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Cardinals Beat: Bruce Arians 'loves' WR John Brown, 'big things' coming

Friday, April 17, 2015, 3:11pm

AZCentral.com - [Full Article]

Cardinals beat writer Bob McManaman on WR John Brown:

He's got the hunger to strive to be better and I know how he cherishes the opportunity he's getting with the Cardinals. HC Bruce Arians loves him and the respect is mutual. I expect big things from Smokey this season.

Fantasy Impact:

Brown finished as the #49 WR in standard formats and #53 in PPR. He saw a hefty 103 targets as a rookie, and with Larry Fitzgerald back and Michael Floyd still in the mix, it's doubtful that Brown's usage will increase too much. If Carson Palmer is healthy, however, the whole passing offense could take a step forward, and that would push Brown into fantasy-relevant territory.

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NFL officially reinstates Vikings RB Adrian Peterson

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 3:30pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

The NFL's premier running back is officially back.

The league announced Thursday that Adrian Peterson will be reinstated Friday as an active NFL player and may participate in all scheduled activities with the Minnesota Vikings.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, via a source involved, that Peterson will face no further suspension upon reinstatement. U.S. District Judge David S. Doty will decide in October how many game checks the Vikings star will lose, per Rapoport. It could be as many as three or as few as zero.

The Vikings released a statement Thursday indicating that they "look forward to Adrian re-joining the Vikings."

Fantasy Impact:

Throwing out his one-game season in 2014, Peterson never finished outside of the top 6 on a per game basis in standard formats (or outside the top 11 in PPR) in his previous seven seasons. He's now on the wrong side of 30, but his legs should be fresh after taking a full season off to deal with his criminal case last season. He and the Vikings have had a tumultuous relationship over the past eight months, and Peterson has made inferences that he'd like to play somewhere else in 2015. For their part, the Vikings say they want him back, and his contract makes him a very difficult player to trade. If he's back in Minnesota, then his 2.02 ADP in early drafts sounds about right. He has top 5 potential, but there is a lot of water that has to flow under the bridge at this point in his career.

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 12:54pm

Denver Post - [Full Article]

Second-year receiver Cody Latimer benefited from extra reps at workouts with Peyton Manning at Duke University. He received pointers that could accelerate his learning curve with the new offense. Manning had Latimer run routes that might be incorporated into the scheme of new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak.

"He texted me, and I asked if I could go down there," Latimer said of Manning. "It meant a lot."

Latimer spent his offseason training in Florida. "It really helped give me a headstart," he said.

Fantasy Impact:

Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Emmanuel Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.

Chargers TE Antonio Gates wants to play a reduced role

Thursday, April 16, 2015, 11:49am

MMQB - [Full Article]

On the cusp of his 13th season, Chargers TE Antonio Gates has only one year remaining on his contract and is acutely aware of his expiring clock. He no longer attends voluntary workouts, nor has he done any route running this offseason.

“With injuries and whatnot, I played a little bit more than they expected me to play last season,” he says. “I was playing the whole game. How I feel next year, it depends on how much volume they have me doing. I’d like to come in on third-and-7s, red zones, those situations. That’s what my contribution is at anyway.”

Fantasy Impact:

Ladarius Green will once again be an intriguing late round pick, but it's hard to see him posting TE1-type numbers with Gates still healthy and available. The future Hall of Famer finished #2 in standard formats and #3 in PPR, posting 69 catches for 821 yards and 12 touchdowns. It was his 4th-best fantasy season of his career, production-wise. We'll see if the team agrees with his "reduced role" perspective.

Giants unsure about status of WR Victor Cruz

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 6:04pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

The Giants don't know whether and to what extent Victor Cruz will recover from his severe knee injury. He may not be ready to start training camp, and even if he is, he's likely to be on a somewhat limited program as the team works him back slowly from his torn patellar tendon. There's a chance he misses a game or two, and a strong chance he's not 100 percent even when he does return to game action.

Fantasy Impact:

This doesn't sound very good, at least for 2015. What the Giants do at the position in the draft will be telling. They have Rueben Randle locked in as a starter, but OC Ben McAdoo typically calls a lot of three-receiver sets, so whoever plays the slot might be fantasy relevant.

TE Rob Housler signed with the Browns due to expected opportunity

Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 5:56pm

Ohio.com - [Full Article]

Browns TE Rob Housler, 27, confirmed the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals were interested in signing him, but he said he ultimately chose the Browns partly because of the opportunities he expects to receive in new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo’s scheme. Housler emphasized the coach affectionately known as “Flip” wants to move him around a lot in the offense and feature him as a vertical threat in the middle of the field.

“It was a big factor,” Housler said of weighing the pass-catching opportunities each of his suitors would likely grant him. “I’ve seen both ends of the spectrum where I’ve been a part of targets and a part of the flow and rhythm of the offense, and I’ve seen where it goes other ways. For me, I want to be a big part of the offense. So that was a big consideration. I’m confident in my ability, and I just want to be able to contribute.”

Housler should get plenty of chances as the Browns try to compensate for losing Cameron, whom they attempted to re-sign before he bolted to Miami.

Fantasy Impact:

Housler signed a one-year deal with aligns with his expectation that he'll be a big part of the offense. He has great athleticism for his position, but so far that athleticism hasn't translated to on-field production. Part of the problem is that he was an afterthought in the Arizona offense, but it sounds as if the Browns intend to utilize his speed down the seam.

'Good chance' that Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry has a breakthrough season

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 10:12pm

Sun-Sentinel - [Full Article]

Dolphins beat writer Chris Perkins believes that WR Jarvis Landry is the player most likely to have a breakthrough season in 2015:

A breakthrough season would be improving on the 84 receptions for 758 yards and 5 TDs he had last year as a rookie. There’s a good chance that happens now that TE Charles Clay and WRs Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are gone. Tannehill is familiar with Landry, and Landry showed he’s got good NFL skills. He’s got good hands and can get YAC (Yards After Catch).

Fantasy Impact:

Landry was the #42 WR in standard formats and #30 in PPR, so as a high-volume slot receiver, he's going to have more value in PPR formats. The Dolphins lost four of their top six most-targeted players: Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. They have been replaced by Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron, but Landry's role should expand as well. He only played 62 percent of the snaps on the season, and didn't start playing consistent starter's snaps until Week 9. Over the final nine weeks, Landry was the #15 WR in PPR formats (and #23 in standard). He is currently the 24th WR off the board in early PPR drafts.

Projecting the touches in the Saints' backfield

Tuesday, April 14, 2015, 10:02pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Saints beat writer Mike Triplett estimates the touches in the team's backfield:

Mark Ingram's 255 touches last year were the second most by any running back in the Sean Payton era (behind only Deuce McAllister's 274 in 2006) -- and Ingram did that in just 13 games played.

Combine that with the four-year, $16 million contract New Orleans gave Ingram this offseason, and I don't expect a dramatic drop-off in his workload in 2015. However, the Saints do have the luxury of keeping Ingram fresh if everyone stays healthy.

Assuming everyone stays healthy, I'll go with something like:

Ingram 240 touches (950-1,000 rushing yards)

C.J. Spiller 150 touches (400-plus rushing yards, 500-plus receiving yards)

Khiry Robinson 90 touches (350-400 rushing yards)

Fantasy Impact:

As Senior Editor John Paulsen broke down in The Case for C.J. Spiller, 150 touches (80 carries, 70 catches) would result in a #19 RB finish in PPR formats. Even if the the Saints give Spiller more carries (96) and fewer catches (60), Spiller's projected production would result in a #20 RB finish. Over the last two weeks, Spiller has been the 27th RB off the board in early best ball PPR drafts. Ingram has been the 15th RB taken, so if we assume 1,100 total yards, nine touchdowns and 30 receptions, he would finish with 194 FP (PPR), which happens to match his total from last season. He was the #14 RB in only 13 games played in 2014. A healthy Robinson is a concern for Ingram, however. The Saints wanted to increase Robinson's role prior to his Week 7 injury (fractured arm), so we may see more of an even split in the running game between the two backs if they both stay healthy.

Raiders sign WR Michael Crabtree

Monday, April 13, 2015, 11:11pm

Michael Crabtree, Twitter - [Full Article]

WR Michael Crabtree announced on Twitter that he has signed with the Raiders.

Fantasy Impact:

Crabtree hasn't been himself since his Achilles injury, but there is opportunity in the Raider receiving corps. The problem is -- he's not markedly better than James Jones, Andre Holmes or Rod Streater, so Crabtree could end up anywhere from first to fourth in the pecking order by the time preseason rolls around.

Emmanuel Sanders believes that Cody Latimer is a 'special player'

Monday, April 13, 2015, 7:46pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders is a big fan of WR Cody Latimer, a 2014 second-round pick who played just 37 snaps as a rookie.

"On my Twitter, I'm vocal about Cody because I believe in Cody," he said. "Cody is a special player. He has strong hands and is a physical tool. I think this is going to be the year that he jumps onto the scene. I think he's going to have a big year and I'm happy he's on my team and in our receiver group."

In past seasons, Latimer would jump out as a breakout candidate in a Peyton Manning-led Broncos offense. This year could be different, however, with the team expected to lean harder on their running game in Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme.

Latimer is going to have a bigger role. How much bigger remains to be seen.

Fantasy Impact:

Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Peyton Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.

Monday, April 13, 2015, 7:36pm

Packers.com - [Full Article]

Packers WRs Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis were drafted in the fifth and seventh rounds last year, respectively, and both had virtual redshirt seasons, but for different reasons.

Abbrederis sustained a season-ending knee injury during training camp and was placed on injured reserve. The Wisconsin native and former Badgers star is an option as a punt returner as well as an additional receiver, provided he’s fully healthy come the start of training camp this summer.

Janis, making the jump from Division II Saginaw Valley State to the NFL, had a pair of impressive TD receptions in the preseason on which he showed off his speed, but he was active for only three regular-season games and got most of his work in practice on the scout team.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said at the scouting combine he felt Janis was coming on strong late in the season, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off in his bid for a roster spot and additional playing time.

Fantasy Impact:

We wouldn't expect Green Bay to draft a receiver early this month given the depth they have at the position. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are locked in as the starters and Davante Adams showed a lot of promise as the season drew to a close.

Broncos intend to use WR Emmanuel Sanders in the slot

Monday, April 13, 2015, 3:58pm

Lindsay Jones, Twitter - [Full Article]

Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders says coaches have told him he'll play more in the slot in the three-WR set this year.

Fantasy Impact:

Sanders performed very well in the slot last season, though he spent a majority of the time on the outside. He'll continue to play outside in two-WR sets and then move inside when the Broncos add a receiver to the formation. Sanders finished #5 in PPR formats and #7 in standard formats after catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. With TE Julius Thomas gone, we wouldn't expect Sanders' targets to drop much, so his 3rd round ADP in early drafts looks quite reasonable. We expect Cody Latimer to compete with Andre Caldwell for snaps in three-WR sets.

Monday, April 13, 2015, 1:27pm

Journal-Sentinel - [Full Article]

FB John Kuhn has signed a one-year, $850,000 deal to return to the Green Bay Packers, his agent said Monday.

49ers TE Vernon Davis says that QB Colin Kaepernick 'looks like a totally different guy'

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 1:52pm

CSN Bay Area - [Full Article]

The makeover of Colin Kaepernick was so noticeable, tight end Vernon Davis wondered if his eyes were deceiving him.

“When I saw him yesterday, I didn’t even know that was Colin,” Davis said Friday after the final day of the first week of the 49ers’ offseason program. “Seriously, he was working on his drop-back. ‘Who was that?’ You guys are in for a treat. He looks like a totally different guy.”

Kaepernick spent 10 weeks at the beginning of the offseason in Arizona working on his mechanics with private quarterback coach Dennis Gile. He also spent about one day a week on the mental aspect of the game with two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner.

“I feel like there’s been quite a bit of change,” Kaepernick said. “Obviously, it’s noticeable. Vernon said something to me right away when we started throwing. But I just want to do everything I can to make sure I’m getting better and doing my part to help this team win.”

Neither Kaepernick nor Davis spoke specifically about the mechanical changes, but Kaepernick said everything he did was aimed at becoming a better quarterback to enable the 49ers to win more games.

Fantasy Impact:

It was reported earlier in the offseason that the team planned to utilize Kaepernick’s running ability to a greater degree. Kaepernick ran the ball 12 more times in 2014 than he did in 2013 for an additional 115 yards, so it's not like he abandoned the scramble. It sounds like it's more about utilizing the read-option as a larger part of the offense. If that's the case, it could be a boon to Kaepernick's fantasy value. He was the #14 QB in 2014 after finishing #9 the season before, though his overall production only dipped by 11 fantasy points. He's a bounce-back candidate provided new OC Geep Chryst can design an offense that can move the ball. Chryst previously served as the OC for the Chargers in 1999 and 2000, but his offenses ranked 26th and 28th overall in that span. Any gains that Kaepernick can make as a thrower will only help his overall value.

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 1:43pm

Sacramento Bee - [Full Article]

By all accounts, 49ers Kendall Hunter is on pace for a fast comeback. He is already going full bore at the team's offseason program.

Fantasy Impact:

Hunter can be seen making hard cuts at the 0:43 mark in a video in the above story. He will be in the mix, but Carlos Hyde is expected to see most of the early-down work with Reggie Bush playing his customary passing-down role.