July 30, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 30th): 10 teams, 2-QB League, PPR, No. 4 pick

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 10-team, 2-QB league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 4 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.04 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2.07 - Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
3.04 - Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
4.07 - Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
5.04 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
6.07 - Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
7.04 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
8.07 - Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
9.04 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
10.07 - Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
11.04 - Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
12.07 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
13.04 - Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
14.07 - Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans
15.04 - Denver Broncos D/ST
16.07 - Matt Bryant, K, Atlanta Falcons

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: Even though it seemed a bit unlikely, my hope was to land Colin Kaepernick at 4.07 when I took Newton at 3.04. In fact, I have Kaepernick ranked one spot higher than Cam and figured there would be no chance to get both if I took Kaepernick first. A virtual sniping took place with Kaep going at 4.06 ... ugh! Even so, I'm happy with Newton/Cutler as my starters considering how loaded I am at other positions. Newton has yet to finish outside the top-five QBs in his young career and the Cutler/McCown duo finished with what would have been a top-three finish if you combine their 2013 fantasy points. Locker provides some depth and although he has struggled with accuracy, he has some upside as a QB3.

  • RBs: With Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning off the board before my first pick, it pushed my No. 1 overall player down to me at No. 4, which feels a little like hitting the jackpot. Charles is unlikely to score 19 touchdowns again this season, but he set career highs in receptions (70) and YFS (1,980) as well and he could come close to those numbers again as the centerpiece of KC's offense. Going from a little-used backup in Minnesota, Gerhart will be a workhorse in Jacksonville and I would have been comfortable taking him several rounds earlier. Thomas led all RBs with 77 receptions last season and I have him projected to once again lead the position group in receptions (fantasy RB projections). Once his two-game suspension concludes, Rice has the potential for a bounce-back season on the field as he has shed some weight and he looks more elusive on the practice field according to reports.

  • WRs: Thomas has been remarkably consistent in his two seasons with Peyton —94/1434/10 in 2012 and 92/1430/14 in 2013. White was as good as nearly any WR last December (43/502/2 in five games) as only Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery had more yards during that month. I expect him to bounce back in 2014. The quartet of Wallace, Colston, Tate and Bowe all provide me some WR3/flex with WR2 upside. (In fact, Wallace is ranked inside my top-20 fantasy WRs.)

  • TEs: Durability — 14 missed games and more than a handful of surgeries over past two years — is the obvious concern with Gronk, but he has been dominant in the red zone (43 TDs in 50 career games) and he even posted career highs in yards per game (84.6) and yards per reception (15.2) last year when he was on the field. One of the benefits of two-QB leagues is that talented players (non-QBs) like Gronk sometimes slip too far.

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Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 16-team standard scoring and the No. 13 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



July 29, 2014

Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 29th): 12 teams, No. 1 pick

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 12-team league using standard scoring and I have the No. 1 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.01 - Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2.12 - Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
3.01 - Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
4.12 - Joique Bell, RB, Detroit Lions
5.01 - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
6.12 - Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
7.01 - Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
8.12 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
9.01 - Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns
10.12 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
11.01 - Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
12.12 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
13.01 - Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
14.12 - Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints
15.01 - Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
16.12 - Robbie Gould, K, Chicago Bears

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: Brady may have had a disappointing season in 2013, but I expect him to be much better this season. Much more productive with Gronkowski (than without him, of course), the good news is that Gronk should be ready to go Week 1. In addition, the wide receiver corps should be better overall with most of the group having (at least) a year under their belts in this offense. Either way, Brady is a huge bargain at 11.01 as he's typically going several rounds earlier in most drafts.

  • RBs: Charles will likely score much fewer TDs than he had last season, but he's still the No. 1 fantasy RB for me in 2014. As such an integral part of the offense, Charles set a career high in YFS with 1,980 last season as well. Expected to get an even larger workload this year, Bell was a top-20 fantasy running back last season and is a solid RB2. Frustrating RBs to own in 2013, T-Rich and Ridley have upside as the 72nd/73rd players selected, respectively. Fortunately, the Charles/Bell duo means less reliance on production from them for this team. I'd take West as my RB5 any day of the week; it wouldn't be a surprise if he ends up being more productive than Ben Tate this season.

  • WRs: Nelson, who recently signed a four-year extension, is one of three wide receivers with at least 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns over the past three years. Assuming good health for Aaron Rodgers, Nelson is a solid WR1. Entering his second season, Patterson is a high-upside guy in Norv Turner's offense. Nicks could be a bounce-back candidate with a change of scenery as it's another walk year for him, but the presence of T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne suppresses that bounce-back appeal some. I'd prefer for Nicks to be bench depth as opposed to my WR3. That said, the trio of Cooks, Hunter and Stills all have plenty of upside and could find their way into my starting lineup as my WR3 at some point.

  • TEs: Durability is the obvious concern with Gronk, but he has been dominant in the red zone (43 TDs in 50 games) and he even posted career highs in yards per game (84.6) and yards per reception (15.2) last year. Not placed on the PUP list, he should be ready to go for the start of the season, but it makes sense to add a backup considering he has missed 14 games and has had more surgeries than I can count on one hand over the past two years. Walker had a career-best season (60/571/6) in 2013 and the team's new offense could allow him to have an even better season in 2014.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 10-team, 2-QB league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring with and the No. 4 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



Pats WR Aaron Dobson had permanent screw inserted in March foot surgery

When Patriots second-year wide receiver Aaron Dobson had foot surgery in March, the timetable for his return was two to three months.

Four and a half months later, Dobson has yet to be cleared for training camp, but the surgery was more significant than initially thought as Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald notes:

For Dobson, sources revealed a new detail about the March 10 surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot. The surgery actually required the insertion of a permanent screw to aid the healing process, which speaks to the magnitude of the procedure.

The initial timetable was estimated at 2-3 months, but that is now an overly optimistic projection. Dobson didn’t even begin running until July, and that progression ultimately leads to aggressive planting and cutting. The second-year wideout and potential starter has been conditioning off to the side of the first four training camp practices, but his change-of-direction work hasn’t been showcased much out in the open.

Because stress fractures come with a high re-injury risk before a completed healing process — the injury popped twice on him last season — the Patriots medical staff is making sure Dobson is able to handle the rigors of the job before allowing him on the field.

Dobson is currently going in the 12th round (via FFC), on average, in fantasy drafts behind fellow Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman (sixth round) and Danny Amendola (10th round).



July 28, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 10

We are in the final stretches of our new PPR fantasy football mock draft with only four rounds to go.

Here are Round 10 results:

10.01 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): Danny Amendola, WR, New England Patriots

The Patriots signed Amendola to replace Wes Welker a.k.a. The Slot Machine (one of my favorite athlete nicknames), but things did not turn out as well as anyone could have hoped. While Amendola had a few big games including the season opener (10/104 vs. BUF), injuries slowed him from the start and he never really got back on track. Instead, it was Julian Edelman that posted a career season. Durability will always be a concern with Amendola, but things should go much better in 2014 if, a big if, he can stay healthy.

10.02 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Terrance West, RB, Cleveland Browns

Granted, there is an enormous jump in level of competition between Towson to the NFL, but the big back (5-foot-9, 225 pounds) was über productive at the FCS level and running back is the easiest fantasy positions for a rookie to make an impact. Last season, West ran for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns!

The expectations are that it will be a fairly close position battle between West and Ben Tate, who has played only 40 games in his four NFL seasons. With Tate's ability to stay healthy being his biggest obstacle to the lead role, West could find himself with a prominent opportunity in this offense. Either way, the Browns will be a run-heavy team that should allow more than one running back to have fantasy relevance.

10.03 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans

With explosive athletic ability, the six-foot-four Hunter has added 15 pounds of muscle to his (previously) thin frame this offseason. As a rookie, Hunter had a few big games near the end of the season and averaged nearly 20 yards per catch (19.7 Y/R). With a late-round ADP, Hunter has plenty of breakout appeal going into his sophomore campaign. I was hoping he'd last another round (or two) ...

10.04 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Anquan Boldin, WR, San Francisco 49ers

With better health from Michael Crabtree, who missed most of last season with a torn Achilles, and the addition of Stevie Johnson from a trade with the Bills, Boldin is unlikely to duplicate last year's numbers (85/1179/7). That said, he was productive once Crabtree returned and he had 38 receptions for 549 yards and four touchdowns in the team's final six regular-season games.

10.05 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

It was a disappointing season for Austin and his fantasy owners. Austin finished with 40/418/4 (receiving) and 9/151/1 (rushing) while adding a return touchdown in 13 games. Coach Jeff Fisher says that the Rams will "do a better job of using him now that we know what he’s capable of doing. Kind of looking forward to see him improve from year one to year two."

10.06 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers

At one point, running back actually seemed like a very deep position for the team, but has solidified his role as the team's No. 2 back behind 31-year-old running back Frank Gore as the injuries mount in the team's backfield. Hyde, the team's second-round pick, was my top-ranked running back out of college. Considering Gore's age and cumulative workload, Hyde is a high-upside backup running back.

10.07 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

In his second season in the league, Jones took a big step forward with 51 receptions for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns. Going into 2014, Jones will have an excellent opportunity to improve on the receptions and yards totals as he is clearly the team's No. 2 receiver behind A.J. Green, but he won't repeat the double-digit touchdowns.

10.08 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins

If you told someone a year ago that Moreno would finish the 2013 season as a top-five fantasy running back, that person would have scoffed at such a suggestion. But that's exactly what happened. Even after last season's top-five finish, others would probably laugh even harder if you made such a suggestion for 2014.

Transitioning from Denver to Miami, it's unlikely that Moreno produces anywhere close to the numbers he had last year. Initially, it seemed likely that he would at least lead the team in snaps, touches and production, but his start with the club has gotten off to a rocky start — poor conditioning, knee surgery, etc.

10.09 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings

While Cordarrelle Patterson should easily lead the team's receivers in fantasy points, Jennings has solid, if boring, value as a later-round receiver due to the Vikings' changes in quarterback and offensive coordinator. Jennings had 68 catches for 804 yards last season.

10.10 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints

A relative disappointment as a former first-round pick, Ingram has missed 11 games in his first three seasons combined and has averaged just 535 yards from scrimmage per season. After averaging only 3.9 yards per carry in each of his first two seasons, however, Ingram gained 4.9 YPC on 78 attempts last season.

While he was his most productive on a per-touch basis last season, it's certainly possible that he finishes third among the team's running backs in touches this year.

10.11 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

The Panthers-at-Ravens matchup on Sept. 28th will be one of the most intriguing matchups of the season. Smiff's warning: "put your goggles on cause there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere."

From a fantasy perspective, things are much less exciting and interesting when it comes to Smith's outlook as he's nothing more than low-ceiling, late-round fantasy option at this point.

10.12 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Despite playing in Seattle's run-first offense, Wilson still finished as the No. 9 scorer among QBs through Week 16 last year. While he won't throw many more than 400 pass attempts (has 800 through two seasons), Wilson has finished in the top 10 in passing TDs in both of his seasons with 26 per year. In addition, he has rushed for 1,028 yards and five touchdowns in his two seasons.

> Continue to Round 11
> Go back to Round 9

2014 Fantasy Football rankings:

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Fantasy Football ADP (July 28th Update): Biggest Weekly Risers/Fallers

Every Monday, we post an update in players that have had the biggest moves — both up and down — in fantasy football average draft position (ADP) from the previous week.

With this information, we can get a better sense of the collective perceptions of fantasy football owners (mock drafters). If a player is moving up the ADP chart, it may lead us to using a higher pick than his current ADP to make sure we secure a targeted player.

Of course, a player's ADP (and movement) is just one (small) piece in determining who to draft and our strategy used to assemble a fantasy roster.

For purposes of our study, we will use 14-team ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. While most may play in 12-team leagues, using ADP data from 14-team leagues provides data on more players.

Below are the three biggest risers over the past week (ADPs on 7/21 to 7/28 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: -26.5 (185.2 on 7/21 to 158.7)
  2. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans: -10.0 (190.4 to 180.4)
  3. Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns: -4.4 (193.6 to 189.2)

Running Backs

  1. David Wilson, New York Giants: -7.5 (130.0 to 122.5)
  2. Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings: -6.7 (187.0 to 180.3)
  3. Stepfan Taylor, Arizona Cardinals: -6.5 (189.0 to 182.5)

Wide Receivers

  1. Rod Streater, Oakland Raiders: -6.6 (186.7 to 180.1)
  2. Justin Hunter, Tennessee Titans: -6.2 (149.2 to 143.0)
  3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans: -5.8 (118.1 to 112.3)

Tight Ends

  1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: -7.4 (184.9 to 177.5)
  2. Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams: -7.2 (199.3 to 192.1)
  3. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts: -5.2 (183.4 to 178.2)

Note: Minus signs mean the ADP is become better (i.e., earlier) in drafts.

* Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Below are the three biggest fallers over the past week (ADPs on 7/21 to 7/28 in parenthesis) by position:

Quarterbacks

  1. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings: +5.2 (181.5 on 7/21 to 186.7 on 7/28)
  2. Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +3.8 (143.6 to 147.4)
  3. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: +3.7 (180.3 to 184.0)

Running Backs

  1. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders: +8.6 (180.8 to 189.4)
  2. LeGarrette Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers: +3.8 (119.6 to 123.4)
  3. (Tie) Shonn Greene, Tennessee Titans: +3.1 (180.7 to 183.8); Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills: +3.1 (95.4 to 98.5); Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals: +3.1 (97.0 to 100.1)

Wide Receivers

  1. Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns: +18.7 (148.3 to 167.0)
  2. (Tie) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +3.5 (104.4 to 107.9); Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers: +3.5 (117.1 to 120.6)

Tight Ends

  1. Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens: +3.0 (182.9 to 185.9)
  2. Richard Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: +2.7 (196.9 to 199.6)
  3. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles: +2.6 (185.5 to 188.1)

Note: Plus signs mean the ADP is become worse (i.e., later) in drafts.

- More: Fantasy Football Average Draft Position (ADP) Data for all drafted players

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Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 28th): 16 teams, No. 3 pick, PPR

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 16-team league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring and I have the No. 3 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.03 - Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
2.14 - Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
3.03 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
4.14 - Mike Wallace, WR, Miami Dolphins
5.03 - Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
6.14 - Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
7.03 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
8.14 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
9.03 - Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins
10.14 - Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11.03 - Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee Titans
12.14 - Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
13.03 - Kansas City Chiefs D/ST
14.14 - Rod Streater, WR, Oakland Raiders
15.03 - Nick Novak, K, San Diego Chargers

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: I am higher on Kaepernick than many and have him ranked as my QB6. But as I have noted in previous posts, the difference for me between QB4 (Matthew Stafford) and QB10 (Tom Brady) is less than one fantasy point per week, which is one of the reasons why I'm more than willing to wait on quarterback. It's not just that the position is deep; it's that I don't project much of a difference between those QBs that fall into that second tier after the top tier of Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Much of Kaepernick's production last year was due to his rushing ability, but he has a much-improved group of pass-catchers this year with a healthy Michael Crabtree and the addition of others via trade/draft.

  • RBs: As an ideal fit within Trestman's offense, it's no surprise that Forte flourished last year as he set career highs across the board: 70 receptions, 1,933 YFS and 12 TDs. There's no reason he can't produce similar numbers this year and he's actually my RB2 in PPR formats. No longer as cheap as he once was, Gerhart has tons of upside as a three-down back in an offense that will try to be run-heavy. (FYI: Here's my 2014 fantasy football profile for Gerhart that I posted yesterday.) While I agree with the majority that thinks Rice deserved a much longer suspension, the relatively minor two-game suspension is a positive for his fantasy value. In addition, he's reportedly lighter and more elusive heading into this season. Helu had 49 receptions as a rookie and even set the franchise record with 14 receptions in a game against the 49ers that year. As a change-of-pace back to Alfred Morris in Gruden's offense, it wouldn't be an upset if Helu finished with 50 catches in 2014.

  • WRs: In hindsight, I wish I had added an RB5 and/or a QB2 as well, but wide receiver is so deep that there tends to be several wide receivers I like late. Johnson is an absolute stud when healthy — four consecutive seasons of 100+ catches and 1,400+ yards in years he's played all 16 games. Despite missing the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons, Wallace is a bounce-back candidate in Bill Lazor's up-tempo offense. Nicks has struggled over the past two seasons, but he should be highly motivated as he once again enters a contract year. Rookie wideouts tend to struggle, but Evans has the size to be a post-up threat/red-zone weapon from the start. Hunter is a freak athlete that has added 15 pounds of muscle and generated positive buzz this offseason. Although the Seahawks employ a run-first offense, Baldwin should see improved numbers as the team's No. 2 wideout.

  • TEs: Many expected a breakout campaign for Pitta last year, but those hopes were dashed prior to the start of the season due to a hip injury that nearly cost him the entire season. Fast forward one year, I expect Pitta to have the breakout season many had expected for him last year.

Mock Draft Simulator: Complete your own mock drafts on our site for free.

Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 12-team league using standard scoring with and the No. 1 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



July 27, 2014

Kyle Rudolph, Vikings agree to 5-year extension

The Minnesota Vikings and tight end Kyle Rudolph have agreed to a five-year extension worth $36.5 million, per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.

Missing the second half of last season with a foot injury, Rudolph finished with 30 catches for 313 yards and three touchdowns in eight games last season. In 2012, Rudolph scored nine touchdowns, which tied Jimmy Graham for second among tight ends behind Rob Gronkowski (11).

Although he has had some red-zone success, the 24-year-old Rudolph should be primed for a career-best season in Norv Turner's TE-friendly offense.

Rudolph is currently my 10th-ranked fantasy tight end, but he has plenty of upside for those that wait on tight ends in their fantasy drafts.



2014 Fantasy Football Profile: Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart

When Gus Bradley left Seattle to become the Jaguars head coach, he could not have envisioned the Jaguars ranking in the bottom five in rush attempts as they did last year. That ranking was a by-product of two primary factors: (1) the team trailed — and lost — often and (2) their rushing attack was inefficient.

Beginning the year with an eight-game losing streak by a combined margin of 86-264, the Jaguars made strides in the second half by closing the year out with a 4-4 record. As you would imagine, they ran the ball much more often in games they won (28.75 attempts per game) than in games they lost (21.92 per game), but the score and game situations often dictated pass (over run) attempts. Meanwhile, only the Ravens averaged fewer yards per carry (3.1) than the Jaguars (3.3) in 2013.

Fielding a more competitive team overall in 2014, it's highly unlikely that the Jaguars will rank in the bottom five in carries once again.

The guy that will lead their rushing attack is Toby Gerhart, a former second-round pick by the Vikings that signed a three-year free-agent deal with the Jaguars this offseason.

Turning 27 years old in March, Gerhart has been used infrequently as the primary backup to stud running back Adrian Peterson. When given the opportunity, however, Gerhart has been productive.

Gerhart was a workhorse in college and led the nation in rushing with 343 carries for 1,871 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior in 2009. That season, he finished second in the Heisman voting to Alabama's Mark Ingram.

Over his four seasons in Minnesota backing up Peterson, Gerhart carried the ball a total of 276 times for 1,305 yards (4.73 YPC) and five touchdowns while adding 77 receptions for 600 yards and three more scores. As he assumes the role of a workhorse back, it's beneficial that he has relatively low mileage on the tires.

According to PFF grades, no running back averaged more yards after contact (3.8) than Gerhart among those that played at least 100 snaps in 2013. In addition, he led all running backs with at least 32 touches last season in elusive rating (123.4).

One of the reasons the Jags rush offense was so inefficient last year was their struggles with run blocking. Based on grades from PFF, no team had a worse run-blocking grade than Jacksonville (-80.8). To illustrate how poor of a grade that was, the Jets were second-worst at -45.7.

Their blocking should be better (I know, it can't be worse) in 2014 as Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, is healthy and the team signed Zane Beadles in free agency to play left guard. They also drafted guard Brandon Linder in the third round this year.

All signs point to Gerhart being a workhorse in 2014. Other running backs on the roster, Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and rookie Storm Johnson appear to be fighting for a secondary role.

"Toby has the ability to do it all," [offensive coordinator Jedd] Fisch said. "He can catch it well. He can pass protect well, and he’s going to be in the game a lot — third down, base downs, short-yardage, passing downs."

"He's been the workhorse before, just not at this level," [general manager David] Caldwell said. "He's built for it. He's 235-plus (pounds), has a great frame, great muscle, great condition. The best thing about Toby is he's got excellent hands, too, catching the ball out of the backfield, and his pass protection.

"I don't think there's much room for concern with him being the workhorse because he's got the stature and he's built for it."

It's quite possible that Gerhart leads the NFL in touches this season, but a while back Bradley said that he expected up to 15-20 touches per game for Gerhart.

Looking over Gerhart's game log, he has had 15-plus touches in seven games in his NFL career. In those seven games, Gerhart has averaged 12.6 fantasy points per game (FPPG) with double-digit fantasy points in five of those outings.

As a comparison, only 10 running backs averaged at least 12.6 FPPG last season.

All offseason, I've targeted Gerhart in mock drafts, but his cost continues to rise steadily:

Over the past two months, Gerhart's average draft position (ADP) has really ascended from 5.07 (on May 26th) to 3.11 (on July 26th) at FFC. That said, he's still a decent value there as 18th running back off the board compared to my RB13 ranking.

2014 Fantasy Strength of Schedule

Based on cumulative fantasy points allowed last year of their opponents this year, Gerhart and the Jaguars running backs have the sixth-most favorable fantasy schedule.

- Resources: Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule | 2014 Jaguars Team Schedule

2014 Stat Projection: 253 Att., 1,126 Yards, 6 TDs; 42 Rec., 323 Yards, 1 TD

- More: 2014 Fantasy Football Profiles | 2014 Fantasy Football Projections



July 26, 2014

Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) will miss a couple of weeks

Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts III left practice on Friday with a hamstring injury and coach Gus Bradley said today that Shorts will miss a couple of weeks, per Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times Union.

With training camp just underway, it makes sense to be cautious with a hamstring injury as those tend to linger. In fact, Shorts missed the team's minicamp last month with a hamstring injury although he participated in Larry Fitzgerald's offseason camp.

Not only is the team expected to be without Justin Blackmon all season, but Ace Sanders is suspended for the first four games as well.

The team drafted a couple of wide receivers — Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson — in the second round, but they will rely on Shorts to lead the receiver corps.

Battling a variety of injuries, Shorts has missed multiple games in each of the past two seasons and durability concerns could limit his upside in 2014. In my fantasy football wide receiver rankings, Shorts is my top-ranked Jaguars wide receiver (WR38 overall).



Fantasy Football Mock Draft Per Day (July 26th): 10 teams, No. 10 pick, 2-QB league

Back on May 27th, we began our 2014 fantasy football mock draft per day series using our site's mock draft simulator (powered by FantasyPros).

As we continue through the offseason, I will continue to complete a mock draft every day as I vary the scoring format, league size, draft slot, etc. and today's mock is a 10-team, two-QB league using standard scoring and I have the No. 10 pick.

Here are my picks in today's mock draft:

1.10 - Eddie Lacy, GB, Green Bay Packers
2.01 - Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
3.10 - Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
4.01 - Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
5.10 - Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
6.01 - Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
7.10 - Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
8.01 - Trent Richardson, RB, Indianapolis Colts
9.10 - Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions
10.01 - Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
11.10 - Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
12.01 - Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins
13.10 - Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts
14.01 - Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
15.10 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST
16.01 - Dan Bailey, K, Dallas Cowboys

Some notes about my team (view full mock here):

  • QBs: Five QBs were off the board before my first pick. As I've noted before, I consider QBs 4-10 to be in the same tier with less than one fantasy point per game separating QB4 to QB10 based on my fantasy football projections. In addition, I have Kaepernick ranked higher than most as my QB6. While I was a bit concerned that neither Kaep nor Cutler would make it to me at pick 3.10, I'd be happy with that duo as my starting QBs after going Lacy/Megatron to start. Tannehill provides some depth and he has some upside if the team's revamped offensive line can protect him better as the team transitions to a new up-tempo offense under OC Bill Lazor.

  • RBs: The trio of Lacy, Gerhart and Ellington give me three top-15 running backs based on my rankings. I considered adding my WR2 with pick 6.01, but I couldn't pass up Ellington with the 51st pick. Lacy was a workhorse and highly productive back last year and as the team hopes to speed up its offense, it could signify an even larger workload for Lacy. The Jags want Gerhart to be their three-down workhorse and the Cardinals keep talking up the high volume of work they plan to give to Ellington, who recently added 8-10 pounds. I won't need to count on much production from T-Rich as my RB4, but he has upside as the Colts certainly want him to succeed after giving up this year's first-rounder to acquire him.

  • WRs: No wide receiver has been as dominant as Megatron over the past several seasons and he's still my hands-down No. 1 wideout. I'd like more of a sure thing as my No. 2 wide receiver, but Patterson has breakout potential in Year 2 (his first season with Norv Turner). Meanwhile, Wright had a breakout season last year and Tate should post career numbers in his new offense. Nicks and Cooks provide some depth and upside late in the draft.

  • TEs: Like Patterson, Rudolph should prosper in Norv's offense, which has seen many TEs prosper including Jordan Cameron last year as well as Antonio Gates and others before him. Rudolph has had some red-zone success with 12 TDs in his past 24 games, but his overall production could be career-best numbers in 2014.

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Our 2014 fantasy football rankings:

Tomorrow's mock draft will be a 16-team league using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring with and the No. 3 overall pick. Follow me on Twitter (@EDSFootball) to keep track of our updates.



MRI confirms 49ers RB Kendall Hunter has torn ACL, out for season

49ers backup running back Kendall Hunter left yesterday's practice with a knee injury and an MRI has confirmed that it is a torn ACL, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.

What makes the season-ending injury even worse for Hunter is that this was a contract year for him.

Although Frank Gore has been the team's highly-productive workhorse, it was expected that the 31-year-old running back would see a lightened workload to help keep him fresh throughout the season. Although Gore has 1,100-plus rushing yards and eight-plus TDs in each of the past three seasons, he averaged a career-low 4.1 yards per carry in 2013.

The 49ers drafted Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, my top-ranked running back prospect, with a late-second round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. As Marcus Lattimore continues to work his way back from his devastating knee injuries at South Carolina, Hyde becomes the team's No. 2 back with Hunter's injury.

Considering Gore's age and cumulative workload, Hyde is loaded with upside in the team's run-heavy offense. I will move Hyde up in the next update of my fantasy rankings.



Jordy Nelson, Packers agree to four-year extension

Along with teammate Randall Cobb, Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson was entering the final year of his contract, but Nelson has agreed to a long-term extension to stay in Green Bay through the 2018 season.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the two sides have agreed to a four-year extension worth $39 million, of which $14.2 million is guaranteed.

Nelson set career highs of 85 catches for 1,314 yards last year while adding eight touchdowns, but those numbers would have been even better had Aaron Rodgers not missed a chunk of time due to his broken collarbone.

Averaging 90.0 yards per game and 16.53 yards per reception with seven TDs in the nine games that Rodgers finished, Nelson averaged 72.0 YPG and 14.0 Y/R in the seven games that Rodgers did not finish while scoring only one touchdown.

Over the past three seasons, Nelson is one of four players with 3,000-plus receiving yards and 30-plus touchdowns. The other three are tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receivers Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant.

Nelson and Cobb are both top-10 fantasy wide receivers and I have Nelson projected for a stat line of 82/1,283/10 for the 2014 season.



Jordan Reed: 2014 Fantasy Football Profile and Projection

With the NFL season only 40 days away (but who's counting?), we will start posting 2014 fantasy football profiles more frequently. This morning, we continue our series with a look at Redskins second-year tight end Jordan Reed.

If you think it is difficult for rookie wide receivers to make a huge impact (and it is), it's even more difficult for rookie tight ends to do so.

As a rookie last season, Redskins tight end Jordan Reed had his season cut short due to a concussion, which leads to some ongoing durability concerns. When he got his opportunity on the field, however, he was extremely productive.

In the nine games that he played, Reed finished with 45 catches for 499 yards, both of which are franchise records for rookie tight ends, and three touchdowns. If Reed had stayed healthy and maintained that pace over a 16-game season, he would have finished with 80 receptions for 887 yards and five touchdowns.

While that pace may seem more solid than elite, here's a stat to help put those numbers into perspective: only two tight ends in NFL history have finished with at least 887 yards in their rookie seasons. Even though the NFL becoming a passing league, it's something that hasn't happened for more than a decade. Only Mike Ditka (1,076 yards in 1961) and Jeremy Shockey (894 yards in 2002) have reached that level. That's it.

In addition, his pace of 80 receptions would have tied him for third among tight ends with Jordan Cameron and only Jimmy Graham (1,215) and Cameron (917) had more than 887 receiving yards at tight end last season. Five tight ends averaged more yards per game than Reed (55.4) last year: Rob Gronkowski (84.6), Graham (75.9), Cameron (61.1), Vernon Davis (56.7) and Julius Thomas (56.3).

Following the team's Week 5 bye through Reed's last game played in 2013 (Week 11), only Davis scored more fantasy points among tight ends. On a per-game basis, Reed was lower but he still ranked sixth among tight ends with 8.9 fantasy points per game in standard-scoring formats during that stretch.

Back to the concussion that ended Reed's season, it is disturbing that it took so long for him to receive medical clearance from that concussion, as this quote from Reed illustrates:

“I started to get a little scared after about two months – like, ‘Maybe I’m going to be like this forever,’ or something like that. But it ended up going away.”

Not only are there concerns about the severity of his last concussion, but he has had multiple conussions in his career including a couple of concussions back in his days with the Florida Gators.

If Reed can stay healthy, he's poised for big things in his sophomore campaign.

Sean McVay, the team's new offensive coordinator and former tight ends coach, continues to praise the young tight end: “He’s going be a key player in our offense. He’s an elite route runner for the position, and he still competes with the toughness. He’s got great feet, so he can cover guys up in the run game.”

Based on his current seventh-round ADP (via FFC), Reed is the seventh tight end off the board, on average.

With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson on the outside, that should further open up the middle of the field for Reed to exploit. If he can stay healthy for the full season, it wouldn't be a surprise if Reed finishes as a top-five (or better) fantasy tight end in 2014.

2014 Fantasy Strength of Schedule

Based on cumulative fantasy points allowed last year of their opponents this year, Reed and the Redskins tight ends have the fifth-most favorable fantasy schedule.

- Resources: Fantasy Football TE Strength of Schedule | 2014 Redskins Team Schedule

2014 Stat Projection: 68 receptions, 806 yards, 7 TDs

- More: 2014 Fantasy Football Profiles | 2014 Fantasy Football Projections



2014 Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Round 9

Another round of our new fantasy football PPR mock draft is complete. Here are Round 9 results:

9.01 - Brendan Donahue (Team 1): Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

By drafting Hill, it would appear that The Law Firm's days in Cincy are numbered. Either way, I would expect Hill to get a sizable amount of touches behind Giovani Bernard. A big and powerful runner, Hill rushed for 2,156 yards (6.2 YPC) and 28 touchdowns on 345 carries over the past two seasons at LSU.

9.02 - Sean Beazley (Team 1): Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys

With the depth at the position, there are a lot of excellent quarterbacks available in the middle-to-late rounds including Romo. Although Sean took Colin Kaepernick a few picks earlier, I've found myself using a similar strategy of taking a couple of quarterbacks late like this. While I'd be happy with either guy as my only quarterback, the Kaep/Romo duo gives Sean increased flexibility to take advantage of their matchups.

One season after throwing for 4,903 yards, Romo threw for only 3,828 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions last season. With an atrocious defense and Scott Linehan calling the plays, Romo could be in store for a huge season as the offense tries to keep up with what the defense gives up.

9.03 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 1): Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints

When the Rams traded up in the first round for Tavon Austin, the possibilities of getting him the ball in space seemed unlimited. They weren't. I have much more faith in a Sean Payton-led and Drew Brees-quarterbacked offense's ability to utilitize Cooks the way that the Rams should have used Austin last year.

I can see the ultra-quick and ultra-productive (in college) Cooks finishing with a line close to 80/900/5 in his rookie season. In addition to their eight home games, the Saints have a couple of road dome games (Atlanta and Detroit), where he could be especially dangerous.

9.04 - Kevin Hanson (Team 1): Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills

Nobody will be (or should be) excited to draft F-Jax in any round as a 33-year-old running back, but he's one of my favorite players in real football. Making a career out of exceeding expectations, Jackson had 1,283 YFS and 10 touchdowns last season.

I don't expect him to repeat last year's production with the addition of Bryce Brown, especially if C.J. Spiller stays healthy. But can he outperform his draft status as RB38 in this mock? Absolutely.

9.05 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 2): Martellus Bennett, TE, Chicago Bears

In his first season with the Bears, Bennett set career highs with 65 receptions for 759 yards and tied a previous career high of five touchdowns. Competing with Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte for targets, however, Bennett is no more than the team's fourth best option on offense.

There are a couple of tight ends still on the board that I'd prefer over Bennett, most notably Kyle Rudolph, who should flourish in Norv Turner's TE-friendly offense.

9.06 - Kevin Hanson (Team 2): DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers

Based on the opinion of Williams himself (joked he should be a first-rounder), I'm getting a bargain here in the ninth round as the 39th running back off the board. In all seriousness, Williams should lead the team once again in carries and rush attempts and he provides some relatively uninspiring but solid running back depth.

9.07 - Brendan Donahue (Team 2): Terrance Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys

As a rookie, Williams had 44 receptions for 736 yards and five touchdowns. Like most rookie receivers, Williams was a bit inconsistent as half of his production came in just five games (21/384/4 from Weeks 4 to 8). Going into the 2014 season, however, Williams will be the unquestioned No. 2 wideout opposite Dez Bryant and will have another year of building chemistry with Tony Romo.

9.08 - Sean Beazley (Team 2): Rueben Randle, WR, New York Giants

Randle is a relatively cheap option on draft day with upside as the team installs a new offense that uses fewer option routes. While Randle led the Giants in TD receptions in his second season with the team, he and Eli often failed to get on the same page. Based on reports, Randle had an excellent offseason.

9.09 - Sean Beazley (Team 3): Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders

Stop me if you've heard this before, but McFadden has yet to play a full 16-game season in his career. It's actually been worse over the past three years (29 total games) than it was in his first three seasons (38 games).

While I expect Maurice Jones-Drew to lead the team in touches and production when both are healthy and McFadden has huge durability risks, as noted above, but if things fall right, he could certainly outperform his ninth-round draft status.

9.10 - Brendan Donahue (Team 3): Christine Michael, RB, Seattle Seahawks

More than likely, Marshawn Lynch will end his holdout at some point, but he certainly beats to his own drum so who knows who it will ultimately play out. Regardless of whether he reports/plays, Michael, the team's talented second-round pick from 2013, will be much more involved in the team's offensive game plan this year.

9.11 - Kevin Hanson (Team 3): Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

With a new quarterback and new coach, Bowe set five-year lows in receptions (57) and yards (673) and a career low in yards per reception (11.8) last season. Over his past eight games counting their playoff loss, however, Bowe had 39 receptions for 521 yards and four touchdowns, which would equate to a full-season pace of 78/1,042/8.

While he may not produce at the 78/1,042/8 level this year, I think he comes closer to those numbers than last year's stat line. Bowe has shedded some weight and hopefully that will help him play faster in 2014, but his upside will always be capped by Alex Smith.

9.12 - Dan Yanotchko (Team 3): David Wilson, RB, New York Giants

Wilson (neck) has received medical clearance and he's a full-go during training camp, which is excellent news for Wilson. Unlike last year, there won't be huge expectations of a breakout season as he will be the change-of-pace back to starter Rashad Jennings. Depending on his improvements in pass protection and ball security, Wilson has some upside due to talent as a runner.

> Continue to Round 10
> Go back to Round 8

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