PFF Roundup: Preseason Week 1
One of the more polarizing players in 2014 fantasy drafts is Cordarrellle Patterson. His current ADP is 4.10, which might be considered high to some.
While he only has one year under his belt, and the Vikings still don’t know who will be starting at quarterback, Patterson’s talent can’t be denied. PFF’s latest Minnesota preview shows just over 30 percent of Patterson’s targets in 2013 came behind the line of scrimmage. Another 33 percent of his targets were between the line of scrimmage 9 yards from that point.
Patterson’s biggest week of his rookie season came in Week 14, when he caught five passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. His ability to create his own yardage shined that game, as he accumulated 114 of those yards after the catch.
This season Patterson will be working with Vikings new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who did a great job playing to Josh Gordon’s strengths last year in Cleveland.
Turner reportedly installed 10 plays just for Patterson upon arriving in Minnesota. With this two working together, fantasy owners should be excited about their potential. Patterson is a pricey pick in Round 4, but the upside is tremendous.
Toilolo isn’t a good sleeper pick
As Mike Alessandrini notes in his 2014 Falcons preview, Matt Ryan threw to in-line tight ends just 3.1 percent of the time last season, finishing at the bottom of the league. Levine Toilolo is a prototypical in-line tight end, and the Falcons won’t be lining him up in the slot like they did with Tony Gonzalez.
The expectation is that the Falcons will use three-receiver sets more often in 2014. This means Harry Douglas should be the primary beneficiary of Gonzalez’s retirement, not Toilolo.
Douglas isn’t even being drafted in the majority of mock drafts right now. Mike Clay believes the Falcons will be the most pass-heavy team in the NFL this season, which bodes well for Douglas’ potential. He won’t catch 85 passes and see 133 targets again, but he will be more involved that prior years as the third wide receiver on the depth chart.
Brown worth a flier pick?
Cardinals rookie wide receiver John Brown did not disappoint in his first preseason game, receiving a +1.1 grade in 32 snaps. He caught two passes for first-downs and also drew a pass interference call on Brandon Harris.
Brown made three catches of 20-plus yards while seeing some extra playing time with wide receivers Michael Floyd and Ted Ginn out with injuries. The rookie is making noise in camp, but seeing Brown’s hype translate in a game is promising.
He’s the fourth wide receiver on the Cardinals depth chart, but Brown could push Ginn for snaps during the regular season if he continues to impress. Brown might not be worth a draft pick unless you’re in a deep league, but owners should keep an eye on him. An injury to Floyd or Larry Fitzgerald would make Brown a popular commodity on the waiver wire.
Can Cameron stay consistent?
Jordan Cameron looked like a fantasy superstar over the first four weeks of the 2013 season. However, he only caught two touchdown passes after that point. The PFF team notes Cameron finished with a -14.7 combined grade after Week 4.
The Browns dealt with quarterback issues last year, and there’s no assurance this year will be any better. Brian Hoyer is coming off an ACL injury. Johnny Manziel is a rookie battling for the starting job. The team just signed Rex Grossman, which doesn’t comfort any fantasy owner. Cameron might be struggle to find consistency if he can’t develop a rapport with one passer.
Josh Gordon also might be out of the picture. Opposing defenses starting focusing more on Cameron after he started to take over early in 2013. If Gordon is out, Cameron will clearly be the primary receiving concern for every opponent.
Bucs offensive line woes
Tampa Bay has four new starters on the offensive line this year. The group already looks like a concern, as Steve Palazzolo writes in his Buccaneers-Jaguars recap.
Right tackle Demar Dotson was the only offensive line starter for the Buccaneers to avoid grading in the red, finishing with a -0.1 grade. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith received a -2.2 grade in run blocking in just 23 total snaps.
The Buccaneers finished fifth-worst in the NFL in 2013 in team run blocking grades. Doug Martin averaged 3.6 yards per carry (YPC) before landing on injured reserve. His offensive line does not look improved from last season.
As a rookie, Martin’s offensive guards graded out in run blocking with a combined -1.0, and the Buccaneers averaged 114.8 rushing yards per game with 4.4 YPC. Last season, Tampa’s guards combined for a -33.4 run blocking grade, leaving the offense to average 101.1 yards per game and 3.8 YPC.
While it’s still early and this was only the first preseason game, Martin’s average draft position (ADP) of 3.03 makes owners invest a top pick in a running back who might be struggling to find room to run often.