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Volume 19, #70 -- Saturday Night, July 1st, 2017

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Hi Footballguy,

Welcome to Sunday. It's the July 4th Weekend but we've still got some News and Notes for you. Let's get to it.

J


1. PIT - Le'Veon Bell feeling good

Source: ESPN.com - Jeremy Fowler

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell (groin) has been training in Los Angeles this offseason and said he is feeling healthy after he underwent groin surgery earlier this offseason.

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There was a video of Bell playing basketball a week ago, so apparently he's feeling good and ready to go. Bell has yet to sign his $12.1 million franchise tender for 2017. Some feel there's going to be a holdout into training camp, but the two sides have until July 17th to work out a new long-term deal. Injuries and suspension have kept Bell from playing a full 16-game season since 2014. If healthy, Bell could easily end the season as the best running back in fantasy football.

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2. SF - RB Carlos Hyde a bad fit?

Source: Santa Rosa Press Democrat - Grant Cohn

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde averaged 2.5 yards per carry last season on runs designed to go outside the tackles, and Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat believes Hyde is a bad fit for an offense run by head coach Kyle Shanahan, who calls more runs outside the tackles than any other coach in the league.

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Hyde has a current ADP of RB19 (4.08) in 12-team PPR leagues. and there are plenty of fantasy owners who (rightfully) see the potential of a starting running back in a Shanahan system. Hyde had 39 carries outside the tackles last year, compared to 36 for Tevin Coleman and 57 for Devonta Freeman under Shanahan in 2016. Hyde is in a contract year, so the incentive is there for him to produce at a high level. Watch this situation closely as others on the 49ers roster (Joe Williams, Matt Breida) may be catching the eye of the staff.

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3. MIN - More production for WR Laquon Treadwell?

Source: NFL.com - Conor Orr

Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur believes he can utilize his weapons more effectively with a full offseason in his role, and Conor Orr of NFL.com thinks WR Laquon Treadwell could be one of the main beneficiaries.

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In nine games as a rookie last year, the 2016 first-round pick struggled to make an impact and only caught one pass for 15 yards on the season. Treadwell is competing as the no3 receiver for the Vikings behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Coming out of college, Treadwell drew comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins (Texans) because of his athleticism and ability to make crazy catches with ease. The Vikings are hoping he can start flashing more of that in year two.

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4. IND - Indy not sold on ILB Zach Orr yet

Source: The Indianapolis Star - Stephen Holder

Free-agent LB Zach Orr's (Ravens) meeting with the Indianapolis Colts Friday, June 30, was used as an information-gathering effort for the Colts so the team could see if Orr can play again despite his neck injury, according to a source.

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The Colts have not reached a comfort level which would allow them to sign Orr at this time. Neck injuries are tricky to come back from and complicated to deal with. Any team interested in Orr (reportedly around half the league) will have to feel his neck problem is manageable.

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5. SF - S Dontae Johnson could start in 2017

Source: 49ers.com - Joe Fann

San Francisco 49ers CB Dontae Johnson is expected to compete with CB Keith Reaser for one of the starting cornerback jobs during training camp.

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A fourth-round pick out of NC State in 2014, Johnson has the versatility to line up at multiple positions. He played less than a 100 snaps last year but we could see a larger role for Johnson in 2017.

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6. BUF - Dion Dawkins expected to compete for RT job

Source: The Buffalo News - Vic Carucci

Buffalo Bills OT Dion Dawkins is expected to compete with OT Jordan Mills during training camp. Dawkins worked at left tackle during offseason workouts, but OT Cordy Glenn (ankle) is expected to be ready for camp.

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With Glenn out during OTAs and minicamp it was the rookie Dawkins who was lining up at left tackle. Glenn will be back and Dawkins will have to outperform Mills for the starting right tackle position. A second-round pick out of Temple, Dawkins is massive at 6'4" 315 pounds and he has the length scouts love. He's a naturally powerful player who wants to maul every opponent he faces. That sounds more like a right tackle than a left tackle, and there's a chance he could end up inside at guard too.

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7. HOU - WR Will Fuller to focus on receiving duties

Source: Houston Chronicle - John McClain

Houston Texans coaches want WR Will Fuller to concentrate on improving as a receiver rather than worrying about special teams, although he is considered the club's best punt returner.

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Fuller's game as a receiver is all about speed ala Ted Ginn (Saints). Just like Ginn, Fuller also has a problem with concentration and will drop some easy passes from time to time. Fuller caught 47 passes last year as a rookie, and we could see the 2016 first-round pick getting around 50 catches in his second season. With rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, we absolutely love taking Fuller as a 'lottery ticket' pick late in drafts. His current ADP is WR72 (14.11) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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8. HOU - RB Tyler Ervin to return punts?

Source: Houston Chronicle - John McClain

The Houston Texans are considering using RB Tyler Ervin as their primary kickoff and punt returner in 2017.

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Ervin has the skill set to be an effective return man. He's 5'10" 185 pounds and can get by defenders in the blink of an eye. Ervin is quick and has the speed to threaten the defense every time he touches the ball.

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9. CIN - Cody Core ready for more

Source: Bengals.com

Cincinnati Bengals WR Cody Core is seeing the benefits from the playing time he received last year when WR A.J. Green was injured, according to head coach Marvin Lewis. 'It gives him the confidence to come out and work in the offseason and know that he can achieve higher goals,' Lewis said.

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A sixth-round pick out of Ole Miss in 2016, Core got onto the field in eight games for the Bengals last year. He finished his rookie season by leading the team in receiving (four catches, 82 yards) in the season finale against the Ravens. On the season, Core had 17 catches for 200 yards. Core is an ascending talent, but right now he's no better than no4 (probably no5) on the Bengals depth chart at the position. Keep track of him in deep dynasty leagues.

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10. PHI - Philly believes in Mack Hollins

Source: ESPN - Adam Caplan

The Philadelphia Eagles cut WR Dorial Green-Beckham in part because of their confidence in WR Mack Hollins.

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A fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Hollins teamed with Ryan Switzer to give the North Carolina Tarheels (and their quarterback Mitchell Trubisky) a nice 1-2 punch. At 6'4" 221 pounds, Hollins can get down the field and track deep passes. For a big man, Hollins can get off the line in a hurry and doesn't need a lot of space to get up to top speed. He may never be more than a deep threat, but Hollins is a playmaker on long bombs. Plus, he's a sound special teams player.

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11. PHI - Philly high on Marcus Johnson

Source: ESPN - Adam Caplan

Philadelphia Eagles WR Marcus Johnson's strong offseason is one of the reasons WR Dorial Green-Beckham was released.

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Undrafted out of Texas in 2016, Johnson wasn't an impact player in college and finished his career for the Longhorns with 61 catches for 793 yards and four touchdowns. He is a solid contributor on special teams, plus Johnson is an outstanding athlete as evidenced by his performance at the Longhorns pro day (4.37 40-yard dash, 11'4" broad jump, 22 bench press reps). We'll be monitoring his progress in super deep dynasty leagues.

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12. NYG - Expectations rising for Evan Engram

Source: Giants.com - John Schmeelk

New York Giants TE Evan Engram could finish this season with 45 to 50 catches, according to John Schmeelk and Lance Medow of Giants.com.

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That's not outlandish as Engram is basically a super-sized wide receiver playing the tight end position. Rookie tight ends rarely reach this kind of production though and since 1996 only three rookies at the position have been top-5 fantasy producers. We love Engram's skill set and the way the Giants should use him. That being said, it's safer/better to draft him as an upside TE2 in your fantasy leagues. Get yourself a solid starting tight end, then draft Engram later near his current ADP of TE19 (14.03) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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13. BUF - TE Charles Clay to be limited in practices

Source: The Buffalo News - Vic Carucci

Buffalo Bills TE Charles Clay (knee) will have his snaps limited in practices this season to try to manage his chronic knee issues, according to head coach Sean McDermott.

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Clay's knee injury is something that must be handled correctly during the week. The team is likely to limit him in training camp as well. That leaves more reps available for guys like Nick O'Leary and converted quarterback Logan Thomas.

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That'll do it for today, Buddy. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J