Offseason Extra: Takes on all 32 teams
Owners would be hard pressed to keep up with everything going on this offseason. Our Jamey Eisenberg shares his observations on every team and what it may mean for owners on Draft Day 2013.
Every NFL offseason has its own unique twist, and this year isn't any different. We've had significant injuries, plenty of players changing teams and lots of storylines to follow.
For example, Wes Welker surprised us all by leaving Tom Brady for Peyton Manning. Robert Griffin II has been quoted as much as his son, Robert Griffin III, about the latter's knee injury. And we've had some unfortunate suspensions with Justin Blackmon, Josh Gordon and Isaiah Pead.
Training camp opens for most teams at the end of July, which means your Fantasy draft is just around the corner. With that in mind, we wanted to catch you up on a lot of the offseason news for every team with the majority of prominent players.
Consider this is a glimpse at some of the happenings from this offseason in case you weren't paying attention.
Buffalo: C.J. Spiller will start for the Bills, which means a bump in carries, which means a bump in Fantasy value, which could make him a Top 5 Fantasy running back. Fred Jackson is now a forgotten man. ... Steve Johnson should again be the best receiver in Buffalo, but he won't be featured as much as in previous years under new coach Doug Marrone. And with a bad back -- he suffered a fractured vertebrae this offseason -- he's just a No. 3 receiver coming into the year. ... The Bills need to start E.J. Manuel if they want a chance to win. Kevin Kolb just isn't going to cut it.
Miami: Lamar Miller's goal this season is 1,500 rushing yards, and we're buying in. He's looking great as a No. 2 running back in Round 4. ... That said, put Mike Gillislee on your sleeper list. The rookie running back should end up No. 2 on the depth chart behind Miller, and you never know how this backfield will shake out, with Daniel Thomas also in the mix. I'd use a late-round flier on Gillislee. ... Ryan Tannehill is another sleeper candidate in Miami. He got new weapons in Mike Wallace, Dustin Keller and Brandon Gibson, and the upgrades should help him have a standout sophomore campaign.
New England: The once dominant passing game for the Patriots is in serious trouble. Tom Brady has lost four of his Top 5 targets as Welker, Brandon Lloyd and Danny Woodhead have moved on, and Aaron Hernandez was released following his arrest in the investigation of a homicide. Rob Gronkowski might also miss regular-season games because of back surgery in June, but he remains a No. 1 Fantasy tight end unless he suffers a setback heading into training camp. ... As for Brady, he's no longer considered a Top 5 quarterback coming into the season, but he's still a No. 1 option. You can draft him in Round 5 in standard leagues, and he should post quality stats. ... The new receiving corps is now led by Danny Amendola, who will catch 100 passes this season if healthy. Welker averaged 112 catches the past six seasons with the Patriots, and Amendola will get most of those targets. Also, put rookie receiver Aaron Dobson on your sleeper list, and Jake Ballard, the former Giants tight end who is coming off a year-long absence from a torn ACL, will get a bump depending on what happens with Gronkowski. ... A big sleeper for me is Shane Vereen, who should help replace Woodhead. I'm all in on Vereen with a Round 7 pick in standard leagues and Round 6 in PPR formats. Stevan Ridley is still the top rushing option, but those dump-off passes will now go in Vereen's direction.
New York Jets: Chris Ivory has a lot of upside and is worth drafting as a low-end No. 2 running back in standard leagues in Round 5. But he has 18 receptions through three years in college at Washington State and with New Orleans. He better learn how to catch because he's going to face eight men in the box on every play ... Mike Goodson is probably not going to be a keynote speaker any time soon. I'm not drafting him even if he avoids a suspension. ... Does it matter who starts at quarterback this year? Are you drafting either Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith? Also, no owner can trust Santonio Holmes or any other Jets receiver. This has become a Fantasy wasteland for the passing game.
Baltimore: Bernard Pierce has upside, but people are forgetting about Ray Rice. Did I miss something here? Rice has put in a full workload this offseason, and remains a Top 8 overall selection in all leagues. ... The Joe Flacco from the postseason is not going to be the Flacco you see in the regular season. He's still a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, especially with the loss of Anquan Boldin. ... Will Jacoby Jones have more success on Dancing With the Stars or in Fantasy leagues this season? If he's No. 2 on the depth chart, he could be a sleeper in deeper leagues.
Cincinnati: Pass on BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Draft Day and wait for Giovanni Bernard. The production might be the same, but Bernard clearly has more upside. For now, Green-Ellis is the starter, but it's only a matter of time before talent wins out. ... Tyler Eifert has made Jermaine Gresham irrelevant, which is disappointing. Now, you can't trust either tight end coming into the season. ... A.J. Green won't be a third-year breakout, but he can still be a third-year stud. Green could challenge Calvin Johnson for the No. 1 receiver spot, but Andy Dalton will likely keep Green from reaching his full potential.
Cleveland: Trent Richardson has some people thinking he's injury prone. He had the knee and rib injuries last year and missed most of the offseason work with a strained muscle behind his right shin. But he still played 15 games last year and gets a boost with the addition of coach Rob Chudzinski and offensive coordinator Norv Turner. We're still taking Richardson as a Top 10 overall pick. ... Gordon is suspended for the first two games of the season for a failed drug test. While that hurts, he is still a good value pick in Round 7 as a No. 3 receiver. ... Jordan Cameron is another Browns player having a bad offseason with two injuries (hamstring and groin). Still, put him on your sleeper list because he could be a pleasant surprise this season under Chudzinski and Turner.
Pittsburgh: Le'Veon Bell might not be Doug Martin or Richardson, but he still could be a productive rookie rusher just based on opportunity. The Steelers might use him on all three downs. ... Forget Mike Wallace, the Steelers will be fine with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Target both if you can (Brown in Round 6, Sanders with a late-round pick). ... We don't like Ben Roethlisberger undergoing minor knee surgery in June. But hopefully he gets his injuries out of the way now instead of when he's usually beat up in the middle of the season. He's still a quality No. 2 Fantasy quarterback.
Houston: Arian Foster might breakdown this year after a whopping 405 carries last season, including the playoffs. But we're glad he hurt his calf in May and not August. He's still No. 2 on my draft board ... That said, I'm still taking a flier on Ben Tate in Round 8. You never know. ... DeAndre Hopkins could easily be the best rookie receiver this year. The Texans have waited 10 years to find a talented receiver opposite Andre Johnson, and Hopkins has a big role waiting for him in 2013.
Indianapolis: T.Y. Hilton is one of my favorite breakout candidates this year. Donnie Avery is gone, so we no longer have to worry about Hilton coming off the field. An increase in targets is a certainty, and his production should turn upward. He's a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside. ... Look for new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton to help Andrew Luck's accuracy. Luck completed just 54.1 percent of his passes last year, but he should be around 60 percent this season, which will help his stats overall. ... Hamilton is also a boost for Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener since the former Stanford coordinator was fond of his tight ends. Maybe Fleener can rebound after a nonexistent rookie season.
Jacksonville: I have to see Maurice Jones-Drew in pads and on the field in training camp before I invest a Top 20 pick on him. I'd rather be surprised with Jones-Drew coming off last year's Lisfranc injury than what I expect, which is disappointment. ... Cecil Shorts will benefit with Justin Blackmon's four-game suspension. That's more targets for Shorts, who is already the No. 1 option in the passing game and entering his third year. We just hope he can avoid any concussions, which plagued him last season. ... We also hope that Blaine Gabbert, the expected starter, took notes from Chad Henne last year and focuses on Shorts as much as possible. Shorts had more targets per game from Henne than he did from Gabbert, even though Henne didn't take over as the starter until Week 12.
Tennessee: It's all on Chris Johnson now. Upgraded offensive line. Motivation from a proven backup in Shonn Greene. Two straight down seasons. If he fails now there's no one to blame but himself, but he's a good investment in Round 2. ... Kenny Britt, for once, is having a good offseason. I'm all in with a mid-round pick since he's healthy and in a contract year. ... Justin Hunter did not impress his coaching staff by missing all of the offseason workouts with a hamstring injury. He needs a strong preseason to earn playing time, but there's upside there based on his talent. He just needs to prove himself when it matters.
Denver: We're glad the Broncos released Willis McGahee in June so we avoided any headaches with the backfield. Montee Ball should be the best rookie running back this year, and Ronnie Hillman looks like a potential flex option in PPR leagues. Knowshon Moreno is just an insurance policy, but his pass-blocking skills may get him on the field more than expected. ... Wes Welker landing in Denver is obviously good for the Broncos and Peyton Manning. But gone are the 100-plus catch seasons. It won't happen as long as Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are healthy. Still, target Welker in Round 3 in PPR formats because he's still going to catch at least 85 passes, and his red-zone work could improve. ... Don't be afraid of Decker with the Welker addition. Remember, he led the Broncos in touchdowns last season with 13, and Manning knows how to spread the wealth.
Kansas City: Andy Reid is going to make Jamaal Charles into a star. He could easily be the No. 1 running back in all Fantasy leagues this season. I'm having a hard time keeping Charles out of my Top 3 overall picks. ... Dwayne Bowe is saying all the right things this offseason. We just have to hope Alex Smith is the guy who can get him the ball. Bowe won't do what he said in leading the NFL in receptions and touchdowns, not while playing for Reid anyway. But he will rebound to be a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver worth a pick in Round 4 or 5.
Oakland: Darren McFadden is back in an offense he likes with the zone-blocking system gone. If he can stay healthy he can be a Top 10 Fantasy running back. I can't believe I'm falling for this again, but I still like the upside here. The difference is you can get McFadden in Round 3 or even Round 4 depending on how far he falls. ... The Raiders offense took a step back with the loss of Carson Palmer, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Brandon Myers. Matt Flynn, really? ... Denarius Moore doesn't get enough respect from Fantasy owners. He's the only target in this passing game now.
San Diego: The Chargers didn't add anyone to challenge Ryan Mathews since Woodhead is a third-down back. Like McFadden, if Mathews can stay healthy he could surprise you, and he presents good value with a pick in Round 5. ... Philip Rivers is rejuvenated with the new coaching staff under Mike McCoy. If McCoy can fix the offensive line for the Chargers, Rivers will bounce back. But he's just a No. 2 quarterback this year. ... Keenan Allen might not be ready for the start of the season with his injured knee. Look for Vincent Brown to be the breakout receiver for the Chargers this year.
Dallas: Tony Romo is done playing golf, Dez Bryant is done getting in trouble and DeMarco Murray is done getting hurt. Well, two out of three isn't bad. Murray missed time this offseason with hamstring trouble, but we hope that's his only injury this year. Consider him a No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 2. ... No one wants Romo as their starting quarterback. Yet he has at least 4,100 passing yards in four of the past six seasons and at least 26 touchdowns five times over that span. I'll take him if he falls to Round 7 as my starter. ... Bryant had 50 receptions for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns from Week 10 on last season. If that guy shows up from Week 1, he'll be the No. 1 Fantasy receiver without a doubt.
New York Giants: Hakeem Nicks missed OTA workouts presumably because of his contract, and Victor Cruz could be a holdout heading into training camp for the same reason. Eli Manning needs those two guys if he wants to have a bounce-back campaign. ... One benefit with Nicks and Cruz being out is Rueben Randle getting increased reps. Put him on your sleeper list this year. ... David Wilson and Andre Brown are going to share touches this season, but the Giants are going to give Wilson every chance to be a star. He might not score many touchdowns because of Brown, but Wilson shapes up as a No. 2 running back with upside.
Philadelphia: It's all about Chip Kelly heading into training camp and what his offense will look like. The key is who the quarterback will be, as Michael Vick and Nick Foles split snaps during offseason workouts. Kelly should just name Vick the starter now and avoid any headaches. And Vick shapes up as a No. 2 Fantasy option with a late-round pick because, repeat it with me, if he stays healthy he should post quality stats. ... Jeremy Maclin is in a contract year. Look for him to play big compared to his teammate DeSean Jackson, who tried to avoid injury in his contract season in 2011. ... We hope James Casey (knee) is healthy for training camp because he could be a sleeper tight end this year.
Washington: If you want to know anything about Griffin's knee just ask his dad, who has been very forthcoming about his son's recovery. In all seriousness, it looks like Griffin is on pace for the start of training camp, which is a great sign. He'll be a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback again, but take a solid No. 2 guy just in case he falters. ... Pierre Garcon was banged up this offseason with a shoulder injury, and his toe problem from last year hasn't gone away yet. But he doesn't plan on missing any time, and he remains a No. 2 Fantasy receiver worth a pick in Round 6. ... Coach Mike Shanahan said he wants Alfred Morris more involved in the passing game. He had 1,613 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last year with just 11 catches for 77 yards. A boost in receptions would make Morris a Top 5 running back once again.
Chicago: The Bears did two things to get Fantasy owners excited: They got an offensive-minded coach in Marc Trestman and beefed up the offensive line. That should only help Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett produce. ... Forte has gone under the radar this offseason, but he's a borderline No. 1 running back again this year. Look for him in the beginning of Round 2 in all leagues. ... Bennett's move to Chicago is a positive one. He had a career season in 2012 with Manning and the Giants, but the Bears might lean on him even more. He's a borderline Top 10 tight end this year, and the good thing is you can draft him late.
Detroit: Coach Jim Schwartz said Reggie Bush could catch 80 passes this year, which caught everyone's attention. He's going to be what they hoped Jahvid Best could have been before concussions ruined his career. Bush is a Top 15 running back in standard leagues and a potential Top 10 option in PPR formats. ... Matthew Stafford lost six potential touchdowns last year when Calvin Johnson was stopped on the 1-yard line. That likely won't happen again. Stafford should throw more than any other quarterback again this season, and he's a great option to wait on in Round 6. ... Ryan Broyles (knee) appears healthy. Put him on your sleeper list.
Green Bay: Randall Cobb is a third-year breakout waiting to happen. Not only did he play well as a sophomore, but Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy said he could catch 100 passes this year. He's the Packers receiver you want on your team. ... But wait, there's more. Before Jordy Nelson started dealing with hamstring and ankle problems last year in Week 8 he was on pace for 91 catches, 1,216 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's capable of that again this year and will return as a No. 1 Fantasy receiver. All the Packers receivers benefit with Greg Jennings gone. ... Eddie Lacy was reportedly overweight this offseason. He needs to show up in top shape for training camp otherwise he could get passed over by Johnathan Franklin, Alex Green or DuJuan Harris. But Lacy is likely the Green Bay running back to target this year, and he's a low-end No. 2 running back worth drafting in Round 6 as it stands right now.
Minnesota: Adrian Peterson had sports hernia surgery in February but was fine by the time the Vikings started working out in May. We all remember how Peterson responded from a surgical procedure last year, right? Just saying. ... Jennings missed some practice time this offseason with an ankle injury but was eventually fine. Still, it's not a good sign for someone who's been hampered with knee and groin problems the past two seasons. ... Rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson's impact this season might be more as a return man than as a receiver. He's raw but talented. Owners in standard leagues might take a wait-and-see approach, but in dynasty leagues he's worth a first-round pick because eventually he should be special.
Atlanta: Steven Jackson probably has one big year left for his career, and it should be 2013. Here's a stat to hope for with Jackson: In his five seasons with the Falcons, Michael Turner had at least 10 touchdowns every year with 51 total scores over that span. During that same time period, Jackson scored 28 touchdowns with the Rams. The boost in touchdowns -- plus the expected increase in receptions -- has Jackson's value hovering around the end of Round 1. ... I'm never doubting Tony Gonzalez again. He was the No. 3 Fantasy tight end last year, and he should be a Top 5 option again this year. Even at 37, he will continue to dominate. ... Julio Jones is entering his third season in the NFL. A monster season could follow, and we love watching him play.
Carolina: The worst offseason move: the Panthers keeping DeAngelo Williams. Do they dislike Jonathan Stewart that much? It could be his nagging ankles, which could keep him out to start training camp. ... Cam Newton didn't have consecutive games with 20 Fantasy points last year until Weeks 11 and 12. We're expecting a much better start this year. ... Steve Smith wants to play another three or four years, which is great even though he's 34 this season. We'd settle for one great year, and he's capable of playing at a high level. Since Newton came to Carolina, Smith has 152 catches for 2,568 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's a Top 20 Fantasy receiver each of the past two seasons, and he's someone who will fall to you in Round 6.
New Orleans: Mark Ingram has received plenty of praise this offseason, but Pierre Thomas worked with the starting group in minicamp. Both will play a prominent role, but the smart move might be passing on Ingram and waiting for Thomas with a late-round pick. ... Put Joe Morgan on your sleeper list. He's replacing Devery Henderson, and Drew Brees is going to love his deep speed. ... Jimmy Graham (wrist) is healthy and motivated for a new contract. He's also awesome. That is all.
Tampa Bay: Josh Freeman's job security is shaky, but he's not being benched this season with Dan Orlovsky and rookie Mike Glennon the backup options. Still, Freeman needs to play better to guarantee his future. ... Doug Martin has zero competition for carries and should rarely come off the field. He's a lock as a Top 5 overall pick. ... The Bucs are excited about Kevin Ogletree this offseason, and he could be their No. 3 receiver in a competition with Tiquan Underwood. That should tell you all you need to know about their receiver depth behind Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams.
Arizona: Larry Fitzgerald is thrilled to have Carson Palmer throwing him passes, but he should be downright giddy to have Bruce Arians as his coach. The latter rejuvenated Reggie Wayne as the offensive coordinator in Indianapolis last season, and Arians will help Fitzgerald return as a Top 10 Fantasy receiver this year. He's worth a third-round pick. ... Arians favors one running back -- not a committee -- but he may not have a choice given his stable of backs with Rashard Mendenhall, Ryan Williams, Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor. Mendenhall has the most upside as a one-year rental, and he's worth drafting in Round 6 as a No. 3 option. ... Sticking with the Colts' comparison, consider Michael Floyd this year's Hilton. He's a definite late-round flier in all leagues.
St. Louis: And the starting running back for the Rams this season will be? We'd love to give you an answer now, but it's anyone's guess heading into training camp. We know it won't be Pead in Week 1 since he's suspended, but Pead, Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson are all in the mix for touches throughout the year. My ranking is Stacy, Richardson and Pead, but I'd avoid this backfield if you can. ... I continue to move Tavon Austin up my rank list, and I gamble on him in almost every draft. If he can stay healthy he should put up eye-popping stats in what should be a fun offense to watch. ... If you like waiting on tight ends then Jared Cook is your guy. He's a breakout tight end this year.
San Francisco: The Michael Crabtree (Achilles) injury was tough because he was set up for a big season thanks to Colin Kaepernick. Now, Crabtree is out until at least November, but hopefully he can help Fantasy owners when he returns. Look for owners to make a mad dash to the waiver wire once he starts practicing again. ... Vernon Davis benefits the most with Crabtree out. A bust last year, Davis has the chance to return as a Top 10 tight end. We'd draft him in Round 7. ... Kaepernick loses with the Crabtree injury, but he'll still help Fantasy owners with his running ability. He's just outside my Top 10 quarterbacks, and he'll fall to No. 12 if Griffin shows up to training camp on time. I'd be OK if Kaepernick was the quarterback I'd have to settle for, but I'm not reaching for him in any leagues.
Seattle: Percy Harvin's role with the Seahawks is slated to be in the backfield, as a slot receiver, as an outside receiver and on kick returns. He might even be the water boy. The Seahawks want to put the ball in Harvin's hands -- in a system he's familiar with after being reunited with former Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell -- and he remains a Top 10 Fantasy receiver. ... Once Russell Wilson got going last year he didn't slow down with at least 20 Fantasy points in seven of his final eight games. He could definitely pick up where he left off, especially with Harvin now in the mix, and he is a Top 10 quarterback coming into the season. I'd still take a quality backup just in case he struggles, but he's a great quarterback to wait on in Round 7. ... We're still waiting to find out if Marshawn Lynch will face any suspension from last year's DUI, and hopefully we'll get an answer in July. Fantasy owners will have to remain patient and hope he doesn't miss any time. If he's scheduled to play 16 games then he's the No. 3 running back in standard leagues and No. 9 in PPR formats. If he does get suspended then his value obviously drops, but he's still a first-round pick in most standard formats.
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