John Brown burst onto the scene with fire during his rookie campaign. The Arizona Cardinals' speedster posted 48 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns, with several of those scores being of the big-play variety.
However, his production waned late in the season. Brown posted just 127 yards on nine catches the final month of the regular season, including a goose egg in Week 14. He then compiled just 34 yards on four catches in the playoffs.
While the atrocious quarterback situation played a big part in Brown's production reduction, his body also began to break down.
"At the end of the season my body started going down, I started losing weight," Brown told the team's official website. "This year I'm trying to focus on being able to keep this weight on as the season goes on."
After playing at 173 pounds in 2014, Brown said he is already up to 183 and plans to add more weight through the offseason.
The hope here is that the added weight doesn't negatively impact his speed. 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.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, who signed a two-year, $22 million contract in February, cautioned against expecting the same kind of production we saw during his prime, when at least 90 catches, 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns seemed to be the norm.
"No, it's not possible," he said. "And it's only that reason because of the role that I play. It's a different role. I just don't have the opportunities down the field. I'm more inside, I move the chains a lot more.
"In terms of putting up the big numbers, it will be difficult, but in terms of my effectiveness, of providing first downs, being able to make tough catches for my team, I'm still going to be able to do that."
Fitzgerald averaged 5.3 catches for 81 yards and 0.33 TD in six games with a healthy Carson Palmer. Extrapolate that pace over a full season (85-1,296-5.3) and it's about what Mike Evans (PPR) and Golden Tate (standard) scored as last season's #13 WR. If Palmer stays healthy, Fitzgerald should be a great value at his current 9th-round ADP in early PPR drafts.
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.
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.
Housler, 27, recorded 84 catches and 871 yards from 2012 through 2013, but he saw limited targets in 15 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season, with only nine receptions and 129 yards.
Housler has one career touchdown in 55 games. He has elite speed for his position, recording a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the 2011 NFL combine, helping him secure a third-round selection in that year's draft.
The Browns were in need of help at the position after Jordan Cameron signed a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins earlier this offseason. The Browns' current depth chart at tight end also includes Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge, who combined for 30 catches and 398 yards and zero touchdowns, so Housler has a chance to emerge as the team's TE1. This isn't likely to make him a fantasy starter, however.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Peterson will meet with the NFL this week to discuss reinstatement, per a source informed of the situation.
The meeting is ahead of schedule for Peterson, who was supposed to be eligible for reinstatement on April 15.
Updated reports on Monday said the meeting will take place on Tuesday. Peterson, who agreed to a plea deal in November of no contest to one count of misdemeanor reckless assault, is still on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Having some clarity on Peterson's situation could soon answer some of the lingering questions surrounding the face of Minnesota's franchise and if he'll play for the Vikings again since there has been a growing sentiment from Peterson's camp that he'd prefer to play elsewhere. The Cardinals and Cowboys have both been rumored destinations.
His two touchdowns were a low for his career. His 63 receptions and 784 yards were the fewest since 2004. But there are reasons to think Fitzgerald can post better statistics in 2015, provided he and quarterback Carson Palmer stay healthy.
In Palmer's last five starts before a season-ending knee injury, Fitzgerald caught 31 passes for 461 yards. It was clear that he and Palmer were starting to click.
"Both guys were very comfortable in the offense," coach Bruce Arians said at the NFL owners meetings last week.
"He has progressed so much, I don't think there is any doubt they can go down on an option route, and Carson will know where he is going and the ball is on time. Larry is going to make the big, physical catches inside. He's a true mismatch inside."
$11 million per season (Fitzgerald’s re-worked deal) is a high price to pay for a soon-to-be 32-year-old who is coming off of his worst fantasy season of his career. However, there is a reason for optimism: Fitzgerald averaged 5.3 catches for 81 yards and 0.33 TD in six games with a healthy Carson Palmer. Extrapolate that pace over a full season, and it's about what Mike Evans (PPR) and Golden Tate (standard) scored as last season's #13 WR. The Cardinals obviously believe that he’s worth keeping around.
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.
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.
Monday, February 23, 2015, 5:15pm
Ted Ginn, who signed a three-year free-agent contract in 2014, was released by the Cardinals Monday after a disappointing year both as return man and wide receiver. The Cards will absorb $1.5 million in dead salary cap money, although they will save $2.5M in cap space that would have been spent if Ginn stayed.
By season's end, Anderson was a Pro Bowler. But Anderson started the final eight games with John Fox as head coach. Gary Kubiak is the Broncos' coach now.
"He's got to go earn that," Kubiak said. "When he walked off the field last year he was playing that way. He's a young player. I told him that when I talked to him. I said, "C.J. when you come back for the offseason you need to handle yourself like you're the starter. ... I think he's ready to do that."
This is a common motivational tactic that coaches use with young, less-established players, but Anderson should be the team's RB1 in 2015 provided he doesn't report to OTAs out of shape. He 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, he should thrive under new Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett. Provided QB Peyton Manning returns for another season, Anderson’s production should continue.
As PFT reported earlier, the Cardinals have gained nearly $13 million in cap space thanks to a new deal with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, guaranteeing that one of the franchise’s icons will remain in the fold after months of uncertainty because of Fitzgerald’s salary and cap hit for the 2015 season.
PFT has learned a bit more about the deal via a league source. Fitzgerald’s old deal ran through the 2018 season and was set to pay him a non-guaranteed $16.5 million in 2015 while counting $23.6 million against the cap. He was also set to make a non-guaranteed $15 million salary.
That deal has been replaced by one that guarantees Fitzgerald $11 million per year over the next two seasons.
$11 million per season is a high price to pay for a soon-to-be 32-year-old who is coming off of his worst fantasy season of his career. However, there is a reason for optimism: Fitzgerald averaged 5.3 catches for 81 yards and 0.33 TD in six games with a healthy Carson Palmer. Extrapolate that pace over a full season, and it's about what Mike Evans (PPR) and Golden Tate (standard) scored as last season's #13 WR. Assuming Palmer is good to go, Fitzgerald could be a nice middle round value heading into 2015 fantasy drafts.
Friday, as a guest of Doug and Wolf on Arizona Sports 98.7 F for Newsmakers Week, GM Steve Keim had a similar tone.
"He's awesome," Keim said. "He came in, I believe it was yesterday and I talked to him at length, he's more energized than ever and he looked fantastic.
"It looks like he put on some lean muscle; he is working his tail off. And I know he's at a point in his rehabilitation process where he's doing some running and he's ahead of schedule. And again, he's more energized than ever."
Palmer averaged 271 yards, 1.8 touchdowns and 0.5 interceptions in six 2014 starts, or 17.2 fantasy points per game. Those are fringe QB1 numbers, so if Palmer is good to go for 2015, he'll be on the radar as a late-round value for those owners looking to stream or form a committee at the position. Keep an eye on the Larry Fitzgerald situation -- if he parts ways with the team, it's going to be a blow to Palmer's upside.
Bowles told ESPN's Josina Anderson in a text message that he was taking the job.
The news came less than four hours after the Jets announced the hiring of Mike Maccagnan as their general manager. Bowles will receive a four-year contract, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
The Sacramento Bee's Matt Barrows reported Tuesday that Kaepernick will spend the spring at EXOS in Phoenix with Warner and quarterback coach Dennis Gile.
Kaepernick is looking to rebound after a disappointing 2014, and Warner will be there to help. According to the report, Warner will focus on film study and 7-on-7 drills with Kaepernick.
Kaepernick finished as the #15 QB in standard formats. He rushed for 641 yards, which was second-most among quarterbacks, but only rushed for one touchdown. We're expecting better fantasy numbers from Kaepernick in 2015.
Saturday, January 3, 2015, 3:39pm
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Cardinals QB Drew Stanton (knee, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 18. Ryan Lindley will continue to start, which is why we like the Carolina defense this week.
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