Living the Fantasy: Early NFL depth charts

Denver Broncos Rookie Camp
The Broncos didn’t waste a second-round draft pick on Montee Ball to sit him all season. He’ll playA.

A lot of old-school NFL people will brush off the non-padded offseason workouts as meaningless. They’re wrong.

The OTAs are the first time coaches get a look at their new toys. It’s also the first time we get a gander at initial depth charts, which can help us uncover the hidden gems that decide fantasy titles.

Recent sleepers, such as Arian Foster and Denarius Moore, first shined during these workouts. With that in mind, let’s take a look:

Brick in the Wall

New Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is a dream for fantasy owners. He gets his receivers open vertically, doesn’t throw to running backs and keeps the pedal to the metal at all times. Larry Fitzgerald is going to have a bounce-back campaign, but the No. 2 wideout in this scheme is also set up for success. Andre Roberts ended the 2012 season in that spot, but second-year man Michael Floyd opened up OTAs as the starter. A rare strength/speed talent, Floyd is an ideal sleeper.

On the Ball

Montee Ball’s NFL career is off to a fast start. Although coach John Fox has a reputation for holding rookies back, he’s been heaping praise on the former Wisconsin back. VP John Elway is comparing Ball to Terrell Davis and Fox is downplaying the disappointing 4.66 wheels he showed at the combine. Once the Broncos cut loose Willis McGahee or Knowshon Moreno, Ball’s stock is going to soar.

Hop to it

Sometimes, a rookie steps onto the field and is even better than the franchise expected. That appears to be the case with DeAndre Hopkins. Check out these quotes from coach Gary Kubiak: “He’s special. Ball skills are extremely special. Very long; long arms. Big hands. He’s going to help us early, and we know that, and that’s why we brought him here.” Hopkins is in line for instant impact.

MLB news

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly won’t say it, but his actions point toward a change at the closer spot. Kenley Jansen is the one that got a one-out save on Tuesday and he’s the one with the real lights-out stuff. Brandon League’s time is just about done.

MLB pickups

Andrew Bailey, RP, Red Sox: Bailey is ready to come off the DL as soon as Monday. The saves shouldn’t be far behind.
Heath Bell, RP, Diamondbacks: It probably won’t be pretty, but Bell is holding off David Hernandez for now.
Dayan Viciedo, 3B, White Sox: Now over his oblique strain, Viciedo is hitting .429 with four RBIs in his first five games back.


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