Volume 19, #110 -- Thursday Night, August 10th, 2017
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Welcome to Friday. Another big day of Content for you plus the News and Notes you need. Let's go.
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FREE FEATURE - Training Camp Update #1
If you want to know what's happening at every Training Camp every week, the Footballguys Training Camp Reports are your ticket. They're 40 something pages of everything you need to know about every player. And we do them for four weeks running starting today. Knock Yourself Out.
FREE FEATURE - Week 1 Training Camp Cliff Notes
Mark Twain once reportedly said, "Apologies for the length of this letter. I didn't have time to write a shorter one". Sometimes, condensing something down can be valuable. I do that here with the Cliff Notes version of the Training Camp Reports.
Cincinnati Bengals RB Jeremy Hill will start all season unless he's injured or 'absolutely terrible,' in the opinion of The Cincinnati Enquirer's Jim Owczarski. Hill was listed as the starting running back on the Bengals' initial depth chart.
His yardage total has gone up and down over the last few years, and the last two have seen sub-1,000 yard efforts on the ground, with his combined yards inching past the mark last season by 13 yards. At least his touchdown totals are hovering between nine and eleven. Current ADP is 48th running back off the board, with an overall ADP of 145. Meanwhile, rookie Joe Mixon is trending at an overall ADP of 45, and getting drafted as the 18th back off the board. It sounds like, as of now, Hill could be a huge value but it means embracing him against most rankings and early drafts and letting Mixon go, as he is way too early. The best bet, if you want to invest in the Cincinnati backfield, is likely to grab Mixon at too high a value and then grab Hill, that way you cover both sides. Understand also, that this all may shift over the next few week. So embracing that counter-narrative of Hill-not-Mixon and not having both players means you risk getting shafted if Mixon ends up in charge and you don't have him.
Hill had a very good season in 2016 and ended up the 15th fantasy wide receiver based on some great games. Clearly fantasy GM's are expecting him to playing very well. Current getting selected as the 23rd wide receiver in drafts. We feel that is less about Hill and more about the limitations of his quarterback, and certainly feel that he 10 out-produce that ADP.
We have expected some sort of suspension for Elliot for some time. That it's dragged this long has to be irking Jerry Jones, almost as much as it is irking Elliot's Fantasy GMs. Elliot is one of the top running backs in fantasy, and really that won't change regardless of suspension. But if you draft him before we find out what the suspension is, make sure you have a backup for the first few weeks just in case.
Houston Texans WR Braxton Miller (undisclosed) went to the locker room with an undisclosed injury Wednesday, Aug. 9, against the Carolina Panthers. Head coach Bill O'Brien said Miller will be fine, however.
We hope so because the Texans aren't in a position to lose too many more guys at receiver. It feels like neither Miller nor Jaelen Strong's ADP has adjusted in the wake of Will Fuller's injury, with Strong still not tracking at all and Miller tracking as the 84th wide receiver. Uncertainty at quarterback definitely has something to do with that, but it's worth watching the No. 2 for Houston to see who emerges as there could be some good value there.
Barring injury, Murray will be the lead back here. Derrick Henry will probably get a few more touches this year but not enough to impact Murray, who definitely found his mojo again in Tennessee. He's going as a top ten back in drafts right now, and we think he'll more than hit that mark in production in 2017. On the flip side, few backs have a player as good as Derrick Henry looking over their shoulder...
Frank Gore is still going to be the starter in Week 1, but we could see Mack a bit more as the season progresses, assuming the shoulder isn't a lingering issue. Currently the No 56 back off the board, with an overall ADP of 177, Mack looks like a solid handcuff on the off chance the Fantasy Reaper catches up to Gore.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie QB Patrick Mahomes has been 'impressive' in camp, 'making at least one eye-opening throw per practice and has been fun to watch,' according to the Kansas City Star's Terez A. Paylor, who added 'everyone in the organization, from the highest level on down, is happy with his progress.'
With notes like this from camp, we do wonder how much rope Alex Smith will get. On the other hand Mahomes can be a little bit too much of a gunslinger, and the Chiefs have playoff and Super Bowl aspirations. So they may not be willing to roll with the rookie.
Denver Broncos QB Trevor Siemian said he's felt like the offense has been clicking for him lately, like a switch was suddenly flipped. Siemian said he's felt more comfortable in the new offense and feels that he's in a good spot right now under new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.
While this may be true, there are enough reports out of camp painting Siemian as average for us to not be too excited by this news. Unfortunately for John Elway, Paxton Lynch just doesn't seem ready, and he may be stuck with average again this year. Average might really be an improvement over last year, though, as Siemian was inconsistent and erratic far too much. Most Fantasy GMs seem to feel the same, as he is the 30th quarterback coming off the board in drafts despite two of the better receivers in the NFL to throw to.
We have no great hopes or expectations for Roberts, but if he has been treated for it and is healthy, there's a chance we could see some more production from him. With Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree in front of him and a hungry Cordarrelle Patterson behind him, Roberts may not see enough work for that uptick to be significant.
Oakland Raiders TE Jared Cook has been thrown to often by QB Derek Carr this offseason, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Vic Tafur. Carr is excited about what Cook brings to the table. 'When you add a guy like Jared Cook that runs a 4.3 [40-yard dash] or a 4.4 and he can outrun [defensive backs], [you] can throw him out wide and run different kinds of routes with him,' Carr said. 'We can do that kind of stuff because he is that talented.'
We'll see how this translates, and Cook did look pretty good at times with Green Bay in 2016. On the other hand, the "at times" is the whole problem with Cook, who can never be consistent enough to provide reliable production for fantasy owners. That's probably why he is the No. 24 tight end going in drafts right now, 189th player off the board. He has skill, but he just doesn't seem to put it all together at once.
Dorsett will just continue to fall behind guys like Chester Rogers as they vie for the No. 3 job, and it looks more and more like he was a wasted pick. We still don't know what is up with Andrew Luck and even if healthy, Luck isn't going to use his third receiver a ton, but if TY Hilton or Donte Moncrief get hurt, that spot could end up producing.
Butler is so far down the depth chart that every missed snap is going to make it harder for him to break out. Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are all targets well ahead of him, and now guys like Quincy McDuffie, Noah Brown and Andy Jones have a shot to leapfrog him. None are really fantasy relevant barring injury, but it's the time of year where we earmark "just in case" guys and Butler may slip enough to fall off that list.