|Dallas Clark to announce retirement|
Former Colts TE calls it quits after 11 seasons
By: Doug Orth | Jun 16 2014, 4:50 pm
|After 11 seasons - including his first nine in Indianapolis - and one Super Bowl title, Dallas Clark will officially call it a career Wednesday. He will become just the second player in Colts history (after C Jeff Saturday) to re-sign with the team and retire.
The Colts released Clark after the 2011 season. He played for the Buccaneers in 2012 and the Ravens in 2013, combining for 78 receptions and seven touchdowns in that span. For his career, Clark had 505 catches for 5,665 yards and 53 scores. (CBS Sports)|
FFToday's Take: In nine seasons (2003-2011) with the team, Clark set franchise records for the most career receptions (427) and receiving touchdowns (46) by a tight end, while finishing second in receiving yards (4,887). In 2009, he became the second tight end in NFL history to post 100-plus receptions and the first tight end in team history to record 1,000-plus receiving yards in a season.
| Pats WR Dobson doubtful for minicamp|
Underwent foot surgery in March
By: Doug Orth | Jun 16 2014, 4:25 pm
|Perhaps there will be a surprise appearance at minicamp Tuesday, but it currently does not look like Aaron Dobson will be taking part in practices this week. Dobson, who is recovering from March foot surgery and did not take part in organized team activities, is said to be doubtful for this week’s mandatory minicamp, according to a source.
FFToday's Take: The original timetable following the procedure was 2-3 months. The wide receiver delayed the surgery to March because there was hope his foot could heal without surgery. Dobson is no longer wearing a walking boot and is said to be “doing better.” The second-year man out of Marshall has the ability to ascend into fantasy WR3 territory this season, but his recurring foot issues present a potentially significant roadblock.
|Bengals trying to exploit Sanu's versatility|
OC Hue Jackson using third-year WR all over formation
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 16 2014, 2:40 pm
|In the two years that new Bengals OC Hue Jackson spent in Oakland, he helped Marcel Reece earn the nickname the “Matchup Nightmare.” Jackson used Reece as a fullback, tailback, and even had him line up at wide receiver to take advantage of his unique skills as a runner and receiver. Could Jackson have similar things in mind for Mohamed Sanu?
Sanu was a jack-of-all-trades in three years at Rutgers, finishing his career with 12 TD catches, nine TD runs, and four TD passes. In two years with the Bengals, Sanu has 63 receptions, nine rushing attempts and has completed both of his passes - including a 73-yard touchdown to A.J. Green. (Bengals.com)|
FFToday's Take: Green called Sanu "dynamic" while Marvin Jones suggested his fellow draft classmate has "gotten a lot faster and more explosive". Jones' statement sounds classic offseason hyperbole, but there's no question Sanu is a movable chess piece that was not utilized all that much under former OC Jay Gruden. With Green and Jones now seemingly entrenched into starting spot, Sanu may have to settle for a being a "niche" player going forward.
|Andre Johnson won't attend mandatory minicamp|
Texans wideout missed all OTAs
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 16 2014, 8:30 am
|Veteran wide receiver Andre Johnson won’t attend the Texans’ mandatory minicamp Tuesday through Thursday, his adviser and uncle Andre Melton said Monday.
While Johnson’s absence was expected, Melton’s comments confirmed the seven-time Pro Bowler remains at odds with the Texans and there’s no immediate end in sight to the stalemate.
“Right now, that’s all that he can do,” Melton said. “We’ve done what we can do, so we’re just sitting there waiting.” (Houston Chronicle)|
FFToday's Take: Uncle Andre went on to say “We’ll evaluate it in a month or so and see what’s going on” so it doesn't appear that Johnson will report to the team anytime soon. Johnson is set to make $10 mllion in base salary this season but the Texans shaky footing at quarterback doesn't give Johnson optimism about the team making a playoff run.
|Vernon Davis holding out for new contract|
49ers tight end said earlier he would report to minicamp
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 16 2014, 7:00 am
|"In 2010 I signed a five-year, $37 million contract extension with $23 million guaranteed. It was the biggest contract for a tight end in league history. Four years later, and I’m playing at a higher level than I was then, which brings me to why I’m holding out. It’s all about getting paid what you deserve. It’s not that complicated." (SI.com)|
FFToday's Take: Vernon Davis wrote the above in filling in for Peter King at The MMQB. Davis had previously stated that he would report to minicamp this week so this latest statement of a hold out is contradictory. Davis is the third-highest paid tight end in the league. The 49ers mandatory minicamp is scheduled to start tomorrow.
| Hankerson's timetable for return unclear|
Seven months removed from knee surgery
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 15 2014, 7:00 am
|Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson says there’s no firm timetable yet for him to resume practicing with the Washington Redskins as he works his way back from knee surgery in November. "I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Hankerson said this week. “I’m seven months out now. So I’ve probably got another couple months to go. I should be good by training camp but you never know. Hopefully [there will be] no setbacks or nothing like that. But I’m feeling good right now.” (Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: Hankerson had his ACL and LCL repaired in November. Upon his return, he will find that he's no better than fourth on the Redskins depth chart now that DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts are in town. Hankerson is off the fantasy radar in re-draft leagues.
|Seahawks add veteran DT Kevin Williams|
Long-time Viking agrees to one-year deal
By: Doug Orth | Jun 12 2014, 6:15 pm
|The defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks have reached agreement with DT Kevin Williams on a one-year contract, according to league sources.
Williams, a six-time Pro Bowl player and former defensive captain with the Minnesota Vikings, will make in excess of $2 million.
He will become part of the Seahawks' defensive line rotation. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Williams was still very effective last year, but hasn't found much interest on the market due to his salary demands. The 33-year-old (turns 34 in August) joins what was already one of the NFL's best defensive lines and further fortifies one of the top defenses in the league.
| Hoyer "securely ahead of Manziel" entering camp|
Tate "nicked up"; rookie West running with first team
By: Doug Orth | Jun 12 2014, 6:00 pm
|Browns HC Mike Pettine said Brian Hoyer is "securely ahead' of Johnny Manziel. But Hoyer's lead is not "insurmountable''. Both quarterbacks have had their bright spots and struggles during minicamp, but Hoyer has looked more polished and decisive in his throws. In the backfield, Ben Tate and Terrance West will be competing for the starting job at running back, but Tate is not fazed by the rookie. In 11-on-11 drills, West has been getting reps with the first team along with Chris Ogbonnaya.
"There’s nobody in that room that scares me. I’m just honest," Tate said Thursday. (Cleveland Plain-Dealer)|
FFToday's Take: Hoyer hasn't been allowed to take 11-on-11 reps yet, so very little can be taken from this story about the quarterback situation. As far as the running backs are concerned, beat writer Nate Ulrich tweeted Thursday that Tate was a "little nicked up". Although it probably nothing serious, it should be a reminder that West will be an awfully good handcuff for the brittle Tate in OC Kyle Shanahan's offense.
| Bell, Tate among Lions missing minicamp|
Expected back in time for training camp
By: Doug Orth | Jun 12 2014, 5:35 pm
|Minicamp is over and that gives six weeks of either rest or rehab for some of the Lions’ walking wounded. DE Ziggy Ansah, RB Joique Bell and WR Golden Tate didn’t take part in any of the three minicamp practices this week, but each is expected back for the start of training camp.
The Lions aren’t certain that’ll be the case for CB Chris Houston, but are hopeful.
FFToday's Take: Bell missed the mandatory minicamp with a knee injury while Tate was nursing a shoulder. The team doesn't seem concerned about either injury, so Bell should remain squarely on the low-end RB2 bubble while Tate should have no issue playing at a WR3 level this season.
|Little Andrew Hawkins making a big impression|
Ex-Bengal WR drawing praise from coaches and players
By: Doug Orth | Jun 12 2014, 5:20 pm
|Andrew Hawkins has been a star of the offseason for the Browns. He was signed away from the Bengals as a restricted free agent for four years and $13.6 million and has made an immediate impact. With Josh Gordon facing a possible suspension and several other receivers signing late or dealing with injuries, Hawkins has been the stabilizing force among the wideouts.
“He’s been one of our most consistent guys through spring,” coach Mike Pettine said. “Comes out here, he’s one of the hardest workers." (The Chronicle-Telegram)|
FFToday's Take: At 5-7 and 180 pounds, Hawkins is ideally suited for the slot, although he is probably going to get every chance to be an every-down player in Cleveland in 2014 because he is one of the few Browns not named Josh Gordon who can get deep. With Gordon likely to miss a significant part of the season, don't be surprised if "Baby Hawk" leads the wide receivers - and maybe the team - in receptions.
|Marshawn Lynch to skip Seahawks minicamp?|
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 12 2014, 7:00 am
|When the Seattle Seahawks convene for mandatory minicamp next week, the team doesn't expect star running back Marshawn Lynch to be there, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking. Lynch reportedly hasn't appeared at any of the team's voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) thus far, is thought to be unhappy with his contract, though it's not clear if that is the only football-related reason the running back is considering skipping or reporting late to minicamp. (Yahoo Sports)|
FFToday's Take: Lynch is set to earn $5 million this season and $5.5 million in 2015. He's skipped voluntary workouts before but has never missed a mandatory session in his career. It's hard to comment on this topic until we understand Lynch's reasoning, but he's not likely to get a renegotiated deal considering the league-wide decline in running back salaries. Perhaps he's miffed at the prospect of Christine Michael eating into his workload.
| DeSean Jackson nursing strained hamstring|
Back at practice, not yet 100%
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 11 2014, 2:20 pm
|Wide receiver DeSean Jackson this week returned to action after spending last week on the sideline nursing a strained hamstring. Jackson tweaked his hamstring two weeks ago, during the Redskins’ first week of offseason practices, and he sat out last week’s session while allowing it to heal. (Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: Jackson went through practice Wednesday without incident but was a little tentative out of breaks. Head coach Jay Gruden called it a "minor deal" so fantasy owners shouldn't be overly concerned at this time.
| Julio Jones limited in OTAs|
Falcons receiver recovering from foot surgery
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 10 2014, 3:43 pm
|Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones finished another grueling workout off to the side with the team’s training staff Tuesday, while the rest of the team trudged through OTA No. 7. “The last couple of weeks, I’ve been cutting and running a handful of routes,” Jones saide. “Nothing major, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We have to get back out there and get going, but I feel pretty good.” (Atlanta Journal Constitution)|
FFToday's Take: It's somewhat alarming that Jones still has restrictions considering surgery was done last October, however the team insists that he is ahead of schedule and should make a full recovery. Julio was easily on pace to finish as a top five fantasy WR in any format last season and should be drafted as such this season until further notice.
| Romo: "I could play in a game if I had to"|
Cowboys QB wants to be 100% by training camp
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 10 2014, 7:30 am
|Not only does Tony Romo think he’ll be 100 percent for the start of training camp next month, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback says he could play in a game today if it was needed. "In the next couple weeks I think I’ll be 100 percent, Romo said." (Dallas Morning News)|
FFToday's Take: Romo had a herniated disk repaired in December and has been limited during OTAs with the anticipation of being 100% ready by training camp. Romo has a high ceiling this season if passing game coordinator Scott Linehan gets to put his stamp on the Cowboys offense. We'll get a better feel for the offensive gameplan later this summer.
| Eli Manning says ankle is a non-issue |
Two months removed from ankle surgery
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 10 2014, 7:00 am
|Two months after ankle surgery and three months before the Giants open the season in Detroit, Eli Manning was asked Monday: If there were a game tomorrow, is your ankle strong enough and do you have enough confidence in it that you could play?
“Yeah, 100%, yeah,” Manning said. “The ankle, I don’t think about it, don’t notice it. I go about practice and do everything and they’re not even worried about it. So, it hasn’t been an issue. No question I could play tomorrow.”
(New York Daily News)|
FFToday's Take: Manning seems to think his ankle is fine which is good news. He did admit however that he's still learning new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system and isn't completely comfortable in the offense. It won't be a surprise if the Giants ease into the season offensively then hit their stride in Week 12 after facing Seattle (Wk 10) and San Fracisco (Wk 11).
|McFadden returning kicks in OTAs|
In competition with Maurice Jones-Drew at RB
By: Doug Orth | Jun 9 2014, 5:10 pm
|RB Darren McFadden got a lot of work returning kicks today. "Anything is an option," Raiders HC Dennis Allen said. (Vic Tafur on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: Allen told the same reporter (Vic Tafur) in late May that he was "considering" Maurice Jones-Drew as a punt returner. It's impossible at this point to tell whether MJD or McFadden will lead the backfield in touches this season, but the former's three-year contract (as opposed to the latter's one-year deal) suggests the Raiders expect Jones-Drew to come out on top.
|Mike Wallace seeing snaps out of backfield|
Ex-Steeler WR getting deployed all over formation in OTAs
By: Doug Orth | Jun 9 2014, 3:20 pm
|Why is Mike Wallace excited about Miami's new offense? He told (NFL Network reporter Jeff Darlington) he caught a TD out of backfield last week. Plays wide, in slot, backfield. (Jeff Darlington on Twitter)|
FFToday's Take: New OC Bill Lazor seems to understand something about the Dolphins that former play-caller Mike Sherman could not figure out: Wallace is a difference-maker on an offense with few of them. The five-year veteran somehow managed to post a career-high 73 receptions in 2013, so while his catches may not increase all that much this season, expect him to make a run toward his career highs in yards (1,257) and touchdowns (seven).
|Britt getting necessary fresh start in St. Louis|
Ex-Titan WR "all smiles" at OTAs
By: Doug Orth | Jun 9 2014, 2:55 pm
|If anyone ever needed a fresh start, it’s new Rams WR Kenny Britt. His five star-crossed seasons in Tennessee were a mix of off-field issues, injuries and flashes of big-play potential. But as the Rams begin the second week of OTAs, Britt is all smiles. Last Thursday, Britt caught two long touchdown passes while his chiseled frame (6-3, 223) has already earned him the nickname “Incredible Hulk” from some of his new teammates.
“He’s a big, explosive wide receiver who can make plays down the field,” QB Sam Bradford said. “He’s looked really good in his time here. I just feel like he brings kind of a presence and an energy that maybe hasn’t been there in the past.” (St Louis Post-Dispatch)|
FFToday's Take: Even though Britt burned a ton of bridges in Tennessee, the former Rutgers star has never lacked for talent and has a fairly good chance to emerge as the Rams' top receiver in 2014 if he simply plays up to his vast potential. One has to think that if any coach can maximize his talent, it would probably be Fisher, who was the Titans' coach when Britt was the team's first-round pick in 2009.
|More snaps for RB Theo Riddick in 2014 |
Reggie Bush understudy receives praise from mentor
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 9 2014, 10:46 am
|The shifty running back out of Notre Dame was drafted last season to be Reggie Bush's understudy. During his rookie season, Theo Riddick played just 49 snaps -- carrying the ball nine times for 25 yards and catching only four passes for 26 yards.
Under new coordinator Joe Lombardi, Riddick could see increased snaps playing the Darren Sproles role from the New Orleans Saints' offense. (NFL.com)|
FFToday's Take: Riddick is going to have a hard time being fantasy relevant in re-draft leagues without an injury to Bush but he's a name to file away or take a flier on late in your draft. "He's far more advanced now compared to where I was as a rookie," said Bush. "I wasn't as good of a natural runner, it took me a couple years to get to that point and he already kinda has that. So, I'm sure you'll see him used a lot in the passing game this year and the running game."
| Jags thin at receiver during OTAs|
Shorts, Sanders and both rookies nursing injuries
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 9 2014, 7:00 am
|With seven of the 11 receivers — including veteran Cecil Shorts and second-round picks Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson — out with various ailments, the group consisted of Kerry Taylor and three players who’ve yet to appear in a regular-season NFL game. Taylor and the other three weren’t drafted. (Florida Times Union)|
FFToday's Take: Both rookies, Lee (ankle) and Robinson (hamstring) are not expected to participate in Monday's OTA session. Ace Sanders is also missing time due to a hamstring injury while Shorts is sitting out with a calf injury. "I’ll try to go back there Monday, but it’s out of my control. It’s the time of year to kind of chill,” Shorts said. "No need to rush it."
|Steelers to use more no-huddle offense|
No-huddle has been emphasis during OTAs
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 7 2014, 11:00 pm
|The Steelers want to incorporate even more of the no-huddle offense into their game plan after the success they had last year.
“I think it's something that we realized where we can be and what we did last year, and where we were successful, so I think we'll use it more,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. “I don't want to call it our base offense,” Roethlisberger said, “but I think you'll see more of it, so it was more important for us to get it in early and often.” (Tribune Review)|
FFToday's Take: Meaty quotes from the Pittsburgh QB. Roethlisberger no doubt likes the no-huddle as it leads to him calling the plays. He was a top ten fantasy quarterback over the last five games of 2013. He's an ideal QB2 in 2014 that can fill-in during a multi-week stretch if you're starter is out due to injury.
| T-Rich wearing red jersey during OTAs|
Ballooned to 240 pounds after shoulder surgery
By: Doug Orth | Jun 5 2014, 5:45 pm
|The red jersey Trent Richardson was wearing during OTAs last week said it all (about he looked coming off postseason shoulder surgery). Richardson said it's more of a precaution and that he hopes he’ll be allowed to take it off soon. One thing that stood out when Richardson talked was that he had ballooned up to 240 pounds because he "ate well" and was limited in what he could do cardio-wise after the surgery. He said he’s lost 15 pounds and is back down to 225. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Richardson rushed for a disappointing 505 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games with the Colts following his trade from the Cleveland Browns. The third-year back looked slow and indecisive for most of 2013, so he doesn't need anything else holding him back. He's a strong candidate for a bounce-back season, but will probably need to show 2012 form in order to be the unquestioned starter in Indy.
|Sproles running as McCoy's direct backup|
Former Saint has never had more than 93 carries in a season
By: Doug Orth | Jun 5 2014, 5:20 pm
|Darren Sproles will turn 31 in June and averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season, the second-worst mark of his career. But during the two OTAs that were open to the media, he took almost all the reps with the second team at running back. He's yet to take reps as a slot receiver (from what we've seen). With the Bryce Brown trade, the question of what the Eagles' plan will be should LeSean McCoy go down needs an answer this summer. Given his frame and age, Sproles doesn't seem like a viable option to carry the load; he's never had more than 93 carries in a season. (Philly Mag: Birds 24/7)|
FFToday's Take: McCoy played all 16 games in 2013 for the first time since his rookie year, so the Eagles do need to find his direct backup. Chris Polk was beginning to emerge near the end of the season, but underwent what was reported as "major" shoulder surgery in the offseason. In the event of a long-term McCoy injury, Polk would likely become the lead back and Sproles would remain the passing-down back.
|Doug Baldwin expected to start opposite Harvin|
Expected to fill void left behind by Golden Tate
By: Doug Orth | Jun 5 2014, 5:00 pm
|Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell, asked who will replace WR Golden Tate, said Doug Baldwin will move to the “X” or split end position this year, while also still playing some inside. Percy Harvin will play primarily the "Z", or flanker, spot. He also said of Sidney Rice that they “really like what he’s looking like” and that he will also play outside. (Seattle Times)|
FFToday's Take: Tate caught 64 passes for 898 yards and five scores last year, which is roughly the ceiling for just about any receiver in the run-heavy Seahawks' offense. Baldwin has recorded at least 50 receptions in two of his three seasons despite being the third option in the passing game at times, so he clearly has a rapport with QB Russell Wilson. He should be considered a decent, but low-upside WR4 in fantasy.
|SEA to use running back by committee in 2014|
OC has high praise for Christine Michael
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 4 2014, 11:00 pm
|Bevell had high praise for the play so far of Christine Michael saying “we are really excited right now, what he’s done” and noted that Michael has improved particularly at “the details” of the position. Bevell also said that Michael could have a greater role this season and that could lead to having more of a “running back by committee” approach in 2014. (Seattle Times)|
FFToday's Take: Speaking at an event Wednesday night, Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell dropped the RBBC term on a select group of fans. If this statement holds true, it will have a significant impact on Marshawn Lynch's fantasy stock. Lynch has been a workhorse for the Seahawks the last three seasons, averaging 300 carries and 11 touchdowns during that span. Michael is a must-handcuff for any Lynch owner.
|Kapernick signs six-year extension with 49ers|
$61 million guaranteed
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 4 2014, 8:33 pm
|Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers struck a deal Wednesday on a six-year contract extension including a record $61 million guaranteed. "I really expect a real breakout year for Colin. Athletically, he looks bionic," Harbaugh said during the organized team activity last week. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: Kaepernick's deal is structured so that other players such as wideout Michael Crabtree, guards Mike Iupati and Alex Boone and tight end Vernon Davis, will have room to sign new deals themselves. It's a big payday for a non-Super Bowl winning QB but a team friendly deal at the same time. With a healthy Crabtree and the addition of Steve Johnson to the receiving corps, Kaepernick's fantasy stock is on the rise.
| Giants' RB Wilson not cleared for contact|
Will be re-evaluated prior to training camp
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 4 2014, 2:34 pm
|David Wilson’s wait continues, but today he took another significant step closer toward a full return to the football field. “There has been significant progress and healing since David had the fusion,” said Dr. Russell Warren, the Giants’ team physician. “But the reality is it has only been four and one-half months since the surgery. We anticipate that when David is re-evaluated at the start of training camp he will be cleared at that point.” (Giants.com)|
FFToday's Take: Giants training camp begins July 21st so that will be our next check-in point on Wilson. The Giants have added Rashad Jennings and rookie Andre Williams to the running back mix and have kept plodder Peyton Hillis... for now. Wilson is arguably more talented than any of the Giants RBs but he's likely headed for a timeshare with Jennings and Williams when he gets medical clearance.
|Mike Wallace in "better spirits" this season|
Knowshon Moreno running behind Lamar Miller in camp
By: Doug Orth | Jun 2 2014, 5:40 pm
|Mike Wallace is in clearly better spirits this year. One reason is that he loves Bill Lazor’s offense and the flexibility it gives him to change where he lines up. Mike Sherman wouldn’t permit him to do that last year, and Wallace said today that as a result, opposing defenses knew exactly where he was going to be.
Knowshon Moreno continues to work primarily with the second team, with Lamar Miller taking a lot of first team snaps. Moreno dropped a pass today and Joe Philbin conceded that his conditioning could be better. (Miami Herald)|
FFToday's Take: Wallace languished last season under Sherman, who refused to move him across the formation and used him mostly as a glorified clear-out receiver. It appears as if Lazor wants to use the ex-Steeler in the same way the Eagles used DeSean Jackson in 2013. As for Moreno, Miller is a superior talent, so the free-agent signee cannot afford a negative first impression - especially considering he is on a one-year deal.
| Maclin injures knee and back in practice|
WR recovering from right ACL surgery in 2013
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 2 2014, 4:50 pm
|The practice fields at the NovaCare Complex became suddenly quiet when Jeremy Maclin fell to the ground and ignored chiding from the defense to get up. The jokes stopped once Maclin grabbed his left knee. It wasn’t "the" ACL knee, but to see the wide receiver go down during a non-contact drill - although there was some contact - had to be a frightening moment for the Eagles. But Maclin quickly smiled and chuckled when LeSean McCoy ran over and said something and just seconds later bounced up from the turf and walked back to the huddle. He said afterward that he was OK. (Philadelphia Inquirer)|
FFToday's Take: Given Maclin's recent injury history, the Eagles had every right to be scared here. As long as he is healthy, Maclin belongs in the low-end fantasy WR2 discussion as he assumes the spot in the offense left behind by DeSean Jackon. Philadelphia added Vanderbilt WR Jordan Matthews in the draft, likely in part to have some quality depth if Maclin suffers another serious injury.
| Julio Jones on schedule for training camp|
Team on "pins and needles" as WR recovers from foot injury
By: Doug Orth | Jun 2 2014, 2:55 pm
|Falcons HC Mike Smith reiterated how Julio Jones is on schedule for training camp. Falcons WR coach Terry Robiskie is cautiously optimistic about his return, although not seeing the receiver do any type of on-field work at this point would appear to be a cause for concern.
"We'll be watching him a little bit kind of standing on pins and needles," Robiskie said.
Robiskie watched his top two receivers get bit with injury bug last season. Besides Jones, No. 2 receiver Roddy White endured ankle and hamstring issues that limited his effectiveness for a good part of the season. (ESPN)|
FFToday's Take: White also missed the start of OTAs while mourning the death of his younger brother, so his status for the remainder of the offseason remains unclear. Injuries wrecked havoc on the Falcons' offense last year, but a healthy Jones and White together comprise one of the league's most dynamic receiving duos. With White set to turn 33, the 25-year-old Jones will be counted upon to be the game-changer in the offense.
| Jags rookie WRs sidelined with injuries|
Lee day-to-day, Robinson could miss rest of offseason
By: Mike Krueger | Jun 2 2014, 2:45 pm
|Jaguars second-round receivers Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee sat out the team’s organized team activity workout today because of injuries.
Lee is day to day with an ankle injury sustained last week - he did side-field work and did not seem to be bothered by his wrist injury (also last week). Robinson, though, could be out for the rest of the off-season program after being injured last Wednesday. (Florida Times-Union)|
FFToday's Take: Yahoo Sports reported last week that Robinson was running behind Cecil Shorts at "X" (split end) while Lee was spending most of his time at "Z" (flanker), so Robinson's redraft stock had already taken a sizable hit before this news that he could miss the rest of the offseason. Lee's injury does not sound overly serious and he should be expected to enter training camp as the starter opposite Shorts.
| Cowboys LB Sean Lee likely out for season|
By: Doug Orth | May 31 2014, 7:30 pm
|Sean Lee never has played a full season, missing 18 games in his career. A strained hamstring and a sprained neck kept him out of five games last season, with the Cowboys starting three players at middle linebacker in Lee’s absences. Ernie Sims, Justin Durant and DeVonte Holloman all filled in for Lee at various times last year. The Cowboys expect to be without Lee for all of 2014 after their defensive leader and middle linebacker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, according to sources. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)|
FFToday's Take: Rookie Anthony Hitchens took all the first-team reps at middle linebacker on Wednesday. HC Jason Garrett also mentioned Holloman and Durant as possible fill-ins at the position. Regardless of who winds up filling the position, Dallas goes from a below-average defense with Lee to a dreadful defense without him, meaning the Cowboys should be a juicy matchup for fantasy owners this season.
|Josh Freeman waived by Giants|
Former Bucs QB last about six weeks with team
By: Doug Orth | May 31 2014, 7:25 pm
|The Giants are only three days into OTAs and already the backup quarterback position is taking shape, without Josh Freeman in the picture. Freeman, a first-round pick by the Bucs in 2009, was waived on Friday, ending his six-week tenure with the team.
On one occasion when Freeman did get on the field during Thursday's OTAs, the Giants were unable to get aligned properly and never ran a play. Freeman was immediately pulled in favor of Curtis Painter. (Newark Star-Ledger)|
FFToday's Take: The end may be near for the 26-year-old Freeman, who is only two years removed from throwing 27 touchdown passes and posted a 25:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his second year in the league. Given his relative youth and past production, it is likely he will get at least one more chance, but questions about his off-field and work ethic habits are starting to catch up to him.
|WR Josh Gordon in trouble again|
Caught for speeding; passenger cited for possession of marjuana
By: Doug Orth | May 31 2014, 7:10 pm
|Already in trouble with the NFL for a reported failed drug test, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon was issued a speeding ticket over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. According to the citation, Gordon's 2014 grey Mercedes-Benz SUV was clocked going 74 miles an hour in a 60-mile-per-hour zone on May 25. Gordon's passenger was issued a citation for possession of marijuana in an amount under 200 grams during the traffic stop. (WKYC)|
FFToday's Take: Gordon is quickly digging himself a deep hole, one in which he may not be able to get out of with his series of poor off-field decisions. Gordon, as many will remember from draft weekend, is already subject to an indefinite suspension for a failed drug test and missed the Browns' first two games last season because of a drug-related suspension. The Browns' top three receivers after Gordon are Miles Austin, Earl Bennett and Andrew Hawkins.
|Will Stacy have to fight off Mason in camp?|
Both backs excelled in yards after contact in 2013
By: Doug Orth | May 30 2014, 4:45 pm
|Zac Stacy started 12 games for St. Louis in 2013 as a rookie and had 250 carries for 973 yards and seven touchdowns, plus caught 26 catches for 141 yards and a touchdown. Where Stacy really excelled was gaining yards after contact. According to Pro Football Focus, Stacy averaged the sixth-most yards after contact (2.45) among running back that took at least half of their team’s attempts last season. According to the 2013 Charting Project, third-round rookie RB Tre Mason had 349 yards after contact on 240 attempts (1.45). (Washington Post)|
FFToday's Take: Mason recently stated the coaching staff told him he will get a chance to start following the draft. Given Mason's current shortcomings in the passing game - blocking as well as receiving - it would seem the rookie will only be an early-down "breather" back for Stacy. The team is also high on Benny Cunningham as well, meaning the Rams would probably opt for a committee approach if Stacy is injured at any point in 2014.
|Cards LB Washington suspended for season|
Substance abuse policy violation
By: Doug Orth | May 30 2014, 4:30 pm
|In a blow to what was one of the best defenses in the league last season, the NFL has suspended linebacker Daryl Washington for at least a year, it was announced Friday. In a statement released by his agent, Washington acknolwedged the violation was related to marijuana use.
The suspension is for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy, the same reason Washington was suspended for four games last year, and unrelated to Washington’s recent plea bargain for an assault charge. The suspension begins immediately.
FFToday's Take: In 12 games in 2013, Washington had 81 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. With his absence, the Cardinals are now without the two inside linebackers who played the vast majority of the time in 2013. Karlos Dansby signed with Cleveland as a free agent back in March. He will be replaced by second-year man Kevin Minter. Veteran Larry Foote figures to step into Washington’s role, which will be a significant downgrade for the defense.
|Maclin filling DeSean Jackson's old role|
Eagles not holding oft-injured WR back in workouts
By: Doug Orth | May 30 2014, 4:20 pm
|Eagles HC Chip Kelly believes Jeremy Maclin can provide enough production, and he hasn't been shy about pumping him up. Asked if the 26-year-old Maclin could be his No. 1 receiver, Kelly said: "Doesn't matter. He's the No. 1 guy today."
Last year, the coach emphasized that there wasn't a passing pecking order. But the Eagles want to see how Maclin can handle the pressure of being the team's top downfield option. The Eagles aren't holding Maclin back in workouts. He has lined up on the right in DeSean Jackson's old spot opposite Riley Cooper. (Philadelphia Inquirer)|
FFToday's Take: Coming off his second ACL surgery, Maclin should not be expected to pick right up where Jackson left off in 2013, but the Eagles probably don't need him to produce at that level either with rookie Jordan Matthews now in the fold. Regardless, Maclin should be the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in this offense and should be a strong fantasy WR3 at the very least this season.
|Jeremy Hill running ahead of Law Firm at OTAs|
Giovani Bernard taking first-team snaps
By: Doug Orth | May 27 2014, 3:15 pm
|Second-round pick Jeremy Hill lined up as the second team running back behind Giovani Bernard. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, the starter the last two years, had no comment. (Bengals.com)|
FFToday's Take: Many believe Green-Ellis is a lock to remain a Bengal in the final season of his contract, but that may not be the case. Bernard is the clear starter and Hill will be his powerful complement for the foreseeable future. Cincinnati loves what Cedric Peerman brings on special teams, meaning Law Firm may be in a battle with 2013 sixth-rounder Rex Burkhead (another young player the team likes) at a position where most teams carry no more than four players.
|Ravens rookie RB Taliaferro arrested|
Charged with two misdemeanors after taxicab incident
By: Mike Krueger | May 27 2014, 2:50 pm
|Baltimore Ravens fourth-round draft pick Lorenzo Taliaferro was arrested early Saturday morning. According to the Williamsburg Police Department, officer J.A. Wagner observed a group get into a cab and said he heard yelling and cursing among the group. Taliaferro reportedly left the scene after breaking a window, but was located about a block away. He was charged with being drunk in public and destruction of property, both misdemeanors. (Virginia Gazette)|
FFToday's Take: Given Ray Rice's incident involving his then-fiancee in a casino earlier this offseason (and likely multiple-game suspension), Bernard Pierce's recovery from shoulder surgery and Taliaferro's arrest, the Ravens are hurting at running back at the moment. At this rate, Baltimore may be forced both Justin Forsett and Cierre Wood, neither of whom should make the team under normal circumstances.
|Andre Johnson skips first day of OTAs|
WR still undecided about his future, direction of team
By: Doug Orth | May 27 2014, 2:35 pm
|Andre Johnson, just as he said wouldn’t, didn’t show up at the Houston Texans first organized team activities of 2014. CBS Radio reports that Johnson has only missed training with the Texans one other time since his draft in 2003 when he held out for contract reasons for a few days.
In mid-May, Johnson told a group of reporters that he wonders if the Texans organization is still the place for him to be. He also did not attend the team's mini-camp a few weeks ago, although he was in Houston. (KHOU)|
FFToday's Take: Johnson has been the consummate pro for 12 years, but is less than pleased that Houston didn't make more of an effort to secure a more highly-touted quarterback this offseason. Johnson is unlikely to get traded even if he demands one because doing so would leave the Texans with nearly $12 M of dead money on their cap. Expect Johnson to return and maintain his status as a top 10-15 fantasy receiver with either Ryan Fitzpatrick or rookie Tom Savage.