you’ve got to have a good two-back tandem.

“And that’s what we’re looking for. We’re looking for that complement to Jonathan.’’

Fantasy Impact:

Stewart averaged 18.3 carries per game in the final seven games of the season (averaging 97.0 rushing yards and 0.29 TD per game). Those are #9 RB numbers in PPR formats, so even if Stewart's carries are limited to 16-17 per game (15 carries plus 1-2 receptions), he should still provide solid RB2 production.

Friday, March 27, 2015, 2:48pm

Adam Caplan, Twitter - [Full Article]

Panthers announced: Signed WR Jarrett Boykin to a one-year deal.

Thursday, March 26, 2015, 11:38pm

Adam Schefter, Twitter - [Full Article]

Steelers signed wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract, the team announced today.

Payton: C.J. Spiller's film is 'unbelievable,' he's the 'most explosive player on the field'

Thursday, March 26, 2015, 12:48pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

“His cutup is unbelievable,” Saints HC Sean Payton said of breaking down C.J. Spiller’s film with the Buffalo Bills. “And I’m not talking about last season because I think it became challenging, but you go back a couple of years and start looking at his screen reel, a sweep reel, a return reel. So when you watch his film you think of a lot of things he can do.

“He’s physical. He’s the most explosive player on the field a lot of times when you’re watching him."

Fantasy Impact:

While New Orleans may not be an ideal landing spot from a workload standpoint, Spiller should have a big role in the passing game with Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills no longer on the roster. He’ll likely take over the role of Thomas, who averaged 11.6 touches in the last two seasons. Thomas finished with a top 30 PPG (PPR) in six of the last seven seasons, so that's a reasonable baseline for Spiller. New Orleans running backs caught 275 passes in the last two seasons, so there are plenty of catches to go around. In short, he has significant PPR upside in this offense, but his workload will be somewhat limited since he'll be part of a committee.

Chiefs limited 'tremendously talented' Travis Kelce early on due to knee concerns

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 1:28pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

HC Andy Reid called Kelce elite this week at the NFL meetings in Phoenix.

“Absolutely,’’ Reid told reporters. “Tremendously talented. Loves to play the game. He’s like a little kid out there.

“You’d think the natural progression would be more and better and he was pretty good last year.’’

Kelce missed almost all of the 2013 season, which would have been his rookie year, because of an ailing knee. He was better last year, but the Chiefs weren’t quite comfortable giving Kelce a lot of playing time early in the season.

Fantasy Impact:

Kelce played 54% of the snaps from Week 1 to Week 10, averaging 3.8 catches for 49 yards and 0.44 TD in that span. He played 86% from Week 11 on, posting 4.7 receptions for 61 yards and 0.14 TD over the final seven games of the season. The rise in fantasy points wasn’t as dramatic since his touchdowns didn’t increase with his playing time, but that should rectify itself in 2015. He was the #4 TE in both standard and PPR formats in the final seven weeks of the season and is likely to go in the top 5 at his position in 2015 fantasy drafts.

Raiders expect a 'competitive situation' at running back

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 1:14pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said he expects Lavatius Murray and Trent Richardson to compete for the starting tailback job.

"I think it will be a competitive situation," Del Rio said.

Del Rio likes Richardson's potential.

"What I saw when we brought him in and talked to him was a young man that was hungry to kind of leave that portion of his career behind him and start fresh," Del Rio said. "My challenge to him was, 'Look, I don't want you to worry about anything other than coming in here and competing your butt off every day. Come in here and be a great teammate. Come in here and find a role on special teams. Come in here and just grind every day with the hunger you had as a freshman at Alabama.'"

Fantasy Impact:

We fully expect Murray to win the job, though it is concerning that the Raiders aggressively pursued DeMarco Murray. It indicates that they aren't fully ready to move forward with Latavius Murray, even though he rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2", 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets. We don't see Richardson as much of a threat, but teams have force-fed him before. Roy Helu is also in the mix, so if the Raiders don't commit to Murray, this could devolve into an ugly committee.

Cardinals looking to add a 'bigger' running back

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 1:03pm

Josh Weinfuss, Twitter - [Full Article]

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians on RBs: "We'd like to have a bigger back." Said team looking for big, fast back. Could come in 4th or 5th round.

Fantasy Impact:

It sounds like the Cardinals are looking to build a two-back system to lower the wear and tear on Andre Ellington, who played hurt for most of the 2014 season. A reduction in touches may actually help Ellington's effectiveness, though it's unlikely to help his per game fantasy production. Ellington averaged 22.0 touches per game, but only managed 3.3 YPC after averaging 5.5 YPC in his rookie season.

Tomsula: Reggie Bush is 'a runner...not a gadget guy'

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 12:49pm

Marc Sessler, Twitter - [Full Article]

49ers HC Jim Tomsula: Reggie Bush can be an every down back. 'He's a runner, he's not a gadget guy.'

Fantasy Impact:

Bush is expected to fill a third-down role since it looks like Carlos Hyde is ready to carry most of the rushing load, though Tomsula's comments indicate that Bush's presence should be a concern for Hyde owners who were excited about the young back's opportunity with Frank Gore gone. The 49ers don't typically use their running backs in the passing game, though longtime OC Greg Roman is gone and new OC Geep Chryst may have a different plan in mind.

Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) had a 'clean up' surgery after the Pro Bowl

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 12:45pm

Tom Silverstein, Twitter - [Full Article]

Mike McCarthy says WR Jordy Nelson's hip surgery was a cleanup and took place after Pro Bowl. Said its 6-8 weeks and things went well.

Fantasy Impact:

Nelson has finished in the top 11 in standard formats in three of the last four seasons, averaging 5.0 catches for 81 yards and 0.72 TD in that span. The Packers' offense remains intact, so as long as he and Aaron Rodgers stay healthy, we're expecting more of the same in 2015.

Giants prepared if WR Victor Cruz (patellar tendon) isn't ready for Week 1

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 12:31pm

Bart Hubbuch, Twitter - [Full Article]

Giants HC Tom Coughlin says the goal for Victor Cruz is Week 1, but "if it doesn't happen, we just went through that" with Odell Beckham last year.

Fantasy Impact:

Cruz tore his patellar tendon in mid-October, so it's no sure thing that he'll be back for the start of the season. He's probably a player to avoid this season unless his price drops so much that he becomes a value in the later rounds. He's not going to get the same number of targets given Odell Beckham's emergence as a top-flight wideout.

Colts view Frank Gore as an 'every-down' running back

Tuesday, March 24, 2015, 8:06pm

CSN Bay Area - [Full Article]

The 49ers were willing to go only so far to re-sign running back Frank Gore.

But Gore’s new coach, Chuck Pagano, sees a player who can help take the Indianapolis Colts a long way.

“Put the tape on him, and you still see the production,” Pagano said Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings.

“He’s a tough, hard-nosed, every-down back. He can play all three downs. He’s a great protector in pass-pro. He catches the ball out of the backfield. We all know what he can do as a runner on early downs.

The Colts still view Gore as an every-down back.

“I don’t think we would’ve gone after him and made the investment and made the decision to bring him in if we didn’t feel that way,” Pagano said. “Based on what we saw on tape, there’s video evidence that he’s more than capable of still being that guy.

“Some guys are like that. Carry 1 through 20, they’re OK. And 20 to 30, they keep getting better as you wear defenses down. And I think Frank is that type of runner.”

Fantasy Impact:

Gore is turning 32 this summer, but should be able to shore up the Colts' running game. Dan Herron and Vick Ballard are in the mix, but Gore is better than advertised in the passing game. Gore averaged 51.0 receptions from 2006-2010, but as soon as Greg Roman took over as offensive coordinator in 2011, his targets dropped precipitously. He averaged just 28.3 targets over the past four seasons, while the Colts' running backs accounted for 113 targets last season, so look for Gore's value to jump in PPR formats. Due to his age, Gore typically goes later than he should in fantasy drafts, but he hasn't missed a game in three seasons and should be reinvigorated by a change of scenery.