Shark Bites

CSN Bay Area reports that Raiders WR Rod Streater suffered a concussion in Sunday's 1st padded practice of training camp.  HC Dennis Allen said Streater passed the 1st step of the league's concussion protocol Monday, which suggests that the wideout could return soon.  Every bit of practice time obviously helps, with the top 2 QBs on the depth chart both being new to the team.  Streater doesn't present much fantasy football intrigue, though, with free agency adding WR James Jones to an already lackluster pass offense.

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Texans WR Andre Johnson will "move around a lot" in new HC Bill O'Brien's offense.  "So it's going to be interesting to see because I really wasn't moved a whole lot before, so I just got to, day-by-day, just progressively get better and make sure that I'm on top of everything," Johnson said.  We often see teams getting more creative with older WRs to keep them away from elite CBs and double-teams.  We like the news for Johnson, who is a fine value at his 4.09 ADP.

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The Patriots claimed RB Tyler Gaffney off waivers.  The Panthers were trying to stick the rookie on IR after he suffered a season-ending knee injury, but the Pats snatched him up.  We're not high on Gaffney's long-term outlook, especially with a serious knee injury now on his resume. But he becomes a bit more intriguing in New England, where Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen will both be free agents this offseason.

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Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin injured his knee when he banged it against a teammate's in practice on Sunday.  HC Ron Rivera revealed Monday afternoon that Benjamin is dealing with a bone bruise.  There's no structural damage, but there is some swelling.  Rivera expects Benjamin to be sidelined only "a matter of days."  It's clearly not a serious injury, but Benjamin needs to get back on the field to get in as many practice reps as possible.  He's still expected to open the season in Carolina's starting lineup.

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Bengals RBs coach Kyle Caskey suggested that the team is looking to get RB Gio Bernard 260-300 touches this season.  "You don't necessarily have to hand it off and say, 'Hey, Gio got 260 touches last year out of the backfield.' Maybe he gets 260 to 300 touches but he gets them some other way," Caskey said. "Maybe he gets 200 out of the backfield but he catches 100 passes or however it is. We'll find a way to get the ball to him."  We've heard a couple of Bengals insiders throw out 300 touches as a likely total for Bernard this season, but this is the first time we've heard a number straight from the coaching staff.  We currently have Bernard projected for 283 touches, which lands him safely inside RB1 territory.

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The Falcons still believe that RB Steven Jackson can excel as a feature back.  “We saw in the last couple of games the kind of running back Steven is before he got injured,” HC Mike Smith said. “I like the other guys as well, and we’re going to have multiplicity with our packages. But I’m very confident Steven Jackson is still an elite running back in the NFL.”  Jackson scored 6 times in Atlanta's final 6 games last year, but he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry.  We're skeptical of the 31-year-old's ability to stay healthy and productive in 2014.  It at least seems like the Falcons will give him a shot to prove he's still got it, though.  That makes Jackson worth gambling on at his dirt-cheap 9th-round ADP.

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Lions HC Jim Caldwell has been impressed by QB Matt Stafford early in camp.  “I was impressed when he came back that first of all he did not miss a beat,” Caldwell said. “He’s a very, very smart guy. You could tell he’s worked at it even during the summer.  In every facet when he came back, I could see improvement — footwork, accuracy, timing, command of the offense, all of those things. Now we get a chance to see if we can put it together a little bit more, add a few more things, keep progressing and then get some real challenges from our opposition as we start preseason.”  Fantasy owners are counting on Stafford bouncing back in a big way from his ugly finish to 2013.  He's currently coming off the board in the 4th-round of 12-team drafts as QB5.  Stafford certainly carries top-5 upside but isn't a great value at that price.

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12 hours ago

The Lions have activated WR Golden Tate from the PUP list.  He was dealing with a minor shoulder injury but won't end up missing any training camp practices.  His fantasy stock is unaffected.  An impressive talent in an ideal situation, Tate is a high-upside WR3 in 2014 fantasy drafts.

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Browns insider Tony Grossi calls WR Charles Johnson a "revelation" through the first few days of camp.  "Physically imposing (6-2 ½, 215), deceptively fast (4.38 40 time) and surprisingly up to speed on the Kyle Shanahan offense, Johnson could be the receiver that comes out of nowhere to lessen the impact of – if not offset -- the impending suspension of Josh Gordon," Grossi writes.  Johnson was a 7th-round pick last year but missed the entire season with a torn ACL.  The fact that he's the most naturally gifted WR on the Browns roster (outside of Josh Gordon) makes him worth watching closely over the next few weeks, though.  “He’s a guy that we hope can emerge from this as a guy that can help us,” HC Mike Pettine said.

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The Vikings signed TE Kyle Rudolph to a 5-year, $36.5 million extension.  He was set to become a free agent this coming offseason but is now locked in with Minnesota through 2019.  We'll take this as a sign that OC Norv Turner believes Rudolph is the right guy for his TE-friendly offense.  Still just 24, Rudolph is a good bet for career highs across the board this season.

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Falcons WR Julio Jones looked "spectacular" in Sunday's practice, according to insider Vaughn McClure.  Jones is only practicing every other day as he returns from last year's foot surgery, but it doesn't sound like he's showing any ill effects.  "His explosion was evident with every step, and he blew past [CB] Desmond Trufant on a play during one-on-one drills."  We're not concerned about Jones' ability to dominate when on the field.  But he remains a significant risk in the late 1st or early 2nd round of fantasy drafts.

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Colts RB Trent Richardson has been sidelined by a hamstring injury.  He's at least catching passes off to the side, so it doesn't sound serious.  But Richardson needs all the practice reps he can get after last year's disaster.  This is also a reminder of his sketchy injury history.  T-Rich has a huge opportunity to run with the feature role in a high-octane offense.  But he looks best as a RB3 on fantasy squads.

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Broncos TE Julius Thomas revealed that he spent time with future Hall-of-Famer Tony Gonzalez this offseason.  "I picked his brain on, what are sort of the things you're looking for?" Thomas explained. "Not just technique, but what's going through your mind during plays? What do you focus on? How do you prepare for the day? His routine. Stuff you can only get from playing 17 years in the league. This is a guy who they've probably already started making his bronze statue."  Thomas admitted earlier this offseason that he's still working to get comfortable in the offense.  His pow-wow with Gonzo this offseason is another reminder that he's capable of building on last year's breakout campaign.

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Dolphins insider Adam Beasley reports that the team is hoping that RB Lamar Miller can play the LeSean McCoy role in OC Bill Lazor's offense.  Lazor, of course, was in Philly last year when McCoy led the league in rushing.  Miller won't see the 314 carries or 52 catches McCoy saw last year, but it sounds like he's the favorite for the lead job in Miami.  Miller talked with McCoy about the offense this offseason and packed on 6-8 pounds of muscle.  “He looks good, he looks stronger than he’s ever been,” HC Joe Philbin said. “I don’t think he’s sacrificed any speed whatsoever.”  Miller has been impressing early in camp, while RB Knowshon Moreno continues to sit out after knee surgery.  Miller is a prime post-hype value pick in fantasy drafts.  He's currently going in the 9th round of average fantasy drafts.

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49ers RB LaMichael James suffered a dislocated elbow in Sunday's practice, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. He's expected to be out about a month, which means he should be back for the season opener. James had been elevated to #3 in the backfield pecking order after RB Kendall Hunter's injury but still wasn't likely to be a fantasy factor. This injury obviously doesn't help his odds. A once-deep backfield in San Francisco is now down to Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and Jewel Hampton as its top 3 healthy RBs. Marcus Lattimore remains sidelined with knee and hamstring trouble.

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Washington LB Keenan Robinson is not only set to take over London Fletcher's starting MLB slot. The team expects him to all the plays in the defensive huddle as well, according to the Washington Post. That positions Robinson as a 3-down player despite missing his 1st 2 seasons with pectoral tears. Robinson said that he used the 2 years to learn "a lot of things -- veteran moves that were very helpful" from Fletcher. The situation sets Robinson up for some intriguing sleeper potential in the 2014 IDP rankings. We'll be watching the 3rd-year man this preseason.

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1 day ago

ESPN New York reports that Jets rookie TE Jace Amaro hurt his right knee during 7-on-7 drills Sunday.  Amaro reportedly had his knee wrapped in ice and "struggled" to put weight on it.  We'll keep an eye out for the specific severity of the injury.  Amaro certainly faces intriguing opportunity in a rebuilding pass offense.

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