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Hi Folks, It's getting close to that magical time of the year.  Are you ready for some football?!? Throughout the preseason we'll be discussing Player Projection changes, Camp Developments, Player Box Scores (preseason games), and Fantasy Strategy. The goal is to express our rationale as we update our player projections software program with the most up to date player intelligence. Stay Tuned!  -Anthony

Player Injury CautionRookieIdeaFYIHot Player


9/06/2016

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid came out on Monday saying that it would be a stretch for Jamaal Charles, who is coming off of off season ACL surgery, to be ready for Week 1. When he'll be ready has suddenly come into question. It's unfortunate as a healthy Charles is one of the most productive RBs in the game today. His owners may have to wait a few weeks here, but he's still worth a roll in the 3rd round at this point. Reports surfaced Monday that Austin Seferian-Jenkins worked with the second-team offense during Monday's practice. This follows recent reports of a blow out session with sideline coaches. Coming into the preseason, we felt that ASJ had the potential to have a nice season, but we're concerned now. TE Eric Ebron is back at practice after a month hiatus with an ankle issue, Ebron is another interesting player, and although he has the potential to be a Stafford Red Zone magnet, he also has issues holding onto the football. This may be his last opportunity to shine. Although some were surprised by the announcement that Arian Foster is officially listed as the #1 RB on the Dolphins depth chart. It comes as no surprise to us here at Fantistics. If He can stay healthy, and that's a big if, he's going to be play like a top 10 back. News has surfaced that RB Darren McFadden may never be able to fully straighten his right arm again. He'll miss 6 games after being placed on the PUP...but more importantly Ezekiel Elliot will have a free rein at being a workhorse behind a very good Oline.

 

9/05/2016

Miller,Zach - CHI/TE: Miller was in concussion protocol for most of this preseason but was cleared and will be ready to go to start the regular season. With no Martellus Bennett ahead of him, Miller will get more shots to contribute and strengthen his current status as a TE2. The Bears did sign Logan Paulsen to back Miller up but this is Miller’s time to shine. With a new offensive coordinator and almost no preseason action, it is a big mystery as to how this whole thing shakes out. Is Miller better as a backup where no one can scheme against him, or will he excel as a starter? Fantistics is projecting 659 yards on 53 receptions and 7 TDs, which is conservative in comparison to his 29/381 and 4 tDs in the 2nd half of 2016. Value at his current 17th round ADP. See more here

The beginning of the regular season is finally upon us and what season wouldn’t be complete without another Carlos Hyde injury.  Hyde is a legitimate RB2 with the upside to become a RB1 but dropped heavily this year because of injury travails the last two seasons.  To make matters worse, he suffered a concussion in the Niners third preseason game of the year against Green Bay and the team just confirmed he is currently still in concussion protocol.  The team privately thinks he will be cleared in plenty of time for next Monday’s opener against Los Angeles but herein lies another reason Hyde may never reach his full potential.  Journeyman RB Shaun Draughn and second year RB Mike Davis would both supplant Hyde if he doesn’t get cleared, so newly anointed starting QB Blaine Gabbert better hope Hyde gets healthy fast.  In some other noteworthy decisions this weekend, Dallas QB Tony Romo was not placed on IR (nor the IR boomerang list) even with the signing of Mark Sanchez.  Depending on how rookie QB Dak Prescott adjusts to the regular season, there is a good chance Sanchez will play sooner rather than later.  According to the Seahawks, TE Jimmy Graham’s Week 1 status is still up in the air as he battles back from a horrible patellar tendon injury.  The good news is the team expects him back sometime during the first few weeks of the season which would make him a steal if you decided to gamble and draft him late.  The bad news is most team physicians agree that overcoming a torn patellar tendon is the most devastating knee injury to overcome (see Victor Cruz).  Even with the Minnesota Vikings’ trade for QB Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill is expected to start Week 1 against Tennessee which will allow Bradford some time to soak up the Vikings offensive scheme before he presumably takes over in Week 2.  In a development that solidifies Houston as a top fantasy defense, defensive terror JJ Watt was cleared for practice following surgery to repair a herniated disc in July.  He isn’t a lock to start but the team believes he will be ready to go against Chicago (poor Jay Cutler).  In a move that may or may not result in something notable, the New England Pats claimed the highest drafted RB in the 2014 – Bishop Sankey – and will assign him to their practice squad.  Also, former NY Giants RB Andre Williams (another highly drafted RB washout) was claimed by San Diego which is struggling for depth following the season-ending injury to Branden Oliver. Jasbir Singh

September Special Note: With injuries and playing time situations changing, be sure to click on the WEB UPDATE icon in the upper right hand corner of the software to get the latest projections/rankings before you head to your draft!

Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

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FYIRawls,Thomas - SEA/RB: Rawls looks good to go (ankle) after finally playing in Seattle’s final preseason game against Oakland. Rawls was dynamite as a rookie but given the injury and how cautious the team has been with him, expect him to split carries with Christine Michael – who has actually looked really good this preseason – to start off the season. Now, Rawls may emerge as the clear cut #1 back in Seattle sooner rather than later, but fantasy wise, he is best drafted as an RB3 with great upside. Michael also has value as a reserve in really deep leagues.

Sharpe,Tajae - TEN/WR: The rookie had such a strong preseason he reportedly has earned the starting WR spot opposite Rishard Matthews in Tennessee. Most onlookers feel that Tennessee will base its offense around the run which will allow Marcus Mariota to pick his spots with the passing game. Some onlookers however feel that Mariota is far enough along that he will throw more than people think. Either way, Sharpe has already built a strong rapport with Mariota and might exceed his current status of a WR4.

Wentz,Carson - PHI/QB: In a bit of a surprise, reports out of Philadelphia say Wentz will start against Cleveland in the season opener and not Chase Daniel. When Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota, it was almost universally assumed that Daniel would step in as starter – allowing Wentz to recover from his rib injury and to absorb more of the playbook before stepping onto the field. Wentz is being drafted as a QB3 which is where he should be picked up as a new Philly offense has a lot of owners guessing, and not too favorably, as to how much offensive fireworks can actually be produced.

Doctson,Josh - WAS/WR: The potential filled WR from TCU was finally cleared Sunday to return to full practice following his Achilles struggles. Now, being a rookie he is far behind the curve concept wise but he is said to be a quick study. There are a lot of WRs in Washington for him to battle but just the fact he was cleared for practice kills the rumors that he was going to be placed on IR. Doctson will be a free agent in most non-keeper leagues but mark him in your queue because the high octane nature of Washington’s passing game could enable him to be a WR3 at some point this season.

Green,Virgil - DEN/TE: Green was announced as starting TE for the Broncos which was hardly a surprise but how effective can he be in the fantasy world? Especially with Trevor Siemian – relative unknown – lining up behind center? In five years, Green has caught 35 passes and two TDs which don’t exactly encourage owners to draft him. His specialty is blocking but with no Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis in front of him anymore, he has a chance to make a splash. I would consider him a TE3 but a weak one at that unless Denver pulls a trick out its offensive hat.

Player InjuryMcFadden,Darren - DAL/RB: Top Dallas backup RB McFadden was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list for a bad elbow (he broke it back in June) meaning he will miss at least the first six games of the season. Ezekiel Elliott was the unquestioned starter anyways but what this roster move means is Alfred Morris will probably play a much bigger role as the change of pace back, most likely near the goal line because of his burly size. Morris should be considered as an RB4 while McFadden is out.

Ware,Spencer - KC/RB: With Jamaal Charles questionable to start the first game or two of the season due to his torn ACL suffered last year, the Chiefs will lean on Ware who came up big last year in the same position. Charcandrick West will obviously play a role too but Ware is the goal line runner (i.e. TDs) and more consistent back compared to the more scatback talents of West. Ware must be prioritized as a handcuff for any of those owners who drafted Charles highly.

FYIHogan,Chris - NE/WR: After three solid years as a WR reserve in Buffalo, Hogan was signed by New England and might play a lot more than people think. Injuries have followed the top NE receivers – Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski – for years and without Brandon LaFell and Aaron Dobson, Hogan could find himself in a very productive position if the injury trend continues. He is a solid WR4/5 depending on your league’s format.

FYIGabriel,Taylor - ATL/WR: Gabriel was claimed on waivers by Atlanta after being released by Cleveland – his home for the last two years. Interestingly, his offensive coordinator in 2014 was Kyle Shanahan, the current Falcons offensive coordinator. Gabriel was a nice deep threat for Cleveland in 2014 when he caught 36 passes for 621 yards (17.3 YPR) which obviously wasn’t lost on Atlanta (and particularly Shanahan). The Falcons are a bit unsettled at WR after Julio Jones so even though he ranks 5th on their current depth chart, he is someone to keep an eye on for fantasy depth.

FYIKaepernick,Colin - SF/QB: Not too surprisingly, Kap lost out on San Francisco’s starting QB job to Blaine Gabbert but the betting line is in his favor to reclaim the starting position at some point in the early part of the season. SF has a killer 2016 schedule and let’s face it, does anyone think all of a sudden that Gabbert will be this top notch QB? Aside from the off the field news that Kap is involved with, it took much longer than anyone expected for him to recover from three surgeries, but he finally looked close to pre-injury form in SF’s last preseason game against San Diego. Don’t count out Kap yet, because he could be a solid QB2 before all is said and done in a Chip Kelly offense that plays to his strengths.

FYIHunter,Justin - MIA/WR: The once heralded young WR who was actually a hot fantasy prospect a few years back was finally given up on by Tennessee but correspondingly claimed on waivers by the Miami Dolphins. Before you consider picking him up on a whim for depth purposes, consider that he will be battling Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, Kenny Stills and rookies Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant for playing time, so in other words, look elsewhere for a diamond in the rough.

Notes prepared by Fantistics  Jasbir Singh


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9/03/2016

WR Kevin White CHI   White finally saw some meaningful action in the preseason finale. White who is expected to open the season as the Chicago Bears’ No. 2 wide receiver, played extensively in the first half, finishing with four receptions for a total of 57 yards. The 2015 7th overall draft selection, has the speed to run deep routes and is athletic enough to catch the ball in traffic, but will have to work on refining his route running. He'll benefit from a very favorable B rated Schedule with very favorable match-ups as well in playoff Weeks 15 and 16. Reasonable expectations would include 950 receiving yards and 7 TDs.  Late 9th round ADP, Wait for him to slide to you in the 10-11th. See more here

We are slowly getting a better idea of the Chiefs backfield situation as Jamaal Charles makes his comeback from an ACL injury last year.  Word out on Friday said that Charles hasn’t taken a hit yet and that he’s practicing with the reserves.  It appears more and more like he will either miss the week one contest or be limited in the game.  This bodes well for anyone who drafted Spencer Ware or anyone drafting this weekend.  Though he hasn’t been ruled out, the continued news about him being slowly eased back drops Charles a bit in the rankings...Teams continued trimming their roster on Friday as they work towards the final 53 spots.  While there weren’t any major names dropped yet, the weekend is sure to bring some out some talented players.  Of note on Friday, the Titans cut Bishop Sankey and Justin Hunter.  Hunter had some hype in recent seasons, but he failed to impress in the fantasy world.  If he lands in the right situation, Hunter has the size and athleticism to make an impact.  Cutting Hunter once again proves that the Titans are surprisingly comfortable with Rishard Matthews and rookie Tajae Sharpe as their top receiving options.  Both receivers are being underrated with some late round ADP’s.  Sharpe is going undrafted in many leagues, but he’s been moving up the Fantistics projections...The Broncos are reportedly shopping Ronnie Hillman as they try to make their final cuts.  With C.J. Anderson leading the backfield and rookie Devontae Booker backing him up, the Broncos can go without the services of Hillman.  Any team needing depth would be wise to take a look at Hillman who is young and capable of starting in the NFL...Jay Ajayi is capable of being a starter as well, but his preseason numbers didn’t show it.  The Dolphins are likely to lean a little heavier on Arian Foster to begin the season, but Ajayi could be the lead runner of this offense at some point this season...There are still plenty of battles going on for the rookie class, especially at the running back position.  Mike Gillislee passed the concussion protocol and he is set to rejoin action for Buffalo.  The Bills brought Reggie Bush in to backup LeSean McCoy, but Gillislee is the better option.  Keep an eye on this backfield as McCoy does represent someone with some injury risk...Rob Kelley has seen his stock rise with injuries to fellow rookie Keith Marshall and Matt Jones.  His strong preseason play (38 carries-198 yards) is likely to get him more regular season action.  Matt Jones remains questionable for week one because of a shoulder injury, so Kelley could see an increased role right out of the gate.  He’s worthy of a late round flier or of a waiver wire pickup...Jordan Howard displayed his talents on Thursday night rushing for 107 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.  Still battling with Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers, Howard’s final preseason game may be enough to earn him the second string position behind Jeremy Langford.  The Bears are also looking at a boost in their passing game this season as Kevin White is healthy heading into week one.  He caught four passes for 57 yards in the final game on Thursday.  White’s 11th round ADP still represents value for a guy that should be capable of producing WR3 numbers...The Browns are expected to keep rookie Rashard Higgins, though he will need a lot to go his way to prove any fantasy value...NYG rookie Paul Perkins isn’t expected to have much of an impact early in his rookie season, but should Rashad Jennings or Shane Vereen go down, Perkins will see his value rise...The Colts backfield behind Frank Gore is up in the air.  Rookie Josh Ferguson has failed to impress, but if he makes the final 53, he is worth a look in deep fantasy leagues as the 33-year old Gore will need some assistance.  Jeremy McGoldrick

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9/02/2016

RB Ryan Mathews PHI Despite only being involved in 21% of the snaps last season, Mathews still managed 680+ yards. With DeMarco and Kelly gone, Mathews should once again find himself as the featured back with upside in PPR leagues. Consider that he's only 2 seasons removed from his 1400 yard season of 2014. C+ Schedule with 8 favorable matchups projected and still one of the better lines in the league (B+).  Mid 6th round ADP, Target in late 5th or early in the 6th Round

Preseason Golden Nuggets:  The preseason games are in the books and we've released our preseason article highlighting the players that we're hot on this draft season. This is the same article where we recommended breakout players Devonta Freeman, David Johnson, Doug Martin, Jonathan Stewart, Allen Robinson, DeAndre Hopkins, Jordan Reed, and Tyler Eifert in 2015.  These golden nugget players have and will continue to be tagged in the our draft software (thumbs up or light bulb - see image below) and are ranked accordingly. In the late rounds when undecided between a group of players, we recommend selecting those players that we have tagged, as they are above the consensus and poised to exceed their ADP.

Jared Goff completed 6-of-16 passes for 67 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the final preseason game of 2016. The good news for this game is that Goff was that his tailbone injury was feeling well enough to play essentially what was a whole half of offense. There was a slight chance he could maybe propel himself into the starting role for the team with a big game but this performance did nothing to show that he deserves the starting job.... Colin Kaepernick had an excellent first half against the Chargers throwing for 103 yards on 11-of-16 passing along with 35 yards rushing on three carries. There’s a (small) chance with this game that Kaepernick may have done enough to win the starting job, as the 49ers were going to announce their starting QB after reviewing film from Thursday’s game..... Mack Brown may have just made the Redskins with his huge performance Thursday 149 yards on 19 carries with a score. With the injuries that have been stuck to the Redskins backfield it makes for an interesting proposition as to who will be the backups to Matt Jones will be. Keith Marshall was placed on the season end IR and Chris Thompson fits more into a third down role there could be some carries for his to go around..... DJ Foster had a huge game at running back for New England and he’s got a chance to be relevant in certain situations because of how New England treats the position. Foster had nine carries for 22 yards but his huge impact came in the receiving game with nine catches on ten targets for 110 yards, he did fumble the ball though..... Dorial Green-Beckham snagged both of his targets for 31 yards Thursday. Without sugar coating it, the Eagles receiving corp isn’t great after Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz so there’s a real chance that Green-Beckham could end up getting some target numbers this year. However, he may have had an even better situation in Tennessee with the unbelievable lack of WRs who could play last season. He’s hands down the best redzone threat at the WR position for the team so at the very worst he can be a tourney play in fantasy for DFS..... Terron Ward had a solid game for the Falcons in Thursday’s game and while he’s on a team with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, Ward did punch in two touchdowns for the Falcons. We saw Ward get action along the goaline at times last season but was rarely used between the 20s. If Freeman were to go down with any sort of injury, Ward could take over as the goaline back over Coleman despite Coleman having much more talent..... Derrick Henry finished his first preseason on a very strong note with seven carries for 62 yards and a score. Henry impressed just about everyone this preseason and he’s starting to rise up draft boards as his upside if something were to happen with Demarco Murray he’s become one of the best “handcuffs” in all of football. Our ADP has him as a 10th round currently but I don’t think there’s any way he lasts that long with how he finished his preseason up.... Bryce Petty suffered a shoulder injury Thursday and is going to have an MRI Friday to find out the extent of the injury. What this means for fantasy purposes, at least from the get go, is that Geno Smith is in all likelihood going to be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick.... Jimmy Graham is officially back at practice and he’s been labeled as a full go in practice. His status for week one though is still up in the air as he’s finishing healing from his knee injury last season. If Graham is fully healthy there’s no reason why talent wise he can’t finish in the top 10 at the position.... Roberto Agyuayo had a tough start to camp but finished strong hitting a pair of field goals Thursday including a 50 yard kick. After the talks of possibly being cut very early on, he really turned it around and makes for a solid kicker pic depending on the price..... John Brown is questionable for week one with lingering issues from a concussion that he suffered weeks ago. This is concerning for the Cardinals’ receiver that I wanted to draft the most based on his value. Brown excelled last season and at the same age in a Bruce Arians offense Antonio Brown took his leap towards stardom and I like John to take a leap as well..... The Vikings are reportedly looking in the QB market for more depth after the injury to Teddy Bridgewater and another quarterback on Thursday the team is in desperate need of a backup. The coaching staff seems happy enough with Shaun Hill as the starter because they say the asking prices for other available QBs in the league are extremely high..... Robert Griffin III finished 4-for-8 in his final preseason action and he turns his attention to week one where he will take a fun Cleveland offense out to play. He’s climbing up the QB ranks as he showed some serious upside with the plethora of weapons he’ll have come week five when Josh Gordon comes back from his suspension..... Paxton Lynch may have sealed Mark Sanchez’s fate with a good performance Thursday in the final preseason game. With Trevor Seimian being named the starter, Lynch should get the backup job with Sanchez then being on his way out of town. Lynch went 13-for-22 for 214 yards with a pair of scores and one pick. Lynch is the QB of the future and he’ll be starting at some point this season (in all likelihood).... Nate Solder left Thursday with an injury which could be a big blow to the Pats as Solder is one of the better tackle options in the NFL. The injury at this point is undisclosed so there’s no telling what it could be an how much time he could possibly miss, but it’s definitely not great to have him with the threat of missing any time......   Josh Sperry

 

9/01/2016

WR Eric Decker NYJ- Crushed it last season in weekly Head to Head leagues with 14 Quality Starts over his 15 Games (a Quality Start is a start where the player has exceeded the average Fantasy Point total at the position in a given week). Solid all around with 80/1027/12 TDs. TD count might be a little high but other numbers are sustainable as long as Fitz stays healthy. Most surprising is how late he's going in drafts this preseason. His mid 5th round ADP represents Value.


Thanks to a couple different tropical storms, the Washington Redskins matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was moved up to Wednesday night instead of Thursday night.  That meant we got to enjoy the final week of exhibition games a little early, although it wasn’t a particularly exciting game from the fantasy perspective.  With both teams resting their starters, the biggest storyline was the Redskins’ running game destroying the Bucs’ second-team defense.  Rookie running back Mack Brown finished the night with 149 rushing yards on 19 attempts (7.8 YPC) with a touchdown, while possible Week 1 starter Rob Kelley rushed for 99 yards on 16 carries....Elsewhere, ESPN’s Adam Teicher reported that Jamaal Charles is a little behind schedule in his recovery from his ACL injury and suggested that he might not have a full workload in Week 1...Teddy Bridgewater was officially placed on the injured reverse, ending his season, and that means Shaun Hill will get the first crack at the quarterback job in Minnesota this year...The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Tony Romo’s timetable to return is closer to 8-10 weeks rather than the 6-10 weeks that was originally reported...The Boston Herald suggested that running back Tyler Gaffney is at risk of being cut before the final 53-man roster is decided...Bruce Ellington was officially placed on the injured reserve list and will miss the entire season with a torn hamstring...Dolphins’ head coach Adam Gase called out Devante Parker for his frequent hamstring injuries and suggested that he needs to toughen up and play through some of the pain. Parker is #3 on the depth chart in Miami...Jimmy Graham practiced in full on Wednesday, but he’s still not expected to play in the team’s final pre-season game and his status for Week 1 is very much up-in-the-air.  - Fantistics @MichaelWaldo

September Special Note: With injuries and playing time situations changing, be sure to click on the WEB UPDATE icon in the upper right hand corner of the software to get the latest projections/rankings before you head to your draft! Updates today include ADP, Special Teams, and IDP.

 

Jamaal Charles (KC) - According to Kansas City Chiefs beat writer for ESPN, Adam Teicher, the team's top running back Jamaal Charles is "behind schedule" in his rehabilitation from an October 2015 ACL reconstructive surgery.  Teicher went on to say that "there was no setback, but Charles wasn't ready for the start of camp.  He hasn't regained the role - full time featured back - he had before last season's torn ACL".  Another interesting piece from the article was a quote from Charles where he mentioned that this ACL tear is different from the tear in his other knee a few years ago because he injured himself in the 5th game last season compared to the 2nd game in 2011.  The season following the first tear, Charles put up monstrous numbers that have caused many fantasy owners and analysts to have hope for a similar bounce back this year.  At this point, it doesn't seem like Charles is going to be ready to go out of the gates in full capacity for Week 1, meaning a repeat of a 2012-like season is unlikely. Nonetheless, no setbacks are positive thing and it just likely means we'll need to wait for Charles a little longer than anticipated.  I'm not inclined to drop him down the draft boards too much based on this current news, but it's definitely a hit.  With that said, consider the value hit to Charles to be about the same as the value hit to Le'veon Bell due to his 3 game suspension.  With a surgery that occurred 3 weeks later this time around compared to last time around, history would tell us that Week 4 might be the magic number where Charles looks more like himself. 

FYIPeyton Manning (FA) - In the aftermath of Teddy Bridgewater's gruesome injury, the rumors began swirling that the Vikings could have interest in wooing recently retired Peyton Manning to return to the NFL.  ProFootballTalk squashed those rumors on Twitter stating that "a source with knowledge of his plans says returning to play is not an option".  This never really was a possibility, so you can go ahead and drop Peyton Manning if you tried to get cute on your waiver wire yesterday.  Now, if Brett Favre is still available, that's a different story...

Shaun Hill (MIN) - Shaun Hill is expected to be the Vikings starting quarterback in Week 1.  Hill was with the team last season and made appearances in 3 games, but only attempted 7 passes.  In 2014, however, he started 9 games for the Rams, completing 63.3% of his passes, but posting an ugly 8:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  This news is devastating for the offensive prospects (and defensive) of the Vikings this season.  Logically, one would expect Adrian Peterson to see an uptick of carries, but without a legitimate passing threat at quarterback, opposing defenses will likely just stack the box against him.  Expect to see the Vikings shop around for a better back-up quarterback in the coming days. 

Player InjuryBruce Ellington (SF) - The 49ers officially placed wide receiver Bruce Ellington on injured reserve with a torn hamstring on Tuesday.  Ellington was gaining a lot of momentum as Chip Kelly's "gadget" player this pre-season and was primed to be a potential breakout candidate.  The loss of Ellington leaves a lot of question marks for San Francisco's receiving corp and with a struggling Blaine Gabbert starting at quarterback in Week 1, it's really difficult to see Kelly replicating his first-year success in his first year with the Niners.  Carlos Hyde should see a lot of usage, at least when he's able to stay on the field. 

FYIDevante Parker (MIA) - We already saw Devante Parker fall behind Kenny Stills on the Dolphins' depth chart and now it sounds like Miami's coach Adam Gase is getting irritated with his talented 2015 2nd-round pick.  Parker missed the first few weeks of camp with a hamstring injury and again left Monday's practice with another hamstring injury.  Gase told the media "sometimes it takes some guys more time to learn more than others.  Eventually....he will know how to push through certain kind of pain".  Buried in that conversation was also a comparison Gase made between Parker and Demaryius Thomas, eluding that both wide receivers are a little soft.  While Parker was considered an elite talent coming out of last year's draft, it's important to remember that he was drafted by the old regime.  This is Gase's first year in Miami and it certainly seems like he and Parker are not seeing eye-to-eye right now.  With Jarvis Landry commanding a large percentage of the targets from Ryan Tannehill, that doesn't leave a whole lot for Kenny Stills, Devante Parker, Jordan Cameron and Arian Foster out of the backfield.  Parker is a high risk 4th-5th rounder right now. 

Player InjuryKeith Marshall (WAS) - Rookie running back Keith Marshall was placed on injured reserve by the Redskins on Tuesday, effectively ending his season before it even began.  If that move seems drastic, it's probably because it was a little unexpected since his original timetable to return from his sprained elbow was just 3 weeks.  Nonetheless, UDFA Rob Kelley outplayed the 7th round pick this pre-season and Kelley will now assume primary back-up duties to Matt Jones.  Depending on Jones' recovery over the next 10 days, Kelley could be in line to start for Week 1, although his overall upside is limited.  Marshall is still an interesting name to stash, if you have IR spots in your dynasty league, as his athleticism is off the charts, but after dealing with injuries through college (which allowed Todd Gurley to pass him on the collegiate depth chart), he's no sure thing to ever make an impact at the NFL level. 

FYIColin Kaepernick (SF) - Multiple outlets have reported that Colin Kaepernick is on his final days with the 49ers after he refused to acknowledge the National Anthem before last weekend's Week 3 Pre-season contest.  Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman took that news story even further by suggesting that Kaepernick may never play another down in the NFL.  According to Freeman, seven front office members from various teams all agreed that they have no interest in signing the quarterback.  For all intents and purposes, Kaepernick can probably be safely dropped in your fantasy league.

Player InjuryJohn Brown (AZ) - John Brown was cleared from the concussion protocol and would be ready for the team's 4th preseason game tonight, although it isn't expected that he will play. As long as he's still good to go by Week 1, there really shouldn't be much of a concern moving forward.  There's a lot of mouths to feed in Arizona, but Brown could easily rise to the top of the bunch by the end of the season.  He remains a high upside pick at his current ADP. 

FYIRishard Matthews (TEN) - Thanks to an injury to Kendall Wright and the trade of Dorial Green-Beckham, Rishard Matthews will likely be starting opposite of Tajai Sharpe in Week 1 for the Titans.  At Fantistics, we're bullish on Marcus Mariota taking another step forward this year and while most of that production will be headed the way of Delanie Walker, Rishard is a nice sleeper pick to take at the end of your deeper drafts. 

FYITyler Gaffney (NE) - One of the pre-season darling's over the last week, Tyler Gaffney might not even make the Patriots' final 53-man roster according to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe.  Howe cited Gaffney's similar skillset to LeGarrette Blount and the potential for the Patriots to look for added depth (at all positions) on the waiver wire as potential reasons Gaffney wouldn't make the cut.  That type of move would certainly be surprising since Gaffney has been getting a lot of extra work with the first-team offense in recent weeks and was the team's primary running back in last week's dress rehearsal.  Then again, we all know Bill Belichick's opinion about Week 3 not actually being considered a true game preparation experience. Nonetheless, we probably won't know the outcome of this situation until closer to next weekend, but with New England's backfield, you're usually better off blindfolding yourself and playing pin the tail on the donkey.   

FYIMack Brown (WAS) – One day after placing Keith Marshall on injured reserve, the Redskins showed off another rookie running back in Mack Brown.  Brown tore apart the Bucs’ second-team defensive line and finished the night with 149 rushing yards on 19 attempts (7.8 YPC) with a touchdown.  On his 60 yard run, he showed off great accelerating and caused a lot of the defenders to miss tackles.  Brown was on the roster bubble heading into this game, so it remains to be seen if he did enough to make the squad, but he certainly made a strong case last night. 

Rob Kelley (WAS) – Playing in the 4th pre-season game despite possibly being the team’s Week 1 starter, Rob Kelley finished the night going for 99 yards on 16 carries.  Kelley ended the pre-season with 198 yards on 38 carries and continues to be overlooked late in drafts.  He absolutely deserves to be picked as one of your team’s last picks, especially because it’s no sure thing that Matt Jones will be ready to return from his AC sprain when first eligible. 

Player InjuryTony Romo (DAL) – Fantasy owners who have been getting cute by drafting Tony Romo might be a little disappointed to hear that the Dallas Morning News is reporting that Romo will most likely be out 8-10 weeks as opposed to 6-10, as originally reported.  Romo has historically been a slow healer and depending on the success of Dak Prescott in his absence, it’s possible he never actually regains his job this season. 

Player InjuryJimmy Graham (SEA) -  Jimmy Graham practiced in full on Wednesday, but is not expected to play in the Seahawks finals pre-season game.  Graham is recovery from surgery to his patellar tendon, an injury that is notoriously difficult to make a full recovery.  Nonetheless, there’s been a lot of positive buzz surrounding him and it’s in the realm of possibility that his 10th round ADP will look silly by the end of the season.  Personally, I’m still worried about how the Seahawks will design their offense to include Graham, so I’m not eager to overpay above and beyond where he’s currently going in drafts. 
 

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8/31/2016

Draft Value: Rashad Jennings (Current Blended ADP: 9th Round)

Positives: After being stuck in a timeshare for most of 2015, the Giants finally gave Rashad Jennings a chance to prove what he could do with a full workload in Weeks 14-17 last year.  Jennings made the most of his opportunity, rushing for 432 yards with an excellent 5.5 YPC mark along with 2 touchdowns.  Giants running back coach Craig Johnson has already been quoted early this pre-season saying that "if you have a couple of guys playing a lot, then a spare guy, that's the best way to go" when referring to running back usage.  That would certainly indicate usage similar to the general utilization of running backs around the NFL today with one back handling the early down work and another handling passing down situations.  For Jennings, he would most likely fit into the mold of the early down back with Shane Vereen being the passing down guy.

Negatives:  While the Giants do have a new head coach, they replaced him with their former offense coordinator (2014-2015) Ben McAdoo.  McAdoo was largely responsible for the running back by-committee mess that happened in 2015, so some of the optimism surrounding Jennings being a 2-down back should be tempered since the team is littered with other running back options.  In addition to Jennings and Vereen, they also have the perpetually over-hyped Andre Williams and the rookie Paul Perkins.  The other issue with Jennings is the fact that he's never handled a large workload and his 224 total touches from 2016 were actually the highest of his 6-year career.  Since he has always played the role of a complementary back, there are questions about his durability over an entire season and his conditioning throughout an entire game. 

Final Say:  If the reports are true and the Giants are moving away from the running back-by-committee approach, Rashad Jennings will easily be one of the biggest draft day values for your fantasy roster.  Even with Shane Vereen rotating in on passing downs, Jennings could realistically see 15-20 carries per game, which would be more than enough for him to return value at his ADP.  He's not going to break out like Devontae Freeman and give you first round numbers, but he's definitely a target on your zero-RB wish list and definitely has a higher ceiling than most of the other owners in your room probably think.  Don't sleep on him.    - Michael Waldo

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Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

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A Look at ADP by Kyle Elfrink

We’re into the final stretch of draft season and for a good portion of us, drafts taking place over the upcoming 7-10 days might be termed the ‘most important.’  With that in mind it is time to take a look at many of the names that I consider to be either ‘overvalued’ or ‘undervalued’ based off of their current NFFC ADP.

A couple of notes on this ...

·         To be ‘Undervalued,’ you must be outside the top 100 overall.

·         To be ‘Overvalued’ you must be inside the top 100 overall.

·         There are numerous players who have incredibly low ADPs, such as Tennessee wide receiver, Tajae Sharpe (89th at WR, 289th overall), that I will not list as undervalued.  For many of these players, their still-buried ADP is because a majority of the drafts that affect the ADP number have taken place before mid-August.  Thus, for a guy like Sharpe, his popularity gain as he makes a push to start for the Titans has increased his average cost since June, but it hasn’t increased it enough to give a true reflection of where he is currently landing in drafts.  Although Sharpe may have an ADP of #289, he probably will be selected within the top 120 of your particular draft.

·         There’s a similar statement to be made about those that could have landed in the overvalued section.  If you’re, say, Tony Romo (18th at QB, 115th overall) and you’re set to be sidelined for the first 6-8 weeks because of injury, your ADP has yet to catch up to the news.  Romo should go undrafted in nearly every league now after getting selected in nearly every single league before his back injury.

·         Understand that being undervalued does not mean that you should be selecting a certain player 3-4 rounds ahead of his current spot.  For each player on my list (for the overvalued, as well), I’ve provided a recommended, rough slotting for the player.

Undervalued

Tevin Coleman (42nd at RB, 130th overall)

In each of Atlanta’s three preseason games Coleman has been just as involved as the presumed starter, Devonta Freeman.  In and of itself that should not carry much shock value.  After all, it’s the preseason and the number-2 guy usually sees as much, if not more, work as the lead man.  But, here’s the difference with Coleman and Freeman.  Their equal share has come in the first quarter and both have been used within the same drive.  Atlanta is showing us that this situation has not changed much from where it stood 12 months ago.  Back then, Coleman was seen as the best bet for carries in the Falcons’ backfield, with Freeman a close second.  Of course, we all know that Coleman came up lame while Freeman proceeded to go crazy with a massive first-half of the season.  But, Atlanta coaches are still enamored with Coleman’s ability to make things happen.  In fact, they think he’s a more likely ‘big play’ candidate than is Freeman.  Both will see equal work to begin the season.  Coleman could take off and lock down the job with a powerful start coupled with a struggle from Freeman. 

A good spot to draft him ... around #30 at the RB spot; an excellent RB4

Andre Johnson (118th at WR, 355th overall)

Is Johnson old?  Yes.  Was his 2015 with Indianapolis a massive let-down?  You bet.  Is he even a guy that has a chance at 70 catches, 800 yards, and a half-dozen scores?  Well ... maybe.  And, at this low-ball cost, why not make room for him as the 6th WR on your fantasy roster.  He has a fairly decent chance to earn snaps with the Titans ever-depressing receiving options.  We know he’s a strong route runner who knows the tricks and has loads of experience that the rest of the Tennessee pass catchers can only dream of.  Don’t be surprised if Marcus Mariota uses him as a bail-out option because there’s got to be trust in a guy with this much background of getting it done.  Johnson WILL NOT turn back the clock to his glorious Houston days, but he’s absolutely worth a random flier near the finish line of your selection party.

A good spot to draft him ... as your 6th fantasy WR, around the 75th WR off the board.  Works best in leagues of at least 12 teams with three starting WR spots each week.

Christine Michael (74th at RB, 271st overall)

Michael has been a constant tease for three years now.  After a brief pit stop in Dallas last year, Michael is back for yet another go-around in Seattle.  The largest difference this time is that there’s a giant vacuum in the Seahawk backfield now that Marshawn Lynch is professing retirement.  Thomas Rawls (15th at RB, 50th overall) has been a spectator for a great deal of training camp while he battles back from a severe ankle injury.  In a perfect world, Seattle wants Rawls as their man, but I don’t think they’ll find him suitable.  He’s inexperienced, doesn’t seem to have another gear in him, and has missed a critical offseason and preseason of needed development.  Meanwhile, raves about Michael have come out of the Pac Northwest since July turned to August.  Much of that has centered on his improved focus, but his preseason work backs up the assessment.  Over the course of 24 carries, he’s averaged 6.5 yards per carry.  That has earned him a September shot.  It’s not so much that I believe Michael is a talented, future star.  I just feel that the opportunity is prime and the cost is almost stupid-low.

A good spot to draft him ... Michael needs to be around the 35th spot among all NFL runners.  Don’t be surprised to see Rawls’ at less-than-100% for the first month of the season.  And, that means the door is swinging wide for Michael to make good on perhaps his final NFL shot.

Bilal Powell (44th at RB, 150th overall)

Even before Matt Forte (14th at RB, 44th overall) missed nearly all of training camp with a hamstring injury, Powell was expected to be a strong back-up option.  As of now, you have to feel even better about such an opinion.  Powell is an excellent PPR-chip to use in your FLEX play during bye weeks.  Fifty catches should be the target for this season and he could even see some of the goal line chances that used to be the ownership of the now-departed, Chris Ivory.  Powell can’t be pushed much higher than his current spot, but if you take a stab on the limping Forte in the 4th round, then you should make every effort to hunt down Powell near the 8th round or so.

A good spot to draft him ... Again, Forte owners should push him inside the top-100 overall.  For all others, he makes for a perfect RB5 around the 120s.

Julius Thomas (10th at TE, 104th overall)

For at least the past two preseasons, I’ve had to warn people off from Thomas.  He was an injury-prone, TD-dependent tight end that was running at an extreme cost.  So, what has now changed my tune?  Simple as pie.  Cost, and nothing else.  The Jag is still injury-prone.  And, he’s still hugely TD-dependent.  But, instead of having to invest a top 60 pick, you now only have to tip your toe in outside the top-100.  Finally, the cost and expectations have leveled out.  I’m very suspicious of ever investing in high-end TEs, so a guy like Thomas works for me.  Not only is my investment cheap, but he could easily rack up eight scores, 700 yards, and 70 catches.  And, things have a chance of being even better in the improving Jacksonville offense.  If you wait on the position like me, then there you’ll struggle to find a single better upside pick at this position.

A good spot to draft him ... Exactly where he’s going.  Don’t let people know that you’re interested, but as soon as seven or eight tight end’s have left the board, think about striking soon.  That exact spot will be different from league-to-league depending on how the position is treated in your set-up.

Jameis Winston (15th at QB, 105th overall)

I was not keen on Winston as a QB2 last season and he ended up being solidly inside that spot.  In fact, his first go-around has got to be considered a fantasy success in almost every respect (remember, we don’t care about team wins).  He was over 4,000 passing yards.  He also totaled 28 touchdowns and played every game.  Naturally, some progress should hit.  I’d pencil him in for another 4K on the yardage and the TDs could hit 30.  Of course, his ability to affect the game with his legs is another huge plus. 

A good spot to draft him ... I would not be willing to call out his name within the top 10 at the quarterback spot, but I wouldn’t sweat you if you take the plunge any time after that.  The key part of such a plan is that you back him up with another, veteran QB soon thereafter (in the next 2-3 rounds).  Guys like Matthew Stafford, Andy Dalton, or Philip Rivers, make for perfect support to Winston.

Overvalued

Tyler Eifert (7th at TE, 88th overall)

It’s pretty simplistic.  Eifert has a hugely unsustainable TD rate from a year ago (13 scores on 52 catches?!), he does very little unless he’s crossing the goal line (two games with more than 70 yards and only three games with more than four catches), and ... he’s hurt.  And, his ankle is jacked up enough so that he’s missed all of the preseason and could miss all of September ... at least.  There’s a chance we don’t see Eifert until mid-October.  There’s no chance you’ll see him on my draft board.

A good spot to draft him ... I would never take the dive.  He’s nothing more than a waiver grab once we have a return date.

Devonta Freeman (6th at RB, 18th overall)

I won’t bore you with further specifics because I’ve hit upon my issues with Freeman up above when talking about Coleman.  There’s no way that I would feel comfortable starting Freeman in Week 1 of the season.  Just try and find another guy inside even the top-40 overall that you would say that about.  Freeman’s usage will be upsetting to those who buy last year’s numbers ... or, last year’s first half.  In his final seven games of ’15, Freeman averaged barely more than three yards per attempt.  Also, nine of his 11 total rushing touchdowns came in the first eight games of last season.  In other words, he’s a classic example of the epic fade.

A good spot to draft him ... Personally, I don’t even want to deal with the 3rd-year player because I don’t know how Atlanta will truly use him.  I’d let him slide all the way outside the top-15 at the RB position.

Jordy Nelson (10th at WR, 17th overall)

Nelson has been an incredibly productive wide out when he’s playing.  He’s produced not only three, one-thousand yard receiving seasons, but all three of them were actually years in which he went over 1,200 yards.  He’s also tacked on some massive TD totals ... 43 in his past 60 NFL games.  But, he’s now over 30 and coming off an ACL tear.  Complicating matters is that he has been dealing with tendinitis in his other knee since the start of camp.  In other words, this shows every indication of a guy over-compensating for his first knee injury.  I think he can still get over a thousand and score double-digits.  But, there’s also a fairly decent chance he misses yet more time with nagging things this year.  I’d put the chances of that near-30%.  He’s a talent no doubt, but this cost is high-end.

A good spot to draft him ... I often try to avoid guys who are injured and banged-up before the season even begins.  A vast majority of the time, things don’t better.  I’d only be interested in Nelson outside the top-30 overall.

Cam Newton (1st at QB, 39th overall)

Ah, the great Cam.  I have a strong expectation that he will never top what he did last season.  Not only did the Panthers make it to the Super Bowl while winning 17 total games, but Newton turned in a 45 touchdown season.  Ten of those were courtesy of his running.  The entire history of the NFL says that CANNOT be repeated.  Take a look down the line.  Big rushing seasons from QBs like Michael Vick, Randall Cunningham, and Daunte Culpepper are never repeated.  The odds just work against them.  Newton is still a superior talent, but as a passer, he doesn’t do much for me.  In a league where everyone seems to be connecting on at least 63% of their passes, Newton has never hit 62% and was under 60% last season!  He also hasn’t crossed the 4,000 yard passing barrier once in the past four years.  Matt Ryan (17th at QB, 115th overall) has been over 4,150 in each of the last five seasons.  I, obviously, still think that Newton is a QB1, but his incredible 2015 is suddenly being treated as ‘repeatable.’  It’s not.

A good spot to draft him ... Outside the top-3 at QB.  I like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck more.  I could even make an argument for Russell Wilson over Newton.

Jordan Reed (2nd at TE, 38th overall)

Reed was a monster at the end of last season.  From weeks 14-17, Reed reeled in a total of 29 catches for 378 yards and five touchdowns.  The key?  Well, he certainly was seeing eye-to-eye with his new quarterback, Kirk Cousins, but he also was healthy.  Don’t smirk.  Reed’s health has been an on-going concern since he arrived in the league in 2013.  The biggest of his issues have been ever-occurring concussions.  He’s suffered numerous head injuries over the years and, literally, the next one would be grounds for a long sit-down.  Last year was the first time he’s topped 11 games and he still didn’t play a full season (14).  Essentially, you’re talking about one of the biggest injury risks of any elite-level player.  The talent screams, but the high possibility of multiple missed games is louder for me.

A good spot to draft him ... Ignoring all injury concerns, Reed is nearly a unanimous 2nd tight end off the board.  So, yeah, I’ll never get him and neither will you unless you agree to pay the Tiffany-like price.  I’d get interested if he were the 5th tight end off the board, but that isn’t happening.

You can hear Kyle each weeknight on ‘The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive’ from 8-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.

Software Tips for our New Subscribers: Our Player Projections software comes Draft Ready. If you are planning on using the software during your draft (instead of printing out our customized cheat sheet), all you need to do is enter in your league specific rules in the Setup area (Finish button to save). Then Start drafting by right mouse clicking on any player name to select that player to a team.  Use the Top 100 VAM to guide you during the draft, the highest listed players offer the most value based on our winning draft strategy concept. If you play in an auction style draft, click here for our setup recommendation.  As always, just in case, print out our customized cheat sheet before your draft.  Please see the Help section in the software or scoring Setup for more tips and explanations on using the software.

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8/30/2016

WR Allen Robinson High Volume, High Output. Robinson was targeted with 25% of 607 passes thrown by the Jags last season, which is going to be difficult to exceed in 2016. However the Jags defense, although improved, is still going to have the Jags in pass first mode in 2016. His 2.01 Fantasy Points per Attempt is elite, as is his 17.5 YPR average. Room for improvement? Sure, his 53% reception rate could be better. 12 out of 16 Quality Starts last season, makes him very reliable in head to head formats. The 50% Red Zone success rate is also an indication of dominance. He's going for a premium in NFFC leagues at 10th overall, but he's sliding in CBS drafts to 21st overall, making him a value heading into the 2016 campaign.


For the first time since returning from the PUP list wide receiver Jordy Nelson (ACL) was a full participant in practice for Green Bay on Monday.  Nelson appears to be ready to go for Week 1 and should be locked in as a second-round wide receiver in any remaining drafts...Julio Jones (ankle) missed his second straight practice on Monday after injuring himself in Thursday’s preseason tilt. It doesn’t appear to be too serious, but owners should monitor his status for Week 1’s matchup with the Bucs...Even though he’s made it through the league’s concussion protocol Arizona wide receiver John Brown is still experiencing headaches. He could still be cleared in time to get some action in the team’s final preseason game Thursday, but Week 1 return seems to be more realistic...The Dolphins had a pair of wide receivers go down with injuries during Monday’s practice. Devante Parker (hamstring) got tangled up with a teammate, but his injury doesn’t appear to be serious. Meanwhile, Kenny Stills (undisclosed) suffered what appears to be a lower-back injury after pulling up running a route. He will re-evaluated on Tuesday...Gary Kubiak has named Trevor Siemian as the starting quarterback in Denver. The team appears to be set to also have rookie Paxton Lynch serve the primary backup as he will play the entire fourth preseason game...The Broncos have also contacted the Cowboys to gage their interest in veteran quarterback Mark Sanchez now that Tony Romo (back) is sidelined, according to NFL Network’s Jane Slater.  Dallas reportedly isn’t willing to take on Sanchez at his currently salary so he’d have to take a pay cut to facilitate any deal...The Chargers finally signed No. 3 overall pick defensive end Joey Bosa to a four-year, $26 million contract on Monday.  Dan Clasgens.

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IdeaLamar Miller

There is plenty to like about running back Lamar Miller in his new home in Houston. For starters, Bill O’Brein likes to run the football.  Miller has plenty of speed and has shown to be effective as a receiver, catching 83 percent of the balls thrown his way a year ago. The big question that remains is can he handle the full workload over the course of the season? He’s only averaged 13 carries per game over the past two seasons in Miami, which is six fewer carries than Arian Foster averaged per contest for the Texans during that span.

FYIAndrew Luck

Last season was a wasted one mostly in the Indianapolis offense, especially once Andrew Luck was shut down with injuries. However, even before the injuries Luck played poorly a year ago. He completed a league-low 55 percent of his passes and averaged nearly two interceptions per contests. The Colts’ offensive line didn’t do him any favors either as he was hit on 118 pass plays, which was the second-worst mark in the NFL in 2015.

IdeaPhillip Dorsett

After a disappointing rookie campaign in 2015, former first-round pick Phillip Dorsett could be primed for a breakout in 2016. Similar to teammate T.Y. Hilton, Dorsett is a burner. He’s even faster than Hilton though, clocking a 4.33 at the combine. He averaged 24.2 yards per catch and scored 10 touchdowns in his final year of college action at Miami.

IdeaAllen Robinson

Allen Robinson has emerged as an elite WR1 fantasy option after a 2015 season that saw him pull in 80 balls for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns, including a league-best 10 TD catches inside the 10-yard line. He doesn’t see many short dump offs, so he probably won’t ever be a 100-catch guy, but he’s a strong candidate to finish in the top 10 in receiving yards and touchdowns again in 2016 

IdeaJulius Thomas

The first year in Jacksonville was not a good one for tight end Julius Thomas. After missing time early in the year with injuries, Thomas got off to a rough start upon his return. He led all tight ends with seven drops, struggled in the red zone and didn’t have much success getting open downfield as he only averaged 9.9 yards per catch. Now healthy and a year into the system, Thomas should improve enough to serve as a low-end TE1 in the season ahead for fantasy owners.

FYIDemarco Murray

Despite a terrible season in Philadelphia last year, fantasy owners shouldn’t forget that Demarco Murray rushed for 2,966 yards during his final two years in Dallas with 23 touchdowns in 30 contests during that span. He’s great in short-yardage situations too. Over the last three years only three running backs have been better at converting when needing a 1-yard or less to score or keep a drive alive than Murray.

Rishard Matthews

Rishard Matthews has emerged as the No. 1 wide receiver on the Titans’ depth chart after signing as a free agent earlier this offseason. Matthews has nice size and know how to use that size to get open. Last year in Miami, he caught over 70 percent of the passes thrown his way. Overall, he averaged 10.9 yards per target which was the second-best mark in the league. His current 17.08 ADP could prove to be the best value at the position this offseason.

Player InjuryJ.J. Watt

Defensive lineman J.J. Watt (back) still has a shot to play in Week 1 versus Chicago, per head coach Bill O’Brien. It would be a big boost for the Texans and a much-better prognosis than the Pro Bowler was originally given. The Bears provide a very favorable match-up for those that invest in Watt and are able to play him in the season opener.

Player InjuryMatt Jones

There appears to still be some optimism that running back Matt Jones (shoulder) will be ready for Week 1. Redskins’ head coach Jay Gruden is "progressing nicely”. The lack of depth at running back in Washington is eye opening and with the news of rookie running back Keith Marshall suffering an elbow injury, it is getting even thinner. Though he has plenty to prove, Jones has a fair amount of job security which makes him a decent value RB2 once he’s healthy. 

Player InjuryKendall Wright

Tennessee wide receiver Kendall Wright re-strained his hamstring at Monday's practice and has been ruled out of Thursday’s preseason finale. Wright is poised to be the Titans’ No. 3 receiver once he can get healthy. However, hamstrings can be an injury that lingers and given at best he appears to be the fourth option in an offense that is expected to go run heavy owners may be better off to avoid rolling the dice on the veteran.

Zach Miller

The Bears welcomed Zach Miller (head) back to the practice field on Monday after he finally cleared the league’s concussion protocol. Miller has a long injury history, but if the 31-year old tight end can stay healthy he could provide some nice value with the starting job in Chicago. Fantistics is projecting the veteran to catch 53 passes for 659 yards and seven touchdowns.

FYIAndre Ellington

Though he appears to be buried on the Cardinals’ depth chart at running back, Andre Ellington could still be worth a grab in deeper leagues. Ellington tallied 25 yards rushing and caught three of his six targets for 20 yards. He also contributed 76 yards on returns during Sunday's exhibition versus Houston.

FYIColin Kapernick

There appears to be a very "realistic possibility" the 49ers put Colin Kaepernick "on ice" for all of the 2016 season, according to TheMMQB.com’s Albert Breer.  The Redskins did something similar with RGIII to avoid the possibility of him getting severely injured and kicking in a ton of guaranteed money. The team could save $16.9 million against the cap next year if they designate him a post-June 1 cut. The situation continues to grow dark around San Fran’s former starting quarterback.

James Jones

The Chargers released veteran James Jones on Monday. He signed with the team four weeks ago after they lost Stevie Johnson to a season-ending injury. Jones never got it going in San Diego and at 32 he may not get another shot in the league. Tyrell Williams has emerged as the No. 3 wide receiver for the Chargers.

Notes prepared by Fantistics    Dan Clasgens.

Software Tips for our New Subscribers: Our Player Projections software comes Draft Ready. If you are planning on using the software during your draft (instead of printing out our customized cheat sheet), all you need to do is enter in your league specific rules in the Setup area (Finish button to save). Then Start drafting by right mouse clicking on any player name to select that player to a team.  Use the Top 100 VAM to guide you during the draft, the highest listed players offer the most value based on our winning draft strategy concept. If you play in an auction style draft, click here for our setup recommendation.  As always, just in case, print out our customized cheat sheet before your draft.  Please see the Help section in the software or scoring Setup for more tips and explanations on using the software.

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8/29/2016

Moving to a run first offense, should enable RB Lamar Miller to exceed the 194 carries and 61% of snaps in 2015. For a back who has averaged 5.1 and 4.5 YPC the last 2 years, his offensive line is considerably better (B grade) and Schedule (C+) is above average this season. With little competition behind him he's also a good bet to once again see double digit TDs, as he showed a very good propensity to find the end zone last year with a superior 32% Red Zone success rate.

In Sunday preseason action, Brock Osweiler did what he was signed in the offseason to do – successfully lead the Texans offense – as he threw 11 of 13 for 146 yards, one TD and zero INTs against Arizona.  The statuesque QB, who is being drafted usually as a low end QB2 in most leagues, has had his ups and downs through the first three games of the preseason but his first half Sunday was his strongest claim to the QB throne.  He started the game by engineering a quick drive that resulted in a short Lamar Miller TD plunge and ended by throwing a 26 yard TD pass to rookie WR Will Fuller late in the second quarter.  Miller will be the foundation of this offense and can be an early round steal while Fuller (three catches for 67 yards) is slowly making his way up draft boards based on his big preseason performances.  He will have to fight a few veterans to get onto the field consistently, but his big play ability is emerging rapidly.  Carson Palmer had a forgettable first half (continuing his spotty preseason) – throwing two picks and getting banged up – can you say NFC Championship hangover?  Top 5 fantasy RB David Johnson rushed six times for 28 yards and one TD while his primary backup Chris Johnson rushed seven times for 24 yards.  SD RB Melvin Gordon finally looked like the stud he was at Wisconsin as he gained 51 yards and one TD on four carries against Minnesota.  Gordon is coming off microfracture surgery and is being selected in the mid rounds in most drafts as owners are justifiably cautious.  This game however might increase his value.  Teddy Bridgewater also had a strong game, throwing 12 of 16 for 161 yards, one TD and zero INTs while rushing twice for 21 yards against San Diego.  Even so, because of his disappointing 2015, he is being drafted usually as a low QB2.  Surprising 2015 WR Stephon Diggs caught five passes for 71 yards while under looked TE Kyle Rudolph caught three passes for 56 yards and one TD.  Top 10 fantasy QB Blake Bortles had big issues against Cincinnati’s first string defense Sunday night as he struggled mightily, throwing 10 of 16 for 52 yards, zero TDs and INTs.  TJ Yeldon outperformed Chris Ivory as the former Crimson Tide star rushed five times for 34 yards while Ivory rushed four times for four yards.  Cincinnati was paced by a strong start on both sides of the ball – led offensively by Jeremy Hill’s 21 rushing yards and one TD and Gio Bernard’s combined 52 combines rushing/receiving yards and one TD.  Although he only caught one pass for nine yards, the team has raved about rookie WR Tyler Boyd who already looks like he belongs.  Without Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones in Cincy anymore, he makes for a great sleeper in the very late rounds of any draft.  AJ Green tweaked his right knee during the game but the team assured the media that it wasn’t serious.   Jasbir Singh

Other Rookie Observations from Sunday Week 3: The Texans 4th round RB Ervin Tyler came in right behind Miller on Sunday, and ran for 13 yards on 2 carries and also had a 20 yard reception. Miller appears as close to a bellcow as we can expect these days, but Tyler will get about 25% of the snaps. The Texans first round selection WR Will Fuller continued to play well catching 3 of his 4 targets for 67 yards and a TD. He's going to have his drops, but he looks explosive after he catches the ball. The Vikings first round selection WR Laquon Treadwell made good on his sole week 3 target. So far through 3 preseason games he's 5 for 10 on his targets, with an unexciting 56 total yards. Sure he's worth a flyer in deeper leagues, but I just don't sense the Vikings utilizing him enough to be a consistent fantasy producer this season.  - Anthony A. Perri

 

 

8/28/2016

Rookie RB Derrick Henry – Coming into the 2016 NFL draft, Derrick Henry was one of the most highly touted backs in his class.  At 6’3’’ and 247 pounds, Derrick Henry is an extremely large player for his position (think Brandon Jacobs), but he possesses elite speed which is rare for a running back that large.  A physical back (obviously), Henry can break tackles with ease, but he also has good field vision and has the patience to pummel a hole once it opens up on his line.  Unfortunately, he landed in Tennessee where the Titans also traded for DeMarco Murray. Henry added another preseason touchdown Saturday night and continues to impress us. He finished 12/49 (4.1 YPC). This is looking like a 2/1 Murray/Henry set split to start the season. If that split sticks for the entire season, his current 10th round ADP, is going to be a premium.


In Saturday Night's preseason action,  Broncos rookie RB Devontae Booker finished with a disappointing 13 yards on 8 carries, but he did scamper 17 yards on 1 reception. CJ Anderson is safe to see a bulk of the touches to start the season. The Bears Rookie RB Jordan Howard only gained 8 yards on his 4 carries. Jeremy Langford is also safe to see a bulk of the load to start the season. Ravens rookie RB Kenneth Dixon was on track to once again impress us in preseason Game 3, running for 41 yards on 6 carries (6.8 YPC). However a goal line hit and resulting knee injury may sidetrack his season. Its a shame as he was a player we thought could take over as the bell cow back sooner rather than later. MRI results pending. Raiders rookie RB DeAndre Washington also looked strong in week 3, running for 55 yards on 8 carries (6.9 YPC). Most of that total came on a 31 yard scamper, but he did fumble the ball on a pass play thanks to a vicious hit. Latavius Murray is legit, but so is Washington. Murray will be looking over his shoulder for most of the season. QB Paxton Lynch struggled on Saturday Night going 6/13 for 57 yards. QB Jared Goff didn't fare much better, going 4/12 45 yards. Both of these QBs are a work in progress and will not open the season as starters. Rookie WR Tajae Sharpe had a 60 yard hookup early Saturday night to set up a Titans touchdown. Sharpe is slowing becoming the most interesting rookie wideout in the entire class of 2016. We found on Saturday that Romo is going to be sidelined with a broken bone in his back (6-10 weeks). Romo is now  undraftable and Dak Prescott becomes a really interesting late round pick depending on your draft strategy.

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Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

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QB Tony Romo
- The word of Romo having a broken bone in his back, has the fantasy landscape in a frenzy. It is still hard to tell when we should respect Romo to be back on the field for the Cowboys (6-10 weeks) all we know now is, it’s time to take action. Romo is now currently undraftable and Dak Prescott becomes a really interesting late round pick depending on your draft strategy.

WR Tajae Sharpe - Many of you may have never heard of Tajae Sharpe until recently, let me tell you the man can flat out ball. Sharpe had 111 receptions at UMass a year ago for 1,319 yards and five touchdowns. The rookie wideout already looks to have great chemistry with Marcus Mariota, even more apparent on there 60 yard hookup early Saturday night to set up a Titans touchdown. Sharpe is slowing becoming the most interesting rookie wideout in the entire class of 2016.

QB Derek Carr - 9.11 Carr threw for 169 yards and two scores Saturday night. The third year player finally broke out last year and is looking to become a low end QB1 in 2016. In 2015 Carr threw for 3,987 yards with 32 touchdowns and 6 games throwing for over 300 yards. You can draft Carr at his ADP of 9.11 but if your league is draft happy with quarterbacks it won’t be a bad idea to take him a round early, especially if you can pair him with Cooper or Crabtree this year.

TE Maxx Williams - Unfortunate news for Ravens tight end Ben Watson as he suffered a torn achilles Saturday night and will miss the the entire year. Due to injury Maxx Williams will get a huge uptick in playing time and production. In 2015 Williams caught 32 balls for 268 yards and one touchdown. The second year player will be called on more and more in 2016. The news of Watson brings Williams to a really low tier tight end number two, or a really fine streaming option as the year goes on.

RB Rashad Jennings - In theory Jennings makes a lot of sense at his ADP of 10.04. However he carries major productivity issues and the up tempo scheme the Giants deploy doesn’t really fit his skill set week to week. In 2015 Jennings got 195 carries for 863 yards but only managed to have three rushing touchdowns and just two games over 100 yards rushing. However at his current ADP you are getting a starting running back with the ability to easily surpass his draft grade.

RB Jordan Howard
- It feels like just a week ago we were reading reports that Howard was going to form a log jam running back by committee in Chicago. Fast forward until today, those reports are no longer real life. In the Bears preseason game Saturday Howard didn’t see the field until the third quarter appearing as the 4th string back and gaining eight yards on four carries while catching one ball for four yards. Howard isn’t draftable and almost not worth watching on the waiver line at the moment.
 

WR Laquon Treadwell - A bit of a wildcard late round player. Treadwell has supreme talent and great ball skill, the worrisome part for me is Teddy Bridgewater getting him the ball in frequent enough volume to be fantasy relevant. Treadwell currently has an ADP of 13.04 and makes sense as a stash away pick as your draft is coming to a close. It is always interesting with young wideouts and how they develop in the NFL. Treadwell has the feel of a better actual football player than fantasy performer for the time being.

RB Ameer Abdullah
- Abdullah made an appearance Saturday night against the Ravens. The second year player played sparingly but managed 16 yards rushing on four attempts. Ameer will be used in multiple ways this year as the Lions will work on getting him more involved in the offense. If you remember last year, people were drafting Abdullah in the fourth round or earlier, this year his ADP is much more reasonable at 9.04 and honestly in PPR this is amazing value for his upside in 2016.

WR Kevin White - We finally have some NFL tape on White and it hasn’t been pretty. His lack of pure route running has been a concern as well as always being lined up on one side during his time at West Virginia. White caught 1 of 4 targets on Saturday and has yet to have a play over six yards in the preseason. White has an ADP of 8.08, late enough to be more reward than risk but expectations need to be evaluated before drafting White this year.

QB Marcus Mariota - The Titans may not win a lot of games in 2016 but they are going to be a million times more fantasy relevant than a year ago, a large part in due to second year quarterback Marcus Mariota. On Saturday night Mariota showed us another glimpse of his growth in the NFL, completing 9 of 16 passes for 170 yards and running a very efficient offense. The Titans signal caller supports an ADP of 12.05 and makes for some really enticing roster combinations if you can draft him after the tenth round, love the value Mariota provides in 2016.

RB Duke Johnson - Duke is poised for a breakout year it’s just a matter of the Browns allowing it to happen. Johnson has looked like the Browns best back this preseason but still in a battle for early down work with Isaiah Crowell. Duke will most certainly have the third down work as well as hurry up situations which is enough to pay off his ADP of 7.09. As the year goes on look for Johnson to have a bigger and bigger role in Cleveland, one of the best overall values on the board.

WR Tavon Austin - The Rams locked up Tavon for another four years today and I am going to play narrative street here. Tavon is going to have a huge 2016, the Rams know it, I know it, and you need to know it. You’re almost drafting Tavon as a weekly flex play more than a true wideout. In 2015 Tavon got 52 rushing attempts for 434 yards while adding 52 receptions for 473 yards, on the year Tavon totaled 10 touchdowns. An interesting way to draft Tavon would be to pick up the Rams defense as well and play for the double dip touchdown weekly. Tavon has always had the ability to score on a punt return. The current ADP of 11.04 may feel high but this is going to be a great fantasy year for young Tavon Austin.
 

Notes prepared by Fantistics  Adam Funk 

 

 

8/27/2016

WR Josh Gordon Idea looks a little thicker, but as we saw last night, he still has remarkable ball skills. Last night he was only targeted 2 times, and neither pass was very accurate, yet Gordon ended up with 2 receptions for 87 yards and 1 TD. Sure we're going to have to wait for his suspension to come due in week 5, but Gordon is still a fantasy game changer. Can you blame us for feeling that his current 10th round ADP is worth the risk?

Luckily we did not see any major injuries on Friday night, though it wasn’t a flawless night.  Tyler Eifert owners learned some bad news as it was reported that he is likely out another 4-6 weeks.  That timetable could continue to increase it seems as well as he has just started jogging.  Eifert’s absence will continue to put rookie Tyler Boyd on the rise along with Brandon Lafell and Gio Bernard...San Francisco WR Bruce Ellington was knocked out with a strained hamstring on Friday.  He was dealing with an ankle issue last week as well, so Ellington will need some recovery time prior to the regular season.  The seriousness of the injury is unknown, but the 49ers are left with Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton and Jerome Simpson in the meantime...RB Carlos Hyde was also knocked out with a concussion, and he'll be evaluated this week. Redskins Rookie RB Keith Marshall left early in Friday’s contest with the Bills after suffering a sprained elbow.  This lead to Rob Kelley getting increased reps as he ran for 51 yards on 12 carries.  Kelley has overtaken Marshall as the top option behind Matt Jones.  Chris Thompson remains the passing back, but Kelley is the handcuff or sleeper option in Washington.  Keep in mind that Jones is out with his own injury issue and he might not be available week one...The Patriots backfield is a guessing game following the Dion Lewis absence.  LeGarrette Blount appeared to be the top option for early down work, but Tyler Gaffney started on Friday and racked up the most touches with nine carries for 35 yards.  James White is also in the mix for touches and targets, though he saw just three carries and one target on Friday.  Gaffney continues to pick up steam and he could be the best fantasy option shortly into the season.  Of course, in New England we are sometimes shocked by a benching or UDFA jumping in to lead the team, so be careful with how high you draft any New England RB’s.  The same can be said for Chris Hogan and rookie Malcolm Mitchell who are going to fight for roles in the New England passing game.  Each has some intrigue, as Hogan showed Friday by catching five passes for 62 yards and a touchdown, but with so many mouths to feed, there is sure to be plenty of duds for these guys this season...A battle continues in the Pittsburgh passing game as Eli Rogers recently overtook Sammie Coates in the number three role.  Rogers started in the slot role Friday and caught two passes for 17 yards, while Coates finally put together a solid outing with two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown.  Rogers looks to have the hold on the WR3 role, but we could continue to watch this battle all year.  Markus Wheaton continues to be at the back end of the hype despite having the number two role locked down.  His 15th round ADP continues to be an intriguing spot for the second option in a high-powered passing game.  Jesse James also looks to capitalize on this passing attack as he showed on Friday catching four passes for 25 yards and a touchdown.   Ben Roethlisberger is likely to look towards James often this season if LeDarius Green remains out as James could be a beast in the red zone.  Don’t be surprised if James racks up some productive fantasy games this season in a TE2 fantasy role...Jared Cook is another tight end who could be in for an up year as he joins Aaron Rodgers.  Cook gathered 54 yards on four catches in limited action on Friday, stats that can lead to excitement if you think about a full game....In Carolina, Devin Funchess is on the rise, but it’s the run game you should look at for a sleeper.  Cameron Artis-Payne looks to be a lock for backup duties to Jonathan Stewart, and for some reason he is getting very litter attention leading up to the season.  Stewart is averaging just 10 games per season over the last four seasons and despite a recent surge with DeAngelo Williams out of the picture, he hasn’t topped 1,000 yards since 2009.  Artis-Payne is worthy of a look at the end of drafts as his current ADP isn’t even getting him drafted in most leagues...Rookie Corey Coleman played for the first time this season on Friday, but he failed to haul in either of his two targets.  Josh Gordon did catch a touchdown pass for Cleveland on a bomb from Robert Griffin, while Terrelle Pryor appears to be the top receiving option in week one...Though Doug Martin is the top option in the Tampa Bay backfield, Charles Sims wanted to remind fantasy managers not to forget about him as he caught 3-of-3 passes for 16 yards and a score last night, while rushing for 13 yards on four carries.  He has some high value compared with his 15th round ADP, so keep him on the watch list...Rookie Michael Thomas saw some action with the first team Friday, but he finished with just one catch for 23 yards.  Willie Snead had an impressive outing, and though it’s a shocking call, Snead has a chance to lead the Saints in receiving this season.  He caught four passes for 48 yards and score on Friday.  With a 13th round ADP, there’s no reason Snead shouldn’t find his way onto your roster, even in a backup role or as a WR4.   Jeremy McGoldrick

Other Rookie Observations from Friday Week 3: The Bills continue to give 5th round pick  Jonathan Williams plenty of looks, He ran for another 11/42 yards 3.8 YPC. He's looked decent, but he's no Karlos Williams...which make LeSean McCoy owners feel more secure heading into draft day. The Dolphins 3rd round RB Kenyan Drake did not see any action, which isn't a big surprise returning from a hamstring injury earlier in the week. There's not much expectation now that Arian Foster is on the roster, and Jay Ajayi well ahead of him at this point. - Anthony A. Perri

 

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Player InjuryEifert,Tyler - CIN/TE: News Friday pegged Eifert out another 4-6 weeks, which clearly cuts into the first weeks of the regular season. Those holding out hope that the tight end would be back to start the season have to be disappointed by this news. Despite a huge 2015 season, Eifert’s injury is likely to prevent him from being a top option at the position this season. Tyler Boyd and Brandon Lafell will pick up the slack in Eifert’s absence, while Giovanni Bernard will also help out the passing game. Eifert’s drop in ADP could help you land him late as long as he can ride the fantasy bench to start the season.

Cook,Jared - GB/TE: Cook is battling Richard Rodgers for fantasy relevance in the Green Bay passing attack, and he looked like the winner on Friday catching 4-of-5 passes for 54 yards. Surely the better pass catcher of the two, Cook showed flashes with the Rams, but was too inconsistent to trust. There’s definitely a chance for him to earn fantasy trust again with Aaron Rodgers behind center as Cook ranks as a top-15 tight end pickup available late in drafts.

Player InjuryEllington,Bruce - SF/WR: Sleeper candidate Ellington left Friday’s game with a strained hamstring. Coming off an ankle injury in the second preseason game, Ellington is losing appeal as the injuries pile up. The 49ers look to rebound their offense this season, but they looked pretty stagnant on Friday night against the Packers. Ellington continues to hold some appeal in an offense that is desperate for someone to shine at the receiver position, but he’ll need to string together some games without an injury for anyone to take notice. Ellington has an ADP that leaves him undrafted in most leagues, and his most recent injury isn’t going to bump that up at all. Keep an eye out for an injury update.

IdeaSnead,Willie - NO/WR: Snead caught all four of his targeted passes on Friday turning them into 58 yards and a touchdown against the Steelers. Playing in the number two role in the passing game, Snead quietly posted 984 yards on 69 receptions last year in his rookie season. He’ll continue to make strides this year, and with Brees behind center he should eclipse the 1,000-yard mark this season. With an ADP in the middle of the 13th round, Snead is a superb value.

Thomas,Michael - NO/WR: The rookie finished Friday’s game with just a single target turned into a 23-yard gain. He adds some size to the starting receiving corps of Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead, but Thomas is likely to put in some spotty results this season. Brandon Coleman showed what can happen after he received a lot of hype last season before failing to overtake the dominance of Snead and Cooks. Thomas continues to be worthy of a late round pick as we project a season with 800+ yards and 6 touchdowns.

James,Jesse - PIT/TE: The second year giant (6’7”, 271 pounds) caught 4-of-5 targets for 25 yards and a touchdown on Friday. He played with the first team all night and looked to be an intriguing target for Ben Roethlisberger. With Heath Miller gone and LeDarius Green’s status uncertain for the season, James could make for a sneaky TE2 play this season. If he and Roethlisberger continue to build their rapport, James could become a huge red zone option worthy of a fantasy shot.

Rogers,Eli - PIT/WR: Rising star Rogers caught just two passes for 17 yards on Friday. He did see the field ahead of Sammie Coates as he manned the slot alongside Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton. Rogers is set up to be the starting slot receiver for Ben Roethlisberger, a position that could hold fantasy value. Rogers continues to climb the boards, so be careful where he is going if you’re hoping to snag the late round sleeper.

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Coates,Sammie - PIT/WR: Just when people were starting to write him off following the summer hype, Coates produced his best preseason stats on Friday with two receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown. Eli Rogers, who Coates is battling with for the number three role caught just two passes for 17 yards as the starting slot receiver. It’s unknown how much time each of the receivers will see, if any, in the final preseason game next week, so we’ll await a final decision on who gets the WR3 label. The receivers are expected to battle one another and Markus Wheaton for the top spot opposite Antonio Brown all season.

FYI
Coleman,Corey - CLE/WR: Coleman had an uneventful showing in his preseason debut Friday seeing two targets and finishing without a catch. The rookie did play as the starter opposite or Terrelle Pryor as expected, which puts him at least as a top option in the passing game early in the season. Coleman could carve out a WR3 role in fantasy this season, but with Pryor gaining momentum, Josh Gordon set for a return and Gary Barnidge in the mix, the rookie and his owners could be looking at a roller coaster year. He currently ranks as the 4th best rookie WR option in our projections.

Player InjuryMarshall,Keith - WAS/RB: Marshall, who is in a battle with fellow rookie Rob Kelley for snaps behind Matt Jones and Chris Thompson, left Friday’s game with a sprained elbow. The injury could easily move Kelley ahead in the battle, which is an important one with starter Matt Jones injured and out up until at least week one. At one point in the offseason Marshall was being talked up as a possible two-headed monster with Jones, but he’s taken a bit of a fall since then.

Kelley,Rob - WAS/RB: With Matt Jones injured and Chris Thompson out, Kelley was set to split carries with fellow rookie Keith Marshall on Friday, but Marshall was injured early in the contest. This lead to Kelley seeing the majority of first team snaps and turning those opportunities into 51 yards rushing on 12 carries. The injuries and lackluster play by Marshall have moved Kelley up into the backup role behind Jones. With the starter out at least until week one, Kelley is becoming a worthy late round sleeper or at least someone to keep an eye on.

FYI
Funchess,Devin - CAR/WR: Funchess was targeted 10 times on Friday, catching five passes for 49 yards. With all the recent hype, the target count is important to note, but Kelvin Benjamin and Ted Ginn continue to play ahead of him. Benjamin and Ginn saw six passes each in the game, though Greg Olsen was not playing, which produced some extra chances for all. Funchess represents a nice value if he continues to be a 15+ round pick, but that number continues to climb.

FYI
Artis-Payne,Cameron - CAR/RB: Artis-Payne does not receive much hype despite being the top option behind a pretty fragile back in Jonathan Stewart. Over the past four seasons in fact, Stewart is averaging just 10 games per season, having topped 13 just twice. Though Fozzy Whitaker could battle CAP for the backup opportunity, CAP is coming up as a strong value pick late in drafts or as a free agent addition. He’s got some sleeper qualities heading into the 2016 season.

FYI
Gaffney,Tyler - NE/RB: The former Stanford project has gathered interest of late, and that is sure to rise this weekend after he started and shared first team reps in the third preseason game on Friday night. Gaffney rushed for a game high 35 yards on nine carries, which included a 15-yard rush. Though the 3.9 yards per carry aren’t astonishing, the role was worth noting. Gaffney has been creeping up some drafts boards, but he can still be a deep round acquisition that could pay off nicely.

Hogan,Chris - NE/WR: Hogan led the Pats in receiving Friday night grabbing 5-of-6 targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. Though there appears to be plenty of weapons on this offense, don’t be surprised if Hogan creates a niche for himself that could make him quite fantasy relevant. Gronk, Edelman and Amendola all have injury risk, which could thrust Hogan into a bigger role early in the season. He’s obviously a risky option to take early or to spend a chunk of cash on, but keep an eye on him as the late ADP could pay off.

FYI
White,James - NE/RB: With Dion Lewis out of the equation in New England for the first part of the season, White appeared to be the most comparable replacement, but he saw just 3 rushes and caught just 1 pass on Friday. LeGarrette Blount carried five times for 26 yards, while recently hyped Tyler Gaffney started and rushed for 35 yards on nine carries. The Patriots always have a way of keeping us guessing, but it’s starting to look like the hype Gaffney is picking up is warranted. As of now the pecking order is looking to be Blount-Gaffney-White.

Humphries,Adam - TB/WR  The second year receiver out of Clemson is set for slot duties in Tampa Bay this season.  He was targeted five times on Friday night, which he turned into two catches for 39 yards.  Though Mike Evans Vincent Jackson are the top targets here, the Tampa Bay tight ends haven’t impressed, which could lead to more action for Humphries.  Humphries doesn’t hold much value to start the season, but with Jameis Winston set for a strong sophomore year, things could change by the midway point.

IdeaSims,Charles - TB/RB:  Doug Martin is the man to own in the Tampa backfield, but Sims represents a great value in the 15th round.  He and Jameis Winston were on the same page Friday connecting on 3-of-3 passes for 16 yards and a touchdown.  Sims added 13 yards on four carries and he was the target on another touchdown toss by Winston earlier in the game.  Sims has the mold to handle the main rushing duties if asked, but even with Martin in the mix he’s a strong value pick. 

Notes prepared by Fantistics  Jeremy McGoldrick

 

8/25/2016

Elliott,Ezekiel - DAL/RB: In arguably the most anticipated debut of the season, Zeke Elliot Played well in his NFL debut against the Seahawks last night. He rushed for 48 yards on seven carries (6.9 YPC) and wasn’t targeted through the air in his time on the field. Elliot is a first rounder off the board this year despite never playing a down in the NFL mainly due to his workload and situation, but I have nervousness drafting him in the middle of the first where he is at solely because of how he’ll perform as a rookie. I would feel much more comfortable drafting him at the tail end of the first, but with his current ADP of 1.08 there’s no way I’m even going to be able to even have that choice at the end of the first. The talent and opportunity are there, it’s just on how much you’ll trust a rookie to be your first round pick.

 


After missing a few weeks being in concussion protocol, John Brown was able to return to practice Thursday. Brown makes for a great WR option this year, and personally he’s my favorite of the trio that the Cardinals have. As much as I love Larry Fitzgerald, I could see a season where is production starts to slow down and our software actually follows that logic. On 22 less catches, Brown is projected to outgain Fitz 1,025 to 972 with just one fewer score.....  Larry Fitzgerald sat out of practice Thursday with some knee soreness and there are questions arising on whether he will play in week three of the preseason. My guess is they likely will hold him out of the game, along with week four, and just have him be ready for the start of the season against New England. Fitz doesn’t have anything to prove in the preseason, and he being healthy for week one is much more important than getting him 15-20 snaps in a preseason game.....  After returning to practice earlier this week, Teddy Bridgewater sounds like he’s going to be able to start this weekend in the “last” real game of the preseason. Our projection system doesn’t favor him this season as he sits at #25 overall and is currently a 14th round pick in terms of ADP. The only real hope for Bridgewater in terms of fantasy is that he takes advantage of his new weapons, because the fantasy skill set on his own just doesn’t seem to exist.....  Jamal Charles won’t play this weekend making it doubtful we see him at all this preseason, which is more than okay for a guy coming off a torn ACL and who is a veteran with his track record. With a mid second ADP, owners could be looking at a steal for Charles with him being rated as our #6 RB. Right now outside of the first round backs, Lamar Miller (12t) and Devonte Freeman (15th) are currently both going ahead of him and our projections aren’t as high as the industry is on both of them....  Ladarius Green seems to remain optimist that he has a shot to play in week one against Washington but I have serious doubt on whether that happens.Green has taken a free fall in our projections dropping all the way  to TE #27 because we simply don’t know what we are getting at this point. His ADP however hasn’t seen the same fall though as he’s still an 11th round pick right now.... After making strides in the second preseason game, Matt Ryan fell back down against the Dolphins on Thursday. He completely 12-of-22 for 129 and an interception, and has yet to throw a touchdown this preseason. Ryan does not rate highly in our software at QB #24, but I’m willing to take a shot at him if I’m waiting very late on QBs because regardless of how last season went I’m very intrigued by the offensive situation he’s in. He has a top flight WR, a solid #2 WR, a great receiving RB, and some solid options at TE which is more than a lot of the QBs in that range can say.... Tony Romo left Thursday’s game with a back injury which sounds to be minor as he apparently wanted to come back into the game but the team held him out. This has to make owners and soon to be owners a little nervous just because I feel like we are all waiting for him to get hurt at some point. He’s projected to our 18th QB with 4,000 yards and 32 TDs but it’s hard to say he gets all the way there with his injury history....  A post hype sleeper this year could be Ryan Tannehill as we may have soured on him as an industry just because of the fact we pegged him as a sleeper last year and then he didn’t make any strides at the position. Our projections have him matching last year’s number with a slight step back in yardage.  Could this year be the jump though we thought we’d get last year? While lost Lamar Miller to free agency he still has a ton of weapons including a full season of Devante Parker.... Jay Ajayi had seven carries for 11 yards and two catches for 11 yards while Arian Foster had five carries for 10 yards and a score with two catches for 20 yards. For me, while I think Arian Foster will end up with the starting job from the get go it’s only a matter of time before he gets hurt which isn’t pessimism but rather it’s just reality at this point.....  Christine Michael continues to have a great preseason for Seattle rushing for 58 yards on seven carries while getting one target in the air. Thomas Rawls continues to not get into preseason games and Michael continues to perform, but Rawls will still get the starts as long as he’s healthy. His ranking is on the rise in our software and will take another rise in your next WEB UPDATE.  There’s no way to sugar coat it, Devonta Freeman was awful against the Dolphins on Thursday getting just eight yards on five carries while catching two passes for 10 yards. I don’t know that I’m ever going to own Freeman with his mid second ADP and the other players available in that area. I have some concerns about him after how poor he was down the stretch, but that worry is lessened in PPR because he’s going to get a ton of targets through the air to help keep his floor at an RB1 level.... Russell Wilson has been a riser in our projections as he now sits as the #3 QB having jumped Ben Roethlisberger in the last week. Last season Wilson finished as one of the top QBs in fantasy but a ton of that was in an eight start stretch at the end of the season where it seems like every pass was a score to Doug Baldwin. Right now he’s the fourth QB off the board, with Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers going off the board obviously but the 3rd is Andrew Luck who owners are banking on having a big comeback season. I don’t know who I’d want more between Luck and Wilson because I do like Luck’s volume, but either will make for a great option at QB this year. Barkevious Mingo is on his way to New England after a number of disappointing seasons for Cleveland after being a top 10 pick a few years back. The Patriots are in huge need of pass rush, trying to fill the void of Chandler Jones who was dealt to Arizona in the offseason.... JJ Watt sounds like he may be able to return to practice next week, which means that playing week one seems like it’s not out of question. Watt is recovering from his offseason back surgery and a healthy Watt for 16 greatly improves the Texans DST who are already our number two defense in our projection systems..... In arguably the most anticipated debut of the season,  Josh Sperry

Other Rookie Observations from Thursday Week 3: The Falcons 3rd round TE Austin Hooper continues to shine catching all 5 of his targets for 50 yards, but he did put the ball on the floor on one of those catch and runs. Rookie TEs rarely make a fantasy impact, but Hooper has that potential. Only a deep league TE3 at this point. The Cowboys 4th round rookie QB Dak Prescott has played extremely well this preseason, in fact probably better than the 1st round QBs selected ahead of him. He's thrown 5 TDs, 0 INTs, and has registered a near perfect rating in 2 of his 3 games this preseason. With Romo becoming increasingly fragile, Prescott will be a name to remember on the waiver wire as he has run ability. The hype machine was in full motion prior to the preseason, with RB CJ Prosise hoisted near the top of the heap. Unfortunately the re-emergence of Christine Michael has pushed Prosise to playing with the backups. Other than 1 touch in the first half, Prosise saw most of his action  in the 3rd and 4th quarters, and came away with a respectable 23 yards on 4 carries. If Christine Michael is a farce, he's also fooling the Seahawks, who are clearly satisfied with waiting on Prosise for the time being. The Cowboys 6th round pick, RB Darius Jackson, isn't really on anyone's radar with the Cowboys backfield already 3 deep, but it wouldn't surprise me if it makes Alfred Morris expendable, as Jackson has run well playing with the backups. - Anthony A. Perri

Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).


FYIBrowns, Cleveland - CLE/D: Barkevious Mingo is on his way to New England after a number of disappointing seasons for Cleveland after being a top 10 pick a few years back. The Patriots are in huge need of pass rush, trying to fill the void of Chandler Jones who was dealt to Arizona in the offseason. It seems like it’s probably too late for Mingo to make any sort of significant impact for a NFL team but if there’s one team that could extract some value from him it’s New England.

Wilson,Russell - SEA/QB: Russell Wilson has been a riser in our projections as he now sits as the #3 QB having jumped Ben Roethlisberger in the last week. Last season Wilson finished as one of the top QBs in fantasy but a ton of that was in an eight start stretch at the end of the season where it seems like every pass was a score to Doug Baldwin. Right now he’s the fourth QB off the board, with Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers going off the board obviously but the 3rd is Andrew Luck who owners are banking on having a big comeback season. I don’t know who I’d want more between Luck and Wilson because I do like Luck’s volume, but either will make for a great option at QB this year.

FYI
Freeman,Devonta - ATL/RB: There’s no way to sugar coat it, Devonte Freeman was awful against the Dolphins on Thursday getting just eight yards on five carries while catching two passes for 10 yards. I don’t know that I’m ever going to own Freeman with his mid second ADP and the other players available in that area. I have some concerns about him after how poor he was down the stretch, but that worry is lessened in PPR because he’s going to get a ton of targets through the air to help keep his floor at an RB1 level.

Michael,Christine - SEA/RB: Michael continues to have a great preseason for Seattle rushing for 58 yards on seven carries while getting one target in the air. Thomas Rawls continues to not get into preseason games and Michael continues to perform, but Rawls will still get the starts as long as he’s healthy. His ranking is on the rise in our software, and he's getting another bump up in todays' projections release.

FYI
Dolphins, Miami - MIA: Jay Ajayi had seven carries for 11 yards and two catches for 11 yards while Arian Foster had five carries for 10 yards and a score with two catches for 20 yards. For me, while I think Arian Foster will end up with the starting job from the get go it’s only a matter of time before he gets hurt which isn’t pessimism but rather it’s just reality at this point. That means in my late round picks I’m snagging Ajayi just because I’ll take guys I think could be starters at some point.

FYI
Tannehill,Ryan - MIA/QB: A post hype sleeper this year could be Tannehill as we may have soured on him as an industry just because of the fact we pegged him as a sleeper last year and then he didn’t make any strides at the position. Our projections have him matching last year’s number with a slight step back in yardage. Could this year be the jump though we thought we’d get last year? While lost Lamar Miller to free agency he still has a ton of weapons including a full season of Devante Parker.

Player InjuryRomo,Tony - DAL/QB: Tony Romo left Thursday’s game with a back injury which sounds to be minor as he apparently wanted to come back into the game but the team held him out. This has to make owners and soon to be owners a little nervous just because I feel like we are all waiting for him to get hurt at some point. He’s projected to our 18th QB with 4,000 yards and 32 TDs but it’s hard to say he gets all the way there with his injury history.

FYI
Ryan,Matt - ATL/QB: After making strides in the second preseason game, Ryan fall back down against the Dolphins on Thursday. He completely 12-of-22 for 129 and an interception, and has yet to throw a touchdown this preseason. Ryan does not rate highly in our software at QB #24, but I’m willing to take a shot at him if I’m waiting very late on QBs because regardless of how last season went I’m very intrigued by the offensive situation he’s in. He has a top flight WR, a solid #2 WR, a great receiving RB, and some solid options at TE which is more than a lot of the QBs in that range can say.

FYI
Green,Ladarius - PIT/TE: Ladarius Green seems to remain optimist that he has a shot to play in week one against Washington but I have serious doubt on whether that happens. We’ve yet to see Green practice after his offseason ankle surgery and with speed being such a vital part of his game from the TE spot, healthy ankles are arguably his most important body part. Green has taken a free fall in ur projections dropping all the way to TE #27 because we simply don’t know what we are getting at this point. His ADP however hasn’t seen the same fall though as he’s still an 11th round pick right now.

FYI
Charles,Jamaal - KC/RB: Jamal Charles won’t play this weekend making it doubtful we see him at all this preseason, which is more than okay for a guy coming off a torn ACL and who is a veteran with his track record. With a mid second ADP, owners could be looking at a steal for Charles with him being rated as our #6 RB. Right now outside of the first round backs, Lamar Miller (12t) and Devonte Freeman (15th) are currently both going ahead of him and our projections aren’t as high as the industry is on both of them. Regardless of him not getting a preseason snap, if you can get him in the middle-end of the second round, you run to the podium with the pick.

FYI
Bridgewater,Teddy - MIN/QB: After returning to practice earlier this week, Bridgewater sounds like he’s going to be able to start this weekend in the “last” real game of the preseason. Our projection system doesn’t for him this season as he sits at #25 overall and is currently a 14th round pick in terms of ADP. The only real hope for Bridgewater in terms of fantasy is that he takes advantage of his new weapons to have a big year, because the fantasy skill set on his own just doesn’t seem to exist.

Player InjuryFitzgerald,Larry - ARI/WR: Fitzgerald sat out of practice Thursday with some knee soreness and there are questions arising on whether he will play in week three of the preseason. My guess is they likely will hold him out of the game, along with week four, and just have him be ready for the start of the season against New England. Fitz doesn’t have anything to prove in the preseason, and he being healthy for week one is much more important than getting him 15-20 snaps in a preseason game. For a guy with a 5th round ADP, Fitz’s projections aren’t otherworldly, and that could almost make him a value there in a way we overlooked Eric Decker last season.

Brown,John - ARI/WR: After missing a few weeks being in concussion protocol, Brown was able to return to practice Thursday. Brown makes for a great WR option this year, and personally he’s my favorite of the trio that the Cardinals have. AS much as I love Larry Fitzgerald, I could see a season where is production starts to slow down and our software actually follows that logic. On 22 less catches, Brown is projected to outgain Fitz 1,025 to 972 with just one fewer score. In fact, Michael Floyd is projected for the same amount of scores as Fitz with 31 fewer catches. Now that Brown is back and practice and seems to have no limitations, I’m very eager to draft him in my leagues over the next few weeks.

Watt,JJ - HOU/DL: JJ Watt sounds like he may be able to return to practice next week, which means that playing week one seems like it’s not out of question. Watt is recovering from his offseason back surgery and a healthy Watt for 16 greatly improves the Texans DST who are already our number two defense in our projection systems.

Notes prepared by Fantistics  Josh Sperry

 

 

 

8/24/2016

RB LeSean McCoy is slowing down a bit, but still a productive back, averaging 15.1 FPG and .79 FP per Attempt last season. Heading into camps it was assumed that he would give up the Red Zone touches, but with Karlos Williams no longer in the picture, McCoy's 8 QS in 12 games in '15 is becoming quite encouraging, especially as a mid 3rd round selection.

Rob Gronkowski returned to practice after missing the previous nine days with an undisclosed injury...Cardinals wide receiver John Brown missed practice with a headache on Wednesday, an indication he may not be fully recovered from the concussion that caused him to miss time early in camp.....Jamaal Charles was a full participant in the team’s 11-on-11 drills on Wednesday, the first time he practiced with the team in full... Wendell Smallwood missed each of the Eagles first two pre-season games with a quad injury and as a result, fell behind both Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner on the depth chart.  Fortunately, the USA Today is reporting that Smallwood will see plenty of action in this week's pre-season game to make up for the missed time... The buzz is increasing on Devin Funchess and now the Panthers' wide receiver coach admitted that Funchess has performed better than Kelvin Benjamin this pre-season....Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com reported that the tight end Jared Cook and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have a "good rapport" in training camp and suggests that the connection between these two in this week's upcoming pre-season game will be one of the bigger storylines... Sammie Coates has dealt with drops, poor route running and penalties in the team's first two pre-season games and as a result, undrafted free agent Eli Rogers has claimed his stake at the top of the WR3 depth chart and will most likely start  in the slot to begin the year...the news flow on Breshad Perriman has turned extremely positive lately, with the wide receiver getting activated off the PUP list and the his head coach praising him on Wednesday.  He still has a long way to go, but things are definitely pointing upwards... Michael Thomas' poor Week 2 performance doesn't seem to have impacted his coach's opinion about the wide receiver because on Tuesday, Sean Payton suggested fantasy owners should draft the wide receiver... According to Redskins.com, head coach Jay Gruden says that the "total expectation" is for Josh Doctson to be ready for Week 1 and that he could be ready as early as the team's Week 4 pre-season game... Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Dorial Green-Beckham would work with the first-team in Saturday's pre-season game... John Brown cleared concussion protocol on Sunday, but after leaving Sunday's practice early and being a non-contact participant on Monday and Tuesday, Brown completely missed practice on Wednesday with a headache... Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said that rookies Rob Kelley and Keith Marshall will receive the "lions share" of carries in Matt Jones' absence... Rob Demovsky. Packers beat writer, believed Jared Abbrederis will be the breakout player of the year for Green Bay... Similarly, Eric Williams who covers the Chargers for ESPN believes Tyrell Williams could be the Chargers breakout star of 2016.... Arguably the second-most talented back in the 2016 draft behind DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry ended up in one of the worst possible landing places in Tennessee.  Nonetheless, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey told beat writer Terry McCormick that the team will “find ways to get Henry on the field”.  - Fantistics @MichaelWaldo

 


Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).


RookieWendell Smallwood (PHI - RB) - Wendell Smallwood missed each of the Eagles first two pre-season games with a quad injury and as a result, fell behind both Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner on the depth chart.  Fortunately, the USA Today is reporting that Smallwood will see plenty of action in this week's pre-season game to make up for the missed time.  This is a pivotal week for Smallwood and he must make a good impression to stay in the hunt for not only a back-up running back position, but also making the 53-man roster.  Fantasy owners should pay special attention to his performance along with fellow back-up Kenjon Barner, who has averaged 5.8 YPC with 1 touchdown on 13 carries over the first two games.  Whoever wins the job could play an immediate role for the Eagles considering Ryan Mathew's extensive injury history.
 
Devin Funchess (CAR - WR) - The buzz is increasing on Devin Funchess and now the Panthers' wide receiver coach admitted that Funchess has performed better than Kelvin Benjamin this pre-season.  Ricky Proehl was quoted on the team's website saying " To be honest with you, where Devin is right now and where Kelvin needs to get it, I think Devin is pushing Kelvin.  He's realizing, 'I've got to get back, I've got to push, because this guy (Funchess) is pretty dang good.'".  Regardless of who wins the number one job in Carolina, it's evident that neither Benjamin nor Funchess will be a target hog for this offense, which is something that must be considered when drafting these guys. At their current price tags, Funchess appears to be the better value of the two, especially when you consider that Ron Rivera still leans heavily on the run and the presence of Greg Olsen will take away many of the red zone targets (let alone the ones that Cam just runs in by himself).  
 
Jared Cook (GB - TE) – Jared Cook has been forever hyped but has never actually returned top-end value.  This season he takes his services to Green Bay this season.  Plagued with a myriad of injuries (and terrible offenses) throughout his career, Cook has been a favorite of touts across the board for the last 5 years.  Now that he has finally landed in a solid offense and is self-proclaimed "healthy", those touts are silent.  For most of these analysts, it's probably a situation of "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me".  For Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com, he probably hasn't had a chance to be "fooled" by Jared Cook.  Nonetheless, he's reporting that the tight end and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have a "good rapport" in training camp and suggests that the connection between these two in this week's upcoming pre-season game will be one of the bigger storylines.  I'm not recommending Jared Cook as a TE1 selection, but if you happen to have enough bench spots in your league for a back-up tight end, Jared Cook tops my list.  The upside is sky-high, which isn't something you normally see from a tight end that's been waiver wire fodder in many of my drafts.  I'm taking a gamble on him, but only time will tell if he'll be fooling me as well.
 
Sammie Coates / Eli Rogers (PIT - WR) - Prior to actual games being played, Sammie Coates was the darling of the pre-season and shot up draft boards.  Unfortunately, his performance on the game field wasn't nearly as impressive as his performance on the practice field and his stock has plummeted.  Coates has dealt with drops, poor route route running and penalties in the team's first two pre-season games and what we're saying about Coates today is pretty much what we said about him before the Steelers drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft - great speed, lacks focus.  As a result, undrafted free agent Eli Rogers has claimed his stake at the top of the WR3 depth chart and will most likely start  in the slot to begin the year.  Rogers stepped up in a big way in Week 2 of the pre-season and earned his spot while Coates only made his case worse.  Rogers showed plus route running and converted multiple first downs in limited action.  From a long-term perspective, Sammie Coates still have the big body and elite speed that all elite wide receivers must possess, but from a short-term perspective. Rogers certainly looks like he's gaining steam.  
 
Breshad Perriman (BAL - WR) - The news flow has turned positive in a hurry for the second-year receiver in Baltimore.  Breshad Perriman was activated from the PUP list on Monday after passing a physical and ESPN reported that he may be able to play in Saturday's pre-season game.  Following up on those reports, ESPN's Jamison Hensley also confirmed that Perriman expects to play in Week 1.  Then, yesterday, offensive coordinator Marc Trestman had glowing things to say about his wide out saying "I think his hands and his concentration have even gotten better since he first got here.  He's much more sure-handed-- not that he wasn't -- but he's become even more sure handed and I think that goes with confidence".   Perriman has quite a bit of impressing to do if he hopes to climb the depth chart with Mike Wallace, Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken all currently ahead of him.  
 
RookieMichael Thomas (NO - WR) - Michael Thomas' poor Week 2 performance doesn't seem to have impacted his coach's opinion about the wide receiver.  Mike Triplett, beat writer for the New Orleans Saints, reported via ESPN that Sean Payton said "I think he's gonna contribute early.  I don't follow fantasy football, but shoot, I'd try to have him".   We'll see if any of that comes to fruition, but it's definitely nice to hear positive things after a step back last weekend.  Thomas is going to be the third receiver entering this season behind Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead.  Nonetheless, the Saints run plenty of 3-wide receiver sets, which makes his upside intriguing.  
 
RookieJosh Doctson (WAS) - According to Redskins.com, head coach Jay Gruden says that the "total expectation" is for Doctson to be ready for Week 1 and that he could be ready as early as the team's Week 4 pre-season game.  The team also announced on Wednesday that the wide receiver would miss this week's pre-season contest.  While this has to be seen as generally good news, expectations should remain low since he's a rookie receiver that's still learning the system and has had little experience working with Kirk Cousins.  He's a tremendous flier and certainly worth a pick late as a lottery ticket, but he shouldn't be drafted with high expectations.  
 

FYIDorial Green-Beckham (PHI - WR) - Eagles head coach Doug Pederson confirmed that Dorial Green-Beckham would work with the first-team in Saturday's pre-season game.  Making trades in the NFL is not the same as making a trade in the MLB, especially in the middle of training camp or the regular season.  It takes substantially more time to learn a playbook than it does to learn the signs for a bunt or a steal. Nonetheless, it's an encouraging sign to see DGB working with the regulars and could be an indication that he'll be locked in as a starter in Week 1.  
 
FYI
John Brown (AZ - WR) - John Brown cleared concussion protocol on Sunday, but after leaving Sunday's practice early and being a non-contact participant on Monday and Tuesday, Brown completely missed practice on Wednesday with a headache.  While there has not be official word from the team, it's possible Brown will be forced to re-join the concussion protocol, potentially putting his status for Week 1 in jeopardy.  Be very wary of players will concussions as symptoms tend to linger and the league has been very strict about the required steps for recovery.  
 
Rob Kelley (WAS) - The injury to Matt Jones has predictably caused Chris Thompson's ADP to rise over the last week.  While it might be true that Thompson, primarily a passing down back, will see a few more reps, he doesn't necessary profile as an early down back given his small stature.  As a result, head coach Jay Gruden said that rookies Rob Kelley and Keith Marshall will receive the "lions share" of carries in Jones' absence.  Through two pre-season games, Marshall has just 25 yards on 15 carries, while Kelley has 48 yards on 10 carries and it seems like Gruden is leaning towards giving Kelley the chance to start their Week 3 pre-season game on Friday.  While Marshall was actually drafted thanks to his strong athletic build, Kelley went undrafted.  The latter was an undrafted free agent, and according to Jeff Ratcliffe speaking on his Sirius XM show on Monday, Kelly lacks a "next gear of speed and is more of a plodder".  In other words, Keith Marshall is still the target in dynasty formats, but Kelley might grab some early season work until Jones can return from his AC sprain.  

Jared Abbrederis (GB – WR) – In an article published by ESPN, each team’s beat writer predicted their breakout performer of the year. For Rob Demovsky who covers the Packers, he believes Jared Abbrederis will be that player for the team.  Demovsky cited his strong performance during training camp and Jeff Janis’ injury as the main reasons for his outlook.  It’s certainly an intriguing view and the one thing that Demovsky didn’t mention was the poor performance of Davante Adams last season, who had one of the worst performances from a wide receiver of all time.  The Packers play plenty of three wide receiver sets, making the WR3 position on the team relevant for all fantasy leagues.   Abbrederis is especially interesting in dynasty formats. 

Tyrell Williams (SD – WR) – Eric Williams who covers the Chargers for ESPN believes Tyrell Williams could be the team’s breakout star of 2016.  According to E. Williams, “(Tyrell) Williamses possess top-end speed and short-area quickness of a smaller receiver, yet plays with the physicality and strong hands of a bigger target.  Look for Williams to develop into a vertical target for Philip Rivers”.  With the loss of Stevie Johnson for the year, Williams has just Travis Benjamin to battle for targets behind Keenan Allen.  San Diego ranked second in the NFL in terms of pass attempts per game with 41.7 in 2015 and Rivers figures to see another large percentage of throws this season, meaning there will be plenty of targets up for grabs.  Don’t reach for Williams, but you could do worse when scraping the waiver wire for potential upside wide receivers. 

FYIJoey Bosa (SD – DL) – While not necessarily directly fantasy relevant (outside of IDP leagues), the Chargers reportedly offered Joey Bosa their “best deal” that included close to $10M of his $17M signing bonus up front, but he and his agent chose to decline.  The entire situation is turning into a distraction for the team and while a later report from ProFootballTalk suggested that he’s now willing to defer a significant portion of his signing bonus to 2017, it seems like he’s finally starting to rub the team the wrong way.  Not having Bosa will obviously do no favors to a defensive line that ranked 24th in sacks per game. 

RookieDerrick Henry (TEN) – Arguably the second-most talented back in the 2016 draft behind DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry ended up in one of the worst possible landing places in Tennessee.  Nonetheless, Titans head coach Mike Mularkey told beat writer Terry McCormick that the team will “find ways to get Henry on the field”.  Standing at an imposing 6’3’’ tall and 247 pounds, Henry has the body of a bruiser that can certainly make a positive impact as a complement to Murray.  Speaking of Murray, he has a history of injuries and if he were to go down, Henry would instantly become a very valuable commodity in an offense that figures to run the ball early and often.
 

*Contained within the Fantistics Draft Software is the ability to choose different ADP providers (ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, NFBC, MFL, MFL PPR, and blended). Other than the usefulness of using the different ADPs to know what others are thinking, this also allows us the ability to complete different mock drafts using different ADP sources, giving you a different draft in each scenario. Click on the Web update feature in the Draft Advisory Software to download the latest ADPs today.

 

 

 

 

 

8/24/2016

RB CJ Anderson: Registered for an encouraging 6.3 YPC in the 2nd half while hosting a superior 1.12 FP per attempt. However his usage came in spurts, and with Rookie Devontae Booker improving, Anderson is a volatile pick, with plenty of 4th round upside.

Fantistics @MichaelWaldo takes a look at the 5 most undervalued Runningbacks in this year's draft  in our member section.

C.J. Anderson (Current Blended ADP: Round 4)

Positives: In a time period where NFL offenses are shifting to a pass-heavy approach and the workhorse running back seems to be a thing of the pass, Gary Kubiak and C.J. Anderson loom large.  Long a proponent of the bell cow running back, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak had glowing things to say about the team's newly extended runner earlier this summer, telling The Denver Post  "I think C.J. is ready to be an every-down guy.  Just watching him, I think his condition level is best that I've seen it since I've been here.  He's had a really good offseason".  From a coach like Kubiak, there's not much higher praise than that.  Each of the last two seasons, Anderson has finished the year on a really high note and in 2016, Anderson averaged 6.3, 6.5 and 6.3 YPC in November, December and January, respectively.  He also scored all 5 of his season's touchdowns over that time period.  With uncertainty swirling around the quarterbacks in Denver, there's a really good chance that Kubiak decides to go back to what has worked so well for him in the past - pounding the ball on the ground. 

Negatives: A sprained ankle and turf toe derailed his first half of 2015, but it was also the running back's second consecutive poor showing in September and October.  Whether or not this will be a trend remains to be seen, but at the first sign of danger, expect Devontae Booker to be there to pick up the slack.  The Broncos offensive line was the worst that it had been in years during last season, and so far into camp in 2016, they're still trying to get healthy and on the field together.  Gary Kubiak runs a complicated zone-blocking scheme that requires the entire unit to act as one and play in-sync of one another.  Success in this system requires familiarity and comfort with each of the lineman, but unless they're practicing together, that familiarity will never come.  Without an offensive line that can create the holes, Anderson will again struggle in the early going, particularly if his yards-after-contact struggles from 2015 plague him again.   

Final Say:  With a year of experience in Gary Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme and the respect of his coach, CJ Anderson looks to be in a really nice position to grab the "bell-cow" role in the Broncos offense.  If and when he does, the back you'll take as part of your "zero-RB" strategy will likely finish with near first-round production.  While he's not going for a massive discount in the 4th round, he also benefits from frustrated, former owners' recency biases, which should help keep his ADP suppressed.  Both Booker and Kapri Bibbs offer competition, but it certainly sounds like they're going to be used as motivating tools rather than true threats to his job. 


Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

 

 

A Look at ADP by Kyle Elfrink

For a full month now, I’ve been shocked by some of the ADP marks I’ve seen.  It’s not that I ‘dislike’ the player, either.  It’s even less opinionated than that.  The problem?  We have many, many players who are injured or M.I.A, yet they are still being drafted as if they’re completely healthy.

Let’s take the most obvious and recent case of Dion Lewis (18th at RB, 57th overall).  There were a laundry list of problems with the guy, but that didn’t seem to register with so many drafters.  Such as … he’s a running back in New England the Patriots refuse to EVER use just one guy for a full year.  Such as … he’s made six starts through three seasons and two teams.  Such as … he was coming off an ACL surgery.  Such as … he wasn’t even practicing!  I just could not reconcile his draft positioning with the surrounding problems.

Well now, even if people don’t want to listen, they have to listen … Lewis doesn’t even deserve to be drafted following the news that he’ll need another knee surgery (of the ‘clean-up’ variety) and will be out for two or more months.  Maybe that little piece of information will stick with people!

So now I get to turn my befuddled eyes to some other ‘What?’-ADPs.

Why is Tyler Eifert (7th at TE, 84th overall) going anywhere near the top-10 at his position??  His ankle surgery came late in the offseason, he can’t sustain his silly pace of last year (13 touchdowns … on 52 catches, while not even surpassing 620 yards receiving), and, oh yeah, he won’t even be healthy for the beginning of the year.  Furthermore, we can’t even get a firm date from anyone associated with the Bengals about a possible return.

This leads me to another tight end … Why is Rob Gronkowski (1st at TE, 13th overall) still considered a good first-round pick??  He won’t have Tom Brady for a month, his numbers actually dipped last year (one fewer score and 10 fewer catches), and he has not been the practice field in more than a week.  What’s the issue?  Nobody knows!  But, we still have folks saying, “Go ahead, draft the guy.  We don’t know what he has and we don’t know when he’ll be back, but sure … what a great way to start off your fantasy squad!”  Excuse me … that’s just foolish.

Let’s see, where else can I target my cross-hairs?  Ah, yes, there’s the name of Jamaal Charles (8th at RB, 25th overall).  Here’s a guy who is currently battling back from a second major knee surgery in just five years’ time.  Here’s a guy who won’t participate in a single preseason snap.  And, here’s a guy who has a pair of tailbacks chomping at the bit right behind him in Spencer Ware (61st at RB, 226th overall) and Charcandrick West (57th at RB, 190th overall).  Bonkers.

I won’t bore you with my mostly negative thoughts on Jordy Nelson (10th at WR, 16th overall), Ezekial Elliott (4th at RB, 11th overall), Thomas Rawls (15th at RB, 50th overall), Devonta Freeman (6th at RB, 17th overall), and others.  For similar or different reasons, each of those players is costing waayyyy too much on draft day.  Sure, I’ll take them on my team, but not at the sky-high valuations they’re pulling, right now.

The final word … Just be careful about believing teams, players, and other fantasy experts when they tell you that all will be fine with the player starting in Week 1.  Injuries are everywhere and can spring up in a snap … why invest in someone who is already walking around with a limp at the start of the season?

Elsewhere …

·         From Legend to Unknown

There’s no perfect way to replace a departing legend, but Denver is taking the decision to deeper troughs than most.  With perhaps the best QB of all time now adios’d, the Broncos have resorted to a three-way circus where there are no easy choices. 

As of this moment, many are calling Trevor Semien (37th at QB, 322nd overall) the clubhouse leader.  He’ll start the third preseason game and then head coach Gary Kubiak might make it official with an announcement.  Either way, you shouldn’t care.  Mark Sanchez (32nd at QB, 279th overall) could have held some minimal interest in a 15-team, 2-QB set-up, but Semien is just too much a wild card for any fantasy player.  He hasn’t necessarily impressed in camp (mistakes are cropping up fairly often), but he has growth potential whereas Sanchez does not. Semien is also more familiar with the offensive ideas after spending a year on the squad in 2015.  That still might not be enough to give him much leash.  There’s a very decent chance that Paxton Lynch (35th at QB, 319th overall) could be under center by the midway point of the campaign. 

I’ve said this about a few teams’ running back competitions and I’ll say it about this quarterback competition … don’t bother following who emerges as the victor in Denver.

·         Jones Down and … Who’s Up?

Matt Jones (21st at RB, 63rd overall) is about to become one of those guys who fade into the background over the course of three seasons and then just disappear from the NFL without so much as a sneeze.  The runner showed enticing skills in his rookie year, but bookended those moments with a lack of consistency and butterfingers.  He was set to assume the Washington backfield job for 2016, but now that’s on-hold because of a shoulder injury that he suffered in last week’s preseason game.  D.C. insiders say he has a good shot of returning by Week 1 of the regular season, but you have to drop him nearly 10 spots in your RB rankings.

Jones wasn’t showing a whole lot before the set-back and by missing the upcoming preseason reps and practices, he’s going backwards.  He’s a wild card that is best drafted as a low-end RB3.  As for the possible replacements - Keith Marshall (73rd at RB, 265th overall) and UDFA Rob Kelley (122nd at RB, 383rd overall) – there’s no track record to go off of and their eventual role could be determined by a hundred different outcomes.

·         Sharpe Success

Tennesse’s decision to bail on Dorial Green-Beckham (46th at WR, 112th overall) a week ago was a solid stamp of approval for rookie Tajae Sharpe (94th at WR, 307th overall)The Massachusetts 5th-rounder has impressed from the word ‘go’ and he’s left nearly everyone with nothing but positive reviews.  The Titans do have a lengthy run-down of wide receivers on the roster that should see at least a little time, but none of them feature much upside anymore.  The rare ability that Sharpe sports is an innate sense of how to run a pass route.  It’s a mostly forgotten attribute when we look at young, incoming receivers.  Many of us (myself included) usually slide in the direction of speed, stats, conference competition, height/weight, etc.  But, the actual skill – how to get where you need to get – can go unnoticed.  It has not gone unnoticed by his QB, Marcus Mariota, though.  He’s shown full confidence in the youngster and connected on 6-of-6 targets in the second preseason game.

I think that Sharpe is due a lot of work from the get-go this season.  In fact, his September might top any September posted by any other rookie wideout this year.  He should start and he should produce for PPR leagues.  Frankly, the current ADP values between Sharpe and DGB should be flipped.  Sharpe should easily be inside the top-50.

·         A 3rd RB in Big D?

After more than a month of waiting … and waiting … and waiting … Ezekial Elliott appears set for his unveiling.  His hamstring sounds strong enough for him to get some work in Thursday’s preseason tilt versus Seattle.  As I noted above, Elliott’s price tag isn’t within my draft framework.  As long as he plays a bit – even just 20 snaps over the final two exhibition games – his value will hold steady in nearly all league set-ups.

But, don’t totally discard the back-up options on America’s Teams.  Darren McFadden (59th at RB, 214th overall) is going to start the year with a bum elbow, but he could be back before September gives way to October.  His current ADP is below-market cost.  DMC should be in the top 45 among all RBs.  Remember what he did last season (over 1,000 yards rushing, plus 40 receptions) and that he is backing up a rookie who has missed a full load of practices going into his first campaign. 

Yet, there’s still another runner in Dallas.  Alfred Morris (65th at RB, 238th overall) is no one’s idea of an ‘exciting player,’ but he could still end up with a Week 1 role.  Elliott’s hammy could keep barking and DMC is unlikely to play in that game, regardless.  Enter Morris.  It’s a selection that you would feel better about the closer that we get to September 11th (the opening Sunday of the season), of course, but it’s one you should absolutely consider.  You have to invest absolutely nothing and there’s more than a sliver of chance you’ll get a short-term payoff.  If I were building a board heading into this weekend, Morris would be near the #50-spot in my RB rankings.

You can hear Kyle each weeknight on ‘The SiriusXM Fantasy Drive’ from 7-10 ET, Sirius 210, XM 87.

*Contained within the Fantistics Draft Software is the ability to choose different ADP providers (ESPN, CBS, Yahoo, NFBC, MFL, MFL PPR, and blended). Other than the usefulness of using the different ADPs to know what others are thinking, this also allows us the ability to complete different mock drafts using different ADP sources, giving you a different draft in each scenario. Click on the Web update feature in the Draft Advisory Software to download the latest ADPs today.

 

 

8/23/2016

QB Russell Wilson posted 7 Quality Starts in his final 8 games, good enough for a 29.3 Fantasy Points per game and an insane .94 Points per Attempt! Sure he was sacked a bunch last year (45 times) and the pass Oline will once again struggle (D rating), however his schedule does improve from a D+ to a B this year with 7 favorable and 5 neutral match ups. On top of that the Seattle defense isn't quite what it once was, and the loss of LB Bruce Irvin wasn't offset. Wilson could surpass 500 pass attempts this season.


Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) returned to the practice field on Monday. The rookie "appears set" to play in team’s Thursday night preseason tilt against Seattle...Another Dallas running back, Lance Dunbar (knee surgery), is also nearing a return. The Cowboys activated him from active/PUP on Monday...Second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota will look to continue his scorching preseason Saturday versus the Raiders. He’s expected to play an entire half of action. Thus far he’s completed 14-of-15 passes for 149 yards in two games of limited exhibition action...Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen (back) is back on the practice field and while his status for this week’s dress rehearsal remains up in the air it doesn’t appear playing Week 1 will be an issue...Colin Kaepernick is making progress in his recovery from his “dead arm” and told reporters on Monday that he is “back to normal”.  He should get some action in Saturday’s game and with Blaine Gabbert looking pretty brutal through two games he could still win the QB job to start the season in San Francisco with a good effort...In another 49ers’ news Bruce Ellington (ankle) has resumed practicing...Former Bills’ running back Karlos Williams (suspended) went unclaimed on waivers and is now an unrestricted free agent...With PK Josh Brown suspended for Week 1 of the season the Giants are taking a look at free agent kickers Randy Bullock and Garrett Hartley. Josh Gordon was running with the 1st team offense on Monday, and is expected to play in preseason Game 3.  Dan Clasgens.

8/22/2016

Austin Hooper - Atlanta Falcons, Round 3, 81st overall pick out of Stanford

NFL Outlook:  Hooper scored a respectable six touchdowns in 2015 before entering the NFL draft although his career numbers don’t jump off the page.  In two seasons he recorded 74 catches for 937 yards in 24 games and at 6’4” he is one of the shortest tight ends entering the NFL this year although he is athletic enough to overcome a few inches in height and is expected to be a run blocker as well as a pass catcher meaning he can stay on the field in any situation.  He draws comparisons to another Stanford tight end in Zach Ertz who is emerging as a starting tight end in fantasy.

Dynasty Outlook:  In a year or two Hooper should be the clear cut starter in Atlanta and with the players he’s been compared to he could easily be a starting fantasy tight end in a couple of years.  Hooper is the safest tight end in rookie drafts after Henry Hunter and is a player worth stashing behind a solid veteran as there is a good track record of Stanford tight ends doing well in the NFL in recent years.

Re-Draft Outlook:  Hooper may have the clearest path to playing time in 2016 as only Jacob Tamme stands in his way and Tamme isn’t a superstar by any means.  Coming from Stanford means Hooper is a smart guy and is apparently picking up the offense well although he will be behind Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Devonta Freeman in the passing pecking order even in the best case scenario.

2016 Prediction per Software:  36 Receptions, 415 Yards, 5 TD

Fantistics James Adams takes a look at the top Rookie Tight Ends in this year's draft  in our member section today.

Player InjuryLewis,Dion - NE/RB: Lewis was previously thought to be recovering nicely from a torn ACL he suffered in the middle of last season but he suffered some type of setback that requires another “cleanup” procedure on his left knee. Local media reports speculate that he will be out 8-10 weeks which mean a late season return. His draft value is nil at this point but will increase greatly in PPR leagues during the last quarter of the season.

Player InjuryJones,Matt - WAS/RB: Jones suffered a separated AC joint in his shoulder during the Skins’ matchup with the NY Jets. This might shelf Jones for the rest of the preseason which is a bummer since the team is depending on him as its main RB. As a result of his injury, Chris Thompson and Keith Marshall will get more reps and possibly could be in the mix come the regular season if Jones isn’t back to full health. If Jones recovers nicely he remains a low end RB2/high end RB3 depending on what format you are in.

FYI
Cruz,Victor - NYG/WR: Cruz will return to practice Monday after battling a groin injury suffered at the very beginning of training camp. While not a full contact practice, the team will determine how far Cruz’s rehab has gone and when he can actually return. A lot of fantasy owners are staying completely away which makes sense because of how the last year and a half has gone, and as a result the stock of rookie Sterling Shepard has shot up. This trend could continue depending on how Monday goes.

FYI
Langford,Jeremy - CHI/RB: Langford was seen wearing a walking boot during the Bears game against the Patriots but returned to practice Sunday without wearing it. He had a strong game – rushing eight times for 55 yards and one TD so he looks to be headed into the season as a strong RB1 despite the presence of impressive rookie Jordan Howard who also had a good game – rushing 11 times for 46 yards. The injury could have been a game changer (and a bad one for Langford) but looks to be a nonissue after Sunday.

FYI
Davis,Mike - SF/RB: After a superb preseason opener against Denver last week, Davis was rising up the fantasy ladder and making a case as an RB4/5 but his chances took a hit after a disastrous Saturday game against Denver. He rushed five times for 26 years but lose two fumbles – both big time drive killers. The Niners actually fumbled five times in the game so expect some ball security drills upcoming. DuJuan Harris rushed seven times for 46 yards and also looks strong but lost one fumble as well. One RB will emerge as Carlos Hyde’s complement and despite his travails, Davis still has the edge.

Conley,Chris - KC/WR: The second year receiver starter led the Chiefs in receiving Saturday night against Los Angeles as he caught three passes for 66 yards. Conley logged some playing time late last season as injuries decimated the Chiefs receiving core, and looked okay despite how raw he was. He is 6’3” and runs a 4.3 x 40 so he could be beast if it all comes together. He is flying way under the radar in the fantasy world but is third on KC’s depth chart but more importantly Head Coach Andy Reid finally figured out late last season that KC will not go anywhere without throwing the ball down the field and not the horizontal way because of Alex Smith’s questionable arm strength. Smith looked better than most thought he would throwing the ball deeper more regularly which bodes well for a burner like Conley.

McDonald,Vance - SF/TE: McDonald’s stock is quickly rising following his play in both of the Niners’ games this preseason. Against Denver Saturday night he caught three passes for 38 yards on four targets, once again showing the chemistry he has with the Niners’ most likely starting QB Blaine Gabbert. He would have had four catches if the ball thrown by Gabbert wasn’t thrown so hard which was too bad because it would have been a big gainer. McDonald will be a strong TE2 but consider that he is injury prone (has missed 11 games in three years).

Sanchez,Mark - DEN/QB: Sanchez was the odds on favorite to win the starting QB job in Denver but hurt those chances with his performance Saturday night against San Francisco. He had two inexcusable fumbles on three sacks which aided the Niners in a preseason victory on the road. He did not complete a TD pass but did throw 10 of 17 for 120 yards. Rookie Paxton Lynch looked better than Sanchez and Trevor Siemian so who knows who will line up under center come September.

Player InjuryElliott,Ezekiel - DAL/RB: Elliott’s hamstring appears to be getting better as the team hopes for him to see some action against Seattle this coming Thursday. The rookie has not seen any preseason action thus far but is still being drafted extremely high in dozens of leagues I have surveyed. The hype thus far has resulted in him being a Top 5 pick in many of those leagues which just blows my mind. I guess the thought is behind a brilliant offensive line and his obviously potential, he will be a rookie on the level of Eric Dickerson or Adrian Peterson. It is possible but we should factor in proven veteran Alfred Morris who could be designated goal line back and limit his output.

Player InjuryReed,Jordan - WAS/TE: The oft injured though talented TE did not play in Washington’s game against the NY Jets because of a lingering sprained thumb injury. Reed is being drafted as a TE1 which he is but his average drafted position is lower than it should be because of his injury history. He has missed seven games the last two years because of injury but was also ineffective in many others. With Kirk Cousins on fire late last year, Reed was a fantasy star (11 total TDs) which is what his owners are hoping for again.

Player InjuryHilton,TY - IND/WR: After tweaking his hamstring in the preseason opener last week against Buffalo, Hilton was held out again versus Baltimore this past Saturday. We all know the drills with hamstrings – they only get better with rest. There is no need to push Hilton until he feels comfortable enough to run on it because an injury like this can linger indefinitely. Hilton was drafted as a WR1 last year after a spectacular 2014 but his stock fell (as did the entire Indy offense) with a poor 2015 and is now being drafted as a W2 in most leagues.

Player InjuryBridgewater,Teddy - MIN/QB: The team finally confirmed over the weekend that Bridgewater was held out of last Thursday’s game because of a sore shoulder. He still hasn’t practiced throwing since but should be soon as the team is just being overly cautious. Bridgewater was a fantasy star on the rise at the beginning of last season but he failed taking his game to the next level as his 2nd year numbers were nearly identical to his rookie numbers where he started four less games. He is being drafted as a low end QB2 in larger league formats but the hope is Laquan Treadwell will help him overcome his shoddy passing output.

Player InjuryNelson,Jordy - GB/WR: Nelson is working on getting his knee back to playing shape but will most likely not participate in any preseason games this year. The Packers are being especially cautious considering he had a setback when training camp first started but he is practicing with the offense on a daily basis. Nelson’s injury last year caused the Packers explosiveness to become nonexistent and has also caused his draft stock to tumble this year. It is a gamble but if he comes back 100%, he will be a steal because he is a legit WR1.

Player InjuryGreen,Ladarius - PIT/TE: The curious case of Ladarius Green hopefully reached a conclusion this weekend when he confirmed to local media that he remains on the Steelers’ PUP list because of his ankle. He said he continues to rehab his ankle and dismissed various reports that have speculated he is considering retirement due to head issues (i.e. concussions). Before his ankle issues came up, Green was considered a TE sleeper that had the potential to be a low end TE1/high end TE2 in a Steelers offense that has always been TE friendly near the goal line. Now, his stock will continue to drop until he gets onto the practice field and into a game soon.

Player Injury
Brown,John - ARI/WR: Brown had been dealing with the after effects of a concussion but was cleared to practice Sunday. The speedy complement to Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd has been out of commission since the start of training camp so this is great news. Brown caught 65 passes for 1,003 yards and seven TDs last year, and is expected to put up the same type of numbers in 2016 which would make him a superb WR3 in most formats and a borderline WR2 in larger league formats. He has a great YPR average because of his speed (career YPR average for 15.0) and the great thing about Arizona’s offense is Head Coach Bruce Arians is arguably the most aggressive playcaller in the league, taking a few deep shots in each game is essentially a requirement.

Notes prepared by Fantistics   Jasbir Singh

 

8/21/2016

Rookie WR Will Fuller is a name to know in this year's draft. Fuller got the start in his second preseason game, and came through with 17 fantasy points: 73 yards / 4 receptions/ 8 targets / 1 TD. He's about as unheralded as any 1st round talent (18th round ADP), but other fantasy owners will know his name before long.

WR Will Fuller Houston Texas (1st round/21st overall – Notre Dame)

College: Fuller declared for the NFL draft after his junior year which would have seemed impossible to believe if you saw him as a freshman that barely played – catching six passes for 160 yards and one TD. His fortunes changed following an aggressive offseason approach prior to his sophomore year which opened the eyes of the Notre Dame coaching staff. He ended up catching 76 passes for 1,094 yards and 15 TDs (amounting to an 84.2 YPR average per game). He caught six or more passes on seven occasions and scored at least one TD in all but two games. He actually caught less passes and TDs during his junior season but his receiving yardage and YPR average exploded – as he developed into one of the NCAA’s most explosive burners. He caught 62 passes for 1,258 yards and 14 TDs (20.3 YPR!) and registered seven 100-yard receiving games. Fuller scored 30 TDs during his time in South Bend – second in Fighting Irish history behind current Arizona WR Michael Floyd who totaled 37. Notre Dame never had the type of QB that really took full advantage of what Fuller offered but a good offensive scheme made Fuller look indefensible.

NFL Outlook: Fuller is going to a very nice situation where he will be asked to help elite teammate DeAndre Hopkins avoid double teams. After the Texans’ embarrassing playoff loss to Kansas City, ownership made the decision to upgrade its QB, RB and WR positions so that they will never be considered predictable again. In comes strong armed former Bronco Brock Osweiler as QB and underrated stud RB Lamar Miller – both of whom will keep opposing defenses on their toes. In all likelihood, the Texans will lean on Miller at first to get an idea of what Osweiler will be best at. At some point he will let it rip and it will be at that time Fuller could be a big time threat with so much attention being paid to Hopkins and Miller. Now, Osweiler is unproven as a big time starter, but look at the type of year Hopkins had last year with a cavalcade of journeymen QBs such as Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Brandon Weeden at the helm. If Hopkins can excel with arms like this, he will not suffer any type of production drop off and will continue to thrive. Fuller will have to battle veterans such as Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong for playing time but he is such a speed merchant, that shouldn’t be too difficult. A rookie like Fuller will not get the respect reserved for a dynamic veteran so he will see a lot of opportunities at the outset when he is on the field. He will however have trouble, due to his slender frame when it comes to crossing patterns so he will need to prove his toughness early or defenses will have fun with him.

Fantasy Outlook: In dynasty leagues that I have surveyed, Fuller was the second highest taken receiver in most leagues, most likely because a lot of owners feel the big free agent acquisitions on offense will result in a much more explosive Texans offense. Fuller being drafted so highly also shows how little faith owners have put in QBs such as RGIII and Teddy Bridgewater. In standard non-keeper drafts, he will be drafted as a fourth or fifth receiver which is about right. Despite all his speed, negatives such as spotty hands and the veteran WRs in front of him will slow down his development at first and could relegate him to early bench time. A strong preseason could change that but an NFL offense is hard to grasp, especially compared to a college level offense that was tailored to the strengths of a backup quarterback. The bottom line in regards to Fuller is he was brought in to stretch the field and will do so, but the question remains – when will it happen in an offensive scheme that will be so different than last year?  Current 18th round ADP, Fantistics 14th Round Value.

Fantistics Jason Singh takes a look at the top 10 Rookie Wide Receivers in this year's draft  in our member section today.

In Saturday Night's action, Rookies that played up include WR Will Fuller, WR Tajae Sharpe, and QB Paxton Lynch. WR Tajae Sharpe started the game for the Titans, and finished with 11.7 fantasy points, making good on all 6 targets from Mariota, for a total of 68 receiving yards. The 5th round selection has been the talk of Titans camp, and is now expected to open up as a starter right out of the gate. We're moving up his expectations in the draft software today.  QB Paxton Lynch looked a little methodical throwing the rock yesterday, but he finished 15/26 113 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. He's still working his way up for now. QB Jared Goff had a mixed evening going 8 for 12 for 82 yards and a TD, but he seems to be lacking some pocket awareness as evidenced by his 2 sacks and 2 fumbles. He's also still working his way up. The Bills surprising release of Karlos Williams,  elevates the value of LeSean McCoy. With Karlos gone, McCoy owners can feel slightly more confident in Red Zone situations.

Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

 

8/20/2016

Fantistics Sleeper WR #4 Marvin Jones | Detroit Lions

Positives: Jones joins a new team this season coming off a career year in Cincinnati.  He sat out the 2014 season because of injury and returned to post 65 receptions for 816 yards and 4 touchdowns playing opposite of A.J. Green.  Now in Detroit in a possible battle with Golden Tate for the number one role, Jones is primed for a breakout.  Early in the preseason, Jones has been dominating practice, with reporters suggesting that he has taken over as Matthew Stafford’s “favorite target.”

Negatives: We still have a small sample size on Jones, who has only played in two full seasons and part of one during his rookie season in 2012.  He had a career year last season, but still managed just mediocre numbers for a fantasy star.  With plenty of time before the regular season, Jones will have to continue working to be a consistent option for Stafford.

Final Say: Jones is coming off the board near the end of the 10th round in 10-team leagues, good for close to 40th among receivers.  If buzz continues to build up from camp, this could change, but Jones represents a strong value at this spot.  The Lions are facing a B+ schedule against the pass this season, and with Megatron gone, Jones should step in to eat up plenty of the open targets.  Current 8th round (8.10) ADP, Fantistics 6th Round Value.

Fantistics Jeremy McGoldrick takes a look at the 10 most undervalued Wide Receivers in this year's draft  in our member section today.


 

Fantasy Football Draft Day Dominance!

Last season, our software ranked Devonta Freeman 6 rounds ahead of his ADP. We ranked rookie David Johnson as a 7th round ADP, despite not having a starting job. Doug Martin - 4 rounds ahead of his ADP, Jonathan Stewart - 2 rounds ahead. Top-10 wide receivers Allen Robinson and DeAndre Hopkins 2+ rounds ahead of their ADP. Tight End Jordan Reed, 10 rounds ahead of his ADP. Tyler Eifert, 4 rounds ahead of his ADP.  These are just a few examples of the many calls we made in 2015. (click here for a complete look back at our 2015 projections and 15+ year track record).

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If you hadn’t heard the name Dak Prescott before, you were properly introduced Friday night as he wowed football fans.  The rookie put up what would have been a superb fantasy line throwing for 199 yards and two touchdowns to go with 28 yards rushing and 2 more scores on the ground.  Tony Romo stated the game and completed 4-of-5 passes for 49 yards, finishing without any injury setbacks.  Though Prescott is starting the season in a bit of a bad spot behind a star like Romo, he may end up being one of the top two rookie quarterbacks this season.  Though he has proven to be quite tough, Romo is an injury waiting to happen, and at 36 years old, the body can’t recover as quickly.  Dynasty leaguers need to take note of Prescott’s early success and draft accordingly as a wasted season behind Romo this year could still mean a big role in the coming seasons.  The Dallas run game was also hot on Friday, but it wasn’t Ezekiel Elliott or Darren McFadden, it was Alfred Morris who charged for 85 yards and a touchdown on just 13 touches.  He will start as the number two should McFadden be hampered by his elbow early in the year...The Dolphins running game had some success, but it didn’t come from its top ball carriers as Jay Ajayi rushed for just 19 yards on 6 carries and Arian Foster lost 5 yards on 2 touches.  The battle for the starting role will continue for these two next week, but it’s possible we could be looking at a true split come week 1.  Foster has the higher upside at the beginning, but Ajayi likely holds the long term value with Foster’s injury risk attached...Kenny Stills caught 3 passes for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns Friday, which should help solidify his number three role for Miami.  Jordan Cameron managed just 1 catch on 2 targets, as he still hasn’t shown us enough to warrant any hype.   Cameron is ranked as our 20th best tight end, and although he should see an upswing this year, he continues to be at best a TE2 option...In the biggest injury news of the night, RB Matt Jones went out with a shoulder injury that later was defined as an AC sprain.  The injury is expected to keep him out the rest of the preseason, but coach Jay Gruden said that he doesn’t expect Jones to miss much time.  Chris Thompson and UDFA Robert Kelley came in following the departure of Jones, before Keith Marshall joined the party.  Thompson doesn’t seem to be a threat for main rushing duties despite his 18 yards on 4 carries.  If Jones is forced to miss any regular season time, we should see Kelley or Marshall take the main role.  Marshall has been underwhelming to say the least as he carried 10 times for just 26 yards on Friday, but Kelley hasn’t done anything better.  Marshall seems to be the handcuff to own for Jones, but keep watching next week for a clearer picture...Bryce Petty is working towards the backup role to Ryan Fitzpatrick after having success Friday night.  He threw for a game high 242 yards and 2 touchdowns, while his competition Geno Smith looked bad completing 6-of-13 passes for 47 yards and an interception.  Fitzpatrick is in no danger of losing his job this season, but if goes down, I feel bad for Jets fans.  Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker both caught a pass in limited action Friday, while the third option in the passing game, Quincy Enunwa was knocked out of the game with a concussion.  The third year receiver will enter the concussion protocol.  Though he’s unheard of by many, Enunwa showed a few bright spots last season and he could develop into a role this year.  Outside of preseason action last night, Le’Veon Bell was the hot news of the day having his suspension cut from four games to three.  This doesn’t do much to his value, which was already at the back end of the first round, but it does drop DeAngelo Williams a bit...In Philadelphia, Kenjon Barner is being predicted as the number two option behind Ryan Mathews.  This is far from a lock as rookie Wendell Smallwood, who received praise early in the summer, has been out with injury the past few weeks.  If Smallwood can return in the preseason, he and Barner will battle it out for an important role behind a fragile back in Mathews...Melvin Gordon showed us more of what we saw out of him last year rushing for just 18 yards on 6 carries.  He did scamper for a 12 yard gain, but was stuffed outside of that.  Travis Benjamin made his San Diego debut, but he finished with just one catch on four targets.  Benjamin will make strides once he’s playing with Phillip Rivers who was not in on Friday.  Rookie TE Hunter Henry caught his lone target of the night for 7 yards.  Though rookie TE’s rarely pan out in fantasy, Henry could step right in if Antonio Gates is limited this season.     Jeremy McGoldrick

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Player InjuryJones,Matt - WAS/RB: Jones went down hard on his shoulder Friday night and was taken to the locker room. Later we found out the injury was an AC sprain, which will likely cost him at least the remainder of the preseason and possibly some time to start the regular season. While Jones could have enough time to recover for week one, the injury has to be something to watch in case it could lead to a chronic problem throughout the season. The Redskins are pretty thin behind Jones with 4th year back Chris Thompson, rookie Keith Marshall and UDFA Rob Kelley next in line. Marshall is the top handcuff, though he has been underwhelming throughout the preseason, including just 26 yards on 10 carries on Friday.

FYI
Gordon,Melvin - SD/RB: It’s a new year, but we saw the same results from Gordon. Though he looked good on a 12-yard run Friday, he finished with just 18 yards on 6 carries. The Chargers are committed to getting him going though, so Gordon remains safe to draft on the fact that is set to be the workhorse. We’re likely to see Gordon make a decent improvement this season, but he still has plenty of work to do.

FYI
Benjamin,Travis - SD/WR: Benjamin had an uninteresting debut with the Chargers catching just one pass for 11 yards. With Kellen Clemens starting the game, Benjamin didn’t have much of a chance to make a mark. Look for what he can do in the third preseason game, as Phillip Rivers should be behind center. Benjamin is holding good value still with an ADP in the 15th round.

Player InjuryEnunwa,Quincy - NYJ/WR: Enunwa left the Friday night contest after suffering a head injury. Though Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are the top dogs in this passing game, Enunwa has a chance to carve out a role and slip into fantasy relevance should Marshall or Decker be sidelined. We learned last season that Ryan Fitzpatrick had plenty of success passing in this offense, and that should continue this season. It appears that Enunwa is dealing with a concussion, which could limit his availability for the third preseason game. He’s headed for the concussion protocol steps, but keep an eye on Enunwa as a deep sleeper option once he’s back to full health.

FYI
Petty,Bryce - NYJ/QB: Playing for a backup role to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Petty easily outplayed Geno Smith Friday throwing for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns on 16-of-26 throwing. Rookie Christian Hackenberg did not play in the game, so it seems as though either Smith or Petty will be next in line. Fitzpatrick holds value as a QB2 this season, but neither Petty nor Smith is going to be the answer should the starter go down.

RookieSudfeld,Nate - WAS/QB: Sudfeld completed just 50 percent of his passes on his way to 77 yards and a touchdown toss Friday night. With Kirk Cousins holding the starting role and Colt McCoy appearing well ahead as the backup, Sudfeld will continue as a project this season should he remain on the roster.

RookieDoctson, Josh - WAS/WR: Rookie Josh Doctson has received some hype leading up to this season despite being injured, but don’t sleep on Ryan Grant and Jamison Crowder in leagues that start a lot of receivers. DeSean Jackson has had trouble staying on the field and Pierre Garcon is entering his age 30 season, while Doctson is having trouble shaking an injury. The receiving corps is far from set in Washington this year, and while Grant and Crowder are not worthy of a draft spot in most leagues, they could start making a name for themselves this year. Crowder quietly caught 59 passes for 604 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2015.

FYI
Foster,Arian - MIA/RB: Foster made his preseason debut with Miami on Friday and it was quite uneventful. He finished with two carries for -5 yards along with nothing in the passing game. Continuing in the battle with Jay Ajayi, Foster finishing the game without an injury is a huge success. While Foster is expected to win the starting role in Miami, Ajayi is still set to receive the most work this season as Foster hasn’t participated in a full season in four years.

FYI
Ajayi,Jay - MIA/RB: The second year back carried 6 times for 19 yards on Friday night for a 3.2 yards per carry average. His competition Arian Foster managed to lose 5 yards on his 2 carries on the night. This battle is going to be confusing and might end up being a close split to start the season, but because of Foster’s fragility, Ajayi has a slight edge in the trust factor. The two have closed their ADP gap and both are projected to go around the 10th or 11th round.

Stills,Kenny - MIA/WR: Stills helped his cause on Friday night grabbing 3 passes for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Cowboys. Though rookies Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant are fighting to get into the number three role, it appears as though Stills isn’t in danger of losing that role. He’s a strong deep threat who should have some decent games and a whole lot of stinkers this year.

FYI
Cameron,Jordan - MIA/TE: Cameron has been getting a little talk of late with Adam Gase coming to Miami this season, but he hasn’t been impressing anyone on the field yet. Though Gase has shown success with tight ends in his offenses, Cameron has a long ways to go after catching just 35 passes last year. Cameron is a long shot to be trustworthy this season and currently ranks as a TE2 at best with some potential to surprise.

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FYI
Prescott,Dak - DAL/QB: Prescott stole the night Friday by tossing for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns to go along with 28 yards rushing and 2 more scores on the ground. He also managed to complete 12-of-15 passes while playing partially against the Dolphins first team defense. Though we have to temper our excitement a bit on the rookie, Prescott has showed us that he has the ability to shine in the spotlight. Though he can’t be considered in redraft leagues with Romo in there, keeper and dynasty leagues need to take note of Prescott. Romo has a high probability of going out at some point this season, so Prescott could get an opportunity in 2016, and surely he could be working towards taking over as the quarterback of the future for Dallas.

FYI
Morris,Alfred - DAL/RB: Morris shined on Friday rumbling for 85 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries as the starter with Ezekiel Elliott out. Though he is currently third on the depth chart behind Elliott and McFadden, Morris has a great chance to move into the backup role at least early in the season as McFadden tries to recover from his elbow injury. The Cowboys offense is likely to be able to sustain a second rusher this season for fantasy purposes, but neither Morris nor McFadden warrants a high pick with Elliott firmly entrenched as the go-to guy.

Bell,Le'Veon - PIT/RB: Bell had his suspension reduced from four to three games on Friday. Though you don’t want to be without a top player on your team, Bell’s three game absence shouldn’t sway your draft spot too much as he could still finish atop the RB’s this season. His ADP is near the end of round one behind David Johnson, Adrian Peterson and Todd Gurley, but he holds an edge in PPR leagues as he’s averaging over 4 catches per game over his short career.

Ellington,Bruce - SF/WR: Though he has just 19 catches over his two year career, Ellington is getting a little preseason hype as we enter the second weekend of preseason games. He was called a standout during joint practices and called the most improved as well before getting knocked out early this week with an ankle injury. While he isn’t likely to play In Saturday’s preseason game, keep an eye on the 49ers third preseason game to see how he lines up. Torrey Smith is being labeled as a sleeper pick by some, but he is coming off the worst season of his career. While the offense is going to be different this season in San Francisco, it appears that Ellington has a good shot to break through over Smith at a much cheaper price. Smith has an ADP in the 14th round, which could still be a bargain, while Ellington is barely in the top 300.

Barner,Kenjon - PHI/RB: According to CSN Philly’s Reuben Frank, it looks pretty clear that the number two running back in Philadelphia is going to be Kenjon Barner. Barner had just 124 yards rushing on 28 carries last season, but he has played well in the preseason with 12 carries for 66 yards and a score. With rookie Wendell Smallwood out the past few weeks because of a quad injury, Barner has stepped up. This is still a situation that is unresolved as Smallwood could easily overtake the role if he can get healthy. This is surely an important one to keep an eye on though as Ryan Mathews is fragile and Darren Sproles isn’t an every down back.

RookieMarshall,Keith - WAS/RB: The rookie followed up an ugly first preseason game with just 26 yards on 10 carries Friday night. Starter Matt Jones exited with a shoulder injury early in the contest, but Marshall came in after Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson. While the rookie has struggled, there is still a chance that he would replace Jones long term if Jones went down in the regular season or struggled to recover from this shoulder injury. With Jones done for the preseason, keep an eye on the battle between Marshall and Kelley in the third preseason game, which could give us an answer as to who Washington views as the next in line.

 

Notes prepared by Fantistics  Jeremy McGoldrick

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