There sure hasn’t been very much news as of late in the NFL. Mini-camps were pretty quiet except for the annual share of, “best shape of his life” fluff pieces. Cleveland Browns fans were wishing things were quite on the Josh Gordon front, but that wasn’t meant to be I suppose.
Regardless, we’ve gone through our cheatsheet rankings and player projections and made a handful of changes based on recent news or additional consideration of our original forecasts. Here are the supporting notes that discuss those changes, and even in cases we didn’t make changes there are some notes here we felt were worth, uh, noting.
Training camps and preseason games start soon! We’ll keep updating as necessary through the busiest time on the fantasy football calendar, the time leading up to our annual fantasy football drafts.
- Reading Dave’s player outlooks for the Falcons, it really drove home how consistently good – really good – that Matt Ryan has performed his career, and that his receivers were a mess most of last season. I’m moving him up into Tier 2 at QB with Matthew Stafford and Nick Foles. Would not be disappointed at all with Ryan as my starting QB.
- The Falcons addressed the offensive line and we like that, and Steven Jackson got injured early last year. If he can hold it together health-wise, he’ll be a value. Not going nuts but moving him up slightly.
- Tier 7 at RB is our high upside handcuffs group. Devonta Freeman moves into it, and some got shuffled, like Tre Mason (Rams), down, and Marcus Lattimore (49ers), out.
- I must have really liked Dave’s outlooks for the Falcons. Accounting for playing hurt last year, and buying he isn’t washed up yet, moved Roddy White up.
- Ray Rice has reportedly lost 20 lbs. which has allowed him to regain some of his old quickness. Rice looked sluggish last year, unable to run away from defenders. Still, the looming suspension pushes us to move Rice down, Bernard Pierce up, now both middling ranked backs in Tier 5.
- OC Hue Jackson wants a ball control offense. This offense could see one of the biggest year-over-year changes in philosophy. Reviewing pass and rush attempts across the board for these guys.
- Brian Hoyer seems more locked into starter’s job than originally expected when they drafted Johnny Manziel, and his teammates love him, so small bump up for Hoyer into tier with Matt Schaub, Josh McCown, etc.
- Is it time to wipe Josh Gordon from the projections / rankings with low expectations he will play at all this season? Getting there, but we’ll continue to wait for official word for now.
- Andrew Hawkins becomes an unranked but on the radar candidate.
- Very positive reports on TE Jordan Cameron from mini-camp, plus RB Terrance West is standing out. Maybe these are legitimate, or maybe the Browns are trying to counter-balance the negative Gordon pub. That said, West and Ben Tate appear closer to an even split of carries than their respective ADPs currently indicate.
- Romo feeling good –”miles ahead of last year”. This, coupled with Scott Linehan at OC and a great set of receivers, Romo gets a bump up.
- Caleb Hanie received praise from HC Jason Garrett. Hanie is competing with Brandon Weeden for the backup job. It doesn’t appear Kyle Orton is coming back. Cowboys usually only carry two QB on the roster.
- Broncos are attempting to sign both Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas to long-term contracts. Each are in the last year of their current deals.
- Joique Bell says he is back to full strength from a knee injury. There is some thought the dual-split in carries and catches at RB could turn into a trio with Theo Riddick in the mix. This is based on the idea the Lions are trying to emulate the Saints offense.
- Revisiting Eric Ebron‘s player outlook, indicating he is a lower tier TE1, I’m bowing to some pressure from Dave and Tony to move him up. I don’t normally feel good at all drafting a rookie TE in redraft, but have to admit the upside is there. One media report indicates he’s expected to line up in the slot about 50% of the time, similar to Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas. High(ish) ceiling, low floor, he is now ranked 20th.
Green Bay Packers
- Packers are attempting to sign Jordy Nelson to a long-term contract.
Kansas City Chiefs
- Dwayne Bowe barely cracked 100 targets last year. His 15 TD season back in 2010 is getting further and further away. Moving him down so he’s just inside the Top 40, and even there pretty disinterested in drafting him.
- Team plans to use more two-TE sets if Travis Kelce, recovering from knee injury, is healthy.
- Adrian Peterson is reportedly impressed with rookie QB converted to RB Jerick McKinnon. He or Matt Asiata will be the primary backup to AP.
New England Patriots
- Aaron Dobson is still dealing with a foot injury but there is some optimism he’ll be recovered for the start of training camp.
New Orleans Saints
- Why do I have Marques Colston behind a second year player Kenny Stills? Seems premature, and Colston’s down year last year looks like a possible blip. Now Colston is a tier ahead of Stills, even if only one spot in the rankings.
- Arbitrator rules Jimmy Graham a TE, not a WR, resulting in a significantly lower franchise tag number. The two sides have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal or he will be held to the one-year franchise deal.
New York Giants
- Reporter speculation that even if all the running backs are healthy, Rashad Jennings will get the most carries and receptions out of the backfield, perhaps significantly more than David Wilson and Andre Williams. No change for now.
- Plan to run the ball often, according to OT Donald Penn. Makes sense, but still going to be playing from behind a lot.
- Great offense, but just not confident Jeremy Maclin is going to embrace the opportunity enough to justify where we had him ranked ahead of some more talented receivers. He’s now down at 26, middle of Tier 5.
- Given Ben Roethlisberger‘s good play late last season, and some additional optimism about his receivers since our first set of rankings, Big Ben moves ahead of guys like Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Alex Smith.
- Reports the Steelers are committed to the run and anticipate Le’Veon Bell should get 300 carries. If he does plus catches 50 passes, then he moves up. He’s now at the bottom of our growing Tier 2 of running backs.
San Francisco 49ers
- Steve Johnson, Brandon Lloyd and Quinton Patton (with an outside shot) are competing for the WR3 job.
- Marcus Lattimore still seems behind the other runners on the roster recovering from his college knee injury. One report indicating he isn’t a lock to make the roster paints a grim picture. He’s on the radar but unranked as of this update.
- Feeling less secure about Jake Locker taking his starter’s job and running with it. Not literally running, as they want him to be more of a pocket passer, but pessimistic about his likelihood of success. Bumping him down a tier.
- Ah, looking at the projections I see we already had Charlie Whitehurst penciled in for 80 pass attempts, so 2-3 games. Locker should have been ranked a little lower to begin with and jive with our projections.
- Don’t want to get too bullish on a rookie RB, but close to putting Sankey into the Top 20 which is about where the timeshare backs start getting some play, and it doesn’t look like he will be in much of a timeshare.
- Kendall Wright had one of the quietest 90 catch, 1,000 yard seasons I can ever remember. Moves up near top of Tier 5.
- Robert Griffin III looks more explosive, similar to his 2012 form. He’s ditched the knee brace. Thought originally we were ahead of the curve putting him in Top 10 but that is where his ADP has him right now.