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2014 Draft Prep: Hold your horses on Nick Foles

Senior Fantasy Writer
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I like Nick Foles. His story last season was great, for the Eagles and Fantasy owners, and he should be a solid quarterback again this year.

But I'm not drafting him. His Average Draft Position is too high.

Heading into the final week of preseason action, Foles was being drafted at No. 56 overall, which is Round 5 in a 12-team league. There's no way I would draft Foles in that spot unless it's a two-quarterback format.

He's also being drafted ahead of quarterbacks I like better, who have a much higher ceiling in Colin Kaepernick, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. I would even draft Robert Griffin III ahead of Foles because I think Foles is headed for a regression.

Last year, Foles was awesome when he took over for the ineffective Michael Vick. He passed for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions, finishing as the No. 11 Fantasy quarterback despite making just 10 starts. From Week 9 to the end of the season he had at least 21 Fantasy points in eight consecutive games.

But here's what's facing Foles this season. He loses DeSean Jackson, who was a vital cog in this attack, and Foles targeted him more than any other receiver (70 times), completing 71.4 percent of those passes to Jackson.

The Eagles did a nice job in adding talent around Foles as they brought back Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, who missed last season with a torn ACL, traded for Darren Sproles and drafted Jordan Matthews. Zach Ertz will see a bigger role and LeSean McCoy is still a stud catching passes out of the backfield. We'll see how it all works out, but I'm anticipating some growing pains, especially with Maclin and Cooper battling injuries in training camp.

Foles will also have a tougher schedule. Last year, he had 10 of his touchdowns (37 percent of his production) and 834 of his passing yards (29 percent) against two of the three worst pass defenses in 2013 with Oakland and Minnesota. That will be tough to replicate in any two-game stretch.

He does benefit with two games against Dallas' defense this year, but that first meeting with the Cowboys isn't until Week 13. Before then he gets four games against elite defenses in San Francisco, St. Louis, Arizona and Carolina and then Seattle in Week 14, which is the start of most Fantasy playoffs.

We'll also find out if teams have schemed against Kelly's offense and can force Foles into more mistakes. Not that it matters much, but Foles has two touchdowns and three interceptions in three preseason games.

Foles should still be considered a top-12 Fantasy quarterback this year. He'll have plenty of great moments and I would settle for him as a starter. But I won't draft him in Round 5 and neither should you.

The right spot for Foles is Round 8 or later. That's a safer spot to draft him based on how he should play this season.

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Player News
RB Duke Johnson (hamstring) falling behind at Browns camp
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:46 pm ET) Browns rookie running back Duke Johnson missed practice again Tuesday with a hamstring injury, and the team's coaching staff is being to appear frustrated with his absence, per ESPNCleveland.com.

"It's just disappointing that a guy we're counting on being a big part of what we do, to lose him at this formative time of what we're getting done … he'll have a lot of catch-up work to do," Browns coach Mike Pettine said. 

Johnson, a third-round pick out of Miami, is expected to be a big part of the Browns' run-heavy offense and a part of their special teams - if he can get on the field. 


Browns WR Terrelle Pryor completes pass, hurts hamstring
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:32 pm ET) Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, who is making the transition to that position from quarterback, got to show off some of his old skills Tuesday, completing a pass on an end-around in both offense-only and full-team drills before tweaking his hamstring and leaving the field, per Cleveland.com. 

Coach Mike Pettine said he didn't think the injury was serious, but that the team would take a closer look at the injury as a precaution. 


Patriots announce four signings to fill roster
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(2:15 pm ET) The Patriots announced they have signed four players Tuesday: linebackers L.J. Fort and Cameron Gordon, fullback Eric Kettani and defensive lineman A.J. Pataiali’l .

Gordon and Kettani have both previously spent time with the Patriots, while Fort was on the practice squads of the Seahawks and Bengals in 2014. Pataiali’l was on both the Ravens and Browns practice squads last season. 


Jaguars GM says WR Justin Blackmon 'unlikely' to return
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:47 pm ET) Wide receiver Justin Blackmon , who hasn't practiced or played since 2013 after being suspended for the third time for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, is unlikely to return to the Jaguars according to GM David Caldwell, per ESPN.com. 

Blackmon hasn't been in contact with the team and his time away from the game signals he is not prepared to hit the field anytime soon. 

"I don't know to expect but I would say common sense would probably be if you haven't played football in two-and-a-half years apparently that's not a priority for you," Caldwell said. 

The Jaguars have no plans to cut Blackmon, who would have to apply for reinstatement and go through a two-month vetting process before being allowed to play again. 


Packers RB Eddie Lacy leaves practice with foot issue
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:40 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy left practice Tuesday with what the team is labeling as a foot issue, per ESPN.com. 

"Eddie had some foot soreness," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "They just pulled him out there near the end."

The Packers had said they wanted to limit Lacy's workload, but during the first few days of camp, he had taken the majority of reps. Veteran James Starks is Lacy's backup. 


Report: Texans RB Arian Foster suffers groin injury
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:19 pm ET) Texans running back Arian Foster suffered a groin injury Monday during the team's first fully padded practice, per a report from ESPN.com. 

During last night's practice, Foster hobbled off the field during a pass play, and several sources, including the Houston Chronicle, have described the injury as serious enough to require surgery. 

Foster has battled a variety of injuries during his career, including a hamstring issue that knocked him out of the team's season finale last year. 

Foster finished 2014 with 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns on 255 rushing attempts. He also caught 37 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns


Browns DL Billy Winn (ankle) to miss week of practice
by Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com
(12:23 pm ET) The Browns defensive line dodged a bullet when the ankle injury suffered by defensive lineman Billy Winn was not ruled to be that serious, per the Associated Press

Browns coach Mike Pettine said that Winn will miss at least a week; however, he didn't feel it was the kind of high ankle sprain that could keep Winn out of action for several months. 

Winn was carted off the field during last Saturday's practice. He appeared in 13 games last season and totaled 31 tackles with one interception.


Report: Patriots sign linebacker L.J. Fort
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:04 pm ET) After a tryout Monday, linebacker L.J. Fort signed with the Patriots on Tuesday, per the Boston Globe

Fort has played with four NFL teams, most recently the Bengals and Seahawks, for whom he appeared in one game last season. He has 20 career tackles and one interception, all of which came for the Browns in 2012. 


Report: Eagles, QB Sam Bradford working on extension
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(11:27 am ET) The Eagles have been working on a contract extension for quarterback Sam Bradford, with the hopes of gaining control of Bradford for beyond this season at a minimum, according to a report from ESPN's Ed Werder. 

Bradford has impressed coaches thus far in offseason workouts and despite his history of injuries, the former No. 1 draft pick has many of the traits in which Eagles coach Chip Kelly admires. 

"Peyton Manning switched teams because of an injury,'' Kelly said. "Drew Brees switched teams because of an injury. So we went down that path."

Bradford has one year left on his rookie contract, and is scheduled to make $12.9 million this season. He has not played in an NFL game since 2013. 


Panthers WR Stephen Hill clears waivers, placed on IR
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:27 am ET) Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill , who tore his ACL on Saturday, cleared waivers Tuesday and will be placed on the team's injured reserve, per ESPN. 

Hill, who spent 2014 on Carolina's practice squad, will not count against the team's 90-man roster. 


 
 
 
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