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Fantasy news and notes: Tyler Eifert out 4-6 weeks

Mark it down, Matthew Stafford is going to ball in 2016.

Yeah, yeah, I get it Stafford lost Calvin Johnson and has been a fairly mediocre fantasy quarterback his entire career outside of his one pop year in 2011 when the Lions signal caller amassed more than 5,000 passing yards and tossed 41 touchdowns. He fell off hard in the years following, averaging just 23 touchdowns per season over his next three.

But in the second half of last year we saw a resurgence from the former Georgia Bulldog; 19 touchdowns to just two interceptions and a completion percentage that was nearly 70 percent. That's an outrageous number for a guy who has a career completion percentage that is a shade under 61 percent.

The back-half resurgence was directly tied to Jim Bob Cooter taking over as offensive coordinator and running the offense at a significantly faster pace.

And as Lions beat reporter Kyle Meinke lays out in tremendous detail the offense has gone no-huddle for 62 percent of their plays this preseason, up from seven percent in the regular season together.

Stafford reportedly loves the offense and feels comfortable in it. This means good, possibly great things for not just Stafford but Marvin Jones and Golden Tate as well.

Statistically speaking, because the run game could be a mess and because most of their offensive talent resides in their pass catchers it's not crazy to think Stafford could go for 4,500 yards and 35-40 touchdowns. He's a lock to be a top-10 quarterback with the potential to push for top five production. At his current asking price in the Rounds 12 to 15, there is almost no question in my mind he will vastly outperform his draft position.

More news and notes:

NEWS: Tyler Eifert is targeting Weeks 4-6 to return according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The Bengals tight end is still recovering from offseason ankle surgery and just started jogging.

- Fantasy spin: This is significantly worse news than we were anticipating. Earlier in the offseason there was at least the glimmer of hope that Eifert could be back for Week 1 in some capacity. He's currently the fourth tight end off the board in NFL.com mock drafts but we'll see his value slide considerably closer to season start. If he comes back in Week 6, the Bengals still have their bye in Week 9 and the fantasy season for most folks ends in Week 16 meaning you'd get eight games of production. If you're comfortable burning a bench spot on a tight end for that long (you shouldn't be), taking a stab at him in Round 12 or later makes sense.

- Bottom line: Obviously the talent is there but dragging around an extra tight end when the position group is deep this year doesn't make sense. Antonio Gates or Julius Thomas can be had in Round 10 or later, Zach Miller, Martellus Bennett can be had practically for free at the end of your draft.

NEWS: Ezekiel Elliott made his NFL debut and rumbled for 48 yards on seven carries versus Kam Chancellor and the Seahawks first-team defense.

- Fantasy spin: The highly-touted rookie from Ohio State is the real deal. Zeke was picking up chunks on the ground at will and perhaps most impressively, Elliott met Kam Chancellor head on and won. He didn't necessarily truck Chancellor but Elliott did drive him backward, an impressive feat against arguably the hardest-hitting safety in the league.

- Bottom line: Elliott confirmed what most fantasy analysts already knew; he is 1,000,000,000 percent a top-ten pick in fantasy this year and knocking on the door of the top five.

NEWS: Desean Jackson seems "motivated" and "disciplined" according to a report from Mike Jones of the Washington Post.

- Fantasy spin: Just FYI, Jackson is in a contract year. If you don't think the 29-year-old will work as hard as possible for what is likely his last big-money contract you're kidding yourself. The former Cal product has largely been an up-and-down contributor on a weekly basis but he's been a top-20 fantasy wide receiver in five of his past seven years, the only times he hasn't have been due directly to injury. He played just nine games last year and missed five games in 2012. His current ADP on NFL.com is near the end of Round 9 and has a similar value on other mock draft sites. That is tremendous value.

- Bottom line: Given the weak defenses in his division, the Washington pass-crazy offense and again, this can't be overstated, his contract status, D-Jax has great chance to be a top-20 wideout in fantasy with big-game potential that could win you some weeks.

NEWS: Isaiah Pead is getting first-team reps at Dolphins' training camp and according to Miami Herald's Adam Beasley, Pead has looked like Miami's best running back. Per Beasley's report, coach Adam Gase said, "When he gets in there ... he seems to make something happen."

- Fantasy spin: First it was Jay Ajayi's backfield. Then they drafted Kenyan Drake. Then the team tried to sign C.J. Anderson. That didn't work so they signed Arian Foster instead. Now we're seeing Pead getting first-team reps and ripping off 45-yard runs in preseason games. In their most recent preseason game, Daniel Thomas had a few impressive runs as well. It's a long way of saying, read between the lines. They haven't come out and said they're abandoning ship on Ajayi but it's also becoming painfully clear the coaching staff doesn't trust him.

- Bottom line: Pead, despite the nice reports, is still undraftable in all formats. Foster is the back to own here but don't get crazy and take him before Round 7. Move Ajayi way down your draft board into the double-digit rounds.

NEWS: Tyrod Taylor was the Buffalo News' 2016 training camp offensive MVP saying the quarterback hasn't let the contract extension he signed effect his work ethic. Buffalo News noted that Taylor "looked determined throughout the spring and summer to refine areas of his game he thought needed work."

- Fantasy spin: Tyrod came out of nowhere last year to be a high-upside, match-up based quarterback. He had six games of 20-plus fantasy points in standard leagues with 10 total games of 15 or more fantasy points. Taylor was one of the safest quarterback plays last year as well. Only once did Taylor have a single-digit fantasy performance last year. As a comparison, Ben Roethlisberger had four such games last year. Despite having a better fantasy season than Big Ben, Taylor for some reason is going five to eight rounds after Roethlisberger.

- Bottom line: Taylor's current ADP in Rounds 12 to 15 is absurdly low and he presents one of the many value options you have at the quarterback position.

NEWS: The Lions released running back Stevan Ridley. After his cut, Ridley visited the Colts on Friday.

- Fantasy spin:Zach Zenner has had a good camp and made Ridley's strengths redundant. It clears up the backfield a bit but not much. Ameer Abdullah is still projected to be the starter, Theo Riddick will get heavy work in the passing game and then who knows. Zach Zenner? George Winn? Zenner is probably the most talented and could legit make an impact if Abdullah again falters/fumbles like mad/isn't healthy.

- Bottom line: In 10-, 12-team leagues Zenner is still undraftable but he is someone you should keep an eye on. If Ridley signs with the Colts, he's nothing more than a maybe, possibly, but-probably-not a handcuff to the 33-yearold Frank Gore.

Shameless cross promotion:

NFL Media's Lance Zierlein is a borderline insane person when it comes to the draft; he watched tape and wrote scouting profiles for like 1,764,297 prospects last year, roughly. Probably closer to 400 but whatever. He's a tape fiend and he's now applying this same dedication to NFL running backs. He created an advanced analytics stat he is calling IPI (individual production index) that measures how much yardage a back is able to generate on his own versus getting what the offensive line opens for him. It's an eye-opening study. Jeremy Langford fans, I'm so sorry.

My Danger Zone compadre Adam Rank is back with his 11 sleepers you need on your squad. He tells you why DeAndre Washington could be a big-time fantasy difference maker (top-25 RB!) in fantasy this year.

Hot take alert! The Magical Beard of Fantasy, Matt Franciscovich tells us why he thinks taking Rob Gronkowski in the first round is a pretty terrible idea. That and his other players to avoid at their current price can be found here.

Want all the the NFL.com's fantasy staff's lists of sleepers, bargains, breakout players, et al? Want to do zero reading? We got you! Here are all the top-10 lists you could want in one super convenient place with zero analysis.

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

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