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There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for red-shirt senior wide out Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington Eagles.

WR-Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington 6’2” 204 lbs.

Kupp is a unique prospect for a few reasons. His grandfather played guard in the NFL for eleven years and his father was drafted by the league too. Then there is the level of competition he faced in the Big Sky Conference which is not considered difficult, but the wide out did perform well against bigger programs, Washington and Oregon. The rookie receiver will also be one of his classes oldest players, 24 before the start of the season, and married for two years.

Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, I decided to break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of the senior play maker: 2016 contests versus Washington State, Richmond, Central Arkansas, and Northern Arizona along with a 2015 game against Oregon and a 2014 game against Sam Houston State. All of these videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts: Read More »

The name Mike Thomas might cause confusion in this year’s NFL Draft along with rookie fantasy football drafts. Ohio State produced a top five wide out that might get selected within the first twomthomassm rounds (Michael Thomas) and Southern Mississippi has a smaller version who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine.  Although their names are very much alike, their play is not, so I reviewed Southern Mississippi’s games against Louisiana Tech, Washington, Western Kentucky, and Nebraska to get a better feel for what skills and talents he will bring to the next level.  This is what I saw:

WR-Mike Thomas, Southern Mississippi, 6′ 1″ 200 lbs. Read More »

In my weekly column, we take a long look at impact fantasy football rookies.  I compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them.  Let’s continue this 2014 version of jmatthewsthe series by looking at one of the best receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft class, Jordan Matthews.  I will look at some of his college production against his performance versus Dallas to discern his dynasty value.

Here are my thoughts after watching three games of his college play: At first glance, Matthews is a physical specimen at 6’ 2” 212 lbs., but plays larger than that.  The receiver was the first player ever to ask for tape of his opponents after his Senior Bowl invite.  It’s his work ethic and competitive nature that separates the wide out from the other talented receivers in his class, not his famous cousin Jerry Rice. Read More »

The witching hour is finally here.  Preseason game three, the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football.  The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against.  The only driconstant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different.  I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used.  Here are my observations:

Steelers vs. Eagles

Biases aside, this was an ugly game for Pittsburgh.  You could almost feel the shadow of the drug arrests from the day before on runners Le’Veon Bell and LaGarrette Blount.  Bell got touches early, bounced off some of the defenders, but left a lot of blocked openings unanswered.  The second year back took a head shot, but came back a series later.  Blount, however, appears strong/powerful at the point of attack with quick feet and good balance.  Rookie Dri Archer got sent in motion the majority of the time he lined up in the backfield.  The Eagles front seven seemed more ready for his quicks and wiggle than the other teams the Steelers faced as they did not allow many openings in the first three-quarters of play.  Chemistry issues plagued second year receiver Markus Wheaton and Ben Roethlisberger.  Big Ben tried to get him involved early, but either their timing was off or Wheaton would bobble the pigskin.  Last week’s highlight reel, rookie backer Ryan Shazier, was less active.  He did not do as good of a job using his speed to prevent plays; instead the youngster spent most the game chasing down ball carriers several yards down the field.  Ertz caught him out of position twice.  Read More »

Here it is, another week of NFL preseason games.  Hopefully your fantasy football starters play a bit more, so we might get a few more glimpses into what each team will look like in the regular season.  Keeping up with the latest news is very m leeimportant as it can get you a jump on the waiver wire and possible trade scenarios.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions.  Here are some quick observations based on around the first three-quarters of each game:

Jags vs Bears

There wasn’t anything of note on the Bears side due to the broken collarbone of second year receiver Marquess Wilson.   The Jaguars brought out one of their biggest free agent acquisitions, running back Toby Gerhart.  He has good leg drive, uses a nice stiff-arm, and does well when running north and south.  His problems start when the runner gets forced to run east and west; Gerhart does not have the speed to turn the corner and usually gets spread out to cause a negative or unproductive play.  Rookie receiver Marqise Lee ran smooth routes, caught the ball in stride, and was heavily targeted.  The wide out tells a story with his routes.  On his touchdown catch, Lee played possum acting like it was a run play; then he reversed his direction sharply to break free into the end zone.  Even though Jaguars aren’t saying it right now, first round quarterback, Blake Bortles, is fighting for the starting job now.  The young signal caller gets the ball quickly, scans the field, and shows good ball placement.  Bortles looks confident in the pocket, stepping up from danger,  and sets his feet to deliver the pigskin accurately. Read More »

This is the follow-up to yesterday’s article about the start-up dynasty draft.  We will now cover the highs and lows of the six round rookie draft that got held the week after the NFL Draft.  There were several trades that left a few of the teamsrichardson without picks for the first two to three rounds.  Keep in mind the starting lineups are as follows: 1-2 QBs, 2-3 RBs, 3-4 WRs, 1-2 TEs, 2-3 DLs, 2-3 DBs, and 3-4 LBs, so basically everyone starts one offensive flex (that could be a QB) and one defensive flex.  You can find the league here: http://www99.myfantasyleague.com/2014/home/63805#0

The league has four first time dynasty owners and the rest of the league owners have three plus years of dynasty experience, but once the picks start flying all that is out the window.   Return yardage counts the same as rushing or receiving .1 points per yard, backs get .5 points per reception (PPR), wide receivers get 1 PPR, tight ends get 1.5 PPR, and all touchdowns are worth six points other than passing touchdowns (only worth five).  Let’s take a look at the six rookie draft rounds to see where you can find good values and not so good values, but keep in mind you can flex a quarterback (15 of them were in the top 25 scorers in 2013).

Round One

1.10 WR Brandin Cooks, Saints- The young receiver was great value here, but due to the quarterback flex aspect, players tend to slip a little.  Because this was my pick, I am more than overjoyed to brag about it. Read More »

Re-print of my Senior Bowl articles, I hope these will help you during your rookie drafts.
Well the long Senior Bowl week is almost over.  Most of the NFL coaches and scouts have gone back to their team headquarters.  The team meetings, practices, press conferences, and hospital visits are over.  Now is the time to
play.  Whoborland really stood out in real game conditions? I will break down my thoughts from the press box in alphabetical order:
Antonio Andrews, RB
The running back runs well behind his pads and can be a very effective power rusher and receiver.  He was a volume back in college so he tends to start slowly and work himself into the game.  This might be an issue as I’m not sure if there is an NFL that would be willing to start him right away.  Andrews might not be worth more than a fantasy flier.
Chris Borland, LB WISC
The athletic linebacker was everywhere in the game.  He covers potential receivers tightly out of the backfield and is a very hard hitter.  For a stretch of two quarters it seemed like he was a part of every single tackle as he is always around the ball. His size means nothing to me as Borland can flow to the ball, disengage blockers and hit.  If you are in tackle heavy leagues, he might be a LB2 this season!

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This is a reprint of the fourth of a six part Senior Bowl series I did in January.  Hopefully this will be helpful as you are going thru your rookie and dynasty drafts.

As I am told, this will be the final day that the media can view practices. The players are back to shells and helmets mostly running plays at half speed.  Because there is not a lot more to gleam here, I will spend the majority of my time in thisgarop article reviewing and ranking these offensive players by their position.

Quarterbacks

1) Derek Carr, Fresno State
Carr is the most polished the quarterbacks.  He has good footwork, throws balanced, and got more comfortable hitting his receivers in stride as the week went along.  The signal caller has the necessary arm strength to make all the throws and plays like a leader out there.  He did nothing here to hurt himself and is probably going to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.  For us dynasty owners, I would not consider him until the late second or early third in fantasy rookie drafts.

2) Jimmy Garoppolo, East Illinois
Wow what a two week whirlwind, first the young quarterback had to learn a new system for the Shrine Game and was a replacement option for Alabama’s own AJ McCarron.  Garoppolo is not a terrific athlete, but he steps up in the pocket and throws accurately.  He gets better every day and should make a good developmental NFL and fantasy quarterback.

3) Tajh Boyd, Clemson
It was clear from the first practice on that Boyd got a lot of help from the talented skill players he got the chance to play with at Clemson.  He has a strong enough arm and good pocket awareness, but prefers to throw shorter passes.  Many people consider him as a Russell Wilson-lite.  I am not as convinced, but he is worth picking up for depth in dynasty leagues.

Running backs

1) Charles Sims, West Virginia
Sims was the most complete running back here in Mobile.  He has quick feet, good vision, and reads blocks well getting small in the hole.  The back looked fine in pass blocking drills and catches the ball cleanly.  Sims has a little wiggle to his game and was the most explosive back by far.  Depending on where he goes, Sims might be a late first round rookie draft back.

2) David Fluellen, Toledo
He is a more north and south runner than Sims, but has even better hands.  Fluellen reminds me a bit of Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush as he is a bigger back who tries to run like a smaller guy.  The back fights for extra yardage and has a burst once he clears the line of scrimmage.   I would be looking to add him to my dynasty squad in the middle to late second round of rookie drafts.

3) Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
If you like Bobby Rainey, this back is even better than he is. Andrews has good vision, steps up to take on pass rushers and does not give up on the block.  He is quicker than fast, has loose hips, and catches the ball well.  Owners that draft him will need to be patient as he might start as an RB4/returner to start his NFL carrier.  I’m not sure he is draftable in leagues that have rosters of under 25 players.

Wide receivers

1) Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Matthews is the best skill player at this game, by far, but hasn’t always played up to expectations.  He has exceptional quickness getting in an out of breaks, tracks the ball well in the air, and can contort to make difficult catches.  The receiver can be disrupted by physical corners that spend a little time in his head.  Matthews gets to the ball at its highest point and can make defenders miss him in the open field.  He catches the ball cleanly, usually in stride.  The wide out has good size at 6′ 2″ 209 lbs., but is not a huge receiver so he may slide down both NFL and dynasty rookie drafts into the late first or early second round.

2) Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
He was the most technically sound receiver here, bar none.  The only time he didn’t catch the ball cleanly was on an onside kickoff drill.  Abbrederis is not the biggest guy here, nor is he the fastest, but he was magic finding open space and getting to the ball.  He makes plays in traffic with guys hung all over him.  I think he will be a better slot receiver, but he can play outside.  With all the talent at wide receiver, Abbrederis should have huge value in the second round of your rookie drafts.  He did suffer a knee injury and should be considered as questionable for the game on Saturday.

3) Robert Herron, Wyoming
The powerfully built wide out got better every single day.  He started off the practices slowly, but adjusted his technique and concentration to be pushing Abbrederis as the second best receiver in Mobile.  Herron has the foot speed and jukes to get a clean release off the line, regardless if he lines up in the slot or outside.  The receiver can start and stop on a dime while needing zero time to blast past defenders at full speed.  He catches everything with his hands in stride and finds a way to come down with contested passes.  His size at 5′ 8″ 193 lbs. isn’t ideal, but he could be a great WR2 in a pass happy offense.  He had a long touchdown catch in the back of the end zone early in today’s practice.  Herron needs to be scooped up in the second round of your rookie drafts.

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Editor’s note: I wanted to replay my first Senior Bowl experience to help differentiate the rookies that you are drafting as we speak.  I hope you enjoy:

I don’t know what it is, but there is something pretty awesome about sitting in a room with hundreds of the best football minds this country has to offer. Looking around and seeing general managers, head coaches, offensive and defensiveabby coordinators, really made me feel lucky to be a part of the Senior Bowl.

My adventure started the day before when I got on my third and final flight of the night from Chicago and as it turned out, I was on the plane with the majority of the Bears coaching staff on their way to Mobile.

Weigh-in/measurements part of the day is a necessary evil, but I was not a fan.  They are made to parade in front of 500 scouts/media members/coaching staffs in their underwear.  If there was something noteworthy I will mention it in my individual player notes.  Now on to my South and North practice notes listed in alphabetical order:

Jared Abbrederis, WR WISC
The powerfully built receiver was physical catching the ball, throwing off a defensive back hanging on him.  He runs crisp routes, sinks his hips, and catches the ball out in front in stride with strong hands.  There is something about him that reminds me of former Cincinnati Bengal TJ Houshmanzadeh.  If anyone could be called the North’s best receiver, it is Abbrederis. Read More »

Since most of us are in the middle of rookie drafts or we have just completed them, I wanted to write a weekly article about the trends that are occurring on myfantasyleague.com fantasy football rookie drafts.  This will be a three-part series,d freeman because most leagues complete their rookie drafts before those long summer days that get filled with vacations, outside chores and activities.  As always, my thoughts get based on dynasty PPR leagues with sacks being worth 2.5 times that a tackle is worth.

The easy trend to predict was Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans get drafted one and two in almost every single draft.  These receivers seem to be the safest bets based on talent and situation.  I don’t feel there is much of a difference in value between them, so if you receive an offer to more from the 1.01 to the 1.02 for something that could improve your team, make the move.  If there is any thing as a sure thing, it is those two this year. Read More »

The excitement generated by the draft weekend has come and gone.  Now is the time to put in the hard work as your rookie fantasy drafts are upon us. My dynasty fantasy rankings get based on a three to four-year window, not their immediate impact.  Talent and situation gets considered here. This is where the meat and potatoes of the rookie draft values are this year, so get a few helpings of fantasy goodness with this position.

8. Jordan Matthews, Eagles- With DeSean Jackson gone, the Eagles need a receiver to step up.  I like the speed, boxing out defenders, and body adjustment that Matthews brings to Philadelphia.  While he might not be elite in any matthews2category, Matthews is ready to play.  Matthews contacted the Eagles shortly after his selection about getting film on all of the corners he will face in the NFC East. Read More »