Footballguys.com

Volume 20, #45 -- Tuesday Night, June 5th, 2018

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Hi Footballguy,

Good Wednesday to you. We've got the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

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B. NFC West Backfield Study
Our Sigmund Bloom with a look at NFC West backfield productivity, volume, and efficiency numbers in 2017 and how to use that data in 2018 drafts.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. PHI - ESPN's Mortensen Optimistic For QB Carson Wentz

2. ARI - More practice for QB Sam Bradford

3. HOU - PUP unlikely for QB Deshaun Watson

4. HOU - DE J.J. Watt likely to avoid PUP

5. DEN - OLB Shane Ray may have surgery

6. CAR - RB Christian McCaffrey poised for big workload

7. NE - QB Tom Brady in the house

8. TB - Ronald Jones to be factor in passing game

9. TEN - RB Derrick Henry, RB Dion Lewis viewed equally

10. MIN - RB Dalvin Cook part of team drills

11. NYJ - WR Terrelle Pryor in walking boot

12. BAL - Lamar Jackson signs rookie deal

13. LAC - CB Casey Hayward nursing injury


1. PHI - ESPN's Mortensen Optimistic For QB Carson Wentz

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

ESPN's Chris Mortensen said he's "starting to believe that Carson Wentz is going to be ready for the opener."

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Wentz has been on track during his recovery from the knee injury that ended his 2017 season. It's great news, but we still want to see him progress through training camp and the preseason. With the Eagles QB depth, the team has the luxury of not pushing his return. Stay tuned as we think this is far from settled.

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2. ARI - More practice for QB Sam Bradford

Source: AZCardinals.com

Arizona Cardinals QB Sam Bradford's (knee) practice repetitions are expected to increase in minicamp next week.

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Bradford could be the starter for the Cardinals in 2018...at least until rookie first-round pick Josh Rosen takes over. When that happens depends on the development of Rosen, and this is a battle to watch during training camp and the preseason. Bradford is on schedule in his rehabilitation, according to head coach Steve Wilks, and he likes how he feels physically and mentally.

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3. HOU - PUP unlikely for QB Deshaun Watson

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson (knee) is recovering well enough at this point from his surgery to repair his torn ACL that he is expected to avoid the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

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Fantastic news for the Texans and fantasy owners here. Watson set the league on fire with 19 passing touchdowns in seven games before going down with this knee injury. The offense is supposedly geared even more towards Watson's strengths, and he's currently getting picked at QB2 (4.08) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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4. HOU - DE J.J. Watt likely to avoid PUP

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt (knee) is recovering well enough at this point from his surgery to repair his tibial plateau fracture that he is expected to avoid the Physically Unable to Perform list, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

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Having Watt back will be a great boost for the Texans defense. We believe the Texans will limit Watt somewhat upon the start of training camp with the idea of having him at full strength for Week 1 of the regular season.

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5. DEN - OLB Shane Ray may have surgery

Source: 9News.com - Mike Klis

Denver Broncos LB Shane Ray (wrist) is seeking a second opinion on his injured left wrist, but he could need surgery, according to a source. The procedure would not end his season, however.

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Bad news for the Broncos pass rusher here. Ray struggled through an injury-riddled season in 2017 and his weight dropped to around 220 pounds. He's gained the weight back and measured in around 245 pounds for OTAs. The wrist soreness he's experienced is not a good sign and he may require a fourth surgery (he had three last year) on the injury.

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6. CAR - RB Christian McCaffrey poised for big workload

Source: ESPN.com - David Newton

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey will be the featured back this season following the release of Jonathan Stewart, according to ESPN's David Newton, who reports head coach Ron Rivera said Monday, June 4, that he sees no reason why McCaffrey cannot reach 200 carries in 2018 after finishing with 117 as a rookie.

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Reports indicate McCaffrey has added more body armor (weight) this offseason in anticipation of a larger role. The team added C.J. Anderson in free agency and he can be a two-down banger if need be. McCaffrey is a compact back who can make plays in space. He's not great running between the tackles, but he doesn't shy away from work inside.

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7. NE - QB Tom Brady in the house

Source: NFL Network - Stacey Dales

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady reported for minicamp Tuesday, June 5, according to sources.

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This was expected by those not fear mongering the Patriots offseason drama. Once the work became mandatory (as it is now), Brady was always going to show up.

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8. TB - Ronald Jones to be factor in passing game

Source: Buccaneers.com - Scott Smith

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones is being envisioned as a 'three-down back' by running backs coach Tim Spencer, who added that he would want Jones 'to be able to catch the ball because we have some things we'd like to give him with his speed.'

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Jones plays like a young Jamaal Charles as a runner and receiver out of the backfield. He'll compete with Peyton Barber to be the team's starting running back in 2018. Barber is more of a grinder, while Jones is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. It may be a RBBC for some time, but Jones should be the more valuable asset due to his speed, quickness and playmaking ability.

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9. TEN - RB Derrick Henry, RB Dion Lewis viewed equally

Source: PaulKuharsky.com

Tennessee Titans RBs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis are considered 1a and 1b in the eyes of offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

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Bad news for fantasy owners here, especially dynasty owners who have been hanging onto Henry waiting for the backfield to be his and his only. Lewis was added in free agency to split time in the backfield with Henry. While Henry is a powerful and swift back, Lewis is a compact runner who can create space with moves in the open field. Henry has a current ADP of RB17 (3.08) and Lewis is at RB28 (5.10) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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10. MIN - RB Dalvin Cook part of team drills

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Chris Tomasson

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook (knee) has participated in team drills during organized team activities this week.

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Cook's rookie season in 2017 was cut short by this knee injury. Before the injury, Cook showed the ability to be a quality runner and receiver out of the backfield. Even with Kirk Cousins running the show at quarterback, the Vikings should feature the running game with Cook leading the way. Fantasy owners are expecting Cook to have a strong second season with a current ADP of RB10 (2.01) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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11. NYJ - WR Terrelle Pryor in walking boot

Source: NFL.com - Ian Rapoport

New York Jets WR Terrelle Pryor (foot) was spotted in a walking boot at OTAs after recently undergoing a minor cleanup procedure on his foot, according to sources. Pryor is expected to be ready for training camp, however.

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Bad news for Pryor here. He is trying to erase the bad tape he put out there in Washington last year. Pryor needs to stay healthy and produce this year in a cramped WR corps with the Jets. We'll see if he can participate at a 100 percent level in training camp.

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12. BAL - Lamar Jackson signs rookie deal

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Baltimore Ravens first-round pick QB Lamar Jackson signed his four-year deal Tuesday, June 5. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but all first-round picks have fifth-year options.

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Jackson could be groomed as the quarterback of the future for the Ravens. He'll compete for a spot on the depth chart behind Joe Flacco in 2018. Jackson is fast, athletic and dangerous with the ball in his hands as a runner...plus his skill as a pocket passer is often overlooked or overshadowed by his athletic prowess. Jackson does 'bird dog' his primary target and needs to become more nuanced in his progressions.

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13. LAC - CB Casey Hayward nursing injury

Source: ESPN.com - Eric D. Williams

Los Angeles Chargers CB Casey Hayward (undisclosed) did not participate in organized team activities on Monday, June 4, as he was nursing an undisclosed injury. It doesn't look serious, however. CB Mike A. Davis played with the starters in his absence.

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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