Shark Bites

The Indy Star's Stephen Holder named WR T.Y. Hilton the Most Outstanding Player of training camp. Hilton had a strong spring and "went to another level in training camp," Holder writes. "Hilton's performance wasn’t just a matter of putting in hard work. His actual play was fabulous, both in terms of his precise route running and his trademark body control that enables him to make difficult catches look easy." QB Andrew Luck agrees, saying that Hilton "consistently every day came out and (was) probably the best player at practice. It feels that way, and that’s what an elite player is." Despite the Colts' QB woes last year, Hilton still finished 23rd among WRs in PPR points. He ranked 11th with a healthy Luck back in 2014 and could return to that territory this season.

Lions insider Mike Rothstein said Wednesday that he expects TE Eric Ebron (ankle) to be ready for Week 1. He's "walking around, traveled with the team to Latrobe [for joint practices with the Steelers]," Rothstein added. This sounds more like an educated guess than an actual report, but it's at least more confirmation that Ebron avoided a serious injury. He's fine to draft at his 10th-round ADP. Just be ready to add a backup option in case he misses the start of the season.

Lions TE Eric Ebron is dealing with a "pretty decent [right] ankle sprain," a source tells ESPN's Adam Caplan. It's relatively excellent news after Ebron suffered what appeared to be a significant injury over the weekend. We still don't have an exact timetable for his return, but even a high-ankle sprain would give Ebron a shot to be ready for Week 1.

Lions TE Eric Ebron did not practice on Monday but was spotted on the sidelines without a walking boot. He wore a sleeve over the right foot he injured over the weekend, per insider Dave Birkett. "Very positive evidence against Achilles tendon rupture," former NFL head team physician David Chao tweeted. It looks like Ebron might have avoided a season-ending injury, but we're still waiting for details to emerge. Stay tuned.

RB Christine Michael flopped in his 1st stint with the Seahawks. It's been a different story the 2nd time around. Michael averaged 4.9 yards on 39 carries over last year's final 3 regular-season games. Then he toted it 21 times for 70 yards in the playoff win over the Vikings. Now, "the Seahawks are more confident that Michael can be trusted to play a significant role," according to ESPN's Sheil Kapadia. He could get that shot if RB Thomas Rawls can't get healthy. Michael has been getting the majority of the 1st-team reps with Rawls still on the PUP list (and C.J. Prosise sidelined). Michael remains just a late-round flier for now, but Seattle's backfield is worth keeping a close eye on.

Lions TE Eric Ebron got carted off the practice field Saturday. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the team fears an injury to his Achilles' tendon, with a tear being the obvious implication. If that proves to be the case, Ebron would almost certainly miss the season. We'll keep an eye out for confirmation, but you should count Ebron out of your plan if you're drafting right now. Detroit sports no obvious immediate replacement for Ebron at TE, so his injury would likely shift more targets toward RB Theo Riddick and the wideouts.

Lions reporter Kyle Meinke believes TE Eric Ebron is a “good bet” to be one of Detroit’s “breakout” players. Ebron’s reportedly in excellent shape, while there’s a belief that OC Jim Bob Cooter’s offense will feature lots of short and intermediate passing — particularly over the middle. Overall, Ebron should benefit from an offense that proved more efficient under JBC late last season. Entering year 3 with Matt Stafford, the young TE carries top-10 fantasy upside.

Colts RB Robert Turbin was cited for marijuana possession during a traffic stop earlier this month, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Police reportedly found a marijuana cigarette butt in the car's center console but said Turbin did not seem impaired and let him drive away with the citation. It doesn't seem like a big legal issue, but any drug-related offense carries the threat of league discipline. Missing even a game might hurt Turbin's status in a muddled backfield behind starter Frank Gore. We'll see if this goes anywhere.

The Colts and QB Andrew Luck have agreed to a new 6-year, $140 million contract with $87 million guaranteed. Both the guaranteed cash and the $23.3 million annual salary are the highest in league history. That's what it takes nowadays to lock up a franchise signal-caller. The Colts clearly have no doubt that Luck is exactly that, despite last year's injuries. He turns just 27 in September and is now locked in with Indianapolis through his age-32 season. Luck sits #1 among QBs in our Dynasty Rankings.

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Lions QB Matt Stafford complimented the development of TE Eric Ebron. “I think he’s done a great job of just understanding what it means to be a pro,” Stafford said. “He was a really young kid when he came into the league a guy that has a ton of talent, but is starting to understand what it takes to be there on Sundays and make plays in this league. It doesn’t come easy. You have to work hard for it, and he’s done a great job this offseason.” Ebron remains very young at 23, and there’s certainly breakout potential entering his 3rd season.

Lions TE Eric Ebron has shed 10 pounds this offseason, according to MLive.com. It's that time of year for NFL players when we hear about so many being in the "best shape of his life." If Ebron's in better condition now, it can obviously only help -- especially for a player with top-shelf speed for his position. We never heard about his weight or conditioning being an issue, but it'd be nice if the offseason training can also help Ebron avoid nagging injuries that dogged his 1st 2 years. There's breakthrough potential in the former top-15 pick, with Detroit looking to recuperate some of Calvin Johnson's impact.

Colts WR Donte Moncrief has garnered some fantasy football buzz this offseason, but HC Chuck Pagano highlighted T.Y. Hilton on Tuesday. “T.Y. is having as good of an offseason as anybody, probably better than anybody right now,” Pagano told ESPN.com. “There’s a lot of good stuff going on out there. But I’ve never seen anybody practice as fast as he’s practicing right now and compete at the level he’s competing at and leading the way that’s he’s leading. He’s done it day in and day out.” Moncrief, of course, has been sitting out of workouts following turf-toe surgery. Second-year WR Phillip Dorsett suffered an early hamstring injury. And TE Coby Fleener's gone. So it has been easier for Hilton to claim the spotlight. Still, public praise from your coach is never a bad sign, and Andrew Luck's healthy return should have Hilton flirting with high WR2 range again in 2016.

Colts QB Andrew Luck is back to 100% and has "looked better than expected" in workouts this week, per the Indy Star's Stephen Holder.  Luck missed 9 games last year with shoulder, rib and kidney injuries.  But none of those should impact him in 2016.  A healthy Luck is a prime bounce-back candidate this season.

The Patriots selected QB Jacoby Brissett with the 91st pick of the 2016 NFL Draft.  He becomes the 3rd QB drafted by New England in the past 6 years.  Ryan Mallett attempted 4 passes for the Pats, while Jimmy Garoppolo has chucked it 31 times through his first 2 seasons.  Brissett started his college career at Florida before transferring to North Carolina State, where he completed 59.9% of his passes with 43 TDs and 11 INTs.  He possesses prototypical size at 6'4, 231 pounds and has an NFL-caliber arm.  Brissett will sit behind Garoppolo and, of course, Tom Brady this season.  But he could eventually push Garoppolo for the right to be Brady's heir apparent.  

Colts HC Chuck Pagano wants QB Andrew Luck to do a better job protecting himself going forward.  “Get him healthy, keep him healthy, keep him protected, keep him upright,” Pagano said. “He plays the position like a linebacker, with a linebacker’s mentality. He can’t do that all the time. We love how he can extend plays, but he’s got to be smart and know it’s OK to slide. You don’t have to take some of those hits.”  Luck boasts plus pocket mobility and rushing ability, but he missed 9 games last year as he dealt with shoulder, rib, ankle, kidney and abdomen injuries.  More attention to protecting his body might mean a slight decline in Luck's rushing numbers, but it'd also give him a better chance to play all 16 games.

The Colts have signed free-agent RB Robert Turbin. The one-time Seahawks spent parts of last year with the Browns and Cowboys, compiling 199 yards on 50 total carries. Indy will be in trouble if Turbin heads into the season as a prominent member of the backfield. His best shot figures to be a pass-catching role alongside a more run-focused early-down back. We'll see whether the Colts add someone early in the draft or if they envision Turbon and 2015 rookie Josh Robinson as competitors for bigger roles.

The Colts on Tuesday re-signed K Adam Vinatieri to a 2-year, $6 million deal, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 41-year-old missed just 3 total FG attempts over the past 2 seasons, including only 1 of 8 attempts from 50+ yards. He'll remain a top-12 fantasy kicker come 2016 draft time.

Future Hall-of-Fame TE Tony Gonzalez called out Lions TE Eric Ebron on Monday.  “From a talent perspective, he could be one of the best tight ends in the league,” Gonzo said. “I don’t know who’s teaching him out there. I don’t know what his coach is telling him, but obviously, I would think that he needs to turn his routine around. Whatever he’s doing, is not helping him be the best. If he could figure out a routine that would help him get to where he should be, then he’ll be on his way. But a lot of guys don’t do that; they don’t figure it out.”  Ebron has been a relative disappointment since being selected 10th overall back in 2014.  But he'll turn just 23 in April and showed growth in his 2nd season, posting a 47-537-5 line and finishing 7th among TEs in PPR points per target.  Ebron could take another statistical leap forward in 2016, especially if WR Calvin Johnson follows through on his retirement.

Colts QB Andrew Luck (abdomen) has been ruled out for Sunday's season-finale against the Titans.  Indy has virtually no shot of making the playoffs and no reason to throw Luck back out their at less than 100%.  QBs Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley reportedly split 1st-team reps at practice on Wednesday.  You're obviously avoiding Colts QBs in Week 17 fantasy lineups.  The Titans defense makes for an intriguing play.

Colts HC Chuck Pagano announced Monday that QB Andrew Luck (kidney, abdomen) will play not against the Dolphins this week.  We're surprised that the decision was made so early in the week, which makes it seem like Luck might not even be ready for Week 17.  Of course, the Colts could be eliminated from playoff contention by then anyways.  QB Matt Hasselbeck, meanwhile, is "beat up from the feet up," Pagano said.  If he can't play against Miami on Sunday, Indy will turn to QB Charlie Whitehurst.

 
 
 

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