With NFL Training Camps underway, lots of interesting nuggets are coming out regarding a number of fantasy football players. From first-round picks to deep sleepers, "Word around camp" will track the best quotes from players and coaches throughout each day. We'll do our best to sift through the smoke and see what insight can be lifted as you prepare for your fantasy draft.
» Ron Rivera: "Well, he is (having his best camp). He's still moving along. This is all part of his rehab too, to get out there and actually do football stuff. The three-step, the five-step, the drops. They're important because he's gotta work that ankle back into shape. Stepping into his throws. The movement that he's gotta continue to work on, and then the scrambling. He's gotta get back to that, and that'll all come eventually as his leg gets stronger and stronger."
Our analysis: It's great that Rivera wants Newton to get back to his scrambling ways, especially for fantasy owners. But, can you blame Rivera when his quarterback is capable of the lunacy in the video above? Didn't think so. Due to his ankle surgery and entirely new crop of wide receivers, Newton has been tumbling down draft boards all offseason. Newton's fantasy points have gone down every year he's been in the league, but he's still producing more than most other signal callers. He's still a QB1, but one that you might want to wait a little longer to draft than usual.
» Joe Thomas: "He's a lot like Tom Brady. When you look at the way he competes and the way he demands the most out of everybody around him, it's no coincidence that those guys played together. (Hoyer) has a lot of those same mental attributes and that's a great thing for a quarterback to have. He's the ultimate competitor, and no matter if we drafted a quarterback No. 1 overall, I knew that in his mind he expects to win the job because that's the type of competitor he is and the type of quarterback he is."
Our analysis: Upon reading this quote I nominated it for "Training Camp Hyperbole of the Year" (if only that were a thing). This Browns quarterback battle is far from over, and crazy praise like this from an offensive tackle is nothing to take to heart. If Hoyer wins out, he's barely on the fantasy radar as a backup (but is better left undrafted). If Manziel wins, his ability to run makes him an enticing target as a No. 2 option.
» Adrian Peterson: "Let's call (our offense) what it is: I thought in the past, we've been predictable. I'm sure you guys wrote stories about us being predictable the past seven years. You won't be able to write that story this year. That's pretty much all I'm saying. You won't be able to do that, because this offense is so versatile."
Our analysis: All aboard the Norval hype-train! Seriously though, Norval Eugene Turner was the ideal coordinator to come in and make the most out of not only Adrian Peterson, but the entire Vikings offense. Norv already has installed 10 plays designed for Cordarrelle Patterson, and he has a long track record of making fantasy monsters out of his tight ends (see Antonio Gates, Jordan Cameron) which means Kyle Rudolph could be in for a career year.
» Mike Pettine: "Hopefully, it's just a step forward from last year. I know that the tight end in the past has been a big part of (offensive coordinator) Kyle's (Shanahan) offense, and we're excited to see that play out. (Cameron) is extremely coachable. He was one of our hardest working guys in the spring, worked very hard. He's constantly with (tight ends) Coach (Brian) Angelichio after practice, trying to get some extra help. He's a guy that's committed to taking another step to being an elite tight end ... You've seen him in a variety of places: in the backfield, on the line of scrimmage, either side, flexed out. We're still in the early stages of the playbook so formationally, I think we'll get more creative as we go along. Then, it will always be something from a game plan standpoint. If we think we have a certain mismatch, we can put him in a certain spot, we'll put him there."
Our analysis: Cameron will be a free agent in 2015, so it's no surprise he's doing everything possible to improve his game and cash in Jimmy Graham-style. Cameron is a stud tight end heading into 2014, and should be one of the first names called in fantasy drafts after Graham and Rob Gronkowski. Those afraid of him getting lost in the shuffle without Josh Gordon should fear not -- Gordon averaged almost six more fantasy points per game last season when Gordon was out of the lineup. Jordan Reed was on a tear last year in Shanahan's offense before a concussion basically ended his season. Cameron could be a fantasy goldmine at tight end in 2014.
» Joe Philbin: "I think he's more consistent. I didn't really like his first run today in the team run period. We kind of mentioned something to him in a nice manner and then I thought later on, a couple of runs today, he was really decisive, really quick and explosive. I think the extra weight, again, we haven't seen him matched up a ton yet in pass protection in the blitz against the linebackers, but I think that's going to bear fruit for him too. He's stronger, he's more physical. That should hopefully help (him) break a couple of tackles as well."
Bill Lazor: "It's hard for me to talk about what has happened in the past, but I can tell you that Lamar, I think, has a chance to be a really good player in this league because I think he has a good mix of, number one, being a space player, having the ability to use his speed. I had a chance to see that all spring and now it's probably two days into seeing him with pads. Now, I've watched the video, but what I saw a couple of days ago, our first day in pads, I really like the way he ran the ball. In our short-yardage situations, I thought he got downhill. If he'll put those things together, I think he's got chance to be a real productive player."
Our analysis: Sigh. Another offseason, another period of putting our fantasy faith in Lamar Miller. He was a fantasy darling last season, and one of the biggest disappointments when it was all said and done. These early signs are encouraging, and with Knowshon Moreno recovering from knee surgery, Miller figures to enter the season as the uncontested lead back. His current ADP is Round 11, but that could be on the rise if he starts producing in the preseason like we all hoped he would last year. Stay tuned.