Monday, July 6, 2015, 9:35am
It's fair to say that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly pulled the rip cord on the entire quarterback position this offseason.
Not only did Kelly trade Nick Foles and a second-round draft pick to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for Sam Bradford and a draft choice, but Kelly also installed Ryan Day as the third quarterback's coach the third-year head coach will work with in the NFL.
Day quarterbacked Kelly's offense when he was the signal caller at the University of New Hampshire and Kelly called the plays as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator. He knows how to thrive in the uptempo scheme.
Throughout the spring, QB Sam Bradford shined, albeit in a limited role while still recovering from his twice-torn ACL. Bradford has yet to throw 11 on 11 in practice, but the target for that next step appears to have been training camp, all along.
Bradford ran a similar offense at Oklahoma so there are some high hopes for Bradford as an Eagles this year. Staying on the field, however, will obviously be the key. Right now Bradford has QB2 value, but that could climb if he stays healthy heading into and through camp. We've seen Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez put up solid fantasy numbers in this offense and a healthy Bradford should be able to do the same.
He may not see the same type of usage on the ground, but he is going to fill a role that is very similar to the one that Darren Sproles had during his tenure with the Saints. As Robert Cobb of TheInscriberMag.com stated, Spiller’s ability to be a receiver out of the backfield is going to be a major help for the Saints’ offense.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton loved what Sproles brought to the field, and it was obvious that they missed him last season after trading him. Signing a player like Spiller shows exactly how much the Saints wanted to bring back a player who is similar to Sproles.
Unfortunately, Spiller has struggled with quite a few injury issues throughout his career. He has only played an entire season as a workhorse in one of his five NFL seasons, and he was an absolute star in that season, the story said. Other than that, Spiller has been inconsistent at best or simply wasn’t used much. Spiller should help to fill a void left by TE Jimmy Graham, so Spiller's value should come in PPR leagues as Mark Ingram is expected to get a bulk of the carries. We forecast Spiller for 68 catches, the most among RBs.
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:30am
In his first year as the head coach in Washington, Jay Gruden figured he could coach the quarterbacks himself. Gruden was a college and arena football quarterback, and he wanted to take a hands-on approach to the most important position.
But after franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III struggled last season, Gruden decided he needed an assistant who could spend all his time coaching the quarterbacks. So Gruden hired a full-time quarterbacks coach, Matt Cavanaugh. Gruden says he can already see that Griffin is benefiting from Cavanaugh’s presence.
“Now we have a set of eyes strictly on the quarterback, and I think that’s important,” Gruden said, via Richmond.com. “Every snap, every handoff, every dropback is being critiqued to make sure we do it the right way, and I think that’s been a big benefit for Robert.”
Cavanaugh spent 14 seasons as an NFL quarterback for the Patriots, 49ers, Eagles and Giants, and has spent 23 seasons as a quarterbacks coach, first at his alma mater the University of Pittsburgh, and then for the Cardinals, 49ers, Bears, Ravens and Jets. Griffin agrees that he’s benefiting from Cavanaugh’s knowledge, the story went on to say. Despite that, we have Griffin ranked 20th among our QBs and he isn't getting a lot of draft attention in ten team leagues. The potential is there, and if you're looking to grab a second QB late in your draft, Griffin should be there.
Add it up and when he was healthy Jordan played 337 of 612 snaps. That’s about 55 percent of the plays, amounting to a heavy part-time load. When he played in 2013 he was targeted 7.8 times per game. Last year his targets per game (again not counting the games he left early due to injury) stood at 6.9. Despite being healthy, he was virtually ignored in games against the Vikings (1 target), Eagles (2), and Bucs (2).
I shouldn’t give the impression here that Reed was not used at all. His 65 total targets were fourth on the team and more than anyone besides the top three wide receivers, despite missing five games.
Still, it’s hard to look at the snap counts and targets and figure that Reed will be a “major part” of the offense even if he’s healthy. That could change but probably not initially. I can see him starting out the year playing about half of the snaps and if he stays on the field his workload could increase to where he’s playing, say, 70 percent of the snaps. If he’s on the field more his targets will increase and he could become more of a part of the offense.
But it all starts with Reed staying healthy. If that happens I’m sure that the team will figure out ways to take advantage of his considerable talents.
If Reed were to average 6.9 T/G over a full 16-game season, it works out to 110 targets, which would have been the 5th-most among tight ends last season. His problem is that he can't seem to stay healthy and isn't currently healthy enough to practice. Tandler mentions that Reed's playing time may increase as the season wears on.
Look for Ertz to make a sizable jump in snaps, and for Burton, an excellent special-teamer, to be groomed into a future No. 2 behind Ertz.
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Most (73%) of his snaps came on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:58pm
The Eagles signed guard John Moffitt on Monday, adding a former third-round pick with starting experience who abruptly retired in 2013 and faced legal problems while out of the league. Moffitt, 28, agreed to a one-year deal. The Eagles released undrafted rookie Cole Manhart to make room for Moffitt.
Moffitt was a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. He started 15 games during his first two years in the league before a trade to the Broncos. Moffitt played two games for Denver in 2013, then retired in midseason after losing interest in the game and worrying about his health.
Moffitt was arrested in March 2014 for allegedly punching a man and was charged with assault, public urination and possession of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. The drug charges were later dismissed and he pleaded guilty to the other charge after enrolling in a rehabilitation clinic in Malibu, according to a November 2014 Now York Times article.
The 6-foot-4, 319-pound Wisconsin product presents the Eagles with a potential starting option at guard, a position that lacks depth after the team released long-time starters Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis this offseason. Allen Barbre is expected to start at left guard. Moffitt could compete with Matthew Tobin, Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, and Kevin Graf for the starting job at right guard.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 9:52am
Bucs WR Mike Evans helped make the 2014 rookie receiver class one of the best in NFL history.
When asked by USA Today's Tom Pelissero recently if there is a competition within the group to be the best, Evans wouldn't constrain it to merely his own draft class.
"I'm just trying to be the best, period," he said.
While Beckham bathed in the spotlight in 2014, especially after his ridiculous one-handed catch on Sunday Night Football, Evans put up his 12-touchdown, 1,051-yard season relatively quietly on a two-win Buccaneers team. You can argue Evans' QB situation was among the worst of that group. But with Jameis Winston under the helm and Evans taking over the "X" receiver role in the Bucs' new offense under coordinator Dirk Koetter, the second-year pass catcher is confident he can push his name further into the national consciousness. We think so too as Evans is ranked eighth among our WRs this season heading into camps. He has an ADP of the third round and we project him for over 10 TDs and 1,200 yards.
Cowboys beat writer Brandon George thinks Dallas will run the same kind of offense even with the loss of RB DeMarco Murray to free agency.
George: The Cowboys, I believe, will go about their offense the same way as last year with emphasizing the run game behind a dominant offensive line. At least early in the season. If the run game starts to struggle, you could see them start to shy away from it and put the ball int he hands of QB Tony Romo more again. And that hasn't always been positive. They need a strong rushing game again to make this offense click.
In another question, George went on to say he believes Joseph Randle is the team's RB1, but Lance Dunbar and Darren McFadden will also have roles in the running game.
George added that things could change but he'd "put [his] money on Randle at this point." We agree with George and have Randle ranked the highest among the Dallas backs - coming in 24th with an ADP of the sixth round in 10 team leagues. If he can manage to keep the RB1 role, he could provide owners with some nice value from that draft slot.
Monday, June 29, 2015, 8:14am
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin had some familiarity with the Chiefs’ offensive scheme when he arrived in Kansas City this offseason because of his past working relationship with coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, but he’d never played with quarterback Alex Smith.
Maclin says that the two men clicked during the spring and that he’s never “been off to a better start” with a quarterback during his career. It’s probably fair to assume that a big part of the reason for that may be Maclin’s ability to make Smith’s life easier than some Chiefs receivers have made it in recent years.
“He has a guy he can trust,” Maclin said, via the team’s uniform. “He can put the ball in different spots and I’ll go out there and make plays. I’m looking forward to doing some special things with him.”
Maclin comes in ranked 27th on our WR list heading into fantasy drafts. With the Eagles, Maclin spent some weeks last year ranked as a WR1. While that remains to be seen with the Chiefs, Maclin is shaping up to be a solid WR3, even with the concerns of Smith not always throwing down field. The addition of Maclin should help open up the Chiefs offense, though, and the two seem to be clicking early on.
Melvin Gordon gives the Chargers a home-run threat at running back. Gordon exceeded expectations during offseason work, which is impressive, considering goals were high for the Wisconsin product after he was selected in the first round of the draft as the replacement for the departed Ryan Mathews. However, Gordon has to take the next step in training camp, which means playing fast and physical, as well as keeping up with a fast-paced San Diego offense led by Philip Rivers.
The Chargers traded up to get Gordon, so we’d expect they’ll use him early and often in 2015. In fact, GM Tom Telesco used the phrase "impact player" 11 times in Gordon's introductory press conference. Ryan Mathews is gone, so it’s Gordon’s job to lose. He doesn’t have a lot of experience as a receiver, so we'd expect that Danny Woodhead still gets a lot of work on third down while Gordon establishes himself as a good weapon out of the backfield. This somewhat limits Gordon's upside since he doesn't project to be an every-down back as a rookie.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 12:59pm
During organized team activities and minicamp, Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar has been one of Tony Romo’s favorite targets in third down situations. One of Dunbar’s best traits is his ability to take advantage of open space. Romo targeted DeMarco Murray 130 times over the last two seasons. A large chunk of those passes could be headed in Dunbar’s direction.
"He has great hands, man," Sproles said last week, via CSN Philly. "His hands and his route running are just great, really. He's about to be a superstar."
Ertz has earned praise from coaches and teammates for his impressive showing in OTAs and minicamp.
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Ertz played mostly (73%) on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint.
Eagles writer Dave Spadaro: If I had to say one player who stood out, it would be running back DeMarco Murray. He is much more fluid as a pass catcher than I thought, and he's in tremendous shape and just looks like he "fits" into this offensive structure perfectly. The backfield is a must-see group with all of that talent.
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles make it very unlikely that he’ll approach 450 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s ceiling if everyone stays healthy. He’ll hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make even that a stretch. Chip Kelly did not utilize McCoy much as a receiver last season.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on the fantasy value of the team's running backs:
It's pretty close between C.J. Spiller and Mark Ingram. I'm really excited to see what Spiller will do in this offense as both a runner and receiver - mostly because you can tell that Sean Payton is really excited about the possibilities when he talks about Spiller. I think Spiller and Ingram will be very close in total yards from scrimmage - right around 1,000 yards each, with Ingram gaining almost all of those yards as a rusher and Spiller having a pretty even split between rushing and receiving yards. Spiller will get a boost in point-per-reception leagues. Ingram will probably score more TDs, though.
Senior Editor laid out The Case for C.J. Spiller earlier in the offseason. It's not inconceivable that Spiller posts top 5 PPR numbers a la Darren Sproles in 2011. Ingram should get his share of touches, though a healthy Khriy Robinson is a concern. Spiller would be our choice for PPR formats, with Ingram coming in higher in standard leagues.
"He's doing a great job for us,'' Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said of TE Zach Ertz. "He's got an unbelievable work ethic, has really had no offseason in terms of what he did this past; from when our season ended against the Giants to when we started the offseason program in terms of what he did to work on his craft and make himself better not only as a receiver but as a blocker."
Ertz was the #13 TE in both standard and PPR formats despite only playing half of the Eagles’ snaps in his second year. Ertz played mostly (73%) on passing downs, so if his playing time is going to increase, a majority of the additional snaps are likely to come in run formations. Still, there’s upside with Ertz if he begins to see starter’s snaps. The Eagles lost their leading receiver -- first DeSean Jackson and then Jeremy Maclin -- in back-to-back seasons, so there will be opportunity from a targets standpoint. It's good to hear that Kelly is happy with his blocking -- that's the key to more playing time.
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