News and Notes: Gio Will Be Hue-g in 2014
May 26, 2014 | Chet
Bengals running back coach Kyle Caskey says they plan on lining second year back Giovani Bernard all over the field. He mentioned Reggie Bush as a player Bernard is comparable to as a receiving threat. As always we have to take much coach-speak this time of year with a whole salt mine, but we know Bernard will get plenty of work and with new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson in town, there will be plenty of work to go around. In 2010 his Raiders team was fifth in running back receiving targets and second in total rushing yards. Jackson is going to change this offense quite a bit and that is good news for Gio.
When you look at the money situation for the Seahawks and Marshawn Lynch, the writing is starting to appear on the wall for Lynch to go bye-bye in 2015. That will open the door for Christine Michael who has elite upside, especially with that defense keeping games close no matter what. Lynch has 1,752 rushing attempts under his belt and we know he’s not someone to shy away from contact. I’m not one to write-off someone just because they have x number of carries, but you do have to look ahead instead of back. If you are grabbing Lynch early, Michael is almost a must handcuff this season and you know what to do in dynasty leagues.
The Steelers’ passing game has some upside this season if Markus Wheaton can stay healthy and secure the #2 receiver spot like he is projected to do. Add in Antonio Brown on the other side, Lance Moore in the slot and Le’Veon Bell‘s nice hands out of the backfield and you have a recipe for success. It could come together well for Ben Roethlisberger‘s fantasy prospects this year, especially if the defense remains on the wrong end of the points allowed stat. Roethlisberger was a top-10 fantasy quarterback last season and didn’t have Bell, Moore, or Wheaton for some or all of those games. His health really will continue to be the main concern, but last season he remained healthy while throwing a career high attempts, completions, and his second most yards and touchdowns ever.
Patriots’ beat reporter Mike Reiss believes Shane Vereen could see the bulk of the running back work this season. “Bulk” for the Patriots doesn’t mean 80% of the snaps, but closer to 50%, but that still puts him in line for a lot of work in a potent, fast-paced offense. Last season LeGarrette Blount cut into the running back snaps quite a bit while Stevan Ridley could never quite get out of the dog house for longer than it takes to fumble away the doghouse key (Doghouses with keys just don’t sound right). With Blount gone there will be some more plays to be had and Vereen will likely be the most trusted back going into the season. He’ll be more valuable in PPR, but could move his way up in non-PPR if he can secure over half of the snaps.
Josh McCown will be the Buccaneers’ starting quarterback this season barring any unforeseen circumstances. It’s really tough to put much of a positive spin on this offense with McCown at the helm. Yes, he played well for the Bears and if he had become the Bears’ starter I’d be on board, but he didn’t and without QB whisperer Marc Trestman. I’m skeptical at best that he can even sniff his production from last season. I think he’s bad news for that whole offense and Lovie Smith doesn’t really scream offense.
All the preseason love I and others had for the possibilities for the Arizona Cardinals’ offense under Bruce Arians in the desert probably should just be copy and pasted into this year. In the first half of the 2013 season the Cardinals ranked 15th in total passing yards, but in the second half of the season they ranked 5th. their development was evident in the passing game as the season went on and now they’ll have Michael Floyd on the cusp of his prime years. I’m not going out to draft Carson Palmer as my starter, especially with four matchups against the 49ers and Seahawks, but I’d be happy with him as a backup and Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd should get plenty of targets and both should be able to hold onto fantasy relevance.
Joique Bell is still not able to practice with a lingering knee issue that the team would like to get 100% healthy before camp. They did just sign him to a three-year deal, so the team must not be too concerned about the knee. The Lions are doing their best to become the New Orleans Saints with Reggie Bush and now new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi in the fold. The New Orleans offense allowed for a ton of running back touches and that ups the upside of Bell even further than his nice 2013 where he finished in the Top-20 in standard leagues and Top-15 in PPR.
Ryan Broyles participated in OTAs this week and should be fully recovered for training camp. Well, as fully recovered as Broyles can be I suppose. I loved Broyles going into last season and he ripped my heart asunder. (Spelling Tip: if you are having trouble spelling asunder, just remember that assunder would just be too vulgar for fantasy sports blogging) I of course can’t recommend Broyles this season after multiple knee injuries and Golden Tate signing, but I’ll be rooting for him to win the WR3 position. I think he deserves a chance at a little bit of an NFL career at least.
With Steve Johnson heading off to put some flowers in his hair it looks like Robert Woods will take over in the slot and become the target maven of Buffalo. I do believe that is an official city title, but instead of an over sized key to the city they give you a shirt with a big target on it and drop you off in the middle of the Ontario woodlands. So if he makes it through that, he’ll have some decent PPR appeal as Sammy Watkins gets his NFL legs under him.