Training Camp Notes: July 28th
July 29, 2016 | Justin Edwards
I know why you’re here. You know why you’re here. Training Camps have (mostly) opened and it’s a difficult process, trying to keep up on 32 teams and 53-man rosters. That’s literally 1,696 players! I know that because my computer is equipped with a calculator! And that’s not even including PUP lists and free agents! Also, exclamation points!! Don’t you worry your pretty and/or ugly little head, me and my comrades will be doing our best to keep you up to date on the more interesting happenings. Such as:
Trying to tie up some tight end loose ends
After a forgettable age-30 final full year as a San Francisco 49er, Vernon Davis split time between his former team and the Denver Broncos last season with very ‘meh’ results. After some uninspiring play and mind boggling miscues Denver let him walk and he signed with his hometown team in Washington, D.C. While being home may give him or yourself some warm fuzzies, he’s going to have to prove that he can be useful for a team that has an extremely efficient (if oft-injured) pass catching tight end in Jordan Reed. Making matters more difficult is the presence of Niles Paul, who is going into his fifth season in Washington and had actually beat out Reed as the starter last offseason before he lost his season due to injury. Davis is fighting an uphill battle towards fantasy relevance.
Eric Ebron has a chance to move into more relevance with target hog and red zone mainstay Calvin Johnson hanging up the cleats. He would’ve been far and away the largest immediate receiving option for Matthew Stafford with Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Theo Riddick theoretically being the only guys in front of him. The signing of Anquan Boldin could eat into his production more than any other pass catcher; the large bodied Boldin was 11th in RZ targets last year despite playing on a 49ers team that had a terrible time moving the ball. Ebron should still beat his career high in targets (70) and receptions (47) but his ceiling just got lowered a little bit. We’ll see if he can truly be the very best.
A couple of guys we would love to see at full health with new, or, relatively new teams are Ladarius Green and Jimmy Graham. Neither will be available for their teams’ camp opening. In Green’s case, he is recovering from a planned surgery and the team had planned on him missing offseason time, though there isn’t a timetable for a return just yet which is disheartening because we’d love to see him get assimilated with Ben Roethlisberger. There isn’t much question that the athletic big man could fill the shoes of Heath Miller and possibly post Gatesian type numbers now that he is finally a no.1 TE. Jimmy Graham is still set to return by the season opener but Seattle has been saying the same stock answer for months now.
All arrows point towards Tevin Coleman getting the ball much more in the 2016 version of the Atlanta Falcons offense. Much of that will have to do with health – playing 16 games is going to net you more volume than 12 – and maybe a not so small amount of that has to do with Devonta Freeman‘s paltry 3.07 YPC in the final 7 games of the year. Tevin may even be involved in special teams as a kick returner, an idea floated around about explosive NFC counterpart John Brown. While watching Coleman recover kickoffs and Brown recover punts should be pretty exciting, it’s also an additional risk of injury. There is sneaky upside to special teams’ TDs if your league counts them.
Chris Thompson is at 100% and has been pegged by Jay Gruden as their third down back. Although they may ‘sign a veteran running back‘ there simply isn’t all that much out there for them to choose from outside of names like Reggie Bush, Joique Bell, Toby Gerhart and Ahmad Bradshaw. Someone might be signed just to keep some competition with Matt Jones, and if that’s the case Thompson should be free to catch passes and contribute to our PPR teams.
Josh Doctson‘s Achilles injury is still lingering and will likely miss important early camp time getting used to the offense. But don’t worry. He “knows his body“. Any prolonged time would likely put him squarely behind DJax-Garcon-Crowder-Reed for targets while he gets assimilated to Kirk Cousins and his new NFL offense.
-Also on the rookie injury train, Kenneth Dixon suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain Thursday morning. His time on the sideline may help to slightly clear up a murky Baltimore Ravens backfield that would presumably feature incumbent Justin Forsett and 2015 rookie contributor Buck Allen