I really don’t understand fans’ eagerness to push Pierre Garcon out the door. He has done nothing but produce since he signed with Washington four offseasons ago. Whenever given the opportunity, Garcon makes something happen. He’s not used on a lot of deep routes, so he doesn’t often get to show off his speed, but he has no problem getting open on short or intermediate routes either. Last season, he recorded 72 catches on 110 targets. That means he caught 65 percent of the passes that came his way (second-highest clip behind Jordan Reed), and according to sportingcharts.com, Garcon had only one dropped pass in 2015. He averaged a solid 10.8 yards per catch and recorded six touchdown receptions, his most since joining Washington. He makes tough catches in traffic and brings a toughness to the position. Why get rid of that for an unproven rookie? Just because Doctson has great size and athleticism doesn’t mean he’s ready to step in as a starter. And even if Doctson does come in and light it up, given the lack of dependability from Jackson last season as he battled various nagging injuries (and his lack of versatility – he’s really not a threat unless running the deep route), it’s smart to have another veteran to turn to.
So, having said all that, no. I don’t see Doctson replacing Garcon. There could be plenty of times where they’re on the field together, or times when Garcon is on, and Doctson is off, or Doctson is on, and Garcon is off. There’s nothing wrong with having multiple threats.
Garcon finished as the #31 WR in PPR formats and should continue to play starter's snaps for the Redskins. Doctson is a threat to his targets and playing time, which is why Garcon is the 71st receiver off the board in early MFL10s. He appears to be a great value at that point in the draft, especially in PPR formats.
"That is always the million dollar problem — you can have a lot of good players but not everybody is not necessarily willing to accept where they fit into the team aspect of offense," Olsen said. "But Kelvin is the rare guy who can be a No. 1 talent, but still understands how he fits into the big picture. Anytime you can more add guys like that to a team, you can't help but improve."
Benjamin has no pretenses about returning to be the team's dominant No. 1 receiver.
"Hey, I just want to come in and be a part of it," Benjamin said Tuesday at OTAs.
Nelson Agholor was active. The Eagles (desperately?) need him to elevate his play in his sophomore season. They would love for Agholor to develop into a home run hitter, but I’m not sure that he’s a receiver who can consistently take the lid off a secondary. But he has looked smoother running a variety of other routes. He caught an early seam pass from Carson Wentz, a post in the middle of a zone from Sam Bradford and, in perhaps his best moment, caught a comeback throw after he had turned cornerback Eric Rowe around. If Agholor can’t be a consistent deep threat, the Eagles might need to turn to free-agent addition Chris Givens during the season.
Agholor was a 5th round fantasy pick, and failed miserably to live up to that billing. The Eagles' offense is going to run at a much slower pace this year under new HC Doug Pederson, so it's an offense that will have difficulty supporting more than Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz as bona fide fantasy starters.
Falcons RB Tevin Coleman got off to a promising start before suffering fractured ribs in the second game of the season. While out, Devonta Freeman took over the position and turned in a Pro Bowl campaign with 1,634 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns.
Despite Freeman’s success, the Falcons still have high hopes for Coleman, who was electrifying in the open field.
“I love it when a guy is challenged and comes back on a mission, and that’s certainly been the case with him,” Quinn said. “He’s fit. He’s strong. He’s been catching the ball out of the backfield. He’s a man here with something to prove and he’s certainly off to that start.”
Coleman believes there’s room for him and Freeman in the rushing attack.
“Oh yeah, definitely I think people under estimate it,” Coleman said. “Free (received) most of the playing time last year because I was hurt. They don’t even know what’s coming. It will be me and Free out there killing it.”
All this talk about Coleman has us a little worried about Freeman's rushing workload. His role in the passing game should be fairly safe, giving him significantly more value in PPR formats than in standard leagues. Coleman's 11th round ADP makes him a nice attrition/injury play in the later rounds. He'd blow up if anything happened to Freeman.
Nelson, a fifth-round draft pick in 2015, has impressed in the organized team practices this month. That continued Tuesday with a couple of fine over-the-shoulder grabs in coverage, plays which displayed Nelson's hands and speed.
Coach Bruce Arians sees Nelson's confidence growing with each workout.
"He has a very unique skill in tracking the ball that the great ones have when the ball's coming over your opposite shoulder," Arians said. "When you have a little fast guy that can do that, you have a special one.
"Every day, he's making a big play or two," Arians added. "Getting a little bit stronger. He might be a buck-61 right now. We're going to try to get 4 more pounds on him."
Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette was asked who would benefit the most from Martavis Bryant's absence. His reply: "Markus Wheaton is a starter, as he was when Martavis Bryant played. I would guess the one who should benefit most is Sammie Coates."
He added, "I have been told he worked like crazy this offseason and is in great shape. Also, the fact the coaches keep talking him up means they expect him to progress nicely."
It's very possible that Coates "benefits the most" since he's being promoted from WR4 to WR3, so it's a big jump in playing time. We still believe that Wheaton is the second best fantasy receiver in Pittsburgh, however. His performance late last year indicated that he finally turned the corner. He caught 44 passes for 749 yards and five touchdowns on the season, but really came on down the stretch, averaging 4.7 catches for 79 yards and 0.67 TD (on 7.8 targets per game) over the final six games of the season. (He was the #12 fantasy receiver in that span.) Though he only gained 53 total receiving yards in two playoff games, he was targeted 13 times, so he was an integral part of the offense late in the year. Wheaton also fared well on a per target basis, finishing 22nd and 27th (out of 121 eligible receivers) in fantasy points per target in standard and PPR formats, respectively.
One of the biggest question marks facing Wentz after he was chosen No. 2 overall out of North Dakota State was; how will his game translate at the next level? It has only been two public practices, so there can’t be enough of a sample size to make an absolute determination, but so far so good. Wentz has shown a plus-NFL arm, accuracy to make every throw on the route-tree and an ability to move the pocket and buy time. Not for nothing, but Wentz also seems be ahead of Sam Bradford in terms of mastering Doug Pederson’s offense.
It's just a matter of time before Wentz is starting for the Eagles, but Bradford could hold the starting job for a while if he proves capable and the team is winning.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott figures to have a prominent role right away, but he’s also entering a veteran running back room that includes free-agent signing Alfred Morris and returning starter Darren McFadden. If he’s going to be a featured back as a rookie, “Zeke has to earn it,” running backs coach Gary Brown said.
In other words, expect a healthy competition.
“I think that’s the best thing for our team and for those guys going forward,” Brown said.
That’s just fine with Elliott, who says competition “keeps you on your toes and make sure you’re getting that work done.”
Only six active NFL players have a higher career yards-per-catch average than Kenny Stills (16.5), and Dolphins coach Adam Gase said he “definitely” wants to get him involved more after he was targeted just 63 times last season (compared with 165 for Jarvis Landry).
Stills says that excites him and “the numbers don’t lie” about Gase’s offenses.
But the chemistry must improve with Ryan Tannehill. Though a bunch of Stills’ targets were difficult deep routes (and that must be taken into account with this stat), he caught only 42.8 percent of passes thrown to him, compared to 70.4 for Rishard Matthews (now with Tennessee), 66.7 for Landry, 50.9 for DeVante Parker and 50 for Jordan Cameron.
Stills had only two drops last season, so many of the incomplete passes were errant throws by Tannehill. Gase has been impressed with Stills so far this offseason.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey still is figuring out ways to deploy Matt Forte, the NFL's most prolific pass-catching back since his rookie year, 2008. When asked how Forte fits into his system, Gailey replied, "That's not the question. The question is, how do we adjust the system to fit Matt Forte?"
A good reference point might be C.J. Spiller, formerly of the Buffalo Bills. From 2011 to 2013 under Gailey, Spiller caught 115 passes. Gailey moved him around the formation, sometimes lining him up wide or in the slot. Forte has that kind of versatility.
Spiller caught 115 passes in three years under Gailey as a part-time player. In the 12 games that then-starter Fred Jackson missed, Spiller averaged 3.42 receptions per game. 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 Gailey.
Jameis Winston and Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans worked through countless routes and were together on and off the field. Winston invited Evans over to his house several times this offseason to break down film before watching Golden State Warriors games.
Tim Grover, who has worked with NBA greats Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, received a call in early February. Grover agreed to meet and establish a preliminary workout but under one condition: Winston would have to abide by strict guidelines and show improvement by Grover's next visit.
"I have to put my stamp on him," said Grover, who is very selective about the high-profile clients he trains. "When it's actually time to follow up on it, sometimes athletes don't do it. I wanted to make sure not only was he saying the right things but was doing them."
Grover was pleasantly surprised when he resumed workouts with Winston a month later.
Without depriving Winston of his favorite foods but rather modifying his eating schedule, Grover helped him drop 18 pounds since February. Grover would prefer Winston lose about five more pounds to reach a goal weight between 225 to 229 pounds.
Winston was the #13 fantasy quarterback in his rookie season thanks in large part to his six rushing touchdowns. He may not be able to repeat that feat, but he should be able to improve as a passer and post a similar finish in 2016.
The plan is for Murray to be the starter, and to get the bulk of the carries. And he’s been impressive so far. I expect him to have success. But henry is going to get his share of carries as well, and you know how this works – if one guy is tearing it up, he’ll get more opportunities. We’ll just see how things play out.
Murray's stock took a hit when the Titans curiously spent a second round pick on Henry. He should still be a good bet for 300 carries, provided he stays healthy, but he'll have to outplay Henry to keep his job.
Justin Forsett was a breakout player for the Ravens in 2014, totaling 1,266 yards rushing — more than twice as many as any of his previous six seasons — and eight touchdowns. In Forsett’s absence, Javorius Allen started the last six games of 2015 as a rookie.
Forsett's YPC (4.25) was better than Javorius Allen's (3.75), but the rookie showed good receiving chops, hauling in 45 catches for 353 yards and two touchdowns. Allen was the #6 RB in standard formats (#3 in PPR) from Week 11 to Week 17, while Forsett was sidelined with a wrist injury. Forsett was #17 in standard and #12 in PPR through the first 10 weeks. According to HC John Harbaugh, the two will compete for touches in 2016. Forsett will be a great value if he gets starter's touches and stays healthy. Dixon is the dark horse in Baltimore.
With Austin Seferian-Jenkins battling injuries a year ago, TE Cameron Brate stepped in to become the Bucs’ leading receiver at the tight end position. Brate, who was waived at the start of last season and briefly claimed by the Saints, has looked strong in both of the Bucs’ open OTA practices. He caught several passes during each of the two practices, including a one-handed catch behind his back on Thursday.
Earlier this month, HC Dirk Koetter implied that Brate has a chance to start ahead of Seferian-Jenkins if he has a good summer.
Ravens.com writer Kevin Byrne:
It’s only minicamp, but last year’s No. 1 pick, receiver Breshad Perriman, is startling. That’s one big and very fast wideout flying down the field. I know, he has to prove he can be healthy and beat NFL corners, but he leaps out when you watch practice.
Due to the opportunity in the Ravens' receiving corps, Perriman looked like a nice sleeper prior to his injury. The Ravens signed Mike Wallace, while Steve L Smith is back and Kamar Aiken emerged as a viable WR2, so Perriman is not guaranteed starter's snaps even though he brings deep speed to the receiving corps. If this buzz continues, however, he should be able to beat out the recently disappointing Wallace for a starting job.