Fantasy football news and opinion from FFToday.com
Alshon Jeffery enjoyed best spring since 2013
Eagles WR coach happy with former, current pupil
Philadelphia Eagles WR coach Mike Groh believes Alshon Jeffery had his best offseason since perhaps 2013, when Jeffery burst onto the scene and set career highs in catches (89) and yards (1,421) while finding the end zone seven times.
"He and I have a history together … and I understand the way that he works and goes about his business. I think the spring that he's had is as good as he's had since maybe 2013. Pleased with where he is physically, mentally I think he is in a good place," Groh said. (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: Groh was Jeffery's position coach from 2013-15, so this is more than just run-of-the-mill coach-speak. Regardless, staying on the field has long been Jeffery's biggest bugaboo, so if he can stay healthy, he stands a solid chance at matching or topping his career highs. Given his injury history, the ex-Bear should be consider a WR2, albeit one with WR1 upside.
Zach Miller may not be long for Chicago
Bears TE could be pushed by ex-Raven Daniel Brown
Don't be surprised if Daniel Brown pushes the 32-year-old Zach Miller for a job. Miller was sidelined during the offseason program making his way back from the broken right foot suffered in the Week 11 last season. Miller's contract has one year remaining with a base salary of $1.5 million and the issue the Bears have to tackle is if they can take a chance knowing Miller's durability issues. Brown caught 16 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown in the final six games. The Bears turned to him quickly after Miller was injured and Brown averaged 43.5 snaps. (Chicago Tribune)
FF Today's Take: Miller had career-highs with 47 receptions for 486 yards in only 10 games last season, but durability has long been an issue for him. The Bears handed out $10 million of guaranteed money to Dion Sims in free agency and drafted "Baby Gronk" Adam Shaheen in the second round of April's draft, leaving likely only roster spot open for a tight end. Even if Miller sticks, he will not play nearly as big of a role in the offense in 2017 and likely done in Chicago after this season.
Jay Ajayi a good bet to push 1,900 total yards?
ESPN writer optimistic about Miami RB
Jay Ajayi has more confidence and swagger that he can carry the load. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said he won't be afraid to give Ajayi 350 carries if needed this season. Ajayi also has worked diligently on catching the football out of the backfield, which to date is his biggest weakness. Ajayi should have a monster year and could put up 1,900 total yards if he stays healthy, according to ESPN's James Walker. (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: Ajayi has a lot of what owners want from a RB1 - talent, no obvious threat to a heavy workload, solid supporting cast among them - and received plenty of praise this offseason about his improvement in the passing game. If Ajayi can finish with over 40 receptions and maintains the workload he had from Week 6 on last season (20.8 carries per game), Walker may not be far off with his projection. Consider him a solid RB1 and worthy first-round pick in all leagues.
Cam Newton resumes throwing
Shoulder surgery on March 30th
"Cool," Cam Newton said when asked how it felt to throw for the first time in nearly six months, "a lot of anticipation. Obviously, it's still not 100 percent, but seeing the ball come out of my hand in a throwing motion was good." "When I say it's not 100 percent, I'm noting the range of motion part," Newton said. "Like if you sleep with your legs hanging off your bed the whole night, you're going to wake up and be super stiff. Or like sitting on your hands, or sitting in an awkward position and finally getting up and moving - that's how I feel." (Panthers.com)
FF Today's Take: Newton is recovering from March 30th shoulder surgery and thinks he'll be ready to go by training camp in late July. More than likely the Panthers will ease Newton into camp, limiting his reps. For now, there's no concern about his availability for Week 1.
Zenner, Washington still 3-4 in Lions RBBC
Caldwell talks backup RBs
Ameer Abdullah, who missed most of last year with a foot injury, is the team's starting running back, and Theo Riddick, who's still recovering from double-wrist surgery, has proven an effective role player. But Zach Zenner and Dwayne Washington both showed promise in limited reps last year. (Detroit Free Press)
FF Today's Take: Abudllah and Riddick are the clear front-runners in the Lions running back by committee. Both Zenner and Washington had increased value late last season with Abdullah on the shelf with a foot injury. Zenner showed promise in the passing game and would have sneaky PPR value should Abdullah and/or Riddick miss time in 2017.
Eric Ebron signs off on Lions' TE depth
Believes new additions will help him reach his potential
While the Lions operated primarily out of a three-receiver set last fall, they don’t currently have a proven No. 3 receiver on their roster. Eric Ebron said having other options at tight end should help him. Last year, heset career highs with 61 catches for 711 yards, but he also missed three games with injuries and couldn't play to his strengths at times because he often was the only tight end on the field.
“I think it’s going to play a significant role for me to allow me to do the things that I’m best at,” Ebron said. (Detroit Free Press)
FF Today's Take: Anquan Boldin played 80 percent of the snaps for Detroit last year, serving as a bit of a de facto tight end with his work in the short passing game and red zone. While third-round pick Kenny Golladay is reportedly having a good offseason, it is probably unrealistic to expect the rookie to fill those shoes. Between the targets Boldin is leaving behind and Ebron's continued improvement, he should be able to crack the 70-catch mark this season if he can stay healthy.
Chester Rogers making a push for playing time
No. 3 WR job in Indy "up for grabs"
Anyone who thought Phillip Dorsett and Kamar Aiken would definitely be the third or fourth wideouts for the Colts in 2017 needs to re-think their depth chart. Second-year wide receiver Chester Rogers is a serious contender for wide receiver reps this coming season and has a real shot at the up for grabs playing time behind T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief. (Colts.com)
FF Today's Take: New GM Chris Ballard, OC Rob Chudzinski and Andrew Luck are all singing the praises of the former undrafted free agent. The new front office in Indy has no ties to Dorsett, so he is in real danger of ending up fifth on the depth chart. Aiken would seem to be the leader in the clubhouse for No. 3 duties, but Rogers appears primed to give him a run for his money. The winner of this competition should possess upside to be at least a WR5 in most leagues.
Lacy, Rawls to share early-down workload?
Full RBBC possible in Seattle
In the opinion of Seattle Times' reporter Bob Condotta, Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls will take a fairly equal share of the (early-down) carries with C.J. Prosise slated largely for a third-down role as well as being worked into the game plan to take advantage of specific matchups from week to week, assuming they each are healthy. (Seattle Times)
FF Today's Take: All three running backs have proven to be injury-prone and may actually benefit if they are capped at around 150-175 touches. Lacy's current fourth-round ADP is way too high for a player who doesn't have a stranglehold on early-down or third-down work, making him a definite bust candidate at that price. All three backs probably need to be viewed as RB3s.
Derek Carr gets 5-year extension from Raiders
Business is done
Now it's done ! From the jump I've wanted to be a Raider 4 life. One step closer to that! Blessed!!! Business done! Let's just play now!!! (Derek Carr on Twitter)
FF Today's Take: The new deal carries a $25 million average per season which is nothing more than a headline/talking point. What matters from a contract standpoint is the amount of money guaranteed. On the field, Derek Carr has averaged 3730 yards, 27 TDs and 10 INTs during his three-year career. He finished as the fantasy QB16 last season and the QB14 in 2015.
Greg Olsen wants a new contract
Wants to be paid among the top tight ends in the league
Greg Olsen, 32, made it clear he wants a new deal, but said he isn’t sure what the team’s response will be. "I don’t hesitate to say, if you look back the last four years ... at not only the statistics, but the consistency, the productivity and the durability, all those things, there’s nobody that can match up and has done what I’ve done," Olsen told Schefter.
FF Today's Take: While Olsen's statements of consistency and stats are true, he still has two years left on his deal. He's been a top 5 fantasy tight end the last three years going over the 1000-yd mark each season. Olsen wouldn't rule out a training camp holdout saying “We’ll see how things go over the summer. We’ll see what types of responses we get from the organization,” he added.
Jets sign WR Marquess Wilson
As good a shot as any to crack the starting lineup
The New York Jets are adding a receiver to a stripped-down wideout corps.
The agent for Marquess Wilson tweeted that the 24-year-old receiver joined Gang Green on Tuesday, and the team later confirmed the move. (NFL.com)
FF Today's Take: Wilson spent the majority of last season on the sidelines with a broken foot playing in only three games. He's yet to play more than 10 games in a season during his four-year career but does have an opportunity with the Jets have the worst receiving corps in the league. He'll be waiver wire fodder unless he becomes the top receiving option for Josh McCown.
Martavis Bryant looking like his old self
QB sings his praises following offseason workouts
Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Brian Batko, Ben Roethlisberger believes Martavis Bryant is fitting in well after sitting out the entire 2016 season due to suspension.
"(He's) learning some of the stuff we put in last year he didn’t know about, remembering things that we had in before. He looks like a stud, as usual, so we’re excited for him to be on the field this year and help us out," Roethlisberger said. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
FF Today's Take: The Steelers are heading into a season where they have a real chance of getting Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and Bryant on the field at the same time. Given his past, Bryant is a high-risk fantasy investment, but one capable of delivering week-winning weeks in just about any game. He has as much upside as any second receiver in the league and is a WR3 capable of playing at a WR2 level.
Kelvin Benjamin trimmed down this spring
WR reportedly weighed nearly 270 pounds at one point
Whatever Kelvin Benjamin tipped the scales at in April - Ron Rivera says it wasn't 280 pounds, although he might have been touching 270 - the fourth-year wideout seemed to get the message Rivera sent publicly after the draft. Benjamin needs to show up to Spartanburg looking like he did the final day of minicamp, when he reached down to pluck a pass a couple inches off the grass and got both feet inbounds. (The Charlotte Observer)
FF Today's Take: Benjamin is always going to be a big receiver, but his weight fluctuation continues to be an issue. At his best, KB is nearly unstoppable on high-point throws and in the red zone. A slim-and-trim Benjamin is critical for the Panthers as they make their transition from a power-running team to one more reliant on versatile big-play rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel.
Titans add Eric Decker to receiving corps
The Tennessee Titans and former New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker have reached agreement on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Decker, 30, underwent hip and shoulder surgeries last fall, but he is healthy and had been practicing before his release by the Jets. (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: The Jets have been dumping high priced veterans all off-season and Decker was no exception. Coming off an injury-plagued 2016 season, Decker has been participating in drills and gives the Titans a veteran presence in their receiving corps with a track record of scoring touchdowns. Given the run-first philosophy in Tennessee it's doubtful Decker can post WR1 stats as in did in New York back in 2015 (80-1027-12) but he can hold spotty WR2 value in an offense that should have no trouble moving the football in 2016.
Michael Floyd tests positive for alcohol
Vikings: We are aware and looking into the matter
Bad news for Michael Floyd ... the Minnesota Vikings WR tested positive for alcohol during his house arrest this week, TMZ Sports has learned. A rep for the Scottsdale City Court confirms ... Floyd's alcohol monitoring system flagged 5 events during June 11th and 12th. At least three of the events were described to us as "high alcohol tests." (TMZ Sports)
FF Today's Take: Floyd is currently under house arrest and prohibited from using alcohol. Floyd has reportedly blamed the positive tests on Kombucha tea. The Vikings are looking into the matter. Floyd is due back in court on June 26. He's off the fantasy radar.
Jeremy Maclin expected to be main slot WR
Likely to fill Steve Smith role in offense
Jeremy Maclin is expected to be the Ravens' slot receiver because Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman provide speed on the outside and Baltimore lost valuable inside targets Steve Smith Sr., Dennis Pitta and Kamar Aiken this offseason. (ESPN)
FF Today's Take: Smith's retirement and Pitta's hip injury have freed up a ton of over-the-middle targets for Maclin, who shouldn't have much problem leading the team in receiving if he avoids the injury bug that bit him a season ago. The ex-Kansas City Chief should start with Wallace in two-receiver formations and move inside when Baltimore opts for three-wide sets. Maclin should be a rock-solid fantasy WR3 option in 2017 with WR2 upside.
Terrance West in line for big workload?
OC: I'm looking forward to him toting the rock
Ravens senior offensive assistant Greg Roman: "I'm very excited about Terrance West. I'm looking forward to him toting the rock this year." (Baltimore Sun)
FF Today's Take: To be fair, Roman was only asked about West, not Kenneth Dixon, who will miss the first four games of the season due to a PED suspension. However, ESPN's Jamison Hensley suggested earlier this month West is the "unquestioned starter". Caution is advised, if only because Dixon is the more explosive back and Danny Woodhead is a more complete back who will likely replace West in the red zone. It's hard to imagine West being much more of a fantasy factor this year than he was in 2016.
Gore the early favorite to remain a workhorse
Robert Turbin, Marlon Mack could fill specialized roles early on
It's an intriguing mix led by the elder statesman (34-year old Frank Gore), the versatile veteran (Robert Turbin) and the rapid rookie (Marlon Mack). We're expecting Gore to remain the workhorse, if you consider 16-18 carries per game workhorse level. OC Rod Chudzinski could offer an expanded role to Turbin, who would embrace it. Also, Mack could steal some of Gore's carries if he proves himself NFL-ready. (CBS 4 Indy - Mike Chappell)
FF Today's Take: Turbin has reportedly had "a helluva spring" according to Chudzinski, although it would be a mistake for the journeyman to be used as anything more than a goal-line or change-of-pace option. Mack's explosiveness makes him a unique weapon in this offense and he is a capable receiver to boot. At least for now, the rookie should be considered the handcuff for Gore, who could push for another 260 or so carries if he stays healthy and/or doesn't fall off a cliff physically.
Zimmer: Dalvin Cook could be "special"
HC sings the praises of rookie RB
Dalvin Cook has yet to run in pads for the Minnesota Vikings, and it will be some time before coaches begin to establish a pecking order for a backfield that hasn't really needed one for the better part of a decade. But Cook's early work has coach Mike Zimmer believing the Vikings might have a unique player on their hands.
"I think he's got a chance to be special. ... I just think this guy has got a chance to be pretty good. Now, he's got some things he's got to work on, like all young backs, but I've been very impressed with him this spring," Zimmer said.
FF Today's Take: Latavius Murray's offseason ankle surgery is costing him an opportunity to make an early impression, while Jerick McKinnon doesn't seem to be getting much of a chance to compete for a starting spot. With that said, Zimmer's praise is notable because he usually does not engage in hyperbole. Cook regularly flashed playmaking ability at Florida State and should emerge as the lead back at the very least early this season.
Andrew Luck will sit during minicamp
Shoulder surgery in January
Andrew Luck's role this week: "Just observe," says coach Chuck Pagano.
"The next step is getting to the point where he can throw." Pagano told reporters that he's unsure if Luck will be available for training camp. (NFL.com)
FF Today's Take: With no official timetable for his return, Luck's shoulder injury is something we'll be following closely when training camp begins in August. He's expected to be on a pitch count when he does return to the field.