Fantasy News Home

Julius Thomas, Blake Bortles connection 'nearly unstoppable' in OTAs

Sunday, June 26, 2016, 1:38pm

PFT - [Full Article]

Via Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union, Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas and quarterback Blake Bortles looked “nearly unstoppable” during Organized Team Activities and minicamp. While shorts and T-shirts football remains a far cry from real football, it won’t be a surprise if Thomas and Bortles are indeed unstoppable this year.

Last season, Thomas broke his hand during the preseason. This season, assuming that he stays healthy, Thomas will have plenty of options in a passing game fueled by receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.

Fantasy Impact:

Thomas missed the first month of the season with a hand injury, but returned in Week 5 to post #11 TE numbers (PPR) the rest of the way. He has missed seven games over the past two seasons due to injury. He has reportedly had a great offseason and has spent extra time in the film room with QB Blake Bortles in the hopes of building better chemistry.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins not sure that he'll be ready by the start of camp

Sunday, June 26, 2016, 1:36pm

PFT - [Full Article]

Bills WR Sammy Watkins told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that though he “feels good,” he doesn’t know when he’ll be cleared and hopes to be able to participate in training camp.

“If not, then cool,” Watkins said. “Get ready for the first game.”

That takes his timetable for a projected return from early August to any time from August to early September. Watkins last week told TSN.ca that he’d “definitely be available” and might only miss two or three days of camp, which begins in late July.

The Bills won’t rush Watkins back from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot, and Watkins sounded like he’s fine waiting if that’s what it takes, too. He said he hasn’t run in the last three or four weeks.

Fantasy Impact:

Watkins had offseason foot surgery, which has put his preseason (and Week 1) availability into question. However, with the way he finished the season -- 5.4-100-0.78 over the final nine games -- he has WR1 potential in 2016 provided he can stay healthy.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman (foot) spotted without walking boot

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 6:08pm

Mass Live - [Full Article]

Patriots WR Julian Edelman missed minicamp and every OTA open to the media. He was in a bulky walking boot for Tom Brady's annual Best Buddies flag football game on June 3. He did not play in the game.

According to one photo from Patriots.com, though, it appears Edelman did not wear the boot to the MGH event Wednesday.

This would be a sign of progress for Edelman, who, according to a May 12 report from ESPN's Mike Reiss and Adam Schefter, was "on track" to return for training camp.

The Jones fracture suffered by Edelman can be a tricky injury. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, who also underwent a second surgery following his Jones fracture, needed five months to gain clearance for running and cutting. As CSNNE's Tom Curran pointed out, Edelman wouldn't be back until November if he followed the same timeline.

Fantasy Impact:

In 28 games over the past two seasons (including the playoffs), Edelman has averaged 7.0 catches for 75 yards and 0.43 TD on 10.3 targets per game. That works out to low-end WR1 numbers in PPR formats, so as long as he's healthy, he should provide good value in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts.

Lions Beat: RB Ameer Abdullah should be 'much improved' in 2016

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 11:06am

Detroit Lions - [Full Article]

Lions.com writer Tim Twentyman on RB Ameer Abdullah:

Abdullah went through his fair share of ups and downs as a rookie and finished with 597 rushing yards (4.2 average) and two touchdowns.

I thought he showed a high level of maturity and dedication in an interview with Sirius NFL Radio this offseason.

“I feel like I showed some flashes last year, but in this league you can’t show flashes,” he said. “You have to be consistent. That definitely had a lot to do with growing pains.

“It also had a lot to do with me being immature as a player coming straight from college and not understanding what kind of preparation and mental focus it took for such a long amount of time.

“I know I have a lot to give to this team and a lot to give to this league. I know I can be a good back, but it starts with those little things I mentioned earlier.”

I’d be pretty surprised if we don't see a much-improved Abdullah in year two.

Fantasy Impact:

After the team's Week 9 bye, and with new-OC Jim Bob Cooter calling the plays, Abdullah averaged 11.5 touches for 55.3 yards and 0.12 TD per game. He averaged 4.65 YPC in that span, and the running game as a whole improved considerably under Cooter (+6.75 carries, +27.5 yards and +0.37 TD per game). Joique Bell saw 9.4 touches per game during that stretch, and that work is up for grabs now that Bell is gone. If healthy, Abdullah will probably lead the Lions in carries and yards, and may be a post-hype sleeper if his touches increase significantly. But Theo Riddick will serve as the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Stevan Ridley and Zach Zenner could eat into Abdullah's early-down and short-yardage touches, so Abdullah's upside is somewhat capped.

Bucs Beat: RB Charles Sims will get 'more carries,' but Doug Martin still the 'focal point' of the offense

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 10:47am

Pewter Report - [Full Article]

Mark Cook of the Pewter Report was asked about the Buccaneers' running game.

Question 1. Chris will Doug Martin rush for over 1,400 yards again this season?

Answer: Well he certainly is capable, but so many factors play into it actually happening. First and foremost, does he stay healthy? Secondly, will head coach Dirk Koetter rely more on the arm of Winston now that he is in his second season of the offense? There is no question Koetter understands the importance of balance, but how much did Lovie Smith’s influence have an affect on the play calling in 2015? And then there is the Charles Sims effect. I really believe we will see Sims get more carries in 2016 and that could cut into Martin’s total yardage. Of course you don’t give Martin the contract you gave him to take too many touches away from him, if any at all. It will be interesting to see how things play out, but one thing is certain, and that is, if Martin is healthy, he will be a focal point of this offense, as he should be.

Fantasy Impact:

Last year, there were 479 touches split between Martin and Sims, with Martin seeing 67% of the work to Sims' 33%. We currently project a similar split, which makes Sims our #30 RB in PPR formats, three spots higher than his current ADP. He would have upside from there if the Bucs decide to give him some of Martin's carries.

Titans RB DeMarco Murray likes that the new offense is 'strictly downhill'

Thursday, June 23, 2016, 10:39am

Jim Rome Show - [Full Article]

Following a disappointing season with the Philadelphia Eagles in a system that didn’t seem to fit DeMarco Murray’s skills, the running back was asked on The Jim Rome Show if he believes Mike Mularkey’s offense in Tennessee is a better fit for him. He answered, “I do. It’s strictly downhill and that’s what I’ve been accustomed to my entire life. Nothing against last year or what happened, it just didn’t work out, but I’m very excited about this upcoming season and looking forward to it.”

Fantasy Impact:

Murray was looking like he'd be one of the few workhorse backs until the Titans drafted Derrick Henry in the 2nd round. It's good to hear that he favors the new system and is looking for a bounce back season.

Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:40pm

Giants.com - [Full Article]

The biggest surprise of spring football was, by far, Victor Cruz getting some reps during team drills at minicamp. Leading up to the three-day camp it seemed the team wasn’t going to have him participate in team drills until training camp. Instead, he would continue to do individual work on the side, most notably conditioning drills with the training staff.

That plan changed as Cruz ran routes and caught passes against air as well as defenders during jog-through. This was yet another physical step in the right direction as he works his way back from knee and calf injuries but, most important, it was a positive from a mental standpoint in terms of building confidence in what he’ll be able to accomplish during training camp.

Colts impressed with rookie RB Josh Ferguson

Monday, June 20, 2016, 9:08pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Might Josh Ferguson emerge as this year's version of Thomas Rawls, an undrafted rookie who goes on to outshine one of the most respected running backs of the past decade?

Owner Jim Irsay had been openly pining for an elusive Darren Sproles-style satellite back. That's the role offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski dangled in front of Ferguson in a post-draft recruiting pitch.

With the underwhelming quartet of Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Trey Williams and Tyler Varga behind 33-year-old starter Frank Gore, Ferguson used offseason practices to climb the depth chart and make a lasting impression on the coaching staff.

"It's just in shorts, but he looks really good," coach Chuck Pagano said last week as the Colts wrapped up minicamp. "He's smart. He picks things up in a hurry. He's very, very athletic. He's a great receiver out of the back field. We can split him wide, we can displace him formationally. He's a mismatch out in space. He's got juice. He can go. He's got great vision."

Fantasy Impact:

We like Frank Gore as a value pick this year, but Ferguson could surprise in PPR formats even if Gore stays healthy.

49ers Beat: RB Shaun Draughn should see 'plenty of playing time' as passing-down back

Monday, June 20, 2016, 8:44pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Carlos Hyde’s got the top spot in the 49ers backfield as long as he can stay healthy. Shaun Draughn’s ability to catch passes brings some versatility to the offense and should garner him plenty of playing time.

Fantasy Impact:

Chip Kelly discussed Hyde's ability to be an every-down back, so these third-down snaps are where he can gain a lot of value, especially in PPR formats. This is a situation to monitor this summer.

Ravens TE Dennis Pitta 'moving well' and could be 'a significant contributor'

Monday, June 20, 2016, 1:57pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Ravens TE Dennis Pitta was one of the more active and productive offensive players for the past couple of weeks. Pitta is moving well and caught just about everything thrown in his direction. He’s always going to be at risk of reinjuring his hip, but for now, Pitta feels good and looks like he can be a significant contributor.

Fantasy Impact:

If Pitta returns, there will really be a logjam at the position with Ben Watson, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams already competing for snaps.

Bills WR Sammy Watkins says he'll 'definitely be available' for training camp

Sunday, June 19, 2016, 6:28pm

TSN - [Full Article]

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins expects to be ready for action when the Buffalo Bills open training camp on July 30.

Watkins, who is recovering from surgery to repair stress fractures in his left foot, admits he will have to be cautious in his return to the field.

“For training camp, I think I’ll definitely be available,” Watkins told TSN.ca. “I might sit out two or three days. It’s all about how I feel within those days. The goal is to come back and be prepared for training camp.”

Watkins underwent surgery on his foot in April and graduated from crutches to a walking boot before arriving without any visible sign of an injury in Toronto late last week.

Fantasy Impact:

The assumption is that he'll be ready for Week 1, but time will tell if he's fully healthy by then. With the way he finished the season -- 5.4-100-0.78 over the final nine games -- he has WR1 potential in 2016 provided he can stay healthy.

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 2:57pm

Giants.com - [Full Article]

Geramy Davis, last year’s sixth-round pick out of UConn, played in 10 games as a rookie but recorded just two receptions for 21 yards. So he entered spring as somewhat of a question mark, but he made the most of his reps during OTAs and minicamp. Davis saw a lot of time with Eli Manning and racked up the receptions with the first-team offense. That included a tough touchdown catch this week going against veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins.

“Geremy is a bright guy,” Manning said. “He knows the offense very well. He studies hard. He’s really in tune with what his assignments are. He’s got great size. He’s one of our bigger receivers. You can move him around and put him in different spots. He’s going to be really keyed into what his assignment is, so that’s always helpful. Hopefully he can step up and get on a roll and make some plays for us come game time.”

Seahawks will lean more on Russell Wilson in 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 2:55pm

Seattle Times - [Full Article]

The second-half outburst came after the Seahawks shifted their offense during their bye week, deciding to emphasize quicker passes, timing routes and spread formations. They were especially successful with empty sets (no running backs in the backfield).

Throwing passes more quickly also helped mitigate some of the offensive-line struggles. Russell Wilson was sacked just 15 times in the last nine games after the Seahawks allowed 31 in the first seven.

Carroll said to expect more of the same in 2016, the first season since 2010 without running back Marshawn Lynch as the focal point of the offense.

“Our rhythm throughout camp, we stayed connected to what we did in the second half of the year,’’ Carroll said. “We went in determined to do that, and right from the get-go when we got back here on the field we were at it with tempo and timing and all that and stood strong throughout the whole camp.”

Fantasy Impact:

Of the early-round quarterback picks, Wilson is the player we’d be most inclined to draft since he’s sometimes still on the board in the 6th/7th round. After his Week 9 bye, Wilson averaged 279 passing yards and 3.1 touchdowns over the final eight games. That’s a 4,400-plus/50-TD pace, which is why he’s ranked with the likes of Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers atop our projections.

Packers WR Jeff Janis 'has a real chance to carve a role for himself'

Saturday, June 18, 2016, 2:43pm

Journal-Sentinel - [Full Article]

Jeff Janis is coming.

At this point, it seems clear the former seventh-round receiver will enter training camp locked in a battle to be quarterback Aaron Rodgers' third option behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

If talent wins, Janis will earn that role. When it comes to raw size and speed, there really isn't much comparison between Janis and other young receivers on the roster. The Packers continually threw deep to Janis in team drills, and he continually beat the likes of cornerbacks Sam Shields and Damarious Randall, and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

The only thing that can get in his way — and it has been a big hurdle — is lack of chemistry and trust with Rodgers. Janis has to be reliable. He has to prove he'll be in the right place on the field when he's supposed to be there. If he cuts out the mistakes, he has a real chance to carve a role for himself in the Packers' passing game.

Coaches have to be intrigued with the possibility of Nelson and Janis stretching the field deep on the perimeter with Cobb working underneath.

Fantasy Impact:

Janis had seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff game against the Cardinals, but only registered a catch in one other game last year (2-79 vs. the Chargers) despite a host of injuries to the Green Bay wide receivers. For whatever reason, the team wasn't comfortable giving Janis consistent snaps despite his ability to stretch the field with his 4.42 speed and elite athleticism, something that is lacking elsewhere in the receiving corps. His main competition for snaps is the disappointing Davante Adams.

Falcons Beat: TE Jacob Tamme had 'a strong offseason'

Friday, June 17, 2016, 1:29pm

Atlanta-Journal Constitution - [Full Article]

Tight end Jacob Tamme had a strong offseason catching the ball and working on his blocking. His 59 catches last season were the second-highest total of his career.

“I really feel like my best years are still in front of me,” Tamme said. “Which is a good feeling to have at this point in my career. That’s an exciting thing for me.”

He believes the offense made some major strides.

“I feel like I’m well ahead of where I was at this point last year,” Tamme said. “That’s something that I’m pretty jacked up about.”

Fantasy Impact:

Tamme finished #14 in PPR formats last year. The Falcons drafted his eventual replacement, Austin Hooper, but rookie tight ends rarely make much of an impact. Tamme may be streamable again in 2016.

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