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Malcom Floyd 'cleared for everything'
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 4:44pm
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Arians: Andre Ellington should get 25-30 touches per game
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 4:32pm
Well, 25 touches per game equates to 400 over the course of a 16-game season. In the last 40 seasons, just 36 running backs have posted 400+ touches in a season, and only one (James Wilder, 1984) has touched the ball 480 times (which equates to 30 touches per game). Andre Ellington isn't going to touch the ball that much, but this kind of talk will do nothing to dampen the optimism surrounding him this offseason. He looks like a strong RB2 in standard formats with upside in PPR.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 12:30pm
When asked what type of season Eagles TE Zach Ertz would have, beat writer Zach Berman said, "Pro Bowl would be tough, but I do think Ertz emerges into one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season. He has the skill set and the opportunity."
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.
Knowshon Moreno running with first team
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 11:56am
As Beasley says, this isn't surprising, but it's confirmation that the team views Moreno as its first string RB, even though he's a newcomer. He's our #28-ranked RB at this point, but has some upside if it looks like the Dolphins are going to give him workhorse-type carries.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 11:18am
Chip Kelly wants WR Jordan Matthews to start off in the slot and use his 6-foot-3 frame against smaller nickelbacks. If the Eagles come out in “11 personnel” (three wide receivers, one tight end) on their first possession, Matthews will likely man the slot and, technically, he’d be among the starting 11. But look for Kelly to lean a little heavier on “12 personnel” (two receivers, two tight ends) early on for experience reasons. In that case, the outside receivers would be Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, with Zach Ertz and Brent Celek manning the tight end spots.
The fact that Matthews can play inside and outside -- he was mostly an outside receiver at Vanderbilt -- gives him the best chance to see the most significant playing time early. Kelly can move him around and figure out mismatches. Also, any injuries at wideout would automatically increase Matthews’ workload. if Cooper or Maclin were to suffer an injury, Matthews would likely be elevated into a starting role. Maclin is coming off his second ACL tear since college, so he’ll be handled carefully in the spring and summer camps. Matthews should get plenty of grooming.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:57am
C.J. Spiller expected to play a 'bigger' role in offense
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:55am
It’s hard to use the term “expanded role” for any player that had nearly 400 snaps the year before, but C.J. Spiller is the exception. By many accounts, 2013 was a disappointment for the former first-round pick. He suffered a high ankle sprain that put a damper on a good portion of his season and just never really evolved into the running back that the Bills were touting him to be ahead of last season. However, the argument can be made that the current Bills coaching staff just didn’t understand where Spiller would be most effective for the team when the regular season games started. They set incredibly lofty expectations as a workhorse back, but that’s not the type of player that Spiller is. By the time they realized what Spiller was, they were in the throes of the season and couldn’t put him in the spots he needed to be. The injury did not help the matter by any means and set the process back even more. Now that he’s fully healthy, that offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett understands where he works best and that Spiller is motivated not only by doubters, but by an expiring contract at the end of the year, it’s fair to expect a bigger output from both a snap count and yardage perspective in 2014. He won’t be that workhorse back that they hoped for, but he’ll likely have a more defined and bigger role with the type of athleticism he possesses.
C.J. Spiller’s 2013 season has been well-documented. He dealt with a bad ankle sprain for most of the season and, other than a few electrifying moments, he just didn’t seem like himself. Throw in a RB1-type season from the seemingly ageless Fred Jackson and Spiller finished #27 at his position, a huge disappointment to those owners who drafted him in the first round. A healthy Spiller should fare much better in 2014, though the ever-productive Jackson is still under contract, so there are still major workload concerns.
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:53am
As far as the tight end position has been concerned, there has been a lot of build up from both Bills GM Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone about what they believe they’ll be getting from Tony Moeaki in 2014. The 26-year old has two starting seasons under his belt since being drafted in 2010, catching 80 passes for 1,009 yards and four total touchdowns. Two separate injuries, a torn ACL in 2011 and a fractured shoulder in 2013, have derailed his career from being a promising young tight end to one with many questions. The injury bug didn’t just find him in the NFL though. Moeaki dealt with elbow, hand and leg injuries, and a concussion as well during college. Even still, the Bills believe in his athleticism and ability to contribute. He might not be starting for the Bills, but with a full offseason expect him to be much more than just a special teams contributor — as long as he stays healthy.
Hamilton: Colts to be a 'score-first' team
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:49am
New season, new mind frame from Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.
"We’re going to be a score-first team," Hamilton said. "We’re going to do whatever we need to do to score one more point than our opponent."
Don’t kid yourself; Hamilton isn’t going to allow Andrew Luck drop back in the pocket and fling the ball downfield – even if he does have plenty of weapons at his disposal – 50 times per game. The Colts will still run the ball, which is why they have three backs they think will be able to carry the load.
But like Hamilton said, it’s all about scoring more points than the opponent and that will likely end up being with Luck doing what he does best: Using his arm.
The Colts threw the ball 582 times and ran it 409 times last season.
"Our mentality has not changed; we have to be physical at the point of attack. We have to try and knock people off the ball and wear them down physically," Hamilton said. "We have to have a sense of balance and still have a physical mentality, make up going into games so we can wear our opponents down how we see fit."
Luck has finished #8 and #6 in his first two seasons in the league and is locked in as a solid QB1 pick in 2014 fantasy drafts. He is currently the #4 QB off the board in the 4th round. The Colts wanted to utilize a run-first mentality in 2013, and ended up throwing the ball 58.7% of the time, which was in the middle of the pack as far as pass/run balance goes. With the addition of Hakeem Nicks and the return of both Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen, we would expect Hamilton to utilize the passing game more often in 2014.
Reggie Wayne unlikely to participate at minicamp
Tuesday, May 27, 2014, 10:44am
All indications point to Colts WR Reggie Wayne still making good progress from his torn ACL. He’s taking part in football activities again, but he likely won’t participate in the team’s mandatory minicamp next month. The Colts will likely wait until training camp before Wayne goes all out on the field.
Cardinals much more comfortable in Bruce Arians' offense
Monday, May 26, 2014, 1:14pm
After a rough 2013, the Cardinals feel much better about the offense heading into the summer of 2014:
"We're working so much more efficiently," receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. "We're finishing (practice) periods with two, three minutes left. We're not having to restart, regroup and do over. It's very encouraging."
HC Bruce Arians is convinced his offense has turned a corner, not just put its blinker on.
"Where we're at this point is like light-years from last year," he said last week after the team's first full-squad workout of the off-season. "They are getting on the same page. Every play, they come back and there is good dialogue — 'Why did you break out? Why did you break in?' "
"We've got a ton of work to do," QB Carson Palmer said, "but it just feels so good to be confident and be comfortable and know the guys around you know that you know what you're doing.
"There's not a shadow of a doubt on certain plays where there was in the past, like there are in new systems and new offenses. Just a great start and a long way to go."
If the offensive line can come together, this bodes well for Palmer, Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, who has stood out in offseason activities. Palmer finished as the #17 QB in 2013 and is a QBBC/streaming candidate heading into 2014.
Beat: Shonn Greene needs to 'prove his worth' in camp
Monday, May 26, 2014, 1:06pm
The Titans already did away with one running back from a year ago in Chris Johnson, so would they really consider sending another one packing? I haven't heard any buzz suggesting it could happen, but let's just say stranger things have happened. This much is known: Greene was underwhelming in 2013, and he recently had a second knee surgery. He's scheduled to earn $2.3 million in 2014, and that's not chump change. The Titans drafted Bishop Sankey, and the team plans to use Dexter McCluster in the backfield. A big back is on board in Jackie Battle, and undrafted rookie Antonio Andrews of Western Kentucky is no slouch. Greene won't take part in the OTAs, so he'll need to prove his worth in camp.
We're projecting Sankey to be the clear RB1 after the Titans took him as the first back in the draft. The last 13 rookies who were the top drafted RB in their class while joining a backfield with a lackluster incumbent averaged 18.2 touches for 83.1 yards and 0.55 TD, or 11.6 fantasy points per game. That’s about what Ryan Mathews averaged as the #12 RB in 2013. For more on Sankey's potential production, see The Rookie Rundown.
Monday, May 26, 2014, 1:01pm
With the addition of sixth-round pick Zach Mettenberger, however, Titans QB Jake Locker now has another guy aiming to eventually unseat him. Let's keep it real here: Mettenberger is not going to challenge Locker for the starting spot at the start of the 2014 season. The Titans want Locker to win the job going away in training camp, and he'll be given every opportunity to do so. Still, Locker can't give coaches any reason to doubt themselves. Keep in mind, back-up Charlie Whitehurst was brought to town because new coach Ken Whisenhunt is a big fan. Locker will still be slow-going during the upcoming OTAs as he continues to work his way back from Lisfranc surgery. When training camp begins, the Titans think he'll be able to hit the ground running.
Monday, May 26, 2014, 1:00pm
As for what's expected of him, it's this: catch the ball (and maybe throw it a little). Just like the rest of the receivers, the Bengals' focus this season will be on getting the football in as many of their playmakers' hands as possible.
After Sanu had such a promising 2012 season, he ran into a bit of a wall last year. Receivers coach James Urban has said he didn't feel like he used Sanu quite as much or as effectively as he had hoped. That should change this season. It's possible to see Sanu in the slot receiver role if indeed Marvin Jones has leapfrogged him and slipped into the No. 2 receiver's spot. That's something we won't really know until deep into training camp. It could be that coaches decide to keep Jones as the third receiver and to use him more often in the slot than Sanu.
Christine Michael could start in 2015
Monday, May 26, 2014, 12:55pm
Seahawks RB Christine Michael’s shortcoming is two-fold: the concern about his ability to block and his lack of participation in special teams (again, not because he refuses to do it, but because the opt for someone else). For the amount of times he would carry the ball, it didn’t make sense most of the season to have him gobble up an active roster spot if he couldn’t also play special teams.
One other good thing about Michael finishing last season with only 18 carries: he finished the season with only 18 carries. Protecting the body of a running back for a whole year in the NFL holds its own value. If the Seahawks decide they can’t swallow Marshawn Lynch’s 2015 cap hit and Michael has proven after more chances in 2014, which seems will be the case for him, he can take over, then they bought themselves almost two full years to work him in.
Lynch is signed through the 2015 season, so he could continue to be the RB1 through next year. His hefty cap number will make him a cut candidate if the team thinks Michael is ready to carry the load.