Stevie Brown Expected To Sign With Giants

NFL News
August 30, 2015

SUNDAY, 9:30am: After it was first reported yesterday that Brown would work out for the Giants, we heard that he would not work out for any teams, as he had multiple offers in hand, and that Big Blue fans should not count on a reunion between Brown and the safety-starved squad. Now, though, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com writes that Brown is expected to sign with the Giants. Raanan cites two individuals with knowledge of the situation who wished to remain anonymous since the deal has not been finalized.

SATURDAY, 1:41pm: A reunion between the Giants and now-free agent safety Stevie Brown makes plenty of sense now that Brown’s former employer is the most safety-starved team in the league and Brown needs a job.

The Giants will bring in Brown, whom they decided not to re-sign this offseason after the 2010 seventh-rounder played three seasons for the team from 2012-14, for a visit early next week, according to the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.

Released by the Texans on Friday, Brown has several teams pursuing him, according to Vacchiano. Of course, that information comes from Brown’s agent, so that may be a market-stirring maneuver. Nevertheless, with Big Blue having lost Mykkele Thompson, Bennett Jackson and Justin Currie for the season and Nat Berhe for possibly a substantial portion of it after he underwent surgery Saturday, Brown’s release came at an ideal time for the Giants.

Brown signed a one-year, $3MM contract this offseason with the Texans, but the team released him early since the coaching staff determined he wouldn’t make Houston’s 53-man roster and wanted to give him a head start in finding a landing spot. The 28-year-old’s signature NFL span remains his eight-interception 2012 slate with the Giants, but a torn ACL a year later and a substandard season in 2014 upon returning from that injury led Big Blue to allow him to leave in free agency and seek younger replacements.

With those younger talents dropping at a rapid pace, with second-rounder Landon Collins also recovering from a sprained MCL that’s not expected to keep him out of debuting in Week 1, scrap-heap free agents Brandon Merriweather and Jeromy Miles are Big Blue’s healthy bodies at the position.

With Brown entering just his sixth year and reportedly healthy, this potential NFC East reunion is a lot more plausible than Chris Cooley‘s recent push at returning to Washington.

Injury Updates: 8/30/15

NFL News
August 30, 2015

Here are a few updates on some of the league’s more significant injury news:

  • We already learned that Packers WR Randall Cobb did not break his collarbone yesterday, and per Michael Cohen of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, head coach Mike McCarthy believes Cobb’s injury is not nearly as severe as Jordy Nelson‘s season-ending ACL tear. “No, I don’t think we’re (there) at all,” McCarthy said. Cobb will get further tests today to determine the extent of his injury.
  • X-rays on the knee of Jets rookie defensive lineman Leonard Williams came back negative, per Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News (via Twitter). Mehta adds that the team believes Williams sustained a bone bruise, though he will get an MRI today to confirm.
  • Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle reports that Texans Pro Bowl offensive tackle Duane Brown, who is dealing with a finger injury, does not intend to have surgery on the finger and is on track for the regular season opener against Kansas City.
  • Colts DT Arthur Jones suffered an ankle injury last night, but Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that X-Rays on the ankle were negative. Jones will undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury.
  • Although the Rams expect to have plenty of running back depth at some point this season, their Week 1 backfield could be a bit thin. We already knew that promising rookie Todd Gurley was not expected to play in the opener after he sustained a torn ACL last November, and per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), Tre Mason suffered a strained hamstring last night, calling his Week 1 availability into doubt.

Latest On Washington’s QB Dilemma

NFL News
August 30, 2015

Kirk Cousins got the surprise start in last night’s preseason game against Baltimore after Robert Griffin III, the presumptive starter heading into the season, was deemed medically unready to play by an independent neurologist. In a series of tweets, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports passes on a few notes on the matter from Washington head coach Jay Gruden.

First, Gruden noted that the team had originally received a verbal report from an independent doctor that Griffin was cleared to play, and then it received an email report that contradicted the verbal and that compelled the club to make a sudden change within a 24-hour window. Also, despite an earlier report that Washington had already determined Cousins would be the Week 1 starter, Gruden stated that he would not announce anything until he had reviewed Griffin’s medicals. Per Mike Jones of The Washington Post (via Twitter), Griffin will receive further tests on Friday, and Jones added in a separate tweet that Gruden, GM Scot McCloughan, team president Bruce Allen, and owner Dan Snyder would have a “long talk” at some point in the near future to finalize Washington’s plans under center.

But even though Gruden would not announce a Week 1 starter last night, the fact that he would not commit to starting Griffin even if RGIII has been cleared to return is significant in and of itself, writes Rich Tandler of CSNWashington.com. John Keim of ESPN.com agrees, pointing out that Cousins was far from perfect in last night’s game, but that he did more than enough to reignite the quarterback controversy in Washington.

It looks like we won’t have a formal announcement until sometime next week at the earliest, but at the moment, Cousins seems to have the inside track on the starting job for Week 1. What happens beyond that is anyone’s guess.

Fantasy Football 2015: 4-Round Mock Draft and Top Team Names

Fantasy Football
August 30, 2015

The opening day of the NFL regular season is less than two weeks away, which means a whole lot of viewing pleasure is just around the corner for football fans. For fantasy football junkies, it’s a doubly exciting time.

If you haven’t had your fantasy draft yet, we’ll be looking a sample four-round, standard-scoring 10-team mock that can give you some ideas for your early-round picks. Following that, we’ll discuss three notable selections who have potential to either boom or bust this season, and then we’ll look at some witty team names.

Even if you’ve already drafted, stick around—you might get some trade ideas, and maybe you’ll come up with a new team name before you’re done reading.

Four-Round Mock Draft

Notable Picks

RB DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles (Round 2, Pick 6)

There’s no question DeMarco Murray has the talent to put up numbers worthy of a first-round pick. His 2014 campaign with the Dallas Cowboys, highlighted by 2,261 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns, showed just that.

Now, he’ll have to prove he can succeed away from the Dallas Cowboys’ all-world offensive line, splitting carries with two other talented backs in Philadelphia and coming off a taxing 449-touch season.

Ryan Mathews, like Murray, is an Eagles newbie, and it’s doubtful the Eagles brought him in just to ride the pine all season. He’s just two seasons removed from a big season as the San Diego Chargers’ bell cow before injuring his MCL in 2014.

And Darren Sproles is Darren Sproles—a dependable scatback who’s made a career of stealing fantasy points from his teams’ top running backs.

Murray has a shot at distinguishing himself enough to get the lion’s share of snaps at halfback, but don’t hold your breath.

WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (Round 2, Pick 2)

Randall Cobb had two big factors working in his favor for his fantasy value in 2014: great talent and the best quarterback in the NFL. The only thing missing for the No. 7 fantasy wideout was big target numbers—he was thrown to just 126 times, fewer than any receiver in the top 10 in fantasy points.

Well, guess what? Now that Jordy Nelson, the Packers’ most targeted receiver from last year, is out for the season with a torn ACL, Cobb is poised to rack up big yardage and touchdowns.

Right now, the concern is a shoulder injury Cobb suffered Saturday night in Green Bay’s preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Packers don’t believe it is a broken collarbone, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky posted a picture of Cobb on the sidelines later in the game without any sort of brace, sling or ice.

Keep on eye on Cobb’s status, because if he is good to go for Week 1, he’ll be a solid early second-round pick.

WR Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints (Round 3, Pick 8)

Like Cobb, Cooks is in line for a monster role increase as Drew Brees‘ new No. 1 target. However, departed pass-catchers Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills open up even more targets for Cooks than Nelson’s absence will for Cobb.

Cooks flashed prodigious potential as a rookie in 2014, putting up 53 receptions for 550 yards in 10 games. If you extrapolate those numbers to a full 16-game slate, they balloon to 85 catches and 880 yards. And that’s with Stills, Graham and Marques Colston all competing with him for touches.

In case you forgot, Brees is the NFL’s reigning passing-yardage king and has held that title five of the past nine seasons. The Saints’ offensive mojo comes through the air, and Brees will look to Cooks a whole bunch in 2015 as New Orleans looks to maintain that passing identity.

Team Name Ideas

Are you still at a loss for what your team’s name should be? See if one of the below monikers suits your fancy or sparks your imagination to come up with something even better.

Gronky Kong

Turn Your Head and Coughlin

Watt Me Whip, Watt Me J.J.

Dezervoir Dogs

The Boldin the Beautiful

Forgetting Brandon Marshall

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2015 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Overall Drafting Stategy and Cheat Sheet

Fantasy Football
August 29, 2015

You have read the magazines, studied the injury reports and analyzed all the offseason movement.

Perhaps you have participated in a couple of mock drafts or created your own war list. But the time for study is getting short. Your fantasy draft is coming up in the next few days—or perhaps the next few hours.

In years past, there was only one way to go. If you did not pick two running backs with your first two picks, you risked being ridiculed by your entire league.

But some forward-thinking fantasy players who didn’t care about the laughter of lessers made a break from that philosophy. Instead, they decided that the only thing that mattered was points. If Calvin Johnson was available with his boarding-house reach, immense size and strength along with his fantastic hands, he was a better choice than most running backs not named Adrian Peterson.

It still makes sense to go with quality running backs early, but there simply are not enough of them to warrant taking those players before anyone else.

While daily leagues enable players to put their knowledge on display every week when it comes to filling out a roster, season-long fantasy leagues may be a greater test of all-around football knowledge. There will be opportunities to make roster fixes throughout the year, but the key to a successful season is always doing well on draft day.

While there is some luck involved—dreaded injuries have ruined many a sharp selection—knowing your players, the scheme they are involved in and understanding their position in a team’s hierarchy is vital to success.

For example, fantasy players knew LeSean McCoy was the man during his run in Philadelphia. His ability to dart quickly through the hole and produce nearly as much as a receiver made him a surefire fantasy stud. But now McCoy has hamstring issues in Buffalo, and while the Bills need more from him than the Eagles did, are they really going to get it from him with Tyrod Taylor or EJ Manuel at quarterback?

McCoy’s mindset is undetermined at this point. It doesn’t matter what he says, either. It’s how he performs in his first few games that will give the true indication of his fantasy value.

The point is that players who change teams may or may not be in favorable position. While you may “think” or “feel” that a player is in a better situation with his new team, it’s just a guess. Our philosophy is to stick with a situation that has been successful in the past rather than hope a new situation works out.

The quarterback position is a big conundrum. After Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck, there are a lot of questions. Actually, there’s a pretty big question with Rodgers in that he has already lost his best receiver in Jordy Nelson. While there’s little doubt that the Packers will adjust and still find a way to play competitive and winning football, just how much will Rodgers’ stellar production be impacted by his loss?

In the past, you could always count on Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Manning’s game dipped dramatically when he played hurt at the end of the 2014 season, and it’s unlikely he’ll have an injury-free season at the age of 39. A decision on Brady’s suspension appeal is now in the hands of a federal judge, and nobody wants to use a high draft pick on a player who may or may not be there for the first few weeks of the season.

When it comes to quarterbacks, tread carefully.

The wide receiver position is loaded with talent. However, there’s a difference between the top-tier elite receivers and the productive receivers who are fixtures in the second rank. Antonio Brown of the Steelers and Dez Bryant are about as sure as any players in the league when it comes to big-play productivity, but it could be a dangerous year for Calvin Johnson. He may not be the fantasy monster he was during his heyday.

Odell Beckham Jr. certainly looked like a surefire fantasy superstar in 2014, but how will he do in his second tour of duty? It’s not that we don’t love Eli Manning, but just how will he perform with a less-than-stellar offensive line blocking for him? It will be hard for Beckham to make plays if Eli is on his back.

The Falcons certainly believe Julio Jones, as they signed him to a contract extension Saturday, per NBC Sports. However, he was injured in 2013, and he was good but not great (104 catches, but just six for touchdowns) last year.

Randall Cobb was one of the best No. 2 receivers in the NFL last year. He appeared to have the opportunity to step up in light of Nelson’s injury, but now he may have a shoulder injury himself, per the Packers (h/t NFL on Twitter):

On the tight end front, Rob Gronkowski is healthy and clearly the No. 1 player at his position. He had legitimate competition from Jimmy Graham when he was with the Saints, but will the Seahawks and Russell Wilson take advantage of his immense talent the way the Saints and Drew Brees did?

Greg Olsen of the Panthers, Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Martellus Bennett should be quite productive, but after that tight ends are a mystery. Fantasy Sports Radio noted some of Kelce’s 2014 stats:

In our mock draft, we are offering the first two rounds in a 12-man league. We use a basic scoring system that includes four points for a passing touchdown, six points for a rushing or receiving touchdown, one point for every 10 yards rushing or receiving and one point for every 30 yards passing.

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