While Bell's case is still under review, the news cannot be welcome for the Steelers or Bell.
If he did indeed miss "several" tests (and not just one), it seems much less likely that he'll win his appeal and have his suspension reduced. We've moved bell down to #11 in standard formats and #9 in PPR. He's worth consideration in the second round, but it's difficult to invest an early round draft pick that will miss the first month of the season.
A woman who says she's Elliott's former live-in girlfriend has accused the former Ohio State star of assaulting her multiple times over the past week, according to police reports filed Friday morning in Columbus, Ohio, and obtained by ESPN.
Elliott, who turned 21 on Friday, denied assaulting the woman and told police that he never lived with her. He has not been arrested or charged with a crime.
The Cowboys are aware of the police reports but have not officially commented. The NFL will review the case under its personal conduct policy, a league representative told ESPN.
The woman, identified as Tiffany Thompson, told police that Elliott assaulted her while they sat in a parked car early Friday morning, according to one police report. She told police that she had pain in her right wrist and a red mark but declined medical treatment, according to the report.
Four witnesses, including one who was sitting in the car at the time of the alleged incident, told police that they did not observe an assault.
We're just passing this along until all the facts come in. It will be important to find out who the four witnesses are and what exactly they saw.
The suspension is the result of a missed drug test, not a failed one, sources said. The reason it hasn't been announced is that the appeal process is ongoing.
No date for Bell's appeal has been set, although it's expected that it will be heard before the regular season. If it's not overturned, he would miss the first four games of the season.
According to the league, missing a test is the same as failing it. As the article notes, Bell is appealing the decision, so it could be overturned, but there's a good chance that he misses the first four games of the season. This would seriously hurt his draft stock while boosting the stock of his backup, DeAngelo Williams. Williams averaged 21.3 touches for 112 yards and 1.1 touchdowns in the 10 games that Bell missed last season. Williams is 33, so owners should not expect that sort of production again, though he should be a serviceable RB2 as long as Bell is out. After his ban was reduced to two games last season, Bell's ADP remained in the early 1st round, though a four-game suspension is a lot tougher to swallow. We expect he'll fall out of the 1st round, while Williams' ADP will rise a few rounds. The silver lining here is that Bell has an extra month to recover from MCL and PCL surgery, so he should be good to go in October.
Texans DE J.J. Watt has undergone back surgery and will start camp on physically unable to perform list but should be ready for the season.
Watt has never missed a game in his career and should ready for opener against the Bears.
Watt missed 2012 preseason because of an elbow injury, didn't miss a regular season game and won first NFL Defensive Player of Year award.
This would be a tough blow for the Texans defense if Watt were to miss any time.
The Titans drafted Dorial Green-Beckham to be a game-changer, and he had his moments in 2015. Green-Beckham finished the year with more catches (32), yards (549) and touchdowns (4) than six of the seven receivers selected in front of him, with the lone exception being Oakland’s Amari Cooper, the fourth overall pick of the draft. The Titans now need DGB to step up and be more consistent in his second NFL season. Green-Beckham dropped some weight from last season, but he’s one of the receivers who needs to return to Nashville in better shape. At the end of June’s minicamp, Green-Beckham vowed to be ready.
DGB had a solid fantasy points per target (1.18) and is slated for a larger target share in his sophomore season. He averaged 5.9 T/G over his final nine games and played at a 44-791-3.5 pace in that span. In offseason activities, Green-Beckham has been passed on the depth chart by rookie Tajae Sharpe, so it's no sure thing that he's starting Week 1. Risk-adverse owners may want to proceed with caution, though this may simply be a motivational tool to ensure that DGB reports to camp with a sense of urgency.
The main question with Forte is how much tread he has left on the tire. He had a remarkable workload in Chicago. He leads the NFL in all-purpose yards (12,718) since he entered the league in 2008. Forte is now 30, which is seen by most as the point where running backs fall off the cliff. Forte is out to prove them wrong.
Chan Gailey will come up with plenty of creative ways to get Forte the ball. Gailey loves to throw to running backs, and Forte is as good as it gets in that department. I would expect to see plenty of screen passes and Forte lined up at wide receiver in certain formations.
Forte may lose carries to Bilal Powell and/or Khiry Robinson, and is unlikely to score many rushing touchdowns. But if he's utilized regularly in the slot, he should be able to catch at least 50 passes, maybe more. Jets running backs caught a total of 90 balls last season under OC Chan Gailey. Forte hasn’t finished outside the top 12 in PPR formats in his eight-year career.
Peterson, as he seemingly does every other offseason, has vowed to become a better pass-catcher. But what is more relevant in regards to his playing time is whether he will be able to adapt to the shotgun spread attack that better suits third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Peterson struggled running out of the shotgun early last season, so the Vikings started calling more under-center plays. They figure to go back to a more shotgun-centric offense this season, which means Peterson will have to make the most of his shotgun carries. He will finally get a chance to take some in contract drills during training camp.
Peterson remains the man in Minnesota, but McKinnon, his uber-athletic backup, reminded the Vikings late last season that he can make plays, too. Barring an injury to Peterson, McKinnon does not figure to get more than 75-100 carries this season. But if he has improved enough in pass protection, the Vikings will be able to unleash him in passing situations, when he can put his elite quickness to use.
Norv Turner is no dummy. If Peterson continues to struggle in the shotgun, Turner will adjust the offense to fit his strengths. Peterson finished the 2015 season as the #2 RB in both standard and PPR formats. It was a historically bad season for the position, so with the same point totals he would have finished in the #5-#6 range in 2013 or 2014. Peterson is entering his age 31 seasons, but is showing no signs of slowing down, registering a 4.5 YPC last year. He’s a solid pick, especially in standard formats, but it’s doubtful that he’ll finish #2 or higher in PPR formats again in 2016.
Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and Jared Abbrederis offer little deep dimension on the outside, and it remains to be seen if speedsters Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis can make the team or win a role from scrimmage.
Janis piqued the interest of fans and, subsequently, coaches with his rare size, speed and ruggedness. Scouts have downgraded him on the basis of straight-line athleticism, tendency to body catch and average ability to adjust, but it's incumbent upon HC Mike McCarthy and his staff to determine this summer just what he can offer.
Janis had seven catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff game against the Cardinals, but only registered a catch in one other game last year (2-79 vs. the Chargers) despite a host of injuries to the Green Bay wide receivers. For whatever reason, the team wasn't comfortable giving Janis consistent snaps despite his ability to stretch the field with his 4.42 speed and elite athleticism, something that is lacking elsewhere in the receiving corps. We believe that he'll make the final roster and push for snaps, but stranger things have happened.
Due in part to surgical advancements and his own strong will, Packers WR Jordy Nelson appears to be well ahead of the curve in his rehabilitation. Nelson even indicated on a national radio show in January that he might have been ready to play in the Super Bowl if the Packers had qualified.
Luke Getsy, Nelson's first-year position coach, expressed no doubt whatsoever when asked in late May if Nelson would once again be an outstanding player.
Nelson has had three healthy seasons in his last five, and in those years he finished #2, #11 and #2 in standard wide receiver scoring. He’s currently going in the 2nd round of early fantasy drafts. If he continues to have a healthy offseason then a return to the top 5 is a real possibility.
Browns beat writer Tony Grossi: Even though Hue Jackson’s offense is built off the running game, I don’t expect Isaiah Crowell or Duke Johnson to topple 1,000 yards rushing individually. I can see them combining for 1,500 yards and Johnson totaling 70 or more receptions.
Let's put Grossi's prediction into perspective: Since 2010, seven running backs have caught between 60-69 passes. They finished with an average ranking of RB9 (PPR), with the lowest finish at RB24 (which was Duke Johnson last year). Nine running backs finished with 70-79 catches with an average finish of RB8. The lowest finish was RB23 (Darren Sproles, 2013). Five backs caught 80-plus passes in a season since 2010 with an average PPR finish of RB6 and a low of RB18 (Theo Riddick, 2015). Johnson is currently the #19 RB off the board in PPR formats. Considering only two of 21 running backs with 60-plus catches in the last six years finished below that level, he's a good bet to return value. Assuming Grossi's prediction is correct, he has upside from there. Fifteen of the 21 running backs with 60-plus catches finished in the top 12 in PPR formats.
Running back LeGarrette Blount's return from a season-ending hip injury, suffered in December, Bears watching as it relates to his roster status. Blount, who signed a modest one-year deal as a free agent to return in 2016, didn't practice in the spring. If he returns to full health and runs hard like he did at times in 2015, there shouldn't be any issues. But that isn't a given based on the present snapshot.
The Patriots' lack of urgency at the running back position indicates that they believe that Blount will be ready for camp, though they could go another direction once camp cuts start to occur. The most likely scenario is that Blount is the "2" in a 1-2 punch with Dion Lewis. In the six games in which they both played, Lewis averaged 11.0 touches (5.3 rec) for 84 yards and 0.66 TD, which extrapolates to high-end RB1 numbers both PPR and standard formats. Meanwhile, Blount averaged 16.3 touches for 80 yards (4.74 YPC) and 1.0 TD in the six games that Lewis also played. Blount slipped down the stretch, averaging 13.4 carries for 51 yards (3.61 YPC) and 0.20 TD in his final five games with Lewis sidelined.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016, 12:43pm
Darren Sproles missed the voluntary portion of Eagles offseason workouts. The coaching staff genuinely didn't seem to to be too concerned about that. Unlike Ryan Mathews, Sproles is a very good fit for an offense that plans on using its backs heavily in the passing game.
Expect Sproles to used more creatively in Pederson's offense than he was in Chip Kelly's, but likely only for one year, as Sproles is 33 years old and in the final year of his deal.
Sproles is always worth a look in the later rounds of PPR drafts. It sounds as if he'll have a sizable role in the offense.
When Eagles RB Ryan Mathews got playing time last season, he was very good. He carried the ball 106 times for 539 yards (5.1 YPC) and 6 TDs, which made him the most productive runner on the team. We stress that he was a good "runner."
Mathews is not a great fit for Doug Pederson's offense. Pederson has said that he wants to be able to move his backs around to create mismatches for opposing defenses in the passing game. That is not at all a strength of Mathews'.
Mathews has caught 78.3% of his career targets, which is good for 11th among 102 running backs with at least 100 catches since 2006. His hands are fine. Where he may be lacking is gaining yards after the catch. His Y/R (7.57) is mediocre. He's by far he best running back on the team at this point and we like his value in the 5th or 6th round. In the 24 games over the past three seasons where Mathews has at least 10 carries, he has averaged 87 total yards and 0.50 TD, or 13.4 PPR points per game. Those are solid RB1 numbers.
Mary Kay Cabot: If Josh Gordon is reinstated after he's eligible to apply on Aug. 1, the Browns will sit down with him and assess where he's at. Hue Jackson has said everyone will begin with a clean slate and that includes Gordon. Jackson will look him in the eyes and try to determine if he's as committed as he needs to be. I'm guessing that Jackson will be surprised by Gordon, who's nothing like his public personna. Jackson just has to decide if he thinks Gordon can stay clean and not test positive again, which would result in another indefinite suspension. Jim Brown told cleveland.com that Gordon's been in rehab, which should help his case with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But no one knows yet if it will be enough for reinstatement, or enough for the Browns to trust him.
Gordon would drastically alter the fantasy landscape in Cleveland, though he last caught a pass in December of 2014. He played five games that season, averaging 4.8 catches for 61 yards. We're not optimistic that he'll be reinstated, though the league has left the door open. He was reportedly living with Johnny Manziel in the spring, but according to former great Jim Brown, Gordon has been in rehab this summer. Gordon is worth a late-round flier, especially in non-best ball leagues where owners can cut him and move on if he isn't reinstated.