Fantasy news and notes: Spencer Ware a must-draft

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Fire up the Spencer Ware hype machine. Multiple outlets are now reporting Jamaal Charles may not be fully ready for the season opener. ESPN's Chiefs beat reporter Adam Teicher has been saying for more than a week now that Charles will be seeing limited action, at best, Week 1 and he told Sirius XM that Charles "certainly won't be the starter."

Coach Andy Reid has been understandably elusive about how much playing time Charles will have early on and Kansas City Star reporter Terez Paylor gave this info bit from Reid regarding Charles, "Jamaal is going to need a little time to work himself back ... "

Reid didn't rule Charles out but it certainly sounds like his snaps could be limited.

Meanwhile, Ware has run with the first-team offense almost all preseason. In a semi-small sample size, the 24-year-old from LSU was insanely effective, sporting a 5.6 yards per carry average over 72 attempts. And tape-monster/draft guru Lance Zierlein, using an advanced stat he created, charted Ware as having an out-of-this-world ability to generate yards for himself.

In most draft clients, Ware is buried pretty deep, but Round 8 or 9 rolls around, go find his name and add it to your queue, he is absolutely worth a single-digit pick even in 10-team leagues.

More news and notes:


NEWS: Darren McFadden says he's ready to return from a broken elbow and begin practicing, according to multiple reports including the Dallas Morning News. The website also reports that the Cowboys have gotten trade calls from other teams regarding McFadden's services.

- Fantasy spin: Has there ever been a 1400-yard running back discarded faster in fantasy than Run DMC this year? With Ezekiel Elliott and Alfred Morris in front of him, McFadden is going largely undrafted in standard leagues and a scene change would be interesting. Just spit-balling here, but with Matt Jones hurting and Keith Marshall on IR, how ironic would it be if Dallas could squeeze value out of Washington after signing Morris this offseason.

- Bottom line: Unless both Zeke and Freddy Mo go down and unless he gets traded, feel free to leave McFadden on the waiver wires except in the deepest of leagues.

NEWS: Eric Ebron was seen running routes with Matthew Stafford pre-game according to Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. The report adds that Ebron has only practiced once over the last month after being carted off because of an ankle injury.

- Fantasy spin: While Ebron didn't play, this is an encouraging sign. Brandon Pettigrew will start the season on the PUP and Andrew Quarless is suspended for the first two games. Ebron's athletic profile is legit but he has never put it together on the field. With Calvin Johnson gone, the team would love to have the seam-stretching ability of a big, fast, strong tight end like Ebron.

- Bottom line: The opportunity is certainly there and the eye-popping athleticism makes him an intriguing tight end option but until we see him actually do anything of significance the position group is deep enough where you can leave him on the waiver wire. But keep tabs on him just in case.

NEWS: Thomas Rawls makes an important but quiet preseason debut, rushing two times for seven yards. The undrafted second-year back from Central Michigan played with the second team, fueling the speculation that Rawls could start the season as a backup to Christine Michael.

- Fantasy spin: While it's true that Rawls came in with the backups, it's completely possible that this was a way to ease him in against lesser competition. Rawls has spent the entire offseason recovering from ankle surgery. There is no question Christine Michael has been incredible this preseason (26 carries, 157 yards, 6.0 ypc) but the feeling among beat writers continues to be that Michael will open the year as a backup to Rawls.

- Bottom line: Michael has failed to live up to expectations but he's worth at least a super-late flyer because if we know one thing about Pete Carroll it's that he values competition above all. If you can play in his system, he will find a way to play you.

NEWS: Teddy Bridgewater tore his ACL, dislocated his kneecap and suffered "other structural damage" according to the team.

- Fantasy spin: It's an absolute heartbreaker for Vikings fans and a brutal turn of events for a team that had legit title aspirations. For the good of the real-life game, we hope Bridgewater makes a full recovery. From a fantasy perspective, no one was drafting Teddy Two-gloves but a lot of questions arise regarding how this might impact Adrian Peterson. My initial thought was that this wouldn't hurt AP too much considering he's played, and played well, with considerably worse at quarterback than Shaun Hill. That being said, Peterson overcame previous offensive deficiencies while in his prime. At 31, it's fair to say he's going to be at least a touch less explosive than previous years.

- Bottom line: The offense will likely take a step back, meaning fewer scoring opportunities for Peterson. This plus an expected increase in Jerick McKinnon's usage has many experts pushing Peterson down a couple spots to the bottom of the first round. Aggressive drafters could conceivably take Lamar Miller ahead of A.P.

NEWS: Bruce Arians is excited about Cardinals run game, citing improvements to the offensive line. The team added Evan Mathis at right guard and D.J. Humphries will start at the right tackle. According to AZCentral.com, Arians believes the run game will be better than in 2015.

- Fantasy spin: If you needed more hype for David Johnson, here you go. Over 125 attempts Johnson averaged 4.6 yards per tote amassing 581 yards on the ground. An explosive athlete and a proven receiver out of the backfield, DJ is one of the best and most versatile backs in the NFL. Johnson is young and in a great offense. When you add in the defense, with the additions of Chandler Jones and Robert Nkemdiche, this team is primed to create some big leads -- leads Johnson will be expected to salt away. He might be the safest pick in the first round all things considered.

- Bottom line: If you take Johnson first overall, no one will fault you regardless of format. Even if you don't think he's as talented as Todd Gurley, Johnson is in a MUCH better situation offensively.

Shameless cross promotion:


I should just re-name this to shameless self-promotion because I wrote a piece that lays out, round-by-round, what you should do if you are lazy, want to put no work in but still want to play fantasy. The basic premise: how to draft the most set-it-and-forget-it team you possibly can without it being terrible. My lazy person's guide to fantasy drafts can be found here.

More hardcore fans will appreciate Matt Harmon's ridiculously researched piece on wide receiver target distribution. If you play fantasy seriously you know targets equal stats and that stats equal good. Read it here.

Speaking of absurd amounts of research, the Magical Beard of Fantasy, Matt Franciscovich broke down the backfield situations for EVERY. SINGLE. TEAM. He gives you the projected starter of all 32 teams, the expected backups and solid ADP data as well. It's a must-read if you're cramming for your upcoming fantasy draft. Enjoy.

Want more fantasy news and notes? Follow James Koh on Twitter: @JamesDKoh

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