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Word around camp: Jordan Matthews continues to shine


With NFL training camps underway, lots of interesting nuggets are coming out regarding a number of fantasy football players. From first-round picks to deep sleepers, "Word around camp" will track the best quotes from players and coaches throughout each day. We'll do our best to sift through the smoke and see what insight can be lifted as you prepare for your fantasy draft.

On Jordan Matthews:

» LeSean McCoy: "That rookie we got, (Jordan) Matthews, is looking real good. There's been a lot of talk about this draft class being deep at wide receivers, but I'm real confident in this one being the best of the class. It's still early, you got to go through the season and see how he does, but he looks amazing."

Our analysis: At this time of the year, everybody looks amazing and everybody looks like the best. But this is not the first time effusive praise has been thrown at the Vanderbilt product. Both Jeremy Maclin (leg soreness) and Riley Cooper (foot) have been sidelined during camp, which means Matthews is in line for even more rapport building reps with quarterback Nick Foles. Rookie receivers are a risky investment in fantasy football, but if you're going to take a chance on one, Matthews deserves to be in that discussion.

On Jerrel Jernigan

» Eli Manning: "He's had a good camp. He played well at the end of last year. He's making some plays, getting a little confidence coming in, just more game experience. I think he's a little more savvy in his route running and getting open, understanding the timing of things. It's good to get him out there making a few plays and a big third down conversion during the game."
» Sean Ryan (wide receivers coach): "He's worked on technique and I thought he used it in the game (to make those tough catches), what he's done in practice, putting himself between the ball and the defender, so I wasn't surprised because I've seen him do it here for the first couple weeks of camp. I thought he did a good job in executing those routes and making those catches, but we expect him to do that."

Our analysis: Both Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle were held catchless in the Hall of Fame game, but that can more be attributed to it being the first preseason game than anything else. Jernigan is in a contract year as he starts his fourth season in the NFL, so he'll be motivated to make a splash to secure more cash in 2015 and beyond. If Jernigan continues to shine he could merit a flier as a fifth wide receiver, but the threat of talented rookie Odell Beckham Jr. still looms. Beckham is nursing injuries right now, so monitor his recovery and Jernigan's production before spending a draft pick on either.

On Quinton Patton

» Greg Roman (offensive coordinator): "He's getting a lot of reps, doing a good job. I love his work ethic. He's been able to stay healthy, and that's the number one thing. A lot of what he's doing I really like and he's able to do it day-in and day-out. He's making a very favorable impression."
» Colin Kaepernick: "He's always been a great route runner. He knows how to get separation and how to win. Last year it was just a matter of him being comfortable and going out and using his skillset to get open. This year he really is comfortable with everything that's going on. So, he can set things up better. He knows how to run routes to win."

Our analysis: Patton showed flashes in his rookie campaign, but a broken foot stole most of the season from him. Now, his path to starting reps has become a lot more difficult, Stevie Johnson and Bruce Ellington are now in the mix. Nevertheless, Patton put on a show in a recent practice at Levi Stadium and seems to have the trust of his quarterback. Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Johnson figure to be the starting three, but Patton could force his way into the mix. Let's also not forget that Boldin and Johnson have are no spring chickens, while Crabtree is already nursing a hamstring injury in training camp. Keep an eye on Patton as fantasy drafts approach, but be wary of pulling the trigger unless he climbs up the depth chart.

On Ray Rice:

» John Harbaugh: "Ray has looked really good...Comparisons to years in the past -- we'll find all that out during the season. But he's in tremendous shape. I've seen him make a good lateral cut. He's got really good burst, acceleration is there, vision is there. He's been very patient with the zone runs. Ray looks really good."

Our analysis: Rice and Pierce are currently slotted as RB1-A and RB1-B on the Ravens depth chart, but Rice still has to serve his two-game league-imposed suspension to start the season. The Ravens rushing attack was an absolute disaster last season, and they'll be looking to improve with better offensive line play and a healthy stable of backs. Rice and Pierce both remain later round options in fantasy football, just don't get caught reaching too high for them. Their current ADPs are Round 8 and 13 respectively, which seems like an appropriate window to target them within.

On the Jets RBs:

» Rex Ryan: "I definitely think it's going to be a committee approach."

Our analysis: Nooooooooooooo.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar