Fantasy News and Notes – Lynch Returns

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks – After missing eight days of training camp, the Seahawks running back is back with the team. Seattle agreed to give him a $1.5 pay bump, which is reportedly less than the $5M more he wanted, but this appears to be a win-win. I still believe backup Christine Michael will have RB2 value at a minimum, but it appears to be safe to draft Lynch in the first couple of rounds once again.

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns – Gordon’s representatives and the NFL met for most of the day on Friday and will resume his drug suspension appeal hearing on Monday. ProFootballTalk is reporting that a deal may be reached to reduce his suspension to less than the full year and if that’s the case then Gordon should be drafted in the early to mid rounds and could be a deciding factor in the fantasy playoffs.

Arian Foster, Arian Foster – On Thursday we reported that Foster had returned to practice, and no sooner did we post that than he is now hurt again and being held out of camp. As I mentioned in the 2014 Running Back Rankings, it’s hard to trust a 28-year-old running back coming off back surgery. If you roll the dice on Foster, make sure you grab Andre Brown late in your draft.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers announced that Crabtree would be out one to two weeks with unknown injury. Jim Harbaugh told the media that the injury has nothing to do with his Achilles or foot and if that is true than that’s very good news, but the fact that the team won’t disclose the injury is a bit of a concern. We’ll hold Crabtree steady for now, but this is a situation that we’ll watch closely.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints – Brees missed the Saints scrimmage on Saturday with a minor oblique strain and will be held out of training camp until it fully heals. Although the injury appears to be minor, oblique injuries tend to linger and could affect a quarterback’s delivery. I certainly wouldn’t avoid Brees in drafts on the news, but this is one worth keeping an eye on.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – Jones will use a special cleat this season that Under Armour built to assist Julio with his foot injuries. Jones reportedly looks “spectacular” in camp and could be a steal if he comes at any sort of a discount in drafts. When healthy Jones was the #1 receiver in fantasy least season.

Knowshon Moreno, Miami Dolphins – Reports out of Miami say that Moreno could miss the entire pre-season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in June. Moreno has done little to impress his new coaching staff and was reportedly losing time to Lamar Miller even before the surgery. Coming off the season he had in Denver, Moreno will likely be over-drafted anyway and this news doesn’t help. Miller is the back to own here, especially if he comes at a value on draft day.

Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints – Reports out of New Orleans have the Saints looking at an even 3-way time share at running back this season with Thomas, Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram and if that truly is the case then none of them will have much fantasy value this year without help from an injury. I still feel like Thomas is an undervalued back, but this report is concerning and I may pass on him if I see other values.

Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns – Reports out of Browns camp have Manziel looking impressive enough to start running with the first team and he is “narrowing the gap” to Brian Hoyer. No kidding. Like I said in the 2014 Quarterback Rankings, Cleveland didn’t draft Johnny Football to hold a clipboard this year.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers – The Panthers first round rookie receiver returned to practice on Saturday after missing some time with a bruised knee. Benjamin has reportedly been looking strong in practices and should provide Cam Newton with the big target he never had since arriving in the NFL. Although I’m not fully sold on Benjamin’s long term potential he has the size and ability to be a red-zone threat right away and if he can hold on to the ball, he could be a fantasy asset right away given his situation.

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags second round rookie will miss a couple of weeks after re-aggravating a hamstring injury suffered in OTA’s. Robinson is a high upside receiver but on a rebuilding Jags team, he was a better dynasty league asset even before the injury.

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