Dynasty Football Factory

Rumor Mill Recap 1.0 (6/18 -7/1)

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 Falcons are uneasy that Julio Jones is working out with Terrell Owens instead of attending Atlanta’s OTAs. Jones is unhappy with his current contract and has already come out and stated he’ll be skipping mandatory minicamp. His Falcon teammates, coaches, and management are all saying the right things and are confident that a deal will get done before minicamp, but until it does Jones won’t be present at team activities.

Fantasy Fallout:

Jones is one of the best receivers in the league and is in the midst of his prime receiving years. He has topped 1,400 receiving yards in four consecutive seasons, and his three touchdowns in 2017 can be considered a low-end outlier. Jones has a great connection with Matt Ryan, having played together for his entire career. Terrell Owens may not be the best teammate, but he always knew how to put up substantial fantasy football numbers. The contract situation may scare off other fantasy owners and cause his ADP to drop, only adding to his fantasy value.

Rumor:

Eric Ebron excelled during the Colts’ offseason workouts. Frank Reich, the Colts new offensive-minded head coach, praised Ebron’s football intelligence and versatility. He was spotted lining up all over the offensive formations during minicamp, including in-line, in the slot, and split out wide.

Fantasy Fallout:

Ebron has been oozing with potential ever since he was drafted number ten overall by the Lions in the 2014 draft. While he was never able to maintain any consistency in Detroit, a fresh start in Indianapolis could be precisely what Ebron needs to break out. He’s still likely to split time with incumbent tight end Jack Doyle, but there is potential for Frank Reich’s offense and a healthy Andrew Luck to put up more than enough fantasy points to go around. Ebron is the perfect tight end candidate to take a flyer on late in the draft that could finish the season as a top-12 tight end.

Rumor:

Mike McCarthy says that the Packers will fully employ a running back by committee approach in 2018. Green Bay plans to roll with a three-headed monster of Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, and Aaron Jones in the backfield. Receiver-turned-running-back Montgomery was the lead back in 2017 until he was injured. Second-year backs Williams and Jones each performed well when given a chance as the lead back. Jones averaged 14.8 PPR points in weeks four through seven, while Williams averaged nearly 19 PPR points in weeks nine through fourteen.

Fantasy Fallout:

At this point, you may as well draw names out of a hat to determine which Green Bay running back to draft. Montgomery may prove to be the best value pick. His ADP currently has him going in the ninth round of PPR drafts, and he will likely see plenty of receiving options as the third down back in an Aaron Rodger’s led offense. Williams and Jones can be considered late round boom or bust draft options.

Rumor:

Baker Mayfield is not ready to compete for the starting job in Cleveland. After the Browns’ OTAs and minicamps, reports are the Tyrod Taylor is head-and-shoulders above number one draft pick Baker Mayfield. Coach Hue Jackson has already voiced his commitment to starting the season with Taylor under center, and these reports seem to confirm his commitment.

Fantasy Fallout:

The obvious takeaway here is that Baker Mayfield probably isn’t worth a draft pick in redraft leagues, but the more subtle point is that Tyrod Taylor could be a great late round quarterback flyer. The offensive talent that he’ll be surrounded with, coupled with his ability to put up fantasy points on the ground as well, could add up to a considerable value for Taylor late in drafts.

Rumor:

Blake Jarwin received the majority of the first-team reps at tight end during the Cowboys OTAs and minicamp. On the flip side, fellow tight end Rico Gathers “barely got any snaps in practice” suggesting that Jarwin is the front-runner to try and replace Jason Witten in Dallas.

Fantasy Fallout:

There is a major hole to fill in Dallas after the retirement of future hall of fame tight end Jason Witten. While it would be unrealistic to expect Jarwin to put up those type of numbers, Witten’s 87 targets from 2017 will have to go somewhere, so Jarwin is worth keeping on your fantasy radar during training camps and preseason.

Rumor:

Keke Coutee is already making a push to be the starting slot receiver for the Houston Texans. Though Braxton Miller entered the 2018 offseason as Houston’s top option in the slot, fourth-round pick Coutee has impressed the Texans’ coaching staff thus far and might find himself starting in the slot by week one.

Fantasy Fallout:

If Houston’s offense is as explosive with Deshaun Watson in 2018 as they were in 2017, there will be plenty of fantasy points to go around. While DeAndre Hopkins will be a top end fantasy receiver, and Will Fuller will probably have a few big games, Coutee playing out of the slot could provide some reliable fantasy value in PPR formats. He is a deep sleeper at this point, but keep an eye on him during training camps and when the preseason ramps up.

Rumor:

Royce Freeman is pushing Devontae Booker for the lead back role in Denver. While early reports were that Booker would get every opportunity to claim the top running back spot in Denver, it appears that Freeman is already starting to eclipse him. Head coach Vance Joseph was quoted as saying that Freeman could “absolutely” be the Bronco’s lead back.

Fantasy Fallout:

Before this news, Royce Freeman’s ADP had risen from the mid-tenth round in May, all the way up to the back of the 5th round heading into July. The Broncos ranked 8th in the league in rushing attempts in 2017 and 12th in average rushing yards per game, so leading this backfield will come with a lot of volume and plenty of opportunities to score. C.J Anderson’s departure leaves behind 245 carries and 40 targets. If Freeman does take the lead back role, he has a good chance to outperform his ever-rising ADP.

alarson

Husband, father, teacher, coach, news correspondent for @FantasyPros, Writer for @DFF_Redraft. #DFFArmy #FantasyFootball @aalarson

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