Welcome to the 2014 NFL Training Camp Blog! Everyday I’ll be reporting on all of the fantasy worthy news, notes and nonsense from around all 32 NFL training camps. If you want more in-depth knowledge on how to become a better fantasy football player, check out the 210 page Fantasy Football Draft Guide. We’ve got 550+ players ranked, 30 winning strategies from the best players in the world, every coaching system, offensive line and rookie broken down like you have never read before. Plus, you can get is ALL FOR FREE when you deposit into a NEW DraftKings account.
Let’s see what is going on in and around NFL Training Camp on this Tuesday August 5th:
Bears TE Martellus Bennett was suspended indefinitely (fancy way of saying “for now”) by the team for conduct detrimental to the team for beating up first round pick CB Kyle Fuller in Monday’s practice. Bennett has always been a bit of a loose cannon but his personality has been embraced by his Bears teammates until this incident. Team leader Brandon Marshall took Bennett aside and really laid into him after the incident yesterday even before the team suspended him today.
I don’t expect Bennett’s suspension to last for that long as the Bears coaches are just trying to send a message and the Bears are incredibly thin at TE behind him. Overall I still like Bennett as a low level TE1 this season. It should be noted that he had the same amount of receptions (65) and 29 less yards than Julius Thomas last season. What’s more is that Bennett had three more targets inside the 10 yard line than Thomas (9-6). Not saying that I would take Benett ahead of Thomas, just reminding you guys to not overhype Thomas or undersell Bennett in 2014.
Speaking Of The Bears
The loss of third WR Marquess Wilson had the Bears working out free agent WR’s Santonio Holmes and Ben Obamanu who previously spent a few seasons in Chicago. It is increasingly evident that the Bears have no faith in any of their other WR’s including Josh Morgan who is currently getting reps in Wilson’s place.
My Sleeper TE’s
I have been crowing all spring and summer long about the Houston Texans TE’s in Garrett Graham and especially rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz. Those of you who understand how important the system is to fantasy performance know exactly why I love the Texans TE’s this year.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien loves to use the TE position and does so as creatively as anybody else in the league. His system utilizes two tight end sets more than any other in the league and is one of the biggest reasons why Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski achieved fantasy stardom back in his days in New England.
Fiedorowicz is the better all-around TE of the group as he is a very good blocker and will play on the line of scrimmage often this year. Fiedorowicz was also tabbed personally by O’Brien in the draft so he has that going for him as well. At this point I prefer Fiedorowicz to Graham but wouldn’t be surprised if Graham has a very big season depending on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s route preference.
One thing we do know is that Fitzpatrick has made a living off of throwing to his TE’s whether it was in Tennessee (Delanie Walker), Buffalo (Scott Chadler) or Cincinnati (Reggie Kelly). These are two great options at TE this year but will require some more monitoring in order to make sure which one has the most fantasy value this season.
I don’t Like This
Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin is being brought along slowly in camp after tearing his ACL in training camp last year. Maclin is evidently only practicing 3-4 days a week this summer which is troublesome to me. Considering Maclin tore the ACL last July, it isn’t good to have him only preparing at 50% this year especially when you are expecting 100% of the return whether in fantasy or if you’re the Philadelphia Eagles.
I really like Maclin’s upside in the Eagles offense but I have recently pumped the breaks on my expectations for him this season. He is coming off of a torn ACL which we know can take up to two years to fully recover from (if ever). He hasn’t played a football game in over 18 months at this point and everybody knows there is no amount of preparation that prepares you for live game action. Also, Maclin has never actually played in this Chip Kelly up-tempo style offense. The fact that he is still coming along gingerly is very off-putting and I have had to slide Maclin down in my rankings for at least the time being.
While this is bad news for Maclin I think this is just another great reason to fall in love with rookie WR Jordan Matthews. Matthews is going to score more TD’s than Maclin this year and at this point there is no reason to believe he can’t at least challenge Maclin for the receptions lead either.
The Jets made a real attempt to improve their terrible WR corps this offseason in signing Eric Decker and drafting Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans and Quincy Enunwa. Along with improvements to their QB (Michael Vick) & RB (Chris Johnson) situations the Jets are poised for offensive improvements across the board. But they may have to do is without fourth round pick Shaq Evans as he is nursing a significant shoulder injury that has the team deciding whether or not to place him on season ending injured reserve.
The Packers always seem to lose offensive lineman year in and year out. Over the past two years it has been Don Barclay who has stepped up to fill in the voids along the Packers O-line. But Barclay went down with what is being called a serious knee injury this morning and had to be carted from the field. Without their biggest insurance policy up front and considering the injury history of QB Aaron Rodgers this is a big concern for the Packers and something for fantasy owners to consider if and when there should be another loss up front.