It's not completely accurate to say that the fantasy tight end position is Jimmy Graham and everybody else, but that song ain't so very far from wrong. A few seasons ago we were hyping The Year of the Tight End, but since then things have generally gone south for the position, and 2014 isn't likely to see a reprise of that magical 2011 campaign, making it worth keeping an eye on players who could potentially make an impact.
Chief among those tight ends is Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots pass catcher has been slowly working himself back into shape throughout training camp but still hasn't been allowed to take any contact during practices. There is some thought that Gronk might not make an appearance in any of New England's preseason games. As Gronkowski continues to strengthen his surgically repaired knee, enduring any contact might become more of a mental issue than a physical one. Regardless, it still looks like the big tight end is on track to be ready for the regular season opener, which is the most important news for fantasy owners.
Elsewhere, the Lions have big hopes for rookie Eric Ebron but early on he's struggled with the one thing that could make him a fantasy commodity ... catching the football. Detroit's coaching staff is taking it in stride, stressing that Ebron's learning curve has been pretty steep since the first-year player is being asked to do a lot of things he didn't have to worry about in college. It's one of the many reasons that first-year pass catchers -- tight ends especially -- struggle coming out of the gate. Ebron's talent makes him an intriguing possibility, but you're better off waiting until the late stages of the draft to take a chance on him.
Then there's Zach Sudfeld. The Jets tight end has earned some praise for his studious habits from head coach Rex Ryan. What this means for Sudfeld on the field remains to be seen. But with Gang Green's other tight ends being the lumbering Jeff Cumberland and struggling rookie Jace Amaro, there could be room for Sudfeld to make an impact. However after last season, when the Sudfeld hype train came careening off the track in Week 1, we'll hold off on making any grand pronouncements on his potential productivity for this season.
Marshawn Lynch update
Now it's time for your daily Beast Mode report.
And the report is that there is no new report to report. OK, that's not 100 percent true. Seahawks brass has continued with its stance that the team has no plans to negotiate with the holdout running back. What's more, when general manager John Schneider says it's "next man up", that suggests that the team is prepared to head into the season with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael as its two top running backs.
It might be wise for Lynch to talk to another Bay Area native who recently endured a long holdout -- Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD held out for 38 days prior to the 2012 season with nothing to show for it after the Jaguars refused his contract demands. All Jones-Drew got for his troubles was a pesky foot injury that forced him to miss 10 games and eventually needed surgery. It's a fair guess that Lynch has no desire to walk that road.
» Speaking of Jones-Drew, the new Raiders running back could begin the preseason second on Oakland's depth chart. Darren McFadden reportedly has a slight edge in the competition, but considering Run DMC's lengthy injury history, it could be only a matter of time before MJD gets a start. Then again, considering MJD's recent on-field performance, it might be wise to give Latavius Murray a look in the very late rounds.
» After suffering a burner in practice Tuesday, David Wilson will be held out of practice for the remainder of the week and he will not play in Sunday's Hall of Fame Game. The Giants had said repeatedly that they planned to take things slowly with Wilson's return from a serious neck injury. Expect them to take things even slower in light of what could be a serious setback.
» The Packers want Eddie Lacy to be a three-down back this season. To accomplish that, he needs to get better in the passing game. But if you ask Eddie Lacy, he's already pretty good. The second-year back has taken to calling himself "Moss" (after Randy Moss) because he believes his hands are that good. Lacy caught 35 passes last season and could be in line for more this year. While the nickname could rankle some Green Bay fans, fellow fantasy writer (and Packer enthusiast) Alex Gelhar said that if Lacy catches 60 passes this season, "he can call himself whatever he wants." I'm guessing plenty of other fantasy owners would agree.
» A good portion of the Cowboys offseason has focused on Tony Romo's surgically repaired back. But team owner and general manager Jerry Jones recently proclaimed that his quarterback is "100 percent" heading into the new season. Well that settles it. In reality, back injuries are a difficult thing to deal with and it's completely uncertain if Romo can endure a full season. His ceiling is as a low-end QB1, but if you take a chance on the Cowboys signal-caller, it's wise to not wait to long to draft a backup.