2017 Fantasy Football: Notes

By Chet Gresham - @Chet_G
Updated May 23, 2017.

Follow @walterfootball for updates.

There truly is no offseason in the NFL, and that applies to fantasy as well. Below, I gather some of the more interesting tidbits from the news and look at them with a fantasy perspective.

May 23 Updates

This is the time of the season where coaches give effusive praise to players they watched run around in shorts, so we have to always take everything they say with a grain of salt. But the fact they are talking about them at all does at least show those players are in the conversation to compete for playing time, so I do think it's worth at least noting what is being said.

John Brown, WR, Cardinals.
One player who we needed some positive information on is Cardinals receiver John Brown. Last season, he was slowed down by side effects of sickle cell and a cyst on his spine. Following surgery to drain the cyst, he says he quickly felt much better, and according to teammates and coach Bruce Arians, it showed out on the field. "Smoke looks like John Brown," said Arians. "A couple of those routes he ran, he did not run one route like that last year. Knock on wood it stays that way." With Michael Floyd in Minnesota and Larry Fitzgerald likely retiring after this season, this is John Brown's year to get things going, and if he can stay healthy, he should.

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins.
Running back Samaje Perine impressed coach Jay Gruden in rookie minicamp. Gruden gave him some run-of-the-mill praise, but didn't mention anything about Robert Kelley and the starting running back position, whereas beat writers feel like Perine already has the upper hand for the job. I like Perine better myself, and he'll be the player I take in drafts this year, but hopefully the hype stays muted and he can be had for an okay ADP.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles.
LeGarrette Blount is an Eagle now. His addition fills a pretty big need for Philadelphia, which also means he should see plenty of work, as the team ranked fifth in the league in rushing attempts inside the opponent's five-yard line last season. Ryan Mathews scored eight touchdowns in 2016, so Blount should be in line for a strong number, but will again be more valuable in non-PPR leagues.

Joe Williams, RB, 49ers.
Beat writer Matt Maiocco believes rookie Joe Williams could become the starting running back over Carlos Hyde as early as Week 1 of the season. There is plenty of reason to believe new head coach Kyle Shanahan wants Williams to lead, as Shanahan picked him and Hyde is on the last season of his contract. The main problem is that Hyde is pretty darn good when healthy. If he stays healthy, I don't see Williams beating him out this year, but it would appear that any slip up on Hyde's part could lose him a lot of work to Williams.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Chiefs.
ESPN beat reporter Adam Teicher believes rookie Kareem Hunt will lead the team in rushing this season. This is just conjecturing of course, but there is no doubt Hunt and Spencer Ware will be fighting for that lead-back job. I like Ware, but whatever happens, there is a good chance they hurt each other's numbers.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins.
The DeVante Parker hype machine is in full effect. Offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen expects a "gigantic year" from Parker, while Parker says he expects to have a "big season." Those are technical football terms that I doubt y'all could understand, but it means they think he will do well at playing football. The Dolphins will likely build their offense off of Jay Ajayi, but Parker has the ability to be a No. 1 wide receiver and should be their main red-zone threat through the air.

Josh Doctson, WR, Redskins.
Washington has a strong receiving corps, but it could be elite if Josh Doctson is healthy and lives up to his potential. So far the news is good, with reports that he "has looked quick and healthy this offseason."

Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos.
Denver beat reporter Mike Kilis believe Jamaal Charles has a 50/50 chance of making the roster. Charles' contract has no guarantees, so he is expendable unless he really shows he is back to his old form. Kilis is purely guessing of course, but Charles won't be handed a job.

Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals.
Andy Dalton believes the Bengals' offense will make "a big jump" this year with the addition of John Ross' speed and Joe Mixon's versatility. Dalton went on to say that that one of the reasons the Bengals drafted Mixon was because he could run and catch, so they wouldn't tip defenses off with him in the backfield. That's fairly damning to Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. Mixon has a good chance to win the starting job early.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Seahawks.
Eddie Lacy earned a $55,000 bonus for weighing 253 pounds - his team specified goal was 255 -, and there are a bunch of other incentives built into his contract. He has a lot of carrots to chase this year and if he keeps eating them, he should be able to stay in shape, make some money and lead the Packers at running back.

Ladarius Green, RB, Steelers.
The Steelers released Ladarius Green due to his concussion trouble. It's always sad to see someone with so much talent be unable to use it. Green may try to continue in the NFL, but he'll need to pass concussion protocol, and the chances of him staying healthy will remain very slim. The Steelers have Jesse James, Xavier Grimble and David Johnson at tight end with James as the likely starter. Green's absence will likely help Martavis Bryant the most, as Green was a good field stretcher.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB, Bucs.
The Buccaneers signed Ryan Fitzpatrick as their backup. He's awful.

May 10 Updates

Jamaal Charles, RB, Broncos.
Jamaal Charles is now a Bronco. Seeing him in a Denver uniform will be jarring to say the least, but it is done, and now we have to figure out if we should draft any of the Broncos' running backs in fantasy this season. Of course, the biggest factor for deciding that is squarely on Charles' knee and how it will respond to a 16-game season. I of course can't answer that, so, the end.

Oh wait, I need to get my crystal ball out. Let's see, well, this ball looks kind of like Charles' knee in his Instagram a few weeks back, but with a lot less bloated flesh. Of course, I'm no doctor, and maybe Charles has one knee larger than the other or he had one knee implant, who knows. Suffice it to say, Charles isn't far removed from swelling, and I doubt he's going to be the old J.C. Superstar at 30 with multiple knee surgeries under his, uh, knee.

That leaves me to continue considering C.J. Anderson as the starter, albeit with much less certainty than yesterday. If Charles ends up looking great in training camp, then we'll need to revisit this a few more times, but for now, I'll be dropping Anderson a bit in my rankings, but leaving him as the starter.

Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers.
Ladarius Green is participating in OTAs, but we're not sure if he's yet been cleared of his concussion(s). It's good news he is out there, but it's also tough to feel any kind of confidence in his ability to get on the field and stay on the field. The Steelers didn't draft a tight end, so they may feel better about his chances than I do, but they were willing to, and did, play with Jesse James for most of last season. Green has great upside in this offense, but I'm only taking a flier on him in deep leagues this season.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills.
The Bills did not pick up Sammy Watkins' fifth-year option, in case you were wondering which team is the dumbest today. Yes, Watkins continues to deal with injuries, but he's shown how great he can be and if you are so injury averse that you give up on possibly a Top-5 wide receiver talent who will be just 25 years old next season, well, you're dumb. The Bills, of course, can franchise tag him if they want to keep him after this season, but that will end up costing them a lot more.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, FA.
Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is over, we will likely start to see a few more veterans sign with teams, like Jamaal Charles just did. LeGarrette Blount is one of those veterans, and it appears he is being sought by the Lions and the Giants. Both teams make sense for him as an early down, goal-line back, as either team's "starting" running back isn't your prototypical early down back, but also neither team is the Patriots. Additionally, neither the Lions nor the Giants has a good run game for Blount to come into and dust-pan touchdowns up into his satchel. He would be a touchdown-dependent fantasy play each week with either team.

Doug Martin, RB, Bucs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' GM says that Doug Martin "has looked as good as I've seen him" during the offseason program. This is a good sign, as Martin will miss the first three games due to suspension and has been rumored to be a possible cut casualty. But it's starting to look like he'll survive this suspension and be set up to lead the way once he returns. Martin likely won't be an every-down back, but should take on a lead-back role, which will give him a higher floor than his compatriots.

Eagles RBs.
The Eagles didn't grab a starting running back in the 2017 NFL Draft, and we are still uncertain of Ryan Mathews' future due to his neck injury, so that puts Darren Sproles in as the "lead" back with Wendell Smallwood and others forming a committee of some ilk. The only positive I see from this situation is for Carson Wentz, who will need to throw the ball a whole hell of a lot.

Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints.
Beat writer Larry Holder believes rookie Alvin Kamara will be the new Darren Sproles for the Saints. That can be an extremely productive role in PPR leagues, so we'll need to keep an eye on how well Kamara integrates with the offense this fall. I don't like his ability as much as Sproles, but on a fast track in the dome, Kamara can pick up receptions and yardage in a hurry if he's getting work.

Paul Perkins, RB, Giants.
Giants head coach Bob McAdoo called Paul Perkins the starting running back. It seems a bit early for him to make that proclamation, but it is a good sign for the second-year player. The Giants' running game is a mess behind that line and play calling, but Perkins could put together a lot of touches this season for a decent draft value. Of course as I noted earlier, the Giants are currently rumored to be kicking LeGarrette Blount straight in the tire.

Samaje Perine, RB, Redskins.
ESPN's John Keim believes rookie running back Samaje Perine will be an "instant challenger" to Rob Kelley. This isn't big news, but confirmation of what most were thinking. Kelley has a year in Washington's offense under his belt, so he'll have the head start, but I believe Perine should be able to beat him out on an even playing field.

Mike Glennon, QB, Bears.
Mike Glennon was a little peeved that the Bears traded up to pick Mitchell Trubisky until he looked at his 18.5 million dollar windfall.

For earlier fantasy notes from this offseason, check out the Fantasy Notes archive.

Also, check out our Fantasy Football Rankings.


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