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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 Bigger Loser
One of my favorite pastimes is the weight gain/loss report at the start of NFL training camp. I remember a couple of years ago when Bryant McKinnie weighted in at over 420 lbs one of the teams in my home league changed their name to “Bryant McKinnin’s Diet.”
This year Titans RB Shonn Greene showed up at 248 lbs, which is at least 10 pounds over his highest playing weight. The Titans have warned Greene that he needs to lose at least 10 pounds by the end of camp or there would be playing time penalties.
On the flip side, the Panthers are confident that RB Mike Tolbert’s 13 pound weight loss won’t affect his goal line prowess. Tolbert has been one of the most effective short yardage runners in the NFL over the past three seasons so it is kind of surprising to see him dropping weight.
The Patriots Have Mastered Roster Management
Listen, I hate Bill Belichick as much as the next person but have to give him credit when it is due. Those of us that play in fantasy football and/or fantasy baseball leagues that use disabled list (DL) or injured reserve (IR) spots know how useful they can be. A great strategy to utilize in these types of leagues is to use this spot to store player who are already hurt but could provide value once they return. So why is it that professional teams don’t use this to their advantage too?
Just one day after the Panthers waived RB Tyler Gaffney after he tore his Achilles, the Patriots scooped him up. It’s a low risk move for the Pats. They buy low on a young RB, help him rehab and store him until he is well enough to add to their active roster. This is a very low risk move and one that could pay dividends down the road. The more players you can have under your control the better.
This is what makes Belichick and the rest of the Patriots front office so much better than others. Bending the rules as far as they can go while limiting risk and maximizing rewards.
My Newest Late Round Crush
When the Packers selected WR Charles Johnson in the seventh round last year they were anticipating him being a potential replacement for James Jones should he leave via free agency. Well the Packers eventually cut Johnson and placed him on the practice squad. When the Cleveland Browns snatched him up they were stunned to learn that Johnnson had a torn ACL in his knee. But unlike the Packers, the Browns decided to keep Johnons throughout his rehab in hopes he could regain most of the electrifying speed and run after the catch ability.
Charles Johnson is not only healthy but has been the best WR in Browns camp by far this summer. At 6’2”, 215 lbs he is an intimidating presence and a great target for Brian Hoyer especially in the red zone. The coaches are very pleased with his on the field ability but are even more enamored with his demeanor and work ethic. I am moving him up in my rankings pretty much on the daily since training camp opened up last week.
The Jaguars receiving corps has been torn apart the past two seasons with the suspensions of Justin Blackmon and Ace Sanders and now the hamstring injury to Cecil Shorts. They currently have two rookies in Allen Robinson from Penn State and USC standout Marqise Lee as their first team WR’s. I really love Robinson this year as a late round option. He is a great route runner with sure hands. The Jaguars will lean on him heavily to move the chains in the passing game this season. Lee is a high upside player who is a bit undersized. He also is crazy thin and injury prone.
It’s always a mystery how the New Orleans Saints use their running backs. For years they preferred the smallish Darren Sproles to the bigger, stronger and always effective Pierre Thomas. Then last year Thomas put up some huge numbers and Sproles was traded this offseason. So it only makes sense that Mark Ingram would be now running with the first team Saints offense right? I envision a huge season ahead for Pierre Thomas while Mark Ingram steals some of the TD thunder.
The battle of big RB’s in Cincinnati has become interesting. Incumbent RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been pretty much a ghost early on in Bengals camp. Rookie Jeremy Hill is running with the second team offense and getting more of the short yardage opportunities as well. BJE is highly likely to be cut at some point this summer.
The Carolina Panthers got some good news this evening when an MRI taken of Kelvin Benjamin’s left knee showed only a bone bruise. Benjamin collided with Melvin White at practice on Sunday and left early.
Andre Johnson was in Texans camp for two full days before pulling up lame with a right hamstring injury this afternoon. The team will likely take it easy on Andre and not rush him back before he is ready to go.
Rookie WR Odell Beckham is out at least another week due to his tender hamstring. Beckham has been bothered by this same hamstring since spring OTA’s and you have to already wonder whether he realizes that he doesn’t get it.
Raiders WR Rod Streater suffered a concussion in Sunday’s practice and will miss a few days until he passes his baseline concussion tests. Streater is currently lining up opposite James Jones as the Raiders starting WR’s. The Raiders actually have a few real good WR’s on the roster including Andre Holmes and Brice Butler who I am very intrigued by this season.