Dose: Rebirth Coming for Eli?Tuesday, July 29, 2014
While not entirely realistic, the Giants want Eli Manning to complete 70 percent of his passes this season. It's a feat that's only been achieved seven times in NFL history. New OC Ben McAdoo is installing a quick-hitting passing game based on timing, a far cry from ex-OC Kevin Gilbride's downfield, "option" attack.
The coaching staff is putting an emphasis on Manning getting the ball out and into the hands of his receivers for post-catch yards. On paper, it sounds like a recipe for success. But it remains to be seen if Eli possesses the short-to-intermediate accuracy necessary, since Gilbride's offense is all he's known in the NFL. If Manning can pick it up, there's plenty of bounce-back appeal surrounding the 33-year-old quarterback. And he has the weapons at his disposal to make the leap back into the fantasy mix. Rueben Randle (6'2/208) is a big-bodied playmaker, while Victor Cruz has the suddenness and short-area quicks to get upfield.
Signs continue to point to the G-Men eyeing a Philip Riversian rebirth out of Eli. Rivers completed 69.5 percent of his throws in a similar offense in 2013. Eli is currently coming off the board in the 12th round of fantasy drafts as the 19th quarterback selected. There's no reason for that to change at the moment, but Eli may prove to be a valuable streamer in a division with highly questionable pass defenses.
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News Nugget #1
After a miserable 2013 season that saw him average 3.45 YPC, Steven Jackson reportedly looks "rejuvenated" this summer. Both he and the coaching staff blame Jackson's down year on nagging lower-body injuries that sapped him of his explosiveness.
We're skeptical, but Jackson has always been in tremendous physical shape throughout his career. The 31-year-old has a staggeringly-high 2,993 career touches, and the Falcons used the 103rd pick in May's draft on Devonta Freeman to provide quality insurance. While Jackson's sixth-round ADP (RB30) looks like a value for a potential high-end RB2, I personally prefer to let other owners draft running backs on the wrong side of 30 and on the clear downside of their career. With a defense that lacks talent, the Falcons project to be an ultra pass-heavy offense.
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News Nugget #2
Rookie RB Jeremy Hill continues to run ahead of BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the big back behind starter Giovani Bernard. Hill's been in the saddle as the No. 2 since OTAs and apparently has no plans of looking back. The Bengals are going to pound the ball on the ground under new OC Hue Jackson. Hill has a legitimate shot at 200-plus carries and a handful of touchdowns. His ADP has actually dropped eight spots from 8.10 to 9.06 over the past month. Look for it to tick upward as the summer rolls on.
News Nugget #3
Coach Ron Rivera hinted Monday that Mike Tolbert will remain the Panthers' goal-line back. Tolbert won't offer much fantasy value outside of touchdown-heavy formats, but this bit of news has an effect on the entire Carolina backfield. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart (if he can ever stay healthy) will work between the 20s before Tolbert and Cam Newton take over near the end zone. Williams' max value is as a week-to-week FLEX option. He shouldn't be on the radar for upside-seeking owners.
Depth Chart Quick Slants
T.J. Graham is looking like a roster long shot in Buffalo. He's struggling with drops this summer and is lightyears away from fantasy relevance. … Gavin Escobar has been splitting out wide in Cowboys camp. New play caller Scott Linehan talked up Escobar after he was hired and plans to get him more involved as a sophomore. … Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater will begin splitting first-team reps on Wednesday. We like Bridgewater's chances of prevailing. … Rookie WR John Brown has been the talk of Cardinals camp. He's drawn comparisons to T.Y. Hilton from coach Bruce Arians and will give Ted Ginn all he can handle for No. 3 duties. … The Colts are expected to increase their usage of two- tight end sets with Dwayne Allen back to health. It could prove to be a drag on T.Y. Hilton and/or Hakeem Nicks. … Patriots rookie RB James White continues to mix in with the starters at training camp and is "quickly becoming a top phenom." White's on the late-round radar. … Rookie WRs Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee are running as the Jaguars' starters in two-wide sets with Cecil Shorts (hamstring) dinged up and Ace Sanders away from the team.
Injury Quick Slants
Odell Beckham's Monday MRI for his balky hamstring came back negative for a tear, but he's still going to be sidelined for at least another week. OBJ has missed a ton of reps and is falling behind Jerrel Jernigan for a role behind Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. … Rod Streater sustained a concussion on Sunday. It's his second in as many seasons. … Kelvin Benjamin was diagnosed with a bone bruise on his knee. He'll miss some practice time but is considered day-to-day. … The Lions activated Golden Tate (shoulder) from the active/PUP list. He's ready to rock. … Jeremy Maclin reportedly looks "fantastic" in his return from a torn ACL.