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Footballguys #83 - 7/13 - All About Best Ball, What's Going To Happen In The PHI Backfield, News And Notes And More

Volume 20, #83 -- Friday Night, July 13th, 2018

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Howdy Folks,

Good Saturday to you and welcome to the Weekend. I hope you've got some fun lined up as we have some new Content for you as we head towards Training Camps.

Let's go.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Best Ball Fantasy Football: A Primer
Our Justin Howe with an intro tour through the exciting and wildly popular best ball format.

B. What's Going to Happen in the Philadelphia Backfield?
With LeGarrette Blount in Detroit, the door seemed to open for Jay Ajayi to control much of the action in Philadelphia. But Corey Clement is extremely talented. Darren Sproles was also brought back, and the Eagles have a number of other running backs in camp. How does this backfield shake out?

The Footballguys Staff dives in.


1. BUF - Buffalo interested in RB Branden Oliver

Source: ESPN.com - Mike Rodak

Free-agent RB Branden Oliver (Chargers) is receiving interest from the Buffalo Bills, and the team is looking into scheduling a workout with Oliver, according to a source.

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Oliver is a local hero and the Bills obviously could be in need of help at running back with LeSean McCoy's potential legal troubles. This is still going to be a tough situation for a street free agent to make a fantasy impact this year.

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2. NFL - RB DeMarco Murray set to announce retirement

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Free-agent RB DeMarco Murray (Titans) is expected to announce his retirement from the NFL on Friday, July 13.

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Murray overcame a catastrophic injury in college at Oklahoma and reinvented himself. He defied expectations at multiple stops with an intensity only matched by the likes of Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch. At his best, he was one of the top 3-5 backs in the league. The veteran back camp injury signing list will get one shorter.

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3. DET - Kerryon Johnson in line to start?

Source: NFL.com - Nick Shook

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson heads into training camp with a 'good chance' to earn the lead role, in the opinion of Nick Shook of NFL.com.

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Johnson's upside is capped by Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount's quality as a receiving back and short yardage back respectively, but the Lions did move up in the draft for him, and Johnson has a three-down skillset. He's being forgotten in a rookie running back class with big names.

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4. SEA - WR Brandon Marshall contract incentives

Source: Spotrac.com

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks WR Brandon Marshall's can more than double the value of the one-year, $1.015 million contract he signed in May. Marshall can earn up to $350,000 if he catches more than 70 passes, another $350,000 if he tops 800 yards receiving and three and $350,000 more if scores at least seven touchdowns.

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Marshall is by no means a lock for a roster spot, but if he does make the team, he could be the #2 outside receiver. Tyler Lockett is basically a starter and the second most valuable receiver on the team after Doug Baldwin, with 2017 third-rounder Amara Darboh and free agent signing Jaron Brown also having a say in what happens in this receiver corps.

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5. TEN - WR Corey Davis starred in offseason work

Source: TitansOnline.com - Jim Wyatt

Updating previous reports, Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (undisclosed) starred during the early part of offseason work before he was shut down due to an undisclosed injury. He caught the ball with ease in traffic and went up for spectacular catches. The team will be counting on him to make a big leap in his second year.

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Good news, bad news... After a hamstring injury ended his summer and a recurrence ground his momentum to a halt during the season, we don't love hearing that Davis was hurt earlier in the offseason. We'll be watching this closely, as Davis could benefit from a new approach under offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, but also could fall into the too familiar story of the first-round receiver that spends more time injured than contributing early in their career.

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6. NYJ - RB Thomas Rawls a long shot

Source: NJ.com - Darryl Slater

Updating a previous report, New York Jets RB Thomas Rawls has the tallest odds to make the club out of the five running backs, in the opinion of NJ Advance Media's Darryl Slater.

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Rawls was once the toast of the town as a rookie in Seattle, but a gnarly ankle injury and longer than expected recovery has stalled his development. He still is turning 25 in August and still has a chance to catch on during the season when injuries thin backfields, but Rawls' relevance is slipping and he's not worth a roster spot except in the deepest of dynasty leagues.

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7. CIN - QB Matt Barkley picking up the offense

Source: Bengals.com - Dan Hoard

Cincinnati Bengals QB Matt Barkley brings starting experience and a quality arm, according to quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, and Van Pelt said Barkley's timing with the routes in the playbook has been improving.

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The Bengals need a backup QB since AJ McCarron left and Barkley looks like the favorite. Barkley had a moment or two of promise with the Bears, but Cincinnati will be in big trouble if Dalton goes down.

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8. HOU - WR Will Fuller's speed opening eyes

Source: Houston Chronicle - Aaron Wilson

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller impressed retired WR Andre Johnson with his speed. 'Man, he's flying,' Johnson said. 'He ran a few routes in practice the day I was there, and I was like, 'Wow.''

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Fuller was a WR1 with Deshaun Watson last year, but he wasn't durable, and Watson's season ended prematurely. Fuller is available for a WR3-WR4 price and has appeal in non-PPR and .5 PPR leagues, and leagues with big play bonuses.

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9. DET - Versatility to save RB Ameer Abdullah?

Source: DetroitLions.com - Tim Twentyman

Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah's experience and his ability to contribute as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield should help him secure a spot on the 53-man roster, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.

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Abdullah has failed to live up to his second-round billing and will be marginalized this year, but the 25-year-old has arguably been misused and could have a future on his second team next year. Don't bail on him in dynasty leagues despite the lack of redraft appeal this year.

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10. TEN - Michael Campanaro may make team

Source: TitansOnline.com - Jim Wyatt

Tennessee Titans WR Michael Campanaro was impressive during the early part of offseason workouts before he suffered an injury and should have a chance to earn a roster spot during training camp, in the opinion of TitansOnline.com's Jim Wyatt.

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Campanaro is a solid return specialist and he can function as a backup to Taywan Taylor in the slot. He doesn't have Taylor's deep speed, but Campanaro is crafty after the catch and he flashes good quickness in his routes - when he is healthy, which hasn't been that often in his NFL career.

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11. GB - Green Bay adds Ethan Cooper

Source: ESPN.com - Field Yates

New York Giants OG Ethan Cooper was claimed off waivers by the Green Bay Packers Friday, July 13, according to a source.

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The Giants signed Zac Kerin, who had played with head coach Pat Shurmur in Minnesota when Shurmur was the offensive coordinator. Cooper was a Steelers UDFA last year and spent time on the Giants practice squad.

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12. CLE - DT Jamie Meder worked with starters

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer - Mary Kay Cabot

Cleveland Browns DT Jamie Meder worked with first-team defense during offseason workouts and will compete with DT Larry Ogunjobi for one of the starting defensive tackle jobs. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said Meder is one of the best run stoppers in the NFL.

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The Browns have a decent rotation at defensive tackle even after they traded away Danny Shelton to the Patriots. Shelton was a key part of their run defense, but the team is confident in the youth and depth at the position and should still be among the tougher run defenses in the NFL.

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13. NYJ - WR Quincy Enunwa likely to be slot

Source: New York Post - Brian Costello

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa likely will be used as a slot receiver this season with WRs Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse as the outside receivers, in the opinion of the New York Post's Brian Costello.

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Kearse is still not a 100% lock to make the team if Terrelle Pryor looks good enough to start in camp and young players like Chris Hansen and Ardarius Stewart impress, but Enunwa is being eased back in from his neck injury and Pryor wasn't healthy the last time we saw him. It looks like Anderson is the only Jets receiver worth a pick except in very deep leagues.

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14. PIT - Chukwuma Okorafor may be swing tackle

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - Joe Rutter

Pittsburgh Steelers OT Chukwuma Okorafor may be the main backup to both offensive tackle spots this season because of OT Jerald Hawkins' (quadriceps) injury.

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Hawkins was expected to play a big role this year after Chris Hubbard signed a big contract in Cleveland to become their starting right tackle. Okorafor is more of a long-term project, but he could be thrown into the fire this year if the Steelers suffer an injury at either tackle position.

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15. NE - DE Trey Flowers may not get extension

Source: NBC Sports Boston - Tom E. Curran

New England Patriots DE Trey Flowers is entering the final year of his contract but is not a lock for a contract extension because the Patriots have decided in the past to not sign some of their homegrown players to lucrative contracts, in the opinion of NBC Sports Boston's Tom E. Curran.

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Flowers has been the closest thing the Patriots have to an elite pass rusher after they traded Chandler Jones. Derek Rivers and Deatrich Wise are next up in the pipeline and both are worth stashing in big play IDP dynasty leagues.

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16. DAL - DE Jihad Ward expected to push for starting job

Source: The Dallas Morning News - Jori Epstein

Dallas Cowboys DT Jihad Ward likely will push DT Maliek Collins (foot) for one of the starting defensive tackle jobs during training camp. Collins' status for the start of training camp is uncertain because he is recovering from foot surgery.

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Collins is the more explosive and productive pass rusher, but his foot issue is keeping him from building on his surprising rookie year in 2016. Ward was a disappointment in Oakland, but he is impressing so far in Dallas.

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17. WAS - Adonis Alexander inks rookie deal

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Josh Alper

Washington Redskins CB Adonis Alexander - taken in the sixth round of the supplemental draft earlier in the week - signed a four-year contract Friday, July 13. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

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Alexander has length and athleticism, similar to Josh Norman. Washington got a good value on him in the supplemental draft and he should make the roster.

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18. NO - OLB Alex Anzalone expected to start

Source: NFL.com - Herbie Teope

New Orleans Saints LB Alex Anzalone will likely be the starting weakside linebacker this year, according to Herbie Teope of NFL.com.

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Anzalone has a chance to be relevant in IDP leagues if he can stay healthy - which has been a problem during his career. Demario Davis is probably the most valuable IDP linebacker in New Orleans, but Anzalone could be good competition to lead the team in tackles.

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19. ATL - Calvin Ridley ready to contribute

Source: NFL.com - Herbie Teope

Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley will have the opportunity to 'make an immediate impact,' according to Herbie Teope of NFL.com, and Teope believes Ridley will take advantage of single coverage from opposing defenses.

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Ridley will provide the best vertical threat among the Falcons receivers, but he's also a great route runner. He was the most pro-ready of the top receivers in the draft and he has a good chance to be the most valuable rookie receiver in redraft leagues. He's worth a bench spot and could be part of a resurgent Atlanta offense in the second year under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

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20. NO - Tre'Quan Smith transitioning well

Source: NewOrleansSaints.com

New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith has 'handled the install well' during spring practices, according to head coach Sean Payton. 'I think he's a quick study,' Payton said. 'He's big and he's doing a good job.'

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Smith will compete free agent addition Cameron Meredith and veteran Ted Ginn for targets and snaps. Even though he is in line for a valuable role long term and the Saints are excellent at finding fits for their offense in the draft, Smith is probably not going to have redraft value this year without multiple injuries in the Saints offense. He's still a good dynasty stash.

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21. CHI - Anthony Miller fits the offense

Source: NBC Sports Chicago - JJ Stankevitz

Chicago Bears WR Anthony Miller's ability to run routes that 'set the angle for the quarterback' made him stand out during the draft process, according to head coach Matt Nagy. 'Any time you can see a route that relates to what you do as an offense, you kind of tag that,' Nagy said.

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Miller is going to be competing for time as the #2 outside receiver and slot receiver, but he should be behind free agent additions Allen Robinson and Trey Burton in the target pecking order and will be fighting Taylor Gabriel and Kevin White for playing time. He has the versatility and all-around game to rise up the depth chart quickly and will be an early season waiver wire watch list candidate.

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22. BUF - Tremaine Edmunds winning over coach

Source: BuffaloBills.com - Mitchell Courtney

Buffalo Bills LB Tremaine Edmunds has impressed head coach Sean McDermott with his athleticism and his maturity. 'It is important to have athletes,' said McDermott. 'But we also look for the football IQ that goes along with it.'

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Edmunds could be an instant LB1 in IDP leagues and there's an argument for taking him over Roquan Smith and even some of the running backs in late summer rookie dynasty drafts, and in the top 10 linebackers in redraft IDP leagues. He'll be on the field a ton on a Bills team that is unlikely to repeat their surprising 2017 success.

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23. DET - RB Zach Zenner worth a spot?

Source: DetroitLions.com - Tim Twentyman

Detroit Lions RB Zach Zenner's 'all-around' ability and contributions on special teams could earn him a spot on the 53-man roster, according to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com.

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Zenner has looked better than the tiny opportunity he has been given in Detroit, but the window for him to become a big part of this backfield has closed. If he doesn't beat out Ameer Abdullah in a surprise roster cut move or the Lions don't carry five backs in a surprising over-allotment of roster spots to backs, he could be claimed before the season starts.

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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