Fantasy News Home
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 6:02pm
The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to make Toby Gerhart their workhorse back, possibly giving him 20-plus touches a game. But he can’t be on the field for every play, and that’s when Jordan Todman is expected to take over. The third-year player from Connecticut has quietly had a good start to training camp. During Wednesday morning's full-pads practice he broke a couple runs, including one in which he accelerated past linebacker Nate Stupar to break free into the secondary. He has made plays like that throughout camp and appears, right now at least, to have a solid hold on the No. 2 spot behind Gerhart.
Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky: Lots of work for TE Brandon Bostick with the starters today. I'd say he delivered.
Athletically, Bostick is very reminiscent of Jermichael Finley. He has had trouble staying healthy, but has made plays when in the lineup. He could very well win the starting job.
The Eagles avoided major injuries after three days of training camp, but they aren’t 100 percent injury-free. Wide receiver Riley Cooper, running back Chris Polk and center Julian Vandervelde are missing practice Wednesday. Cooper is dealing with a foot injury, coach Chip Kelly said, while Polk is nursing a hamstring tweak and Vandervelde is sidelined with a sore back. Kelly said none of the injuries is considered major and all could be back “shortly.” Of the three, only Cooper is a starter.
As the article states, the injury isn't considered to be "major," so Cooper should be back at practice soon.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett tries to predict the Saints' RBBC: It’s still too early in New Orleans Saints training camp to judge exactly how they plan to split the workload among their deep running back corps. My best guess is that Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson will split carries pretty evenly in base packages and early downs, while Pierre Thomas lines up more with the nickel offenses (sort of the old Darren Sproles role). That would make sense, since Thomas is both the best pass-catcher and the best pass-protector of all the Saints’ running backs. Saints quarterback Drew Brees offered some lofty praise of Thomas’ versatility Tuesday when asked if throwing the screen pass to Thomas is one of his favorite plays. “Yes. He’s one of the best screen runners there is, ever,” Brees said. “He does such a great job of timing, setting up his blocks, just hitting those seams and hitting the sidewalk. He does a phenomenal job at it."
Brees went on to say that Thomas is the "best all-purpose back in the league." Thomas racked up 224 touches for 1,062 yards and five TDs as the lead back in the 2013 version of the Saints’ committee at running back. With Darren Sproles gone, Thomas’s catches aren’t likely to take much of a hit (though Travaris Cadet and Brandin Cooks should see some of Sproles’s work). The team has shown signs of moving to Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson more in the running game, so PT may have trouble pushing 150 carries again in 2014. Still, he’ll be a regular part of the rotation in a potent offense and should be a good value in the middle rounds. In PPR formats, he has finished in the top 30 in PPG in five of the last six seasons.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 2:00pm
Redskins WR Pierre Garçon is on the field but it looks like he will be just a partial participant after suffering a slight hamstring strain. It seems to be one of those things where he would practice and play if this was the week of a regular season game but since it’s early July he’s resting it.
The stats seem to indicate that Cowboys WR Terrance Williams is prepared to be a starter. In seven games in which Williams played more than 50 snaps last season, he caught 28 passes on 47 targets for 459 yards and four touchdowns. He had 16 catches on 27 targets for 277 yards and one touchdown in the other nine games. However, Williams admits that he had a problem focusing when he was fatigued as a rookie. It’s part conditioning, part concentration. “I feel like sometimes when I go three deep balls straight, then I have a tendency to take a play off [mentally],” said Williams, who is the unquestioned No. 2 receiver after the Cowboys released Austin in the offseason. “And that play that I take off, the ball is coming my way. When I get tired now, I’m just trying to hold myself accountable, just thinking about what the 10 guys would say standing right next to me.” One of the reasons Dallas liked Williams so much as a prospect was that Baylor coach Art Briles raved about the receiver’s work ethic and serious approach to the game. That attitude helped Williams make an impact as a rookie, and the Cowboys hope it will help him use that season as a springboard.
With Miles Austin basically sidelined from Week 4 to Week 10, Williams was the #12 WR in fantasy, racking up 24 catches for 438 yards and five TDs in that seven-game span. In four games where he played at least 80 percent of his teams snaps, he averaged 11.0 FP (#15 WR numbers). In eight games where he played at least 70 percent of the snaps, he averaged 9.0 FP (#22 WR numbers). He faded upon Austin’s return to starter’s snaps, but showed enough in his rookie season to make him an intriguing middle-round pick in 2014. The Cowboys figure to throw a lot under new OC Scott Linehan, who was pass-happy while in Detroit. With Austin gone, the path is clear for a breakout season from Williams.
As for Julian Edelman, our own Andy Hart joined Comcast SportsNet's "Sports Tonight" to debate whether #11 can duplicate his impressive 2013 season. "If he stays healthy," said Andy Hart. "I got to tell you, through the first five days I think he's been the best player on the field in training camp… To me he just looks more confident, more expectant. Big time season, big time contract and not being injured, not trying to win a job."
Edelman caught a career high 105 passes for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns filling the Wes Welker role in the Patriots offense. Danny Amendola should be healthier this season, but it may not matter — Edelman clearly outplayed Amendola in 2013 and the team rewarded him with a new contract. He should once again threaten the 100-catch mark as Tom Brady’s favorite target not named Rob Gronkowski.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 1:50pm
Miami Dolphins reporter James Walker says that WR Jarvis Landry has "really impressed" and hasn't dropped a pass all offseason.
Landry seems to be a good bet to win the slot job. His tape is reminiscent of Anquan Boldin -- not the fastest guy, but he has great hands and is strong at the point of the catch.
Giants RB David Wilson will not practice for the remainder of this week and will not play Sunday night, when the Giants play their preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The Giants running back, who suffered a burner in practice yesterday, will be examined and evaluated on Monday by Dr. Frank Cammisa at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
It's not clear how long Wilson will be out, but it's a scary situation considering he was coming off of a season-ending neck injury in 2013. He was only recently cleared to practice. If he's healthy, we're only expecting a change-of-pace role behind Rashad Jennings.
The injury Texans RB Arian Foster was dealing with wasn’t life threatening. It wasn’t even serious enough to keep the star running back off the practice field Wednesday. Foster was in uniform and returned to action during the fifth day of training camp, after missing back-to-back sessions.
Foster's health is obviously a concern. He has missed 11 games in the last three years, but did play a full season in 2012 and no longer has Ben Tate to worry about. After finishing in the top 2 in fantasy points per game from 2010 to 2012, he was #19 in that category in 2013. There is a new regime in Houston, so Foster's usage is a bit up in the air. Still, he has been one of the most productive RBs in the league when healthy and is a candidate for a bounceback season.
Panthers rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin was able to smile after his first NFL injury scare, saying he felt like “a new man” after a precautionary MRI revealed only a bone bruise. Benjamin’s MRI revealed no structural damage, and the indication that his absence will be measured in days rather than weeks.
Benjamin figures to play right away for the Panthers even though he’s something of a project as a route runner. At 6’5”, he should be a factor in the red zone at least. It's not good that he's missing valuable practice reps, but the Panthers are probably happy they avoided a more serious injury.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:44pm
The Bills have used a variety of receiver groupings through the first eight practices. Mike Williams, Chris Hogan, and Marquise Goodwin have all seen time alongside Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods. How each of those players are used in the regular season could be determined by the situation. T.J. Graham, who we considered part of this mix in the spring, has barely seen any time with the first-team offense. He's fighting for his job.
It appears that Woods is safe as the team's WR2, while Williams is battling for snaps. Hogan is the more traditional slot receiver.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:40pm
The Giants running backs are going to be used as pass catchers much more frequently than in the past few years. That is why it's so important to have a healthy David Wilson. In addition to screen passes, OC Ben McAdoo is asking his running backs to run all types of routes. At times, they're almost being used as wide receivers. Running back Rashad Jennings caught a pass on a crossing route the other day. Peyton Hillis snagged a ball after running a hitch. The entire route tree is in play for the running backs in this offense.
Giants WR Victor Cruz in particular should thrive in this new system. He already looks dominant catching balls from Eli Manning at practice. He caught 80-plus passes in 2011 and 2012. He was on pace for 83 receptions before an injury cut last season short. It's not hard to envision 100 catches for Cruz in OC Ben McAdoo's scheme, where Cruz's ability to get in and out of cuts sharply will serve him well.
Cruz was the #1 WR through the first four weeks thanks in large part to a 118-yard, three-TD game against the Cowboys in Week 1. (Cruz cracked the 100-yard mark twice more in the first month.) Unfortunately, his production fell off of a cliff in the final 12 games; Cruz was the #59 WR the rest of the way. The Giants’ offense should bounce back under new OC Ben McAdoo who plans to use Cruz in the Randall Cobb role in his version of the West Coast Offense.
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 12:34pm
Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman has responded after a listless 2013. He’s been a little grittier in pass protection and seems to have learned the sometimes painful lesson that he has to stay on his toes to have a chance to stay in the lineup.
C.J. Anderson, Juwan Thompson and Brennan Clay will hash it out for the other spots. Anderson was sluggish in OTAs and minicamp at 234 pounds. After his performance in those offseason workouts, there were plenty of folks with the team who were not confident he would keep a roster spot at that weight. But he’s about 215 pounds in camp and looks more like the guy who made the roster last seasonas an undrafted rookie.
Hillman seems to be ahead of Anderson at this point, but Anderson looks better than he did in OTAs/minicamp since he lost the extra weight.