Pittsburgh Steelers Le’Veon Bell Reportedly Facing A Four Game Suspension

It’s been a bad day for running backs and early bird fantasy drafters; two of the big name running backs seem to be in some hot water.

Le’Veon Bell 

Le’Veon Bell could be missing a four game suspension due to violating the leagues substance abuse policy. There were rumblings of a possible suspension on the horizon earlier in preseason, but despite Bell’s assertion that he hadn’t missed or failed any drug tests, his suspension is now one step closer to being official. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported “For the past several weeks, the Steelers had known [Bell] wouldn’t be on the field when the season began”.  According to Dan Graziano (ESPN) the violation resulted from a missed drug test, not a failed one which may help Bell’s appeal case. However, it’s uphill climb. Just last April Bell received a three game ban for violating the substance abuse police after an arrest for a DUI and marijuana possession. Bell, for what it’s worth, accepted his punishment easily and seemed contrite at the time. His suspension was later reduced to two games. With this being his second brush with the drug policy it’s unlikely he’ll see a reduction in his suspension. More worrisome for Bell owners, if this is indeed his second strike, his third could see him sidelined for an entire season.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have consistently fielded one of the most impressive  and efficient offenses in the league, and the show isn’t going to stop with Bell sidelined. DeAngelo Williams is next in line for Steelers. Williams made the most of his time as starter last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns in Bell’s absence, so all is not lost for the Steelers rushing game. Williams, who was already an attractive handcuff for Bell will be seeing a huge spike in ADP if Bell’s suspension is confirmed.  Williams ADP is currently in the seventh round. It could easily go as high as the third or fourth round in some leagues. In this case the more expensive tag is warranted. Williams is not a must-have handcuff worth overpaying for.

When on the field Bell is an absolute fantasy monster. In 2014 he finished with 1,361 yards, eight touchdowns, and a 4.7 YPC average. In 2015 he managed 556 yards, three touchdowns, and a 4.9 YPC average even though he only played 6 games due to injury and suspension. He’s also a passing threat, just last season he caught 24 passes for 136 yards, and he added 854 passing yards on 83 receptions, and three touchdowns to his already ridiculous numbers in 2014.

Let’s hope for his sake and the sake of his fantasy owners Bell gets his act together.

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Tom Brady’s Four Game Suspension Stands

In breaking news The Federal Appeals Court has officially denied Tom Brady’s attempt at a new hearing on his “Deflategate” suspension. What began as an accusation of cheating has turned into national news with Brady refusing to go quietly into the night, or in this case his suspension. His continued fight seems to not be focused so much on his innocence, rather the far reaching power of the NFL, specifically Rodger Goodell. Today The Court sided with NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell, stating that Goodell was within his rights to suspend the New England Patriots QB for his involvement in the tampering of game balls during a 2015 playoff game. The Patriots went on to win the game and advance in the playoffs.

Brady will miss the first four games of the season. Games that include two key conference games against the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills. Last season, The Patriots edged out the Jets by two games to lead the AFC EAST, so if Brady’s absence proves to be too much for The Patriots and back up Jimmy Garoppolo to overcome, the loses could finally dethrone the reigning AFC Champs.

Brady’s last hope is to appeal to the Supreme Court, though after this defeat, a reversal seems extremely unlikely.

 

 

Arian Foster Injury Update: Possible Landing Spots

Arian Foster seems to finally be recovered from an Achilles tear he suffered in late October.

According to sources he is “hungry” to regain his 2012 form, and in spite of his injury troubles there are multiple teams interested in his services.

His most recent work out was with the Miami Dolphins in March. According to Dolphins executive VP Mike Tannenbaum, Foster’s visit “went well”, but that he was “still a little bit away” from being physically able to play.

But that was over a month ago, and Foster believes he will be in fighting form in time for training camp.

So which teams are the most likely to be interested in Foster’s particular set of skills

The Most Likely:

The Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are a running back down after losing Lamar Miller to the Houston Texans. Miami attempted to shore up the ship by drafting Alabama running back Kenyan Drake. As the third running back off the board, Drake was a pricey investment, but it’s a big risk to rest the fate of your running game on a rookie. 2015 back up Jay Ajayi played only nine games and rushed for a total of 187 yards and one touchdowns. Having a veteran back at the helm would be a boon for The Dolphins running game.

The fact that he’s already had a work out for the team is a good sign.

The San Francisco 49ers

Lead back Carlos Hyde easily lead the team in touches with 115 attempts and yet only played seven games in the season. While he looked good in the games he played in, there are still questions about him being able to shoulder the load of an everydown back. He also only caught 11 passes in those seven games. His back up Shaun Draughn fared a little better in the passing game catching 25 passes over the season, but only finished with 263 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. Foster when healthy is not only a great runner but also a competent pass catching back and a touchdown monster. The 49ers could do a lot worse for a dual threat back.

The Washington Redskins

The Redskins are another team going into the 2016 season short an RB. Last season starter Alfred Morris is now a Dallas Cowboy and the load is currently on the shoulders of Matt Jones. Morris and Jones were both saw some measure of success on the field, but Alfred received the bulk of the carries. Jones may be effective as a committee back but there’s no proof that he has what it takes to be a feature back. Foster’s experience and talent would be a big boost to a team that seems to finally be finding it’s offensive groove again.

Honorable Mentions

Detroit Lions- No feature back emerged for the Lions last season. Ameer Abdullah came the closest and finished with 597 rushing yards. Matthew Stafford had 159.

San Diego Chargers- Danny Woodhead is great at what he does, Melvin Gordon is not.

 

I don’t know why but my gut is saying Lions. I don’t think they are the best fit for Foster, but I think they may be the best place for him to land. He would have serviceable back ups, a veteran quarterback, and an offense in need of a spark.

But don’t expect any big moves until closer to the start of the season as Foster’s injury concerns are still not put to bed, no matter how optimistic he seems. Foster has only played two full seasons since 2009, but I’ll say this for the guy, when he’s at full throttle he’s a heck of a running back.

 

Rob Gronkowski 2016 Fantasy Football Profile

Trying to decide if Gronkowski is worth a first round pick? Football Femme has the answer! Or at least an educated guess

Your Fantasy Football Coach

Last season, Rob Gronkowski was the top tight end in Fantasy Football to the surprise of absolutely no one.

Gronk has established himself as an elite Fantasy tight end ever since his second season in the league in 2011. He scored 241 points, and that was with teammate Aaron Hernandez finishing with 138 Fantasy points.

Since then, he has finished in the top two every season he’s played. Of course, that is barring his 2013 season which was prematurely ended Week 7 due to an ACL tear.

So should you ride The Gronk Party Bus again this season? Is there any reason not to draft him? Let’s take a quick look at his 2015 Fantasy Football performance before answering that question.

Rob Gronkowski: 2015 Fantasy Football Review

Gronk finished the 2015 season with 72 receptions, 1,176 yards, and 11 touchdowns. That  translated to 184 Fantasy points.

He finished with fewer receptions than the previous…

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Steelers Tight End Ladarius Green Is Undervalued

Former Charger, Ladarius Green is currently being drafted in the ninth round behind Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen, Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker and Coby Fleener. Of those players only Rob Gronkowski and Tyler Eifert had more touchdowns than Green in the first seven games of the season. Green had four, Eifert had five, and Gronk reeled in six. The only problem is, after week seven Green never had more than two receptions per game.

I’ll be honest with you Green’s stats don’t exactly translate to a fantasy football stud. Last season was the best season so far of his career. He had 37 receptions, for 429 yards, and four touchdowns. The only stand out stats he can boast is a healthy YPC average (14.1) and zero fumbles. His problem was he just couldn’t shake the shadow of legendary tight end Antonio Gates. Gates has an incredibly strong rapport with Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, and is one heck of an athlete. Greens only brief time to shine was due to Gates suspension in 2015. It’s tough to beat out an already established veteran player, especially one who has such a strong connection with his quarterback. But in spite of those stats the Pittsburgh Steelers liked what they saw in those seven weeks. They signed Green the first day free agency opened to the sweet tune of 20 million over four years, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Green is joining one of the best offenses in the league, who are currently desperately in need of a new face after losing long time tight end Heath Miller to retirement. Over the past four seasons Miller averaged 88 targets per season, and his 592 receptions are the sixth most in league history by a tight end. Green is bigger and faster than Miller. In fact, he’s one of the biggest targets for Big Ben currently on the field. Ben has a history of leaning on his tight end when he’s in a jam and Green will have a chance to shine early in the season, as The Steelers are going to be short an offensive weapon (Martavius Bryant) due to suspension.

His current competition for the job is second year tight end Jesse James. James was used very sparingly in 2015, and there hasn’t been a lot of chatter from camps about his progress. Likely James will face the same issue that Green is leaving, trying to beat out a veteran tight end. In my mind, there’s no way that Green doesn’t end up on top.

But don’t just take my word for it. I’m not the only one thinking Green could be poised for success in 2016. Marc Sessler, writer for NFL.com has Green as the #1 player on his list of players who “aren’t getting the attention they deserve“. ESPN even gave him a shout out in their ESPN predictions for 2016 with Jeremy Fowler almost guaranteeing Green “will become a breakout star” in the Steelers high octane offense.

Take it to the bank, there are big things in store for Green this season.

 

 

 

 

 

*I feel in all fairness I should note that I am a huge Steelers fan.

*Also, my go-to guru Matthew Berry is not a fan of Green. Boo to you Berry.

 

Rob Gronkowski has missed a full weeks worth of camp: The Fantasy Implications

New England tight end and fantasy football stud, Rob Gronkowski, has been quietly absent from The Patriots mandatory minicamp.

While according to both Gronkowski and Head Coach Bill Belichick he has been busy doing “other things“, ESPN’s Mike Reiss is reporting that the star is “working back from [an] undisclosed ailment that isn’t viewed as a long range concern”.

Gronk has had a rocky injury history, including a broken arm in 2012 that had him on the sideline for six games, a torn ACL in week seven 2013 that ended his season, and four surgeries on his forearm in 2013. Gronkowski also had a lot of people worried in 2015 when he suffered a hard hit to his previously ACL repaired knee. Though the hit looked nasty, Gronk was only out one game.

While his current injury is very likely and as report a minor one, it is worth noting for fantasy players. Bill Belichick is doing all he can to keep his stud player fresh, but being Tom Brady and The Patriots go-to-guy does take a toll on the body. It makes sense that Belichick would continue to keep a close eye and a tight leash on Gronk through the 2016 season as well. The Patriots already took a step in this direction by drafting former Chicago Bear TE Martellus Bennett, and Bennett isn’t just a pretty face. He was a consistent performer for The Bears and beat out even Gronk for receptions in 2014. It’s hard to imagine him not eating in to some of Gronkowski’s fantasy points.

Gronkowski is one of the best offensive weapons on the field and barring injury it’s hard to imagine him not cracking the top five most productive fantasy tight ends in 2016. However, I’m tempering my usually high expectations for Gronk this upcoming season. According to FantasyPros.com his current ADP is in the first round, and that’s just too steep a price to pay for me.

 

Joey Bosa: Contract Hold Out

Joey Bosa is making headlines not for his progress in the Chargers Minicamp, but for not showing up for camp at all.

Bosa is the latest rookie to hold on on a contract due to “offset language”. But what is offset language? My (limited) understanding is that by having this legal precedent in the contract The Chargers are able to offset a part of Joey Bosa’s salary IF he is released by the organization before his full four year contract is up. So, say Bosa isn’t up to snuff and they give him the boot. The Chargers will only be liable for the difference between his contractual salary with them, and the new salary he would receive by signing with a new team. Makes sense. A team doesn’t want to pay for a service they are no longer receiving.

But Bosa would like to be guaranteed the full amount of his salary, independent of his tenure with the team. This allows him the opportunity to “double-dip” so to speak. If released, he could be drawing a salary from both The Chargers, and his new team.

While to us mere fans this could seem a bit trite (“Pay the man his money”, “NFL Exec’s are making way more than any players”, “He’s getting millions to play the sport he loves, why is he being so greedy”) this isn’t the first time or the last that “offset language” has come between a player and a team. Marcus Mariota for example held out until right before the season started for the very same reason. Though there were rumors at the time it had something to do with a surfing clause?? There have been crazier things in football.

Ultimately a contract WILL BE SIGNED. There’s no way The Chargers are going to let go of the first non-quarterback to be taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. They wanted him, and now they are pretty much stuck with him.

Bosa was named The Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All American and  All-Big Ten as well as being a Lombardi Award Finalist his sophmore season. (2014) He repeated all but Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year his junior season (2015) after which he declared for the 2016 NFL Draft. Bosa amassed 146 tackles, 26 sacks, and one interception in just three years playing for Ohio State. He was drafted third overall in the 2016 NFL Draft.