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Footballguys #87 - 7/17 - Dr. Drinen's Lab, Best Ball Strategy, What To Watch In Training Camp and MORE

Volume 20, #87 -- Tuesday Night, July 17th, 2018

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Howdy Folks,

Good Wednesday to you.

Another big day of content for you with some rad new graphic tools from our Dr. Doug Drinen. Also a shoutout today to our friends at Fantrax League Management . They make a fantastic product and this year we're proud to announce Fantrax leagues now synch with our MyFBG tools and our Draft Dominator Mobile App and Draft Dominator Online.

Plus we've got the News and Notes you need so let's get to it.

J

SITE NEWS

A. Dr. Drinen's Lab - Team Stacks
Dr. Doug Drinen's my long time Buddy and a foundational part of Footballguys from the early days. He's too modest but I call him the Bill James of Fantasy Football. We turned him loose some this offseason in the lab and he's created some fun tools for you guys. In this one, viewers get a visual look at a team's week-by-week stats. Check it out.

B. FREE Feature - Best Ball Strategy: Quarterback Deep Dive
Our James Brimacombe looks over the past two years of data we want to look at the floors and ceilings of the quarterback position. The feature is 100% Free to everyone and gives a taste of what we do with our Season Long Pro Subscription.

C. 7 Critical Fantasy Football Questions: AFC East
Our Chad Parsons looks into the critical fantasy football questions for each NFL team heading into the 2018 season.

D. AFC: What to Watch for as Training Camps Open
Our Ari Ingel dives into the most pressing fantasy questions facing all 16 teams in the AFC as training camps are set to open.

E. Dynasty News Offseason 3
Our Jeff Tefertiller takes a look at the recent fantasy news from a dynasty perspective.

F. Average Draft Position Updated
To get the most out of your draft, you need to know not just where you'd draft a player, but where the other GMs in your league are likely to draft a player. Our Average Draft Position (ADP) data is your ticket.

G. Average Draft Position For PPR Updated
To get the most out of your draft, you need to know not just where you'd draft a player, but where the other GMs in your league are likely to draft a player. Our Average Draft Position (ADP) data is your ticket. This one is for PPR Scoring.


1. PIT - Le'Veon Bell likely to skip camp again

Source: ESPN.com - Jeremy Fowler

Pittsburgh Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is tentatively expected to skip training camp but be ready for the regular season, according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, who also stated Bell potentially missing games over the contract would be 'a shock.'

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Same as it ever was. Bell held out of training camp and the preseason last year and showed up before the start of the regular season. Rinse/repeat that situation with what's happened again this year with Bell playing on the franchise tender and no long-term contact agreed to. There are rumors about him missing time in the regular season due to being disgruntled, but at this point that doesn't seem to be what people covering the team (like Fowler) believe.

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2. LAR - WR Brandin Cooks inks long-term deal

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks signed a five-year contract extension Tuesday, July 17. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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A first-round pick in 2014, Cooks was set to hit the open market before the Rams decided to lock him down with this deal. He's coming off three straight seasons with more than 1,000 yards receiving each year and projecting him for around the same production as to what he had in 2017 with the Patriots (65 catches, 1,082 yards, 7 touchdowns) is fair. He's a WR2 for fantasy GMs currently going at WR23 (5.04) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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3. NE - TE Rob Gronkowski expected on time

Source: ESPN - Adam Schefter

New England Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is expected to report to the facility on time by July 25, according to a source.

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Gronkowski wants a new contract, and the two sides have been working on something for a couple of months now. The veteran tight end skipped voluntary workouts this offseason, but he did show up for mandatory minicamp. His status for the start of training camp was never really in question...regardless of his current contract situation.

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4. NFL - WR Terrell Owens won't give up on comeback

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Charean Williams

Free-agent WR Terrell Owens (Seahawks) is 100 percent committed to playing in the NFL or CFL, according to Owens' agent. The 44-year-old Owens activated a 10-day clause Saturday, July 14, that forces the Edmonton Eskimos to offer him a contract or release him. 'He just loves the game and wants to get back to playing, whether it's the CFL or NFL,' his agent said.

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It's been a minute since Owens played organized football. He last played in the NFL back in 2010 for the Bengals and he did get a cup of coffee with the Seattle Seahawks for about a month (but never played) in 2012. Owens last suited up for the Allen Wranglers of the Indoor Football League in 2011. He's less than a month from being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame but still thinks he can play. We'll see if the Eskimos share that same belief.

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5. CLE - QB Tyrod Taylor a change of pace for Cleveland

Source: ClevelandBrowns.com - Andrew Gribble

Cleveland Browns QB Tyrod Taylor attempted 1,236 passes and threw 16 interceptions in his three seasons with the Buffalo Bills. By comparison, Browns quarterbacks threw 28 interceptions in 574 attempts last season.

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Taylor is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the league. He doesn't take a lot of chances with the ball, either running or throwing the ball away in the face of trouble. Taylor is the heavy favorite to open the 2018 regular season as the starter even though the Browns spent the no.1 overall pick on QB Baker Mayfield. They've got a Week 11 bye this year, and that may be around the time that Mayfield takes over if he doesn't win the job outright in training camp.

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6. ATL - TE Austin Hooper looking to deliver

Source: ESPN.com - Vaughn McClure

Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper said he is working to improve in the red zone. He stayed in Atlanta during the offseason to work with QB Matt Ryan. Head coach Dan Quinn said he's pumped about Hooper's potential in his third season.

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It takes time for tight ends to transition to the pro game, so this has the potential to be a breakout year for Hooper. We're concerned by his lack of consistency last year as Hooper had plenty of targets (65) but finished as only TE18 in standard scoring leagues. The addition of potential star rookie WR Calvin Ridley could take some targets away from Hooper, especially in the red zone. Projecting him as a low-end TE2 for fantasy in 2018 is fair...despite all the offseason hype that's been written about Hooper.

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7. ARI - WR Larry Fitzgerald could play longer

Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press - Jace Frederick

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald hinted that he isn't close to retiring. He still feels good, enjoys the competition and loves being around his teammates. He also said he's either playing for the Cardinals or retiring. 'It doesn't really matter about the age, it's about what you put into it and your mindset,' Fitzgerald said. 'Everybody kind of takes numbers and assumes this is when it's supposed to end. As an athlete, fortunately, you write your own script. If you still produce and you play at a high level, you kind of determine how long you want to play. If I can stay at a high level, I still keep destiny in my own hands.'

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Set to be a free agent in 2019, many expected this to be the final year for Fitzgerald in the pros. However, this is the second time he's talked about perhaps playing longer than one more year. We can't imagine him in anything but a Cardinals jersey so if he likes the future of the team (likely with potential franchise QB Josh Rosen), then Fitzgerald could stick around. He's still a WR2 with WR1 upside for fantasy GMs and that's where he's being drafted right now (WR15, 3.09 in 12 team PPR leagues).

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8. DET - Veteran WR says WR Kenny Golladay can dominate

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Josh Alper

Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay has the potential to dominate, according to WR Golden Tate, who also referred to Golladay as a 'WR1 kind of guy.' He added: 'I saw freakish catches, man -- some real freakin' freakish catches. Kenny's still a young guy trying to figure it out, but he's moving at a great pace. If he can just keep the mentality he has coming in, he studies, and just tries to get better every day, I'm telling you, this guy can be dominant.'

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Golladay flashed potential as a rookie in 2017 even though he was dealing with nagging injuries during that time. He's poised for a breakout year as the third WR for the Lions behind Tate and Marvin Jones. Golladay can take the top off the defense and is a great upside pick late in your draft. Currently he's being selected at WR57 (12.10) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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9. ATL - WR Julio Jones attends Matt Ryan's passing camp

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - D. Orlando Ledbetter

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones attended QB Matt Ryan's annual offseason passing camp, per a Snapchat post by WR Calvin Ridley, who was also on hand. The other players that were in attendance included TEs Austin Hooper, Eric Saubert, WRs Justin Hardy, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Hall, Russell Gage Jr. and Reggie Davis. Jones didn't attend the team's offseason program or mandatory minicamp and it's unknown if he'll be at training camp, which begins on Thursday, July 26.

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Looking for a correction or 'update' to his contract, Jones has skipped voluntary workouts for the Falcons this offseason and he also stayed away from mandatory minicamp. Ryan's camp is informal and Jones was always expected to show up for the work. With a cap hit of $12.9 million in 2018, we'll see if the Falcons oblige the superstar receiver with a new deal even though he's still got three years remaining on his contract.

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10. NYJ - WR Devin Smith not claimed

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Free-agent WR Devin Smith (Jets) cleared waivers Tuesday, July 17, and is officially a free agent.

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Smith has had injury problems dating back to his days in college at Ohio State. It's not a surprise no team decided to take a chance on the 2015 second-round pick. Smith only played in four games back in 2016 and missed all of the 2017 season dealing with a knee injury.

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11. DAL - DE Randy Gregory granted return

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Dallas Cowboys DE Randy Gregory was reinstated from an indefinite suspension Tuesday, July 17, and will join the Cowboys at training camp.

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A second-round pick in 2015, Gregory has been out of football for well over a year. He's only played two games in 2016 and missed all of last season while suspended. Gregory can get after the passer and could contribute to the Cowboys on a part-time basis in that capacity...granted he stays out of trouble.

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12. JAX - Taven Bryan signs rookie deal

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Jacksonville Jaguars DT Taven Bryan signed a four-year, $10.2 million deal Tuesday, July 17. The deal includes a $5.5 million signing bonus and a fifth-year option.

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The Jaguars first-round pick out of Florida was one of the most disruptive players in the 2018 NFL draft. Bryan only adds to a tremendous defense that can make plays on all three levels. The rookie is country strong and a fierce competitor who hustles to the echo of the echo of the whistle. The Jagaurs are the first defense taken in many current fantasy drafts, going off the board at D1 (9.01) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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13. NO - WR Cameron Meredith hopeful for training camp

Source: NewOrleansSaints.com

New Orleans Saints WR Cameron Meredith (knee) said that while he is still recovering from his knee injury and has been limited in team activities thus far, he is hopeful to be given the 'all clear' for training camp. 'On a scale of '1 to 10,' it's almost a 10... I haven't had a setback along the recovery process,' Meredith said of his injury. 'I'm gaining strength day by day, month by month. I'm excited to see how soon I can get back, but the main objective for me is to do as much as I can with the trainers to get ready for the season. My goal is to try and get back to training camp. As long as there aren't any setbacks or anything like that, it shouldn't be a problem.'

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Meredith missed all of the 2017 season due to a torn ACL and a slight MCL tear that he's been rigorously working to come back from. A restricted free agent earlier this year, the Saints were able to sign him away from the Bears and he could be in for a career year catching passes from Drew Brees for the first time...if he's healthy. Fantasy GMs know the talent and love the situation, but this injury brings about some caution when it comes to Meredith's average draft position. He has a current ADP of WR52 (11.11) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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14. LAC - Derek Watt draws high praise

Source: Chargers.com - Ricky Henne

Los Angeles Chargers RB Derek Watt has earned high praise from running backs coach Alfredo Roberts, who called him 'one of the top fullbacks in the NFL.' Watt is not only considered a 'capable blocker,' but also someone who can be an effective runner in short-yardage situations, as well as be a factor in the passing game that defenses have to take account for.

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Watt will be tasked with blasting open holes for starting RB Melvin Gordon. He's not producing much as a runner or receiver (14 offensive touches in his career) and only plays a handful of snaps. Watt logged 143 snaps in 2017 and should be in for a similar workload this year.

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15. TB - QB Jameis Winston showed off his arm in 2017

Source: Pro Football Focus

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston threw 53.4 percent of his passes beyond the first down marker in the air per Pro Football Focus, easily the highest such mark in the league.

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With guys like Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, it's easy to heave the ball downfield early and often. Winston is suspended the first three games of the year and the Buccaneers will start Ryan Fitzpatrick in his place. Provided that Winston stays out of further trouble, he's got QB2 value for fantasy GMs. Winston is going off the board at QB25 (14.08) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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16. CLE - RB Carlos Hyde making tacklers look foolish

Source: Pro Football Focus

Cleveland Browns RB Carlos Hyde has 114 forced missed tackles over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus, tied with Le'Veon Bell for the third-highest total of any running back over that span.

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Hyde has been close to 1,000 yards rushing each of the last two years. With a new team, Hyde will work to impress his new coaching staff. Hyde's main competition is rookie Nick Chubb (Georgia). A second-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, Chubb is one of the most instinctive runners to come into the league and he can thrive between the tackles. Hyde and Chubb will compete for the early-down role with the Browns in 2018 while Duke Johnson Jr. continues as the third down/pass-catching back.

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17. LAC - RB Melvin Gordon difficult to bring down

Source: Pro Football Focus

Los Angeles Chargers RB Melvin Gordon has 116 forced missed tackles over the last three seasons according to Pro Football Focus, the second-highest total of any running back over that span.

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That's fantastic to note, but he still hasn't averaged more than 4.0 yards per carry in any of his three seasons in the pros. He got close last year (3.9 YPC) and Gordon has a career average of only 3.8 yards per carry. Even with those less-than-stellar numbers, Gordon can produce for fantasy GMs...especially in PPR leagues. He's a virtual lock for 300 touches due to the work he can do as a runner or receiver out of the backfield and a top-10 finish in 2018 is fair to project. Gordon has a current ADP of RB7 (1.09) in 12-team PPR leagues.

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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