Patriots Fantasy News

Patriots Beat: RB James White 'looks like a carbon copy of Shane Vereen'

Monday, June 22, 2015, 12:52pm

Boston Herald - [Full Article]

In the battle of third-down backs, James White looks like a carbon copy of Shane Vereen. He’s lined up in all the same places, and turned in some spectacular catches, particularly on wheel routes coming out of the backfield. He’s made a few drops, but all in all, looks great. It’s important to remember he also looked great last year at this time before falling off the map.

Free agent pickup Dion Lewis has earned praise on the field from Brady for his route-running. He’s also been a primary kick returner in drills. He has some giddy-up in his step.

Travaris Cadet, another free agent who was the third down back in New Orleans, has had some good moments.

“If they don’t look good in shorts and t-shirts, we got a problem,” running backs coach Ivan Fears reminded us last week. “Let’s wait ’til the bullets start flying.”

Fantasy Impact:

There was a similar report last week that Cadet had the lead in the competition, so this job is still very much up in the air. If one player takes over Vereen's role, then he'll be immediately relevant in PPR formats.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015, 10:53am

PFT - [Full Article]

Fred Davis’s tenure in New England didn’t last long.

Davis, the tight end who signed with the Patriots last month, was released by the team today. The Patriots apparently decided after this week’s minicamp that Davis simply didn’t fit on a tight end depth chart featuring star Rob Gronkowski and veterans Michael Hoomanawanui and Scott Chandler.

Fantasy Impact:

The Patriots cut Tim Wright earlier in the offseason. Scott Chandler is a solid tight end and is shaping up to be a sleeper at the position since the team utilizes a lot of two-TE sets.

Patriots Beat: Sorting out the running backs

Thursday, June 18, 2015, 12:49pm

CBS Local - [Full Article]

Patriots beat writer Ben Volin discussed the pecking order in the team's backfield:

LeGarrette Blount certainly has the leg up for the primary first down power back. He clearly has an edge over Jonas Gray and anyone else. Besides Blount, it’s kind of a hodge podge of guys who don’t have experience. [Offensive coordinator] Josh McDaniels thinks that’s okay, because he doesn’t mind having a little competition,” Volin said.

For the "passing down" role, "...right now it looks like a battle between Travaris Cadet and James White, and I think Cadet probably has the leg up,” Volin said.

“[Cadet] has more experience in the NFL. He caught 38 passes in the Saints system and is really an explosive runner. James White is coming into his second year, so we’ll see what he can do in training camp,” Volin added. “[White] redshirted last year after having a productive career at Wisconsin, so maybe he wasn’t picking up the offense as quickly as he could have been.”

Fantasy Impact:

Regular readers know we're very high on Blount given his ADP. In his last 15 games with the Patriots (including the postseason), he has turned 14.4 touches into 75 yards and 1.0 TD; those are strong and low-end RB1 numbers in standard and PPR formats, respectively. Whoever wins the "passing down" role will become fantasy relevant in PPR formats, but if Cadet and White share the role, neither will be particularly attractive.

McCarthy: WR Davante Adams is Packers' offseason MVP

Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 7:32pm

Scout.com - [Full Article]

“I would say Davante Adams for someone if, if you want a clear illustration and example of a first-year player taking a jump in his second year, you just saw it here the last four weeks,” Packers HC Mike McCarthy said. “I think he’s been tremendous throughout the OTAs. And he’s got more in front of him, too, so I think that’s what’s exciting. I think Davante has done a great job in the strength and conditioning. He’s been really, really good in practice throughout this deal. Davante, if you wanted me to pick an MVP or an all-star, he would definitely be atop the list.”

Fantasy Impact:

Adams had his moments during his rookie season, specifically against the Patriots (6-121 on 11 targets) in Week 13 and in the postseason against the Cowboys (7-117-1 on 11 targets). However, he only saw 66 passes come his way since he played alongside target hogs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Aaron Rodgers has been highly complimentary of Adams this offseason and says he has “humongous upside.” In 20 games from 2012-13, the team’s WR3, James Jones, managed WR3-type numbers (3.7-50.3-.60 on 5.6 targets) with both Cobb and Nelson in the lineup, but that was mainly due to his unusually high TD rate. In 13 games that Cobb and/or Nelson missed, Jones averaged solid WR2 numbers (4.6-58-.46 on 7.3 targets), but his TD rate regressed. We’re bullish on Adams since he has more potential than Jones. The Packers are also without a tight end of Jermichael Finley’s caliber, so there may be more targets available for the team’s third receiver. Owners should expect fantasy WR2 numbers if Cobb or Nelson go down, making the second-year wideout a great handcuff for either player.

Patriots WR Brandon LaFell seen in a walking boot

Monday, June 15, 2015, 1:49pm

Ben Volin, Twitter - [Full Article]

Patriots receiver Brandon LaFell was spotted in a walking boot at a recent event.

Fantasy Impact:

This explains why LaFell didn't participate in OTAs. LaFell finished as the #22 WR in both standard and PPR formats, but didn’t catch a single pass in the first two games. He began to see starter-type snaps in Week 4, and was the #15 receiver in standard formats over the final 13 games of the season.

Buccaneers claim TE Tim Wright

Friday, June 12, 2015, 4:12pm

Albert Breer, Twitter - [Full Article]

Buccaneers, with top priority on waiver wire, claim TE Tim Wright, whom they dealt to New England last summer.

Fantasy Impact:

Wright ends up back in Tampa, where he'll compete for snaps behind Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

Thursday, June 11, 2015, 5:18pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

The Patriots still don't know if Tom Brady's four-game suspension will stick, but they aren't waiting around to find out.

The team on Thursday will sign veteran backup Matt Flynn, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation. Flynn will join a quarterback room that expects to start second-year passer Jimmy Garoppolo against the Steelers come Week 1.

Patriots release TE Tim Wright

Thursday, June 11, 2015, 12:16pm

Mike Garafolo, Twitter - [Full Article]

Patriots have released TE Tim Wright, source says.

Fantasy Impact:

The writing was on the wall after the team signed Scott Chandler and Fred Davis.

Rodgers: Packers WR Davante Adams is 'very impressive' and has 'humongous upside'

Thursday, June 11, 2015, 11:55am

ESPN Wisconsin - [Full Article]

Maturity – combined with WR Davante Adams’ natural talent, physical dimensions, athleticism and commitment to learning the offense inside and out – has Packers QB Aaron Rodgers convinced that Adams is headed for big things in 2015, even with Pro Bowl receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at his position.

“In my mind, he has humongous upside – and he’s starting to reach that upside,” Rodgers said after the team’s open-to-the-public organized team activity practice. “I think the opportunities are going to come for him. He’s got two great guys to play with. His attention to detail is very impressive and his approach.

Fantasy Impact:

Adams had his moments during his rookie season, specifically against the Patriots (6-121 on 11 targets) in Week 13 and in the postseason against the Cowboys (7-117-1 on 11 targets). However, he only saw 66 passes come his way since he played alongside target hogs Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. In 20 games from 2012-13, the team’s WR3, James Jones, managed WR3-type numbers (3.7-50.3-.60 on 5.6 targets) with both Cobb and Nelson in the lineup, but that was mainly due to his unusually high TD rate. In 13 games that Cobb and/or Nelson missed, Jones averaged solid WR2 numbers (4.6-58-.46 on 7.3 targets), but his TD rate regressed. We’re bullish on Adams since he has more potential than Jones and Rodgers' comments only reinforce this thinking. The Packers are also without a tight end of Jermichael Finley’s caliber, so there may be more targets available for the team’s third receiver. Owners should expect fantasy WR2 numbers if Cobb or Nelson go down, making the second-year wideout a great handcuff for either player.

Ravens Beat: WR Kamar Aiken 'stole the show' during second OTA practice

Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 12:50pm

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

Ravens WR Kamar Aiken quite simply just gets the job done, and he does it in a variety of ways.

He stole the show last week during the Ravens’ second OTA practice open to the media. Aiken hauled in a deep bomb, stretched for a fingertips grab over the middle, tiptoed the sideline and out leapt a defender for a score.

Aiken was a jack-of-all-trades last season too in a breakout campaign. He caught 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season. He scored a 19-yard touchdown against the New England Patriots in the divisional playoffs.

With Torrey Smith in San Francisco and Jacoby Jones in San Diego, Aiken now has a chance to become a starting wide receiver. There’s a lot of competition for the spot, but Aiken is competing on the first team and looks to have just as much a chance as any other.

Fantasy Impact:

Aiken was 12th in the league in fantasy points (PPR) per target last season. Breshad Perriman figures to win the starting job opposite Steve L Smith, but Aiken could serve as the team's WR3 or even start if Perriman struggles out of the gate.

Patriots Beat: RB James White 'in the driver's seat' for third-down duties

Saturday, June 6, 2015, 5:01pm

Boston Herald - [Full Article]

Who are the likely candidates to handle the Patriots' third-down duties?

Well, at the head of the class is James White. He was, after all, drafted last year as the third-down back of the future. After watching two organized team activity sessions, it appears he’s the man in the driver’s seat. He’s definitely taking more of the quality reps. But it’s early, and he doesn’t have the versatility of some of the other candidates.

Fantasy Impact:

White would be the heavy favorite, but the Patriots also signed Travaris Cadet, who is very adept as a pass-catcher. Brandon Bolden is also capable. Whoever wins the job could post RB2 numbers in PPR formats if they dominate the passing down snaps.

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham says team's running game makes his job 'easier'

Friday, June 5, 2015, 4:46pm

CSN Bay Area - [Full Article]

"No. 1, with maybe multiple tight end sets, that's gonna just open it up," Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham told the Seattle Times. "These last couple of years for me, playing against guys who aren't concerned about the run at all. They know I will try to do a double move and run this go route. It makes it more difficult. So this will just make my job easier when it comes to the passing game."

Graham's height and downfield ability have made him a feared weapon, but now paired with Russell Wilson, the tight end foresees a new dynamic in his game, which could lead to increased production.

"Russ’s ability to extend a play is unbelievable. Out there in New Orleans, everything was about timing so when you hit that step, that ball is coming ... And now when you hit a step and look back, maybe he saw something and now he’s scrambling so there’s a second opportunity.

"This offense and this team is dangerous on those second opportunities. When he gets out of the pocket and he’s able to work and kind of play street ball, which I’ve always been pretty good at, the offense is extremely explosive.”

Fantasy Impact:

Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts.

Patriots WR Aaron Dobson 'taking advantage of his opportunities'

Friday, June 5, 2015, 1:47pm

Boston Herald - [Full Article]

This is the most important stretch of Aaron Dobson’s career.

The Patriots’ 2013 second-round draft pick is healthy for the first time in a year and a half, and he is taking advantage of his opportunities during organized team activities. Dobson desperately needs to build on a good camp, which featured a few more impressive catches yesterday, to eventually live up to the Pats’ lofty expectations.

Fantasy Impact:

Dobson will likely be the third or fourth receiver behind Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and possibly Danny Amendola. Dobson brings something to the table (speed, size) that Amendola doesn't, so if he shines this offseason, Dobson could play ahead of him.

Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham 'practically unstoppable' in redzone

Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 9:39am

PFT - [Full Article]

Jimmy Graham put on a one-man show during red zone drills in practice with the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

The Seahawks newest addition on offense was practically unstoppable near the goal line in the team’s first workout open to the media with Graham participating since the trade to acquire him from New Orleans in March.

Graham caught four touchdown passes in 7-on-7 drills and added another in full team drills. Any time Graham got singled up on a defender, Russell Wilson was throwing Graham’s direction and finding success in doing so.

“He’s a superstar, he’s going to be one for a long time, and my goal is to help him continue to grow,” Wilson said. “He looked great today, as you guys saw, and that’s how he looks every day, so it’s a spectacular thing.”

Fantasy Impact:

Graham finished with 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns, but his season was somewhat disappointing, especially down the stretch. He averaged 4.0 catches for 44 yards and 0.2 TD in his final five games, including a weird zero-target goose egg in Week 13 against Pittsburgh. Now he heads to Seattle, where the Seahawks have been looking to upgrade at tight end for a while. Graham's value takes a minor hit as he heads to the run-oriented Seahawks, though he'll continue to be a target hog given the current state of the Seattle receiving corps. His 14.6 PPR fantasy points was second at his position to Rob Gronkowski, and he's likely to be the second tight end off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts, especially if his shoulder injury is fully behind him.

Steelers Beat: DeAngelo Williams good for 'nothing more' than 10-12 carries

Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 1:43pm

Jeremy Fowler, ESPN - [Full Article]

Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams is considered a bridge back until LeVeon Bell returns from suspension, but he shouldn't be alone on that bridge. The Steelers will need just as much from Dri Archer as from Williams, who signed a two-year, $4 million deal worth $1.13 million in signing bonus money but no incentives in 2015.

Williams is exactly what the money suggests he is -- a veteran who can get you 10-12 carries at a respectable clip and nothing more.

That's why the Steelers will need substantial contributions from Archer and possibly Josh Harris to get through September.

Fantasy Impact:

There's not much to love about the idea of starting Williams against the Patriots, 49ers and Rams during Bell's three-game suspension, but we believe that the team will try to get him closer to 15 carries per game. He should be healthy to start the season, and there are reasons why he only averaged 12.2 carries per game in his career -- he was splitting time with Jonathan Stewart and QB Cam Newton carried much of the rushing load for the Panthers. The biggest concern is Williams' 3.5 YPC last season, but he battled injuries the whole way. We think he'll provide low-end RB2 numbers while Bell is sidelined, provided he's healthy.

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