Are the Texans and Brock Osweiler a good fit?

 

 

The Texans paid Brock Osweiler in the offseason, despite the extremely limited “sample size” they’ve seen from him on the field. They believe he can push them over the top in an already weak AFC South, but are they right?

Let’s start with the positives. First, Bill O’Brien has proven himself to be a pretty good offensive mind, so he should set Osweiler up for success system-wise. He will have a strong supporting cast on offense, led by DeAndre Hopkins. I expect Jalean Strong to have a very good second season and they managed to snag Lamar Miller in free agency, so the pieces are there for him to succeed. They also picked up the uber-athletic Braxton Miller, who has all the tools but is an unproven commodity at receiver. Add in the fact that, in this division, going 9-7 or 10-6 could very easily win it for them.

Having said that, I’m not sold on Osweiler. I watched quite a few of his games when he was at ASU, and while he has all the tools, I often came away unimpressed. Don’t get me wrong; he won’t be terrible, and he certainly will be better than that mess the Texans trotted out at the position last year. He will be a decent game manager who may throw the occasional back-breaking interception, and he probably won’t be the reason they lose games the majority of the time. In addition, I would be shocked if Andrew Luck suffered two terrible, injury-plagued seasons in a row, no matter how bad his O-line is. So while he will manage games fairly well and keep the Texans in the division race, I wouldn’t expect a breakout season from him. He is a serviceable NFL quarterback, and probably nothing more.

 

Keith Shaffer, Easy Streak Contributor

Josh Gordon: Does the Fantasy Reward Outweigh the Risk?

 

The NFL dropped a shocker of a decision this week when it decided to reinstate Josh Gordon from his indefinite suspension due to multiple failed drug tests. He will serve a 4-game suspension to start the season. If he makes it through that (and that is a BIG if), he will be free to play.

This raises the question; is Josh Gordon worth a late round flyer in your fantasy league? After all, the last time we saw him on the field, he was destroying secondaries while catching balls from one of the sorriest quarterback lineups you’ve ever seen. Seriously, who else would put up the stats he did while catching passes from the immortals that are Bryan Hoyer, Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden? Despite that and missing the first 2 games of the 2013 season, he put up 1,646 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. There is no doubt that the talent is there. Even with a long layoff the guy could still step back on the field and produce immediately. In addition, he’s back with his college QB, RGIII. Granted, RGIII isn’t exactly in the same shape he was at Baylor, but sometimes a change of scenery can do wonders for a player.

So is Gordon worth a draft pick in your fantasy league? In a word, yes. This comes with some conditions. First, due to the 4-game suspension and his disciplinary history, he is only worth a very late pick. Second, you have to be prepared to stash him for 4 weeks knowing full well that you could have a contributing player in that spot. On top of that, he is at a huge risk to get suspended again before his suspension is even up. If you can stomach all that, the upside to having him on your roster down the stretch is tremendous if he can come anywhere close to matching his past production.

 

Keith Shaffer, Easy Streak Contributor

What the Franchise Tag Means for Kirk Cousins and Alshon Jeffery

 

 

While many notable players such as Von Miller and Josh Norman got big money contracts this offseason, others had to settle for the franchise tag. Two cases stuck out to me in particular for very different reasons – Kirk Cousins and Alshon Jeffery. Kirk Cousins had a breakout year last season, throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 TDs vs 11 INTs while completing passes at an almost 70% clip. Having said that, I am not surprised at all by Washington franchise tagging him, as his production last year was an aberration compared to his career overall. Granted it was his first year as a full time starter, but tagging him essentially allows Washington to say, “Prove it” and see if he can continue to produce without committing to him long-term. If he puts up similar numbers in 2016, he’ll get the payday he deserves and then some.

Alshon Jeffery on the other hand, was quite surprising to me, as he is a proven commodity. Aside from time missed due to injuries, he has been very productive over his four years in the league. In addition, Chicago has let Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett go over these past two off seasons which means Jeffery is their only proven pass-catcher. Kevin White looked great in college but has yet to see any meaningful action in the NFL.  In addition, Jeffery is entering the prime of his career, and due to his injury history it is highly likely the Bears could have signed him to a much more team-friendly deal if they did it this offseason as opposed to taking the risk of him being fully healthy and producing at a great rate next season. If he does that, Chicago will regret not signing him this offseason, while Jeffery will get a payday on par with the Julio Jones and AJ Greens of the league.

 

Keith Shaffer, Easy Streak Contributor

Does Arian Foster Have Anything Left in the Tank?

Arian Foster just signed a 1-year deal with the Dolphins. This raises an important question; does he have anything left in the tank? Foster has always taken excellent care of his body, as he is one of the more health-conscious players in the league. That said, he is about to hit the running back’s worst enemy – his 30th birthday. In addition, Foster has hardly been immune to injuries throughout his career, especially in recent years. The good news for Miami is they got him on a very cheap deal, so if he does end up getting injured it won’t be a big blow financially. He’ll also serve as a good mentor for Jay Ajayi, the Dolphins new back out of Boise State. So, regardless of whether he performs well on the field (or sees the field for that matter), there is value in just having him on the roster. Yes, his yards-per-carry were down last year when he was healthy, but he was also playing without a legitimate QB behind center. This meant defenses could key in on the run knowing the Texans only had one legitimate receiving threat and no one to get him the ball. For all his flaws, Ryan Tannehill is a much better QB than anyone the Texans trotted out behind center last season. For that reason, plus the change of scenery bonus, I think Foster will have a pretty productive season with the Dolphins, especially since he will be splitting carries with Ajayi.

 

Keith Shaffer, Easy Streak Contributor

What’s in store for the 49ers in the Chip Kelly era?

 

It doesn’t really need be said at this point, but the Jim Tomsula “era” was a disaster. Not all of this was completely his fault, as there was an exodus of talent on the defensive side of the ball that almost no team would have been able to overcome. Regardless, what’s done is done and there’s no point in wondering what might have been now. What is worth wondering about, however, is how Chip Kelly’s version of the Niners will look.

Kelly experienced some level of success in Philadelphia, in spite of the fact that he made some rather puzzling roster moves. Those moves were part of the reason the Eagles let him go, and full roster control is not something he will have in San Francisco. After the fractious split the Niners had with Harbaugh, Kelly’s relationship with the front office will be one to watch. It is imperative that he get along well with Trent Baalke and Jed York, which is easier said than done if recent history is any indicator. That said, the offense isn’t completely bereft of talent and could actually get back to being productive pretty quickly. Torrey Smith is a good fit for the fast-paced scheme, and any running back is going to put up at least decent numbers. Quarterback is a big question mark. I’m not convinced that Kelly is sold on Kaepernick, as he doesn’t have the accuracy Kelly likes in his quarterbacks and he could suffer a fate similar to that of Michael Vick in Philly. It is also doubtful Blaine Gabbert is the right answer for this position. I think Kaepernick gets the nod this year but that Kelly will view him as nothing more than a stop gap at the position.

Defense is a huge question mark for the Niners, due not only to the talent drain they’ve suffered in the past two years, but also due to the fact that this will be their 3rd defensive coordinator in 3 years. Jim O’Neil has a fairly good pedigree as a defensive coach, and the Niners have some promising young talent especially on the defensive line, but there’s no guarantee his defense will gel well with Kelly’s offensive scheme.

Expect this to be a rough season for the Niners, but one that shows flashes of hope for the future and improves markedly as the season goes on.

 

Keith Shaffer, Easy Streak Contributor