INDIANAPOLIS --- If you think I came to the NFL Combine to just cover traditional storylines revolving around the 32 franchises and draft prospects, then you don't know me well enough yet. My name is Steve Andress, and I have a fantasy football problem (passion).
There were so many storylines that came out of Wednesday and Thursday at the Combine, including ones of interest in fantasy football, with head coaches and general managers holding press conferences.
(For more on the fantasy prospects to watch at the Combine, CLICK HERE and read #10.)
Here's what we gathered on that front from all 32 teams:
Colts - CFL WR Duron Carter has generated interest in dynasty leagues since signing with Indianapolis, but general manager Ryan Grigson made it clear he hasn't done anything yet in the NFL. Speaking of Carter and G Ben Heenan (also a CFL signing), Grigson said, "They have a lot to prove. They have their work cut out for them." 2nd year WR Donte Moncrief has already showed fantasy potential as a rookie. Head coach Chuck Pagano said he expects a "big second year" from Moncrief and the "sky is the limit". In the early offseason, Moncrief is definitely ahead of Carter in the fantasy pecking order, with both obviously behind T.Y. Hilton.
Texans - Bill O'Brien said Houston will try to manage RB Arian Foster: "has a lot of football left in him" and that team will try to "communicate with him and try to manage his workload". O'Brien also added the Texans could add some depth to compliment their top back. Foster is entering his age 29 season, coming off a season where he posted 4.8 ypc, his most efficient campaign since 2010.
Jaguars - Head Coach Gus Bradley had high praise for RB Denard Robinson: "He was a pleasant surprise for us [in 2014] after his first year. He came back stronger and bigger and really shocked us. He had a couple of games in a row [of 100 yards rushing] where he did some really nice things for us and it was unfortunate he had the [foot] injury at the end. We're really pleased with his progress and we're hopeful that he takes the next step. Where that takes him in the rotation, that's yet to be seen. He's doing a great job coming back from his injury. The future is bright for him." Bradley also said fellow RB Toby Gerhart will have a place on the team, but considering how productive Robinson was, it seems he'll continue to be the top fantasy option.
Titans - If the Buccaneers take Jameis Winston at #1, will the Titans take Marcus Mariota at #2? Tennessee has a quarterback conundrum, and some believe Mariota doesn't fit Ken Whisenhunt's offense. Here's what Whisenhunt said: "You can't just look at him and say that based on what you see on tape," Whisenhunt said. "Part of it is, who knows what he has been asked to do and what his capacity is for being able to handle (other) things? ... You don't really know until you can actually spend time with them. You have to do your best to find out." It's hard to have fantasy faith in the Titans offensive players until they settle the quarterback position.
Steelers - Head coach Mike Tomlin is hoping for a big 2nd season from WR Martavis Bryant. "I would imagine he is going to get more opportunities to grow with those snaps. The thing is, he has to continue to grow with those snaps." Bryant had 8 touchdowns from week 7 on in 2014.
Ravens - Head coach John Harbaugh provided an update on TE Dennis Pitta Wednesday, as he tries to come back from a very tough injury. "His hip is fully recovered in the sense that the blood flow is there and there's no lingering problem from either one of the injuries," Harbaugh told reporters at the Combine. "So, he's in great position to live a great life, which is the main thing. Whether it goes to the next step and he wants or is able to play football, that will be up to them. I'm like you. I'm waiting to hear." When healthy, Pitta has been a fantasy factor in a shallow pool of fantasy TE talent.
Bengals - WR Marvin Jones was a sleeper going into 2014 and could be again in 2015. Now he's healthy after missing 2014. "Marvin missed the entire season. He's fine, healthy, he's ready to go. He's got a lot of prove," said head coach Marvin Lewis at the Combine. "That's an exciting time for us. He's a young player with a lot of ability and a lot to prove and a lot on the line. I like guys with a lot on the line." Jones could have increased value in PPR leagues as well, finishing with 80 catches and 10 touchdowns in 2013.
Browns - The Browns have said they are operating as if Johnny Manziel will not be their starting quarterback. "It's a position we're going to look to address," head coach Mike Pettine said. "All options are on the table." But without Josh Gordon for the entire 2015 season, there's not much to get excited about in terms of fantasy football in Cleveland.
Bills - New head coach Rex Ryan was asked about RB C.J. Spiller's future in Buffalo. "I think C.J. is a dynamic back," Ryan said. "He's a playmaker and a pretty versatile guy that has had a lot of success in this league. We'll just have to see how it all plays out." If one back emerges in Buffalo under Ryan, he's going to have great value. Fingers crossed for the dreaded fantasy running back by committee. RB Bryce Brown is another to keep an eye on with Rex in town.
Jets - GM Mike Maccagnan said the team "will be very active in free agency" with $50 million in cap space available. He also said the Jets will have interest in every quarterback out there. Like many teams, until the Jets find consistency at the quarterback position, it's hard to invest in their weapons for fantasy football.
Dolphins- There are reports that big changes could be in store for the Miami WR corp. Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson could be cap casualties, as could Mike Wallace who is due $9.9 million. That could be interesting for 2nd year WR Jarvis Landry, after he caught 84 balls his rookie season with 5 touchdowns. If his low 9.0 yards per reception increases, he could make for an intriguing fantasy sleeper in 2015.
Patriots - New England did not hold press conferences at the Combine. Reports are though that RB Shane Vereen is hoping for $5 million per year. It'd be a big surprise if he gets it. If he's not back with the Patriots, LeGarrette Blount's value only goes up.
Broncos - GM John Elway told reporters at the Combine, "We want him back," in regards to Peyton Manning. So stay tuned for that. As for RB C.J. Anderson, who may have helped many win fantasy championships last season with his stellar production in the 2nd half of the season, new head coach Gary Kubiak said Anderson still has to "earn" the starting job. Well, alrighty then. It be a shock if Anderson didn't, considering how well he played, and if he does, he should be drafted no later than the 2nd round in this offense, considering what he did last year, and what Kubiak did for Justin Forsett in Baltimore and Arian Foster in Houston.
Chargers - GM Tom Telesco said he plans to meet with soon to be free agent RB Ryan Mathews' agent at the Combine. Mathews only played in 6 games last year. It wouldn't surprise me if the Chargers are in the market for a RB in this strong RB draft. If they do draft one in the first two rounds, they'd instantly become fantasy relevant.
Chiefs - NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said Thursday don't be surprised if Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin reunites with his old head coach Andy Reid in Kansas City. From a fantasy perspective, Macline would instantly be the top WR option in KC but probably wouldn't have as much value compared to being in Chip Kelly's offense and Alex Smith rarely taking shots downfield.
Raiders - Is it time for RB Latavius Murray? Here's what new head coach Jack Del Rio had to say: "Good size. Good speed," Coach Jack Del Rio said about Murray. "There's some things that we'll need to work to improve, in terms of overall awareness, football IQ, things like that, but we think we can help him with coaching, and some of the running lanes we want to provide him...I think he's shown enough of the traits to make him a candidate to be that guy."
Packers - Green Bay wants to re-sign WR Randall Cobb. He will soon be a free agent. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said, "He's a Packer" at the Combine. GM Ted Thompson also said he hopes to re-sign Cobb. For fantasy, the Packers seem like the best landing spot for Cobb after posting a top-10 fantasy season among WR, despite playing with Jordy Nelson.
Lions - General Manager Martin Mayhew said at the Combine that RB Reggie Bush's future is "up in the air". However, Bush is not a free agent. "Joique Bell, being a between-the-tackles runner for us is big and he does a good job catching balls out of the backfield as well. I like guys that are versatile, but you've got to have a guy who can run between the tackles and you've got to have a playmaker who can do some stuff in space." Bell was the 14th ranked RB in standard scoring last season. If Bush is out of the picture, one would think Bell's value only increases; although, his 3.9 ypc in back-to-back years isn't overly impressive.
Vikings - Minnesota's brass was vocal at the Combine in their hope that Adrian Peterson returns to the Vikings in 2015 after his suspension. Head coach Rick Spielman: "We expect Adrian Peterson to be part of our football team.'' However, Peterson expressed reservations about it, saying he wasn't sure he felt he had support from management. This is something to keep an eye on, as the prolific fantasy RB comes back from what essentially amounted to a redshirt season strictly in terms of fantasy.
Bears - Here's what new head coach Jon Fox had to say at the Combine about whether Jay Cutler will be the starting QB: "We're going to take the full amount of time to gather information, visit and build a relationship," Fox said. "Hopefully, [we'll] make the best decision for our organization." The quarterback will be the key to how much value other fantasy assets like WR Alshon Jeffery will have in 2015. With Adam Gase as OC, the potential is there for big numbers.
Buccaneers - Head coach Lovie Smith told reporters at the Combine he wouldn't have any problems taking Jameis Winston right now.
Saints - GM Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton did not hold press conferences, but Loomis did speak with local media about RB Mark Ingram, who will soon be a free agent, after posting a top-15 fantasy season among RBs. Ingram suggested it might be tough for both sides to come to an agreement before the RB hits the open market. If Ingram doesn't return, Khyri Robinson's fantasy value definitely goes up, after some reports that the Saints had already planned on increasing his workload before he got hurt in the middle of last season.
Falcons - GM Thomas Dimitroff said Devonta Freeman can be the team's featured back. 32-year-old RB Steven Jackson could be released to save $3.75 million against the cap, clearing the path for Freeman in his second season. It would be intriguing for fantasy, considering Dan Quinn came from Seattle, a run-heavy offense.
Panthers - GM Dave Gettleman addressed the salary cap situation Thursday and how it affects his running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. It appears Williams might be a cap casualty. If Stewart is the featured back in 2015, his value skyrockets in fantasy. He has had injury problems in his career, but he is only entering his age 28 season. Don't overlook the 97 yards per game he averaged on the ground over the last 5 weeks of the regular season and 193 yards he posted in two playoff games.
49ers - Head coach Jim Tomsula and GM Trent Baalke both expressed interest in bringing back RB Frank Gore.
Rams - Head coach Jeff Fisher said plan 1A is for Sam Bradford to be the starting quarterback but it's important to have a 1B given his injury history. Any stability at the quarterback position will only help RB Tre Mason's fantasy value. Fisher on Mason: "We drafted Tre (Mason) because we felt like he had something special. It took Tre some time to learn to play without the football."
Seahawks - Head coach Pete Carroll will address the media at the Combine 3PM Friday. RB Marshawn Lynch's status will be one to watch.
Cardinals - Head coach Bruce Arians says he's looking to "expand" RB Andre Ellington's role. "He remains focal point of our offense." Ellington averaged 22 touches in 11 full games last year, before going on IR. Arizona has also reached an agreement with WR Larry Fitzgerald to return to the Cardinals. As for a tough 2014 season, Arians said Fitzgerald "got the MCL twice" in 2014 but sounded optimistic that he'll be very good if he stays healthy. Will QB Carson Palmer be healthy? Arians said he's 3-4 weeks ahead of schedule on his ACL rehab.
Eagles - The Eagles did not hold formal press conferences at the Combine, but see the Chiefs portion of this article for an important nugget.
Cowboys - Head coach Jason Garrett said he wants to keep both RB DeMarco Murray and WR Dez Bryant, but 'the business of the NFL is real, though." The Cowboys could potentially use the franchise tag on Bryant, who wants a long-term deal. Garrett also said he doesn't like the idea of Murray easily being replaced. "I don't like that expression: 'Plug another back in there," Garrett said, then noting Murray led the NFL in rushing by more than 500 yards. These are two big names to keep an eye on for fantasy football 2015.
Washington - Head coach Jay Gruden "anticipates" Robert Griffin III as the starting quarterback and said Washington will go into the season with him as "the number 1 guy."
Giants - Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters Thursday WR Victor Cruz is on schedule in his rehab and should begin running soon. Regardless, a torn patella tendon is a brutal injury to overcome. Fantasy fans would love to see him salsa dance in the endzone once again, but his value will be way down with the emergence of Odell Beckham Jr.