Each Monday, Aaron Larson (@aalarson) and Michael Stephenson (@DFF_MSte) examine the hottest NFL rumors and offer their insights as to any potential fantasy football implications they might have. So, grab your beverage or snack of choice and get ready to start the week off with some good old-fashioned fantasy football speculation.
Rumor: The Browns and Dez Bryant have mutual interest and are discussing a one-year contract.
The Dez Bryant story has been a roller coaster this offseason. Putting his Twitter tirades aside, he’s a physical freak that still won’t turn 30 until November. Cleveland is loaded at the receiver position with Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry, so the addition of Dez would only make it even more difficult to predict how the targets shake out for the Browns in 2018.
Rumor: Danny Amendola has been getting the first-team reps at slot receiver thus far in training camp.
When Jarvis Landry was traded, he took an astounding 161 targets with him. While it is absurd to think Amendola would see the same target share, whoever gets the majority of work in the slot for Miami should be a viable fantasy option. At this point, it seems like Amendola has the lead on fellow free-agent acquisition Albert Wilson for snaps out of the slot.
Rumor: Deon Cain is “opening eyes” in Colts training camp.
T.Y. Hilton is the clear number one wideout in Indianapolis, but after him, it is an open competition with the likes of Chester Rogers, free-agent addition Ryan Grant, and rookies Deon Cain and Daurice Fountain. Cain has spent time working with Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss this offseason. If he can catch the eye of coach Frank Reich and quarterback Andrew Luck, Cain is the kind of late round sleeper pick that can make a significant impact on your fantasy roster.
Rumor: Chris Carson is opening camp as Seattle’s number one running back.
When the Seahawks drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round everybody assumed he would be the lead back in 2018. While this ultimately may still be the case, second-year back Chris Carson appears to be getting the first crack at being the lead back for new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. Schottenheimer historically has an affinity for running the ball as much as possible, If Carson performs well enough to hang on to the job, he has the potential to perform as an RB1 for fantasy football purposes.
Rumor: Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson says Doug Martin “jumped out” during their offseason program.
Marshawn Lynch is the assumed workhorse back in Oakland, but at 29 Martin is three years younger than Beast Mode. Martin has had some monstrous fantasy seasons, he was a top-four fantasy running back in 2012 and 2015, but it’s tough to consider him more than a high upside handcuff at this point, despite all the praise he’s receiving.
Rumor: Texan placed D’Onta Foreman on PUP list and are unsure if he’ll be ready by the start of the regular season.
Foreman is recovering from the torn Achilles tendon he suffered in 2017, and there are major doubts that he will be available to begin the 2018 season. If he is unable to go, all signs point towards Lamar Miller to receive the lion’s share of work at running back for the potentially explosive Texans offense. Miller is still only 27 years old and could be a tremendous value with his current ADP putting him squarely in the fourth round in standard leagues and fifth round in PPR formats.
Rumor: Jordan Reed feels “like a 360 turnaround” at Washington’s training camp.
Despite the fact that a 360 would bring Reed right back to the same position, it’s safe to assume he is trying to convey that he feels much better headed in the 2018 season. Reed has shown the ability to be a top-flight fantasy tight end but has never played more than 14 games in a season. He’s worth drafting, but temper your expectations and be ready to stream if Reed finds himself injured again in 2018.
Rumor: Despite starting the season on the PUP list, Tyler Eifert will be fine and ready for the season.
Eifert has had an injury-plagued career so far. His best season came in 2015 when he caught an impressive 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He only played eight games in 2016 and just two in 2017, so he has rightly earned the label of being injury prone. Eifert is a perfect example of high risk, high reward.
Rumor: Antonio Gates’ agent is actively negotiating with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Gates’ return has been rumored ever since Hunter Henry went down for the season with a torn ACL early in OTAs. At 38 years old Gates probably has a pretty low ceiling, but the veteran tight end has a history of great chemistry with quarterback Philip Rivers, so he could once again be a big red zone target for the Chargers.
Rumor: Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh says Lamar Jackson will play “one way or another”
All reports point to Joe Flacco looking great in camp and holding down the starting job, but Lamar Jackson makes for a very interesting player if the Ravens truly incorporate his as an all-around weapon à la the early years of Kordell “Slash” Stewart in Pittsburgh. Jackson might not make sense in most redraft formats at the quarterback position, but he’s a player to keep an eye on.