News: USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday. It is not known if he will try to play this season (like Terrell Suggs and Da'Quan Bowers did last year). ESPN reports that Crabtree had surgery Wednesday and is expected to be sidelined about six months. That timetable would put Crabtree out until at least some time in November. Analysis: Crabtree came on very strong for the Niners last season once Colin Kaepernick went under center. In the seven starts Kaepernick made in 2012, Crabtree had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. That's out the window now. We expect the Niners to put Crabtree on the PUP list to begin the season and re-evaluate where he's at in his rehab come October or November. If you draft Crabtree with what would now be a middle- to late-round pick, you'd have to dedicate a bench spot to him for most of the regular season with no guarantee you'd get him in your lineup at 100 percent. The Niners will lean on Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin and perhaps second-year receiver A.J. Jenkins to pick up the slack.
News: Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Wednesday the team has high expectations for rookie running back Montee Ball. Hes trying to pick up the offense," Gase said. "Hes a rookie. There are a lot of things going on, and hes trying to pick it up as quick as possible. Obviously drafting him in the second round, were looking for him to make some kind of impact for us and be able to be on the field five, six plays and work together with that group of running backs. Analysis: Ball has the chance to start for the Broncos, especially if Willis McGahee and/or Knowshon Moreno are released prior to training camp. Keep an eye on what happens with Ball, who is likely to share playing time with Ronnie Hillman. We view Ball as a No. 2 Fantasy running back with upside. He's worth drafting in Round 5 in most standard leagues.
News: The unlucky offseason for Lions running back Mikel Leshoure continued during OTA workouts Wednesday. First, the team signed running back Reggie Bush, which dropped Leshoure on the depth chart. Then on Wednesday, Leshoure was not participating in team drills because of an injury, according to the Detroit News. "He's battling some stuff," coach Jim Schwartz said. "He can do some individual stuff but he's not ready to do any team work." Analysis: We hope Leshoure is OK, and it sounds like he should be fine for training camp. Keep in mind he had an Achilles injury as a rookie and battled some ankle problems in his comeback. As long as Leshoure is back for training camp he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy running back, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick. Keep in mind that even though Bush is the new starter for the Lions, Leshoure should work at the goal line, which will keep his value sustainable in the majority of standard leagues.
News: USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. That's a tough blow for quarterback Colin Kaepernick since Crabtree was clearly his No. 1 receiver. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in Kaepernick's 10 starts in 2012 he targeted Crabtree more than any other receiver. The target breakdown was Crabtree with 94, Vernon Davis with 39 and Randy Moss with 39. Analysis: This injury hurts Kaepernick's value for this season. His receiving corps was upgraded with Anquan Boldin replacing Moss, and the 49ers drafted a rookie in Quinton Patton. But now he's without his No. 1 option in Crabtree, which lowers Kaepernick's value. He is still worth drafting as a No. 1 quarterback, but he should be considered toward the end of the Top 10 at best with a mid-round pick.
News: The New York Daily News reports Hakeem Nicks was absent from the team's first day of OTA workouts Wednesday, just hours after attending a charity event in New York the night before and telling reporters he felt good physically following knee surgery. He had attended offseason program. "He should be here," an irked coach Tom Coughlin said, ruling out injury for the reason he's absent. Analysis: Sounds like this is a case of Nicks showing his unhappiness with his contract. He's slated to be a free agent after the season and wants an extension; the Giants are dragging their feet. Last season Nicks struggled through injuries including a broken foot suffered during OTAs a year ago, leaving him with unappealing Fantasy stats and a large red flag warning owners of injuries to come. Assuming he's eventually in camp on-time and ready for the start of the season he's a high-risk, high-reward No. 2 Fantasy receiver worth a pick in Round 5 or 6. He went in Round 4 in our most recent mock draft, a bit too high in our opinion.
News: The Texans official team website reports that rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins is making a good impression early on this offseason. Hes such a dynamic player, quarterback Matt Schaub said. Hes just going to bring an added dimension to our offense. Schaub cited Hopkins great attitude and work ethic, and is looking forward to what Hopkins will bring to the squad. Hopkins has practiced with the first-team offense, which meant he and Andre Johnson were the starting receivers. Johnson believes Hopkins is well on his way to contributing. Hes picking up everything pretty well, Johnson said. He went and made some plays today and thats a good thing. I think day-by-day, hell continue to get better and better. Analysis: Hopkins has the chance to be a solid contributor for the Texans as a rookie, and we would draft him as a key reserve with a mid-round pick. In rookie-only drafts, Hopkins is worth drafting with a first-round selection.
News: The Jaguars have signed another Patriots castoff, this time receiver Jeremy Ebert. Analysis: Ebert hurt his leg last season and didn't play. He's unlikely to make an impact for the Jaguars in 2013.
News: Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas said Wednesday he feels as comfortable as ever in his rapport with quarterback Peyton Manning. "Its sky-high right now," Thomas said of his chemistry with Manning. "I know what he wants. I know where to be on the field. I feel like the more were on the field, the better I get, just in seeing what he wants from me and seeing what hes looking for. Analysis: Thomas had a true breakout year in 2012, turning into the Fantasy stud that many expected him to be, which happened in his third year in the NFL. Thomas finished eighth in the league in catches (94), fourth in yards (1,434) to go along with his 10 touchdowns. He enters this season as a No. 1 Fantasy receiver, and he should be drafted in all leagues by Round 3.
News: USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. While this injury hurts the 49ers, it should help tight end Vernon Davis, who could become the No. 1 option now for quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Analysis: Davis had a down year in 2012 and struggled once Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith. He stepped up his performance in the playoffs, and hopefully he can pick up from there, especially with Crabtree out. Davis is a No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues, especially after this injury, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 6.
News: USA Today reports 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree tore his Achilles tendon on Tuesday and will undergo surgery. It is not known if he will try to play this season. The injury now elevates Anquan Boldin to No. 1 on the depth chart. Boldin was traded to the 49ers this offseason from the Ravens. Analysis: Boldin, at this point in his career, was suited more for a No. 2 receiver role than a No. 1 option. Last year, as the No. 1 option for the Ravens, he caught 65 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, but he stepped up in the playoffs with 22 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Still, this injury helps his Fantasy value, and Boldin now has the potential to be a No. 3 Fantasy receiver worth a mid-round pick.