Shark Bites

Packers WR Jordy Nelson isn't joining OTA practices yet as he recovers from offseason hip surgery. According to Pro Football Talk, however, he's "not worried." It's too early, of course, for us to start worrying about Nelson's situation as well. But we'll be watching it through the rest of the offseason and into training camp. If he can get back onto the field by training camp and avoid setbacks, he'll remain 1 of the top WR targets in fantasy football drafts.

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Denver RBs C.J. Anderson and Montee Ball split 1st team snaps in OTAs on Thursday. Beat writer Mike Klis still calls Anderson the starter, but he’ll need a solid summer to keep Ball off of his tail. The Broncos aren’t going to just hand the job to Anderson, a 24-year-old with just 7 NFL starts under his belt – especially with a new coaching staff in town. HC Gary Kubiak has signaled that Anderson is the starter, though, and we fully expect him to earn that role. His performance over the last 6 weeks of 2014 placed him 2nd in fantasy scoring.

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Broncos LT Ryan Clady tore his ACL in Wednesday’s practice. After being placed on IR, the 2-time All-Pro is out for all of the 2015 season. It’s a serious blow for Denver’s O-line, one that already lost guard Orlando Franklin in free agency. It’s worth noting that Peyton Manning’s record breaking 2013 surfaced despite getting only 2 games from Clady. (He missed most of the season with a foot injury.) Manning’s great at getting the ball out before pressure arrives – he’s taken no more than 21 sacks in a season since 2002. Still, his current O-line is shaping up as a real question mark. This news also puts a slight dent in C.J. Anderson’s outlook.

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Eagles HC Chip Kelly told reporters Thursday afternoon that QB Sam Bradford is "on schedule" in his return from last year's ACL tear and that he'll throw in 7-on-7 drills next week. Fantasy football owners everywhere, of course, anxiously await any preview of what this offense might be able to do in 2015. Kelly has coached both of his Philly teams into the league's top 5 in scoring so far, with Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Mark Sanchez and even Matt Barkley as his QBs.

UPDATE: Kelly also said that the starting QB job is up for grabs, with Bradford and Sanchez the obvious competitors. Bradford did throw to receivers on the side as the team worked out Thursday.

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Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders told reporters after practice Wednesday that the offensive scheme of new HC Gary Kubiak makes for "a totally different setup." Sanders said he doesn't expect to catch as many passes in an offense that will employ less no-huddle and "get the run game going." Before you go expecting a big shift in offensive balance, though, realize that Denver actually ranked 14th most run-heavy in the league last year based on pass-run split. That means the share of passing plays -- 58.5% -- ranked just 19th. Kubiak's huddle-up approach might slow the pace overall and produce fewer offensive snaps, but we wouldn't bet on the Broncos dipping much below last year's passing share -- if at all. Sanders is right to caution as that he probably won't match last year's 101-1404-9 receiving line, but fantasy drafters were already taking him just 14th among WRs in MFL10 drafting after Sanders finished 5th in PPR last season. While you might see others treating Sanders' revelation as big fantasy news, it doesn't look nearly so big from here. We'll certainly be watching Denver through the spring and summer to see how much things might actually change, though.

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Bengals TE Tyler Efiert (shoulder, elbow) has been limited to 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 work in OTAs. It’s not an issue, though. "We're just kind of taking it day to day, just easing back into things," Eifert said. "My shoulder and elbow are cleared 100 percent, but I'm just getting back into things gradually.” It’s a smart approach at this stage in the offseason. Despite a lost rookie season, Efiert remains an intriguing TE1 candidate.

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Giants DE Robert Ayers left the field on a cart Wednesday after hurting his left knee and ankle during an OTA practice. The Star-Ledger reports that tests showed no serious damage to either joint, though. HC Tom Coughlin said he was "disappointed" that Ayers went low in a non-contact drill. According to ESPN.com's Dan Graziano, Ayers "seemed to be getting first-team reps" across from Cullen Jenkins at the end spots. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is skipping voluntary workouts as he seeks a long-term contract. DE Damontre Moore is easing back in after spending time away to work on his degree at Texas A&M.

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Washington RB Alfred Morris says he's excited for the more power-based rushing approach that OL coach Bill Callahan is installing, according to ESPN.com's John Keim. "I feel I'm better at downhill plays anyway," he said. "You know what's coming. It's a knockout, drag-out style of play. I don't shy away from contact. It's right up my alley. I thoroughly enjoy it." Washington ran some power last year, and Morris' Florida Atlantic offenses focused on running him between the guards. HC Jay Gruden added that Morris "obviously" remains the feature back despite the 3rd-round selection of Matt Jones. Morris could again prove to be a solid low RB2 in the late 3rd round or early 4th of fantasy football drafts -- especially if Robert Griffin III can stay on the field. Morris has run more efficiently with the mobile QB behind center than he has with Washington's other QBs over the past 3 years.

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Bengals WR Marvin Jones put in only limited workouts when the Bengals opened OTAs Tuesday. "I'm good. I just have to clear the physical," Jones said afterward, per ESPN.com. Sounds good, but Jones failed the physical last week that would have cleared him for full practice. It's only noteworthy in May because he missed all of last season with foot and ankle injuries. Jones will need to prove this summer that he's all the way back and that we can count on him to stay on the field. More likely, however, he'll remain a late-round option in your fantasy football draft with sizable injury risk. Iffy status for Jones could help the outlooks for TE Tyler Eifert, WR Mohamed Sanu and even RB Giovani Bernard by potentially leaving targets on the field.

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Broncos rookie DE Shane Ray sat out Wednesday's start of OTAs with the toe injury that hampered him through the predraft period. But HC Gary Kubiak told The Denver Post that he expects the 1st-round pick to hit the field as early as next week. The Broncos don't need Ray to become a starter right away, so this toe thing shouldn't be much of an issue for his IDP outlook or the team defense in fantasy.

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Vikings RB Adrian Peterson released a statement to ESPN on his situation Wednesday, and he's apparently not trying to move out of Minnesota: "The reason I’m not attending OTAs has nothing to do with wanting to be traded. It’s about securing my future with the Vikings. It’s business, not personal and I understand that firsthand. Go Vikings.” OK. Perhaps it's finally time to move on from the trade speculation. Of course, we'll see what happens if the 2 sides can't agree on the money to "secure" his future. In the meantime, go on treating Peterson as a Viking and Jerick McKinnon as a handcuff in early drafting.

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When the Falcons opened OTAs Tuesday, RB Devonta Freeman ran with the 1st team while rookie RB Tevin Coleman stuck with the 2nd team. ESPN's Vaughn McClure pointed out that Coleman "got plenty of chances to carry the ball and catch" passes. He also deemed Freeman "as impressive as he was this time last year, save for one drop." It's way too early, of course, to treat this as an indicator of the regular-season depth chart. Teams tend to defer to incumbents in these situations and make rookies earn their playing time. We still expect a split workload between the 2 talented young backs. The situation will be among the most interesting for fantasy football owners to track through the summer.

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Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) remains on track to play Week 1 vs. Dallas.  "Things are going well," Cruz said Wednesday.  "I'm running more routes and patterns, feeling more confident all the time in that regard.  Same schedule.  Just going to take it slow for now."  The veteran started running routes roughly 2 weeks ago and hasn’t encountered any setbacks.  Still, he's a major question mark coming off such an ugly patellar injury.  Cruz isn't someone we're targeting in early drafts.

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Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (leg) practiced in team drills for the first time on Wednesday. HC Todd Bowles interestingly touted “competition” at the QB spot a week after OC Chan Gailey anointed Geno Smith the starter. Smith’s still in the driver’s seat, but he won’t be handed the Week 1 gig. We’ll track this situation throughout the summer.

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Bills RB LeSean McCoy missed practice on Wednesday with a minor neck injury.  “He’s got a little thing like in his neck or something like that, it’s not serious but it’s one of those things where we don’t need him out there,” HC Rex Ryan said.  This certainly doesn't alter McCoy's outlook as a workhorse RB.  He's safe to draft in Round 1.

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Titans HC Ken Whisenhunt wants RB Bishop Sankey to play between 215 and 220 pounds this season.  Listed at 209, that would be a 6 to 11 pound increase for the 2nd year RB.  It’s tough to see the extra mass helping his speed.  Regardless, Sankey will need a strong offseason to hold off rookie David Cobb for touches.  We’re likely looking at a timeshare here.

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