There truly is no offseason in the NFL, and that applies to fantasy as well. Below, I gather some of the more interesting tidbits from the news and look at them with a fantasy perspective.
July 25 Updates
Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings.
Latavius Murray will start training camp out on the active/PUP list, which means he can practice as soon as he's able. Yesterday, Murray said his "health is really good," so it's likely he'll start practicing fairly soon. Rookie Dalvin Cook is in the lead for the starting job, so Murray needs to get healthy fast if he wants to throw his hat in the ring.
Mike Williams, WR, Chargers.
The news continues to get better for Chargers rookie Mike Williams after it was reported he might need back surgery. Josina Anderson reports that Williams is feeling better, but we still have no timetable for his return to practice. Williams will likely continue to fall behind in the race for playing time the longer he is out. I'll need to see him healthy and in play for a starting job before considering him in re-draft.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles.
Jordan Matthews will be limited to start training camp due to knee tendinitis. There doesn't seem to be any worry from the coaching staff, and it looks like they will limit Matthews to lessen the wear and tear going into this season. There are a lot of mouths to feed in Philadelphia, so targets are going to be hard to come by, but Matthews has also seen a big drop in his ADP with Alshon Jeffery and others in the mix.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions.
Rookie Kenny Golladay leads the competition for the starting slot job in Detroit. That's good news for him and his development, but he'll likely need his role expanded to have an impact in fantasy this season. His ability may push him onto the field more as the season goes on, but I'll be waiting to grab him off waivers if that starts happening.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Tyler Eifert should be ready for training camp. He'll likely be eased back, but all signs point to him being a full-go much earlier than he was last season, when he missed the first six games. The Bengals' passing game should be ready to go Week 1, which is a great sign for Andy Dalton, and despite Eifert's injury woes, his upside is still quite high, especially with his ADP taking a slight hit due to injury concerns.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that Keenan Allen looks to be back to his pre-injury self, with Philip Rivers and multiple beat writers liking what they've seen from him. Thankfully, Allen's injury happened in Week 1 last season, so he's had plenty of time to get back into shape after surgery. And now that Mike Williams is hurting, Allen should at least start the season as a target hog.
Duke Johnson, RB, Browns.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Mary Kay Cabot believes running back Duke Johnson is the leading candidate to play the slot wide receiver role this year. If that does happen, we will still need more information on how he would be used when the formation doesn't require a slot receiver. Would he line up in the backfield? Would he be on the sideline? If Johnson could see work as a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot, his PPR upside would still be good. If his role doesn't expand, being the slot receiver could actually hurt him in this offense.
John Brown, WR, Cardinals.
Cardinals receiver John Brown has added 12 pounds this offseason and now weighs in at 185 pounds. He says he hasn't lost any speed, and so far, onlookers, including teammates, believe he is back to the speed he was before injuries and complications from sickle cell slowed him down last year. As long as those complications are in the rearview mirror, Brown has a high ceiling and a good ADP.
Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine, RBs, Redskins.
ESPN reporter John Keim has Rob Kelley as his starting running back in Washington, but there is room for rookie Samaje Perine to win the job. Kelley slowed down as last season went on and really left a lot on the table late in the year. Perine should be an upgrade, but we'll just have to see how training camp goes. My money is on Perine winning the job, but I'm not going to go all out for him in my drafts.
Anquan Boldin, WR, Bills.
Anquan Boldin is meeting with the Buffalo Bills today, which is a really good spot for him if he were to sign. The Bills are severely lacking for red-zone targets and veteran leadership. Boldin would be a nice addition for Tyrod Taylor, but as a receiver, Boldin would likely be completely touchdown dependent in fantasy.
July 19 Updates
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys.
The biggest fantasy news belongs to Ezekiel Elliott, who just recently was involved in an altercation at a club and already had various troubles with exposing a woman's breasts and charges of abuse. At this point, the investigation into the altercation is still ongoing, but Adam Schefter has reported that a suspension could be coming down the pipe for his earlier transgressions. This is all starting to pile up enough to be truly concerned about his status to start the season. I wish we had a better handle on the number of games he could miss, but my guess - unless this club altercation gets worse - is that he could miss 2-4 games. That puts him in a range that I'd still grab him if he fell later in the first round because he's just too consistent when he's on the field. I could see playing it safe and waiting until the second round, but he's a league-winner when rolling and sometimes you have to take risks to win.
Le'Veon Bell, RB, Steelers.
The Steelers offered Le'Veon Bell over $12 million per year, which was more overall than what he would get if he is tagged again next offseason. Who knows if there were any contingencies in the deal that Bell wasn't a fan of, but it sounds like a damn good deal. He will bet on himself to make even bigger money long term, but this is a risk by Bell. His reluctance to sign should give you a bit more impetus to acquire James Conner in dynasty. If Conner can become the lead back sooner than later, his upside is sky high in this offense.
Kerwynn Williams, RB, Cardinals.
Kerwynn Williams appears to be in the lead for the backup job behind David Johnson this season. Williams is not worth handcuffing to Johnson because he would likely lose passing downs to Andre Ellington and split up what fantasy upside he has, but if Johnson were to join a cult and disappear into the Amazon, Williams would be the guy to grab first.
D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texans.
Rookie running back D'Onta Foreman was arrested for marijuana possession and unlawful carrying of a weapon. His lawyer refutes both charges, and I expect this case will be in legal limbo for a while, but he did report to OTAs out of shape, which isn't the best move, especially with Bill O'Brien as the coach. Expect Lamar Miller to hold onto the lead job and Alfred Blue to have a leg up on Foreman going into this season.
Anquan Boldin, WR, FA.
Anquan Boldin says he will meet with a team on Sunday and wants to play for a contender. Who knows where he'll end up, but wherever he goes, he'll likely hurt the red-zone targets of their receiving crew.
Zach Miller, TE, Bears.
The Chicago Sun-Times believes tight end Zach Miller may not make the team unless he has a "really good camp." The Bears signed Dion Sims this offseason and have a second-round pick in Adam Shaheen. Miller will be a free agent next season, and the Bears would save a couple million dollars if they let him go now. We'll see how it goes, but if Miller is gone, Dion Sims becomes a play in deeper leagues.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins.
Washington doesn't want to pay Kirk Cousins, or Cousins wants to get away from that dysfunctional cesspool, but either way, Cousins will once again play on the franchise tag, which also heightens his play since he needs to do well to keep getting paid. I like Cousins playing with a chip on his shoulder.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings.
Vikings beat writers like what they've seen from Dalvin Cook. Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune believes Cook has the versatility to take the job from Day 1 and keep it. At this point, I think Cook has the upper hand, especially if he can play all three downs and pass protect. That's asking a lot from a rookie, but so far, the signs are good that he has the ability.
July 13 Updates
Adrian Peterson, RB, Saints.
In news you can't use, Adrian Peterson is targeting 500 receiving yards this season. In other unrelated news, I am targeting Mars as a nice spot to raise my family. Peterson won't reach 500 yards receiving this season because he's never done that in his illustrious career, plus he's so far down the totem pole on the target list that they'd have to dig the pole up and plant it upside down to see him. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are ahead of him on the running back target list, which is, of course, not counting all the actual wide receivers and tight ends who are also way ahead of him. This is a long, rambling way to tell you that Peterson is kidding himself and you and that we can't a take players' word when it comes to his own stats.
George Kittle, TE, 49ers.
The George Kittle hype seems to still be moving at a solid pace. 49ers GM John Lynch talked him up again the other day, saying, "He's got some suddenness to him in his movements. He catches the ball extremely well. George gives us something we don't have as a play-maker down in the red zone. He is that guy who can win 1-on-1. He can impose his will and out-athlete people." That's pretty high praise, and when you add in that nobody has the starting tight end job wrapped up in this offense, there's a good chance he can win out. The 49ers still have Brian Hoyer at quarterback and a lack of overall talent on the team, so fantasy points will be few and far between, but in deep 2TE leagues, getting a starter can sometimes be tough.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos.
Emmanuel Sanders has cut fast food from his diet, so expect Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch to be much better at getting the ball to Sanders, who probably weighed something like 300 pounds last season.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers.
Carlos Hyde's job isn't secure according to beat writer Matt Maiocco. This has been the scuttlebutt in San Francisco this offseason, so it appears that Joe Williams will at least get a chance at work this season. The reasoning behind Hyde's status is due to the coaching change, his injury history and his contract status. These situations are always tough to decipher, but Hyde is a good running back and his skills should keep him in the lead; however, I could easily see Kyle Shanahan committee Hyde with Williams and even Tim Hightower. This news coupled with a tough schedule and bad offense makes me want to hide from drafting Carlos this season.
Eric Ebron, TE, Lions.
Eric Ebron is "overly excited" about his role in the offense for this season. He believes he'll see more routes and scoring opportunities, which is quite plausible now that Anquan Boldin and his 22 red-zone targets are sitting at home gathering dust.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos.
Demaryius Thomas says he has recovered from the hip issue that slowed him down last season and is ready to roll. The issue sounds like it has been chronic for him, so I would assume that a reoccurrence isn't a long shot, but Thomas has continued to put up good fantasy numbers even after Peyton Manning's retirement. Those numbers just look "meh" when you compare the two. Don't write Thomas off due to bad quarterback play. As long as you can get him at the right price, his consistency should pay off for your team.
Todd Gurley, RB, Rams.
Probably the best reason to have some optimism about Todd Gurley's 2017 season is the fact that Jeff Fisher is gone. His offense was vanilla, and Gurley didn't have much room to run or variety of play calls. Under Sean McVay, the Rams will at least attempt to play more situational football, playing to a defense's weaknesses. I'm still not sold on Gurley's ability to have a big season in this offense, but I do feel like it will be almost impossible to have as bad a season as last year. His ADP is at his ceiling in my mind, so I'll likely eschew his fantasy advances this season.
July 10 Updates
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys.
ESPN's Adam Schefter told SiriusXM Fantasy Sports that he would be hesitant to draft Ezekiel Elliott due to the uncertainty of the NFL's continuing investigation. Schefter believes there is a real chance Elliott will be suspended after accusations of domestic violence. At this point everything is speculation, but Schefter is the most tuned-in NFL reporter in the business, so this news can't be dismissed. If you are drafting any early best=ball leagues, I might avoid him in the top half of the first round, but even if he does end up with a suspension, he will still be a great fantasy player when he's on the field, so the risk isn't huge unless we start hearing about a long suspension due to unforeseen information coming out.
Mike Gillislee, RB, Patriots.
Beat reporter Mike Reiss believes running back Mike Gillislee will take over the LeGarrette Blount role from last season, which was an extremely lucrative fantasy role, as Blount scored 18 touchdowns and ran the ball 299 times. We, of course, can't count on 18 touchdowns, ever, but if he could somehow touch the ball 299 times, there is no doubt he would put up great numbers in one of the best offenses in the league.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers.
Panthers.com predicts that Jonathan Stewart will receive the bulk of the carries this season, as the coaching staff has been insistent that Stewart's role won't change with Christian McCaffrey drafted seventh overall. If Stewart can remain healthy, I believe he would lead the backfield in rushing attempts and goal-line carries. That would leave Christian McCaffrey with backup carries and the bulk of the receiving targets. Right now, Christian McCaffrey is being drafted 31st overall and as the 15th running back off the board. To live up to that ADP, Stewart will likely need to be injured for a good chunk of games. Of course that's possible, but I don't like drafting players that early with the hope that a teammate will be brutally injured! In PPR leagues of course, Christian McCaffrey gets a big boost, but that appears to already be factored into his ADP. Unless you are in a full-point PPR league, I would probably let others grab him at his ADP.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals.
The Bengals' website believes Jeremy Hill will still be a factor this season, especially around the goal line. Of course as long as Hill is on the team, they want him to have some motivation, but it appears Mixon is poised to take over the starting role sooner than later. I'm not betting on Hill to be much more than a breather back for Mixon unless practice reports say something completely different in training camp.
Ryan Mathews, RB, FA.
Ryan Mathews will likely be let go from the Eagles once he is medically cleared. The fact that he hasn't been yet is likely a bad sign for his possibilities this season and beyond, as neck injuries are of course scary. He's off the fantasy radar.
DeShone Kizer, QB, Browns.
DeShone Kizer has made strides this offseason, closing the gap on Cody Kessler. This competition appears to be a real one, and Kizer has a decent shot of starting the season behind center if he can show well in the preseason. In deep-2QB leagues, he's worth adding to your bench.
June 29 Updates
Cam Newton, QB, Panthers.
Cam Newton has resumed throwing after his offseason shoulder surgery. He was supposed to begin throwing a week ago, so it's good to see there hasn't been any major setbacks. If Newton can stay healthy, he should have a bounceback fantasy season with the addition of Christian McCaffrey to the fold.
George Kittle, TE, 49ers.
49ers rookie tight end George Kittle has impressed beat writers and appears to be in the lead for the starting tight end job. It's still early and he's a rookie, so don't get too excited for re-draft, but if he's available in dynasty, there's no reason not to grab him if you can.
Michael Floyd, WR, Vikings.
The Vikings wide receiver Michael Floyd was given a day in jail for violating the terms of his house arrest. The Vikings look like they will let it slide, and as long as there aren't any other problems, he should make the team. Floyd could still see some kind of punishment come down from the league office, but it appears he will out of this situation fairly unscathed. Floyd still has a lot of upside as a player, but he's behind a long list of receivers in Minnesota now and will have to continue to walk the straight and narrow to stick with the team.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins.
Beat writer Rich Tandler believes that Jamison Crowder will out-target Terrelle Pryor this season in Washington. That projection makes sense, as Crowder will be used underneath more than Pryor. I expect Pryor to have a much larger yards-per-reception number, but that doesn't take much away from Crowder, who should be a great play in all PPR formats at his current ADP.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts.
Andrew Luck still hasn't resumed throwing after his shoulder surgery, but the Colts seem optimistic. He has no current timetable, so we'll put a pin in this for now and wait for more news.
Braxton Miller, WR, Texans.
Texans second-year receiver Braxton Miller has been getting some praise from wide receivers coach John Perry. He loves Miller's quickness and speed, but his size is what stands out in the slot. The Texans have DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller on the outside and a run-first offense, but Miller could step up in the slot and have some waiver-wire usefulness. At this point, I'd just make sure he's rostered in your dynasty leagues.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins.
Dolphins beat reporter James Walker writes that Jay Ajayi "could put up 1,900 total yards if he stays healthy." That would mostly be an increase in receiving usage, which the team has been touting this offseason. There's no doubt that Miami is going to try to win the ground battle each week and Ajayi is the key to that. As long as he stays healthy, Ajayi is locked into big usage and should be a safe early running back pick for your fake teams.
June 25 Updates
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins.
Reports are good that Kirk Cousins will end up getting a long-term extension this year. He's likely finally proved that he's the best quarterback they can expect to get, and at this point, the team is good enough to be competitive with him. This would be good news for Terrelle Pryor, Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder, as a backup quarterback would likely hurt their fantasy value tremendously moving forward.
DeShone Kizer, QB, Browns.
The starting quarterback job in Cleveland won't be a fantasy boon for anyone, but in 2QB leagues getting those starting quarterbacks for bye weeks can be a real pain in the arse. The scuttlebutt out of Cleveland right now is that DeShone Kizer is right with Cody Kessler in competition for the job. Kessler would get the nod to start the season if they are tied, but the odds that Kizer starts multiple games this year are quite good.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Patriots.
Bill Belichick has been impressed with Brandin Cooks' work ethic this offseason, which is probably the highest praise he can give someone and bodes well for his integration into the New England offense. We know Cooks has plenty of ability, but we don't know how he will be used in his new offense, which leaves for a fairly wide range of fantasy outcomes this season. Of course, he's on one of the better offenses in the league, and his skill set makes him the best wide receiver on the team. His ADP is likely going to be scary high, but so is his upside.
Jeremy Maclin, WR, Ravens.
The Ravens' new wide receiver Jeremy Maclin says he played through a torn groin last season, but is back to 100 percent. Still just 29 years old, Maclin is now in a more pass-happy offense and will be in line for more targets after averaging just 7.4 per game in Kansas City with both Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta gone.
Eric Ebron, TE, Lions.
Eric Ebron is happy with the Lions' additions of two blocking tight ends in Darren Fells and rookie Michael Roberts. He believes they will help open up more routes and targets and after seeing 85 in 13 games last season, Ebron should be in line to break the 100-target barrier, which only six tight ends accomplished last season. Add in the fact that Anquan Boldin is no longer there, and he should see more red zone targets as well. Barring injury, Ebron has plenty of upside this season at his ADP.
Jesse James, TE, steelers.
The Steelers' tight end situation is one worth keeping an eye on. During OTAs, Jesse James and Ben Roethlisberger worked on end zone routes, which is where James would need to get the bulk of his fantasy points, but James is also seeing competition from Xavier Grimble, who is a better athlete and would put up better numbers per target, but has also shown inconsistency. We could see a split in work, which would kill their upside, but if one wins out, he will be worthwhile in 2TE leagues.
Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins.
The Jamison Crowder hype is growing, and coach Jay Gruden is the latest to praise him, again. He went on and on about his ability and with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon gone there should be a lot of targets for the taking in Washington. Crowder's name doesn't ring too many bells in the everyday fantasy world, so he's likely going to be had at some value in your everyday leagues, but don't wait too long.