Training camp notebook: Davis' value rises


No torn ACLs, broken hips or any other major injuries from Tuesday that would appear on the typical fantasy owner's radar. With the way things have gone to date this year, nothing would surprise me anymore. If one of my goofball buddies sent me a text saying "Did u see player X is out 4 the season after catching malaria?" I would buy it hook, line and sinker.

Doing the injury roundup on Monday, I found out what doctors probably feel like when they are forced to tell their patients bad news. Will today's notebook have a different and happier theme? Well ....

Crossing over

Those of you who play fantasy baseball know all about this. Everyone has owned a baseball player who qualifies at multiple positions since they played all over the field last year. Guys like Chicago White Sox's Jeff Keppinger is eligible to play any position in your entire infield and also qualifies as an outfielder. Fantasy bases owners love these guys because it gives you a lot of flexibility in setting your lineups, and the latest we've been hearing about Vernon Davis lining up at wide receiver in practice may be the closest thing we see to multi-position eligibility in the NFL.

You won't be able to draft Davis as a wide receiver, but he may end up producing like one if he plays there. Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles during the offseason, and he's currently on the team's PUP list. It seems highly unlikely we'll see him removed from the PUP, which means he'll miss six weeks minimally. I'm not entirely convinced we'll see Crabtree at all this year. The team's 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins is dealing with injury issues of his own after an unimpressive rookie debut. Outside of Anquan Boldin, there is no other dangerous wideout on the roster who has the ability to make a significant impact. Davis is lining up at WR out of necessity, and I'd be absolutely floored if he didn't improve every one of the lousy 2012 numbers he posted (41-548-5). In league formats which reward high yardage, Davis may even be a more productive TE for you than Jimmy Graham.

On a related note, had the 49ers not acquired Boldin this year, I'm half wondering if the lack of receiving options would have forced Jim Harbaugh to implement some 1950s military academy-style wishbone offense and run his RBs into the ground. And come to think of it, it'd be pretty fun to watch Colin Kaepernick run it.


A few days ago, I had mentioned that Denver's offensive line was in complete shambles. They are now resorting to having an offensive guard handle the snapping duties in practice. Manny Ramirez has never played center at the NFL level, and I'm fairly certain he didn't play center at Texas Tech either. They obviously don't view Ramirez as a viable long-term option since the organization reached out to retired center Ryan Lilja to see if they could coax him out of retirement. From everything I've read thus far, Lilja is hemming and hawing his way through the decision. If Lilja ultimately says no, I'm really not sure what Denver's Plan D for center might be. The team is also waiting for other offensive linemen to recover from injuries, and they may be in a race against time since preseason starts next week.

Then, after Denver sorts out their offensive line issues, the fun of picking a featured running back begins. If they even bother to do so at all, that is. John Fox was never opposed to employing the RB-by-committee system throughout his career. In fact, he probably even deserves some kind of congressional medal of honor for making that system work without decimating the fantasy value of both backs. But finding a way to use all three of them (Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno) may be a bit much. Ball is a bulldozer who I think will likely go into the season ranked 1A with Moreno at 1B, then Hillman at 2.

Although if some of these offensive line injury issues continue to linger, it could present a huge problem. If any of you played Tecmo Bowl back in the day, do you remember how an offense was limited to eight plays, and if the defense picked the play the offense chose to run, the D would swarm and stop the play well behind the line of scrimmage for a loss? We might just see a real-life version of that.

There is some potentially bad news on the defensive side of the ball for the Broncos, though. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was carted off the field on Wednesday with a leg injury. DRC put no weight on his injured leg after he got off the cart and limped his way to the locker room. He was a decent IDP option who I thought would be more productive with the Broncos than Eagles. Don't be surprised if we see John Elway start to do some kind of public reverse-jinx raindance next to a bonfire while he's apologizing for whatever he did to the football gods in the next few days.

Quick hits

» If you haven't seen the changes the NFL has made to its Pro Bowl selection process, take a look. I don't know if a perfect selection process that would make everyone happy exists, but it's a pretty cool and intriguing change, kind of similar to the NHL All-Star game selection structure. Who thinks they're up for the task of being one of the GMs?

» Rex Ryan continues to insist the Wildcat offense is here to stay. I'd probably say the same thing if I was headed into the season with a starting QB who can't throw, a rookie QB who had trouble finishing wind sprints, and a wide receiving unit where your best wideout might struggle to reach 700 yards this year. It's a shame since the Jets will field a very tough defense, but the offense will leave them in bad spots too often. Maybe the Jets can ask Jadeveon Clowney if he'd be interested in doing some double duty and lining up out wide on offense...

» Nine-year Bears veteran LB D.J. Williamspicked up a calf strain and was carted off the field at practice on Wednesday, and his status of "week to week" sounds a little more troubling than if it had been day to day. It's unlikely he'll be back before Chicago's first game at Carolina next Friday. Williams had very little production last year as he only played seven games for the Broncos, but the Bears signed him to replace Brian Urlacher, which means he was going to be an integral part of Chicago's D. This may be one of those rare situations where a team will try to rush a player back from injury in preseason so he can get the important reps he needs with the rest of the front seven.

John Juhasz is a fantasy editor at Follow him on Twitter: @JohnJuhasz

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