Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 12:21pm
Quick was posting solid WR3 numbers in both standard and PPR formats before his injury in Week 8. He's currently the 50th WR off the board at the end of the 10th round. The arrival of Nick Foles should be good for his prospects in 2015.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 12:09pm
Joe Thomas sees a transformation in quarterback Johnny Manziel.
In an exclusive interview with NFL Media's Andrea Kremer, Cleveland's Pro Bowl left tackle heaped praise on Johnny after saying earlier this month that the Browns passer "lost probably a lot of trust" among teammates with the way he handled himself as a rookie.
"The way he is now is night and day from last year," Thomas said Tuesday. "He has a bright future ahead of him."
Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden told Kremer that Manziel has been a workhorse around the facility, staying later to study the new offense.
"He has the it-factor. He has what you can't teach," said Haden, adding: "Actions speaking louder than words. He's putting forth those actions. That's all he can do."
The Browns need a quarterback, and maybe Manziel can turn his career around after a very disappointing rookie season. Drawing praise from players like Thomas and Haden is a good start.
Even though the Browns have revamped their passing game with wide receivers Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, coach Mike Pettine has been clear Cleveland will go as far as Crowell – and fellow rookie Terrance West – can take them.
Instead of developing a rivalry for who gets the most carries, Crowell and West have embraced each other, and have even made a pact together. Somehow they kept it under the social media radar, but Crowell flew up to Baltimore this offseason to get some workouts in with West, and, in turn, West flew down to Atlanta.
That pact? Both Crowell and West want to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Crowell said the offense is generally similar to last season’s scheme, but there will be distinctions.
Two hints from Crowell: The pass protection is different and we will see him more as a receiver out of the backfield.
Once the Browns were done with Ben Tate (Week 11), Crowell out-touched Terrance West 90 to 68 over the final seven games, but West had the last laugh, turning 20 touches into 106 yards and a TD against the Ravens in Week 17. (A seemingly healthy Crowell touched the ball five times for 22 yards.) The Cleveland running backs averaged 26.6 carries per game, so if the new offense does indeed feature the backs as receivers, there should be 30 or so touches for Crowell and West to split each week. Last season, HC Mike Pettine was handing out touches based on practice performance, so Crowell's current ADP (in the 5th round) seems steep given his uncertain workload and Cleveland's projected offensive struggles.
After catching 45 passes for 469 yards as a rookie in 2013, many were expecting Patterson to have a breakout season in '14. Instead, he had just 33 catches for 384 yards while losing his starting job.
"This year is going to make me or break me, and I hope I step up and have a good role in this offense," Patterson said.
"Just route running. Growing up, I was always athletic and could just do anything. I'm in the NFL now, so I just have to focus on my craft and just work at route running, getting in and getting out of breaks and stuff like that."
The newly-acquired Mike Wallace, a former Pro Bowl selection, hopes he can help Patterson bounce back from his disappointing season.
"Definitely, I'm going to," Wallace said. "We're going to work together a lot."
Patterson was a big disappointment in fantasy circles in 2014, and expectations will be tempered heading into the season. He's no longer expected to play starter's snaps, so the pressure will be off and he can (hopefully) grow as a route runner and all-around receiver. He's going very late (14th round) in early fantasy drafts.
Coach John Fox said during the ceremony that Forte, who is looking for a contract extension, was not at Halas Hall. The Bears’ first minicamp practice is Tuesday afternoon. Forte also has missed the Bears’ voluntary workouts this month.
Forte has finished in the top 4 in both PPR and standard formats in the last two years, but his usage (especially in the passing game) was up under former OC Marc Trestman. He’s likely to see a drop in targets, but should still be good for 50-60 catches under new OC Adam Gase. Provided that his holdout doesn’t continue into the summer, Forte should deliver on his mid- to late-1st round ADP.
Monday, April 27, 2015, 12:36pm
Redskins GM Scot McCloughan annouced at a Monday news conference that the team will exercise the fifth-year option for Robert Griffin III ahead of next Monday's deadline. However, McCloughan said the decision "does not affect our draft process whatsoever."
According to NFL Media's Albert Breer, the cost -- $16.1 million -- is viewed by the club as a discount version of the franchise tag and may give them one more season to make a clear evaluation.
Allowing a player of Griffin's caliber to walk before you are certain he is no longer the same player he was as a rookie would be foolish. New general manager Scot McCloughan is not willing to take that chance.
This will keep RG3 with the team through the 2016 season.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown didn’t report to the start of the team’s offseason conditioning work along with his teammates and his absence was tied to a report that he was looking for a new contract and mulling an extended absence that could lead him to miss mandatory work at both minicamp and training camp. Brown chimed in later in the week to say that he was hanging out with his new child and was looking forward to getting back to work with the team.
The wait for his return to the team’s facility wasn’t a particularly long one. The Steelers posted some pictures from Monday’s workout session and Brown is among the featured players.
There was a report that Brown was planning to hold out for a new contract, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Counting the playoffs, Brown has caught at least five passes and/or a touchdown in 38 straight games. He followed up a #3 finish in PPR formats in 2013 with a #1 finish (in both PPR and standard formats) last season. He’s an extremely safe pick in the first round of PPR drafts and is currently the first receiver off the board in early best ball drafts.
Pitta has fractured and dislocated his hip both times, which has cast doubt on his ability to continue his playing career. Pitta isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be able to play, but he said Saturday that he’s “feeling good in workouts” while waiting to find out if he gets the green light to make a full return to action.
“We still have some time to be able to assess where I’m at,” Pitta said, via the Baltimore Sun. “I sure hope that I’ll be on the field next year. That’s my hope; that’s my goal. We’ll just see if we can get there.”
Pitta turns 30 in June, so he's no spring chicken. If he is able to play this season, it'll be a big boost for a Baltimore passing that lost Torrey Smith this offseason.
"There's no question he is, again there's another young guy that came out early and made a splash his rookie year because of his unique speed and his unique athletic traits," general manager Rick Spielman told The Star Tribune. "Sometimes you have to go through some growing pains where you have to realize it's more than just that. It's more than just relying on your athletic skill set and what it takes to be a great receiver in this league."
On the bright side, Spielman thinks Patterson has turned a corner in that respect.
"I think Cordarrelle has really grown up a lot," Spielman said. "I know what he has done this offseason dedicating himself to being the best receiver he can be, and how serious he is taking that, we're very excited about the future with Cordarrelle."
Regarding the Jets running game, expect Chris Ivory and Stevan Ridley to share the bulk of the load. One of those two might get 20 to 30 carries more than the other guy, but it won't be a huge gap, provided both backs stay healthy all season.
With Chris Johnson out of the way, it looked like Ivory might be one of the more attractive middle round sleepers at his position, but the team’s decision to sign Stevan Ridley has thrown his status up in the air. He’s a career 4.7 YPC runner, and has averaged 4.4 YPC in two seasons with the Jets. It would have made more sense if the Jets had paired Ivory with a speed back/receiving threat like C.J. Spiller, but the arrival of Ridley is a concern. If the two players do indeed split carries, neither will carry much reliable fantasy value.
John Brown burst onto the scene with fire during his rookie campaign. The Arizona Cardinals' speedster posted 48 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns, with several of those scores being of the big-play variety.
However, his production waned late in the season. Brown posted just 127 yards on nine catches the final month of the regular season, including a goose egg in Week 14. He then compiled just 34 yards on four catches in the playoffs.
While the atrocious quarterback situation played a big part in Brown's production reduction, his body also began to break down.
"At the end of the season my body started going down, I started losing weight," Brown told the team's official website. "This year I'm trying to focus on being able to keep this weight on as the season goes on."
After playing at 173 pounds in 2014, Brown said he is already up to 183 and plans to add more weight through the offseason.
The hope here is that the added weight doesn't negatively impact his speed. Brown finished as the #49 WR in standard formats and #53 in PPR. He saw a hefty 103 targets as a rookie, and with Larry Fitzgerald back and Michael Floyd still in the mix, it's doubtful that Brown's usage will increase too much. If Carson Palmer is healthy, however, the whole passing offense could take a step forward, and that would push Brown into fantasy-relevant territory.
"I'm nowhere near finished, man, and I want to prove that to the world and everybody," Nicks told FOX Sports' Mike Garafalo recently. "That's definitely my mentality, but I don't even want to talk about it. I feel like I got into that situation last year talking about it. I'm about to just go out there and prove it.
"I can't even describe the feeling to you. It's like a burning sensation inside of me. I just want to be the best. I know I have to work hard at it; it's something that's in me. It's just in me and takes over me."
Nicks was underwhelming in Indianapolis, catching only 55% of his targets while posting 38 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns. The Titans also added Harry Douglas this offseason, so he and Nicks will join a receiving corps that already includes Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. There isn't much fantasy value here.
Chargers RB Branden Oliver is driven with an insatiable desire to make a bigger impact in 2015. True to form, he is not resting on his laurels, stressing a number of areas he wants to improve upon in order to fulfill his potential.
“My power, strength, speed and agility I am focusing on,” he said after a recent workout at Chargers Park. “I want to get better at everything. I don’t really focus on just one particular thing. I like to be well rounded and won’t limit myself to one area. It is always best to work at everything. I worked out the entire offseason Monday through Saturday. I took three weeks off after the season ended but worked out every week after that.”
Still, there is one aspect he wants to improve upon the most. “I want to break more tackles. I would also like to be a little more explosive.”
Oliver is also confident he can take his game to the next level in 2015 because he is far more comfortable than he was as a rookie.
“They will come easier this year because I’m more comfortable and know the offense. Now I can just go out there and ball. This year is very different. I feel so much better coming in. I’m more confident. I’m gelling with the guys and am more open to them because I know them better. It’s really just crazy to be going into my second year already! But I feel real good.”
When asked about the state of his running back corps, GM Tom Telesco said, "I'm not saying we wouldn't add somebody, but we don't need to." This is a situation to watch during the draft -- if the Chargers don't add a runner during the first two days, it's very possible that Oliver will go into the season as the starter with Donald Brown as his primary backup and Danny Woodhead as the passing down back. In that scenario, Oliver’s ADP would rise from its current level (12th round) and Woodhead would be a nice value in PPR formats.