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Word around camp: Alfred Morris seeks more catches

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 taken as you prepare for your fantasy draft.

On Trent Richardson


» Chuck Pagano: "He's a lot more comfortable. He's got a better feel for the guys he's playing with ... so he's obviously in a much better place than he's ever been at this point."
» Trent Richardson: "I feel like my timing was so off from everybody last year, with the offensive line, with the quarterback, even with certain handoffs or certain steps."

Our analysis: The tides turned quickly on Richardson in 2013. Perhaps too quickly. Richards was the ninth highest scoring fantasy running back in 2012 after all, and there are those who firmly believe that Richardson was the victim of more poor blocking than poor play. There's no reason to reach for Richardson, but he's an interesting dark horse to target in the middle rounds as a bounce-back candidate.

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On Kenbrell Thompkins


» Tom Brady: "He made some great plays. I have a lot of confidence in him, a lot of trust ... It's fun to be out there with him."

Our analysis: All offseason signs have been pointing to the ascent of Aaron Dobson in the Patriots passing attack, but that narrative has taken a backseat with Dobson opening camp on the PUP list. There isn't much to make of this yet, but if Brady appears to be favoring Thompkins and building a rapport with him during the preseason, Thompkins becomes an intruiging late-round flier. Brady throws to those he trusts, just look at Julian Edelman: Over the last six weeks of the season he led the NFL with 53 targets.

On Chris Johnson


» Rex Ryan: "He looks great and we're doing a lot of different things with him. We had him flexed out at receiver, bringing him in motion, doing some different things (and) you see that speed that he has."

Our analysis: It's only one day, but CJ2K impressed in his Jets training camp debut. Add into that the news that Chris Ivory has a minor hamstring injury, and Johnson is starting to look a bit more enticing. This will be a battle to watch all camp long, but CJ2K could return good RB2 value this year in New York. He's currently being drafted as the 21st running back in NFL.com mock drafts.

On Eric Decker
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» Michael Vick: "Decker runs great routes. I mean the top of his routes are unbelievable. He knows how to create space. You can just tell that him working with Peyton (Manning) over the last couple of years has helped him blossom as a receiver."
» Geno Smith: "Deck (Decker) is coming off playing in a Super Bowl. (He's) a proven guy and (a) very hard worker."
» Eric Decker: "(My synergy with the QBs) is good, today was really good. I thought Geno (Smith) and Mike (Vick) did a great job, they made some good throws."

Our analysis: The New York Jets were a wasteland for fantasy wide receivers in 2014. The team only threw 13 touchdowns -- the fewest in the league. Decker no longer has the benefit of Peyton Manning under center, or Demaryius Thomas helping open up coverages. However, he's a worthy WR3 who could out perform his draft value.

On Alfred Morris


» Alfred Morris: "I definitely want to get more involved in the passing game, whether its screens or actually running routes, whatever it is I'm open for it. Just build that trust with the quarterbacks and coaches and that'll help translate to more catches."
» Jay Gruden: "We still have to keep pounding the rock and get more physical and keep coaching (the running backs) up."

Our analysis: Please, Jay. Please listen to Alfred and involve him in the passing game. Please! OK, now that we got that out of the way, running backs under Gruden collectively averaged 50 receptions per year during his run with the Bengals. The highest individual total was Giovani Bernard's 56 last season. Morris has never been a proven pass-catcher, but that's also due in part to a lack of targets. If he can add this element to his game, his fantasy potential in Gruden's offense will increase. Gruden's comments were coming after saying that the defense beat the offense in day one. Perhaps if Morris can be more physical and rip off a few big runs, he'll get the opportunity to try his hand at receiving. Otherwise, expect Roy Helu Jr. to continue to drive Morris owners crazy in 2014.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar

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