We may have a position battle at running back for the league's top offense. Alex Green certainly deserves your attention.
No intros! No mercy!
You can check out yesterday's intro and a handful of players that are accumulating value in Sleepers on the Rise Part I.
Kendall Wright- The Nashville Tennessean made a conjecture that Kenny Britt could see up to four games for his DUI in the offseason. Britt also had surgeries on both of his knees -- including an ACL surgery last year -- and he's not quite healthy just yet. He was on the field today and is on the right track according to Jim Wyatt. As for Wright, the Titans spent a first-round pick on a player that is believed to be a speedster despite his 4.61 time in the 40 at the NFL Combine. He did get into the 4.4s during his pro day at Baylor and he certainly looks the part of a 4.4 guy on tape, too. Wright has been eased into camp after suffering a shoulder injury last month, so we should get a better idea of how he's going to be utilized. One would think he'd be a deep threat and he could shift to the slot on passing downs.
Bottom Line: Wright could get off to a fast start with New England's terrible secondary in Week 1 and possible shootouts with San Diego and Detroit in Week 2 and 3, respectively. He's absolutely worthy of a pick when the draft board approaches 100. Yeah I know. He's not really a sleeper these days.
Fred Davis- Yesterday we talked about Kyle Rudolph as the hottest tight end right now, but this USC Trojan isn't far behind. Davis, like Rudolph, has reportedly looked like the best skill-position player in camp and has built a solid rapport with Robert Griffin III. The Redskins are going to gear their offense to RG3's skills which would suggest that they'll be moving the pocket around on several plays. When the Skins move the pocket, it would make a lot of sense to use Davis in the flat for short gains or down the field on a post-corner route (SOURCE: my Madden playcalling). A lot of Davis' success will be predicated off RG3's success. That's not a bad thing. It's also worth mentioning that Chris Cooley took some snaps at fullback in practice today.
Bottom Line: The question of the day right now is Rudolph or Davis. I'd rather have Rudolph. It's extremely close though.
Alex Green- The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel gave incumbent James Starks a "thumbs down" at camp and stated that Alex Green is outplaying him. Green has a long way to go to usurp the starting distinction with his balky knee injury. The Hawaii product had ACL surgery about nine months ago, so it'll be an uphill climb for him. His size at six-foot, 225 pounds would make plenty of sense for the Packers to use as a complement to their lethal aerial assault. This could become one of the most interesting position battles in camp this year.
Bottom Line: This is more of a red flag to Starks' value more than the chances of Green rising up draft boards. He's still a solid RB5 in competitive 12-team leagues though.
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Buffalo D/ST- The Bills have a decent schedule for the first three weeks with @ NYJ, KC and @ CLE on the docket. Of course, the downside is that they get the Patriots in Week 4, so it might be tough to hold them rather than grabbing another handcuff running back or player on the rise. The good news is that there should be a solid sample size before owners have to make that decision.
There has been good news all over the place with their D. Rookie Stephon Gilmore has been wonderful in camp and all signs point to him being a starter. One thing is for sure: he'll be better than Drayton Florence. By the way, I'm really going to miss playing the matchups against Florence in my deeper leagues. Well, the Bills were shredded in the passing game and ranked 28th in completion percentage allowed, 25th in yards per attempt and 26th in passer rating allowed. All of this while allowing the ninth-most rushing attempts. There will be an improvement. The question is: how much?
The Bills have an awesome schedule besides the Patriots. They also play six of the top eight teams in sacks allowed including the top-four five times (Miami twice) and the Patriots are the only team on their schedule that ranked in the top nine for yards and points per game. There's a lot to like here.
Bottom Line: I'll almost never draft a defense before the 2nd-to-last round (K is last) and the Bills are a prime candidate to draft at that spot. Oh and they have some Mario Williams guy.
Bonus Bottom Line: I've drafted Kelvin Sheppard in almost every IDP mock I've done so far. He has been injured and finally did some individuals drills today. He could crack my top 15 linebackers in a couple weeks.
Rams D/ST- Wait. What? The Rams arguably have an even better schedule for IDP by facing their division foes twice each. The NFC West is the most sack-prone division in the league with St. Louis ranking first, Arizona at two, Seattle comes in at fourth and the Niners incredibly at seventh. The Rams also get the Dolphins and their third-ranked sack allowed total. Rookie Janoris Jenkins has been a star at camp and the term "shutdown corner" has been throw around when describing him. He and Cortland Finnegan have the potential to be one of the best corner tandems in the league which should increase sacks and obviously interceptions.
St. Louis' offense will also have to see an uptick in production for their defense to benefit from a fantasy perspective. Their O was 28th in the league in time of possession and they ranked 19th in offensive plays per game, too. I do expect Bradford to bounce back.
Bottom Line: You'd have to be nuts to use the Rams for Week 1 against the Lions, but their schedule softens down the line. There's no need to draft them. I'd suggest keeping an eye on them.
Derek Hagan- Hagan has been playing his way into the WR rotation and possibly as the Z next to Stevie Johnson. Donald Jones really hasn't done much and he lacks the aggression to go over the middle on five- and seven-yard slants -- two very important routes for how the Bills run their offense. Hagan made his money in college at Arizona State by embracing routes over the middle, but he hasn't really hit his stride since being taken in the third round by the Dolphins. The Bills ranked 10th in the league last year in pass attempts and one would think that they'd like to get themselves a possession receiver with Dave Wannstedt and Co. possibly giving them some leads.
Bottom Line: There's upside, but he's not quite there for fantasy owners that have drafts before the preseason starts.
DeMeco Ryans- Ryans has been the only linebacker for the Eagles to get snaps as their dime linebacker. He looks to be a true three-down Mike and there's a heck of a lot of upside here. He hasn't missed any games besides the devastating Achilles tear.
Thanks for reading!