Fantasy News Roundup From Week 1 Of OTAs
It’s a far cry from a fall Sunday, but we finally had some organized team activities (OTAs) take place in the NFL this week. Let’s do a quick run down of some of the fantasy-relevant headlines — not all of which were related to on-field activity:
Daryl Washington Suspended For 2014 Season
The biggest news of the week was the year-long suspension of Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington. The four-year veteran was projected to be the second highest scoring linebacker in IDP leagues in 2014 behind only Lavonte David.
That’s obviously a crushing blow for any dynasty owner that was banking on Washington, but what does it mean for the redraft folk? Washington accounted for 315 tackles the past three seasons combined, so there will certainly be some extra tackles on the field for Arizona’s other linebackers.
The problem is, none of Arizona’s other linebackers were showing up on IDP radars until the news of Washington’s suspension broke. Our own Jeff Ratcliffe projects Kevin Minter is the “winner” here, as he will likely be asked to play every down this season after barely seeing the field last season.
With Daryl Washington suspended, Kevin Minter becomes an intriguing IDP. Should play every down, he’s an LB3 with LB2 upside
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) May 30, 2014
Josh Gordon In Trouble…Again
The inscrutable Josh Gordon is already in hot water, and he reportedly got in a bit more over Memorial Day weekend. WKYC on Friday reported that fantasy’s number one receiver in standard leagues last season was pulled over for speeding the Sunday prior to Memorial Day.
So why should we care about that? Normally we wouldn’t, but Gordon’s passenger was in possession of marijuana. Given Gordon’s recent (and past) history with the drug, it really makes you wonder when (and if) he will get his head on straight.
Sure, the story would be weightier if Gordon himself had been in possession of marijuana — I guess we should be grateful he wasn’t — but he certainly isn’t doing himself any favors at the moment.
Vernon Davis A No-Show At OTAs
Vernon Davis was a no-show at OTAs this week because he wants a new deal, despite having two years left on his current contract, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.
My advice? Don’t lose any sleep over it. First of all, it’s a May “holdout” — the workout are voluntary anyway. Secondly, despite being the second highest-scoring tight end in standard leagues last season, Davis will have a hard time sniffing the top five again in 2014.
It will be nigh impossible for him to repeat his 13-touchdown performance from last season, in part because Michael Crabtree will be healthy and because the 49ers recently added Stevie Johnson to their receiving corps. Davis did catch 13 touchdowns in 2009 as well, but from 2010-2012, he caught seven, six and five touchdowns, respectively. Expect him to be in the six range again this season.
Andre Johnson A No-Show At OTAs
This situation appears to be more serious than Davis’. Johnson hasn’t come out and call for a trade or a new contract, but the general assumption is that he is legitimately questioning his future in Houston as the team enters rebuild mode again.
Johnson will be 33 when the season starts, so he doesn’t exactly have time for a rebuild. Naturally, some trade possibilities have been bouncing around the NFLosphere, with the Jets and Patriots being the two most popular “options.”
In truth, Johnson would be a borderline WR1 in PPR leagues should he stick with the Texans, despite having Ryan Fitzpatrick throw him the ball. Obviously, a move to the Patriots would boost Johnson’s stock, but I think a move to the Jets would be beneficial for him, too.
It’s pointless to speculate too much at this point — these Jets and Patriots rumors have no weight behind them and are pure speculation — but this has the potential to end up being the most important development that happened during OTAs.
Seahawks Show Commitment To Doug Baldwin
Doug Baldwin on Thursday reportedly signed a two-year extension, per Rapoport, meaning he’s signed with the Seattle Seahakws through the 2016 season.
While it’s noteworthy that the Seahawks like Baldwin enough to extend his contract, it’s hard to see him making much of a fantasy impact. He caught 50 passes for 778 yards and 5 touchdowns last season while playing about 75% of Seattle’s offensive snaps, and I would expect all of those numbers to drop in 2014.
Percy Harvin will return from injury and will undoubtedly eat into some of Baldwin’s playing time and will command the majority of targets in Seattle. Additionally, the way Seattle’s offense is set up — run the ball and spread it around — does not set up any of their receivers to excel from a fantasy perspective. No Seahawks receiver has had over 1,000 yards in a season since Bobby Engram in 2007.
Baldwin did prove himself capable as an occasional deep threat last season, catching 60% of his targets when 20-plus yards down the field, tied for third-highest catch rate among qualifying receivers. Perhaps we will see him emerge as a more consistent deep threat in 2014, but that’s me just thinking out loud, as there’s not enough data to truly back that theory up.
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