As the first full week of training camp rolls on for all 32 NFL teams, tons of fantasy-related news has already filled the plates of hungry fantasy owners chomping at the bit to get the season started.
Let’s examine Thursday’s most pertinent news.
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After landing awkwardly on his right shoulder in practice, Redskins’ wideout DeSean Jackson is going to be sidelined for 1-2 weeks with a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder. Initial reports stated Jackson could miss the rest of camp, but a one-to-two week timeframe isn’t a huge detriment for the 28-year-old veteran. DJax is coming off of his first season in Washington in which he finished second among 90 qualifiers in fantasy points per target (2.41 PPR points) while only seeing 5.8 targets per-game and 18.2% of Washington’s targets when he ran a route. He’s currently the 28th wide receiver off of the re-draft board at 63 overall.
Now that Arian Foster is presumably headed towards the injury shelf for 2-3 months after his groin tear in camp, Alfred Blue is the Texans’ starting running back, “as it stands right now” per Texans beat writer Tania Ganguli.
Blue was inarguably one of the league’s most inefficient backs in the league last year, even though he was in his rookie season out of LSU. On top of his 3.12 yards per carry that finished last out of 32 RBs with at least 150 totes on the 2014 season, Blue ranked 55th out of 57 qualified backs in missed tackles per touch (.07) and 49th out of 64 ball carriers in red zone success rate (11.8% TD-rate on 17 attempts). In most recent drafts, Blue’s average draft position has skyrocketed from undrafted to the 8th to 10th round. With the threat of Houston signing another back, Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes in tow, and Foster bound to return at some point – Blue is a safe “avoid” if he proves too costly in a backfield that will likely be a low-ceiling running back by committee during the first half of the regular season.
Kevin White (shin splits) is set to resume running by next week, will more than likely miss the reserve/PUP list, and the Chicago Tribune is reporting the Bears are “optimistic” White will be available Week 1. White is also reportedly “symptom free” after his painful encounter with shin splits, but after missing very important time to start Bears’ camp – his re-draft stock should take a minor hit from its inflated price point of WR38 (88 overall).
Deeper News and Notes
Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are dealing with reportedly somewhat mild hamstring injuries and are both are day-to-day. This is just something to slightly monitor as the Falcons inch closer to their August 14th preseason opener against the Titans.
Marqise Lee just can’t seem to sustain any semblance of health in Jacksonville, as he’ll miss the next two weeks of camp with a hamstring strain. Allen Hurns is currently slated as the No. 2 wide receiver outside of Allen Robinson – Hurns is the WR78 (209 overall) in average draft position while Lee is the WR74 (200 overall).
Latavius Murray is reportedly getting “all first-team reps” and GM Reggie McKenzie gave Murray a definitive vote of confidence saying Murray “can do it all.” Keep in mind, 21.2% of Murray’s yardage (424) in 2014 came on one run (a 90-yarder) and he only has 82 career carries to his name. Murray’s fantasy stock is a bit ambiguous, as he’s the 23rd running back off of the board while pass-down specialist Roy Helu can be had at just RB49.
Chris Ivory is reportedly being groomed as an “every-down back” per ESPN New York. This shouldn’t be a surprise. Stevan Ridley is Ivory’s main competition and he’s still rehabbing his ACL-tear from 2014. Bilal Powell projects as the pass- and third-down back, but Ivory’s redraft (RB37) average draft position still remains a steal.
Finally, Johnny Manziel will receive first-team reps in Friday’s scrimmage while HC Mike Pettine insists Josh McCown is the “firm starter.” We’ll see if Manziel can progress, but still: What “starter” cedes early-camp snaps to a sophomore quarterback coming off of a disappointing rookie season? This reeks of a predictable, classic QB competition brewing in Cleveland.
Michael Floyd underwent surgery to repair three dislocated fingers and remains overvalued at his current WR35 average draft position. ... Armando Salguero is reporting Damien Williams is currently in line to be the Dolphins’ No. 2 running back ahead of Jay Ajayi and LaMichael James. … 33-year-old guard Evan Mathis and the Dolphins have “dialogue ongoing” if Miami feels it ultimately needs an upgrade from their suspect play at guard while Ryan Tannehill has “improved his deep ball accuracy”. … Jason Pierre-Paul (fingers) is rehabbing in South Florida and is “doing fine” per a teammate. … Lance Dunbar’s ankle sprain is “minor”. … Josina Anderson of ESPN is reporting that Seattle’s strong safety Kam Chancellor is looking for more guaranteed money while his holdout continues. … Eagles’ inside linebacker Kiko Alonso is week-to-week with a concussion. … Finally, Bishop Sankey has reportedly bulked up 6-7 pounds and is “stronger in more durable” entering this year’s camp.