Shark Bites

Vikings HC Mike Zimmer has joined GM Rick Spielman in saying that WR Cordarrelle Patterson is having a good offseason. "He's really done well," Zimmer told FOX Sports North. "He's running routes good. He's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed with the things that he's done." Patterson's super-letdown of a 2014 campaign for fantasy owners -- and the Vikings -- will keep him from shooting up anyone's 2015 draft board. The emergence of Charles Johnson and arrival of Mike Wallace also lower the ceiling on Patterson's volume. But he still brings impressive talent in a young pass offense with plenty of developing to do. Don't forget about Patterson if he stays on the board late in your 2015 fantasy football draft. And now might still be a good time to check on his trade price in your dynasty league.

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49ers RB Carlos Hyde missed Thursday's voluntary team workout because of a leg injury, but it doesn't appear to be serious. “He’s working through the leg,” HC Jim Tomsula said, per ESPN.com. “It’s nothing. I mean we got no big [injury], but we’re going to wait. We want you 100 percent. We’re doing this offseason thing and we’re doing things fast and we’re doing all those things, so we’re not going to push. It’s not the season, so we’re trying to treat that the right way.” We won't be concerned unless the issue starts to linger. The Niners have a mandatory minicamp June 9-11 but no other non-voluntary portions before training camp opens in July.

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Bills DL Marcell Dareus will miss the team's opener against the Colts. The league announced Thursday that he'll serve a 1-game suspension for last year's drug-possession arrest. Dareus apologized in an official statement and took responsibility for the situation, so an appeal doesn't seem to be in the works. The Buffalo D could certainly use him against Indy, but missing Dareus for 1 game doesn't alter the fantasy outlook for 1 of the league's best defenses.

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According to the Charlotte Observer, Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin suffered a strained hamstring last week. He’s not expected to participate in next week’s OTAs, but the team is just playing it safe. Early drafters can still feel comfortable taking him as a borderline WR1.

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A judge dismissed domestic-violence charges against RB Ray Rice on Thursday, a move which merely marks Rice's completion of his agreed-upon treatment. We'll see if this largely symbolic step motivates any NFL team to give the former Raven a 2nd chance. Rice hasn't seemed to get close to such an opportunity to date, and it surely doesn't help that he played fairly poorly when last he took the field. We'll see where this situation goes.

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The Patriots reached a 1-year deal with LB Brandon Spikes on Thursday. The move is surprising only in that the team had clearly soured on him by the end of his initial New England run, and Spikes had negative words on his way out the door. But he had changed his tone over the past year and remains an effective 2-down player. Spikes helps the Patriots' depth and run defense but shouldn't emerge as more than a 4th LB for them heading into 2015. His lack of coverage ability would also sap Spikes of IDP value even if injury presses him into duty this year.

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The agent for Raiders QB Derek Carr told the San Francisco Chronicle on Wednesday that Carr's finger issue is a "nonstory." “It’s a very minor situation,” Tim Younger said, adding that his client will "probably" be throwing before the end of OTAs. Younger also said that Carr won't need any hand surgery. Getting Carr back onto the field soon would certainly help to allay any fears about slowing the development of a young offense. That said, fantasy owners shouldn't sweat this situation too much anyway. WR Amari Cooper looks like the only moderately attractive fantasy option in Oakland's 2015 passing game.

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ESPN's Josina Anderson reports that RB Ben Tate will work out for the Cowboys on Thursday. Tate averaged an ugly 3.1 yards per carry with Cleveland last season before the Browns cut him in favor of its rookie duo (and because of a bad attitude). Tate then failed to stick with either Minnesota or Pittsburgh. Any RB who emerges as the Dallas starter will be worth a fantasy look this season, but we'd still like the upside on RB Joseph Randle much more than Tate's if the Cowboys were to sign him. The most interesting thing about this news, of course, is that Dallas doesn't appear set on its 2015 backfield. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Rob Phillips of DallasCowboys.com reports that the team will work out "a group of WRs and RBs" Thursday but wouldn't confirm the names of any participants.

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Bills RB coach Anthony Lynn said he wants to see Fred Jackson’s 548 snaps from last season cut in half.  “I think he wore down a little bit at the end of the season,” Lynn said.  “If we could take half of that off his plate, I think you’re going to see a fresher Fred Jackson and a more explosive Fred Jackson.”  LeSean McCoy is being touted as a workhorse, so this isn’t a huge surprise.  The 34-year-old Jackson looks like a handcuff or an end-of-roster stash.

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Colts WR Andre Johnson was "featured extensively in the slot" during Wednesday's OTA session, according to insider Stephen Holder.  Johnson played primarily on the outside in Houston, but the 33-year-old might be better off inside at this point of his career.  It sounds like he's stepping into Reggie Wayne's old role.  Wayne saw a healthy 116 targets last year, despite a noticeable decline in play.  That's a number Johnson could reach in 2015. "It's already clear Johnson is going to have an extensive role with the Colts," Holder added.

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Washington OLB Ryan Kerrigan had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday, according to ESPN.com's John Keim. Kerrigan called it "cautionary" and said that the knee needed to be cleaned up to avoid potential issues later on. Doctors will check the knee next week and determine how long he'll be out. Washington's 1st full-team minicamp is set for June 16-18. We'll see how soon Kerrigan can get back onto the field before determining whether this surgery will alter his outlook for the 2015 IDP rankings. Kerrigan led the team with a career-high 13.5 sacks last season.

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Giants LT Will Beatty tore his pectoral lifting weights on Wednesday.  He'll undergo surgery and is expected to miss 5-6 months.  That knocks him out for about the 1st half of the season.  It's a big blow to an offensive line that seemed to be trending upward.  Beatty ranked 14th among 84 OTs in Pro Football Focus' 2014 overall grades -- 10th in run blocking and 24th in pass blocking.  The G-Men used the 9th overall pick of this spring's draft on Ereck Flowers, who could be forced to replace Beatty at LT.  New York could also use 2013 1st-rounder Justin Pugh on the left side.

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Jets QB Geno Smith will head to training camp as the team's starter, OC Chan Gailey said Wednesday.  "He's done some good things," Gailey added.  "He's a talented guy.  I have high hopes for him."  Smith has had a tumultuous couple of seasons to open his NFL career.  He heads into year 3 sitting on a 57.5% completion rate and 25:34 TD-to-INT ratio.  But he closed last season by tossing 6 TDs vs. just 2 INTs over his final 4 games.  And he should theoretically be a good fit in Gailey's spread offense, similar to what Smith operated at West Virginia.  But if he falters in August, Ryan Fitzpatrick could swipe away the starting job.  Fitz is familiar with Gailey's offense from their time together in Buffalo.  Whoever wins the Jets' starting job could have sneaky fantasy value throwing to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

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Redskins HC Jay Gruden likes what he's seen from rookie WR Jamison Crowder so far.  "Right now, he's showing that he can take what we're teaching him in the classroom and translate it effortlessly to the playing field," Gruden said. "He's got good, strong hands, and obviously, based on what we saw on the college tape, we know going across the middle that he's got no fear.. He's got all the traits we want in a slot receiver, and obviously, he's a heck of a punt returner."  Crowder tallied 269 catches, 3,478 yards and 22 TDs in Duke's pro-style offense over the past 3 seasons.  But he goes 5'8, 185 pounds with 4.5 speed.  As Gruden noted, Crowder projects as a slot receiver in the pros.  He'll battle Andre Roberts for that job this summer.  But Roberts saw just 68 targets in that role last year.  Crowder doesn't have much short- or long-term fantasy upside.

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Jets RB Stevan Ridley was "moving well" in positional drills during Wednesday's OTA session, according to insider Rich Cimini.  Ridley, 6 months removed from surgery to repair a torn ACL, will be limited in these spring workouts.  But it sounds like he's making good progress in his rehab.  The Jets expect Ridley to be a full-go for training camp.  He'll need to be if he wants to beat out RBs Chris Ivory and Zac Stacy for the starting job.

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