Player Notes

  • Not just smoke: Panthers nab McCaffrey at 8
    Panthers selected Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

    Advice: He had been consistently linked with the Panthers over the last couple weeks, and he is a great fit under creative OC Mike Shula. McCaffrey (5’11/202) turned pro after a prolific three-year college career, posting a 632-3,922-21 (6.21 YPC) rushing line with 99 catches and two return TDs. He was the 2015 Pac 12 Offensive Player of the Year before a mildly disappointing 2016 campaign. At the Combine, McCaffrey posted top-four SPARQ results among running backs with a 4.48 forty and position-best 6.57 three-cone time. The top blitz-pickup back in this class, McCaffrey should be an immediate passing-game asset even if he doesn’t project as a 300-carry workhorse. Even with Jonathan Stewart still in Carolina, McCaffrey should immediately contribute in the running game, passing game, and as a returner. He is worth a look with the first overall pick in rookie-only drafts. Yesterday, 6:05 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Jags bolster backfield with Leonard Fournette
    Jaguars selected LSU RB Leonard Fournette with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft.

    Advice: Needing to upgrade their running game to help embattled starter Blake Bortles, the Jaguars have been linked with Fournette for most of the pre-draft process. Standing 6-foot-1, 240 pounds, Fournette arrived in Baton Rouge as the nation’s No. 1 recruit and met expectations with a career 616-3,830-40 (6.22 YPC) rushing line, turning pro as LSU’s all-time leader in yards per carry and No. 2 in yards from scrimmage per game (155.7). A hulking downhill runner with 4.51 speed, Fournette’s limitations come in the passing game, where he dropped 8-of-48 catchable targets as a Tiger. He also battled a recurring left ankle injury in 2016, suffering repeated setbacks and missing 6-of-13 games. When healthy, Fournette has drawn comparisons to Bo Jackson and Herschel Walker as a size-speed freak. His arrival is bad news for Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon with Ivory projecting to take the biggest hit. Yesterday, 5:36 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Marshawn Lynch can earn $16.5M in new deal
    Marshawn Lynch's two-year deal with the Raiders has a max value of $16.5 million.

    Advice: It's a lot of money for a 31-year-old who was out of the league last season. The deal is highly incentive laden but has a base of $9 million. Lynch's contract locks him in as Oakland's Week 1 starter. Wednesday, 3:56 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Skins sound ready to move on from Matt Jones
    Asked about his running backs, coach Jay Gruden acknowledged Matt Jones is "still on the roster" but "didn't have much good to say about him."

    Advice: Gruden used all of his breath propping up Rob Kelley, third-down back Chris Thompson, and former UDFA Mack Brown. Jones lost his biggest in-house supporter when GM Scot McCloughan was fired. Jones appears to be on the outside looking in for a roster spot. Once/if the Redskins add another back, Jones could be a goner. Wednesday, 11:15 am
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Payton: Adrian Peterson will have clear role
    Saints coach Sean Payton promises new RB Adrian Peterson will have a "clear role."

    Advice: Payton insists Peterson and Mark Ingram will "blend well." That figures to be easier said than done. Payton has always featured multiple backs, but Ingram and Peterson have significant stylistic overlap. Ingram figures to become even more involved as a pass catcher, while Peterson should be counted on to churn yardage in early-down/goal-line situations. It could be hard for either back to carve out clear-cut, weekly RB2 status in standard leagues. Tuesday, 3:00 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Latavius Murray expects to be ready for camp
    Latavius Murray (ankle surgery) still expects to be ready for training camp.

    Advice: Murray was also adamant he was upfront with the Vikings about his need for surgery. There's been no indication otherwise. Murray remains in a walking boot one month after going under the knife. Replacing Adrian Peterson on early downs, Murray can also catch a pass in a pinch. Running behind a woeful offensive line, Murray will be a touchdown-dependent RB2 in Minnesota. Tuesday, 10:05 am
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Report: 'Mutual interest' between Blount, NYG
    NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports there is "mutual interest" between the Giants and free agent RB LeGarrette Blount.

    Advice: With Mike Gillislee now in New England, Blount is on the lookout for a new team. The Giants make sense as they need a bigger complement to Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen, and Blount will not cost much money. That said, New York may want to wait to see who falls to them in the draft before turning to Blount. The 30-year-old rushed for 18 touchdowns last season. Tuesday, 5:18 am
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Video shows Jamaal Charles doing drills
    A video posted by his agent shows free agent Jamaal Charles working through a training drill.

    Advice: The video is linked below. Charles appears to be going less than full speed, but he is able to cut on both surgically repaired knees and does not seem to be wearing a brace. Agent David Mulugheta undoubtedly released this video to show Charles is healthy enough to sign, but the veteran has not heard a peep since visiting the Seahawks over a month ago. He will almost certainly have to wait until after the draft to find a new team, and his time as a free agent could drag all the way through the summer. Monday, 7:00 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Jonathan Williams in-house replacement at RB2
    ESPN Bills reporter Mike Rodak calls sophomore Jonathan Williams the team's "most likely" replacement for Mike Gillislee behind LeSean McCoy.

    Advice: A fifth-round pick last year, Williams is in a quietly terrific spot at the moment. The Bills' offense is naturally rushing friendly, and McCoy has battled injuries to both of his hamstrings the past two seasons. McCoy turns 29 in July. The Bills may add a running back in this week's draft, although it seems unlikely to be with a high pick. Williams' Dynasty value is rising, and he has a chance to become a 2017 re-draft factor, as well. Monday, 2:33 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Mike Gillislee expected to fill 'Blount role'
    According to ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, the "expectation" is Mike Gillislee will "essentially fill LeGarrette Blount's role" in the Patriots' offense.

    Advice: Blount led the NFL in rushing touchdowns (18) and finished second in the league in carries (299), so this would be a huge win for Gillislee's fantasy outlook. Reiss considers Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, and James White "locks" to make the roster, with Dion Lewis "rounding out the top four slots on the running back depth chart." Over the past two offseasons, the Patriots have pried Gillislee, Stephon Gilmore, and Chris Hogan from the division-rival Bills. Monday, 2:08 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Ingram expected to remain Saints lead back
    Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate expects Mark Ingram to remain the Saints' starter even if Adrian Peterson is signed.

    Advice: At worst, both backs will have a role as Underhill notes the Saints rushed 404 times last season, and face an easier schedule this year, meaning they should have more rushing attempts in positive game script. Ingram's versatility will keep him heavily involved; Peterson never developed passing-game value as a receiver or pass blocker. Free agent loss Tim Hightower left behind 155 unaccounted-for touches, so the Saints were always going to add another back. Monday, 1:09 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Thompson signs restricted free agent tender
    Redskins re-signed RB Chris Thompson to a one-year, $2.746 million contract.

    Advice: Friday was the deadline for teams to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets. Thompson totaled five touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving) for the Redskins last year while finishing 12th among running backs with 49 catches. He'll continue to serve as Washington's primary passing-down back. Friday, 1:11 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • C.J. Spiller's 'speed and twitch' back
    Chiefs GM John Dorsey said C.J. Spiller's "speed and twitch" are back.

    Advice: Spiller's career has gone off the rails since leaving Buffalo but Dorsey has been impressed by what he's seen from him this offseason. If the 29-year-old makes it out of training camp, he'll fill a change-of-pace role behind Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. There's no fantasy appeal here. Friday, 11:12 am
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Broncos RB Zac Brooks announces retirement
    Broncos RB Zac Brooks has announced his retirement.

    Advice: The No. 247 overall pick of last year's draft, Brooks was waived by the Seahawks in August. He ended up spending most of the year on the Broncos' practice squad. He was signed to a reserve/future contract in January. 23, Brooks had previously retired from football to pursue a career in interior design, but ultimately decided to declare for last year's draft. His retirement will likely be final this time around. Thursday, 2:46 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • All the RBs: Pats lock White up through 2020
    Patriots signed RB James White to a three-year extension through 2020.

    Advice: The news comes the same day the Patriots signed Bills RFA Mike Gillislee to a two-year offer sheet. With Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis already in tow, the Pats are planning on a seriously crowded running back room. Of course, White has been treated more as a pass catcher than runner the past two seasons, notching 39 more receptions than carries (100-61). White caught a ridiculous 14 balls in the Pats' Super Bowl comeback. Seemingly moving on from LeGarrette Blount, the Pats want an efficient, versatile backfield where backs can create mismatches in the passing game. White's fantasy value should remain borderline in 2017. Tuesday, 4:00 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
  • Seahawks re-sign pair of running backs
    Seahawks re-signed RBs Troymaine Pope and Terrence Magee.

    Advice: Both players were exclusive rights free agents. A second-year UDFA, Pope carried the ball 11 times last season before suffering a high-ankle sprain. He'll try to nail down one of the final spots on Seattle's 53-man roster in camp. Tuesday, 2:08 pm
    Week 1 Projected Rank
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