Fantasy  

FedEx  

Jets' alleged QB competition is on again ... or not

Eventually, Rex Ryan and Michael Vick are going to have to get on the same page about this alleged Jets quarterback competition.

In a reprise of a storyline that appeared during minicamp, the Jets head coach has hyped the training camp battle between Vick and incumbent starter Geno Smith. And once again, Vick has responded by saying the job is Smith's to lose.

From a pure football standpoint, it makes sense to give the job to Smith. Vick signed a one-year deal with a team that's more than one year away from being a legitimate Super Bowl contender. It would be disruptive to put the veteran under center for one season while delaying the progress of the player expected to be the team's future at quarterback.

From a fantasy standpoint, having Smith win the job might still be a pretty good idea. Approaching the end of last season, the Jets quarterback was one of the best fantasy options around. Smith averaged more than 20 points per game over the final month of the campaign, fifth-best at the position ... and that was with a receiving corps of Jeremy Kerley, Stephen Hill and a declining Santonio Holmes. The prospect of an upgraded receiver group led by Eric Decker is reason for optimism.

In the meantime, Gang Green's alleged quarterback competition could be an elaborate ruse to prevent Smith from resting on laurels. If so, the head coach and the veteran backup should get on the same page about it.

New policy in Washington


When the NFL first met Robert Griffin III in 2012, he was the freewheeling trigger man who appeared to be one of the standard bearers of the read option craze that was sweeping the league. Two seasons and one coaching change later, that could be changing.

New Washington head coach Jay Gruden admitted to NFL AM's Steve Wyche that this season is likely to see fewer designed runs for RGIII but that the coaching staff won't limit Griffin's ability to scramble away from trouble when the situation calls for it. That last part will help fantasy owners breathe a sigh of relief.

Part of what has made Griffin such a fantasy commodity has been his ability to run with the football, putting him on par with Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton. Taking that away from him would certainly adversely affect his fantasy value. However, it's worth remembering that Gruden took a pocket passer in Andy Dalton and built him into a top five fantasy quarterback. Now Gruden has a more talented quarterback and a deeper receiving corps with Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson; it will be interesting to see how high the ceiling can be.

Quick outs


» The path to Johnny Manziel opening the season as Cleveland's starting quarterback might have hit a speed bump. Browns coach Mike Pettine told ESPNCleveland.com that Brian Hoyer will get most of the work with the first team and will start the first preseason game. Pettine described Manziel's situation as "more Johnny versus the playbook than it is versus Brian." At this moment, proceed as though Hoyer will be the starter but don't discount Manziel as a potential late round flier -- after all, there's still a chance that he could take over the job before the season is over.

» The Panthers open training camp with a good news-bad news situation. The good news is that Cam Newton has been fully cleared after his offseson ankle surgery. This won't fully alleviate concerns about his mobility, but it's a positive step for Carolina's key offensive player. The bad news is that the perennially injured Jonathan Stewart reportedly pulled a hamstring recently and will miss the next one to two weeks. It's become an unfortunate trend for an otherwise talented runner. Hopefully this won't be a lingering injury, but it could mean a heavier dose of DeAngelo Williams -- and fewer potential headaches for fantasy owners.

» After giving up a first round pick to acquire Trent Richardson, it's not a surprise that the Colts would give the third-year running back every opportunity to succeed. That sentiment was summed up in coach Chuck Pagano's comments that he'd like to have a "bell cow" runner this season. However, Pagano's follow up that he's willing to go running back-by-committee means that the recently cleared Vick Ballard is waiting in the wings to pick up any extra carries should Richardson falter again this season. With a full offseason to study the playbook and clean up his mistakes, Richardson could have deep sleeper status. But fantasy owners would be wise not to rate the former Alabama star as anything more than a third option.

» What many believed to be true has now been confirmed -- Rashad Jennings is the Giants' No. 1 running back. For now, at least. It's no surprise that the free agent acquisition is ahead of David Wilson, considering the team has repeatedly stated that it plans to take things slowly with Wilson after suffering a serious neck injury last season. However, if Wilson has a strong training camp, it could change the outlook of Jennings as a bell cow runner this season. Keep an eye on Big Blue's workouts to see if anything changes.

» Most everyone earns rave reviews in training camp, which makes Gerald McCoy's superlative assessment of Josh McCown pretty run-of-the-mill. However, it's worth noting that the journeyman quarterback made himself a short-term fantasy star last season throwing to the dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. This season, McCown will toss the pigskin to Vincent Jackson and rookie Mike Evans. That pair might not be quite as fearsome, but it does have the potential to be very productive. McCown could earn some attention as a QB2 in plenty of leagues this year.

» Suspended Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon was hoping to be reinstated by the NFL sometime during the 2014 season. That could be in jeopardy after the wideout was arrested for marijuana possession. What this means for Blackmon's status with the team is still unclear, but considering the NFL's previous stance on similar issues, it seems unlikely that the troubled receiver will step on the field this season.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com. You can follow him on Twitter @MarcasG.

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15