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Footballguys.com

Volume 20, #40 -- Thursday Night, May 31st, 2018

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Hi Footballguy,

Good Wednesday to you. We've got new analysis for you today from our Matt Waldman along with the News and Notes from around the league.

Let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Is Oakland's Passing Attack a Contrarian Play?
Our Matt Waldman analyzes the relevant historical trends underlying Oakland's passing offense and ponders their impact on this season's performance.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. LAC - WR Keenan Allen to play in slot?

2. MIN - RB Dalvin Cook looking at Week 1

3. CIN - WR A.J. Green suffers minor injury

4. KC - RB Kareem Hunt sidelined

5. OAK - WR Amari Cooper not practicing

6. PIT - Key Steelers absences explained

7. NYG - Sherling Shepard working outside

8. LAC - QB in favor of TE Antonio Gates re-signing

9. CLE - Antonio Callaway leaves practice

10. BUF - Four WRs working as returners

11. JAX - RB Corey Grant to see more touches

12. NYJ - WR Quincy Enunwa injury stems back to 2015

13. SEA - WR Brandon Marshall had second surgery


1. LAC - WR Keenan Allen to play in slot?

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen may see more snaps from the slot this year due to TE Hunter Henry (knee) being out for the season. General manager Tom Telesco said the Chargers need to adapt and move on without Henry. Part of that adaptation will be implementing more three-wide receiver sets. In such scenarios, WRs Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams would likely line up on the outside with WR Keenan Allen in the slot, according to ESPN.com's Eric Williams.

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Already a guy who, when healthy, we have slotted as a WR1, this could boost Allen's value even further in point per reception leagues. The key, of course, is staying healthy. Good news, though -- he played in all 16 games and led the NFL in targets per snap finishing with 102 catches. We're bullish he can make that two full years in a row.

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2. MIN - RB Dalvin Cook looking at Week 1

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Chris Tomasson

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (knee) said his goal is to be ready for Week 1 and is on track to meet that goal.

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Cook only played four games but they were impressive -- even the one where he tore his ACL. Cook put together 354 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that stretch, and added 11 receptions for 90 yards as well. As long as he is healthy, he is a full-time weapon and a RB1 in the making.

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3. CIN - WR A.J. Green suffers minor injury

Source: The Cincinnati Enquirer - Jim Owczarski

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (leg) did not finish practice Tuesday, May 29, after suffering a minor leg injury during practice but said he will be fine.

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The Bengals will take it easy on Green as he deals with this minor injury. Green is everything to the offense and we'll see if someone like John Ross can start producing opposite the superstar. If TE Tyler Eifert finally stays healthy this year that would also help boost the Bengals passing attack.

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4. KC - RB Kareem Hunt sidelined

Source: Chiefs.com - B.J. Kissel

Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt (hamstring) did not participate in organized team activities Thursday, May 31, because of a hamstring injury.

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Hunt will see a lot of carries with Patrick Mahomes taking over at quarterback. Hunt struggles when the offensive line struggles and that, along with his struggles in pass protection as well as the additions of Kerwynn Williams and Damien Williams as third down backs could cap his production. Even if it does, we still expect him to be a solid RB1, though he doesn't appear to be the type of running back who can overcome poor line play.

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5. OAK - WR Amari Cooper not practicing

Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal - Michael Gehlken

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper (hamstring) did not participate in practice Tuesday, May 29, because of the hamstring injury he suffered last week.

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Cooper needs to stay healthy and finally play up to his potential. This season is a make-or-break year for him even though the Raiders picked up his fifth-year option for 2019.

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6. PIT - Key Steelers absences explained

Source: NFL Network - Aditi Kinkhabwala

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown has not been attending organized team activities due to the absence of QB Ben Roethlisberger. Brown prefers to work with his starting quarterback and Roethlisberger has been on a family vacation, according to C Maurkice Pouncey.

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Roethlisberger did show up on the first day, so there's that. We don't really think Brown (who is a WR1 heading into this season again) and Roethlisberger (who is a QB1) really have much to worry about in terms of missing OTAs. This isn't their first rodeo, and they'll have their timing ready for the season.

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7. NYG - Sherling Shepard working outside

Source: ESPN.com - Jordan Raanan

New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard has played as an outside receiver significantly more in new head coach Pat Shurmur's offense.

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Shepard is coming off a season where he disappointed a bit and lost time due to injury. How much of his production issues can be pinned on an awful offensive line, few other weapons to pull defenses off him and with an underwhelming Eli Manning delivering the ball. All that changes this year, or at least that is the plan. Moving to the slot may also help match him up against linebackers, who he should excel against. He still will see Odell Beckham Jr get most of the targets and lose some to both Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley, but could serve as a decent low-end WR4 with some upside, especially in PPR leagues.

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8. LAC - QB in favor of TE Antonio Gates re-signing

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers QB Philip Rivers said he would be in favor of free-agent TE Antonio Gates (Chargers) re-signing with the Chargers this offseason.

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When Hunter Henry (knee) went down for the season, calling Gates immediately came to mind for everyone out there. We'll see if the Chargers reach out to him before training camp or mandatory minicamp. Rivers said he talked with Gates last week.

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9. CLE - Antonio Callaway leaves practice

Source: Akron Beacon Journal - Nate Ulrich

Cleveland Browns WR Antonio Callaway (groin) left practice early Wednesday, May 30, because of a groin injury.

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Callaway is an electric player with the ball in his hands as a rusher, receiver or return man. We'll see if he can get healthy and impress in Browns mandatory minicamp.

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10. BUF - Four WRs working as returners

Source: WKBW.com - Joe Buscaglia

Buffalo Bills WRs Kaelin Clay, Austin Proehl, Jeremy Kerley and Ray-Ray McCloud all worked as punt returners during organized team activities Thursday, May 31.

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This may be the best way for one or two of them to make the roster. None of them offer a ton of value as a receiver and if Kelvin Benjamin and Zay Jones are healthy, likely to be not much for them to do there anyway. We wouldn't roster them any time soon.

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11. JAX - RB Corey Grant to see more touches

Source: FirstCoastNews.com - Mike Kaye

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Corey Grant is a player the team has to use, according to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

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It won't impact Leonard Fournette, which means Grant is unlikely to have much value barring an injury. He looked good in limited carries last year, so if the worst does happen, Grant would be an intriguing pickup, though not someone you need to roster before then.

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12. NYJ - WR Quincy Enunwa injury stems back to 2015

Source: New York Daily News - Manish Mehta

Updating previous reports, New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (neck) first experienced neck pain in Week 14 of the 2015 season, and it gradually got worse. 'It was easy. There was no rehab,' Enunwa said. 'I had the surgery. I had a brace for a little bit. I had to sleep a certain way for a few days. After that, it was nothing. I wasn't allowed to run (in the beginning). Otherwise, there was no rehab. Everything I did was for my legs, so when I got back I could run.'

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The presence of an injury makes his 58 reception, 857 yard 2016 impressive. Especially if you consider the quarterback situation. Hopefully, he is fully ready to go. Unfortunately, the quarterback situation is not great this year and there is little help to draw the defense off him. It's hard to be excited for Enunwa coming off an injury, with Josh McCown, rookie Sam Darnold or an unknown quantity in Teddy Bridgewater coming off his own serious injury throwing the ball. We wouldn't have Enunwa on a redraft roster save for in the deepest of leagues.

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13. SEA - WR Brandon Marshall had second surgery

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Curtis Crabtree

Seattle Seahawks WR Brandon Marshall indicated that in addition to ankle surgery, he also underwent toe surgery last year to address an injury he suffered back in 2015.

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Marshall has been declining over the last few seasons and he is unlikely to have much of an impact with Seattle this year. We wouldn't have him on a roster as of right now.

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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