August 11th Training Camp Fantasy Notes
August 11, 2015 | Ian Goldsmith
You see, folks…this is why we can’t have nice things. It is also why – as much as I love them – kickers (outside of Stephen Gostkowski because, let’s be honest, Gostkowski is awesome) should never be drafted before the past couple of rounds. Yes, that’s right….Shaun Suisham – THE Shaun Suisham, a.k.a The Steeler-Toed Boot, a.k.a the NFL’s 15th most accurate field goal kicker in history (it’s true!) – has torn his ACL and will miss the 2015 season. According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers will try out such Metatarsal Marauders as Billy Cundiff, Shayne Graham and Jay Feeley, amongst others. I think Graham makes the most sense. The Steelers are a high-flying offense that want to score – and are very capable of scoring – 30 points per game. They have the luxury of favoring accuracy over distance. While Graham has only hit 14/29 from beyond 50+ his entire career, he has hit an incredible 89.36% of kicks from within that distance and is, amazingly, the 8th most accurate kicker in NFL history.
After yet another 1,000 receiving season, potential future HOFer Steve Smith has announced his retirement from the National Football League. The long time Panther had 30 more receptions (79) than his nearest teammate last season (Torrey Smith). Finishing as a top-20 WR in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, the Ravens will look to lean on the veteran one last time as they make a push towards the playoffs. Smith has low-end WR2/high-end WR3 potential in this, his final season.
According to Pro Football Talk, real time analytics are still a ways away from (legally) being used by coaches during game situations. With the move in many sports towards data over “gut feel”, it is an inevitability that the NFL moves toward a system that allows coaches and their staffs to use computers to analyze to-the-minute statistics….so why not yet? I find it an extremely odd limitation from the head office. Perhaps they don’t want to cater to the former economics major, Sith Lord Belichick. Yo, Goodell……stop holding onto paper spreadsheets like you hold onto (insert consussion-related metaphor here).
The Cleveland Browns got a bit of a scare when their Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas left practice with an apparent leg injury on Monday. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that the injury is not believed to be serious, a fact supported by the Browns’ decision to not get JT an MRI. Thomas has never missed a snap in his career, a fact that needs to ring true in 2015 if the Browns have any shot at reaching the playoffs.
Kevin White, whom I touched on briefly last week, has apparently make some progress in his recovery from a shin injury. The rookie was seen doing some running, which is a big step forward and should instill in him some confidence as he works toward getting back on the field. It’s obviously not unheard of for rookies to sit out for a while and then dominate. Odell Beckham Jr. put on a 12 game stretch for the ages after sitting out weeks 1-4 in 2014. White is electric, but don’t expect OBJ numbers in Chicago this year. With John Fox at the helm, I’m personally not as optimistic as some are on the former Mountaineer. While I’ve seen predictions of 70+ catches for 1100-1200 yards, I think a more realistic 50-60 catches for 800-900 yards is in store. I’d love to be proven wrong, however.