- New Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson plans on using running back Giovani Bernard more in the slot this season. This is just another reason why Bernard dynasty owners shouldn’t worry about rookie Jeremy Hill.
- New Jets running back Chris Johnson will probably be held out of OTA’s but should be ready to go for the beginning of 2014. Johnson’s dynasty stock has been rapidly declining since his 2,000 yard season and isn’t expected to get better in New York. He’s now in a timeshare with Chris Ivory with a ceiling of a RB3.
- Good news for Aaron Dobson, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman dynasty owners as the Patriots are expected to move away from ’12’ alignments on offense and use more receivers. This is great news, especially for the younger Dobson.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally woke up and went off for 432 yards and four touchdowns. Even with his age, Brady is in a pass-first offense and should be around for at least 2-3 years. He’s still a fine pickup in dynasty leagues.
- The recipient of some of those yards was rookie Aaron Dobson who had five receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. If Dobson can improve his catch rate, he’ll be the beneficiary for a long time.
- Patriots running back Stevan Ridley also made a bit of a comeback with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries. Ridley will probably never be a top-tier option at running back but he should provide value with his youth and opportunity.
- Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones had another two sacks to bring his season total up to 8.5. The second-year defensive end should also continue to improve and has an unusually high (for a defensive linemen) 50 tackles in nine games.
- The Patriot rookie receivers came alive with Aaron Dobson being targeted a team-high 10 times and pulling in seven while Kenbrell Thompkins caught the first two touchdowns of his career. Kudos to those that bought low or held on.
- Meanwhile, running back LaGarrette Blount ended up leading the Patriots in rushes with 14 over Stevan Ridley‘s 11. It could be due to the blowout win but Ridley’s opportunities and performance have been up and down this year. Hopefully it stabilizes before dynasty fantasy owners are forced to look somewhere else.
- Tom Brady continues to jell with the rookie receivers mentioned above and with Rob Gronkowski expected back any week now, now might be the time to buy on Brady.
- On the other side of the field, Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin had another pedestrian day. Martin is also an excellent buy low candidate.
- Patriots quarterback Tom Brady got dinged up yesterday but is expected to play in the next pre-season game. All Brady fantasy owners (myself, included) can relax. For now.
- Chargers rookie Keenan Allen is back at practice getting treatment on the same knee that knocked him out of his college career.
- Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will be able to audible at the line more this season. The hope is Romo won’t be forced to play in as many disadvantageous situations as before.
- Seattle receiver Golden Tate is getting high praise in Seattle camp. He’s pairing is athleticism with more crisp route-running, With Percy Harvin out indefinitely, this is a ‘golden’ opportunity for Tate. Pun INTENDED.
- Rookies Zach Sudfeld, Kenbrell Thompkins, and Aaron Dobson continue to impress in Pats camp. So much so that they cut Michael Jenkins. All three went in the first two rounds of our rookie mock draft.
- Johnathan Franklin hasn’t shown it yet. Yikes.
- Redskins coach Mike Shanahan praised Alfred Morris’ receiving. Any improvement to his 11 receptions last year will be a bonus.
Go get ’em.
We’re halfway home folks. Make it a good one.
- Cam Newton spent most of Carolina camp in the pocket which is fantastic news for his long-term health. Newton is a no-brainer, top three quarterback in dynasty ranks.
- Rookie receiver Aaron Dobson has looked much better in Pats camp. Between Dobson and UDFA Kenbrell Thompkins, you can’t go wrong taking a young Patriots receiver this year.
- San Diego rookie receiver suffered some kind of knee injury yesterday and had to receive treatment. Allen suffered knee injuries throughout his career so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s still disappointing as Allen had first round talent. I’d personally hold off drafting him until later.
- Receiver Chris Givens has had an excellent camp so far in St. Louis. Tavon Austin has gotten the attention but Givens has a more definitive role in the Rams young offense. Overall, I’d go with Givens.
- Minnesota linebacker Desmond Bishop might not even make the team. Plan accordingly.
- Things are not going well in Jacksonville when Marcedes Lewis is complaining about the offense. Anything related to the Jacksonville offense should probably be avoided, even in dynasty circles.
- Arizona running back Ryan Williams is undergoing platelet-rich plasma therapy for his gimpy knee. Williams has yet to be fully healthy in camp, allowing rookies Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington to step up. All of them are fighting for backup duties to Rashard Mendendhall which should give you an idea of how lacking the Arizona running game is in quality. It’s best to avoid if you can.
We kicked off the series looking at the potential first round of rookies drafted in dynasty leagues here. Next, we look at the next set of picks in a 12-team, PPR league.
Round 2, Pick 1 – WR-Cordarelle Patterson (MIN) – In his first NFL game, first round pick Patterson exhibited exactly what scouts were drooling over at the draft which was his play-making ability. He totaled 104 yards and had a beautiful 50-yard catch after catching the crease. Patterson is still extremely raw but talent will win out over time in dynasty leagues. The only draw back will continue to be Christian Ponder and the quarterback situation in Minnesota. Not to mention, the current NFL MVP dominates the playbook (as he should). Patterson won’t be in a position to get big numbers early in his career but he’s got the talent to do some special things.
Round 2, Pick 2 – WR-Aaron Dobson (NE) – As with fellow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins, the opportunity for Aaron Dobson is the better than any other in the league. Massive turnover has opened up the opportunity for anyone to be the starting X receiver. He’s played well and is making plays in camp but he’s also getting into shoving matches and not exactly setting the world on fire in-game action. He’ll move on from that but he may not be able to beat out Thompkins for first crack. The talent is there, and the competition is bare, so Dobson is an excellent value pick in the second. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Tom Brady lobbing passes either.
Round 2, Pick 3 – TE-Travis Kelce (KC) – The first pick of the third round, Kelce is a physical specimen at the tight end position at 6′ 5″ and 260 pounds. He’s also a great receiver and athletic and can block. His only major downfall was character concerns. He was suspended the whole 2010 season which, in this day and age of leniency, means he majorly messed up. The hope is he’s moved on since then and seemingly has since he hasn’t had any issues since. Looking at his situation, he’s got a pass-happy coach who has committed to throwing more. Alex Smith will have the first shot of getting Kelce the ball. Smith didn’t have a problem getting Vernon Davis the ball so there is hope. He’ll have to battle Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki for snaps but his sheer athleticism should take care of that. Kansas City does plan to line him up in a variety of positions. Giddy up.
Round 2, Pick 4 -QB-Geno Smith (NYJ) – Drafted in the second round, Smith was drafted to inject some life into the abysmal Jets offense. Originally graded to be the first quarterback taken, Smith slid to the second after several off-field issues regarding agents and attitude. But the football skills are all there and Smith looks like the real deal. With little competition ahead of him (see: Sanchez, Mark), Smith has a golden opportunity to join E.J. Manuel as the only starting rookie quarterbacks. He did trip a little leading up to his first pre-season game but turned in a solid performance. The supporting cast is a different story. With zero legitimate targets to throw to, it’s hard to imagine Smith putting up even decent numbers his first year. The hope is he takes his rookie year to sort things out and be ready to utilize whatever new targets the Jets bring in. He’s a taxi-squad candidate at this point.
Round 2, Pick 5 -WR-Robert Woods (BUF) – Second rounder Woods is already stated to start in Buffalo. Like Spider-Man, that can be a gift and curse. Woods was the most NFL-ready coming in to the draft and has impressed so far in camp. He’s a part of the renaissance in Buffalo with rookie E.J. Manuel quarterbacking. But he’ll be tied to Manuel’s growing pains which will prohibit huge numbers from any Buffalo receiver for the foreseeable future. Not huge upside but has the chance to be a steady contributor for years to come.
Round 2, Pick 6 – WR-Keenan Allen (SD) – Unlike Robert Woods, Allen is a project. Drafted in the third round, the skill is there as he set the Cal record for receptions. The injury bug also has afforded Allen the opportunity to use those skills early on. However, Allen has had an up-and-down camp so far and everyone agrees that Allen has ways to go. Originally projected as a first round pick, he’s not immune from injuries either after missing the last couple games of his college career. The path is certainly clear for Allen to take over but it’ll remain to be seen if he can stay healthy.
Round 2, Pick 7 – RB-Marcus Lattimore (SF) – The ultimate taxi squad player in dynasty drafts this year, Lattimore was a legit first round talent before shredding both knees in college. Drafted in the 4th round, neither fantasy owners or San Francisco has any hope that he’ll contribute this year as he hopes to follow in the foot steps of fellow knee-injury victims Willis McGahee and, you guessed it, Frank Gore. He enters a delicious situation with Gore’s contract ballooning to $6.5 million in 2014 (at age 31), Kendall Hunter with just 184 carrie to his name, and LaMichael James as nothing more than a passing situation back. With San Francisco’s power running scheme, Lattimore is sure to be in the mix. Draft him and stash him.
Round 2, Pick 8 – TE-Zach Sudfeld (NE) – Another undrafted rookie for New England, Sudfeld has rapidly found himself playing with the first string unit. At 6′ 7″ and 255 pounds, he’s being compared to that other New England tight end (who’s still on the team) and could get work as the injures dictate. Jake Ballard was originally supposed to take over Aaron Hernandez’s production but that now appears to go to Sudfeld, who’s catching everything in sight. He’s a huge unknown but New England seems to trust him. Don’t be afraid to draft him in the second round and look like a genius.
Round 2, Pick 9 – RB-Johnathan Franklin (GB) – Franklin steps into an ideal situation for a pass-catching back. The Green Bay offense, and Aaron Rodgers in particular, will continue to pass the ball despite the presence of Eddie Lacy. He won’t be an every down back but if Franklin can establish himself as a passing-down back, he could be in for a bunch of catches. Of course, he’ll have to shore up his pass protection to even see the field. Assuming he can work those issues out, he’ll be an intriguing change of pace back.
Round 2, Pick 10 – WR-Stedman Bailey (STL) – While Bailey only sits at #4 on the depth chart, he’s had a good camp so far. St. Louis claims to be opening up the offense more which would mean more opportunities to spread the wealth. Of course, it remains to be seen if Sam Bradford can handle that load. If so, Bailey stands to gain in the long-term. If not, Bailey wouldn’t be worth a taxi squad spot.
Round 2, Pick 11 – QB-Tyler Bray (KC) – Signed as an undrafted free agent, Bray already has the strongest arm in Kansas City camp (which isn’t saying a whole lot). His lack of maturity was what set him back in the draft but he seems to have overcome those. Setting behind Alex Smith and Chase Daniel, Bray doesn’t have a clear shot to starters minutes but could develop into a tradable asset. He’s not a bad pick to stash on taxi squads especially with other rookie quarterbacks struggling.
Round 2, Pick 12 – WR-Kenny Stills (NO) – Drafted in the fifth round, there was not clear spot for Stills until Joe Morgan went down with an injury and smaller injuries allowed him to play with the first string. Now entrenched as the 3rd down receiver, Stills has put together a quietly good camp and could receive considerable attention from Drew Brees and co. He should man the slot between Marques Colston and Lance Moore. If Sean Payton works his magic upon his return, they’ll be plenty of targets to go around including ones to Stills.
Previously, we looked at the three receivers drafted in the first round of the NFL draft and what kind of impact to expect from them in dynasty leagues. Part II will look at those receivers drafted in the second round. Typically, they can provide more value as you’ll be drafting them later.
- Justin Hunter (TEN) – Before the draft, Greg Cosell called Hunter the most physically gifted receiver among those that were eligible. After his 6′ 4″ frame ran a 4.4 40-time in the combine, Hunter was drafted 34th overall by Tennessee. Hunter has the tools but will he have the opportunity to be successful? Hunter joins Kenny Britt and Kendall Wright in the Tennessee rotation and is coming off a hamstring injury in OTA’s. Perhaps most damning is that Jake Locker is still the Tennessee quarterback. There’s a lot to overcome so it might be wise to use a taxi-squad spot for Hunter initially. Plus, there’s other receiver that were drafted later than Hunter that have a better opportunity to make an immediate impact. Hunter currently sits at 49 in average dynasty rankings.
- Robert Woods (BUF) – Woods was drafted 41st overall from USC after posting a 74/849/11 line his junior year. Of course this was after his sophomore season of 111/1,292/15. Physically, Woods has a pedestrian build at 6′ 0″ and 190 pounds but is considered the most NFL-ready of any receiver thanks to a quick grasp of the playbook and good route-running. He is walking into a good situation with Buffalo hitting the reset button in the off-season. With a new coach and quarterback, who he’s already hitting it off with, Woods has time to prove he belongs. There’s no reason he shouldn’t be starting opposite Steve Johnson in the Fall. Definitely worth a mid-level draft pick in dynasty circles. Woods is 51 in combined dynasty rankings.
- Aaron Dobson (NE) – My personal favorite of the second round picks, Dobson is walking into an ideal situation. Drafted 59th overall out of Marshall, the 6′ 3″ Dobson is just one of the many new faces in the New England receiving corps. which means everyone is starting fresh. Additionally, last year’s New England team was fourth in the league in pass attempts. Drafted to provide some height, Dobson was compared by Cosell to Larry FItzgerald in terms of size and hands. If he can keep up with Tom Brady and the playbook, there’s nothing stopping Dobson from being successful early and often in dynasty leagues. And with Belichick, supposedly, gushing about him while praising his basketball background (hello, Jimmy Graham), Dobson is set up for big things now and in the future. With the uncertainty in New England about who’s going to catch the ball, it might not be a bad idea to grab Dobson early in dynasty drafts. Expect his current 59th spot in our dynasty ranks to improve.