Bears

Fantasy Football: Four guys whose stock is falling after NFL Draft

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Fantasy Football: Four guys whose stock is falling after NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is one of the most exciting times of the year for Fantasy Football owners, as they see what team and situation the top rookies will end up in. But there's also the other edge to that sword - how will the influx of rookies impact other guys around the league?

As usual, there were plenty of surprises during Draft Week, including the St. Louis Rams snatching Todd Gurley with the No. 10 pick. Add in free agency, and there are plenty of top fantasy options from 2014 that don't look so appealing heading into the 2015 season.

[RELATED - Fantasy Football: 4 guys whose stocks are rising after NFL Draft]

Trust us, we're just as upset as you. Krinch is the vice president of Joique Bell's fan club and Tre Mason is a favorite of the CSN Fantasy crew.



Joique Bell (RB), Detroit Lions

This one pains me. I've been a huge advocate of Joique Bell the last few years, but now I'm officially resigning as President of his fan club. Bell was given the opportunity to be the lead back in Detroit and fell flat on his face in 2014. He rushed for a career-high 860 yards, but was only able to muster up a pedestrian 3.9 yards per carry. After catching 50-plus passes in 2012 and 2013, Bell only hauled in 34 receptions and wasn't much of a factor in the team's passing game, losing out on targets to rookie running back Theo Riddick. Bell also finished the season with a -2.0 rating (33rd among NFL RBs), according to ProFootballFocus.com. After jettisoning Reggie Bush earlier this offseason, the Lions used a second-round selection on Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah which spells bad news for Bell. It won't be surprising to see Abdullah eventually take over as the starter for the Lions, possibly as early as Week 1. While Bell was a sleeper in fantasy drafts last season, he has way too many negative factors going against him to be a relevant fantasy player in 2015. (Scott Krinch)

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Julius Thomas (TE), Jacksonville Jaguars

There's always one big free-agent signing that doesn't turn out the way the player's new contract says it would. That guy this year is Thomas. He leaves Peyton Manning for Blake Bortles and is suddenly no longer surrounded by not only a quality quarterback, but other impact receivers. Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee don't exactly strike fear in any defense. Bortles' stats at the end of the year were painful. Over the last six games, Bortles did not throw for over 225 yards once and only threw three touchdowns over that span. Thomas doesn't have that "Gronk" type impact where he can manhandle a double-team. Let him slide in your drafts late this summer because he's not going to put up the same numbers he did in Denver. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

[ROTOWORLD: Veteran winners from the NFL Draft]

Tre Mason (RB), St. Louis Rams

You could argue that nobody's stock fell further than Mason's after the NFL Draft. A week ago, the 21-year-old was entering his second pro season as the presumed No. 1 back on a rising Rams team after showing some solid potential in his rookie year with 4.3 yards per carry and 5 TDs. But the Rams spent their first pick on Todd Gurley and just like that, Mason is a backup again. Gurley is a beast and while he's not exactly a fixture of health, he will get the heavy majority of carries in St. Louis when he is healthy, meaning Mason is nothing more than a handcuff in Fantasy. Sighhhhh. (Tony Andracki)

Philip Rivers (QB), San Diego Chargers

Rivers finished 12th among quarterbacks in standard fantasy leagues a year ago, bordering on QB1 status thanks to a hot start. But I didn't like how Rivers ended the year (11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his last eight games compared to 20 touchdowns and five picks in his first eight games) and now not only does he lose Eddie Royal to free agency (Chicago), but he gets himself what should be a featured RB1 in Melvin Gordon, who the Chargers traded up to grab in last month's NFL Draft. I love the situation Gordon finds himself in (and plan on targeting him in most of my leagues), but he only caught 22 passes in his four years (45 games) at Wisconsin. Granted, four of those receptions went for scores because he's really good at football (and probably life), but it doesn't give me lots of faith in him helping Rivers all that much. Yes, Rivers is in a contract year and will look to earn himself more money on a new deal this year, but don't overpay for him because of it. I'll take a guy like Ryan Tannehill or Matt Ryan before I think about Rivers. (Mark Strotman)

Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

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USA Today

Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

Plenty of NFL players will use the league’s mandated five-week summer break to play a little golf as a way to relax and recharge for the grind of training camp and regular season. But you won’t find many players who take golf more seriously than Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. 

Which is a little ironic on the surface, right? Gabriel’s nickname is “Turbo,” after all. 

“Yeah, that’s very weird when I think about it,” Gabriel laughed. “It’s not a sport to where you’re running and jumping, and I wouldn’t say not doing anything really athletic — it’s more mental than anything. 

“But I feel like it kind of helps me football-wise in the sense of kind of focus. Like dialing in on that swing, keeping that same swing rhythm pattern, not getting too frustrated after I just sliced a drive or go O.B. on the driver. So it’s helping me.”

Gabriel had played sporadically earlier in his life, and said his father golfs, but didn’t get hooked by the sport until last April while watching Tiger Woods win the Masters. He bought his first set of nice clubs after that remarkable weekend in Augusta and frequently posts videos of his swing to his Instagram account.  

So it’s become a serious hobby of his — “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t practice,” he said. It’s also something he and his wife do together. 

Though he admitted his wife is a better golfer than he is. 

“She’s not trying to crush the ball, she’s not trying to do too much, but she keeps that consistent same rhythm, same swing, same follow-through every time,” Gabriel said. “Me, I might see the hole is probably 180 (yards) out, I mean, I just want to crush it on the green. And that’s when everything goes wrong.”

Still, for someone who’s only been seriously golfing for about two months, that Gabriel said he can consistently hit his drives 240 yards is rather impressive (being an exceptional athlete, certainly, has to help). But this isn’t some casual love affair with golf — it’s a legitimate way for Gabriel to take his mind off football while staying sharp mentally and doing something he’s quickly grown to genuinely enjoy doing. 

“It’s relaxing, just playing 18 holes — I’m a walker, I like walking,” Gabriel said. “Eighteen holes kind of figuring out your swing, what you did wrong, you know what I mean, just being on the golf course, relaxing, the atmosphere. But at the end of the day I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been hitting them pretty straight, I’ve been putting them pretty good, so I guess I’m catching on quick. 

“But every time I ask a golfer, I mean, how long did it take for you guys to get a consistent swing, they say 20 years. I mean, I got that to look forward to.”  

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

Pro Football Focus: Khalil Mack is NFL’s most valuable edge rusher

It didn’t take the Bears long to see how valuable Khalil Mack is to their defense, elevating the group from the moment he first stepped on the field.

He’s been among the league’s best outside linebackers since he first broke out in 2015, and the analytics back up the eye test.

He was the highest edge defender on Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 50 players in the NFL, and their “wins above replacement” metric shows why.

It’s Mack and Von Miller, then everyone else.

“Foremost, Mack is a slightly more complete player than Miller when it comes to defending the run,” PFF’s Ben Linsey wrote. “Yes, run defense is significantly less important than an edge rusher’s ability to disrupt the quarterback, but with so little difference between the players, everything gets put under the magnifying glass.”

Over the past four seasons, both players have exactly 49 sacks, although Mack missed two games over that span. The Bears outside linebacker has the edge in interceptions, forced fumbles and tackles for loss, most coming with a lower quality defense around him than what Miller has had in Denver.

It’s no surprise Ryan Pace was willing to trade multiple first-round picks to make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. He’s the best in the league.

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