One of fantasy football's most versatile young quarterbacks recently confessed that he played through a a foot injury, hampering his production for a good chunk of the 2013 season. After exploding in Week 1 with 412 passing yards and three touchdowns, Colin Kaepernick followed that up with three single-digit fantasy point performances in his next four games.
Injuries to some of Kaepernick's best weapons in the passing game didn't help, especially wideout Michael Crabtree who missed the first 11 games with an Achilles injury. In the five regular season games that he did play in, Crabtree was held to just one touchdown and only eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark once. For a receiver who put up over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns one season prior, Crabtree clearly wasn't playing at 100 percent. "I was fast enough to be on the field," he said, "but I wasn't me." He's healthy now, is currently being drafted in the fifth round of NFL.com fantasy drafts and has WR1 upside.
With veteran tight end Vernon Davis (the No. 2 fantasy tight end last season), wideout Anquan Boldin, the offseason acquisition of former Buffalo Bill and three-time 1,000-yard receiver Steve Johnson and the return of Crabtree, San Francisco boasts one of the top all-around receiving corps in the league.
Kelly's light-hearted attitued on the topic implied that it's not too serious but if it truly is turf-toe that McCoy is dealing with, it's the type of injury that can be a lingering issue and develop into something more severe if not treated. There is increased concern for a running back as toes and in turn feet are a vital part of, well, running.
A closer look at Smith's 2013 campaign in last week's Going Deep reveals that he led the NFL in deep-ball targets with 42. Smith only caught 12 of those 42 passes and not one of them was a touchdown play. With Gary Kubiak running the offense now in Baltimore, we can expect that game plan to change. Smith should see an uptick in shorter-yardage targets and may play a similar role to that of Andre Johnson in Houston who caught 109 balls last season. With a current ADP of Round 9, Smith is an absolute steal in fantasy drafts this season.
» We had a chance to see some impressive catches of both dollar bills and footballs from Falcons wideout Julio Jones on Tuesday's episode of "Hard Knocks". Jones played in Atlanta's preseason game last weekend against Houston, and after his team practiced on Wednesday Jones said he felt good and that his workload is going to increase in preparation for Week 1 of the regular season. Jones has been on a limited practice regimen so far, but he'll practice on a daily basis soon.
The Falcons also expect veteran rusher Steven Jackson to be ready to suit up for their regular season opener. He's been sidelined with a hamstring injury since the early days of training camp, but coach Mike Smith said on Wednesday that the team is encouraged by Jackson's progress and his workload is also starting to increase. His current ADP of Round 10 is quite a bargain for a running back who scored six touchdowns in the last seven games of the 2013 season. Just be wary of his injury history.
Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich.