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Good Wednesday to you. I'm Joe Bryant and I'll be your Guide here as we work through July and head towards Training Camps. We've got new content for you, plus the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.
Player Spotlight: Kelvin Benjamin
Our Footballguys Player Spotlights feature deep look at a player's upcoming season. In this one, our Dave Larkin breaks down Kelvin Benjamin's fantasy prospects for 2017.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot
Cleveland Browns QBs Cody Kessler and DeShone Kizer are in an apparent two-man race for the starting quarterback position, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. Kessler and Kizer split first-team repetitions throughout minicamp, with QB Brock Osweiler working with the second team. Furthermore, Cabot expects head coach Hue Jackson to name a starter shortly after the preseason begins.
No surprise here. Kessler could handle the starting job for the Browns, but he's not an exciting option or a playmaker at the position. Instead, he's more of a game manager who can work the field on short/underneath routes. Kizer could be the quarterback of the future if he develops further as a passer. The rookie from Notre Dame is big, strong and athletic. However, he does 'bird dog' his throws and stares down his targets. Plus, he struggles to make quick decisions when forced off his first read. We'll see if he's improved during training camp and the preseason.
Peterson wants to do more as a receiver, and it's unclear how much he'll be used in that capacity with his new team. The Saints have a jam-packed and talented backfield with Peterson, Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. We should see Peterson and Ingram split carries in some form of RBBC. There will be a split of targets/receptions out of the backfield as well, and that split might also include the elusive Kamara in the mix. As you can see, this is an interesting situation for fantasy owners to navigate.
Minnesota Vikings RB Latavius Murray (ankle) is losing his grip on the starting job due to the addition of RB Dalvin Cook. Murray has missed the entire offseason recovering from ankle surgery, and Cook's blend of speed and versatility coincides with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's stylistic history at the position.
Had the Vikings known Cook would fall to the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, they probably wouldn't have paid Murray a three-year, $15 million contract with $3.4 million guaranteed. Cook is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball, and he's a much more dangerous runner than Murray. The rookie from Florida State has a history of fumbling, he needs to work on pass protection, and he's not a power player so perhaps Murray can get some time as a goal-line back for the Vikings if he doesn't win the starting job.
Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook, a versatile, quick back is built to succeed under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. Shurmur has leaned toward using one back more than a committee style in his career. With RB Latavius Murray (ankle) still recovering from offseason ankle surgery, Cook is in a prime position to usurp him as the lead back.
This should come as no surprise. Cook is a dangerous runner who can gash a defense for big plays time and time again during a game. He's more dangerous than Murray, and the rookie could easily win the starting job for the Vikings. Murray will have a role, and perhaps that is to vulture away touchdowns from Cook near pay dirt.
New Orleans Saints RB Adrian Peterson is motivated by those who doubt his age, ability, health, etc. 'I'd be lying to say [the doubt] doesn't [motivate me],' Peterson said. 'You want to do things people say you can't do.'
Peterson is one of the fiercest competitors in league history. He'll use anything as motivation -- and it will work. The Saints RB situation is going to have some complications. Mark Ingram is no slappy and he should work with Peterson to split carries. Rookie Alvin Kamara is dynamic and could be worked into the mix as well.
Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders has made some changes this offseason, including his diet. Sanders admitted that he was eating poorly but has been listening to his body more and physically feels like a rookie again.
Sanders has cut out fast food from his diet and says he feels better because of it. The veteran receiver acknowledges how the new offense under Mike McCoy is going to be pass-happy and he'll need the stamina to keep up. Many are concerned about the quarterback situation, but in this system we see value plays in Sanders (WR34) and Demaryius Thomas (WR14) in 2017.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians (kidney) underwent surgery in February to remove a cancerous spot on his kidney. "Now I feel great," Arians writes. "My energy has returned. I'm told I'm cancer-free again. I'm ready for at least one more season of NFL football--maybe more."
Arians is one of the best coaches in the league, and we're glad to hear that he's feeling better and cancer free. At 7-8-1 last year, Arians will be trying to bounce back from his first losing season as a head coach.
San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde will need to earn his starting job over rookie RB Joe Williams, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Maiocco envisions a committee approach with RB Tim Hightower also being involved.
Fantasy owners seem split on Hyde's outlook for 2017. Some feel as the 49ers starter he's got low-end RB1 upside, while still others think he'll be unseated by Williams sooner rather than later. In the final year of his rookie contract, Hyde is a bit of an odd fit for Kyle Shanahan's zone-blocking system. The oft-injured veteran has a current ADP of RB18 (4.07) in 12-team PPR leagues. That could change drastically if we watch this battle unfold in favor of Williams (or a RBBC) in training camp and the preseason.
San Francisco 49ers QB Brian Hoyer is heading what is dubbed 'Camp Hoyer' prior to the start of training camp. At least 10 quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs attended workouts Monday, July 10, and Tuesday, July 11.
Hoyer knows the Kyle Shanahan system from his days in Cleveland, so he can continue to build chemistry with his new teammates. The 49ers aren't anywhere near competing for a playoff spot, but from a fantasy perspective we like the upside of some of there skill position players -- Pierre Garcon specifically. He should be able to outperform his current ADP of WR35 (7.07) in 12-team PPR leagues.
New Orleans Saints RB Adrian Peterson is likely on tap for 150 carries, according to Saints color commentator Deuce McAllister. 'If he gets (about 150 carries), he'll get probably 700 to 1,000 yards,' McAllister said. Peterson is keeping his weight between 215 and 219 pounds with 6 percent body fat. Peterson, who has totaled more than 400 receiving yards once, said he'd like to tally 500 receiving yards.
The Saints backfield is going to be an interesting one for fantasy owners to navigate. Both Peterson and Mark Ingram want to do more as receivers this year and both could be splitting early-down duties. Throw in rookie Alvin Kamara who can be favorably compared to former NFL-er Thomas Jones and you can see the dilemma. The talent is there for all three backs, but there's only one football to go around. Currently, Peterson is the top back from New Orleans coming off the board. He's at RB21 (5.04) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Sanu's role is set with the Falcons, so fantasy owners know how much to expect from him in 2017 -- even with former OC Kyle Shanahan gone. He'll compete for targets with guys like Taylor Gabriel, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman behind superstar Julio Jones. Projecting around 60-ish catches for Sanu in 2017 is fair, and that makes him mostly a WR6/WR7 for fantasy.
It's not surprising that a converted running back leads the way in this category. Tate ranked 4th in the league last year for yards after catch per reception (6.71) at the wide receiver position. The league average for that stat in 2016 was 4.39 yards, and only Taylor Gabriel (7.97), Adam Humphries (7.07) and Jarvis Landry (6.80) ranked higher than Tate.
Enunwa had a breakout season in 2016 and now he's the no1 wide receiver for the Jets entering 2017. We'll see if moving him around from the slot to the outside helps him best the numbers he posted last year. Enunwa's situation would feel a lot better if the Jets had a better quarterback situation. He's got a current ADP of WR44 (9.11) in 12-team PPR leagues.
Not a big deal here. The PUP list in camp just means a player can be activated anytime they're ready during August. Ramsey is recovering from surgery to repair a core muscle injury and one of the most exciting young corners in the league when healthy.
Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith (knee) may be worked in slowly as he returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament. ESPN.com's Todd Archer suggests that the Cowboys use Smith as a two-down linebacker until he's completely comfortable with a full workload.
Denver Broncos QBs Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and others will attend a passing camp in Los Angeles prior to the start of training camp. Head coach Vance Joseph has reiterated that Siemian and Lynch are in the midst of a heated battle for the starting job.
Usually the passing camp is set up by the staring quarterback, but Denver doesn't have one yet. It should only take a couple of weeks in training camp before the Broncos decide on their starter. Siemian is safe and efficient on underneath routes but is hurt all the time and rarely challenges a defense deep. Lynch has a big arm and will attack with his legs and deep shots...but he struggles to throw on time consistently when working the underneath stuff. Lynch finished minicamp and OTAs looking better, but he now has to carry that momentum over to training camp.