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Volume 19, #39 -- Wednesday Night, May 31st, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Good Thursday to you. We've got a Gut Check, a Brain Dump, clear eyes, and full hearts today. Plus a brand new Player Spotlight and all the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. The Gut Check No. 397: WRs In Fantasy-Rich Offenses
Our Matt Waldman builds a profile of wide receivers in fantasy-rich passing offenses.

B. Quarterback Brain Dump
Our Sigmund Bloom looks at topics that will impact your quarterback drafting like offseason changes, 2016 splits, and schedule notes.

C. Player Spotlight: Doug Baldwin
Our Footballguys Players Spotlights are deep looks into what we see for a player this year. In this one, our Justin Howe takes a detailed look at Doug Baldwin's fantasy prospects for 2017.


1. NE - RB James White pegged for prime role

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Rodak

New England Patriots RB James White has firmly entrenched himself as the passing-down back for the club.

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White caught 60 passes for the Patriots last year, and that number could push towards 75 this year with an entrenched role. The backfield duties are going to be split between Mike Gillislee as the lead back with White coming in on passing downs and in certain packages. Dion Lewis will work into the mix somehow as well, but for now White seems to be the "1b" to Gillislee's "1a" in 2017. White has a current ADP of RB49 (11.09) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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2. DET - RB Ameer Abdullah remains the starter

Source: ESPN.com - Michael Rothstein

Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah remains the team's starting running back, according to head coach Jim Caldwell.

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That fits with the offseason clues the Lions have left for us. Abdullah is entering this year as the lead back, and the team didn't draft a replacement for him in the 2017 NFL draft. They also didn't tear up free agency looking for help at the position, although they did add Matt Asiata last week. Abdullah is a smaller back, so his workload will be managed with Zach Zenner getting some short-yardage work and Theo Riddick being featured on passing downs. Right now, Abdullah is getting drafted at RB26 (6.05) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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3. CLE - RB Isaiah Crowell may see more work

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell could receive more carries in 2017 because head coach Hue Jackson said the Browns have to run the ball more this upcoming season than they did in 2016.

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Crowell nearly had 1,000 yards rushing last year but it came on less than 200 carries. With more work in 2017 (and an incredibly upgraded offensive line), Crowell could be a RB1 for fantasy owners. Last year he finished as RB14 in standard scoring leagues.

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4. MIA - TE Julius Thomas poised for big year

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins TE Julius Thomas is 'going to be a thing this year' if he stays healthy, according to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, who reports the team has drawn up multiple plays just for him.

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Staying healthy is the big 'if' with Thomas. Always has been and always will be. He's never played a full 16-game season during his pro career. Thomas is back in the Adam Gase offense, one he was incredibly productive in when he was with the Broncos. His current ADP is low, and he could outperform where he's going off the board at TE17 (13.11) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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5. CHI - RB Jordan Howard not resting on his laurels

Source: Chicago Sun-Times - Adam L. Jahns

Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard is 'noticeably slimmer' entering his second season after finishing second in the league in rushing as a rookie. Howard intends to play at 225 pounds in 2017 and hopes not to come off the field as much.

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Howard doesn't want to be known as a one-year wonder. Instead, he's working to stay on the field and stay effective with the rock in his hands. Howard has a current ADP of RB7 (2.02) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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6. ARI - Larry Fitzgerald impressed by Chad Williams

Source: ESPN.com - Josh Weinfuss

Arizona Cardinals WR Chad Williams received some lofty praise from a likely Hall-of-Famer Tuesday, May 30, as WR Larry Fitzgerald said the third-round pick reminds him of former teammate Anquan Boldin in terms of the strength of their hands.

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It seems like every other day there's a positive story about the rookie WR from Grambling State. That's a message, and Williams is clearly a player fantasy owners need to be dialed in on. Behind Fitzgerald, the team will utilize John Brown as a speedy field-stretcher. Williams and his acrobatics (plus great hands) could be worked in at least as a red-zone threat in 2017. In dynasty leagues, we are all over his stock.

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7. PIT - Le'Veon Bell may miss minicamp

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell could skip the rest of organized team activities and the team's minicamp because he still has not signed his franchise tender, according to sources.

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Fantasy owners need to watch this situation closely. Bell had surgery to repair a core muscle back in March, so there's no need to rush him back. We'll see if the Steelers give Bell the long-term contract he wants before the July 15th deadline. Bell and the team has had some discussions about a long-term deal, but neither side seems worried about the situation at this point.

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8. CLE - DeShone Kizer seeing snaps with starters

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns QB DeShone Kizer has received some snaps with the first-team offense during organized team activities because the coaching staff needs to see more of him on the field than the other quarterbacks, according to head coach Hue Jackson.

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That's only natural as Kizer could be the team's franchise quarterback. Cody Kessler may begin the season as the starter, but it's Kizer who could finish the season atop the depth chart. Kizer is big, has a strong arm and is athletic but he needs to speed up his decision maker as a passer and stop locking onto targets. We'll see if he can make enough strides to be a starting option for the Browns at some point during his rookie year.

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9. MIN - WR Laquon Treadwell never healthy in 2016

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Andrew Krammer

Minnesota Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell has pronounced himself fully healed and 'looks healthy' according to CB Xavier Rhodes, one season after Treadwell battled foot, hamstring and finger injuries.

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That's great news for Treadwell and the Vikings. A first-round pick out of Ole Miss, Treadwell's rookie season was a disappointment as injuries slowed him down and held him to one catch for 15 yards in nine games. He's got a skill set reminiscent of DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) if at full strength. Treadwell is not going to outrun anyone down the field, but he has great concentration and can make difficult catches seem routine. He'll compete for the WR3 spot behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in 2017.

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10. MIN - Dalvin Cook signs contract

Source: Vikings.com - Craig Peters

Minnesota Vikings second-round draft choice RB Dalvin Cook signed his four-year contract Wednesday, May 31. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Cook has first-round talent, so long as he stays healthy and hangs onto the rock. He's got the vision and instincts to gash defenses as a runner. Cook needs work in pass protection to be more of a three-down back, and this season he'll compete in a RBBC with Latavius Murray and Jerrick McKinnon. The rookie from Florida State has the talent to emerge as the lead back. Fantasy owners are drafting him at RB36 (7.12) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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11. HOU - D'Onta Foreman back on the field

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans RB D'Onta Foreman (hamstring) is participating in organized team activities Wednesday, May 31.

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Foreman is a big back with a swift running style. He's not as powerful as perhaps his size indicates, and the rookie from Texas will be competing with Alfred Blue to be the primary backup behind Lamar Miller in 2017.

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12. CLE - WR Corey Coleman sidelined

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman (undisclosed) is expected to be out a 'little while' after reportedly playing out to make a catch in practice last week and landing on the ball. Head coach Hue Jackson intends on having Coleman back by training camp.

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A broken hand last year as a rookie held Coleman back, and this year he's being hampered again by injury. Coleman could be the main WR for the Browns with the departure of Terrelle Pryor (Washington) in free agency. They did make a move to add Kenny Britt in free agency, so perhaps he's the top target if Coleman is banged up or falls behind.

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13. DET - RB Theo Riddick working on sidelines

Source: DetroitLions.com - Tim Twentyman

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick (wrist) was running and working out on the sidelines during practice Wednesday, May 31, and had the ball in his left hand because his right hand is heavily wrapped.

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The Lions will not rush Riddick back as he's a known commodity with a clear-cut role. Riddick will continue to be featured as the team's pass-catching running back. Fantasy owners in PPR leagues should look at him as a RB3/flex option.

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14. CIN - Carl Lawson turning heads

Source: Bengals.com - Geoff Hobson

Cincinnati Bengals fourth-round DE Carl Lawson is seeing significant time as a linebacker so far in offseason practices and has been highly impressive, according to a handful of players and coaches. The Bengals anticipate him putting his hand on the ground on third down, but he is working with the linebackers so they can get him on the field on first and second down as well.

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Lawson was not known as a 'twitchy' player in college at Auburn, so he must be improving that part of his game. He does get off the snap quickly, and Lawson has the NFL aggression and toughness to be an edge-setter in the pros.

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15. DAL - RB Ezekiel Elliott back at practice

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott (head) was back at OTAs Tuesday, May 30, after he was held out of practice last week following a car accident on May 21.

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Cowboys RB coach Gary Brown insisted that Elliott did not have a concussion as a result of this car wreck. The team was just being cautious with their superstar back last week, and now he's back.

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16. DET - Kenny Golladay impressive at workouts

Source: DetroitLions.com - Tim Twentyman

Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay has shown good hands and the ability to get open during offseason workouts, in the opinion of DetroitLions.com's Tim Twentyman.

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At 6'4" 218 pounds, Golladay is an impressive size/speed prospect to track in dynasty leagues. He can fly down the field and is known to make acrobatic catches near the sideline. Golladay can take the top off the defense or be a quality option in the red zone.

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17. LAR - QB Jared Goff not a lock to start Week 1?

Source: TheRams.com

Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff has 'done a nice job of getting better,' according to head coach Sean McVay. However, McVay added, 'But you always want to make sure you're playing the guy that you feel like gives you the best ability to win football games. Right now, Jared is the starter.'

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Let's not go overboard here. Goff was the no1 overall pick last year, although it was not McVay's regime that selected him. He'll compete with Sean Mannion in training camp, but we think Goff gets the nod. Whether or not he holds onto the job during the year is another story.

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18. WAS - RB Matt Jones expected back

Source: ESPN.com - John Keim

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones is expected to rejoin the team at some point, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

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Jones has not been at voluntary workouts as he's likely to be traded or released. Reports indicate Jones has been told he's not in the team's plans for the future. There's a chance some team would take a chance on Jones for a conditional draft pick. Either traded or released, Jones is unlikely to be with Washington when training camp rolls around.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. Have a great Thursday and we'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J