Hump day fantasy nuggets from around the league as pads go on and training camps ramp up…
The quarterback battle in Tennessee, which was initially thought to be formality with Matt Hasselbeck wringing one more year out of his career before hitting the clipboard, is now anything but. NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi is reporting that Jake Locker is now the favorite.
You wouldn’t know it by Tuesday’s performance, which saw Hasselbeck working with the first team and having the better day while Locker struggled with his accuracy while heading up the second team. However, there’s no denying Locker’s athleticism or that he’s the Titans’ future at the position; the question is, can he show enough in camp to convince the team that the future is now?
And then, of course, the follow-up fantasy questions include what impact Locker might have on Chris Johnson and the Titans’ receiving corps.
While the Titans are getting multiple quality performances from their quarterbacks, the Jaguars can’t say the same. Blaine Gabbert continues to miss top threat Maurice Jones-Drew and top pick Justin Blackmon, and his performance thus far has drawn at best mixed reviews from the local media. Not that fantasy owners were counting on Gabbert, but they need to be prepared for the distinct possibility that he’s going to take Laurent Robinson, Blackmon, and maybe MoJo down with him.
The Ryan Mathews hype train took a hit when the Chargers feature back missed time on Tuesday due to a minor car accident. Seems Mathews complained of pain and was taken to a hospital after losing control of his BMW and hitting another vehicle (CHiPs indicated that speed was a factor in the accident). The bumps shouldn’t keep Mathews on the sidelines for long, but if you’ve had trouble accepting him as a guy who can carry the full load in San Diego this season this certainly isn’t going to help that cause.
The Vikings were also bitten by the injury bug when newly signed tight end John Carlson went down with a sprained knee. Early indications are that it’s a sprained MCL, but Carlson will be down for at least a few days to recover. This opens the door for second-year tight end Kyle Rudolph, who generated fantasy buzz with his acrobatic catches late last season and needs only a clear path to targets to brighten his blip on the fantasy radar.
Finally, the league is doing a nice job of keeping a potentially huge issue on the downlow. The league and NFL officials remain at an impasse in negotiations, meaning this weekend’s Hall of Fame game will be played with—gasp—replacement refs. You’re hungry for football and will be watching anyway, but you’ll want to pay attention to the guys in the stripes for a change to see what impact they might have once the games start to count. After all, if the A team can’t keep up with today’s players…