April 26, 2016

2016 NFL Power Rankings: Pre-Draft Power Rankings

Here are our initial 2016 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Arizona Cardinals (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Cardinals led the NFL in scoring offense and Carson Palmer had a career season — 4,671 passing yards, 35 touchdowns, 104.6 passer rating, etc. were all career highs — even though he comitted six turnovers in the NFC Championship Game. And going into the 2016 NFL season, you could argue that the Cardinals are the league's most balanced team.

2. New England Patriots (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Over the past six seasons, Tom Brady, Bill Belichick & Co. have posted a 75-21 regular-season record with a minimum of 12 wins every year. Only the Colts (7, 2003-2009) have a longer streak of seasons with 12-plus victories. Even with Brady's four-game suspension reinstated, Vegas still has the Pats as Super Bowl LI favorites (15/2).

3. Carolina Panthers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Coming off a career-best season, Cam Newton became the ninth Heisman Trophy winner to also win an NFL MVP award and the first to do since Barry Sanders (1997). On defense, the Panthers have one of the league's best front-sevens, but they rescinded their franchise tag on shutdown corner Josh Norman, who signed a free-agent deal with Washington.

4. Denver Broncos (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Although they field last year's top-ranked defense, the defending champs go into the draft without either first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning or presumed 2016 starter Brock Osweiler, who signed a free-agent deal with Houston. Perhaps they will be able to work out a deal for Colin Kaepernick; otherwise, Mark Sanchez currently tops their quarterback depth chart.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While it hurts that Martavis Bryant (suspension) will miss all of 2016, the Steelers were without Bryant, Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell for multiple games in 2015 yet finished third in total offense (395.4 YPG) and tied for fourth in scoring offense (26.4 PPG). Adding upgrades and reinforcements to a leaky pass defense will be key area of emphasis in the draft.

6. Seattle Seahawks (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While he and the team (4-5 in first nine games) started slowly, Russell Wilson compiled a 24-to-1 TD-to-INT ratio over the team's final seven regular-season games. Oddly enough, Wilson's passing-game success happened primarily with Jimmy Graham (knee) out of the lineup.

7. Green Bay Packers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The loss of Jordy Nelson (ACL) hurt the team's offense as Aaron Rodgers averaged just 238.8 YPG and 6.7 Y/A with a 60.7 completion percentage, all of which were career lows as a starter. With the return of Nelson and a fitter Eddie Lacy, the Packers offense, which ranked 23rd in 2015, should bounce back in 2016.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The good news is that the Bengals have made the postseason in five consecutive seasons. While Andy Dalton (thumb) missed the playoff game, the Bengals have now lost all seven of Marvin Lewis' playoff games.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While the Chiefs got off to a horrible start (1-5 and an ACL injury to Jamaal Charles), Andy Reid is now 3-for-3 in winning seasons in Kansas City as the Chiefs won their final 10 regular-season games.

10. Minnesota Vikings (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Minnesota's Adrian Peterson led the NFL in rushing with 1,485 yards and he rushed for 11 touchdowns. Excluding his one-game 2014 season, Peterson has rushed for double-digit touchdowns in all eight of his other nine seasons. Currently 10th all-time in rushing touchdowns (97), AP is currently 13 rushing scores behind Walter Payton (110, fourth all-time).

11. Dallas Cowboys (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)While the Cowboys have a top-four pick in this month's NFL Draft, they also have the best odds (among NFC East teams) to win Super Bowl LI at 20/1, per sportsbook.ag. Of course, the key to their success will be the health of quarterback Tony Romo, as he played in just four games (3-1) last season. They were 1-11 in their other 12 games.

12. Baltimore Ravens (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)For the first time in the eight seasons that John Harbaugh has been head coach, the Ravens finished with a losing record (5-11). The team suffered numerous season-ending injuries -- Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, etc. -- but you could argue this is the least talented roster that Harbaugh has had.

13. Indianapolis Colts (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In four seasons as quarterback, Andrew Luck has lost exactly five games every season. The bad news is that he played only seven games last year. Clearly the franchise needs to surround him with better talent, but Luck, who turned the ball over 15 times in seven games, needs to take better care of the football.

14. Oakland Raiders (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Few teams made as significant of an improvement to their roster in free agency as the Raiders. Not only did Oakland re-sign Donald Penn and Aldon Smith, but they signed Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson as well.

15. Houston Texans (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Texans gave Brock Osweiler a four-year, $72 million contract to replace Brian Hoyer as their starter and signed free-agent running back Lamar Miller to take over for Arian Foster. Underutilized in Miami, Miller has been highly productive on a per-touch basis (4.59 YPC and 7.58 Y/R). Since entering the league in 2012, Miller is one of just five backs to average 4.5 YPC (min: 500 carries) and 7.5 Y/R (min: 100 catches).

16. Washington Redskins (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In a division where they were expected, by most, to finish in last place, Washington won the NFC East with strong quarterback play from full-time starter Kirk Cousins. Designated with the franchise tag, Cousins is under contract for at least one more season provided a long-term deal isn't reached prior to the July 15th cutoff. Not only did Cousins lead the NFL in completion percentage (69.8), he posted a 23:3 TD-to-INT ratio over his final 10 games of the regular season.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since the 2000 NFL season, the Jaguars had made the playoffs twice (2005 and 2007). Since their last playoff berth, the Jags have gone eight seasons without a winning record and five consecutive seasons with five or fewer wins. Third-year quarterback Blake Bortles will need to limit the turnovers, but the team should be better on defense with free-agent additions Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson and last year's first-rounder Dante Fowler (ACL) set to make his NFL debut. They may be a year away from finishing above .500, but they are a team poised to take a step (or two) forward in 2016.

18. New York Giants (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)With Tom Coughlin no longer the coach, Eli Manning and the offense have continuity as Ben McAdoo takes over. The Giants made a number of signings on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, and that side of the ball should determine how much success they will have in 2016.

19. Buffalo Bills (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since Rex Ryan became Baltimore's defensive coordinator in 2005, he had never finished worse than 11th in total defense -- until last year, that is. In his first season in Buffalo, the Bills ranked 19th in total defense. The G-Men ranked 32nd in total defense and 30th in scoring defense in 2015.

20. Atlanta Falcons (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Julio Jones led the NFL with 1,871 receiving yards, which was the second-most all-time to Calvin Johnson's 1,964 in 2012. Over the past two seasons, Jones has 240 catches for 3,464 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Falcons signed, or overpaid, free-agent receiver Mohamed Sanu, but they could still use an upgrade as a No. 2 option to Jones.

21. New York Jets (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)In his lone season as Jets starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw 31 touchdowns, a single-season franchise record. Still a free agent, Fitzpatrick appears unlikely to agree to a new contract with the Jets prior to the draft although GM Dave Maccagnan has said re-signing Fitzpatrick is a priority.

22. New Orleans Saints (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)For the fourth time in five seasons, Drew Brees led the NFL in passing yards although his 4,870 yards was a five-year low. In addition, his 32 touchdowns were an eight-year low. Only 458 passing yards behind Dan Marino, Brees should move into third place all-time by Week 2.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Eagles re-signed Sam Bradford and signed free agent Chase Daniel, but their quarterback of the future won't be on their roster until Thursday evening. The Eagles gave up a lot to move from No. 8 to No. 2 in the 2016 NFL Draft, but they are expected to use the pick on North Dakota State quarterback prospect Carson Wentz.

24. Los Angeles Rams (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Rams are back in L.A., but they still lack the most important "star" power as Case Keenum currently tops the quarterback depth chart. But that will change in the coming days with the club trading up to the No. 1 pick for the right to select a franchise quarterback (expected to be Jared Goff).

25. Chicago Bears (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Since entering the league in 2008, no player has more yards from scrimmage than Matt Forte (12,718). With Forte signing a free-agent deal with the Jets, the Bears will rely on Jeremy Langford to lead the backfield barring a high pick on a running back in the 2016 NFL Draft. Langford averaged just 3.6 yards per carry as a rookie.

26. Miami Dolphins (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)High-priced free agents don't always pay off and it was a disappointing season for Ndamukong Suh and Byron Maxwell, who was acquired via trade with Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the Dolphins lost Olivier Vernon in free agency as the Giants gave him an $85 million contract.

27. Detroit Lions (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Closing the season with strong momentum, Detroit won six of their final eight regular-season games. The Lions signed Marvin Jones, the top available 2016 free-agent wide receiver, but they lost Megatron to early retirement. Or in other words, they lost much more than they received.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Tied for a league-high 4.8 yards per carry, the Buccaneers ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing offense (135.1 yards per game) and they re-signed Doug Martin in free agency. Meanwhile, Jameis Winston threw 16 touchdowns to only eight interceptions over his final 12 games as a rookie.

29. San Diego Chargers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)The Chargers agreed to a long-term contract with Philip Rivers, but their offensive line remains among the worst in the NFL. In fact, PFF graded San Diego's line the worst in the league. With quarterbacks the presumed first and second pick in the draft, the Chargers have an opportunity to draft one of the best left tackle prospects in years, which I project in 2016 NFL Mock Draft.

30. Tennessee Titans (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)By trading back in this year's draft, the Titans now have a total of 11 draft picks in the first three rounds of the 2016 and 2017 NFL Draft. Considering they drafted a franchise quarterback (Marcus Mariota), they are in position to turn their franchise around over the next couple of years.

31. San Francisco 49ers (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Only the Texans and Colts averaged fewer yards per play than the 49ers last season. Only the Rams and Vikings averaged fewer offensive plays per game than the 49ers in 2015. At a minimum, the Chip Kelly-led 49ers should rank near the top of the league in terms of plays per game, but the roster has been significantly stripped of talent compared to their recent NFC Championship Game appearances.

32. Cleveland Browns (Record: 0-0; Last: N/A)Quarterback. The most important position in football. Correction: The most important position in sports. With 24 quarterbacks to start since professional football returned to Cleveland, the Browns signed RG3 to a two-year deal and there's a decent chance that they will draft a quarterback at some point as well. By trading down from the second overall pick, the Browns now have six top-100 selections in this year's draft.

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April 23, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football QB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford): 18.21
2. Dallas Cowboys (Tony Romo): 17.99
3. New York Giants (Eli Manning): 17.86
4. Baltimore Ravens (Joe Flacco): 17.73
5. Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler): 17.66

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for QBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Atlanta Falcons (Matt Ryan): 16.40
29. New York Jets (Geno Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick?): 16.37
30. Miami Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill): 16.36
31. New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees): 15.99
32. New England Patriots (Tom Brady): 15.92

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football QB SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football RB Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Doug Martin, Charles Sims): 19.06
2. Detroit Lions (Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick): 18.82
3. New York Giants (Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen): 18.73
4. Chicago Bears (Jeremy Langford): 18.72
5. Tennessee Titans (DeMarco Murray): 18.64

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for RBs (Weeks 1-16):

28. New York Jets (Matt Forte, Bilal Powell): 17.59
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (T.J. Yeldon, Chris Ivory): 17.13
30. Indianapolis Colts (Frank Gore): 16.83
31. New England Patriots (Dion Lewis, LeGarrette Blount): 16.81
32. Miami Dolphins (Jay Ajayi): 16.59

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football RB SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football WR Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Baltimore Ravens (Steve Smith, Mike Wallace): 24.74
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton): 24.70
3. Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green): 24.59
4. Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant): 24.43
5. Cleveland Browns (Josh Gordon): 24.15

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for WRs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Kansas City Chiefs (Jeremy Maclin): 21.61
29. San Francisco 49ers (Torrey Smith): 21.59
30. Carolina Panthers (Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn): 21.22
31. New Orleans Saints (Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead): 21.03
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson): 20.43

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football WR SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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2016 Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule (SOS): Weeks 1 to 16

Now that the NFL has released the 2016 NFL Schedule, we have updated our 2016 Fantasy Football Strength of Schedule pages.

Our fantasy football strength of schedule (SOS) rankings for each position are based on last year's production. In other words, we average the fantasy points allowed per game (in 2015) for every team's set of 2016 opponents. The higher the number listed below, the more cumulative fantasy points their 2016 opponents allowed in 2015.

A player's fantasy strength of schedule is far from the most important aspect of his outlook. But if you're debating a pair of players to draft and they are otherwise comparable in your view, a more favorable fantasy schedule could potentially break the tie.

Five most favorable Fantasy SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

1. Kansas City Chiefs (Travis Kelce): 8.57
2. Carolina Panthers (Greg Olsen): 8.47
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Austin Seferian-Jenkins): 8.36
4. San Diego Chargers (Antonio Gates): 8.35
5. Detroit Lions (Eric Ebron): 8.21

Five least favorable Fantasy SOS for TEs (Weeks 1-16):

28. Miami Dolphins (Jordan Cameron): 7.26
29. Cleveland Browns (Gary Barnidge): 7.15
30. New England Patriots (Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett): 7.14
31. New York Jets (Jace Amaro): 7.10
32. Pittsburgh Steelers (Ladarius Green): 6.81

View Full 2016 Fantasy Football TE SOS

* Note: Totals above are the average fantasy football points allowed based on their remaining opponents.

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April 09, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft Update: Carson Wentz to Browns, Joey Bosa to Cowboys

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone three weeks beforehand.

Over the next three weeks, I will update my 2016 NFL Mock Draft on a weekly basis and additional rounds will be added as well.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

Perhaps a team trades up into this spot as the Titans have made it clear that they are willing to trade down. If they stay put, however, Tunsil appears to be the most likely selection.

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in last year's draft, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein recently wrote that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to write, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Despite signing RG3 to a two-year deal, it's certainly possible that the Browns still go with North Dakota State's Carson Wentz here and let him develop with Griffin potentially being the Week/Year 1 starter. Since professional football has returned to Cleveland, the Browns have had 24 different quarterbacks and it's nearly impossible to win with a question mark at the most important position in team sports.

The upside is that RG3 won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and led his team to the playoffs as a rookie in 2012. And a change of scenery in addition to working with Hue Jackson are both positives for rehabbing his career. Since his outstanding rookie campaign, however, he has played only 22 games, none last year, over the past three seasons due to injury and/or benching.

The biggest obstacle for Wentz will be his transition from the FCS level to the NFL, but he has experience playing in a pro-style system. With prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility, Wentz has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season. With Eric Weddle signing with the Ravens this offseason, Ramsey could either be an immediate starter at free safety or cornerback.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Draft their quarterback of the future? Or an immediate difference-maker?

Unlike the other four teams with top-five selections, the Cowboys enter 2016 with 20/1 Super Bowl LI odds (via Sportsbook.ag). The other four teams are at 60/1, or worse. In other words, if it weren't for a twice-broken collar bone for Tony Romo, the Cowboys wouldn't have a top-five pick.

At a minimum, the Cowboys should consider Jared Goff here, but I think they will lean towards a player that will make more of a 2016 impact, especially given the four-game suspension to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL last season.

The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not necessarily an explosive athlete, Bosa can become a double-digit sacks guy while also defending the run well.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

Including this pick, it is as though the Jags are adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency.

Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016. With continued development from third-year quarterback Blake Bortles, the 1-2 rushing attack of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon and a true difference-maker with Allen Robinson at wideout, the Jaguars should be picking much higher in the 2017 NFL Draft.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

Perhaps another team would trade with Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens to get in front of the 49ers for the potential to draft Jared Goff. If they don't trade down, however, I see the Ravens going with the best player still on the board. Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside with the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

At the moment, it's unclear whether Colin Kaepernick will eventually agree to a pay cut that would allow a deal with Denver to get done. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

After signing a big free-agent deal last offseason, Byron Maxwell was a bust and traded after just one season in Philly. While he may lack ideal size, Hargreaves, a three-time All-SEC selection, is extremely fluid with outstanding ball skills as his 10 interceptions over three seasons would indicate.

- Continue to picks 9-16 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

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April 03, 2016

Joe Flacco expects Mike Wallace to have a "huge impact"

Released by the Minnesota Vikings in early-March, Mike Wallace signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens in the middle of March.

Citing the "need" to play with a "good quarterback," Wallace is certainly a better fit in an offense with a strong-armed quarterback like Joe Flacco.

Flacco recently talked up Wallace at Torrey Smith's charity basketball game on Saturday.

I plan on him having a huge impact,” Flacco said (via the team's website). “I think he’s a talented guy. He can run, he can catch, he can do a lot of things. I’m planning on him coming in here and having a big impact on our football team and helping us win a lot of games.”

Wallace had two 1,000-yard seasons during his four seasons with Pittsburgh, but he has now finished with less than 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons. In addition, he set or tied career lows across the board in Minnesota last season with 39 receptions for 473 yards and two touchdowns.

Not only did Joe Flacco's season end prematurely due to a torn ACL, but first-round rookie Breshad Perriman missed the entire season, Steve Smith and Justin Forsett both missed more than half of the year.

The Ravens go into 2016 with the additions of Wallace and tight end Ben Watson, Smith postponed his retirement by a year and Perriman will be healthy as well. Perriman was one of the best deep threats in the 2015 wide receiver prospect class.

Wallace should certainly bounce back some from his career-worst 2015 season, but it's unlikely that he approaches the 1,000-plus yards he had playing with Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010 and 2011.

Continue reading "Joe Flacco expects Mike Wallace to have a "huge impact"" »

April 01, 2016

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Free-Agency Update

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone four weeks beforehand.

Over the next four weeks, I will update my 2016 NFL Mock Draft on a weekly basis while also adding additional rounds with the goal of all seven rounds being mocked.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second overall pick in last year's draft, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein recently wrote that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to write, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

Even though the Titans may prefer to trade down from this spot, it's unlikely that another team will fork over the "king's ransom" they seek for this pick.

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

Despite signing RG3 to a two-year deal, it's certainly possible that the Browns still go with North Dakota State's Carson Wentz here and let him develop with Griffin as the Week/Year 1 starter. Since professional football has returned to Cleveland, they have had 24 different quarterbacks and it's nearly impossible to win with a question mark at the most important position in team sports.

The upside is that RG3 won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award and led his team to the playoffs as a rookie in 2012. And a change of scenery in addition to working with Hue Jackson are both positives. Since his outstanding rookie campaign, however, he has played only 22 games, none last year, over the past three seasons due to injury and/or benching.

If the Browns don't go with Wentz, the pick likely comes down to either Ohio State's Joey Bosa or Florida State's Ramsey. There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season.

Not only did the Browns lose free safety Tashaun Gipson in free agency, but there are some concerns whether or not Joe Haden will be ready for Week 1. In addition, former first-rounder Justin Gilbert has not panned out either.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

In previous updates, I had the Chargers taking Ramsey and I think he'd be the pick if he's still on the board at No. 3. Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside with the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

Draft their quarterback of the future? Or an immediate difference-maker?

Unlike the other four teams with top-five selections, the Cowboys enter 2016 with 20/1 Super Bowl LI odds (via Sportsbook.ag). The other four teams are at 60/1, or worse. In other words, if it weren't for a twice-broken collar bone for Tony Romo, the Cowboys wouldn't have a top-five pick.

At a minimum, the Cowboys should strongly consider Carson Wentz here, but I think they will lean towards a player that will make more of a 2016 impact, especially given the four-game suspension to Randy Gregory. The Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL last season.

The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not necessarily an explosive athlete, Bosa can become a double-digit sacks guy while also defending the run well.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

Including this pick, it is as though the Jags are adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency.

Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016. With continued development from third-year quarterback Blake Bortles, the 1-2 rushing attack of Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon and a true difference-maker with Allen Robinson at wideout, the Jaguars should be picking much higher in the 2017 NFL Draft.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

Going into the 2016 NFL season with Eugene Monroe as their starting left tackle, in addition to the free-agent loss of Kelechi Osemele, leaves plenty of question marks about the left side of the team's offensive line. Over the past two seasons, Monroe has played a total of 17 games and missed at least five games per season.

Passing up a chance to be a potential top-five pick in 2015, Stanley could go as high as No. 3 this year to the Chargers. While he has experience at right tackle as well, Stanley has the length (35 5/8-inch arms) and feet to allow him to excel as Joe Flacco's long-term blind-side protector.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

At the moment, it appears as likely that Colin Kaepernick will be a 49er going into the draft as it appears that he won't be. Depending on his status days prior to the draft, I may slot someone other than Goff here when it's time for the final version of this mock. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

The Eagles have re-signed Sam Bradford to a two-year deal and signed free-agent Chase Daniel to a three-year deal to be his backup as well. Bradford has historically struggled with durability and Daniel has familiarity with Doug Pederson's offense so it wouldn't be a surprise if Daniel started a game or two (or more). With that said, the Eagles should at least consider Wentz if he's on the board here.

Obviously, the transition from the FCS level to the NFL is an enormous jump and that will be the biggest challenge for Wentz. That said, he has played in a pro-style system at North Dakota State and he has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Often compared to Jacksonville's Blake Bortles, the No. 3 pick two drafts ago, Wentz possesses prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility.

- Continue to picks 9-16 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

Continue reading "2016 NFL Mock Draft: Post-Free-Agency Update" »

March 25, 2016

Browns sign RG3 to 2-year deal

On Thursday, the Cleveland Browns signed quarterback Robert Griffin III to a two-year deal worth $15 million, of which $6.75 million is guaranteed, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft after Andrew Luck, RG3 won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and led Washington to the postseason as a rookie. In that 2012 rookie campaign, Griffin threw for 3,200 yards with a 20:5 TD-to-INT ratio and ran for 826 yards and seven touchdowns.

Since his outstanding rookie season, however, RG3 has played just 22 games over three seasons (and none last season) due to injury and/or benching. With Kirk Cousins starting all 16 games last season and getting the franchise tag last month (and potentially a long-term deal before the July 15th deadline), Washington released Griffin this offseason.

Meanwhile, RG3 joins Josh McCown, Austin Davis and Connor Shaw in Cleveland's quarterbacks group after the team released former first-rounder Johnny Manziel earlier this month.

Browns head coach Hue Jackson reportedly said that "it felt like the Earth moved beneath my feet" at one point during RG3's workout with the team, according to NFL Network's Jeff Darlington.

With the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, how will Griffin's arrival impact their draft?

As ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted (above), it's certainly possible that the Browns will still select a quarterback, such as North Dakota State's Carson Wentz, at No. 2. [Wentz has been my selection for the Browns in most updates of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft.] With RG3 signed for just two years, RG3 could start with Wentz adjusting to the transition from FCS to the NFL. That said, it's just as possible that the Browns draft a prospect like Jalen Ramsey or Joey Bosa at No. 2 overall and add another quarterback later in the draft.

Even though Griffin has said the right things about taking a rookie quarterback "under his wing," it will be interesting to see how things play out.

Based on his early-career success and opportunity to play for Jackson, RG3 will be a high-upside late-round QB2 flier in fantasy drafts this summer, especially if Josh Gordon is reinstated for the 2016 season.

Continue reading "Browns sign RG3 to 2-year deal" »

March 12, 2016

Report: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant facing year-long suspension

Suspended for the first four games of last season, it appears that Pittsburgh Steelers third-year wide receiver Martavis Bryant could miss all of the 2016 NFL season.

Per Dejan Kovacevic of DKPittsburghSports.com, Bryant is facing a season-long suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

While he and his agent have filed an appeal, it's likely that Bryant will miss the entire 2016 season.

In 21 games through two seasons, Bryant has racked up 76 catches for 1,314 yards (17.29 Y/A) and 14 touchdowns in addition to 49 rushing yards and another score.

With Bryant suspended, Antonio Brown may see even more targets, but the biggest beneficiaries will be Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates and Ladarius Green, who signed a four-year deal with the Steelers in free agency.

Continue reading "Report: Steelers WR Martavis Bryant facing year-long suspension" »

2016 NFL Mock Draft: Carson Wentz to Browns, Jared Goff to 49ers

It's nearly impossible to nail a mock draft minutes before it starts — let alone seven weeks beforehand.

With this update of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft, the NFL Scouting Combine is now behind us and the start of NFL Free Agency is upon us.

It's fair to say that this mock will change, perhaps quite a bit, leading up to my final version, but here is my updated 2016 NFL Mock Draft:

1. Tennessee Titans (team draft history): Laremy Tunsil, OT, Mississippi

No team allowed more sacks last season than the Titans (54). Given their investment in second-year franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Titans should make improving their leaky pass protection an offseason priority.

A three-year starter at left tackle, Tunsil has allowed only two sacks — and none last season — over his career at Ole Miss. With unique athletic traits for the position, the former five-star recruit has drawn comparisons to Cowboys All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith. NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, whose father is an offensive line coach with the Cardinals, recently said that "Tunsil to me is going to be the best left tackle in the league, or one of the top two, within three years."

Zierlein went on to say, "With Tunsil, he's got all that athleticism, but he's a three-year starter in a major conference who has played left tackle the entire time and has some of the cleanest technique you're going to find at the position. He's ahead of Tyron Smith in terms of his knowledge, technique and ability at the position right now, coming into the league. Laremy Tunsil comes in and has a shot at being a Pro Bowler as a rookie."

2. Cleveland Browns (team draft history): Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State

Since their return to the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had nothing but question marks at the most important position in sports. Unfortunately, the team has invested a number of first-round picks at the position, which have not panned out and the latest — Johnny Manziel — should be released any day now.

With prototypical size (6-5, 235), a strong arm and excellent mobility, Wentz has all of the physical traits to develop into a franchise quarterback in the NFL. And while he has experience playing in a pro-style system, the biggest obstacle for Wentz will be his transition from the FCS level to the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers (team draft history): Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

There is a lot to like about Ramsey -- elite size (6-1, 202), Olympic-caliber athleticism and positional versatility. A second-team All-American at safety in 2014, Ramsey was a first-team All-American at cornerback this past season. With Eric Weddle being a free agent, Ramsey could either be an immediate starter at free safety or cornerback.

4. Dallas Cowboys (team draft history): Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State

It was a highly disappointing season for the Cowboys after Tony Romo broke his clavicle (twice). Should the Cowboys brass use this opportunity to draft Romo's long-term replacement and upgrade the backup spot? Or should they look for a difference-making player that can help them make a run over the next year or two (provided Romo can stay healthy)? Granted, Jerry Jones has said they won't draft a quarterback, but pre-draft comments from a team's front office are meaningless anyways.

Last season, the Cowboys generated just 31 sacks, which ranked 25th in the NFL. The son of a former first-round pick for the Dolphins, Bosa had 51.0 tackles for loss and 26.0 sacks in his three seasons with the Buckeyes. Not an elite athlete, Bosa is also an outstanding run defender with the ability to consistently generate double-digit sacks as a pass-rusher.

5. Jacksonville Jaguars (team draft history): Myles Jack, LB, UCLA

A knee injury ended his season and collegiate career prematurely, but Jack is an ultra-athletic three-down linebacker that's custom-made for today's NFL. One of the most versatile players in this year's entire draft class, Jack was named the Pac-12's Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the year early in his UCLA career.

With this pick, the Jags will essentially be adding a pair of top-five defensive selections as last year's first-rounder, Dante Fowler at No. 3, missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL. In addition, the Jags added Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson to their defense in free agency. Only the Saints allowed more points last season, but the new-look Jags should be much improved on that side of the ball in 2016.

6. Baltimore Ravens (team draft history): Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame

The Ravens signed Eugene Monroe to a five-year deal only two offseasons ago, but he has missed five-plus games in each of his two seasons with the club. Cutting him would save the team $6.5 million against the cap. In addition, the Ravens lost Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders in free agency. Stanley does have experience at right tackle as well, but he has the length and mobility to allow him to excel as Joe Flacco's blind-side protector.

7. San Francsico 49ers (team draft history): Jared Goff, QB, California

By the time the NFL Draft rolls around at the end of April, it is unlikely that Colin Kaepernick will still be on San Francisco's roster. With the loss of Peyton Manning (retirement) and Brock Osweiler (free agency), it seems possible that Kaepernick ends up in Denver. While plenty of attention has been given to Goff's frame and hand size, his intelligence, accuracy and arm talent could make him Chip Kelly's long-term answer at the position.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (team draft history): DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon

The debate here came down to Buckner or Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and I went back and forth. Even though the Eagles re-signed Vinny Curry to a five-year deal in February, Cedric Thornton departed to Dallas via free agency and Fletcher Cox is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016 season.

Drawing comparisons to Calais Campbell, Buckner (6-7, 290) has plenty of upside, but he has the collegiate production to match. Named the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Buckner had 17.0 tackles for loss including 10.5 sacks and 83 tackles as a senior.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (team draft history): Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida

While he lacks ideal size, Hargreaves was a three-time All-SEC selection with good fluidity and ball skills as his 10 interceptions in his three seasons in Gainesville would indicate. Per PFF, all five of Tampa's qualified corners (out of 111 total) in 2015 graded 64th or worse. And two of them, Sterling Moore (64th) and Mike Jenkins (94th) are free agents.

10. New York Giants (team draft history): Ezekial Elliott, RB, Ohio State

Before this update, all previous versions of my 2016 NFL Mock Draft slotted a defensive player to the G-Men. In the early part of free agency, however, the Giants have been big spenders, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so this turns out to be the best-player available here. That said, Rashad Jennings turns 31 later this month.

The top-ranked running back prospect in this year's draft class, Elliott is a do-it-all, three-down back with no holes in his game. Outstanding in pass protection, the 225-pound back was highly productive with the ball in his hands as he rushed for 3,699 yards and 41 touchdowns and added 55 catches for 446 yards over the past two seasons.

11. Chicago Bears (team draft history): A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama

The Bears ranked 23rd in rushing defense (120.9 yards per game) and allowed 4.5 yards per carry (25th). Robinson has the physical tools that give him the potential to develop into a dominant lineman in Vic Fangio's defense.

12. New Orleans Saints (team draft history): Sheldon Rankins, DT, Louisville

Rankins has had an impressive offseason with a strong week of practice at the Senior Bowl and Combine workout. A scout told Yahoo's Charles Robinson that Rankins "could end up being the best defensive lineman taken in this draft, and could end up as a top-10 surprise on draft day," which says a lot considering how deep defensive line is this year.

13. Miami Dolphins (team draft history): Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

While the Dolphins lost Olivier Vernon in free agency, they added Mario Williams as the other starting defensive end opposite Cameron Wake. With both Wake (34) and Williams (31) on the wrong side of 30, Lawson would make sense here.

14. Oakland Raiders (team draft history): Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State

Not only did the Raiders add Kelechi Osemele to the offensive line, but they have signed edge rusher Bruce Irvin and cornerback Sean Smith to their defense in free agency. While he may be a little undersized (6-1, 232), Lee possesses blazing speed and his 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash was the fastest within his position group in nearly a decade.

15. St. Louis Rams (team draft history): Laquon Treadwell, WR, Mississippi

Perhaps the Rams go quarterback here with Paxton Lynch, as I had slotted in my previous update, but the Rams lack elite weapons in the passing game for whomever is under center as well. Treadwell isn't a burner, but he possesses excellent size, strength and hands to develop into a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the league.

16. Detroit Lions (team draft history): Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State

A former walk-on at Michigan State, Conklin has the size, strength and demeanor to be a great right tackle, but he tested well at the combine and has long arms (35 inches) as well. One NFC North scout told NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, "That is a dude, right there. He was busting up Ohio State in the fourth quarter of that game not because he was more talented than those guys but because he just wanted it more. He's tougher than old beef jerky. He fits in our division."

- Continue to picks 17-32 in our 2016 NFL Mock Draft

- For more mocks, check out our NFL Mock Draft Database.

- Also, check out a way-too-early 2016 Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

To keep track of our updates: (1) follow us on Twitter, (2) LIKE us on Facebook and/or (3) add us to your Google+ circle.

Continue reading "2016 NFL Mock Draft: Carson Wentz to Browns, Jared Goff to 49ers" »

March 10, 2016

Jets re-sign Bilal Powell

Earlier today, the New York Jets re-signed free-agent running back Bilal Powell, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

While Chris Ivory left in free agency for Jacksonville, the Jets signed Matt Forte to a three-year deal yesterday.

In 11 games last season, Powell carried the ball 70 times for 313 yards and added 47 catches for 388 yards and scored a total of three touchdowns.

Down the stretch, Powell had five-plus catches in five of his final six games. In fact, he finished as a top-25 PPR running back in each of those five game during that stretch, which also included three top-seven PPR weekly finishes.

A natural complement to Ivory due to his pass-catching prowess, it's less clear how the workload will be split with the addition of Forte, who set the running back single-season receptions record a couple of seasons ago.

Continue reading "Jets re-sign Bilal Powell" »

Matt Forte agrees to a deal with the Jets

Not only has Chris Ivory signed a multi-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Bilal Powell is also a free agent and expected to sign elsewhere.

With Ivory gone and Powell likely gone, the New York Jets have agreed to terms with free-agent running back Matt Forte, although the terms of the deal are not yet known.

A workhorse for most of his career, Forte averaged more than 20 touches per game (20.15/G) last season for the Bears. Forte missed three games last season, but the do-it-all back still averaged 99.0 yards from scrimmage per game.

Even though he missed three games, Forte still finished as a top-10 fantasy producer (RB9) among running backs last season.

At this point, it's unclear where free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will sign, but Forte should benefit from playing in Chan Gailey's spread offense with some talented receivers (Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker) on the outside.

Forte, who turns 31 in December, may not average 20-plus touches a game this season, or ever again, but this is a great landing spot for Forte's 2016 fantasy value. Depending on who the Jets add via the NFL Draft next month, it wouldn't surprise me if Forte finished as a top-12 fantasy running back in 2016.

Continue reading "Matt Forte agrees to a deal with the Jets" »

March 09, 2016

Chargers re-sign Antonio Gates to two-year deal

The San Diego Chargers have re-signed tight end Antonio Gates to a two-year contract, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

With Gates turning 36 years old in June, it means he will spend his entire career with the Chargers.

Missing five games, which included a four-game suspension to begin the year, Gates finished with 56 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns in 11 games. Despite missing five games, Gates still scored the 11th-most fantasy points among tight ends last season.

Not only did Gates finish with 50-plus yards in eight of his 11 games, but his per-game average of 57.3 yards was a four-year high.

While Keenan Allen will lead the team in targets and the Chargers signed Travis Benjamin to a four-year deal, Gates is the most trusted red-zone option for Philip Rivers and he had 12 touchdowns two seasons ago.

Continue reading "Chargers re-sign Antonio Gates to two-year deal" »

Chargers, Travis Benjamin agree to 4-year deal

The San Diego Chargers have agreed to a four-year deal with free-agent wide receiver Travis Benjamin today.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the deal is worth a total of $24 million, of which $13 million is guaranteed.

Benjamin had a breakout season for the Browns as he finished with 68 catches for 966 yards and five touchdowns last season. Benjamin scored the 28th-most fantasy points among wide receivers in 2015.

In his first three NFL seasons, Benjamin racked up a total of 41/717/5 over 38 games.

With Malcom Floyd retiring this offseason, Benjamin will provide Philip Rivers with a deep threat opposite star receiver Keenan Allen.

Considering Cleveland's issues at quarterback last season and the upgrade to Rivers going forward, it wouldn't surprise me if Benjamin approached his 2015 numbers even if he's second, or third, behind Allen (and Antonio Gates) in line for passing-game targets.

Continue reading "Chargers, Travis Benjamin agree to 4-year deal" »

Marvin Jones, Lions agree to 5-year deal

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Detroit Lions and free-agent wide receiver Marvin Jones have agreed to a five-year deal worth $40 million.

In a weak free-agent wide receiver class, Jones and Travis Benjamin were top-two free agents available at the position. In addition, it's a relatively weak wide receiver draft class as well.

Jones had 65 catches for 816 yards, both of which were career highs, and four touchdowns for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2015. Jones scored the 40th-most fantasy points in standard-scoring formats among wide receivers last season.

Before sitting out all of 2014, Jones had 51/712/10 stat line although his 10 touchdowns were boosted by a four-touchdown game.

With Calvin Johnson retiring this offseason, it will be Jones and Golden Tate that will dominate the wide receiver targets and Eric Ebron should continue to see his role expand going forward.

Continue reading "Marvin Jones, Lions agree to 5-year deal" »

Brock Osweiler, Texans agree to 4-year deal

Both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler started games for the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos, but neither will be on the roster this season.

Of course, Manning retired earlier this week, but Osweiler has signed a four-year deal to become quarterback for the Houston Texans, per NFL Network's Rand Getlin.

Osweiler completed 170-of 275 pass attempts (61.8 percent) for 1,967 yards (7.2 Y/A), 10 touchdowns and six interceptions last season.

Not only do the Texans have one of the league's best young receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, they signed Lamar Miller to a four-year deal today as well.

The Texans averaged 38.4 pass attempts per game, 10th-most in the NFL, last season and Osweiler will be little more than a low-end QB2 in fantasy football leagues in 2016. That said, Brian Hoyer finished as a top-15 fantasy quarterback in six of 11 games played last season.

Continue reading "Brock Osweiler, Texans agree to 4-year deal" »

Lamar Miller, Texans agree to 4-year deal

The Houston Texans and free-agent running back Lamar Miller have agreed to a four-year deal worth $26 million, of which $14 million is guaranteed, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Since Bill O'Brien took over as head coach in 2014, the Houston Texans (1,023) are one of two teams to exceed 1,000 rushing attempts. The Seattle Seahawks (1,025) are the other team.

Meanwhile, fantasy owners have been frustrated by the Miami Dolphins' reluctance to give him higher workloads warranted by Miller's per-touch efficiency.

For a second season in a row, Miller has finished as a top-10 fantasy running back.

Scoring the sixth-most fantasy points among running backs last season, Miller rushed for 872 yards and eight touchdowns on 194 carries (4.5 yards per carry) and added 47 catches for 397 yards and two more scores. In 2014, Miller rushed for 1,099 yards and averaged 5.1 YPC.

With Arian Foster released earlier this month, Miller assumes the lead-back role for the Texans and I wouldn't be surprised if he say a 50-touch jump in workload from the 241 he had last season.

Meanwhile, Miller's free-agent departure opens the door for Jay Ajayi to assume the lead-back role there. Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, the Dolphins view Ajayi as a "three-down back."

When I make a post-free agency update to my 2016 fantasy football running back rankings, I will move both Miller (currently 11th) and Ajayi (31st) up.

Continue reading "Lamar Miller, Texans agree to 4-year deal" »

Report: Bucs, Doug Martin "nearing a deal"

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and running back Doug Martin are nearing an agreement on a deal, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

After a pair of injury-plagued and disappointing seasons, Martin rushed for 1,402 yards on 288 carries -- 4.9 yards per carry -- and added 33 catches for 271 yards with a total of seven touchdowns in 2015.

Only Atlanta's Devonta Freeman and Minnesota's Adrian Peterson scored more fantasy points among running backs than Martin last season. In addition, Peterson (357) and Freeman (338) were the only backs with more touches than Martin (321) last season.

There seemed to be at least some risk that the Bucs wouldn't re-sign him and that he'd hit the free-agent market at 4 p.m. today. Returning to Tampa is a positive for his outlook and makes sense for both sides.

In my early (pre-free agency) 2016 fantasy football running back rankings, Martin was my eighth-ranked running back, but I'll move him up a spot or two in my next update.

Continue reading "Report: Bucs, Doug Martin "nearing a deal"" »

March 08, 2016

Report: Chris Ivory expected to sign with the Jaguars

Free-agent running back Chris Ivory is expected to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Furthermore, the deal is reportedly "well above $6M per year," per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career, Ivory scored the eighth-most fantasy points among running backs in 2015.

Carrying the ball 247 times for 1,070 yards, Ivory added 30 catches for 217 yards and a total of eight touchdowns, all of which were career highs.

Ivory, who turns 28 later this month, will join second-year back T.J. Yeldon to form a 1-2 rushing attack. Meanwhile, the team will release Toby Gerhart.

Both Ivory (18.47/G) and Yeldon (18.17/G) averaged more than 18 touches per game last season, but both should see a lighter per-game workload in 2016 as teammates. Even though the Jags used a top-40 draft pick on Yeldon last season, I'd expect this to be fairly close to an even timeshare given how much they will reportedly pay Ivory.

Before the start of free agency, Yeldon and Ivory were 12th and 24th, respectively, in my early 2016 fantasy football running back rankings, but I will move Yeldon down about 10 spots with my next update.

Continue reading "Report: Chris Ivory expected to sign with the Jaguars" »


Most-Accurate 2015 NFL Mock Draft
EDSFootball.com owner Kevin Hanson had the most accurate 2015 NFL Mock Draft among the 113 analysts/experts tracked by The Huddle Report.

> Hanson's early 2016 NFL Mock Draft






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