Redskins Fantasy News

Beat: Nick Foles looks 'sharp' and 'confident'

Monday, June 9, 2014, 6:41pm

Philly.com - [Full Article]

Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane's practice observations: "Nick Foles continued to look sharp. He wasn’t nearly as consistent as he was during the first two open practices – he tossed two interceptions during 11 on 11 drills – but he just seems much more confident running the offense than he did a year ago this time. Again a disclaimer: It’s only the spring and the players are running around in shorts without making much contact. But it’s a better scenario than, say, Foles looking as unremarkable as Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley have. Most of his passes have been on target. And when he’s had to go through his reads you can visually see him checking from one receiver to another before finding the open guy and (usually) hitting him downfield."

Fantasy Impact:
Nick Foles posted the #3 PPG in 2013 and in 11 starts (including the playoffs) he averaged 23.1 FP, which was second only to Peyton Manning. DeSean Jackson is gone, but the return of Jeremy Maclin, the arrival of Darren Sproles and Jordan Matthews and the likely emergence of Zach Ertz should offset that loss. The only other question mark is his limited body of work. Sometimes quarterbacks take a step back in their second year as a starter — it’s also Chip Kelly’s second year as head coach — though Foles played at such a high level that even with a step back, he should still be a solid QB1.

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Beat: Others may be 'chipping away' at workload of Alfred Morris

Monday, June 9, 2014, 1:47pm

John Keim, ESPN - [Full Article]

From the time coach Jay Gruden was hired, the word has been clear: They will continue to use the same run game as under former coach Mike Shanahan. That's among the reasons they kept offensive line coach Chris Foerster. While they have added size along the offensive line, the players they added all can block in the outside zone -- where Alfred Morris excels. So he'll continue to put up good numbers. I do wonder how many carries he'll get after receiving 611 combined his first two seasons. Remember, one knock on Gruden in Cincinnati: He abandoned the run too often. He also didn't have the depth at receiver he now has in Washington. The Redskins will spread the field and I can see them throwing more, or at least wanting to. Or they'll spread the field and run the draw; will Morris be the guy they want in that situation? Or someone with a little more burst (or a threat in the pass game) such as Roy Helu or even rookie Lache Seastrunk, who was perfect for this sort of setup at Baylor. The Redskins would like Morris to catch 20-25 passes; he's working on his route running this offseason. He's still their best running back, but if they want to diversify I can see others chipping away a little at his work. Or because they want to throw more.

Fantasy Impact:
Morris’s stock has taken a bit of a hit after the coaching regime change in Washington, but new HC Jay Gruden intends to keep the same running game (one reason they retained O-line coach Chris Foerster), so Morris’s outlook doesn’t change too much. He still isn’t much of a player in the pass game, so his PPR value is on the low side, though he’s a fairly safe start in any format given his steady workload. He looks like a rock solid RB2 with a high floor.

Beat: D-Jax could be third on team in catches

Monday, June 9, 2014, 1:33pm

John Keim, ESPN - [Full Article]

Redskins WR Pierre Garcon, not DeSean Jackson, will be the primary receiving target this season. No one has said that to me because until we get closer to the season – and probably into the season – no one really knows how things will unfold. But Garcon is a sturdier player, capable of running a greater variety of routes. Jackson caught 82 passes last season, but his previous high was 62. He can be dangerous to defend even when grabbing around 60 passes. In fact, it wouldn't stun me at all to see Jackson as the third leading receiver in terms of total catches behind Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. Durability plays into this as well (though Jackson has missed fewer games than Garcon in his career; both have played six seasons).

Fantasy Impact:

He's changing teams, which is rarely a good thing for a wideout unless he's moving into a larger role. In this case, he's joining a team with a proven target-hog (Pierre Garcon) and an up-and-coming tight end (Jordan Reed). New HC Jay Gruden does have a reputation for being pass-happy, but the Redskins actually attempted more passes (611) than the Bengals did (587) last season, so the pie may not grow as expected. In Cincinnati, Marvin Jones was the WR2 and saw 80 targets while playing just 48% of the snaps. If Jackson plays 80% of the snaps and sees the ball at the same rate, he would be targeted roughly 133 times. That’s plenty of work for D-Jax to post top 20 numbers, though Reed demands more targets than Cincinnati's Jermaine Gresham/Tyler Eifert combo last season. For more on his potential production, click here.

Gronk 'bursting, planting and cutting' at practice

Sunday, June 8, 2014, 12:20pm

Boston Globe - [Full Article]

Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski was actually bursting, planting, and cutting during the early portions of Thursday’s practice open to the media, and doesn’t look like he’s having any limitations. Whether he’ll be ready to play in the first month of the season is another matter.

Fantasy Impact:
Gronkowski has been hugely productive when healthy, but his health is a major concern heading into 2014. He reportedly had surgery on Jan. 9 to reconstruct a torn ACL. It typically takes a full year to recover, though Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have made quicker returns (with varying success). Gronkowski is tentatively expected to be ready for the start of the season, but don’t be surprised we don’t know his status until deep into August or even early September. This makes him a major risk in 2014 fantasy drafts. The ACL surgery was the eighth (known) surgery of his career.

Sunday, June 8, 2014, 10:08am

Akron Beacon Journal - [Full Article]

"The one guy I like more and more every day I work with is Andrew Hawkins," Browns QB Brian Hoyer said. "The guy runs his routes so hard. It reminds me a lot of my time in New England with (Wes) Welker, where the guy runs every route to win. He's going full blast. You see him out there and you can tell when he walks back to the huddle, he gave his all on every play. He's just a competitor, and I think the more guys you get like that, the better your team becomes." He is convinced that he'll be featured much more in the version of the West Coast offense implemented by new Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan than the system used by former Bengals offensive coordinator and new Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden.

Fantasy Impact:
Hawkins posted a solid 0.17 FP/snap for the Bengals, but he only played 20% of his team’s snaps in 2013. Now he joins a Browns team that will likely be without Josh Gordon, who is reportedly facing an 8-16 game suspension. Without Gordon in the lineup, Hawkins’ main competition for receiver targets may be Miles Austin and Nate Burleson. He could make a living in the slot and become a fantasy factor, especially in PPR formats.

Zach Ertz plans to line up 'all over the field'

Sunday, June 8, 2014, 9:57am

Philadelphia Eagles - [Full Article]

Eagles TE Zach Ertz played a total of 450 offensive snaps, 41 percent of the team's total, in 2013. As for his role in 2014, Ertz thinks the latter half of his rookie year offered a preview. "I think you saw it in the second half of the season, what kind of went on as I was used all over the field," Ertz said. "Hopefully some more of that."

Fantasy Impact:
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.

Zach Ertz improving as a run blocker

Saturday, June 7, 2014, 11:27am

Eagles - [Full Article]

"The game truly started to slow down towards the second half of the year. It was such a whirlwind at the beginning that I didn't really know what was going on. The playbook wasn't too hard to grasp, but just the play speed was the biggest thing to get used to," Eagles TE Zach Ertz said. "Last year, I didn't know what to expect from the offense and just being out here in Philadelphia as a whole. Obviously, this year it's going to be a lot better." After notching 22 catches and all four of his touchdowns in the final eight regular season games, Ertz wanted to continue the momentum through the offseason. He returned to California and has returned to Philadelphia feeling "a lot stronger, faster" than last year. He's put a huge emphasis on getting better as a run blocker. Ertz recognizes that he's more of a move tight end while Brent Celek is the traditional, in-line variety, but in Chip Kelly's offense you have to be able to do it all. "If you want to play fast, you can't be subbing guys in and out," Ertz said. "With the tight ends we have, we're able to do that whether it's in-line or out wide as a receiver. That's the biggest thing with the tight end group that we have."

Fantasy Impact:
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 2:53pm

Washington Post - [Full Article]

It’s been so far, so good for the members of the Washington Redskins’ offense, according to quarterback Robert Griffin III, as they work during offseason practices to pick up the system of the team’s new head coach, Jay Gruden. “We’ve had six practices and we’ve had good days and we’ve had lesser days,” Griffin said after Wednesday’s organized team activities, or OTAs, at Redskins Park. “But altogether I think it’s been great for us as an offense. I think it is coming together nicely. The quarterback room is doing really well and we’re ahead on a lot of things. But that’s where we’re supposed to be. We’ve got to have that mastery of the offense. But coming out here to the field … doing some talking at the line, getting some things under control and getting the looks that we need to be in, it’s been good.”

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 10:13am

CSN Washington - [Full Article]

Redskins beat writer Tarik El-Bashir says that WR Santana Moss "probably" makes the team. “Santana, he’s had an excellent offseason program, man,” new HC Jay Gruden said. “He’s fun to be around. He’s fun to watch. He knows every position [and] he’s making big plays out there. He looks like a young kid. He’s got energy. He’s a great leader.” Gruden added: “If he drops a pass, he holds himself accountable. If the quarterback misses him, he’s like, ‘Let’s get onto the next one, man.’ He’s a great guy to have for these young guys to learn from at the receiver position, and every position for that matter.”

RG3 'looks like a different QB, effortless in his drops'

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 2:23pm

Jim Corbett, Twitter - [Full Article]

USA Today's Jim Corbett on Redskins QB Robert Griffin III: "RG3 looks like a different QB, effortless in his drops and throwing mechanics without that ball and chain knee brace."

Fantasy Impact:
Griffin owned the #3 PPG in his rookie season, but that fell to #17 last season due to the inefficiency of the team’s offense and his ability to run on his surgically repaired knee. The knee should be close to 100 percent entering the season, but there is a new coaching staff in town, led by HC Jay Gruden. The team added DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts in free agency, so RG3 has a great receiving corps at his disposal.

Jordan Cameron to 'benefit the most' from pending Gordon suspension

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 10:51am

ESPN Cleveland - [Full Article]

Browns beat writer Tony Grossi: If Josh Gordon is suspended, the player who will benefit the most is Jordan Cameron. If the tight end’s third season was considered a breakout year (80 receptions, 917 yards, 7 TDs), his fourth could be record-breaking. There is no doubt the Kyle Shanahan offense will commit to running the ball. Shanahan’s zone-blocking run scheme and the additions to the run game (backs Ben Tate and Terrance West, and guard Joel Bitonio) will force defenses to move a safety into the tackling box. Because if they don’t, Shanahan and HC Mike Pettine will be content to run all day. So when defenses commit their safety to the run, Cameron will have greater opportunity to beat single coverage down the field. Although the receiving corps will be lacking without Gordon, the presence of slot receiver Andrew Hawkins should occupy attention and further assist Cameron’s ability to get open. I will predict right now that Cameron will lead the team in receptions, yards and touchdowns.

Fantasy Impact:
Cameron was the #2 TE through Week 8, but ranked #23 from Week 9 through Week 17. Some of this had to do with the QB issues in Cleveland, though his targets remained relatively even (8.4 T/G through Week 8 vs. 7.3 T/G thereafter). Despite the departure of a TE-friendly coaching staff that included HC Rob Chudzinski and OC Norv Turner, there is still a lot to like about Cameron. He should enjoy a QB upgrade and new OC Kyle Shanahan is pretty TE-friendly in his own right. Under Shanahan, Jordan Reed was targeted a healthy 6.6 times per game (11th-most among TEs) in 2013. While the new regime is not an upgrade for Cameron, it’s not a huge downgrade, either. Don’t forget that Cameron is entering his fourth season and is still improving as a player.

Monday, June 2, 2014, 7:27pm

Philly.com - [Full Article]

The practice fields at the NovaCare Complex became suddenly quiet when Jeremy Maclin fell to the ground and ignored chiding from the defense to get up. The jokes stopped once Maclin grabbed his left knee. It wasn’t the ACL knee, but to see the wide receiver go down during a non-contact drill -- although there was some contact (more on that later) – had to be a frightening moment for the Eagles. But Maclin quickly smiled and chuckled when LeSean McCoy ran over and said something and just seconds later bounced up from the turf and walked back to the huddle. He said afterward that he was OK.

Fantasy Impact:
Maclin was the #13 WR in 2010, #31 in 2011 and #27 in 2012 before tearing his ACL last summer. The Eagles don't throw as much under Kelly as they did under Andy Reid, but Maclin has the talent and opportunity -- DeSean Jackson is gone -- to be a fantasy starter in 2014, provided his knee is good to go. We wouldn't describe him as a durable player, however.

Monday, June 2, 2014, 4:18pm

Football Outsiders - [Full Article]

Football Outsiders' Rivers McCown took a closer look at Redskins TE Jordan Reed. Here are some highlights: "The considered view of his All-22 tape leaves us with a specialized player who was most effective in certain situations -- but also one with special talents that we can't ignore." "The Bengals flexed Tyler Eifert or Jermaine Gresham off the line on 176 snaps last season, per the FO game charting project. We listed them as wideouts on another 76 snaps. Jay Gruden should have enough creativity to spot Reed against players he can bully. Washington didn't show much of Reed outside last season, but when they did, it was near the goal line. He's a high-ceiling goal-line target." "Jay Gruden's offense in Cincinnati ran 66 screens last season, at a 45 percent success rate. The Shanaclan led Washington to a 38 percent success rate on 58 screens. With more snaps, Reed could be a threat to snag 10-to-12 screens next season." "If Reed can combine what we already know he can do on short routes with his ability to slip a few defensive backs deep, he could become one of the best receiving tight ends in the NFL. He doesn't quite have the physical traits of a Jimmy Graham or Vernon Davis. But Reed does have the integrated technique to produce a similar outcome."

Fantasy Impact:
Reed was on pace for 80-887-5.3 (#7 TE-type numbers) prior to his injury, but didn't even crack the 50% snaps played mark until Week 6. In the five games where he played at least 50% of his team's snaps, he averaged 6.2-76-.40 or #3 TE-type numbers. The main concern with Reed is his injury history, specifically with concussions. According to NBC Washington, in addition to a severe concussion in 2013, Reed suffered two concussions while at Florida. If he can stay healthy, he's a likely top 5 fantasy TE, but that's no sure thing.

Browns expected to run the ball more

Monday, June 2, 2014, 10:34am

Cleveland Browns - [Full Article]

Given the off-season emphasis and the recent history of success in Kyle Shanahan's schemes, I'm ready for my first bold prediction of 2014: The Browns will finish among the league's top third in rushing yards and attempts. They were bottom five in each category a year ago. From drafting a mobile quarterback to adding three running backs to upgrading the offensive line to changing the blocking schemes, there seems a strong commitment to running the ball. They acquired top free agent Ben Tate, traded up to snare Towson's Terrence West in the third round and signed Alabama State's Isaiah Crowell as an undrafted free agent. They also have Dion Lewis returning from a broken leg suffered last preseason and Baker, who was the team's most effective runner at the end of 2013. Beyond buoying the backfield, they used a second-round pick to draft a nasty guard in Joel Bitonio, and added another blocking tight end in Jim Dray.

Fantasy Impact:
Shanahan's Redskins threw it 57.4% of the time in 2013 after posting a 46.0% mark in 2012. The main reason for the shift to a pass-heavy offense was that the Redskins trailed most of the year. Robert Griffin III's inability to run while recovering from ACL surgery was also a factor. The Browns are likely to go run-heavy, especially if Josh Gordon is suspended as expected. Unfortunately, the score may dictate that the team has to throw the ball more than they want to.

Friday, May 30, 2014, 6:49pm

The Eagles aren't holding Jeremy Maclin back in workouts. He has lined up on the right in DeSean Jackson's old spot opposite Riley Cooper. Thursday was the first opportunity to watch all the new pieces on offense, but rookie receiver Jordan Matthews was excused to attend the NFLPA's rookie symposium in Los Angeles. Cooper said that Matthews had been practicing in the slot with the first team.

Fantasy Impact:
Maclin was the #13 WR in 2010, #31 in 2011 and #27 in 2012 before tearing his ACL last summer. The Eagles don't throw as much under Kelly as they did under Andy Reid, but Maclin has the talent and opportunity -- DeSean Jackson is gone -- to be a fantasy starter in 2014, provided his knee is good to go.