Broncos Fantasy News
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:56am
Danny Amendola arrived with the Patriots last year just as Wes Welker was making his way out the door, so he found himself under tremendous scrutiny. Fair or not, expectations were incredibly high for Amendola, thanks to the gaudy resume of the slot receiver he replaced.
Welker served as Tom Brady’s most reliable and durable weapon during his time with the Patriots. Then, when Amendola immediately got hurt, it was tough to win back redemption, especially given his reputation with injuries. He eventually played, but never really seemed in sync with Brady, particularly during crunch time.
One year later, Amendola seems to understand what it’s going to take to turn the corner and make an impact. He gets it, so much so, that during the recent break before training camp, he was out on the West Coast training with Julian Edelman.
The story also mentioned that Amendola worked with Brady in the offseason too, which could be key to getting him back on track. While Edelman appears to have taken the "Wes Welker role," there is still plenty of opportunity for Amendola to be a contributing part of the offense. Right now he's ranked just 61st on our WR list and projected to catch 62 passes.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:36am
Hours after burying his grandmother, Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas found solace in practice, rejoining his teammates after a difficult four-day absence.
Thomas looked weary, understandable given the emotions of the past week. He thanked the Broncos for their compassion.
It should not take long to catch up, Thomas explained. He watched video of the practices he missed, and has a strong grasp of the Broncos offense.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 10:59am
The "Summer of Matthew Stafford" is garnering some positive reviews.
New Lions coach Jim Caldwell said he's been impressed with Stafford's improvement from minicamp to the beginning of training camp.
"He is getting better," Caldwell said, per The Detroit News' Josh Katzenstein. "His command of the offense has been good."
"I was impressed when he came back that first of all he did not miss a beat," Caldwell added. "He's a very, very smart guy. You could tell he's worked at it even during the summer."
One reason Caldwell and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi were brought in was to help improve Stafford's sometimes wayward mechanics, which were often excused by the last regime. The head coach said his quarterback has displayed positive developments in that area.
Stafford comes in ranked 5th among our QBs this year, but he's got an ADP of sixth round. You definitely have some quality options if you want to pass on taking Peyton Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers early in drafts, and signs point to Stafford being one of them.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 8:27am
Jets receivers coach Sanjay Lal really likes his newest addition, Eric Decker. And for good reason. Decker was the best free agent receiver available this year, and the Jets desperately needed receivers. So they went out and got him, and he instantly became the best player in Lal’s meeting room.
So far, through the first four training camp practices, Decker has performed on the field about as well as the Jets could have hoped. He has yet to drop a pass. Off the field, he has, by all indications, shown diligence in learning the Jets West Coast offense.
The big question with Decker is what can he do without Peyton Manning throwing him the football. Backers of Decker point to the fact he caught 8 TDs in 2011 before Manning joined the Broncos. But now Decker will be facing team's top corners, although he's likely to get more targets. Still, Decker is ranked 31st on our WR list, which makes him a high-end WR3/low-end WR2. He should be a solid mid-round option for your fantasy team.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 6:39pm
Given that running back is a crowded position on the Broncos with plenty of youth -- Ronnie Hillman, entering his third season, is the most experienced of the group -- those looking for a spot may want to take a page from Hillman’s work Sunday. The Broncos didn’t tackle live on special teams, but Hillman returned some kickoffs and showed good burst doing it. And with the kickoff return job wide open, some of the running backs looking for a roster spot may be wise to lobby for their chance to return kicks in the coming weeks.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 6:37pm
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was ruthlessly efficient, in 7-on-7 and full team drills in the red zone. Manning connected on scoring passes to WR Emmanuel Sanders, WR Wes Welker and TE Jacob Tamme in one 1-on-1 drill between receivers and defensive backs alone.
The rules remain simple, if not ironic: Want to run the ball for the Broncos? You had better be able to pass block. "Coach E (Eric Studesville) makes it clear our job is to keep them off Peyton," Montee Ball said. Manning threw the ball 659 times last season. The Broncos' aerial gumbo of audibles and short routes assaults the senses. It also humbles even the best athletes. Ball's breakthrough last summer ended abruptly. He landed on the bench when he couldn't keep Manning upright. The Broncos believe in Ball, inserting him as the starter after Knowshon Moreno's defection to the Dolphins. Ball possesses NFL-workhorse qualities, including a sturdy frame and a college résumé that included 924 carries and 77 rushing TDs at Wisconsin.
Pass blocking was one of the reasons Moreno emerged as the Broncos main back last year, and it's something the team has to feel comfortable having Ball do this year in order for him to be a stud fantasy RB. The signs are pointing to Ball emerging as that guy. If he does he could end up being a huge value in drafts, even as an early second round pick. But his pass blocking is one thing potential owners need to monitor in camp.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 4:33pm
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman, who held the blue football as a reminder of ball security, made nice run up the middle, bursting outside with good separation. However, he also fumbled once.
Hillman is battling for carries behind Montee Ball.
Montee Ball had just 59 receptions in his four seasons combined at Wisconsin and many in the league said working in the passing game would be the most difficult part of his transition to a potential No. 1 back. Last August he did miss a blitz pick-up in Seattle when Manning took a huge hit from Bobby Wagner, a hit that paved the way for Knowshon Moreno to work his way back up the depth chart last fall. But Ball has looked steady catching the ball thus far, including a nice back-shoulder grab in team drills Friday.
Ball had a higher YPC (4.7) than Moreno (4.3), but wasn’t quite the weapon in the passing game. Still, his catch percentage (receptions/targets = 74.1%) wasn’t bad for a running back. His play down the stretch (8.5 FP/game in final eight games) is encouraging. He’s locked in as the RB1 in a great offense, so 10+ touchdowns seems likely.
Friday, July 25, 2014, 8:39pm
The Broncos are approaching a crossroads with tight end Julius Thomas, who is in the last season of his rookie deal. They’d like to sign him long term, but could also use the franchise player tag next season if they do not get a deal done. Either way, Thomas has done his part so far to build on his 65-catch, 12-touchdown season in 2013. Thomas has shown a comfort level in the offense, working on the line, out wide and in the slot. He also spent some time with Tony Gonzalez this past offseason for a little guidance as well. "For me, it was understanding how you continue to play at a high level," Thomas said. "What do you do to prepare for games? What do you do to get the most out of practice? Just some things that only a future Hall of Famer and a 17-year veteran would know."
It's great to hear that Thomas spent time picking the brain of Gonzalez, a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. Thomas is a favorite target in the league’s most productive passing attack, and with Eric Decker no longer with the team, the fourth-year tight end could see an increase in targets as well. He scored 12 TDs in 14 games, but wasn’t simply a redzone threat — he also averaged 4.6 receptions per game, which was 6th among tight ends.
Steelers beat writer Scott Brown on the team's WR pecking order: (Lance Moore) looked really good during offseason practices, and he is such a solid player and one of those guys who just knows how to get open. I don’t see much of a difference between the No. 2 and No. 3 wide receivers since the Steelers will use a three-wideout formation frequently. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Moore gets the majority of the snaps opposite Brown when the Steelers use only two wide receivers. Markus Wheaton will be given every opportunity to win a starting job in camp but it won’t be given to him. If he stays healthy I think he will emerge this season and become a big part of the passing game. Wheaton wants to be great and he has the physical talent to succeed at this level.
The Steelers play a lot of three-WR sets, so we’re expecting big snaps for Wheaton even if Lance Moore is on the field for two-WR sets. (Emmanuel Sanders played 76% of the snaps in 2013, while Jerricho Cotchery played 60%.) Wheaton was a 3rd round pick and is a terrific athlete. He’s not big (5’11”) but he fits the mold of a typical Steeler receiver. Despite a short resume, Wheaton is a breakout candidate if he sees big snaps in his second year. In the last four seasons, Hines Ward, Antonio Brown (x2) and Sanders have averaged 65-848-4.5 in the Steelers' WR2 role.
Eric Decker looked terrific. The ex-Broncos wideout showed exactly why the Jets made him the first outside free agent they landed this offseason. Decker caught everything thrown his way and ran his routes routinely and with precision. He also made a tremendous catch over cornerback Dee Milliner on a deep ball. Vick may have explained it best: "You can just tell that him working with Peyton (Manning) over the last couple of years has helped him blossom as a receiver. He’s certainly being rewarded for that. I’m glad he’s on this team. He’s going to help Geno a lot."
There’s no doubt that Decker is going to see a downgrade at QB going from Peyton Manning to a combination of Geno Smith and Michael Vick. But as the Jets’ clear WR1, he should see enough targets to become a fantasy starter even if his per target production is likely to drop.
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 4:10pm
The Giants don't have a definitive starter at tight end no matter what the depth chart says, and, as we wrote yesterday, that is not a problem right now. In the meantime, Tom Coughlin said he's giving equal reps to each player in hopes that a few will separate from the pack and that all will be able to play in games. In the short-term, it appears that Coughlin has no interest in making a snap decision. Injuries, inevitably, will also help him parse out the depth chart. "Plenty of time for that," Coughlin said. "We don't have to rush into anythi
Daniel Fells was running with the first team early in camp, but GM Jerry Reese recently compared Adrien Robinson to Julius Thomas. It's not likely that any Giants TE will be trustworthy in fantasy leagues this season.
Thursday, July 24, 2014, 11:56am
The Broncos will not have wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on the field when they start training camp on Thursday, but there are no injury concerns or contract squabbles for the team to worry about. Thomas has been excused from Broncos camp until Monday so that he can return to Georgia to attend funeral services for his grandmother.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014, 6:09pm
Peyton Manning won't have at least one familiar face to throw to when the Broncos open training camp. The organization announced on Tuesday that tight end Joel Dreessen has been cut with a released/failed physical designation, per the team's official website.
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