Jarryd Hayne – Who doesn’t like a good story? The best story currently going on in football is that famous Australian Rugby league player Jarryd Hayne has made the San Francisco 49ers final roster. It is a pretty incredible accomplishment and it’s not just that he made it, but that in the preseason he proved he BELONGS on an NFL roster. This isn’t a team taking a shot on a guy no one else wants (Looking at you Tebow), this is a true athlete taking the Hayne Plane from Australia to America, putting on a helmet, and showing what he can do. I wish him the best and his story is good for football. As for fantasy, I don’t expect him to be relevant any time soon but I am hoping he is, he looks like a return specialist but did show off a bit running out of the backfield. The Hayne Train is Coming, WOOO WOOOO:
Darren McFadden – So ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports all have Run DMc as the Cowboys starting running back heading into week one. While everyone else assumed that was the job for Joseph Randle. Of the two, McFadden is the value in late drafts and is definitely worth a pick-up if he is somehow on waivers in your league.
Joseph Randle – Since the early summer, Randle has taken the biggest fall from grace of any healthy player as far as ADP is concerned. I think the community is right, there are just too many question marks and it looks to be an all-out RBBC in Dallas. Randle is currently being drafted 52 overall and RB21. I still think Randle has the most upside of the Cowboys backfield, but at this ADP I’m passing, he is currently going ahead of guys like Todd Gurley and Arian Foster who I believe have a better value than Randle. If Randle were to slip into the late 7th I would begin to consider him as my RB3.
Arian Foster – Adam Schefter reports that Foster was not an option for the PUP list because he passed the physical. Despite speculation that he could return as early as week 3, Schefter said “Foster could return in 4 weeks but could be out 6 or more weeks. Team unsure.” Again I don’t like the speculation, but given the news, I am still more confident in drafting Foster. Unless I have Le’veon Bell, I would absolutely target Foster in drafts as my 3rd RB. This is a move that could win you a league, as Foster offers top 5 PPG potential when he’s on the field. One last reason that Foster is appealing: The Texans play 14 of their 16 games at 1:00pm this season. That means 14 weeks where you will know Foster’s status when making your line-up, and I think that is not to be ignored.
Devin Funchess – Ron Rivera said Monday that Philly Brown and Ted Ginn are the Panthers week 1 starting WRs but added that “Devin is pushing them (the starters) – as is Cotchery.” Even with his hamstring injury I think most people expected Funchess to just step in and take Kelvin Benjamin’s role in the offense. He is almost identical in size to Benjamin and the Panthers spent a 2nd round pick on him. I guess the missed action from training camp and those preseason games set him further back than people expected. I wouldn’t be overly concerned (unless you were counting on Funchess to be a starter for you all year). He still has breakout potential, but the Carolina WR core is a mess (they just added Kevin Norwood as well), and I’m not sure even Rivera knows what his offense will look like as the season moves on. Don’t panic, I personally think Funchess still easily becomes the team’s top target at WR and I think he can still get over 100 targets this year, you’re just going to have to be patient.
Ted Ginn Jr. – As I mentioned above, Ginn was named a starter for the Panthers. Ginn’s career best season actually came in his one year with the Panthers in 2013. He posted 36 catches for 556 yards and 5 touchdowns. He was the team’s only deep threat and finished 8th in the league that year in yards per catch. I think those numbers are probably his ceiling and don’t expect any kind of consistency for him to be worth rostering at this point unless you are in a league that rewards return yards.
Corey Brown – Philly is actually similar to Ginn, both return specialists and deep threats, I don’t see the Panthers running with this combination for too long, I expect Philly to stay put and Funchess to take Ginn’s place as the starter fairly early in the season. Philly had an awful mistake filled pre-season but I do think he has a chance to post respectable numbers. I would keep an eye on him week 1 in 12+ team leagues and consider adding if the targets are there.
David Cobb – Placed on the IR (can return after 8 games). Good news for Bishop Sankey owners hoping he turns it around, he has a little more leash now as the teams rushing downs back. As for Cobb, he is droppable in leagues without an IR spot.
Terrance West – Acquired by the Titans on the same day as the Cobb news, He could get into the mix as the season rolls on, I don’t think he is fantasy relevant at this point. I expect Dexter McCluster to take most 3rd downs and Sankey to have a good lead on being the lead back.
Isaiah Crowell – Gets a value boost with the departure of West. I think it’s actually a significant boost and right now Crowell is the only healthy RB in Cleveland. Given the Browns tendency to run (5th in the league last year), and an ugly core of players in the passing game, I expect them to continue that trend. They have a strong run blocking line and the fact that the Browns were a league worst in passing TD last year (12 passing TDs compared to 17 rushing TDs), make me confident in getting my hands on Crowell as he is being undervalued currently.
Duke Johnson – In PPR and/or Keeper leagues I also like Duke as well. He is still in concussion protocol and did not practice Monday but could still be available come Sunday. Even if he gets the greenlight, I would only start him in very desperate situations, but I do think he is a great stash and can still provide value as the Browns 3rd down back, and he could prove to be an even bigger value should he take the starting job from Crowell.
Alshon Jeffery – I will admit, as an Alshon owner in a few league, I am starting to get a little concerned at the way the Bears are handling this situation. Monday Jeffery was not at the open practice and apparently has been prohibited by the Bears from talking to the media this week. I think Alshon is still a good receiver, but anyone in late drafts in a toss-up between he and Mike Evans might have an easier decision now (See below). We will obviously know more as the week moves on but Jeffery owners, Eddie Royal owners, and DFS players should pay close attention to this all week.
Mike Evans – So much for an easier decision, Evans too was not at Monday’s practice as he sat out with a hamstring injury. Lovie Smith is taking the same approach as his former team and refusing to disclose any information about the injury until Wednesday when the league requires him to. I am more confident in Evans playing than Alshon, but again we will have to monitor as the week goes on and pay attention to Wednesday’s injury report and more importantly Thursday’s practice.
Jonas Gray – Cut by the Patriots and being trying out by the Titans after clearing waivers. Don’t see a scenario where he becomes fantasy relevant this season but could take some carries in RBBC situations later this year depending if/where he lands.
Dion Lewis – Has supposedly won the Patriots Vereen/Woodhead job. If this is true he would be fantasy relevant in PPR leagues. With LeGarrette Blount out week 1, it will be interesting to see how the Patriots use Lewis (and all of their RBs) on Thursday. While I don’t think he is worth adding right now, I would pay close attention as he might be worth adding after the game (and in leagues with settings that allow it, you may be able to grab him before waivers). If he does get attention in the passing game, I don’t think Blount’s return would hurt him too much, and would be worth considering in PPR leagues. But if I know Belichi—-wait—- no one should be allowed to say that, ever, not even Bill’s wife. He’s on a different level than all of us, bow down.
James Jones – Signed with the Packers and is on the active roster. Listen, if any QB is able to make someone fantasy relevant, it’s Aaron Rodgers. While I don’t think Adams or Cobb is affected by this move, I do think it’s time to put the Jeff Janis/Ty Montgomery hype into a wait-and-see mode. In a deep league, I would add Jones>Montgomery>Janis. I think he could be a decent red zone threat (as he has proven in the past) but isn’t exactly going to eat up yardage or targets from Cobb/Adams.
Breshad Perriman – Reports of a sprained PCL and could be out until October. Not great news for a guy that was on a decent amount of sleeper lists. In keeper leagues or deep leagues, I would hold on, he does have potential to take over the deep threat playmaker role in that offense when he is healthy, but this would be a big setback for any rookie being thrust into the starting WR role.
Kamar Aiken – Becomes an interesting add now with the Perriman news. I think Aiken has playmaker power but will probably be a boom or bust type WR. He could prove to be a good flex play if he carves out a role for himself, I would make a speculative add in deep leagues and see how he plays this weekend. He had the highest AYA of all Ravens receivers last year at 9.9 (1.7 yards higher than anyone else on the team). If he shows up against a solid CB duo in Denver, he could be one of the top waiver adds next week.
Montee Ball – Cut by the Broncos and cleared waivers, move along.
Christine Michael – A fairly young and talented back, Michael is a interesting story. Young and talented are about as far as the praise goes for the former Seahawk. In his two year career he has rushed for as many yards as DeMarco Murray did for the Cowboys in one game (2011 vs. STL), so those jumping saying the Cowboys have found their answer to who replaces Murray might want to hit the brakes. I don’t expect him to be fantasy relevant this year and is only worth stashing in very deep leagues.
Boom Herron – Sad story for Herron, after being put in on a kick return (for what reason?) in the second quarter of the Colts final preseason game, Herron went down after a 21 yard return and grabbed his left shoulder. Herron was visibly angry at the injury and was waived by the Colts three days later. I don’t expect him to play this season.
Josh Robinson – The Colts 6th round pick in this year’s takes over for Herron as the backup to veteran Frank Gore. I think Robinson is worth rostering for Gore owners who have the room, and he should see enough action relieving the 32 year old Gore that we will have somewhat of an idea of what kind of replacement he could be should Gore get hurt. Gore doesn’t get hurt (no significant injuries since tearing his ACL in college 13 years ago). But just in case, you know?
DeVante Parker – Will play in week 1 after coming off of foot surgery. He should already be owned in all leagues, but I think he is being undervalued. Current ADP of WR49, you won’t find anyone else with his talent that could be in line to lead his team in targets at that ADP. I am not sold on Jarvis Landry nor Kenny Stills being able to be a WR1 (I prefer Stills’ value of the two), but I think Parker has the ability to do it and will get a chance to this season.
Todd Gurley – Said Monday that he can “do anything”, but that apparently doesn’t mean play Sunday in Seattle. Coming off of a torn ACL last November, the Rams will definitely be patient with the 10th overall pick from this year’s draft. Fisher has already ruled him out Sunday, and I would be surprised to see him play at all in week 2 either. After that I expect him to be eased into the starter role. If he stays healthy, he has the potential to really thrive as the Rams lead back, and like Arian Foster, is being undervalued due to injury and is the type of guy that could win you a league by showing up big for you late in the season, especially fantasy playoffs.