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Volume 14, Issue #48, June 15th

Hi Folks,

Happy Father's Day from all of us at Footballguys.

Whether you're a Father or have a Father still around, or both, I hope you have a great day. Give the Old Man a punch in the arm / handshake / hug or whatever it is you guys do.

And not to go Dr. Phil here, but for you guys that don't have a great or even good relationship with your Dad, maybe today is the day you change that. Sometimes it takes the stronger guy to make the peace. I won't pretend to know anything about anything, but I know life's pretty short and I know sometimes all it takes is telling someone important you love them and that can wash over all the other stuff.

We've also got the news and notes for you so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Dad Life
This is now an old video but still pretty fun. I've sent it the last couple of years and it will likely connect with you guys in this stage of life. Enjoy.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. NE - Surgery Tuesday for TE Rob Gronkowski
2. JAX - Hope RB Maurice Jones-Drew can be ready for camp
3. JAX - Expected to use committee at WR while Justin Blackmon out
4. STL - WR Austin Pettis impressive during workouts
5. PIT - Le'Veon Bell working on blocking
6. NYG - WR Victor Cruz looking for around $9 million a year
7. CHI - WR Alshon Jeffery locked in
8. DEN - Moreno pushing for more playing time
9. DEN - Hillman wants to start
10. DEN - RB Montee Ball comfortable with the playbook
11. DEN - John Fox showing faith in RBs
12. NE - UDFA WR Thompkins getting first-team reps
13. NE - WR Jones further down the depth chart than expected
14. SF - Rookie TE McDonald the top rookie?
15. JAX - GM fine with taking five QBs to camp
16. NE - Owner hopes QB Tim Tebow makes team
17. GB - WR James Jones thinks team can have three 1,000-yard WRs
18. SF - Could add a WR before camp
19. PIT - TE Matt Spaeth could start early in year
20. DEN - TE Julius Thomas worked with starters
21. CHI - J'Marcus Webb certainty for RT?

NE - Surgery Tuesday for TE Rob Gronkowski

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (back) is scheduled to undergo back surgery Tuesday, June 18, in Los Angeles, according to sources.

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This back surgery is considered minor but it certainly puts Gronkowski's availability for week one in question. The recovery time is supposed to be around 12 weeks. That gets us squarely into week one of the regular season. He's very likely to begin training camp on the PUP list. If he suffers a setback in his recovery then he could begin the regular season on the PUP list as well.

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JAX - Hope RB Maurice Jones-Drew can be ready for camp

Source: Jaguars.com - John Oehser

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said the plan is for RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) to fully participate in practice once training camp begins. Caldwell said he is not concerned that Jones-Drew will be rusty if he comes to camp in shape.

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Fantasy owners aren't considering Jones-Drew a RB1 anymore. His current ADP is RB14 and he's coming off the board at 2.06 in 12 team leagues. We'll see if he can play better than people expect in 2013.

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JAX - Expected to use committee at WR while Justin Blackmon out

Source: Jaguars.com - John Oehser

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said he expects the team to use a receiver-by-committee approach while WR Justin Blackmon serves his four-game suspension. Caldwell mentioned WRs Ace Sanders, Mike X. Brown and Mohamed Massaquoi as possible members of the committee.

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What this means is more targets for Cecil Shorts. None of the receivers in this committee are that interesting for fantasy owners. Brown is the most interesting because of his work ethic and the Wes Welker comparisons he was drawing last year in camp. Massaquoi has the most experience here and may emerge as the leader during Blackmon's four week suspension.

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STL - WR Austin Pettis impressive during workouts

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Jim Thomas

St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said he was very impressed with how WR Austin Pettis has performed during offseason workouts. 'Quite honestly, he's probably having the best camp of all the skill players,' Schottenheimer said. 'He's just a tireless worker. Very competitive. ... He's having a tremendous spring.' Austin has worked at split end and in the slot during workouts. He also appears to have created chemistry with QB Sam Bradford in the red zone.

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Pettis is the forgotten man in the Rams WR corps this year. The team added Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey in the 2013 NFL draft after adding Chris Givens and Brian Quick in the draft last year. We'll see if he can carve out a backup role on the team this season.

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PIT - Le'Veon Bell working on blocking

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Mark Kaboly

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell said he is working on his pass blocking techniques because he will not be on the field if he can't block during passing plays. 'I am looking forward to it,' Bell said. 'I am a big guy too. There are other running backs that are a lot smaller than me who can protect great. I am going to watch technique, learn technique and use my size to my advantage. I know how important it is.'

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Blocking is all about desire and technique. Once Bell has perfected his technique then it comes down to a willingness to get in the way. He also must learn the line calls and understand what his blocking assignment is and where the rushers could be coming from. The rookie may see his playing time limited until he proves to be reliable in pass protection.

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NYG - WR Victor Cruz looking for around $9 million a year

Source: New York Daily News - Ralph Vacchiano

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz is looking for around $9 million per season in a new long-term deal. It was believed he was looking for around $11 million earlier but he dropped his demand when he switched agents.

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We'll see if the two sides can come to an agreement in the near future. Even though Cruz signed his RFA tender this week he could still choose to hold out of training camp. He's clearly outplayed his contract and we don't feel the Giants will drag their feet getting something done.

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CHI - WR Alshon Jeffery locked in

Source: Chicago Tribune - Brad Biggs

Chicago Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) has been limited during offseason workouts, but the team is pleased with how he has worked to get himself in better physical condition. He even added strength, working with teammate WR Brandon Marshall in Miami. 'He's had a really good spring. Mentally he's been locked in since we got started,' receivers coach Mike Groh said Friday, June 14. 'He's made good improvement on the field with things (we) wanted to work on, and in terms of grasp of offense, he's where he should be.'

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Jeffery is an exciting prospect to consider for fantasy owners. We love the upgrades the Bears have made to their offense this offseason. They'll likely protect QB Jay Cutler better and better weapons like TE Martellus Bennett will only help open things up for the other receivers in the passing game. His current ADP is WR47 and he's coming off the board at 12.10 in 12 team PPR leagues.

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DEN - Moreno pushing for more playing time

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver and Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno is getting healthier and getting a small handful of first-team reps this offseason. Moreno knows that he may be behind Ronnie Hillman and rookie Montee Ball (Wisconsin) but he's pushing for more playing time after the release of Willis McGahee. "It's not an opportunity now that he's gone because I'm trying to push for more time even if he was here. When he's not here I still have six other guys to compete with. So it's just a matter of his experience I was competing with.”

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Moreno may be third on the depth chart right now and the team is bringing him back slowly as he recovers from the knee injury he suffered in the playoff game against the Ravens. He proved last year that he could be a capable starter if called upon. We'll see Ball and Hillman compete for the starting job in training camp. Moreno gives the team veteran insurance in case the two younger backs don't work out or get hurt.

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DEN - Hillman wants to start

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver and Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos second-year RB Ronnie Hillman has been working as the primary back with the first-team this offseason. Some see him as only a change of pace back but Hillman believes otherwise. "I'm trying to push to be the starting running back—I want to be come Sept. 5. If what I produce on the field this camp coming up allows me to be then I'll be happy but that is the goal.” Hillman said.

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Hillman has been getting a majority (around 75%) of the first-team reps this offseason. He's added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason after falling to below 180 pounds at the end of last year. Hillman has been a standout player at OTAs and many Broncos reporters have commented on him being faster and more explosive this year. We'll see if he can hold onto the starting job when training camp rolls around. Even if Hillman is the starter this team will still employ a RBBC which should also feature rookie Montee Ball (Wisconsin).

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DEN - RB Montee Ball comfortable with the playbook

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver and Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos second-round pick RB Montee Ball (Wisconsin) feels comfortable in his playbook so far. "I feel really good, actually. I think I showed a lot of progress, in the OTAs, practices, and the rookie minicamp all put together. I showed a lot of progress and I'm extremely comfortable with the playbook right now." Ball said.

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Great news for the Broncos here. According to Peyton Manning the team is not going to bring Ball along slowly. He's currently getting some first-team reps (about 25%) behind second-year back Ronnie Hillman. However, most expect him to win the starting job by the start of the regular season. Even if Ball is the starter new OC Adam Gase has commented that the team will use a RBBC. Ball's ADP is climbing (RB22) but fantasy owners need to recognize it could get too high if it climbs much further. John Fox's history with rookie RBs is not kind.

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DEN - John Fox showing faith in RBs

Source: Cecil Lammey - ESPN Denver and Footballguys.com

Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is showing faith in the RBs left on the roster after the release of veteran RB Willis McGahee. "I think anytime you pick your team, or begin to pick your team, you're showing faith in those people. I thought [RB] Ronnie [Hillman] came on very well last year. I've been impressed by [RB] Montee Ball—not that he's there yet by any stretch. And then we've got [RB] Knowshon [Moreno], who is also coming off of an injury, who we feel pretty good about.”

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The team would not have released McGahee if they didn't feel comfortable about the players they have in place. Most expect Ball to win the starting job by the start of the regular season. Hillman could be a featured player in their RBBC as the 'Lightning' to Ball's 'Thunder.' Moreno gives the team veteran insurance in case of struggles or injury.

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NE - UDFA WR Thompkins getting first-team reps

Source: Mike Reiss & Field Yates - ESPNBoston.com

New England Patriots undrafted free agent WR Kenbrell Thompkins has been getting first-team reps during the team's recent OTAs. Michael Jenkins, Kamar Aiken, and Thompkins have been working as the primary outside receivers.

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Thompkins is an interesting prospect to keep an eye on in super deep dynasty leagues. Our very own Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom liked what they saw from Thompkins during the week of practice for the Texas vs The Nation Game earlier this year. Thompkins has good downfield speed and can adjust to poorly thrown passes. The Patriots have a wide open depth chart at the WR position behind Danny Amendola.

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NE - WR Jones further down the depth chart than expected

Source: Mike Reiss & Field Yates - ESPNBoston.com

New England Patriots WR Donald Jones looks further down the depth chart than some expected. The free agent addition from the Bills has not been able to get any first-team reps this offseason.

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Jones is currently behind Michael Jenkins, Kamar Aiken, and Kendbrell Thompkins on the depth chart. Many thought the veteran could be a starter as the primary downfield target for the Patriots in 2013. At this time veteran Michael Jenkins seems to be the frontrunner.

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SF - Rookie TE McDonald the top rookie?

Source: Matt Barrows - Sacramento Bee

San Francisco 49ers 2013 second-round pick TE Vance McDonald (Rice) may have been the biggest standout from their rookie class during the team's recent OTAs.

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McDonald is a fantastic receiver who can attack the deep middle seam of the defense. He's incredibly athletic and creates mismatches on the field. McDonald needs to work on his hands and concentration as he too often drops easy passes. He also needs to add strength in order to be a better blocker.

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JAX - GM fine with taking five QBs to camp

Source: Jaguars.com - John Oehser

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell said he has no problem with taking five quarterbacks at training camp. QBs Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Mike Kafka, Jordan Rodgers and Matt Scott are currently on the roster.

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The Jaguars have a poor collection of QBs and more competition is nothing but a good thing. Gabbert and Henne are the most likely to start this season. Scott is an interesting UDFA to consider in super deep dynasty leagues. He's incredibly athletic and has a strong arm. However, he struggles with decision making and his accuracy leaves a lot to be desired.

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NE - Owner hopes QB Tim Tebow makes team

Source: ESPNBoston.com - Mike Reiss

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he hopes QB Tim Tebow will make the final roster. 'We want high quality people who work hard, are team players. I don't think there is a nicer person that I've ever met, and now he'll get to compete with all the other people at the position, and our hope is that he's on our 53-man roster,' Kraft said.

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Tebow gets a chance to develop as a third-string QB behind Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett. He should make the team and may see the field as a gadget player in 2013.

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GB - WR James Jones thinks team can have three 1,000-yard WRs

Source: Green Bay Press-Gazette - Weston Hodkiewicz

Green Bay Packers WR James Jones said he believes he, WR Randall Cobb and WR Jordy Nelson could all post 1,000-yard seasons in 2013. 'I've been on record as saying that I believe we have three 1,000-yard receivers in this room. I believe me, Randall and Jordy, if we all stay healthy, we can all reach over 1,000,' Jones said.

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It wouldn't be a stretch to see the Packers offense support three 1,000 yard receivers. The problem is they also have a quality pass catching TE in Jermichael Finley. Cobb is a top 10 WR and Nelson is a WR2 for fantasy owners. Jones makes for a great high end WR3 with upside in 2013.

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SF - Could add a WR before camp

Source: CSNBayArea.com - Matt Maiocco

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh did not rule out the possibility of the team signing a wide receiver before the start of training camp. The team did work out free-agent WR Austin Collie (Colts) but have not signed him at this point.

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Collie (knee) may not be cleared to resume football activities until October but has been getting some interest in the last week. He is trying to make a comeback from a ruptured right patella tendon. Collie has a long concussion history that also clouds his NFL future.

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PIT - TE Matt Spaeth could start early in year

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Alan Robinson

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Matt Spaeth could be the team's starting tight end early in the season if TE Heath Miller (knee) is not able to play.

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Spaeth is a quality veteran who comes back to Pittsburgh after two seasons with the Bears. He's not the fantasy option that Miller is and should not be on a roster in most fantasy leagues.

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DEN - TE Julius Thomas worked with starters

Source: The Denver Post - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas received some reps with the first-team offense during offseason workouts.

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Our very own Cecil Lammey has been out at Dove Valley for every offseason workout this year. He's noted that Thomas makes for an incredible downfield target because of his size and speed down the seam. The Broncos will work Thomas into the rotation at TE but he's currently third on the depth chart behind Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreesen.

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CHI - J'Marcus Webb certainty for RT?

Source: Chicago Tribune - Brad Biggs

Chicago Bears OT J'Marcus Webb is the team's starting right tackle, and it is unlikely he will be pushed much for the job unless he has an absolutely awful training camp and preseason.

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It's a good spot for Webb. He was miscast as a Left Tackle but can be a quality player on the right side where he'll see less athletic pass rushers. The Bears have done a brilliant job with their O-Line upgrades this offseason.

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That'll do it for today, Folks.

I hope you have a fantastic Fathers Day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

Peace,

J