Bryce Brown had an up-and-down rookie campaign. He enters 2013 as the #2 RB in new HC Chip Kelly's run-heavy offense. Will that be enough to give Brown standalone fantasy value? Or is he just a handcuff to LeSean McCoy?
49ers HC Jim Harbaugh says WRs A.J. Jenkins, Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette will compete for Michael Crabtree's starting spot. "We'll let them compete and emerge," Harbaugh said. "The good news is somebody will emerge because they have to. (It's) a real good chance for some young guys to emerge and get some
reps and contribute. I very much anticipate that will happen." Consider Jenkins the favorite here. He didn't record a single catch last year but was a 1st-round pick and goes 6'0, 190 pounds with 4.39 speed. Patton is worth watching, too. He was labeled as a polished rookie by some talent evaluators. None of these guys are particularly likely to provide weekly-starter fantasy value, though. WR Anquan Boldin and TE Vernon Davis figure to hog targets in San Fran's run-heavy attack.
NFL Films guru Greg Cosell see similarities between Patriots rookie WR Aaron Dobson and Larry Fitzgerald. “This is going to sound crazy, but I thought that his size/hand combination, at times, reminded me of Larry Fitzgerald,” Cosell said. “He’s not Larry Fitzgerald, obviously, but he’s a big kid who can move very well with really good hands.” At 6'3 and 210 pounds, Dobson is the same height as Fitz and just a few pounds lighter. His 4.42 40 time bests Fitz's 4.63 mark. Dobson obviously has a long ways to go to even come close to Fitz's standing, but he has the physical skill set. “Overall an excellent combination of size, fluid movement and hands," Cosell added. Dobson is expected to start for the Patriots right from the get-go. Consider him a deep sleeper in redraft leagues and a high-end stash in keeper and dynasty formats.
Redskins HC Mike Shanahan estimates that TE Fred Davis is 90% recovered from last October's ruptured Achilles. Davis was cleared to resume working out in March. He's being held out of OTAs but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp. We'll see how he looks coming off a nasty injury. A healthy Davis carries top 10 upside on a burgeoning 'Skins offense.
The Steelers hope that adding some outside zone blocking to their power scheme can get the ground game running. C Maurkice Pouncey and OT Marcus Gilbert told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that they like the new tact. RB Jonathan Dwyer said he thinks it will allow the backs to take advantage of cutback lanes to create big plays. Consider us skeptical that Pittsburgh has the style of runners to take advantage of such a scheme. The players mentioned as successes in the story are K.C.'s Jamaal Charles, Houston's Arian Foster -- both much smoother, speedier and more agile than Le'Veon Bell, Dwyer and Isaac Redman. Pittsburgh doesn't plan a full system switch and instead plans to mix looks to confuse defenses and keep its blockers fresher late in games. We'll see how it works. Change certainly must come after 1 of the league's poorest rushing efforts last year.
The Ravens announced Thursday that rookie LB Arthurn Brown had sports hernia surgery just after the team's rookie minicamp earlier this month. Brown is expected to miss 4-6 weeks total, which would bring him back before the start of training camp. As long as he's ready to go in late July, Brown should still be the front-runner to win a starting ILB job in Baltimore. He should be 1 of the first rookie IDPs of the board whether you're drafting in a dynasty league or redraft format.
Lions WR Nate Burleson took the field with teammates Thursday, 3 months ahead of his scheduled return. Burleson said he skipped the depression stage after breaking his leg last season and dove right into rigorous rehab. The 33-year-old worked out twice a day in Seattle this offseason -- unbeknownst to his team -- with plans to get back on the field and surprise everyone. Jettisoning Titus Young and losing Ryan Broyles to a late-season ACL tear could leave the Lions needing Burleson to start come September. He still wouldn't be an exciting fantasy option in that situation. Perhaps a WR5 in most formats.
The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Browns RB Trent Richardson and TE Jordan Cameron sat out Thursday's OTA session with minor injuries. Richardson strained a muscle in his shin. Cameron strained a groin muscle. Neither situation seems significant. Cameron, though, can use all the practice time he can find to deliver on the promise his coaches have touted.
Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole has issued a correction on his report that Giants WR Hakeem Nicks is skipping the OTA to push for a new contract. The same unnamed team source reportedly changed course to say he/she didn't know why Nicks stayed away. Agent Peter Shaffer has declined to provide a reason for his client's absence. Whatever the motivation, the unexplained no-show for the voluntary session left HC Tom Coughlin miffed. Nicks is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Bills TE Scott Chandler tore his ACL on December 23rd. He underwent reconstructive surgery on January 9th -- just 4-and-a-half months ago. But Chandler think it's "realistic" that he'll be ready for the start of training camp in just another 2 months. "I feel good, and I'm excited for the season," he said. "The
injury is different than it used to be. The doctors are better." Chandler started running routes 3 weeks ago and has been running and catching passes off to the side of OTAs this week. The Bills didn't draft a TE until adding Chris Gragg in the 7th round, so it looks like they're counting on Chandler making an impact this season. He's scored 12 times over the past 2 years but has averaged just 33 yards per game. Coming off a serious knee injury, he'll be nothing more than a late-round depth pick in fantasy drafts this summer.
Redskins WR Pierre Garcon avoided surgery this offseason on the right foot that bothered him all last year. It turns out he underwent shoulder surgery instead. The injury to Garcon's labrum occurred in Washington's playoff loss to the Seahawks. The procedure was considered minor and Garcon is already able to catch passes off to the side of practice. “I think Pierre, his rehab has been unbelievable,” HC Mike Shanahan said Thursday.
“Anytime you get operated on like he did and you’re able to come back
as quickly as he has, I was watching him this morning in the weight
room and he was lifting weights that he shouldn’t be able to lift. And
he feels very comfortable, and it’s been a slow process. But he’s in
excellent shape, so I’ll be surprised if he’s not full-speed, ready to
go once we go to training camp.” We'll be keeping a close eye on Garcon this summer. In addition to the shoulder, there's concern that the foot problem will linger. Garcon has played all 16 games in just 1 of his 5 NFL seasons.