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Volume 19, #43 -- Sunday Night, June 4th, 2017

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Hi Folks,

Good Monday to you. It's June and we can't wait. The summer is rolling towards us and we're here to bring you all the News and Notes you need. Let's get to it.

J


1. NYJ - QB Josh McCown has advantage in QB competition

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets QB Josh McCown has an advantage over QBs Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty in the competition for the starting quarterback job because he is familiar with the West Coast offense, according to head coach Todd Bowles. Bowles also said he expects Hackenberg to play at some point.

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His advantage is not only experience, but also because the other two aren't really good. Hackenberg was a second-round pick last year but he was so bad the team didn't turn to him as a rookie. We'll see if that's different this year. Petty is your run-of-the-mill backup quarterback...at best. This situation is one of the worst at the position in the entire league. Don't look for fantasy value from the Jets QBs no matter who wins the job.

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2. KC - WR Demarcus Robinson, WR Albert Wilson could start

Source: ESPN.com - Adam Teicher

Kansas City Chiefs WRs Demarcus Robinson and Albert Wilson are considered the leading candidates for the starting receiver job opposite WR Chris Conley, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Adam Teicher.

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Tyreek Hill is the Chiefs WR to get excited about...not Robinson, Wilson or Conley. We'll watch their status in training camp in deep leagues, but most fantasy players need to concern themselves with the primary pieces of the passing attack in KC - Hill and TE Travis Kelce.

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3. BUF - LeSean McCoy 'recruiting' WR Jeremy Maclin

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Rodak

Free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs) has been getting 'recruited' by Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy - a former teammate with the Philadelphia Eagles - to sign with the Bills.

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The Bills could use a talent like Maclin on the roster. They lost Robert Woods (Rams) in free agency, and they don't have a lot of depth behind Sammy Watkins. The Bills have Corey Brown and Andre Holmes behind Watkins, but neither one should be relied on for much. We love the upside of rookie Zay Jones as he's used to being heavily targeted and can consistently produce as a chain-moving WR. Maclin could fit in with the Bills, but the price would have to be right. According to OverTheCap.com the Bills have around $12 million in cap space at this time.

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4. PHI - WR Jordan Matthews slowed by tendinitis

Source: NJ.com - Matt Lombardo

Philadelphia Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (knee) missed the final practice of OTAs last week due to tendinitis in his knee.

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Matthews has hit low-end WR2 numbers in his career before (2014, 2015) but last year his play fell off and he finished at WR51. Playing in only 14 games in 2016, Matthews had 73 catches for 804 yards and three touchdowns. This year with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith added to the passing game, Matthews is clearly locked in as the third option at wide receiver. Add in the signing of RB LeGarrette Blount and you see a team that is looking for balance on offense. Matthews is likely just a WR5 for fantasy owners this year, and he has a current ADP of WR47 (10.08) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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5. ARI - WR John Brown back to old self

Source: NFL.com - Marc Sessler

Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown is back to running routes like he did in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. 'A couple of those routes he ran, he did not run one route like that last year,' Arians said. 'Knock on wood, it stays that way.'

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Brown was limited in 2016 due to sickle cell complications and lingering effects from a concussion. Now healthy, it's not outlandish to expect Brown to at least bounce back to the production he had in 2015 (65 catches, 1,003 yards, and 7 touchdowns.) His current ADP is WR46 (10.05) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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6. DEN - ILB Brandon Marshall feels rejuvenated

Source: The Denver Post - Nicki Jhabvala

Denver Broncos LB Brandon M. Marshall said he feels rejuvenated headed into the 2017 season, following an intense offseason regiment that included a diet change and barefoot workouts in the sand.

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Marshall just didn't look like himself last year with the Broncos. Since 2014, his per-game tackling has fallen from 8.1 to 6.9 to 4.5. In 2016, Marshall had only 52 tackles, with no sacks or turnovers, across 11 games. He's in the LB3/LB4 range in IDP leagues, but if healthy expect a bounce-back year.

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7. SEA - RB Eddie Lacy taking steps to keep weight off

Source: The Tacoma News Tribune - Gregg Bell

Seattle Seahawks RB Eddie Lacy is taking part in a P90X 30 day challenge this summer and has a 'nutrition team' whose intent is to help Lacy meet the weight clauses in his contract and keep him at or around the 245-pound mark at coach Pete Carroll wants him to play at during the season.

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We've heard about Lacy using P90x before and weight problems were still a problem for him after he got off the program. He'll need to show that he can eat the right way in addition to training the right way after this 30-day challenge is done. Lacy had back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons to begin his pro career but he hasn't eclipsed that mark over the last two years. We'll see if a fresh start with Seattle helps.

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8. DAL - Zack Martin could receive extension

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

The Dallas Cowboys are expected to talk with OG Zack Martin about a contract extension later in the offseason.

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With two All-Pro seasons in just three years as a pro, Martin is clearly one of the best in the game at his position and he should be compensated as such. The Cowboys exercised his fifth-year option earlier this year, and he's under contract for two more seasons. That's not going to stop the team from working out an extension sometime before the start of the regular season. OverTheCap.com lists the Cowboys as having around $16.9 million in cap space at this time.

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9. DAL - Dallas not looking at DE Sheldon Richardson

Source: ESPNDallas.com - Todd Archer

New York Jets DE Sheldon Richardson is not a trade target for the Dallas Cowboys.

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The Cowboys were one of two teams (Washington was the other) that the Jets had discussions with about Richardson. The Jets want to trade him away as 2017 is Richardson's final year of his contract, but teams don't want to pay him the fully guaranteed $8.1 million he's due in 2017. Team insiders believe there's a 50/50 chance Richardson gets dealt before the start of the regular season.

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10. NO - New Orleans waiting to sign Ryan Ramczyk

Source: The New Orleans Advocate - Nick Underhill

New Orleans Saints first-round draft choice OT Ryan Ramczyk (hip) is not expected to sign his rookie deal until he can pass a physical, according to a source.

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Ramczyk had hip surgery back in January and that prevented him from working out for teams during the pre-draft process. The Saints liked him enough to select him in the first round with the idea he could be a future starter. Reports indicate Ramczyk is a few weeks from being fully cleared.

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11. MIN - S Harrison Smith healed

Source: The Associated Press

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings FS Harrison Smith (ankle) said his surgically repaired ankle is healed and is no longer an issue.

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Smith is a key piece of the Vikings defense, but he needs to stay on the field more after missing time in each of the last two years. Even though he says the ankle is not an issue the team will ease him in during OTAs, but it sounds like Smith should be good to go for training camp.

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12. NYG - D.J. Fluker working with backups

Source: The Associated Press

New York Giants OG D.J. Fluker worked at right guard with the second-team offense during organized team activities last week.

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A first-round pick in 2013 for the Chargers, Fluker failed to play up to his draft status at tackle or guard. The Giants picked him up during the free agent frenzy in March with the idea he could contribute inside at guard. Justin Pugh (LG) and John Jerry (RG) should start inside for the Giants.

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13. NYJ - Juston Burris seeing snaps during OTAs

Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Rich Cimini

New York Jets CB Juston Burris has received a lot of snaps during organized team activities and is working as an outside cornerback in the nickel package.

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Burris was known as a physical corner both inside and outside during his college career at NC State. The Jets took him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL draft with the idea that he could contribute on defense and special teams. He played 185 snaps as a rookie in 2016 and should be in for more playing time in 2017.

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14. DEN - Chad Kelly likely to miss workouts

Source: 9News.com - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos QB Chad Kelly (wrist) likely will not participate in organized team activities this week as well as the upcoming minicamp even though he will have the cast on his wrist removed Monday, June 5. Kelly will have to strengthen the wrist before he can return to the practice field.

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Kelly is unlikely to play this year for a couple of reasons. 1st) The injured wrist needs to heal, plus he's less than a year removed from a major knee injury. 2nd) The Broncos have Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch to compete for the starting job. Kelly may be a candidate for IR this season, and if neither Siemian or Lynch don't impress in 2017 we could see a door open for Kelly in 2018.

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15. WAS - CB Josh Norman will shadow more in 2017

Source: ESPN.com - John Keim

Washington Redskins CB Josh Norman will be utilized as a shadow corner more often in 2017, according to new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky.

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Norman guarded number one WRs over the course of last year, but it was mainly towards the end of the season. The team is ready for him to do more of that this year. That makes Bashaud Breeland the corner to cover number two WRs opposite Norman.

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16. SF - Kyle Shanahan impressed with NaVorro Bowman

Source: Sacramento Bee - Matt Barrows

San Francisco 49ers LB NaVorro Bowman (Achilles') hasn't missed any of the current OTA sessions and has impressed head coach Kyle Shanahan with his quick recovery from an Achilles' tear

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Shanahan may be impressed with Bowman's recovery, but some 49ers beat writers have been reporting that the veteran linebacker has been struggling. Beat writer Grant Cohn believes Bowman will be cut. The 49ers have around $70 million in cap space right now, and they could easily swallow the massive $14.6 million remaining in dead money on Bowman's deal. The team drafted his replacement when they selected LB Reuben Foster in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft.

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17. PHI - Sidney Jones could return in October

Source: NJ.com - Matt Lombardo

In a best-case scenario, Philadelphia Eagles CB Sidney Jones (Achilles') could make his NFL debut as soon as late-October. However, the possibility remains that Jones could miss the entire 2017 season due to a ruptured Achilles' tendon.

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A second-round pick with first-round talent, Jones injured himself during his pro day and many felt at that time he was likely to miss all of his rookie year. When healthy, Jones plays a lot like fellow "casino cornerback" (and fellow Washington Husky) Marcus Peters. Jones will take chances in coverage, but he can make plays and lock down the receiver he's tasked with covering. With so much upside, the Eagles would be foolish to risk aggravating the injury by bringing Jones back too soon.

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18. HOU - QB Tom Savage taking advantage of reps

Source: NFL.com - Nick Shook

Houston Texans QB Tom Savage said taking reps with the first-team offense has been a great opportunity to work on his timing and communication with WR DeAndre Hopkins and the other starters.

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Savage has the experience in this QB competition and that should give him at least a slight advantage over rookie first-round pick Deshaun Watson. However, Watson is much more talented and athletic than the big pocket passer Savage. Even if Savage were to win the no1 QB job coming out of training camp, we can't see him playing a full season. Injuries have usually plagued him, and any sort of misstep by him would open the door for Watson. We think Watson could win the job to begin the year, and he's got sneaky fantasy value because of his skill set and the quality players around him on offense. Stay tuned.

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19. MIA - Lawrence Okoye battling for spot

Source: Palm Beach Post - Jason Lieser

Miami Dolphins DE Lawrence Okoye has been making plays throughout OTAs, according to head coach Adam Gase, and Gase said Okoye will be given a chance to prove he belongs.

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A rugby player and Olympian as a discus thrower, Okoye has been trying to break into the NFL since 2013. Miami is the seventh team to sign him, and he hasn't been in a regular season game yet. He's a long-shot to be sure, but at 6'6" 304 pounds, there are reasons to give him a look in camp.

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20. KC - QB Alex Smith talks WR Jeremy Maclin

Source: The Kansas City Star - Blair Kerkhoff

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith said he was expecting free-agent WR Jeremy Maclin (Chiefs) to be his No. 1 receiver again this season and was 'shocked' by Maclin's release. 'For us, we have to move on a roll as a group,' Smith said. 'We obviously wish Jeremy well wherever he lands, and he'll land on his feet.'

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It was certainly a shocking move to both those inside the building and most all of us outside the facility. Maclin was slowed by injury last year and was outplayed by breakout player Tyreek Hill, but he might have been able to bounce back this season if healthy. The possibility that Maclin will never be the speed guy he used to be is there, but his veteran savvy could come in handy with a new team. We think a team like the Eagles, Lions, Patriots or Raiders might be interested.

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21. DET - WR Jared Abbrederis praised for route running

Source: Detroit Free Press - Dave Birkett

Detroit Lions WR Jared Abbrederis has caught the eye of head coach Jim Caldwell for his ability to run routes. "Really good route runner, very good in terms of his ability to find open areas," Caldwell said. "You complement all those things he can do from an offensive standpoint with his ability to play special teams. He's really doing well, so he's just got to keep progressing."

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Abbrederis was predicted by some beat writers to be a breakout player with the Packers last year. Instead, Abbrederis was slowed by injury and limited to one catch for eight yards and appeared in only five games. The Packers let him go late last year (October 2016) with an injury settlement. Abbrederis is competing for the no4 WR job with the Lions behind Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and rookie Kenny Golladay.

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22. NO - DT Nick Fairley dealing with heart condition

Source: FOXSports.com - Jennifer Hale

New Orleans Saints DT Nick Fairley (heart) has been absent from OTAs due to a heart condition that could jeopardize his playing career, according to Fox Sports' Jennifer Hale.

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Fairley has been playing with this heart condition ever since he came into the league. The condition could shorten his pro career, and this is something to keep an eye on. Losing Fairley would be a big blow to the on-field product, but also it would come with salary cap ramifications. Back in March, the Saints re-signed Fairley to a four-year, $28 million contract, including an $8 million signing bonus. Sheldon Rankins (first-round pick in 2016) will be asked to do more in Fairley's absence.

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23. MIA - Mike Pouncey may not be ready for camp

Source: Florida Football Insiders - Ari Russell

Miami Dolphins C Mike Pouncey (hip) may begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he continues to recover from an April stem cell procedure.

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The PUP list in training camp is no big deal as a player can come off that list in a moment's notice. If Pouncey is still struggling after that, the PUP list for the regular season then becomes an option. That would automatically force him out the first six weeks of the regular season. It's too soon to speculate about that, so just watch to see where Pouncey is at come mid-August.

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That'll do it for today, Folks.

Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J