DeMarco Murray Eagles
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Philadelphia Eagles fans will likely be more excited about DeMarco Murray’s exit than Tennessee Titans fans are of his arrival. Before last season’s disaster Murray was coming off a monster 2,261 total yard, 12 touchdown season. While a return to that level of greatness is unlikely, Murray should prove to be a valuable fantasy option in his new surroundings as long as Murray shows up in mind and body.
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Murray has averaged 51.3 receptions over the past three seasons. He was never quite the right fit in Chip Kelly’s offense. He should be more suite for Mike Mularkey “exotic smashmouth” football.
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The Tennessee Titans were led by Antonio Andrews with 520 yards on 143 carries (3.6 ypc). He caught 21 passes for 174 yards. At 5’10, 225 pounds Andrews is a plodding running back. Murray, at 6’0″, 217 pounds is a more dynamic back. He and Mariota have the skill set to give Mularkey what he’s looking for.
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Murray’s disappointing 2015 campaign should find him in RB2 territory. He has RB1 potential, particularly in PPR leagues.


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We are finally beginning to see some signs that the owners and the players will come to some sort of a resolution in the near future. NFL and fantasy football fans have to be tickled pink about the potential lifting of the lockout.
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Well for Tennessee Titans fans and Chris Johnson fantasy owners, the days of worrying could just keep on rolling. Chris Johnson is once again threatening to lock out if he doesn’t get a long term deal. He has stated that he won’t take a short-term fix like last year. He wants to get paid like the elite back that he is, and is will to sit out if the Titans don’t open up their checkbooks.
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You know what? He’s right. He is one of the best players in the league and he should be paid as such. He has averaged over 1500 rushing yards in his three seasons to go along with over 300 receiving yards per year and 12 total touchdowns. It’s not like his CJ2K season was his only productive one. He has double-digit touchdowns in all three years and at least 1488 total yards.
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Losing a talent like that, especially without a capable backup and a rookie quarterback would be a disaster. The Titans might as well start printing their logos on brown paper bags for their fans.
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I don’t think it will get to that point. Jake Locker won’t be getting paid like previous first round picks. That is an issue that will be settled when an agreement is reached. There will be more revenue from the additional Thursday night games. I think there will be some wiggle room that will allow the Titans to take care of their best player. If he were 28 or 29 they may be hesitant, but he’ll only be 26 when and if the season starts. Johnson will get a nice signing bonus and a long-term deal that he probably won’t see the end of.
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Bottom line is he’ll get paid and get the love he’s looking for from the organization, so  he’ll be happy. The team will get the revenue from jersey sales, tickets, etc. so they will be happy. Most importantly Titans fans and fantasy football owners will be happy that they can focus on football and not financials.
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The AFC South features three of the top running backs in the league.
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Arian Foster is arguably the top ranked fantasy player in the league. The furthest I could see him tumble, at least at this point, is to three. He racked up 1616 yards and 16 touchdowns. As good as those numbers are, he also caught 66 passes for 604 yards and two more scores. Week in and week out he was one of the top fantasy players in the league. Ben Tate and Derrick Ward will get some carries, but neither threaten the stud running back.
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One of the players (along with Adrian Peterson) that could conceivably go before Foster is Chris Johnson, who was generally the number one pick in last year’s fantasy drafts. Johnson’s “down year” looks like a career year for anybody else. He had 1609 total yards (1364 rushing, 245 receiving) and 12 touchdowns (11 rushing, one receiving). The Titans are going to be more creative next year to get him the ball in space, so CJ2K should be particularly effective in PPR leagues. He doesn’t really have a threat for carries and is a likely top three pick.
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Maurice Jones-Drew keeps turning out big year’s as well. There were concerns about his knee heading into last season, but he responded with a 1641 total yard (1324 rushing, 317 receiving), seven touchdown (five rushing, two receiving) season. Rashard Jennings will get some carries, but isn’t a big threat week-to-week. MoJo will probably be a top five to eight pick depending on your format. Personally, I prefer some of the younger guys like Rahsard Mendenhall and LeSean McCoy.
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Indianapolis is the only stick situation because Joseph Addai is a free agent. He is expected to return to the Colts though, and his knowledge of the system and ability to pick up the blitz will likely keep him as the main back. Donald Brown and rookie Delone Carter will also vie for touches.
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The AFC South made a big splash in the quarterback department in the recent NFL Draft.
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The division continues to be dominated by the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning is consistently among the best fantasy quarterbacks in the league. He never has a shortage of weapons, and even when they break down like Dallas Clark last year, someone else (Jacob Tamme) steps up. One thing that needed more than a temporary fix was their offensive line. The Colts walked away from the draft with tackle Anthony Castonzo and guard Ben Ijalana. With better protection look for Manning to turn in another impressive season. Would you expect anything less?
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Matt Schuab regressed a little statistically, but that can be expected when you have the NFL rushing leader.  He still threw for 4370 yards and 24 touchdowns (12 INTs). With Andre Johnson, one of the more physical receivers in the league, look for Schaub to remain a quality QB1. The team did not give him any new weapons in the NFL Draft, instead using their first five picks on defense.
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In Jacksonville David Garrard will hold down the fort until Blaine Gabbert is ready to take control of the team. Garrard had a solid year throwing for 2734 yards and 23 TDs (15 INTs) while adding another 279 yards and five scores on the ground. The Jags are limited in the playmaker department. Marcedes Lewis scored ten touchdowns, but had just seven scores in four seasons before busting out in a contract year. Mike Sims-Walker is a free agent that will likely have a new home in 2011. Garrard is a quarterback to use during the bye weeks and little more.
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The Titans turned heads by taking Jake Locker with the eight pick in the draft. He will likely start the year on the sidelines while a veteran (possibly Matt Hasselbeck) acts as a bridge. Despite the presence of Kenny Britt, this is not a great quarterback situation. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.
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Obviously the state of the NFL is in complete turmoil. Will there be a season? Hard to say, but we have to still prepare like there will be one. We continue our series of analyzing the number one pick in 2011 fantasy football drafts with Tennessee’s Chris Johnson.
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Calling Chris Johnson’s 2010 season a disappointment doesn’t give enough credit to the 1609 total yards (1364 rushing, 245 receiving) he amassed or the 12 touchdowns (11 rushing) he scored. Those are unbelievable numbers. They are along the lines of the 1488 total yards (1228 rushing, 260 receiving) and ten touchdowns (nine rushing) he posted as a rookie. However, when you compare them to the 2509 total yards (2006 rushing, 503 receiving) and 16 touchdowns (14 rushing) he posted in 2010 or the 2500 rushing yards he spoke of heading into last year, and I can see where you were a little let down.
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The Titans were a mess last year. So much so that both Vince Young and Jeff Fisher were sent packing. With order presumably restored, Chris Johnson and the Titans look to get back on track. They’ll need to figure out the quarterback situation, but it’s hard to imagine it being any worse than last year. Especially with Kenny Britt developing into a big game receiver. Defenses won’t simply be able to stuff the box on CJ2K.
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What I like about taking Johnson first is that he produced the monster year like Arian Foster did last year, has the explosiveness of Jamaal Charles, and the track record of Adrian Peterson. In three years he’s averaging 1868.7 total yards and 12.7 touchdowns. He has 24 100 yard games. He is tied with Rondel Melendez for the fastest 40 time in NFL Combine history. He has had at least 43 catches in each of his first three years, making him even more valuable in PPR leagues.
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If 1609 total yards and 12 touchdowns is a down year, then what could he do if he bounces back? Personally I would love to have the third pick in fantasy drafts. With Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Chris Johnson, how can you go wrong? Depending on the Titans’ quarterback situation next year, I would have a hard time not selecting CJ2K number one in 2011 fantasy football drafts.
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The fantasy playoffs are underway in the majority of leagues as the Colts and Titans kicked off the action last night.
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Quarterbacks:   If you started Peyton Manning (319 yards, two TDs), which is roughly 99.9 percent of his owners, you are off to a great start. You can’t ask for much more than 300+ and a pair of scores without a pick. If you went with Kerry Collins (244 yards, three TDs) I want proof. Seriously though, heck of a call. You can’t be happier with your results.
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Running Backs: If you went with Chris Johnson (179 total yards, TD), which also is virtually everybody who owns him, you are off and running (pun intended). He came in with a juicy match-up, and he shrugged off his recent slump and delivered when you needed it the most. It does help to have a competent QB. If you rode the Javarris James (49 yards, TD) train, kudos to you. Donald Brown (62 total yards) had just enough total yardage to keep him from being a bust if he was in your lineup. continue reading »


Image courtesy of ESPN

 

Jared Cook is a freakish athlete. He’s big and fast with excellent leaping ability. His athletic prowess is reminiscent of Vernon Davis, who finally broke out last year. It was Vernon Davis’ fourth year in the league, which doesn’t bode well for Cook because Davis was much more of a “can’t miss” prospect.

 

Cook’s athleticism led Tennessee to take him in the third round (89th overall pick) of the 2009 NFL Draft. He tore it up in the Titans first four preseason games catching 17 passes for 159 yards, which led to serious sleeper status for Cook in last year’s fantasy football drafts.

 

Unfortunately injuries and a poor work ethic kept him in Rip Van Winkle mode. Cook had just 9 catches for 74 yards in 14 games. His top two games were 27 & 29 yard efforts in Weeks 5 & 12.

 

If Cook is going to break out this year, it will be completely under the radar. The Titans brought Bo Scaife back so it will take an injury or a miracle for Cook to ascend to the starting tight end role.

 

If you read some of OC Mike Heimerdinger’s quotes regarding Cook, you get a feel for where he’s at.  ”He needs to become much more consistent week to week if he’s going to play for us”. Heimerdinger also said ”he has made some plays, but he still has a ways to go. He flashes that talent, but we need him to do it all the time.” Clearly consistency is the issue. Scaife doesn’t have the upside that Cook does, but if he is anything, he is consistent.

 

2007:  46 catches, 421 yards, 1 TD
2008:  58 catches, 561 yards, 2 TDs
2009:  45 catches, 440 yards, 1 TD

 

I wouldn’t rule Cook out from figuring things out down the road, but I think it’s going to some more time. At this time, just keep Jared Cook in mind as a possible sleeper candidate. Just make him prove his worth before you consider adding him to your fantasy team.

 

What do you expect from Jared Cook in 2010?

 

 

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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

 

Let the debates begin. Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson…who is the number one pick in fantasy football? The Titans and Chris Johnson have agreed to rework Johnson’s contract to give him a little extra incentive to report to camp. ESPN is calling it a short-term fix to quell the holdout threat. They will continue to work on a long-term deal.

 

Johnson had 2509 total yards (2006 rushing) and 16 TDs (14 rushing). Peterson, who is largely viewed as the #2 fantasy player (though I actually have AP ranked #1) had 1819 total yards (1383 rushing) and 18 TDs (all rushing). I just feel Johnson will be utilized less after his heavy workload and Peterson will be utilized more in 2010.

 

Either way, Chris Johnson is one of the top fantasy options and I’m glad that we won’t have to worry about a holdout. Keeper league owners should be celebrating in the streets.

You can’t truly evaluate the Titans until you know what is going to happen with Chris Johnson. That said, like the Titans the show must go on with or without him.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Moderate
The Titans tackle the Colts and Texans at home in Weeks 14 and 15, followed by a road match-up against Kansas City. You have to love the fantasy championship match-up (assuming Chris Johnson plays).

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
Chris Johnson – I actually assume that he’s going to miss some camp at the very least with the holdout, which will have a negative impact on the season. I can’t, in good faith, give him anything short of a five star rating as long as there is the possibility that he’ll play. That’s how good he is.

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
Vince Young – As long as he doesn’t make any more dumb decisions off the field, I think he should have a solid season on the field. I expect him to contribute more in the rushing game than last year, particularly around the goal line. If he can limit the mistakes in the passing game, he could be a decent spot starter and backup fantasy QB.

 

Titans Defense/Secondary – To say the Titans were ravaged by injuries on defesnse last year would be putting it mildly. If they can stay healthy, along with the addition of Derrick Morgan, the Titans should be much-improved on defense.

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Javon Ringer – If Chris Johnson does sit out, Ringer could move up a star. It would be a RBBC though to replace the premier RB in the league. If Johnson plays, you can push Ringer down to a one star. I expect he’ll get less touches than last year, but I don’t see anyone taking significant carries from Johnson.

 

Kenny Britt, Justin Gage & Nate Washington – This is a run first team with a QB with questionable accuracy so it’s hard to bank on the WRs. Britt is the one with the most potential. He has good size and speed, and had flashes last year. Washington is the best deep threat and Gage will likely play the slot position.

 

One Star Fantasy Options
LeGarrette Blount – Blount only has value if Johnson holds out.

 

Damian Williams – He’s probably a year or two from being relevant for fantasy teams, but is someone to mention in case of injury to one of the top three WRs.

 

Bo Scaife and Jared Cook – Scaife is the Titan TE to own, but he is limited by Cook’s presence and his inability to score TDs.

 

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

 

Chris Johnson said yesterday that despite skipping offseason workouts he doesn’t have a problem with the Titans. Of course, today he tweets “Just got off the phn w/ my agent & its not gd news I’m feeling lk @Revis24 rt now at least dey offering him something dey not offering me nothing”. That doesn’t sound like  somebody without some animosity. This situation could get ugly if it drags on.

 


Marshawn Lynch attended his first offseason workout today for the Buffalo Bills. Lynch is third on the depth chart at this point behind Fred Jackson and rookie C.J. Spiller. The odds of a trade, perhaps to Seattle, remain high at this point.

 


Pierre signed his one-year tender yesterday. A long-term deal is in negotiations. With Mike Bell in Philly, PT could put up some serious fantasy numbers without costing you too high of a draft pick. Of course, he’ll have to stay healthy.

 

Finally, Ryan Moats signed with the Vikings. He gives the Vikings a veteran presence following Chester Taylor’s departure. He’ll compete for backup duty with Albert Young (12 career carries), Ian Johnson (practice squad last year), and rookie Tobey Gerhart.

 

Photos courtesy of Icon SMI


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