Roddy White told ESPN.com that he had his left knee drained prior to minicamp, but the Atlanta Falcons receiver is not concerned about it being a major issue this season. White, who had the same knee drained last offseason, sat out the first two days of mandatory minicamp last month after the procedure. He returned for the third and final day of the camp.
"It's not a concern to me because it's just like a little irritation,'' the veteran said Wednesday. "My cartilage in my knee is not smooth. It's kind of rippled. You can elect to have surgery, but I just decided not to because I'm not a surgery guy. I just don't want to do it.
"They gave me the option two years ago to have surgery. They said they would have to slice off the top of my cartilage, and I was like, 'I don't want to do that.' I don't want them to keep shaving my cartilage off until there's no more cartilage. Then you start to get arthritis.''
White said there is a strong possibility he will have the knee drained again at some point before the conclusion of the season. He missed two games last season, but neither was due to the knee. "If I get my knee drained on a Monday, I can practice on Wednesday,'' White said. "It's not an issue where I'm going to miss a game, because it's such a small issue. I'm not worried about it -- not at all.''
Normally, we would shy away from a situation like this, but White dealt with the same issue last year and showed no ill effects in the knee. (His hamstring and ankle kept him out of one game apiece.) When he played, he was a solid WR2 in both PPR (#17 PPG) and standard (#20 PPG) formats. He’s 33, but as long as he stays healthy, he should be a very good WR3.
Falcons TE Jacob Tamme, who spent his first seven NFL seasons primarily catching passes from Peyton Manning in Indianapolis and Denver, made an immediate impression with his pass-catching ability this offseason. He looks poised to come in and become a real threat in Kyle Shanahan's offense. It's hard to compare him to a guy such as future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, but Tamme can be the type of reliable pass-catcher the Falcons haven't had at the position since Gonzalez's retirement. The 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound Tamme isn't going to overwhelm you with his size, but he finds a way to get open and is fluid with his routes.
Tamme is 30 years old and isn’t likely to be a fantasy factor in single-TE leagues, but he’s on the radar in two-TE or TE-premium (1.5 PPR) formats.
Opposite Julio Jones, the Falcons coaches really like newcomer Leonard Hankerson based on his strong offseason. Hankerson played in Kyle Shanahan's system while in Washington and appears to be healthy coming off a gruesome left knee injury in 2013. But Hankerson's emergence doesn't necessarily move Roddy White aside. It simply means the veteran White has to have a strong training camp and show the left knee injury that has plagued him won't be a lingering issue.
It would be hard to imagine White accepting a reserve role after he established team records in both career receptions (765) and receiving yards (10,357) through 10 years with the franchise. Again, it will all depend on how White's body holds up throughout the season. He's been nagged by various ailments over the last two seasons, including hamstring and ankle problems to go with the knee. And White turns 34 in November.
This is the first that we've heard that Hankerson could potentially push White for a starting role. Frankly, we don't see a healthy White losing his spot. Last year, White missed a couple of games due to injury, but when he played, he was a solid WR2 in PPR formats (#17 PPR PPG). He’s 33, but as long as he stays healthy, he should be a very solid WR2/WR3.
Monday, July 13, 2015, 5:06pm
According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, there have been no talks about an extension between Jones and the team.
The good news here is Jones already promised he wasn’t going to be “selifsh” and hold out, unlike another situation, the story points out. Jones is a late-first, early-second round selection in fantasy drafts this year.
The contest between RBs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman should extend far beyond camp. Each has stated he plans on being the starter, and while they can share the load, something will eventually have to give.
Both appear to be schematic fits, and both have the potential to be effective in the NFL. Freeman displayed flashes of brilliance last year, his first in Atlanta; Coleman rushed for more than 2,000 as a senior at Indiana University.
With Steven Jackson out of the way, Freeman was expected to be the starter in 2015, but the drafting of Coleman appears to have changed that. Freeman was perhaps more successful in the passing game so he could have some PPR value, but it looks like there will at least be some kind of a timeshare. We rank Freeman 33rd and Coleman 38th on our RB list, but Coleman is actually going a round or two earlier in drafts as owners are buying into him as the eventual lead back.
The Atlanta Falcons have some intriguing options at wide receiver heading into 2015. This includes the obvious options of Julio Jones and Roddy White, but also Leonard Hankerson, Devin Hester and none other than rookie Justin Hardy. Hardy, for one, is a player who has massive upside and potential. Brian Jones of 247Sports is obviously a big believer in this, as he called Hardy the "secret weapon" for the Falcons.
"The answer is simple. It’s always good to have a plethora of weapons on offense, but Hardy is a weapon that no one will be talking about until the 2015 season gets rolling and makes plays. And the reason that Hardy will be a secret weapon is also simple. Hardy played at a smaller school (East Carolina), and he’s not the biggest receiver as he stands a shade over six-feet tall." Jones explained.
He continued by breaking down exactly what Hardy did during his career with the Pirates.
"But being overlooked is nothing new to Hardy. In fact, East Carolina did not offer him a scholarship his freshman year. He made his way on the team as a walk-on, but earned a scholarship the following season. From there, he became the NCAA’s career all-time reception leader, and was awarded the Burlsworth Trophy which is given to the most outstanding player who started his career as a walk-on." said Jones.
It's hard to argue with his point. Hardy has serious potential and the fact that he fell to the fourth-round in the 2015 NFL draft was a bit of a surprise to everyone. The Falcons nabbed the talented receiver and have to be happy about where they got him.
Hardy likely won't get drafted in typical leagues and he's way down our WR list. Jones and White are obviously the studs, but it's not out of the question Hardy could earn some playing by passing Hankerson and Hester on the depth chart. Right now he's just a name to keep in the back of your mind.
Owen Daniels and Virgil Green appear locked in on the top two spots, and depending on the frequency at which the Broncos use certain personnel groups, could both end up with play counts that reflect being starters. It was appropriate that their contracts were finalized within 24 hours of each other in free agency, because the two are best viewed as a collective as the Broncos work to build a deep tight end complement after Julius Thomas left for the Jaguars and Jacob Tamme joined the Falcons in free agency.
If both Daniels and Green play starter's snaps, then it's not going to leave much playing time for Cody Latimer as the team's WR3. Marlon Brown (40%) and Kamar Aiken (26%) didn't play enough to be fantasy relevant under Kubiak last year. However, things could change if Latimer makes a leap in training camp.
Dorial Green-Beckham spent weeks sidelined by a hamstring injury. That aside, his former college coach believes the Titans have landed the equivalent of a "nightmare matchup for any cornerback at any level."
"I was with the Colts with Jim Mora when he had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, I was with the Raiders when they had Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Jerry Porter and some other guys on the Super Bowl team," University of Texas receivers coach Jay Norvell told the Tennessean.
Norvell spent last season coaching the red-shirted Green-Beckham in practice at Oklahoma, saying: "When you go through the history of the draft and look at the guys with size and speed and all that, he is just unique. Calvin Johnson is probably one of the closest comparisons physically because of his size."
"He's not a finished product, but most players aren't," Norvell said. "So he's going to have to learn the pro game and that's a completely different game from college. But he's got some natural gifts that will help him in that game, and in some ways, the NFL is probably a better game for him than college football, just because of the bump rules and (less) contact and all of that. So there are some advantages he has. ... That's why they picked him."
If Green-Beckham picks up things quickly and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say — one offensive coordinator said he was “completely lost” at the whiteboard in a pre-draft interview — he could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff. If he sees starter’s snaps, he should be fantasy relevant as a rookie, though he'll have to prove he's ready for the mental side of the game. Long-term, he has a chance to flourish if both he and Marcus Mariota are the real deal.
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 4:56pm
Adrian Peterson will be back in the lineup as the starting running back for the Vikings. However, Jerick McKinnon said his health is fine and that shouldn't play any role as he competes with Matt Asiata for playing time behind Peterson.
"Two hundred percent,'' McKinnon said about he feels since December surgery. "If there is a 300, I feel 300. It's all good.''
McKinnon was a third-round pick out of Georgia Southern and made the transition from being an option quarterback. Any plans to bring him along slowly as a rookie were scuttled when Peterson left the team following the regular-season opener.
McKinnon's outing against the Falcons came in the fourth game of the season and in just his third appearance. He averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry while sharing running duties with Asiata until he got hurt.
McKinnon developed a close bond with Peterson in the four months he spent with him last year, the story said. McKinnon even said he'd draft himself on his own fantasy team, but the fact is, Peterson returns this year ranked as our number-one fantasy back. McKinnon can be had in the very late rounds, though, and if you're a Peterson owner, it may not be a bad move to back yourself up.
A quick canvas of the league revealed 10 No. 1-caliber receivers: Calvin Johnson, Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffrey, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeMaryius Thomas, Jordy Nelson, T.Y. Hilton, Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown.
Robinson, the Jaguars’ second-year receiver, is below that level, but on this team at this moment, he’s the best.
Robinson averaged 5.2 catches for 61 yards and 0.22 TD from Week 2 to Week 10, which extrapolates to an 84-974-3.6 over the course of a full 16-game season. He posted fringe WR2-type numbers before suffering a stress fracture in his foot. The Jacksonville receiving corps should feature Robinson, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns. If QB Blake Bortles can progress, this could be a dangerous passing game, and Robinson would be the primary beneficiary.
Falcons RB Devonta Freeman is clearly ahead at running back. Freeman is the leader in the clubhouse to earn the No. 1 running back spot over rookie Tevin Coleman. His head is probably spinning with all of the new information to go along with the mild groin strain that kept him out of the final day of minicamp.
“I knew Devonta had terrific hands, but I probably didn’t appreciate the good route-running ability coming out of Florida State and the development he made with (former running backs coach) Gerald (Brown) and the guys here last year," said head coach Dan Quinn. "He can really run routes.”
Quinn stopped just short of declaring a winner in the position battle.
“He’s going to be a guy we’re going to feature in a lot of different ways,” Quinn said. “He’s tough. He’s got great quickness….He’s a factor for sure.”
With Steven Jackson out of the way, GM Thomas Dimitroff said that there was “no question” that Freeman is ready to be the feature back in Atlanta, though the team threw cold water on that notion by drafting Tevin Coleman. Freeman wasn't terribly impressive in his rookie season (248 yards rushing, 3.8 YPC), but he was active and effective in the passing game (30 catches for 225 yards), so we’re expecting he’ll be PPR-relevant as part of a timeshare.
Third-round draft pick Justin Hardy has made a good first impression on some of his fellow skill position players. On Tuesday, Matt Ryan praised the WR for his consistent improvements; today, Julio Jones commended Hardy for the way he’s responded to challenges thrown his way.
Tevin Coleman hasn't passed Freeman yet. Coleman is the new regime's hand-picked running back, so we would expect him to see plenty of playing time as a rookie. But for now Freeman continues to start. He's a late-round option, especially in PPR formats.
According to wide receiver Roddy White, the offense won’t be as reliant as throwing the ball as they were last season. The Falcons were third in the league with 39.5 attempts per game last season and White expects that number to drop significantly in 2015.
“We’re not going to be passing 35-40 times a game,” White said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
That may well be the plan, but the Falcons are going to have to be a lot more effective running the ball than they were last year if they are going to cut down on the size of the roles that White, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan play in the offense.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 10:01am
Falcons RB Antone Smith, who suffered a broken leg in November, returned to action Tuesday and showed no signs of injury. The veteran running back didn’t miss a beat and moved well during agility drills. Quinn envisions Smith as a key asset moving forward — particularly on special teams.
“The speed I think is the first thing that jumps out,” Quinn said of Smith. “It’s been awesome getting him back in the mix this week.”
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