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 Friday August 8th:
Well This Ain’t Good
Cam Newton is experiencing a “thump” in his surgically repaired ankle that is causing him discomfort on a constant basis. This is obviously terrible news even though it isn’t something that will keep Newton from any games or even practice at this point. Much or Newton’s fantasy value these days are in his ability to run. Not just for rushing TD’s, although those are nice, but also to scramble around and make plays with his arm by getting away from pressure.
I always say that to me Cam Newton is a 16 ounce soda in a 12 ounce glass. The skill is just so immense there is nowhere for it to go but to pour out onto the fantasy scoring pages. But the vanilla nature of Mike Shula’s offense, a complete rebuild of the Panthers offensive line and the lack of proven quality receivers has tested my faith in Cam heading into this season. But an injury such as this that was supposed to be resolved by surgery this offseason is quite concerning and has be on the verge of lowering him in my rankings.
For now I am just going to monitor the situation and see if the ankle soreness causes him to start missing practices or diminishing is workload. If it does I think it is the only thing we can do but drop our expectations of Newton even further this season.
Broncos RB and presumed Montee Ball handcuff C.J. Anderson suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the Broncos victory over Seattle yesterday. What’s worse is that Juwan Thompson, Denver’s RB3 was also tested but ultimately cleared of a concussion during last night’s games.
I discussed the Broncos RB2 job in detail a week ago in these very pages and mentioned that Anderson was being pressured for the backup role by the undrafted FA in Juwan Thompson. The reason this competition matters is that Montee Ball is far from a sure thing fantasy wise this season. He has failed numerous times to win Peyton Manning’s trust in pass protection and hasn’t made it through a full training camp or consecutive regular season games with being the workhorse yet. Thus, there is an opportunity for fantasy owners in deeper leagues to stash the next man up in Denver as a potential breakout candidate this year.
The vibe that I am getting is that the Broncos aren’t sold on Anderson whatsoever and that Thompson could seriously wind up being the direct backup to Montee Ball to start this season. A concussion to Anderson definitely hurts him in the battle to keep his job and gives Thompson yet one more legup in this training camp battle.
More Handcuff News
I have a tendency to ignore preseason depth charts and offseason coachspeak and team propaganda. I much prefer to use my eyes and my brain in determining which players are going to win/lose jobs during training camp. With this in mind I have been trusting my gut that second year RB Christine Michael will be the handcuff for psychotic starter Marshawn Lynch in Seattle. But the more the situation plays out the more my gut is telling me to stop dreaming and see that it is actually Robert Turbin who has the job now and doesn’t appear to be letting go anytime soon. Because of Lynch’s crazy behavior this offseason, the Seattle backup RB job is highly coveted in the fantasy community. Either Turbin or Michael will have immense value once Lynch gets hurt or officially falls off of the deep end.
How about them Cowboys? No…seriously….how about them Cowboys backup RB’s? For the past two months I have operated as if second year guy Joseph Randle would be the backup and natural handcuff to DeMarco Murray in big D. Sure the Cowboys have been saying that the smaller Lance Dunbar would be Murray’s handcuff but that seems really difficult to digest. Randle is a bigger, stronger and about as fast RB as Dunbar plus was a fifth round pick a year ago as opposed to a unsigned free agent in Dunbar. It seems almost ridiculous to think that Dunbar would be able to hold up if given 15+ touches per game and the 14 offensive coordinators/assistants/helpers that the Cowboys have should know this. But alas, head coach Jason Garrett has had quite a bit of separation between Murray/Dunbar and Randle/Ryan Williams/Ben Malena. With DeMarco Murray’s injury history and the Cowboys dynamic offense there is plenty of reason to watch this situation closely as we go further. But at this time I think it’s time that I lower Randle’s value and move Dunbar up the rankings a bit.
Breaking The Law, Breaking The Law
Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones has been suspended by the league for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Jones has been a standout with the Dolphins since becoming their fifth round pick back in 2010. Jones got a four year contract extension last offseason totaling $30 million. At least he’ll be able to afford the lost paychecks during his quarter of the season suspension.
Reshad Jones wasn’t the only knucklehead suspended for PED use today. Giants backup offensive lineman Eric Herman also tested positive for an illegal substance and will begin the season on the suspended list. Herman was a seventh round pick a year ago and will definitely miss the gamechecks if he even makes the Giants 53 man roster after this.
Chilling On The Colts
As ya’ll know by now I pay close attention to the offensive lines in projecting fantasy football greatness. Well one O-line that started out in the average pile and has moved toward the “oh my god” pile is the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts have suffered three significant injuries to an already thin line this summer. Starting center Khaled Holmes is the most recent member of the line to go down with an injury. Holmes suffered a severe ankle sprain on the Colts first drive against the Jets last night and will reportedly miss “multiple” weeks of the regular season. Remember that the Colts are already without LG Donald Thomas who is out for the season with a torn quad muscle. Backup LT John Ulrick suffered a broken ankle earlier this week as well and fellow backup tackle Xavier Nixon just underwent a knee scope last week.
Now sometimes when a team loses members of their line it turns out to be an improvement because the starters were only grading out as below league average anyways. But this is basically 40% of the original linemen in camp who are now out with significant injuries. Even if the replacements wind up to be better than the guys they are replacing it will at least take several weeks for a new group to gel and that could last well into the regular season here in Indianapolis.