Fantasy News Home
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:49am
Tight end Martellus Bennett wants to be a beast of burden. Bennett has declared this season the ‘‘Year of the YAK,’’ misspelling the acronym for ‘‘yards after catch’’ on purpose. ‘‘I just like the animal — yak — better than the word YAC,’’ he said. Bennett and quarterback Jay Cutler stayed late after the second day of camp Saturday to work on the latter. ‘‘Me and him have a plan this year in camp to constantly work on a different route each day,’’ Bennett said. ‘‘As a tight end, it’s really just about being in rhythm, just him knowing what’s going to happen on certain routes.’’
Bennett could be a nice, late-round get. His ADP is the 13th round and we rank him 11th at the position, but it seems like he has a chance to improve on that. We don't always recommend drafting two TEs if you don't have to, but Bennett looks like a decent TE2 option.
The Patriots should fear Rob Gronkowski’s knees will have a bull’s-eye on them this season. There is an unsettling feeling among those who have played the game that Gronkowski won’t be able to endure a full slate of games thanks to now being an easier mark for rival defensive backs. The overwhelming concern is the Patriots all-world tight end will again be the victim of a blow to his surgically repaired right knee when he returns to game action.
Given the way the rules are geared toward eliminating violent hits to the head and neck, it's a legit concern and could be something fantasy owners want to consider before drafting Gronk. There are already injury concerns with the star tight end and whether or not he'll even be ready for Week 1. As the article points out, he's a difference maker for the Pats, and if you take him early in drafts, he could break your fantasy team if he doesn't make it all season.
The rules remain simple, if not ironic: Want to run the ball for the Broncos? You had better be able to pass block. "Coach E (Eric Studesville) makes it clear our job is to keep them off Peyton," Montee Ball said. Manning threw the ball 659 times last season. The Broncos' aerial gumbo of audibles and short routes assaults the senses. It also humbles even the best athletes. Ball's breakthrough last summer ended abruptly. He landed on the bench when he couldn't keep Manning upright. The Broncos believe in Ball, inserting him as the starter after Knowshon Moreno's defection to the Dolphins. Ball possesses NFL-workhorse qualities, including a sturdy frame and a college résumé that included 924 carries and 77 rushing TDs at Wisconsin.
Pass blocking was one of the reasons Moreno emerged as the Broncos main back last year, and it's something the team has to feel comfortable having Ball do this year in order for him to be a stud fantasy RB. The signs are pointing to Ball emerging as that guy. If he does he could end up being a huge value in drafts, even as an early second round pick. But his pass blocking is one thing potential owners need to monitor in camp.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:13am
Top 49ers WR Michael Crabtree’s return to full health – and he sure looks like he has, moving well in Saturday’s practice and making a one-handed catch in traffic – headlines a group with improved depth and talent. Anquan Boldin remains tough and crafty at age 33. Stevie Johnson, who had three straight 1,000-yard seasons in Buffalo from 2010 to ’12, arrived in a trade. General manager Trent Baalke made a point to praise rookie Bruce Ellington (“a young guy that’s come in and showed an awful lot of promise”) second-year pro Quinton Patton (“a year older, a year better”), and even 33-year-old Brandon Lloyd (“playing like he’s 28 years old out there”). RB Frank Gore said it’s “by far” the best receiver group the 49ers have had in his 10 seasons.
The 49ers have a lot of big names at WR, but outside of Crabtree and Boldin, fantasy owners will have to see where Johnson fits in, and perhaps even Lloyd. Either way, QB Colin Kaepernick figures to benefit the most from this experienced group around him.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:07am
Steelers O-line coach Mik Munchak, who compiled a 22-26 record as head coach of the Titans, is highly regarded as an offensive line coach. He very well could have been the Steelers’ best offseason transaction. The Steelers ranked 27th in the NFL in rushing offense last season. Their 1,383 yards were the fewest for the team since 1966. But the offensive line did allow quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to play every offensive snap for the first time since 2008 and surrendered just seven sacks in the final five games after allowing 36 in the first 11.
The Steelers hope an improved line under Munchak will allow them to get RBs LeVeon Bell and LeGarrette Blount going this season and improve on last year's rushing totals. Bell is turning into an attractive, second-round fantasy option in drafts and is ranked 12th among our backs.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:54am
Dolphins WR Mike Wallace isn't expected to be just a nine-route runner this year. And he's excited about the possibilities that will bring. He said his goal is to be a first-team All-Pro this season. And he's apparently ready to take that do-more theme to extremes. Even special teams extremes. That's right, Wallace said he's willing to help on special teams in 2014.
Wallace doesn't want to be running down the field making tackles, but he's willing to go back in certain situations or key parts of the game to return kicks.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:48am
According to multiple people within the Giants organization who requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the matter, the Giants have informed their tight ends that there is a good possibility that a fullback won’t make the final 53-man roster — leaving all of those duties up to the tight ends. Though injuries, personnel shifts and observances in the preseason could change the team’s plans, they entered the year hoping to keep their best four tight ends and give themselves some options on cut-down day. Imagining a Tom Coughlin team without a hard-nosed presence at fullback is difficult to do, though it’s more a reflection of the offensive evolution around the NFL. Some scouts around the league believe that the league will eventually retreat back into a run-heavy offenses that emphasize ball control, but for now, bolstering options in the passing game make the most sense.
Free agents Kellen Davis (Seahawks) and Daniel Fells (New England) along with Larry Donnell and Adrien Robinson have been asked to learn the new wrinkle. While it will likely give a job to one of these guys, none are expected to be fantasy worthy. However, it looks like the Giants will have a new look on offense running the ball.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:39am
The Chiefs need to hold on to quarterback Tyler Bray for at least one more season. Bray has more natural throwing ability than any of the Chiefs’ other quarterbacks, Smith included, and he’s been showing it since Kansas City started training camp. Bray went undrafted last year out of the University of Tennessee not because of any lack of physical ability but because of questions surrounding his work ethic and his skills in reading coverages and understanding defenses. The Chiefs knew it would take some time for Bray to develop, if he ever would, so they should take every necessary minute to allow him to do so.
Incumbent Alex Smith is only signed for one more season. There’s no indication the Chiefs are ready to give up on Bray. He has consistently been behind Smith and Chase Daniel but ahead of rookie Aaron Murray in the quarterback rotation at practice.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:36am
Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley had a good first day in pads. The defense could not stay with him in the slot. His best catch came after QB Tony Romo had to throw around linebacker DeVonte Holloman. Beasley was able to adjust and make a diving catch.
Beasley is battling for the slot job but he's only ranked 77th on our list. Given how much the Cowboys pass, and want to pass, his value would likely still only come in deeper formats.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:27am
Bears RB Matt Forte has shown no signs of slowing, even though he's third in the NFL in touches since 2008 with 1,892 (1,551 carries, 341 receptions). His burst is still there. At a position notorious for grinding up players and spitting them out in short order, Forte is still a main cog in an offense that now features big-time options in the passing game. He's meticulous in preparation and works routinely with a physical therapist to keep his body tuned to avoid injuries. "Playing this long, you know what the routine is," Forte said. "You know what to do and how to do it."
Forte is a top RB this year in any format and is going as early as the middle of the first round. He's especially a top PPR RB hauling in 74 catches last season. We predict him for 72 more this season and he's our number-two PPR RB.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:19am
Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced that sixth-round pick RB Tyler Gaffney will spend his rookie season recovering from a knee injury. Gaffney injured his knee during Friday night’s practice and doctors determined he needs season-ending surgery long before the season even gets underway.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:20pm
Much was made about the lack of timing QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Andre Johnson would have because they'd never worked together. On the first play of team, CB Kareem Jackson was up in press man on Dre. At the snap, Dre gave a little shimmy, buzzed his feet, all the while setting up his inside move on the slant route. At the perfect time, Dre planted his left foot, pivoted inside and as he turned the ball was put between the 8 and the 0. Perfect timing.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:17pm
With Bishop Sankey still learning the system and Shonn Greene working his way back from knee surgery, Dexter McCluster will get plenty of reps at running back. He looked impressive at Titans camp on Saturday, breaking a couple of nice runs up the middle and then cutting to open space on the right sideline.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:14pm
Patriots rookie running back James White turned some heads during the team's first day in full pads at training camp in front of 13,891 fans at Gillette Stadium's practice fields. The fourth round draft pick out of Wisconsin had several long runs during 11-on-11 work, flashed good hands during 7-on-7 play and overall continued to show why the early reviews for the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder have been so positive.
White is playing behind Shane Vereen in the 'passing RB' role for the Patriots. He's the logical handcuff for Vereen owners who want insurance.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 5:12pm
After skipping previous offseason work, Texans WR Andre Johnson is catching up on Bill O'Brien's offense. "I think it's just gonna be fun for me, me picking up the things I need to pick up, him telling me that he's gonna move me around a lot and stuff like that," Johnson told NFL Media's Desmond Purnell. "So it's going to be interesting to see because I really wasn't moved a whole lot before, so I just got to, day-by-day, just progressively get better and make sure that I'm on top of everything ... "