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.
June 17 Updates
Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
The Nyheim Hines hype continues to grow, as Indianapolis Star columnist Zak Keefer says that it is clear that the Colts have big designs for the rookie. So far, Hines has been lining up at multiple positions as a receiver and running back. He has big-play ability and great speed, so if he can get into double-digit touches, he should have fantasy value, especially with Andrew Luck at the helm.
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts
Speaking of Luck, Andrew has finally started throwing a football and appears poised to be ready to go for training camp. There are caveats to that, as he wasn't throwing a regulation NFL ball and wasn't throwing at a high velocity. The good news is that he's been throwing for a couple weeks now and his arm hasn't dislodged from his shoulder. He's still risky in fantasy until we see him going all out.
Elijah McGuire, RB, Jets
The Jets running back coach Stump Mitchell had high praise for second-year back Elijah McGuire, saying that he reminds him of LaDainian Tomlinson, and beat writer Manish Mehta has McGuire ahead of Bilal Powell as the third-down back at this point. McGuire does have ability and upside if he can harness that ability and also get opportunity. That opportunity would likely come if the Jets really do value him over Bilal Powell, who is a strong back in his own right, enough to let Powell go to save some money while keeping the cheaper McGuire. If that were to happen, it would make it much easier to invest in him as the receiving back alongside lead back Isaiah Crowell.
D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
D.J. Moore didn't disappoint during his mid-summer work and appears set to line up across from Devin Funchess as the No. 2 receiver. That doesn't give him a ton of targets on spec, as Greg Olsen will get his share as well, but if Moore can outplay Funchess, which isn't out of the realm of possibility, he could become Carolina's true No. 1 receiver in a hurry. Cam Newton's completion rate isn't going to magically change overnight, but Moore should be the best receiver he's had since Steve Smith left.
The Seahawks can't stop gushing over Chris Carson, which should give Rashaad Penny backers some pause, but Pete Carroll also was complimentary of Penny's pass protection, which was his weakest point during evaluation. Some concern about Penny's workload is worth having, but the Seahawks didn't draft him in the first round and talk him up as their every-down starter to then just scrap it all after Carson looked good without pads on. Training camp will give us a much better look into how this backfield will breakdown.
Martavis Bryant, WR, Raiders
The Las Vegas Review-Journal's Michael Gehlken reports that the Raiders believe newly acquired Martavis Bryant will be receiving league discipline pertaining to the NFL's substance-abuse policy. There's no more information than that at this time, but Bryant would get a harsh suspension if he failed a drug test after being suspended for a whole year already. He could have skipped a test or meeting or something of that nature as well, so who knows how this will play out for sure, but it's a bad look for the Oakland brass to be sure and an overall loss for the team's offense if he misses a big chunk of time.
Corey Coleman, WR, Browns
New Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley says that this is a make-or-break year for Corey Coleman. It's his third season, and injuries and bad quarterback play have hurt him so far, and now he has more competition for targets but a better duo of passers as well. Antonio Callaway is hurt, but he should be ready for training camp and if he can show up, Coleman could be out of the starting lineup altogether. A trade is still a possibility, especially if that scenario were to play out.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Chiefs
There has been plenty of praise for the connection between Pat Mahomes and Sammy Watkins so far this offseason. Both players have looked great in camp and have shown ability working together. The upside in with the Chiefs is as high as any offense in the league right now, and if their weak defense stays weak, they could be forced to push that offense to its limit.
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Browns
The Browns continue to be adamant that Tyrod Taylor is the starter, and their offensive coordinator called him the leader of the team. It does feel like Taylor has taken over that leadership role so far this offseason, and with good pieces all around him, there's a chance he gets wins and holds onto the job for a while.
June 12 Updates
Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers
The Packers wide receiver-turned-running back Ty Montgomery lost ground last season to Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones due to injuries, but Montgomery is healthy now and appears to be right up there in the pecking order with Jones and Williams, per to beat reporter Rob Demovsky, and according to coach Mike McCarthy, that's true. McCarthy loves Montgomery's versatility, which should keep him involved in the offense even if Green Bay doesn't want to give him the bulk of the between-the-tackles work after getting his ribs broken last season. This is good for Montgomery and should keep him fantasy relevant, but overall this backfield is almost impossible to pin down for fantasy. I'll only be looking to grab whoever falls the furthest in drafts until there is more clarity.
Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Julian Edelman has been suspended for four games after a substance that wasn't recognizable was detected in his sample. It appears scientists are still analyzing the substance, and who knows, but maybe he ends up not being suspended or we find out he is a mutant of some sort and will be banned from the NFL altogether. But if he serves his four games, it should help James White, Rex Burkhead and Chris Hogan to see upticks in work while he is gone, while Rob Gronkowski would continue to be the main target and will likely be even more consistent than usual during the absence.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said that Melvin Gordon could see an uptick in receiving work with Hunter Henry done for the season. This makes sense, but Gordon already had a pretty high volume of targets, so a big increase seems unlikely. But if there were any thoughts of him losing work in the receiving game, we can put those to rest and continue to draft Gordon as a high-volume top fantasy back this season.
Sam Darnold, QB, Jets
Jets No. 1 pick Sam Darnold could end up as the No. 3 quarterback to start the season if they want to keep Teddy Bridgewater after training camp. Darnold is young and raw for the NFL, so he could easily start the season as an inactive while he learns. Of course, anything can happen if and when the win/loss record goes south, but there is a strong chance that Darnold doesn't start the season behind center.
Browns beat reporter Tony Grossi expects Carlos Hyde to be the starter over Nick Chubb Week 1. After that, Hyde will need to perform to keep the lead job. This seems practical, and even though Grossi is an incompetent beat writer, I expect this to be the case unless injuries surface. The Browns also just extended Duke Johnson for three years, so they aren't going to now relegate him to a few third-down plays, which makes this backfield pretty spread out, especially when or if Hyde starts losing work to Nick Chubb. There is a lot of talent here, and all three players need to be on fantasy rosters, but their individual upsides are going to remain lower than their respective talents would allow.
Deshaun Watson, RB, Texans
The Texans say they don't plan on limiting Deshaun Watson's rushing attempts. As long as he is fully cleared, he is going to have the green light to take off, along with designed run plays in the mix. It will no doubt up his chances for contact but his injury last season was of the non-contact variety, and as long as he is smart, he can run and play it safe at the same time. We'll see of course but this is good news for his fantasy upside, which is sky high.
Will Fuller, WR, Texans
The Texans also want to give Will Fuller more work this season. Last year, even when he was scoring touchdowns with Watson for a brief period of time, he wasn't seeing enough targets to feel like he was a safe fantasy play. With no strong tight end and a rookie in the mix, I do expect Fuller to get his chance to step up this year. His trouble so far has been his inability to stay healthy. If Watson, DeAndre Hopkins and Fuller can stay healthy, they should all put up numbers.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Dolphins
The early reports out of Miami for rookie tight end Mike Gesicki have not been great, with the phrase, "looked lost at times," dominating those reports. It is still early on, and as long as he can become competent, he should be the best option Dolphins have at tight end.
Mike Wallace, WR, Eagles
Reports out of Philadelphia have been positive for newly acquired receiver Mike Wallace. At this point, he is a seasoned veteran and has the skills to show for that moniker. He was a steady player on a bad Baltimore passing offense and should bring that steadiness to Philadelphia. There are a plethora of hungry mouths to feed with the Eagles, but the offense spreads the ball around well and Wallace has the No. 3 job sewn up. Don't forget about him on draft day this year.
June 6 Updates
Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Kyle Rudolph had ankle surgery in February but was able to participate in team drills during OTAs. That's a great sign and should have him on track for another top-10 tight end season. He has upped his stats over the last two seasons, and with the Vikings looking to make a push to the Super Bowl in 2018, I expect another solid season. He's still not a player to reach for, however, due to his middling upside.
Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis, RBs, Titans
Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur called Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis his 1A and 1B backs. This is our first real news on how the coaching staff views these two, and it appears to be in the realm of what many figured would be the case. So, a fairly even split seems in order, but that scenario would likely be better for Dion Lewis, as he has a wider range of abilities and would likely be called on more often due to his ability in the receiving game. If we were playing fantasy in 1975, I'd say that Henry is the man, but we aren't; a player with diverse abilities should always win out in the long run.
Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
Dalvin Cook had been doing individual work in OTAs but was upgraded to team drills today. That's good news of course and puts him on track to be a full participant in training camp. Cook is in line to see heavy use with Jerick McKinnon's receiving prowess gone, so as long as he can hold up, Cook's upside is top-5 running back in fantasy this year.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Jets
Terrelle Pryor had a "cleanup procedure" on his foot, and it was not a pedicure. He was seen with a walking boot at OTAs but is still on track for training camp. The Jets have a bunch of good to decent receivers to sort through this summer, and Pryor will need to show his value early and often to be considered a strong target in fantasy. We know he has tremendous ability but his year in Washington was a disaster.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski showed up to minicamp. Woo-hoo.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said Christian McCaffrey is able to handle a bigger workload, including carries between the tackles. This is good news for McCaffrey backers, although it's hard to believe he's going to see a big increase in carries with C.J. Anderson there. Jonathan Stewart was on his decline last season but Anderson should still be in his prime, which might not be Barry Sanders' prime, but he can handle a good portion of the carries, keeping McCaffrey fresh as a receiver and runner. I'm not buying McCaffrey quite yet in standard leagues but am still high on him in PPR.
DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
The hype is growing for DeVante Parker, as beat writers are reporting that he's spending time after practice with Ryan Tannehill, is in the building more than other players and has focused on his health and film study. None of these things mean all that much but Parker hasn't been known as a dedicated football player, so it's better than nothing.
James Conner, RB, Steelers
Steelers backup running back James Conner says he is 100 percent and ready to take as many reps as possible while Le'Veon Bell holds out. This is good news for Conner, of course, but something to keep an eye on for fantasy, as Bell could be on another team sooner than we think.
Dez Bryant, WR, FA
Dez Bryant has received many phone calls according to Ian Rapoport but is waiting for a winner and a 1-year prove-it deal so he can cash in next year. Who knows how this will turn out for Bryant but it does look like he will be playing once Week 1 rolls around, so don't forget about him in your early and best-ball drafts.
Albert Wilson, WR, Dolphins
Albert Wilson has impressed this summer, showing Dolphins coaches his versatility as an outside and slot receiver. He didn't have a chance to see a lot of work in Kansas City, but if he wins the slot job in Miami he'll be replacing Jarvis Landry and will have a bunch of targets opened up for him. I like Danny Amendola but Wilson has more upside at this point. If he does win the job, I expect he'll be a worthwhile fantasy player this year.
June 1 Updates
Jordan Howard, RB, Bears
Bears new head coach Matt Nagy was asked if Jordan Howard would be the bell-cow back and he responded, "In this offense, it's more game specific, as to whether or not you need that." This will likely be the answer from most good teams, so maybe the Bears are on their way but it does make it tough to rely on Howard as a top fantasy player. He's still going to be their early-down and goal-line back like last season and should have more goal-line opportunities to help make up for game-script problems, so he should remain a decent standard league player but will again have trouble in PPR leagues.
Corey Davis, WR, Titans
We must take all OTA news with a grain of salt, but some beat writers have a bit more credibility than others, with Jim Wyatt being one of those guys. Wyatt is reporting that second-year wide receiver Corey Davis "continues to impress" during OTAs, which compared to last season is a refreshing change for the former No. 5-overall pick. Injuries kept Davis out of training camp and games last season, and he never was able to get anything going in 2017. He is a good player, and this Titans offense should be improved under offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who helped the Rams turn things around in a big way last season and was the Falcons quarterback coach when Matt Ryan won MVP.
Corey Grant, RB, Jaguars
Jacksonville offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett wants to get Corey Grant more work this year. Grant earned it with some great work on limited snaps last season and is the better receiver between himself and Leonard Fournette. That could mean fewer targets for Fournette, though it likely means that Grant will take T.J. Yeldon's work. Jacksonville has the best defense in the league and will be able to run the ball a lot, so I'm not worried about Fournette, but with his injury history, I think Grant becomes a nice late-round pick and handcuff for Fournette.
Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams, WRs, Chargers
Chargers beat writer Eric Williams believes the loss of Hunter Henry means we'll see a lot more three-receiver sets out of San Diego. Keenan Allen can't really get many more targets than he did last season, which leaves Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams as the two players who likely stand to benefit the most. Tyrell has a head start on Mike, and that's how I would draft them this season although Mike is worth a flier later.
Chad Hansen, WR, Jets
Second-year receiver Chad Hansen appears to be in line to make a move this offseason and could crack the starting lineup, as the Jets really like him according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. The Jets' receiving group has plenty of startable players, so he doesn't have a cake walk into becoming a starter, but there are plenty of questions surrounding all of their receivers as well. Hansen is worth holding onto in dynasty at the very least.
Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals
Arizona coach Steve Wilks has already said that rookie quarterback Josh Rosen can win the starting job over Sam Bradford, so the reports that Rosen is impressing his coaches and absorbing the playbook are good signs that he may be on track to start. If he can just be even with Bradford in the coaches' minds, they will lean toward their future.
Rico Gathers, TE, Cowboys
Dallas coach Jason Garrett didn't have much positive to say about third-year tight end Rico Gathers, saying that Gathers is still in his early stages of development and that he needs to play more football. Gathers had a good preseason last year but then had a concussion and was put on I.R. It doesn't look like he's close to becoming a factor even with Jason Witten gone. We will most likely see a committee approach and not many targets for Dallas tight ends this season.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
Bears receiver Allen Robinson participated in OTAs on Wednesday and appears on track to be a full-go for mini-camp and training camp. It is a good sign, as he will be learning a new offense - as will all of his teammates.
You know we are in OTAs when Doug Martin is being praised, but it is what it is, as beat writer Scott Bair says the coaches have been impressed with Martin. He does get an offensive line upgrade and Marshawn Lynch was lightly used much of last season to keep his old body fresh, so there is a decent chance this backfield turns into a committee, but I still like Lynch to lead the way.
May 23 Updates
OTAs or Organized Team Activities have started up, so we, the NFL consumers, will get spoon fed some news that probably doesn't matter all that much, but it sure is better than nothing if you are craving information like I am. OTAs are voluntary, so if your favorite player isn't there, who cares really, but for the players who are there, we get to see if they caught a pass or ran more than five feet!
Just as I started writing the News and Notes for today, Adam Schefter reported on Twitter that Hunter Henry has torn his ACL and is done for the year. This is awful for the Chargers, as Henry was on the precipice of being unleashed as the no-doubt starter on a team that is stacked on both sides of the ball. But this is football and also fantasy football, so we trudge on. Virgil Green is the backup tight end, but there's a decent chance Antonio Gates will return to play a role. If that's the case, there isn't much fantasy upside for tight end in San Angeles. If the Chargers stick with Green, or pick up Coby Fleener or Julius Thomas without adding Gates, maybe there could be some value for fantasy there, especially in two-tight end leagues, but most of these avenues lead to dead ends. There will be added targets for Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams, if he shows up this year.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, 49ers
Newly acquired running back Jerrick McKinnon was very active as a pass catcher for the 49ers on the first day of OTAs. This was to be expected, but it does reinforce the fact that McKinnon is going to have a ton of work as a receiver in Kyle Shanahan's offense and be a hot commodity in PPR leagues this year. You won't be getting him at a discount.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Texans
Deshaun Watson participated in 7-on-7 drills and individual work on the first day of OTAs, and appears to be ahead of schedule. It looks like there is nothing to worry about if you're in on Watson picking up where he left off last season. I don't want to pay full price for his amazing start, but I don't see a lot of reasons to feel like he is going to regress a bunch this year.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, Jets
Terrelle Pryor suffered an ankle injury this offseason and did not participate in OTAs. We know his upside and also his downside, and right now, it is hard to believe he has a good chance to reach his potential with the Jets this season. There is still a lot of time left for him to prove himself again, but there's no reason to draft him yet.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Jets
Teddy Bridgewater is a participant at OTAs, which is great compared to where he seemed to be. He took reps ahead of Sam Darnold, but we know Darnold is the future of this franchise, so Bridgewater could be auditioning for another team right now.
Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams
Rams sophomore receiver Josh Reynolds had surgery for a torn labrum he suffered in last season's wild-card game and will likely have trouble being healthy for training camp. He has a lot of potential, but the signing of Brandin Cooks pushed Reynolds back to the No. 4 receiver. Reynolds will need an injury to move up this season.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill is participating at OTAs without a brace, which he used all last offseason, and his knee should be better off to start this year than it was last year due to his surgery. Tannehill isn't a bad quarterback, but he also hasn't been able to put together any kind of consistency. He will be better than Jay Cutler though, which means there is some hope for Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker.
Donte Moncrief, WR, Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars' website has Donte Moncrief as a starter and his $9.6 million salary for 2018 would back that up. This receiving group is full, so Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole and second-round pick D.J. Chark are going to need to fight for playing time after Marquise Lee and Moncrief.