2014 NFL Training Camp Report: July 24th
Jeff Mans takes a look around NFL training camp 2014 and picks out all of the fantasy relevant information you need to stay ahead of the competition
Welcome to the 2014 NFL Training Camp Report!! Loyal readers of Fantasy Alarm know that every summer I like to keep a finger on the pulse of NFL training camps. I am so excited this year as for the first time I will have a lot of help. The Fantasy Alarm news department who are always on top of every breaking and developing story will be aiding the cause of keeping our readers informed.
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The carousel of weird that surrounds Marshawn Lynch continued this afternoon when one of his teammates leaked the news that Lynch had not yet reported to camp and was indeed holding out for a new contract. Lynch has been the subject in some very odd behaviors this offseason including charging the stage at a San Francisco nightclub back in early June. Lynch reported to mini-camp soon after the nightclub incident and had appeared as though he was going to cause a problem over his contract situation. Lynch has a ton of carries and is almost certainly near the end of his peak production years. The Seahawks would be very wise to let him sit out awhile because they have two very good backups in Robert Turbin and Christine Michael who are ready for a bigger role. Also, with each passing day Lynch is more likely to do something that would hurt his leverage. This is a player that is clearly not playing with a full deck and so his fantasy value has and will continue to plummet this summer.
Hitting Women < Marijuana Possession
The NFL flexed its muscle and did exactly what we all figured they would do and suspended Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice for two games this season. Rice was caught on surveillance camera hitting then dragging his unconscious girlfriend (who became his wife a few weeks later…classy!) through several floors of an Atlantic City hotel. Two games, huh? Good grief the NFL is so incredibly self-righteous yet passive at the same time. Hitting women and marijuana possession/use are not even in the same spectrum as far as criminal activity (or shouldn’t be) and yet there is TWICE the penalty for one than there is for the other.
I am going to go on a rant about this on the Fantasy Alarm Show tonight so I will refrain from boring you guys with the printed version. The fact is that Ray Rice remains my #18 ranked RB in PPR formats despite the two game suspension. We saw what Josh Gordon was able to do despite missing two games at the start of 2013 and thus I’m not going to downgrade Rice too much further. I still think that Gary Kubiak is going to be able to make the Ravens an impact running team and Rice fits the system to a “T.” If the NFL isn’t going to punish him then why should fantasy owners? We draft plenty of players we don’t respect and that is just part of the game.
Guess Who’s Hurt Already?
Unfortunately for me it’s not Percy Harvin…yet. But another one of our favorite constantly injured players is has come down with a hamstring injury. Guesses?
Yeah, that player is Carolina Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart. Shocking I know. Why the Panthers or any fantasy player puts up with this guy is beyond me. Here are some numbers to consider about Jonathan Stewart:
Stewart has played in just 15 of his last 32 games. Of those 15 games he has started just seven and left five early due to injury.
He has just 141 carries over the past two seasons. That is 9.1 per game. He’s gained just 516 yards in those carries (3.6 YPC) and has scored just one touchdown.
Stewart is now 27 years of age and has suffered knee, ankle, hamstring, quad, toe and Achilles injuries. He’s has surgery on his big toe and his ankle as well. This guy is put together by scotch tape and band aids at this point and shouldn’t be considered in ANY round come draft day unless you are in an extremely deep fantasy football league.
The Vikings officially announced that Matt Cassel will open up camp as their QB1. This is obviously not a big surprise as rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater is not quite ready. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly Bridgewater can command the offense and earn the trust of his teammates. As bad as Cassel is, I really don’t discount either Cordarrelle Patterson or Kyle Rudolph based on this news.
The Texans have been using former Jaguars WR Mike Thomas as their starting slot WR early on. Bill O’Brien says that he envisions Thomas playing the “Wes Welker role” in the Texans offense. I personally HATE when coaches and fantasy owners compare every small slot receiver to Wes Welker but I suppose there is some merit in it coming from O’Brien.
The Giants have been using RaShad Jennings as their first team RB but what is interesting today was David Wilson getting all of the second team reps. Rookie RB Andre Williams has looked awful thus far and even took one off the facemask in a screen passing drill today. Williams was replaced in goal line formations too by Peyton Hillis.