Articles by Mario Puig

Mario sets the direction of RotoWire's college football and NFL draft content, with his other responsibilities primarily resting in those same subjects. He's a fan of Jim Harbaugh, James Harrison and David Bowie.

TC Notes: Will Raiders rev up the new Carr?

-The Raiders stood by trade acquisition Matt Schaub for the entirety of the offseason, but it appears that their loyalty to Schaub is wearing thin. Schaub has performed poorly in nearly every regard, and rookie second-round pick Derek Carr’s strong performance against Seattle on Thursday gave Oakland reason to believe they have a superior alternative available. Carr completed 11-of-13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns against the Seahawks, whereas Schaub went 24-of-47 for 218 yards and an interception in three appearances. Plus, Schaub is reportedly dealing with elbow tendinitis. The tendinitis gives the Raiders a perfect excuse to make the switch if they want to.


-Cincinnati cut RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis on Friday, paving the way for rookie second-round pick Jeremy Hill to serve as the top off-the-bench runner behind starter Giovani Bernard. The Bengals should run the ball significantly more often this year under the watch of offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, and Bernard doesn’t have the build nor favorable injury history needed to comfortably project as a workhorse runner in the NFL, so Hill should see plenty of work right away.

FantasyElite $8,000 CFB Kickoff Tournament

Fanium’s games are some of the most unique DFS formats out there, as the game combines the salary cap aspect of traditional DFS with a twist: the games are head-to-head and players are acquired through a draft, meaning no two teams in a single contest can own a given player at the same time. There’s never overlap, and it’s not as simple as picking the ‘best’ player at each pick – you need to consider how any given player’s salary might limit your selection options at the subsequent picks. You can play either on the web or through the site’s iPad/iPhone app.

On Wednesday night I drafted a team in FantasyElite’s $8,000 College Kickoff tournament, a 32-entry bracket with a $250 entry fee and big payouts ($625-$2,000) for the players that manage to make it into the Elite Eight. As you might expect with a relatively high-stakes contest like this, this bracket is nothing less than a shark tank. The first round’s player pool drew from the four FBS games in Thursday’s slate – South Carolina/Texas A&M, Mississippi/Boise State, Washington State/Rutgers, and Vanderbilt/Temple.

The game starts QB/QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/FLEX/FLEX/FLEX, with the flex spots allowing the use of RB, WR, or TE-designated players. The scoring system is somewhat unorthodox – it’s 2PPR, awards 0.1 points per carry, and all touchdowns are worth six points. This puts a premium on high-level passing quarterbacks and reception-heavy players at RB/WR/TE.

TC Notes: Moreno Nears Miami Debut

-Knowshon Moreno (knee) is expected to make his Miami preseason debut against the Cowboys on Saturday. Last year should have taught us to never write off Moreno, unexciting as his game might be at times, but the general assumption up until now has been that underachieving third-year runner Lamar Miller holds the lead in Miami’s running back race. If Moreno can show some burst and erase concerns over his June arthroscopic knee surgery, it’s easy to see him forcing a timeshare with Miller at the very least. Moreno showed the ability to pick up the blitz and produce reliably as a receiver in Denver last year, so it seems as if Moreno is particularly threatening to Miller’s hold on passing down and two-minute drill snaps.

-Rookie second-round pick Jeremy Hill might see some snaps with the first-team Cincinnati offense when the Bengals take on the Cardinals on Sunday, which means that the LSU product is over the shoulder injury that he suffered against the Jets on Saturday. Furthermore, he’ll have a chance to show offensive coordinator Hue Jackson just what he can do behind the starting Cincinnati offensive line. The Bengals already intended to make use of Hill — they wouldn’t have selected him in the second round of the draft if they didn’t — but a strong showing with the starters would give them reason to speed up the process.

TC Notes: Doug Martin a Workhorse Again?

-The Buccaneers spent a third-round pick on West Virginia running back Charles Sims with the intention of relieving Doug Martin of much of his passing-down work, as Sims’ receiving skills are of a rare quality. The plan was sound enough from a real-life football perspective — it’d perhaps freshen up Martin for his early-down running between the tackles — but it was bad news for Martin’s fantasy value. Sims unfortunately suffered an ankle injury that required surgery, however, and now he’ll miss 12-to-14 weeks. There might be a silver lining in the fact that Sims’ absence should allow Martin to take back most of the three-down role he previously owned, as backup runners Bobby Rainey and Mike James don’t possess the rare receiving skills that Sims does. Considering Martin was often selected as an RB2 in drafts up to this point, he might prove to be a bargain for those who already own him.

-Rookie second-round pick Jordan Matthews had a rough preseason debut for the Eagles, dropping three passes, but his second showing was very encouraging as the Eagles played the Patriots on Friday. Matthews was quite sharp, catching nine passes for 104 yards. Matthews’ strong showing against the Patriots at the very least negates his disappointing debut, and he remains in the hunt to put pressure on Riley Cooper for snaps. Like Jeremy Maclin (hamstring), Cooper (foot) sat out Friday. Both Maclin and Cooper are expected to return to the field soon.

Rookie WRs Stepping Up

  • Rookie first-round pick Brandin Cooks continued to impress Friday, building on his strong training camp with a five-catch, 55-yard debut that featured a nifty 25-yard touchdown reception, catching an out route from the slot before turning inside to split the safeties for the score. Cooks has received constant praise for his training camp performances and all indications to this point give reason to expect an immediate impact from the 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner. Cooks might be more of a WR3 than a WR4 in PPR formats.
  • Another rookie first-round wideout who appears poised for an immediate impact is Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin, who followed up his glowing training camp reports with an impressive touchdown reception of his own Friday. Running a fly route down the left sideline, Benjamin stumbled mid-route as a Derek Anderson bomb sailed his way, but Benjamin managed to get his feet under himself just enough to dive past top Buffalo corner Stephon Gilmore and scoop up the ball for a 29-yard touchdown. With a 6-foot-5, 240-pound frame and no one but tight end Greg Olsen to pose a real receiving threat on the Carolina roster, Benjamin seems to have real WR3 potential in leagues with 12 or more teams. The hype is about to get loud.
  • Cecil Shorts remains sidelined with a hamstring issue and sat out Jacksonville’s preseason opener against Tampa Bay on Friday as a result. The assumption has long been that Shorts is unchallenged as the Jaguars’ top wideout, but he arguably has worse pedigree than the duo of second-round picks that the Jaguars acquired in the draft — both Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson have size/speed/production that indicate WR1 potential in the NFL, and it wouldn’t have surprised if both had gone in the first round instead of the second. Robinson has been out with a hamstring injury of his own, but with those two out, Lee has received a lot of reps as the team’s lead receiver over the last two weeks. Lee went without a reception in Friday’s game, but quarterback and fellow rookie Blake Bortles was promising, completing 7-of-11 passes for 117 yards.