Fantasy News Home

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 1:26pm

Giants.com - [Full Article]

Giants RB Andre Williams had his impressive moments in the spring and also made his share of mistakes, as all rookies do. Assuming he has no trouble holding onto the ball, he should have a role on this year’s team.

Fantasy Impact:

Some are expecting Williams to overtake Rashad Jennings to become the Giants' starting running back, but we don't see that happening under HC Tom Coughlin, who doesn't usually trust rookies with big playing time, especially those tasked with securing the ball and with keeping QB Eli Manning upright.

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Ladarius Green will 'explode,' has 'true Pro Bowl potential'
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 1:17pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

NFL.com's Gil Brandt on Chargers TE Ladarius Green: "The 24-year-old is very, very athletic, a long-striding guy who seems to gain about 5 yards with every step he takes (see: his yards-per-catch mark of 22.1 in 2013). Considering his upward trajectory and Philip Rivers' history of success with the more famous of San Diego's dynamic tight ends -- Antonio Gates -- I expect Green to explode in 2014. He has true Pro Bowl potential."

Fantasy Impact:

Green has a ton of upside, but owners drafting him as their TE1 may be in for a rude awakening if he doesn't get much playing time. Green only played 33% of the snaps in 2013, and only broke the 50% mark twice all season (though both happened in the final five games). Green's breakout potential relies on his playing time.

Alfred Morris preparing for larger role in passing game
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 1:04pm

Redskins.com - [Full Article]

While Redskins RB Alfred Morris has proven fully capable of carrying a heavy workload on the ground, he has been preparing himself both mentally and physically for a larger role in the passing game.

“I’m just building that trust with the quarterbacks and the coaches to get that confidence that I can catch it to be a viable option in the passing game,” Morris said. “Even within myself, I’m building that confidence that I can handle the pressure of a 3rd and 5, and I’m running that choice route to win and catch the ball to keep us on the field.

“It comes down to confidence in myself, confidence of the coaches and quarterbacks in me. Just working hard, making sure I look the ball in before I catch it. I like to run before I secure the ball, but I just have to work on securing the ball before I run.”

Fantasy Impact:

We've heard this song before, but there's a new coaching staff in town, so Morris may get a chance to work into a larger role in the passing game. There has also been talk of Roy Helu seeing a bigger role since new HC Jay Gruden used two running backs last year while he was coordinating the Bengals' offense. We're projecting Morris for a career high 23 catches, which is still very below average for a starting running back.

Details on the divide between the Texans and Andre Johnson
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:53pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Before OTAs and minicamp, star wide receiver Andre Johnson told the Houston Texans he had heard enough from the new staff and coach Bill O'Brien to make him want to show up and join the team. He told them of his plans to be there for offseason workouts, despite missing the early portion of it. The question revolved around his $1 million bonus for attending workouts.

Though Johnson had missed some of the sessions, he wanted to earn his money back by working out extra, allowing him to receive the money.

The Texans told him no, per two sources informed of the situation.

That furthered the divide between Johnson and the Texans, driving a wedge between the parties. That caused Johnson to tell them he wanted to play for another team. He is now working out, "not thinking about the Texans," a source said.

The Texans have not yet been willing to trade him.

Fantasy Impact:

If true, this is a pretty dumb reason to lose your star receiver. This looks like a situation that won't be rectified soon, but Johnson needs to get into camp to learn a new offense and work with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's a risky fantasy pick at this stage in the offseason.

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:50pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Per a source with knowledge of the dynamics of the situation, it’s not likely that the Browns would cut Josh Gordon, but it remains possible. The source said that it would not be a surprise if the Browns decide to part ways with Gordon before training camp.

If that happens, Gordon would be exposed to the waivers system, with teams getting a shot at securing the final two years of his rookie deal based on the worst-to-first priority order. The Texans, who may need a No. 1 receiver, would have dibs.

Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:22pm

Atlanta Falcons - [Full Article]

Falcons TE Levine Toilolo played in all 16 games last season, including three starts, finishing with 11 receptions for 55 yards and two TDs. He added a lot of muscle in the offseason, especially to his upper body, aiming to become an even stronger force in the pass blocking game. Opposing linebackers will likely have a hard time defending against his height (6-8) and vertical abilities.

Fantasy Impact:

For a tight end, becoming a "stronger force in the pass blocking game" doesn't exactly equate to fantasy production. Don't expect Toilolo to replace future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez in the passing game. That responsibility will likely fall on slot receiver Harry Douglas, who caught 85 passes for 1,067 yards and two touchdowns with Julio Jones sidelined and Roddy White gimpy for much of the season. With Gonzo gone, Douglas should be on the radar, especially in PPR formats.

Sorting out the Patriots' WR corps
Thursday, July 10, 2014, 12:08pm

Boston.com - [Full Article]

Patriots WRs Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola, and Brandon LaFell look locked in to the roster, but the other spots are up for grabs. That means Kenbrell Thompkins, Josh Boyce, Matthew Slater, Jeremy Gallon, and a host of others will be battling it out for one or two spots on the roster.

Fantasy Impact:

The article went on to predict that Thompkins and Slater would make the team while Boyce and Gallon would be cut.

Andre Johnson will 'hopefully' attend training camp
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 8:30pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Andre Johnson wanted nothing to do with Houston's offseason program, but the All-Pro wide receiver expressed optimism on Wednesday that he'd be in uniform when the Texans open training camp later this month.

"Hopefully. We'll see what happens," Johnson told NFL Media's Marcus Smith. "Training camp's three weeks away, so we'll see what happens."

Asked if he'd be on the field when Houston hosts the Washington Redskins in Week 1, Johnson remained vague, saying, "I don't know. I can't answer that question."

The 32-year-old pass-catcher confirmed what NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported months ago, acknowledging that he's "had conversations with the organization" about his future.

"I haven't been public about anything," Johnson said. "I just choose not to talk publicly about it. It's in-house and that's the way I choose to keep it. I'm not a big media guy, so I refuse to talk about it."

Fantasy Impact:

Since Johnson is in control of whether or not he reports, we're not sure why he's 'hopeful' he'll attend camp. Either he will or he won't. If he does, he'll remain a high end WR2, especially in PPR formats, but he hasn't yet built a rapport with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and has to learn a new offense. The other option is a trade, something Johnson appears to be angling for when he says that he doesn't know if he'll be on the field for the Texans in Week 1. He's no longer a safe pick in fantasy drafts.

Packers 'very pleased' with TE Richard Rodgers
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 7:11pm

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel - [Full Article]

If Jermichael Finley's days in Green Bay are over, Packers TE Andrew Quarless is probably the safest option to begin the season. But after shining throughout the spring, the rookie Richard Rodgers could be the starter sooner rather than later.

Rodgers (6-foot-4, 257 pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.87 seconds coming out of California. That's two-tenths of a second slower than Finley ran back in 2008.

But Rodgers spent a lot of time working from the slot at Cal, the same place Finley did much of his damage while in Green Bay. Rodgers also has strong hands, changed his body while at Cal, and made plays throughout the spring.

The Packers have never been shy about playing rookies under head coach Mike McCarthy. And Rodgers could be the latest to get a shot.

"Richard Rodgers ... had a very good spring," McCarthy said. "There haven't been too many days where we have not walked off the field and reviewed film and felt very good about the things he is doing.

"The game is very natural to him. I've been very pleased with Richard so far."

Fantasy Impact:

Whoever plays starter's snaps for the Packers at tight end will be fantasy relevant. Rodgers is having a great summer and could emerge as the starter if Finley doesn't return to the team.

There will be 'plenty of opportunities' for Jeremy Kerley
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 7:00pm

New York Post - [Full Article]

For this year, though, Kerley is an extremely important cog in the offense. He is the team’s second-best receiver behind Eric Decker. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg likely will move Kerley around from the slot to the outside at times and try to maximize the number of touches he gets. With defenses paying attention to Decker, there should be plenty of opportunities for Kerley.

Kerley also can operate the wildcat offense and has shown he can throw the ball when asked.

Fantasy Impact:

Kerley will once again be a spot starter option, especially in PPR formats. He should benefit from the arrival of Eric Decker and the maturation of Geno Smith. He's a name to remember in the final rounds of drafts in deeper formats.

Lions RB Theo Riddick is going to have 'opportunities' in passing game
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 1:03pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Appearing on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast earlier this week, Lions backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky corroborated Joique Bell's account of Theo Riddick as uncoverable in offseason practices.

With new coordinator Joe Lombardi importing the Saints offense to Motown, Riddick is expected to play the Darren Sproles role in a three-headed backfield.

"I'm telling you, if he doesn't have 50 catches this year, I'll be surprised because he's going to have opportunities and he's very talented at it," Orlovsky said. "I think he's going to play that Sproles role, for sure."

It strains credulity that a timeshare running back would have more receptions (50) in his second season than snaps (49) in his first season, but Orlovsky insists there are specific packages drawn up to put the ball in Riddick's hands.

"He's going to have eight passes a game," Orlovsky said, "whether they're screens, whether they're one-on-ones, whether they're checkdowns, where they're going to be pass plays called for him."

Fantasy Impact:

If Riddick sees as large of a role as Orlovsky predicts, it's going to put a dent in the workloads of Bell and Reggie Bush. We can envision a three-headed RBBC since Lombardi comes from the Saints, but we'll see how much buzz Riddick is generating in camp now that Bell is completely healthy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:19pm

Philly Mag - [Full Article]

Pro Bowl is the mandate. We’re not here just to play football. We’re here to dominate.

That’s the motto that floated off the lips of Tom Bender when speaking of his Atlanta-based program, which trains anywhere from 25-35 NFL players at a time during the offseason. It sounds a bit bold until you consider that his clientele includes the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, arguably the top three receivers in the game.

This is the environment Jordan Matthews has nestled into for the past week, and where he'll remain until the Eagles open training camp.

"He's learning a lot, he's integrating well and we're cleaning up some of his college issues," said Bender with a laugh.

Issues? Like?

"That's for us to discuss. It's just a matter of getting him to move better, clean up his routes, just clean up all aspects of his game."

Fantasy Impact:

Matthews will likely see snaps in the slot (at least) this season. Jeremy Maclin is working his way back from an ACL injury and Riley Cooper is solid, but unspectacular. There is opportunity in this offense if Matthews has a great summer, and by most accounts he has. Rookie wideouts usually don’t live up to their ADP, but there is the occasional exception.

Dennis Pitta lined up everywhere in OTAs
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:17pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Ravens TE Dennis Pitta was in constant motion throughout the Ravens' offseason practices, making it difficult to get an accurate read on where he would line up from play to play.

With Pitta healthy again after missing the first dozen games of last season after having his dislocated, fractured right hip surgically repaired, he figures to have a featured role in the Ravens' offense this fall working in tandem with former Houston Texans tight end Owen Daniels.

Fantasy Impact:

Pitta missed most of 2013 due to a hip injury and he was sorely missed in the Ravens’ passing game. Upon his return, he saw 33 targets in four games, putting him on pace to finish with the 3rd-most targets in the league. It’s not a solid sample size, but it’s still an indicator of what may come. (He finished with the 12th-most targets in 2012.) The big plus for Pitta heading into 2014 is the arrival of new OC Gary Kubiak who has been very TE-friendly throughout his career, specifically with the development of both Shannon Sharpe in Denver and Owen Daniels in Houston.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:13pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

“It feels like I just made it into wide receiver heaven,” Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders said.

“The thing that I like about the Broncos is there is really no number one guy,” he added. “Peyton always goes with the favorable matchup and that’s what I’m really liking about this offense. Any guy could go off for 180 yards or 100 yards with 10 catches any week based off of matchups.”

Sanders said last season was the first time he had been used as an outside receiver after many years playing primarily as a slot receiver. With Wes Welker entrenched in the slot for Denver, Sanders will likely continue to be used on the outside for the Broncos. Denver is looking to replace the production lost from the departure of Eric Decker to the New York Jets this offseason. Sanders and second-round pick Cody Lattimer will be called upon to replace the majority of that production for the Broncos this season.

Fantasy Impact:

Sanders was the #35 WR in 2013, when he saw WR2 targets (112) for the Steelers. Eric Decker (138) and Wes Welker (111) saw a combined 249 targets as Denver's WR2 and WR3. With Decker gone, Welker (and TE Julius Thomas) could see a bit more work, but Sanders should be stepping into a big role if he can beat out Andre Caldwell and hold off rookie Cody Latimer. As OC Adam Gase said, Sanders is a good fit for his system and is versatile to play both inside and outside. He is very quick and is adept at making people miss, so he should thrive in Denver’s screen game.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 5:45pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Fascinatingly, the Dallas Cowboys' backup quarterback situation has become a hot topic this offseason.

Kyle Orton skipped all offseason work and is seriously considering retiring -- though it would cost him millions of dollars -- even as the Cowboys continually hope he returns to back up Tony Romo.

In the meantime Brandon Weeden is caught in the middle like a seat filler at an awards show. The former first-round pick is preparing for the No. 2 role regardless of whether or not he'll end up sitting there in 2014.

"I'm going to go about my business the same way," Weeden recently told the team's official website. "I haven't met Kyle, so I can't really speak on it, but whatever he decides to do -- it's kind of out of my control. So what I'm worried about is, if I'm running with the twos out there, do my job to make the twos better. I want to make the team better any way I can, so it doesn't change my mindset or the way I feel about it."