Latavius Murray
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The Minnesota Vikings closed the chapter on Adrian Peterson’s tenure with the club with the signing of Latavius Murray. While Peterson is still looking for a home, we’ll take a look at the fantasy football impact of the signing.
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Murray ran for 788 yards last year and 12 touchdowns, sharing the load with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Richard finished with 491 yards while Washington had 467 yards. Murray ran for a decent 4.0 yards per carry, but some of that success can be contributed to running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league last year. Richard (5.9 ypc) and Washington (5.4 ypc) were more effective per touch, minus the scoring of course.
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Murray did a nice job in the passing game with 33 receptions for 264 yards.
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In 2015 Murray ran for 1,066 yards at 4.0 ypc and six touchdowns with 41 receptions for 232 yards. In 2014 he had 424 yards at 5.2 ypc and two touchdowns with 17 receptions for 143 yards.
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He should see his fair share of carries as the primary running back, but will likely see his production in the pass game see a dip. Jerick McKinnon, who ran for 539 yards at 3.4 ypc and a pair of touchdowns with 43 receptions for 255 yards and two more scores, should remain the Vikings’ primary pass catching running back.
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The Vikings have made some upgrades to their offensive line, but they were dreadful last year, averaging 3.2 yards per carry as a team. Peterson had a 1.9 average, McKinnon was 3.4 and Matt Asiata was 3.3. While they will be better, it’s pretty safe to say Murray will be running behind an inferior line in 2017.
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Despite that fact, Murray still figures to be a solid RB2 thanks to his ability to get in the end zone. Asiata had six scores last year and Murray is most certainly a preferred back. McKinnon, meanwhile, falls to RB4-5. He really only has value in PPR leagues.

Eddie Lacy hurdle
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Eddie Lacy has been a major disappointment the past couple of years. He played just five games last year, finishing with 360 yards (28 receiving) while failing to score a touchdown. This is after a down year with 758 yards (188 receiving) and five total touchdowns. Despite those struggles he landed on his feet with the Seattle Seahawks.
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The Seahawks finished 25th in the league last year in rushing and 24th in yards per carry. Injuries to Russell Wilson, which limited his scrambling, and Thomas Rawls took a toll. In 2015 the Seahawks finished 3rd in rushing and 7th in ypc. During Marshawn Lynch’s run the Seahawks were a premier rushing team, finishing in the top five 2011-2014.
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Seattle’s banking on Lacy to provide that physical running style that made Beast Mode a national sensation.
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Lacy has the chops if he can keep his weight under control and stay on the field. He finished with 1,178 yards (257 receiving) and 11 touchdowns as a rookie and 1,139 yards (427 receiving) and 13 total touchdowns in his second year. Despite struggling the past couple of seasons, Lacy still maintains a healthy 4.4 yards per carry average and 29 touchdowns in 51 games.
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Lacy’s arrival puts a serious hamper on Thomas Rawls’ fantasy prospects. He came in with high expectations, but busted out on fantasy owners with 349 yards (96 receiving) and three touchdowns on a 3.2 ypc average. Christine Michael, with 469 yards (96 receiving) seven total touchdowns and a 4.0 ypc was actually more productive. Rawls will get a chance if Lacy falters, but it’s Lacy’s job to lose.
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C.J. Prosise, who finished with 172 yards on 5.7 yards per carry to go with 19 catches for 208 yards will serve as the change of pace back. He won’t be on fantasy radars either.
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I’ve been burned by Lacy the past two years. I’m not sure I have the stomach for a third year of him. He’s a risky play, but there definitely is upside.

DeSean Jackson
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A look at the recent NFL signings and their fantasy football impact.
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Buffalo Bills
The Bills signed both Mike Tolbert and Patrick DiMarco. DiMarco will be a full back and Tolbert will be a running back. LeSean McCoy should get excellent blocking from his fullback, but he could lose some goal line touches with Tolbert’s arrival. McCoy remains a strong RB1. Steven Hauschka’s should remain a quality kicker in Buffalo’s offense.
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Chicago Bears
The Bears broke the bank to bring in Mike Glennon. Good for Glennon. I don’t think he’s the answer in Chicago. Probably the next in a long line of overpaid free agent signings at the QB position. Ahem, Brock Osweiler.
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Cleveland Browns
Kenny Britt left a bad situation with the Los Angeles Rams for a bad one in Cleveland. He’ll be a WR3-4 at best. Speaking of Brock, he won’t look any better in a Browns uniform.
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Philadelphia Eagles
Alshon Jeffery was a nice addition for Carson Wentz. He should be a WR2 with WR1 potential. Torrey Smith was a nice deep threat add as well. He figures to be a WR4. Wentz should move up to the middle of the QB2 landscape.
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New England Patriots
The Pats must be out on the Martellus Bennett Sweepstakes after acquiring Dwayne Allen in a trade. He’s a solid low-end TE1 bet if he can stay healthy.
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San Francisco 49ers
The Niners added Brian Hoyer at QB. It is not all that exciting for fantasy purposes. He’ll be a QB2 at best if he wins the starting gig. Pierre Garcon was brought in as a new weapon. Solid signing. He’ll be in WR3 territory.
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs made a splash signing deep threat DeSean Jackson to pair with Mike Evans. Great 1-2 punch. Jameis Winston should take another step forward into QB1 territory next year. Jackson should be a solid WR2 as well. Washington’s passing game definitely took a hit losing Jackson and Garcon.

Bill Belichick Super Bowl
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Given Bill Belichick’s track record of plugging in veteran players, it is no surprise that Adrian Peterson and the New England Patriots have at least been linked in talks. Obviously Peterson would have to take a dramatic paycut, but as Karen Guregian mentioned in the article, he has already been heavily compensated. If a Super Bowl ring is high on Peterson’s wish list, the Pats are a nice landing spot.
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If the Patriots are going to take a gamble on Peterson, they need to be sure that it is going to work out for them.
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LeGarrette Blount ran for 1,161 yards on 3.9 yards per carry, but scored 18 touchdowns. His usage took a back seat in the Patriots’ Super Bowl run as both Dion Lewis and James White took turns as the star back. Blount finished with just 35 carries for 109 yard (3.1 ypc) with a touchdown in three playoff wins. Blount is a free agent, and could find himself too expensive for the Patriots’ tastes.
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Enter Peterson to the equation. While All Day didn’t live up to his name last year thanks to injuries limiting him to three games and ineffectiveness (1.9 yards per carry on 37 touches), let’s not forget that he ran for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns on a 4.5 ypc the year prior. Peterson has 2,418 career carries for 11,747 yards (4.9 ypc) and 97 rushing touchdowns. The blame doesn’t fall entirely on Peterson. The Vikings’ offensive line was downright offensive last year. Plus Norv Turner’s play calling left plenty to be desired.
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He will turn 32 this month, but he has had just 385 carries over the past three years because of injuries/suspension. Not to mention, there aren’t many players with his recovery ability or physique.
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Whether or not Peterson has anything left in the tank is not my concern regarding a fit with the Patriots. They would get a good sense of the shape he is in early on. Again, as long as the injuries have healed, expect Peterson to be in great shape. The major roadblock for Peterson joining the Patriots is his fumbling issues. He has fumbled 39 times during his career, losing 23. The Patriots simply do not put the ball on the ground. When they do, an immediate trip to Belichick’s doghouse ensues. The Patrtiots were middle-of-the-pack with nine fumbles last year. They tied for second with seven in 2015 and four in 2014.
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Keep an eye on this because of the fantasy football implications, but my money says Peterson will be landing elsewhere.

Jared Cook
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Jared Cook is an big, athletic tight end that has been full of promise, but has yet to truly break out. The 6’5, 254 pound tight end has never had a quarterback of Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to him…until now.
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Cook’s last five seasons:
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2011: 49 catches, 759 yards, 3 touchdowns
2012: 44 catches, 523 yards, 4 touchdowns
2013:  51 catches, 671 yards, 5 touchdowns
2014: 52 catches, 634 yards, 3 touchdowns
2015: 39 catches, 481 yards, 0 touchdowns
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Cook’s 12.3 yards per catch last year ranked only behind Gronk, Greg Olsen, Gary Barnidge, Zach Miller, Jimmy Graham and Crocket Gillmore at the tight end position. His career average is 12.8 yards per catch. Richard Rodgers catch 58 passes last year for Green Bay for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. Rodgers averaged just 8.8 yards per catch. Cook will be used to take advantage of the middle of the field.
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Cook, who will turn 29 next month, has a chance to deliver TE1 numbers. He’s certainly an intriguing option.

Alfred Morris
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Alfred Morris is staying within the NFC East as he leaves the Washington Redskins to handle lead back duties for the Dallas Cowboys.
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Morris had 751 yards and one touchdown last year to go along with 10 catches for 55 yards.
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In his first three years Morris ran for 1,610 yards and 13 touchdowns, 1,275 yards and 7 touchdowns and 1,074 yards and 8 touchdowns. Morris only has 47 receptions in four seasons for 365 yards so don’t expect him to take on a more dynamic role, but he should still be able to pound the ball with a great offensive line.
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Despite his decline each season Morris is just 27. He’ll share the load with Darren McFadden, but Morris’ presence should mean fewer carries for McFadden, though he should remain active in the passing game.
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Morris could be a RB3 or RB4 with upside if McFadden lives up to his injury prone history.

Coby Fleener
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For the most part the free agent signings  thus far won’t have major fantasy implications. The quarterback market and wide receiver market are soft. The running back and tight end markets have a little more intrigue. One potentially exciting signing is Coby Fleener going to New Orleans.
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Fleener caught 54 passes last year with 491 yards and three touchdowns. It marks the third straight season of at least 50 catches for Fleener. In 2013 he snagged 52 passes for 608 yards and in 2014 he caught 51 for 774 yards and eight touchdowns.
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Fleener’s production has been limited over the years because of Dwayne Allen’s presence. In New Orleans he’ll get a chance to play more snaps and secure more targets. Plus, Drew Brees has a history of making stars out of tight ends.
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Antonio Gates and Jimmy Graham have been two of the most prolific tight ends with Brees. Ben Watson set career highs last year with 74 catches for 825 yards and  six touchdowns despite turning 35 in December. Fleener will be 28 and entering his prime. He is very much on the TE1 radar.

Matt Forte
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Busy first day of NFL free agent action.
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Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans – My expectations are for Brock to flop for Houston. He’ll help DeAndre Hopkins, but he’s a low-end QB2 at best.
Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets – Forte is a nice replacement for Chris Ivory. He should remain in the RB1 mix.
Chris Ivory, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars – We spoke about him earlier, but this move makes little sense with T.J. Yeldon entering his second year. Hurts both values.
Lamar Miller, RB, Houston – Miller has every opportunity to remain a fantasy force. He’ll also be in the RB1 mix. Nice fit for Miller.
Travis Benjamin, WR, San Diego Chargers – Gets upgrade at QB. Nice landing spot. Should be on the WR3 or WR4 radar.
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions – Nice landing spot as Megatron retired. He’ll pair with Golden Tate for a solid 1-2 punch with TE Eric Ebron picking up some slack as well. WR3 material.
Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers – Nice option to replace the retired Heath Miller. TE1 potential with Big Ben.
Ben Watson, TE, Baltimore Ravens – Leaving Drew Brees will hurt his value. TE2 at best.

Doug Martin
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Every year there are players that go to new teams. Some work out (DeAngelo Williams, Jeremy Maclin), others not so much (DeMarco Murray). Teams will still throw buckets of cash looking for a quick fix. Here are some of the top fantasy football options and some possible destinations.
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Matt Forte, RB – Forte is more likely to continue his excellence than Martin given his track record. He’s a dual threat option that would be perfect for a contender. At 30 with more wear and tear, he doesn’t offer as much long-term upside. Still, he’ll immediately make a team better.
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Chris Ivory, RB – He’s a power runner but his style leads to bumps and bruises. He’s a great 1-2 punch for someone.
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Doug Martin, RB – Martin finished second in the league with 1,402 yards. He added 33 catches for 271 yards and seven combined touchdowns. He had not been relevant since 2012. He’s still only 27.
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Alfred Morris, RB – Unlikely the other available running backs Morris is not versatile. He can still run between the tackles. His landing spot will be interesting.
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Anquan Boldin, WR – He’s 35 but he’s still productive. Boldin is WR3 material at best, but he still has some fantasy value.
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Travis Benjamin, WR – Benjamin had a strong showing last year with 966 yards and five touchdowns. He likely won’t register high on the fantasy radar next year.
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Marvin Jones, WR – He’s not a tremendous option, but he’ll likely be overpaid as this is a soft market for wide receivers. With a good blend of size and speed he should draw attention. I just don’t see a major impact next year.
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Rishard Matthews, WR – He had a decent season in Miami with 662 yards. His relevance depends on where he lands.
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Dwayne Allen, TE – He was underutilized in Indy. Depending on where he lands,  he could be a viable TE1. He’s a red zone threat.
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Impact Players Likely to Re-Sign
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB
Brock Osweiler, QB
Lamar Miller, RB
Antonio Gates, TE
Ladarius Green, TE
Coby Fleener, TE

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Assuming NFL free agency eventually begins, there will be be some frantic player movement. Teams are already behind the eight ball considering the NFL Draft has come and gone. The teams that failed to address their holes in the draft will be looking do so in free agency. A lot of the movement will depend on the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The assumption is that the league will operate under last year’s system. If you are interested in free agency in greater detail, KFFL did a great job breaking it down.
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Quarterbacks
Matt Hassellbeck is the cream of the crop, though Marc Bulger could get some run depending on where he lands. Both of those veterans have some potential in two-quarterback leagues, but probably aren’t even worth roster spots in standard leagues.
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Running Backs
DeAngelo Williams could be the top prize, if he is available. The Panthers will look to bring him back. It will depend on whether he is a restricted free agent or not. Wherever he lands, D-Will will be a solid fantasy asset, though he will likely be part of a committee like in Carolina. That said, he’s been quite effective in that role.
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Cedric Benson is even more likely to stay put. The Bengals’ draft clearly indicates that they are committed to having him in their rebuilding plans. Benson is a strong option wherever he lands, which will most like be in Cincy.
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Ahmad Bradshaw will be an attractive free agent option if he is granted unrestricted free agency. If he gets the restricted tag, he’s likely to remain a Giant. Like D-Will, Bradshaw is a solid fantasy option that will operate out of a RBBC once again wherever he lands.
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Mike Tolbert tentatively has a second round tender as a restricted free agent. Given the injuries and ineffectiveness of Ryan Mathews, Tolbert won’t make the free agency splash that Michael Turner did a few years back. My guess is that Tolbert will be overdrafted this year as Mathews plays a larger role.
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Ronnie Brown has likely played his last game in South Beach. He will draw plenty of interest, but his days of being a primary back are over. At best he is the lead back in an RBBC.
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Ricky Williams will be 34 when and if the season begins. He may have some value to an NFL team, but his days of fantasy glory are over.
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Wide Receiver
Perhaps the biggest prize in the free agent market is Vincent Jackson. The Chargers could try to bring him back, but wherever he lands he should have a much more productive season.
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Sidney Rice is another big prize.  If he is an unrestricted free agent, he’s as good as gone. Rice has dealt with injuries during his career, most notably the hip injury that cost him most of last season, but he had a huge 2009 campaign. When healthy he can both separate from cornerbacks and jump over safeties.
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Santonio Holmes is a curious case. He has already stated that he won’t sign a restricted free agent tender. He wants a long-term deal. If he’s unrestricted, he will go the highest bidder, making him hard to quantify as a fantasy prospect. That said, he will be a WR2 or a WR3 regardless of where he lands. If he is restricted and the Jets don’t want to offer a long-term deal, he will holdout.
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Braylon Edwards is also a potential free agent. He would like to return to the Jets, but could make a healthy payday if he tests the waters. His hands keep him from being a WR2, but he does have value wherever he lands.
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James Jones is one to keep an eye on. If he is an unrestricted free agent he is gone. Depending on where he lands he could be a nice WR3. If he stays in Green Bay, I’d pencil him in as a WR4.
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Then you have the old divas Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. Who knows where they will land? They are a risk in the locker room and on your fantasy team.


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