Jay Ajayi - RB - Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi looks much smoother running routes and finishing receptions than he did last year, as catching the ball out of the backfield became a major focus during his offseason training. 'The questions that he brings up to us are very detailed. They're really beyond next-level questions. They're almost kind of quarterback-ish questions for a running back,' head coach Adam Gase said.
Huddle Up: Ajayi managed only 27 receptions for 151 yards and averaged only 5.6 yards per catch during his breakout 2016 season. Despite Miami's desire to get Kenyan Drake more involved in the passing game, the third-year back doesn't want to come off the field and is working toward that end. Ajayi is a rock-solid RB1 and only needs to carry his improvement as a receiver into the regular season in order to become an elite fantasy back.
Derrick Henry - RB - Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry looks faster this offseason, according to head coach Mike Mularkey, and Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com said Henry has looked more comfortable catching the ball.
Huddle Up: Henry is one of the top backup running backs, and if you are a DeMarco Murray owner, you'd be wise to snag Henry as a handcuff. If you own Henry in a keeper format, you just have to sit tight. His time is coming.
Corey Davis - WR - Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis' strength has stood out during drills, according to Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com, and Wyatt said Davis has been able to make contested catches in traffic.
Huddle Up: Davis was drafted to be the top target for Marcus Mariota, and he is worth a look as a low-end WR3 in redraft leagues. In rookie drafts, he should be in the conversation for the top pick.
Duke Johnson - RB - Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson is one of the 'better playmakers' for the offense and 'big things' are expected from him this season, according to running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Huddle Up: Isaiah Crowell will handle most of the work on early downs, but Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield makes him a RB4 candidate in PPR formats.
Isaiah Crowell - RB - Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell has only 'scratched the surface' of his potential, according to running backs coach Kirby Wilson.
Huddle Up: Crowell flirted with 1,000 yards last year and scored eight times, and after the Browns upgraded their offensive line in the offseason, he could improve across the board. Consider him a quality flex option with RB2 potential.
Carson Wentz - QB - Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz 'appeared to hit his stride' during the team's three-day minicamp, throwing crisper and more accurate passes than he did at the beginning. 'It's coming. I would say that obviously he's been working extremely hard at everything we've done. He?s really understanding our offense and our scheme ? making good choices and decisions with the ball. He's been sharp. It's exciting to watch him,' head coach Doug Pederson said.
Huddle Up: The reports on Wentz and his improved mechanics have been positive thus far, although he was probably a sure bet anyway to build on a promising rookie year following the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith at receiver. Last year's No. 2 overall pick should be solid QB2 in fantasy most weeks who should occasionally flirt with QB1 numbers in good matchups.
George Kittle - TE - San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers fifth-round TE George Kittle was the team's most prolific target during the recent minicamp and drew praise from QB Brian Hoyer for his football awareness and intelligence. 'He has a really good football awareness, is what I would call it. A feel for where to break, how to break, read zones. I've been surprised and, obviously, it's a good thing for us to have a guy who has that football awareness and some feel of the game to it,' Hoyer said.
Huddle Up: The more Kittle continues to stand out, the more likely Vance McDonald will not be on the roster come the start of the regular season. The rookie is being prepped to take on a hybrid tight end/H-back role and an above-average blocker as well as a receiver, so he figures to get a lot of snaps right away. However, that role isn't likely to translate to significant value right away in the 49ers' offense, so he can be left undrafted in fantasy.
Michael Floyd - WR - Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings WR Michael Floyd said Thursday, June 15, that he still has plenty of work to do in order to be comfortable with the offense before training camp begins in July.
Huddle Up: Floyd is trying to claim the No. 3 receiver role, but even if he wins the job, he is unlikely to have any consistent value in Minnesota's limited passing attack.
Alex Smith - QB - Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith has 'started back faster' in OTAs than ever before, according to assistant head coach Brad Childress.
Huddle Up: Even if Smith is off to the best start of his life in OTAs, it doesn't change his value to fantasy owners. He is a low-upside QB2.
Dede Westbrook - WR - Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook (undisclosed) returned to OTAs on a limited basis this weekend, performing individual drills but observing team drills.
Huddle Up: Although the exact nature of his injury remains a mystery, it sounds like Westbrook is making progress. The Heisman finalist has game-breaking speed, but it may take him a while to carve out a meaningful role. He is just a stash candidate in keeper leagues at this point.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (back) was a full participant in practice Wednesday, June 14, after suffering a back injury Tuesday, June 13.
Huddle Up: Kupp has a solid chance to open the year as the No. 3 receiver for the Rams, but being the third option in a suspect passing attack probably won't translate to much fantasy value. He is worth stashing keeper leagues, but you can take and wait-and-see approach in redraft formats.
Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams (back) said he has been logging mental reps while recovering from a back injury, and head coach Anthony Lynn said the hope is that Williams can return for the start of training camp.
Huddle Up: The back injury could make for a steeper learning curve for Williams, but he has the physical tools you look for in a No. 1 receiver. He is worth a look as a WR4 in redraft leagues, and he is a first-round prospect in rookie drafts.
Anquan Boldin - WR - Free Agent
Free-agent WR Anquan Boldin (Lions) may prefer to sign with a team closer to his Florida home, according to people close to Boldin.
Huddle Up: Boldin should receive interest once teams start training camp because he is coming off a solid 2016 season when he posted 584 yards and eight touchdowns. Boldin can be a late-round pick in fantasy leagues if he has a solid role in his new team's passing game.
Kirk Cousins - QB - Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said the team wants to sign QB Kirk Cousins to a long-term extension in the worst way. Williams said the two sides have been negotiating this offseason.
Huddle Up: The Redskins will have about a month to sign Cousins to a long-term deal, so owners should keep an eye on the situation. He has thrown for at least 4,100 yards in each of the last two seasons and has posted 54 touchdowns during that time. Cousins did lose his top two receivers in free agency but still has a solid group of pass catchers to work with this season. Cousins can be considered a low-end No. 1 quarterback in some leagues.
Devonta Freeman - RB - Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman said he is not focusing on his contract situation but is optimistic that he will receive a contract extension at some point.
Huddle Up: Freeman is entering the final year of his contract, so the Falcons could look to sign him to a contract extension over the next few months. Freeman is one of the better running backs in the NFL in 2016 and will continue to see a majority of the snaps at running back. He should be considered a No. 1 running back in all fantasy leagues.
Tom Savage - QB - Houston Texans
Houston Texans QB Tom Savage is still considered the leading candidate for the starting No. 1 quarterback but will have to earn the job during training camp, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.
Huddle Up: The Texans selected Deshaun Watson in the draft, but Savage likely will begin the 2017 season as the starting quarterback. Savage threw for 461 yards in his three games this past season and has been working on his chemistry with the receivers during offseason workouts. Owners in all leagues should avoid Savage in all drafts.
Cam Newton - QB - Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) did not throw during minicamp, but his recovery from shoulder surgery is still on track. Head coach Ron Rivera said last week he expected Newton to throw, but clarified that statement this week.
Huddle Up: Rivera initially said following the surgery that his quarterback would start throwing 12 weeks after the procedure, which is next week. Newton's fantasy star is dimming a bit as the Panthers want to reduce their reliance on his running ability, although he still figures to generate more fantasy value on the ground than most quarterbacks for at least another year or two. He should be considered a mid- to low-end QB in most fantasy leagues in 2017.
Doug Martin - RB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin is receiving a ton of offseason praise from a number of sources, not the least of which is general manager Jason Licht. '(Martin) looks lean, he looks like he's finishing his runs - obviously, there is no contact in the spring - but it looks like he's finishing his runs. He looks like he's got that burst. ... He looks like the Doug Martin of 2015,' Licht told NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.
Huddle Up: It's important to remember Martin will miss the first three games due to suspension and doesn't boast the best track record when it comes to staying healthy. While it is entirely possible he can return to being a fantasy RB1, those two factors alone make him a risky bet and someone owners should not be trying to move up draft boards just because he is looking good in non-padded practices.
ArDarius Stewart - WR - New York Jets
New York Jets WR ArDarius Stewart (thumb, groin) told reporters he does not know if he will be ready for training camp after recently undergoing thumb and groin surgeries.
Huddle Up: Stewart has already missed all of OTAs and minicamp, so it would be next to impossible for him to make much of a rookie-year impact if he is unable to be ready for camp. Fellow rookie Chad Hansen should now be considered the favorite as the main back up to Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson.
Mark Ingram - RB - New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram said he is competing with RB Adrian Peterson but is also learning from him. Ingram noted that he and Peterson recently discussed how to balance patience, vision, decisiveness and aggression when trying to get first-down yardage on third and short. Ingram said putting his head down and barreling forward toward the first sign of an opening has been his inclination, but sometimes a choice he regretted because, 'If you would have followed your read and followed the guard outside, you would have had a 30-yard run.' Ingram recalled Peterson telling him, 'I've noticed that in that time you just have to slow down and trust your eyes.'
Huddle Up: Ingram will still be a factor, but his touches will be affected by Peterson's arrival. Ingram has been a better receiver of late, though, and that could give him the nod on third downs. Ingram is a high-end RB3, but if the team's approach shifts more to the running game, he could sneak into the RB2 area.
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