Good Monday to you. Training Camps are upon us and I've got two words for you: Buckle. Up.
The past couple of weeks have been slow for news but we're about to go from zero to 200 miles per hour in five seconds. The news will be flowing fast and furious and we'll be here to sort it all out for you. Stick with us.
Each day we'll continue to sort through the "haystack" of stories and bring you the important stuff you need to know. And most of all, we'll offer the Footballguys View on it so you can see the story behind the story.
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Sproles coming back for this year was not a given after his 2017 ended with a torn ACL. He won't be a hall of famer, but Sproles made so much of an impression while defying his the track record of backs with his body type that we'll be comparing prospects to him for years to come.
This one will come down to the wire. The main variable is probably what Bell thinks he can get in free agency next year. It already appears that the deal he would get now is less than what he was offered last summer, and it's certainly possible that he would get less than he is being offered now next year no matter how well he performs. The smart bet is probably that he plays this year under the franchise tag again, but this year it seems there's a better chance of a long term deal getting done than last year.
Devontae Booker has fans in the Denver organization, but he hasn't done anything to show that he's a favorite to take over this backfield after the departure of CJ Anderson. Booker will still play a role in the passing game in any event, but Freeman should be better between the tackles, and he's at least adequate as a blocker and receiver. Freeman's weak competition could equal upside as a mid-round pick.
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee received 30 of his 91 targets in 2017 on crossing routes and turned those into 24 catches for 286 yards and two touchdowns, good for a NFL-high receiver rating of 128.6. Lee's 15 first down conversions on those routes ranked second in the league.
Lee might have the highest floor of the Jaguars receivers this year, and he has a good proven rapport with Blake Bortles. He also has a checkered injury history and lacks a big play profile. He is best used as a bye/injury option in PPR leagues.
New York Giants WR Sterling Shepard recorded 11 catches for 202 yards and a touchdown on 17 targets on crossing routes, good for a receiver rating of 125.1 - the third-best mark in the league in 2017. In addition, he averaged 11.5 yards after the catch on those routes - the most in the league since Calvin Johnson in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus.
Shepard is the lowest drafted of the four young cornerstones in the Giants offense, but he is likely to face the best matchups, especially early in the season. He could be a fantasy surprise this year.
New York Jets TEs Chris Herndon and Jordan Leggett are expected to battle it out in training camp to be the starter at tight end, but it is likely the team ends up deciding on 'a fairly equitable workload split' between the two, according to Darryl Slater of NJ.com.
The Jets tight end position created some value when Austin Seferian-Jenkins was their best red zone receiver last year, but he is in Jacksonville now and the team is breaking in new options. This is only a situation to monitor in deep tight end premium dynasty leagues.
Wallace has been reasonably productive in the low voltage Ravens passing game, so he could have best ball and deep league matchup bye/injury value in a much better offense. He'll be on the early season waiver wire watch list.
Philadelphia Eagles WR Mack Hollins is expected to return in the same role he played in 2017 as a core special teamer and the team's fourth receiver, although it is possible he could see a modest increase in opportunities, according to Jimmy Kempski of The Philly Voice.
The trade of Torrey Smith to Carolina opened a door for Hollins, and the bargain signing of Mike Wallace closed it. Hollins has flashed in limited action and his long term outlook is still bright with Carson Wentz installed as Philadelphia's quarterback, but his short term value is limited unless an outside receiver for the Eagles gets hurt.
Once again, this is the same tune we hear year after year. As such, it's hard to get on board with the whole "he's a whole new player!" when we never see the results of the hype. Not having to contend with Jarvis Landry might be a plus, but we are concerned with Ryan Tannehill and Parker's own limitations. He's tracking as the 40th receiver off the board, and that's about where we expect him to be right now. We need to see results before qwe buy in too hard.
New England Patriots OG Shaquille Mason said he hopes to remain with the Patriots beyond this season but is focused on training camp at this point. Mason is entering the final year of his current contract.
The Patriots generally do not keep players who are valued highly in the free agent market. 2018 first round pick Isaiah Wynn can slot in at guard and allow the team to have flexibility in their looming decision with Mason.
Washington Redskins CB Adonis Alexander's position will not be determined until the team sees him play at cornerback and safety against NFL competition. The team is currently leaning towards playing him at cornerback.
Alexander has the length and athleticism to play outside, but the NFL values versatility among defensive backs more as it evolves into a passing league. The team can afford to be patient with him since they got him a year before the pick used to add Alexander will count against their draft.
The Jets wanted to run the ball more last year, but had problems getting their offensive coordinator to agree and their starting running back (Matt Forte) to stay at full strength. New coordinator Jeremy Bates and new starting running back Isaiah Crowell should get the running game back on track, so the tight ends will need to be contributors as blockers.
Hill fits as an end/tackle tweener to run interference along big bodies Dalvin Tomlinson and Damon Harrison on the defensive line. Former Cardinal Josh Mauro joined James Bettcher and could start eventually, but will serve a four-game suspension to open the season.
The Giants continue to rearrange the offensive line and we hope it's not akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The right side is the concern, and that's where Jerry resides. This could help, but you still have to contend with Ereck Flowers at right tackle, so expect more rearranging as camp happens.
Coutee could do some damage out of the slot, and is a big-play creator, so we aren't shocked Johnson is impressed. Rookie receivers are shaky business, though, especially Day Three prospects, so we aren't rushing out to pick him up. We like the idea of him as a returner, and that could help earn some fantasy points for the Texans Defense/Special teams units.