The Lamar Miller hype train is steadily picking up steam. We've been down this road before, just last summer. But it ended up being just that. Hype. This time around, things may be different. According to the Miami Herald, "there's hope" that Miller "can play the role of LeSean 'Shady' McCoy" in new OC Bill Lazor's offense. Lazor, of course, spent last season in Philadelphia on Chip Kelly's coaching staff. So, Fins fans are crossing their fingers and praying Lazor brings an innovative offense to South Beach and uses his players' talents lightyears better than old play caller Mike Sherman. The 2013 Eagles led the league is rushing and yards per carry. Now, we're by no means saying Miller is McCoy. There's a significant gap in talent level. But indications are the Dolphins are going to feed Miller, who's said to be running circles around Knowshon Moreno. Moreno hasn't been doing much of anything, actually, besides getting pudgy and sitting on the trainer's table with a bum knee, while Miller spent some one-on-one time with McCoy earlier this month and watched all of Shady's game tape from a year ago in preparation for 2014.
Miller's ADP has jumped nearly a full six rounds from the back end of the 12th to the top of the 7th. With the news of Miller head-and-shoulders above the rest of his running back teammates, we actually like the value. There's plenty of "sleeper" appeal. Expect Miller's ADP to continue to climb. Rotoworld rookie Raymond Summerlin actually dove in deeper on Miller's ADP rise last week and talked about his outlook. You can read it here.
News Nugget #1
Late Sunday night, the Vikings locked up TE Kyle Rudolph through the 2019 season with a five-year, $36.5 million contract extension. That's a big commitment to a guy who has all of 109 career grabs. But we like the move by GM Rick Spielman, who's paying for what they expect Rudolph to do; not what he's already accomplished. Rudolph is primed and set up to explode as a breakout player under extremely tight end-friendly OC Norv Turner. Turner was the OC in Cleveland for Jordan Cameron's 2013 explosion and has finagled career years out of Jay Novacek, Eric Johnson, Randy McMichael, and Antonio Gates in the past. Rudolph is a red-zone maven and has a nose for the end zone. He's a strong candidate to lead Minnesota in catches and receiving scores. With the fantasy tight end position wide open behind the Big Four of Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, and Cameron, Rudolph is a real threat for top-half TE1 production. He's a value pick at the 8th-9th round turn where he's currently being drafted. Don't sleep on this kid.
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News Nugget #2
Per ESPN's Bob Holtzman, the feeling in the Cleveland locker room is that Brian Hoyer will be named the Browns' Week 1 starter.
"We're all expecting Hoyer to start," one Browns player told Holtzman.
There was chatter following May's draft that the coaching staff didn't want Johnny Manziel, and that he was handpicked by owner Jimmy Haslam, who was convinced by a homeless person on the street in Cleveland to draft Johnny Football. Seriously.
Hoyer is a serviceable quarterback, but us fantasy footballers drool over the upside Manziel possesses as a dual-threat passer. But all signs point to Hoyer getting the nod under center on opening day, unless Haslam intervenes and forces coach Mike Pettine's hand. We wouldn't put anything past Haslam. The Browns were 2-0 in Hoyer's two full games last season. He also showed a strong rapport with Jordan Cameron. In those two starts, Hoyer targeted Cameron 21 times, connecting with him 16 times for 157 yards and four touchdowns. Cameron will now be the clear-cut No. 1 option with Josh Gordon staring at a year-long suspension.
News Nugget #3
The 49ers' depth at running back took a couple crotch shots over the weekend. Change-of-pace back Kendall Hunter tore his ACL in Friday's practice and is done for the season. And LaMichael James dislocated his elbow on Sunday and will likely miss the entire preseason and the rest of training camp. That leaves Carlos Hyde and Jewel Hampton behind 31-year-old Frank Gore. (Marcus Lattimore hasn't been able to practice because of hamstring and knee issues.) Hyde's arrow continues to point upward. Expect him to open the year as Gore's top backup and start off with a handful of carries per game. Once Gore shows his annual signs of wearing down, Hyde should be given the opportunity to earn more snaps. He's one of the top handcuffs in fantasy.
Depth Chart Quick Slants
Jermaine Kearse has been running as a first-team receiver in three-wide sets at Seahawks camp. He's a plus athlete with the ability to high-point the football. Could lead Seattle in touchdown grabs. … Kenny Britt and Brian Quick were getting the bulk of the first-team receiver reps on the outside in Rams practice Sunday. The receiver competition in St. Louis is one of the most wide open ones in the league. … Mark Ingram opened camp as the Saints' No. 1 running back. Pierre Thomas ran with the twos. Khiry Robinson is lurking in the weeds. … Teddy Bridgewater is already taking first-team snaps away from Matt Cassel. Vikings brass is impressed with the rookie. Bridgewater has made it a real camp battle. He's far more talented than Cassel. … Rookie Andre Williams is the tentative favorite to open the year as the Giants' goal-line back.
Injury Quick Slants
Cecil Shorts will be sidelined for the next two weeks with a Grade 2 hamstring strain. He's been battling hamstring and calf issues since the spring when he missed most of OTAs and all of minicamp. Injuries are becoming a major concern for Shorts. … Julio Jones appears to be completely over his 2013 broken foot. … Rob Gronkowski (knee) is participating in 11-on-11 drills. … Vick Ballard tore his Achilles' on Friday and is done for the year. Ahmad Bradshaw is now locked in as Trent Richardson's backup and could produce some solid fantasy weeks if T-Rich doesn't improve on his 2013. … Jonathan Stewart will miss 2-4 weeks with a hamstring injury. Is J-Stew even real?