Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar is back to 100% after suffering a season-ending knee injury last Thanksgiving. “I’d say that I’m at 100%,” he said. “I’ve been able to do everything now for a couple of weeks without any restrictions. I’m feeling pretty good. I’d definitely say I’m 100%.” Dunbar flashed in limited action last year, averaging 5.0 yards per carry and 8.4 yards per catch. The Cowboys reportedly view him as a Darren Sproles-type player. That's intriguing considering new play-caller Scott Linehan likes to get his RBs involved in the passing game. Dunbar's role in Dallas' offense will be worth monitoring this summer. He could hold sleeper appeal in PPR fantasy leagues.
Dolphins WR Mike Wallace is a fan of new OC Bill Lazor's offense. Wallace describes it as, "my style: big-play offense." Lazor spent last year as the Eagles QB coach under Chip Kelly. He'll bring Kelly's aggressive, vertical passing attack to Miami. That's a much better fit for Wallace's game than former OC Mike Sherman's west coast attack. Wallace finished 2013 with career lows in TDs (5) and yards per catch (12.7). Both marks should climb this season.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan likes what he's seen from TE Levine Toilolo this offseason. "Levine's been in here for a couple weeks prior to us starting (voluntary workouts), and that's been a good thing for us," Ryan said. "I think he learned so much from Tony [Gonzalez], though, the past two years — just the way that he prepares, taking care of his body. I think Levine looks as good as he has since he's been here. I think he's put on a little bit of weight and put on weight in the right spot, which is good." With Gonzo (supposedly) retired, Toilolo has a huge opportunity to emerge as Atlanta's lead TE in 2014. He hauled in 11 of 14 targets last year and scored twice. He's not nearly as athletic as Gonzalez but is a big-time red-zone threat at 6'8 and 265 pounds. Toilolo has some sleeper appeal in 2014 fantasy drafts.
Falcons HC Mike Smith revealed that WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited in offseason workouts. Jones underwent foot surgery in October and has avoided any setbacks in rehab as far as we know. "Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,'' Smith said. "He will be able to get out on the field and do some walkthrough stuff with us when we start going. Our focus on Julio is one thing, and that's having him prepared for our opener ... He's progressing well. We're not going to do anything to hinder his timeframe in terms of getting back to work with us." Atlanta will play it safe with its star WR. Jones probably won't do much in OTAs and might even be limited in training camp. Remember that the foot he fractured last year was the same one he had surgery on prior to his rookie year. We'll keep a close eye on his progress this summer. A healthy Jones has top-3 fantasy upside, but he'll carry more risk than the other WRs at the top of drafts this summer.
Manuel on the field for start of offseason program
Bills QB E.J. Manuel was on the field for the start of the team's offseason program on Tuesday. He was a full participant in the session open to the media, according to ESPN's Mike Rodak. Manuel was plagued by knee injuries all last year. He underwent surgery on the left one in August and January and missed 4 games with an LCL sprain in the right one. It doesn't look like any of those specific injuries will be an issue in 2014, but the general knee problems are definitely a concern for Manuel's long-term outlook. He's the heavy favorite to be under center for the Bills Week 1 but can't be drafted as more than a QB2 flier in fantasy drafts this summer.
The Seahawks have traded a 7th-round pick to the Raiders for QB Terrelle Pryor. Oakland was fully expected to release Pryor this week, so Seattle's front office clearly wanted to get its hands on him before he hit the open market. Pryor has flashed as both a passer and runner but remains a major project. He's completed 56.3% of his passes with 9 TDs and 12 INTs over the past 2 years. In Seattle, he'll compete with Tarvaris Jackson for backup duties behind Russell Wilson. Pryor will be a free agent next offseason.
The Bears have signed WR Josh Morgan. He totaled 68 catches, 724 yards and 2 scores as a part-time player in Washington the past 2 years. That 10.6 yards-per-catch average tells you all you need to know about his lack of play-making ability. Morgan is at least an effective blocker. He'll compete with Marquess Wilson and Domenik Hixon for #3 WR duties in Chicago. Last year's #3, Earl Bennett, finished with just 42 targets.
Falcons insider Vaughn McClure says QB Matt Ryan was "more banged up than he let on" last year. Ryan never appeared on the injury report but did absorb a career-high 44 sacks. Atlanta added G Jon Asamoah and OT Gabe Carimi this offseason and will likely attack the offensive line early in next month's draft. Ryan has plenty of bounce-back potential in 2014, but he'll need to get much better pass protection.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) is ready for the start of the team's offseason program today, according to insider Calvin Watkins. Romo is about 4 months removed from back surgery. Rehab has gone smoothly by all indications, and the fact that he's participating in these April workouts is more good news. The back issue adds some risk to Romo's 2014 fantasy profile, but he also carries tons of upside in new play-caller Scott Linehan's pass-happy offense.
The Vikings are widely expected to take a QB at some point in next month's draft. But GM Rick Spielman would prefer to have that QB spend 2014 learning from the sidelines. “Ideally, if we did pick a quarterback this year we would want to redshirt him anyway, and when he’d be ready to go, he’d play," Spielman said. "But he’d probably use this year as a learning year." That'd leave QB Matt Cassel as Minnesota's Week 1 starter. He was serviceable last year, completing 60.2% of his passes with 11 TDs and 9 INTs. The Vikings went 3-3 in Cassel's starts. He'd be just a low-end QB2 in fantasy football drafts, but Cassel under center would be good news for WR Greg Jennings. In Cassel's 6 starts last year, Jennings racked up 34
catches, 413 yards and 3 TDs.