A breakthrough season would be improving on the 84 receptions for 758 yards and 5 TDs he had last year as a rookie. There’s a good chance that happens now that TE Charles Clay and WRs Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are gone. Tannehill is familiar with Landry, and Landry showed he’s got good NFL skills. He’s got good hands and can get YAC (Yards After Catch).
Landry was the #42 WR in standard formats and #30 in PPR, so as a high-volume slot receiver, he's going to have more value in PPR formats. The Dolphins lost four of their top six most-targeted players: Mike Wallace, Charles Clay, Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. They have been replaced by Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron, but Landry's role should expand as well. He only played 62 percent of the snaps on the season, and didn't start playing consistent starter's snaps until Week 9. Over the final nine weeks, Landry was the #15 WR in PPR formats (and #23 in standard). He is currently the 24th WR off the board in early PPR drafts.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett estimates the touches in the team's backfield:
Combine that with the four-year, $16 million contract New Orleans gave Ingram this offseason, and I don't expect a dramatic drop-off in his workload in 2015. However, the Saints do have the luxury of keeping Ingram fresh if everyone stays healthy.
Assuming everyone stays healthy, I'll go with something like:
Ingram 240 touches (950-1,000 rushing yards)
C.J. Spiller 150 touches (400-plus rushing yards, 500-plus receiving yards)
Khiry Robinson 90 touches (350-400 rushing yards)
As Senior Editor John Paulsen broke down in The Case for C.J. Spiller, 150 touches (80 carries, 70 catches) would result in a #19 RB finish in PPR formats. Even if the the Saints give Spiller more carries (96) and fewer catches (60), Spiller's projected production would result in a #20 RB finish. Over the last two weeks, Spiller has been the 27th RB off the board in early best ball PPR drafts. Ingram has been the 15th RB taken, so if we assume 1,100 total yards, nine touchdowns and 30 receptions, he would finish with 194 FP (PPR), which happens to match his total from last season. He was the #14 RB in only 13 games played in 2014. A healthy Robinson is a concern for Ingram, however. The Saints wanted to increase Robinson's role prior to his Week 7 injury (fractured arm), so we may see more of an even split in the running game between the two backs if they both stay healthy.
Crabtree hasn't been himself since his Achilles injury, but there is opportunity in the Raider receiving corps. The problem is -- he's not markedly better than James Jones, Andre Holmes or Rod Streater, so Crabtree could end up anywhere from first to fourth in the pecking order by the time preseason rolls around.
"On my Twitter, I'm vocal about Cody because I believe in Cody," he said. "Cody is a special player. He has strong hands and is a physical tool. I think this is going to be the year that he jumps onto the scene. I think he's going to have a big year and I'm happy he's on my team and in our receiver group."
In past seasons, Latimer would jump out as a breakout candidate in a Peyton Manning-led Broncos offense. This year could be different, however, with the team expected to lean harder on their running game in Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme.
Latimer is going to have a bigger role. How much bigger remains to be seen.
Latimer is a player to monitor this offseason, especially with the news that Sanders is going to play the slot in three-receiver sets. Latimer had a disappointing rookie season and wasn't even able to beat out Andre Caldwell. However, it takes time to earn Peyton Manning's trust, and the franchise didn't draft him in the second round to ride the proverbial pine.
Monday, April 13, 2015, 7:36pm
Abbrederis sustained a season-ending knee injury during training camp and was placed on injured reserve. The Wisconsin native and former Badgers star is an option as a punt returner as well as an additional receiver, provided he’s fully healthy come the start of training camp this summer.
Janis, making the jump from Division II Saginaw Valley State to the NFL, had a pair of impressive TD receptions in the preseason on which he showed off his speed, but he was active for only three regular-season games and got most of his work in practice on the scout team.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said at the scouting combine he felt Janis was coming on strong late in the season, so he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off in his bid for a roster spot and additional playing time.
Sanders performed very well in the slot last season, though he spent a majority of the time on the outside. He'll continue to play outside in two-WR sets and then move inside when the Broncos add a receiver to the formation. Sanders finished #5 in PPR formats and #7 in standard formats after catching 101 passes for 1,404 yards and nine touchdowns. With TE Julius Thomas gone, we wouldn't expect Sanders' targets to drop much, so his 3rd round ADP in early drafts looks quite reasonable. We expect Cody Latimer to compete with Andre Caldwell for snaps in three-WR sets.
Monday, April 13, 2015, 1:27pm
“When I saw him yesterday, I didn’t even know that was Colin,” Davis said Friday after the final day of the first week of the 49ers’ offseason program. “Seriously, he was working on his drop-back. ‘Who was that?’ You guys are in for a treat. He looks like a totally different guy.”
Kaepernick spent 10 weeks at the beginning of the offseason in Arizona working on his mechanics with private quarterback coach Dennis Gile. He also spent about one day a week on the mental aspect of the game with two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner.
“I feel like there’s been quite a bit of change,” Kaepernick said. “Obviously, it’s noticeable. Vernon said something to me right away when we started throwing. But I just want to do everything I can to make sure I’m getting better and doing my part to help this team win.”
Neither Kaepernick nor Davis spoke specifically about the mechanical changes, but Kaepernick said everything he did was aimed at becoming a better quarterback to enable the 49ers to win more games.
It was reported earlier in the offseason that the team planned to utilize Kaepernick’s running ability to a greater degree. Kaepernick ran the ball 12 more times in 2014 than he did in 2013 for an additional 115 yards, so it's not like he abandoned the scramble. It sounds like it's more about utilizing the read-option as a larger part of the offense. If that's the case, it could be a boon to Kaepernick's fantasy value. He was the #14 QB in 2014 after finishing #9 the season before, though his overall production only dipped by 11 fantasy points. He's a bounce-back candidate provided new OC Geep Chryst can design an offense that can move the ball. Chryst previously served as the OC for the Chargers in 1999 and 2000, but his offenses ranked 26th and 28th overall in that span. Any gains that Kaepernick can make as a thrower will only help his overall value.
Saturday, April 11, 2015, 1:43pm
Roy Helu, 26, looks like a perfect fit for Oakland’s new up-tempo offense that will often feature a no-huddle approach. ESPN scout Matt Williamson thinks Helu can be one of the Raiders’ most productive offensive weapons even though it will be in a limited role.
“While he isn’t great in protection, I think he will be a very valuable piece and a quick safe option for Derek Carr in this up-tempo passing game and offense overall,” Williamson said. “Helu has been extremely productive on a per-snap basis.”
Helu has averaged 2.69 catches per game in his four-year career, and is expected to serve as the team's primary passing down back while Latavius Murray and Trent Richardson compete for early-down duties. The Raiders are planning to move to a more up-tempo offense under OC Bill Musgrave, who spent last season working for Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. Helu is likely to be fantasy relevant in PPR formats, though the explosive Murray should hold the most fantasy value in 2015.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:40pm
Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi was recently asked about his run game at a Town Hall Meeting for season ticket holders.
It was a legitimate question considering that was one of the biggest issues on that side of the ball a season ago. The Lions ranked 28th in rushing last season and decided to cut ties with Reggie Bush this offseason, just two years into a four-year deal he signed in 2013.
“I think it is a work in progress,” Lombardi said. “Joique we love. He’s a tough guy. Runs hard. Just keeping him healthy will be key. I’m very excited for Theo (Riddick) and have been since I first got here. I think we’re going to see great things from him.”
Bell led the Lions in rushing yards (860) and touchdowns (7) in 2014. Riddick caught 34 passes and scored four touchdowns.
The story goes on to say that head coach Jim Caldwell expects better production from that aspect of the Lions offense in 2015. The Lions are expected to add another running back via the draft. They’ve already hosted a couple of top running back prospects in Todd Gurley and Tevin Coleman on pre-draft visits.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:32pm
Stature stands in the way of Cooks being perceived as a No. 1-type wide receiver in the NFL. Not many true No. 1 wideouts are 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds.
Yet Cooks needs to be that primary pass catcher with the Saints losing Kenny Stills in a trade to Miami and Marques Colston's best days behind him. Cooks only turns 22 in September and missed the last six games last season with a hand injury. Cooks possesses the tools to become the guy.
As the author points out, those are lofty expectations for Cooks. But we've all seen Steve Smith become a Pro Bowler as a No. 1 wide receiver for Carolina for several seasons. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown is the latest example leading the NFL in catches and yards last season, the story adds. Cooks said this offseason how he's striving to emulate Brown. With no more Stills and Jimmy Graham, the Saints hope and need Cooks to quickly develop into their top option. This seems to be good news for his fantasy value heading into 2015.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 4:28pm
Robinson will enter his third season with the Saints as third fiddle with Mark Ingram returning and C.J. Spiller signing with the Saints. The landscape looked quite different one month ago with Ingram being a potentially hot free agent and Pierre Thomas being released.
Ingram will be the clear-cut option for snatching up carries after his breakout 2014 season. Spiller is a far more capable runner in the traditional ground game than Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles the last few seasons.
This means more carries for Ingram and Spiller and less touches for Robinson. The logic entering 2014 was that we'd see more Robinson. Barring injuries, Robinson will likely find fewer opportunities.
Troy Polamalu's clock to Canton can start now. The definitive Pittsburgh Steeler of the team's recent titles has decided to retire, the team announced on Friday. Polamalu first told the Herald-Standard (Uniontown, Pennsylvania) Thursday about his decision.
"I did not seriously consider playing elsewhere," Polamalu said in a phone interview with Jim Wexell. "It was just whether or not I wanted to play."
We can't say that Polamalu re-defined the safety position because he was one of a kind. It's not like there are youth coaches out there teaching kids to play like Polamalu because his unique skill set would be impossible to recreate. Who else could have made leaping over the line of scrimmage a signature move?
An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Polamalu was one of the most dominant safeties in league history during his four seasons as a first-team All-Pro player. He won the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year by mixing big plays, run stopping, well-timed blitzes and a rare instinct for knowing what opposing players would do.
Friday, April 10, 2015, 10:32am
The Giants have their second tight end back.
On Wednesday afternoon, the club came to terms with Daniel Fells on a one-year deal, according to sources. Fells will rejoin Larry Donnell, an exclusive rights free agent who already re-signed, in a solid tight end tandem for the Giants.
Fells, 31, was a quiet addition to the franchise last season, but he quickly emerged as perhaps the most well-rounded weapon in an anonymous tight end corps. An ex-Bronco and ex-Patriot, he was the best blocker of the group, and he added four TD catches and 18 receptions.