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Volume 19, #40 -- Thursday Night, June 1st, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Welcome to Friday. Today we've got an early rundown of running backs to target and avoid listed by ADP and the News and Notes you need. Let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Early Target-Avoid Players by ADP: Running Backs
Our Chad Parsons takes a deep look at key running backs for 2017 by early average draft position (ADP).


1. LAR - Fewer catches for RB Todd Gurley?

Source: ESPN.com - Alden Gonzalez

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley may not be counted on as much in the passing game this year with the addition of RB Lance Dunbar, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Alden Gonzalez. The Rams want Gurley's focus to be on the running game. He was the focus of opposing defenses last year while only averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

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This report has been out there for a week or so. It's another ding against Gurley's fantasy stock. They don't have much to their passing attack, so defenses should stack the line to stuff the run. His current ADP of RB10 (2.08) in 12-team PPR leagues is fairly accurate for his projected production in 2017.

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2. DET - RB Ameer Abdullah had Lisfranc tear

Source: ESPN.com - Michael Rothstein

Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah (foot) tore his Lisfranc ligament in Week 2 last season. It was well documented that Abdullah injured his foot, but the Lisfranc injury, specifically, had not been disclosed.

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The Lions didn't address running back (Matt Asiata signing last week is no fix), so they had to feel good about Abdullah's prospects coming back from a Lis Franc anyway. Abdullah will split time with Zach Zenner and Theo Riddick, which will limit his upside. Owners are taking him as RB26 in 12-team PPR leagues, usually in the mid-sixth round.

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3. MIN - QB Teddy Bridgewater throwing

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Andrew Krammer

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) threw a few uncontested passes in positional drills Wednesday, May 31.

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It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Vikings could retain Bridgewater without using his fifth year option if he starts the season on the PUP list. Sam Bradford is expensive in 2017 - $17 million expensive - and the Vikings might want to be extra careful with Bridgewater until then. The current uncertainty does make it a bit tough to place value on the receivers though.

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4. MIA - Less double coverage for WR Jarvis Landry?

Source: The Miami Herald - Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry estimated he'd been 'doubled on' about half the pass plays the team has run over the past two seasons, but believes the addition of TE Julius Thomas will prevent opponents from double-teaming him as often.

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Landry is dangerous because of his run-after-the-catch ability. Snaring 100 passes this year is not out of the question, but Landry has never been much of a TD hogj (career high 5 TD receptions as a rookie in 2014). With Thomas in town (noted TD machine), Landry's trips to pay dirt may be limited again.

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5. GB - RB Ty Montgomery bulking up

Source: USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin - Ryan Wood

Green Bay Packers RB Ty Montgomery is now weighing in at 220 pounds, which is by design to better suit him as a full-time starting running back. He was lifting more over the offseason to gain more muscle.

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He's going to have to if he is expected to carry the full load during the season. The Packers did draft two running backs, so he may not really be getting all the touches, but he'll get first crack. Even if Montgomery is the main back, we're not expecting to hit 1000 yards in this offensive scheme, which eschewed the run a lot last year and probably will again this year.

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6. PIT - WR Martavis Bryant to work on chemistry

Source: ESPN.com - Jeremy Fowler

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant said he knows that it will take time for him to rebuild chemistry with QB Ben Roethlisberger and become more comfortable with the plays.

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It's only a matter of time before Bryant is back on the same page as his quarterback. Bryant has WR2 upside and his big play ability means he could swing your fantasy matchup any week. He's going off the board at WR27 (5.06) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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7. IND - RB Christine Michael signs with Colts

Source: Colts.com

Free-agent RB Christine Michael (Packers) signed an undisclosed deal with the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, June 1. RB Brandon Radcliff was waived in a corresponding move.

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Michael has always had potential, but he's never played up to that and he's bounced around the league. The Colts have a thin group of RBs behind Frank Gore. Michael will compete with guys like Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson and rookie Marlon Mack. Even in this thin RB corps, Michael is no lock to make the 53-man roster.

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8. HOU - WR Braxton Miller seeks help from assistant

Source: NFL.com - Kevin Patra

Houston Texans WR Braxton Miller has reached out to former veteran NFL wide receiver and Houston Texans offensive assistant coach Wes Welker. Miller is trying to glean what he can from Welker in order to be a better slot receiver. Miller said Welker corrects what he does wrong and then Miller tries to fix it on the next play.

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Miller is still learning, as he only played wide receiver but we like his potential. We just don't expect him to reach it this year. That said, this is a great sign and a fantastic idea. Miller isn't seeing much interest in redraft leagues, and is not worth more than a late pick to fill out your roster. A converted college quarterback, Miller is still learning the nuances of the WR position.

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9. CLE - WR Corey Coleman out until camp?

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Cleveland Browns WR Corey Coleman (undisclosed) may be out until training camp as he recovers from an undisclosed injury suffered during organized team activities. The extent of the injury doesn't seem serious, but the Browns don't want to take any chances with their sophomore receiver, especially since he missed six games last year with a broken hand.

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Coleman fell on a football, apparently, which seems like a very Cleveland Browns way to hurt yourself. It's not a great way to start things off given how many games he lost last year (6 for those counting), the direct result of which was less than awesome production. He has ability, now he needs to be on the field to show it.

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10. WAS - RB Matt Jones the No. 5 RB

Source: NFL Network - Michael Silver

Washington Redskins RB Matt Jones was told he was the team's No. 5 running back, and he is not participating in organized team activities.

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Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson lead the team's RBBC with Kelley as the power back and Thompson as the pass-catching back. They will be joined by rookie Samaje Perine. The rookie from Oklahoma is an interesting prospect, as he can pound between the tackles as well as run routes and catch the ball. We love Perine's upside and Michael Turner-like ability. As you can see, the Washington backfield is already crowded (we didn't even bring up Keith Marshall). Expect Jones to be traded or released before the start of training camp.

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11. NFL - TE Gary Barnidge awaiting starting chance

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Chris Brown

Free-agent TE Gary Barnidge (Browns) hasn't signed with a team because he's holding out to land a starting spot.

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Barnidge showed he can play and play very well, so we're not shocked. Someone will probably get hurt in the next few months, and we'll see some movement then. However, it is impossible to know his fantasy value until he lands on a team as there are too many variables otherwise.

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12. IND - TE Jack Doyle taking on leadership role

Source: George Bremer - The Herald Bulletin

Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle said he is trying to 'improve' in the area of being a leader in order to help the team, as he's by far the longest-tenured tight end on the roster. 'He's a reliable, reliable guy,' head coach Chuck Pagano said. 'The quarterback has a ton of faith and trust in that guy. He's always where he's supposed to be, and that makes a huge difference.'

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Doyle took over last year and did well enough for the Colts that they traded away Dwayne Allen this offseason. He will have to contend with former basketball star Erik Swoope, but we expect quarterback Andrew Luck to use Doyle more, especially in the red zone, where the Colts like to target their tight ends.

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13. MIN - WR Stefon Diggs was limited all year by injury

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune - Matt Vensel

Minnesota Vikings WR Stefon Diggs stated he was 'never the same' after sustaining a groin injury in Week 4 last season. 'Stuff like that is on me, staying healthy,' he admitted Wednesday, May 31.

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Not knowing for sure what is happening with the quarterback situation - the Vikings have Sam Bradford still, but Teddy Bridgewater is on the mend - makes it a bit hard to predict what Diggs' production will be. He could very well sniff 1,000 yards this year but we expect his touchdown production to remain low which will cap his value.

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14. CHI - Cameron Meredith suffers thumb injury

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Chicago Bears WR Cameron Meredith (thumb) suffered a thumb ligament injury Thursday, June 1, and will miss the rest of the offseason program. However, he expects to be ready for training camp, according to sources.

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It's a ligament problem according to reports, so watch Meredith's progress when he returns to practice in training camp. He's going off the board at WR41 (9.03) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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15. MIN - RB Latavius Murray might be ready for camp

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Chris Tomasson

Minnesota Vikings RB Latavius Murray's (ankle) goal is to be recovered well enough from his ankle surgery that he is able to participate in training camp. Murray said he's going to trust the process, not rush the process, and that he is on track to return for camp at some point.

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Murray could be the team's lead back this year, but he's got to stay healthy and win the job. Rookie Dalvin Cook is likely his best competition for the job. Jerrick McKinnon mixes in here somehow/someway too. Murray should get healthy and try to win the job in training camp.

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16. DAL - RB Ezekiel Elliott case could be over soon

Source: USA TODAY Sports - Tom Pelissero

Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott's domestic violence case could be resolved soon as phone records and other documents were recently turned over to investigators, according to sources. Closure to the case could come before the regular season commences, but the NFL has simply stated that its investigation is ongoing.

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It's curious to note this continuing investigation as Elliott was not charged. All signs point to the second-year star RB getting through this without a suspension.

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17. BAL - Michael Campanaro has sprained toe

Source: ESPN.com - Jamison Hensley

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (toe) suffered a sprained toe at organized team activities this week and did not practice Thursday, June 1.

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Not a big deal here. Head coach John Harbaugh said the injury is more of a nuisance. Campanaro is competing for the WR3 spot in Baltimore behind Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman.

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18. GB - Jamaal Williams signs rookie contract

Source: Packers.com

Green Bay Packers RB Jamaal Williams signed his four-year rookie deal Thursday, June 1. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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Ty Montgomery is slated to be the starter, but the Packers didn't draft a pair of backs to hang on the sidelines. Williams is a tough inside runner, and has a no-nonsense style like Rob Kelley (Washington) or Jordan Howard (Bears). More likely, Williams will run over you. He could see short yardage work early on with the potential for more depending on Montgomery.

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19. LAR - Greg Robinson on second-team

Source: Los Angeles Times - Gary Klein

Los Angeles Rams OT Greg Robinson is working with the second-team offense in practice. OT Jamon Brown is now working with the first-team offense.

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That's pretty brutal for a first round, second-overall pick, but it's been a long time coming. A move to guard might be in order. Brown has been a guard since arriving with the Rams, but he's impressed new head coach Sean McVay.

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20. CLE - S Calvin Pryor headed to Browns

Source: NFL Network - Mike Garafolo

New York Jets SS Calvin Pryor is part of a trade Thursday, June 1, to the Cleveland Browns for an undisclosed package, according to sources.

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They finally got rid of Pryor, who has been something of a disappointment but who fit better in defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' defense than what the Jets ran. New York gets linebacker Demario Davis, a former Jet who signed with Cleveland last offseason.

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21. TB - Chris Godwin signs rookie deal

Source: Tampa Bay Times - Rick Stroud

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin, a third-round pick, signed his rookie four-year deal Thursday, June 1.

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We like Godwin, but he's way back on the depth chart this year. Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and even Adam Humphries will be higher than Godwin to start the season, and both TEs Cameron Brate and fellow rookie (TE) OJ Howard are likely to be higher in the pecking order of targets for Jameis Winston. Godwin is a dynasty prospect we're monitoring but his redraft value in 2017 will likely be incredibly low.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for joining us and let's get ready for the weekend. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J