Articles by Kevin Payne

Kevin has worked for Rotowire just under a decade and has covered basketball, baseball and football. A glutton for punishment, he roots for his hometown Bills, Sabres and the New York Yankees. He hosts the RotoWire SiriusXM show every Wednesday and Friday and you can follow him on Twitter @KCPayne26.

Tuesday’s Training Camp Notes

– Ezekiel Elliott filed his appeal for his six-game suspension meaning there will be a hearing scheduled within the next 10 days. There’s no guarantee there will be a reduction in his suspension and the ruling may not happen until after the season begins. Despite the suspension he has rarely made past the second round in recent drafts as owners seem to be willing to gamble that Elliott will miss less than six games. Adam Schefter reports that the hearing will be August 29th, which falls exactly on 10 business days of today’s filing.

Continue reading →

Tuesday Training Camp Notes: It’s Tuesday…

-Jay Cutler appears to be the the starter under center for the Dolphins. They paid $10 million for Jay. $10 million…

– C.J. Anderson will play three series this Thursday. Usually first stringers don’t see this much action this early but Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker will both miss this one thrusting Anderson into a more prominent role. Look for him to sit out one or both of the last two preseason games for the Broncos.

– Jimmy Graham “could” see more goal line work this season. This would make a ton of sense given his size and athleticism. Kudos to the Seahawks coaching staff for realizing what they have on offense.

– Scott Tolzien will start under center for the Colts’s game this Thursday. If you haven’t dropped Andrew Luck from your preseason rankings a bit, you’re being naive. Also, dropping the Colts’ receivers (T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief) a bit is in order as well. Go into the season with less injury risk on your roster, especially given how deep both the quarterback and wide receiver positions are.

– An interesting position battle, both Eddie Lacy and Thomas Rawls split carries in a scrimmage today. This only means they’re both being considered for the starting RB role. Note that Pete Carroll has always coached outside of the box (except for that stupid SB throw call..) so this seems to be an open battle between the two; expect if they’re healthy for both to get a fair shot once the season opens.

– Cam Newton threw on the sideline today; owners don’t be worried, this is a “handle your QB with white gloves” situation.

– Terrence West sounds like he’s serious about playing football. He reportedly has lost weight while adding muscle, something that never hurts playing football. Now healthy Danny Woodhead will steal some third down/receiving looks but West should be the main ball carrier on the early downs.

– Dan Bailey hasn’t missed a field goal yet in camp. This is according to Cowboys beat writers and makes no mention how many kicks and the distances they’ve been from.

– Demaryius Thomas has dropped 15 pounds in the offseason. Unfortunately this won’t help his quarterback play but the 6-3 receiver should be more agile and able to elude defenders this season. If someone can get him the ball (that Tebow guy was able to), he should be able to get back to the 1,300-1,400 receiving yard range he was in prior to last season.

Draft Day 3: The Final Day

Rounds 4-7 took place Saturday and while these rounds don’t get nearly the attention of Thursday night or Friday, they can be just as important. Just ask Dallas who drafted Dak Prescott in the fourth round and of course the Patriots made the greatest sixth round pick ever in 2000 taking Tom Brady. Let’s see if there’s some diamonds in the rough from these rounds who could make a fantasy impact immediately in their rookie season.

Samaje Perine, Pick 114, Washington Redskins – A quick glance at Saturday’s selections and it could be Perine who makes the biggest fantasy impact this season. The Redskins are reportedly shopping chronic fumbler Matt Jones and while Rob Kelly had a modicum of success it’s not like the Redskins are married to him. Perine is a bigger back capable of handling first and second down duties and then allowing Chris Thompson to maintain his third-down role. If Perine impresses during camp, it’s possible he gets 10-15 carries as soon as Week 1.

Jamaal Williams, Pick 134, Green Bay Packers – Williams should carve out a role immediately complementing Ty Montgomery as the “in-between-the-tackles” runner as the more physical running back between the two. Williams’ off the field incidents pale in comparison to other rookies and he’s not considered at-risk from that perspective. The Packers would be wise to use Williams instantly as Montgomery doesn’t appear to be a workhorse capable of handling 20-plus touches per game. In PPR formats Williams will lose some value as his role likely won’t be to catch many balls out of the backfield. Still, an impressive camp should get him carries immediately in the Packer offense.

Ryan Switzer, Pick 143, Dallas Cowboys – This was the first offensive player taken by the Cowboys and as stated they did pretty well in the fourth round last season. It’s almost too easy to compare Switzer to Cole Beasley but that’s pretty much the type of player he is. Where Switzer could make an immediate impact is in the return game adding value to the Dallas defense/special teams in fantasy. The all-time receiving leader at North Carolina, Switzer had seven career punt returns for a touchdown, one short of the national record.

Jake Butt, Pick 145, Denver Broncos – One of the stories surrounding Butt was that he will collect $543,000 from a loss-of-value insurance policy by dropping to the first pick of the fifth round. The policy kicked in during the middle of the third round and paid Butt every time there was a pick up until he went off the board. By playing in the Orange Bowl and tearing his ACL its estimated Butt lost around $2 million in guaranteed money from getting drafted in a higher spot. Nevertheless, Butt lands in Denver and could find himself in two-tight end sets opposite Virgil Green provided he’s fully recovered from knee surgery.

DeAngelo Yancey, Pick 175, Green Bay Packers – Yancey is seen as something of a project but his ability to stretch the field and be a big-play threat could work with that Aaron Rodgers guy. Yancey could compete for the fourth wide receiver spot and be a home run play on third down. Yancey will need to work on his separation as well as his route running to play at the next level and earn the trust of Rodgers.

Football Friday – Keeping Up With The NFL

Here’s a look around the NFL in what is going to be the beginning of a blog series for the next two weeks about all of the happenings in the NFL. Our next piece in this series will come out on the 7th of the month and run daily until I write the last one on the 17th. This will include news and analysis about free agency, rumors, Franchise Tags and some Combine info.

Continue reading →

DFS Hoops For After The Break

With the All-Star break upon us it seemed like a good time to track a few players that should be on your radar coming out of the break for DFS purposes. There were a few trades before the break and some teams have already looked towards the future moving players into new roles. Listed below are some good values to take advantage of until their price catches up to their minutes/production. Prices listed are for both Draftkings (DKs) and Fan Duel (FD), in some cases they were not available.


Ish Smith, DET, DKs ($3,900) FD ($4,200) – Quietly Smith has eaten into Reggie Jackson’s minutes this season and he finished the break with at least 22 fantasy points in four of his last six games before the break. Jackson has been the subject of trade rumors for teams needing a backup point guard so he could be on the move in the next few days. Even if Detroit gets back a point guard in a deal there should be a bit of a “grace period” before that player is active and Smith would be starting point guard for the Pistons.

Yogi Ferrell, DAL, DKs ($4,700 before break) FD (?) – Ferrell had trouble finding a home and it was Mark Cuban who ultimately chose to sign him to a 10-day because he was a Hoosier. Since then, Ferrell has been a fantasy darling especially when he’s been a starter for the injured Deron Williams. Williams has missed a lot of time due to injury this season and his name has been mentioned in trade rumors over the last few weeks. The fact is Ferrell has more of a future in Dallas than Williams averaging 14.2 points, 4.7 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals since joining the Mavs. Deploy him whenever he gets the start over the next couple of weeks.


Derrick Williams, CLE, DKs ($3,500) FD ($4,100) – After expressing his concern about bringing in more players for a playoff run, Lebron James has also expressed his pleasure with the team signing Williams. James typically comes in early in the second quarter playing with the second team and has actively tried to get Williams involved. Williams has scored 17 and 22 fantasy points over his last two games with Cleveland playing minutes in the mid-20s. While the ceiling is limited here Kevin Love is likely out for another five weeks and Williams is still just 25-years-old.

Terrence Ross, ORL, DKs ($3,800) FD ($3,500) – Ross should be in line to play Thursday for Orlando which would mark his first game with his new team. With no Serge Ibaka he should be in line for more playing time than he was getting with the Raptors (22.4 minutes per game) and see a higher usage rate. Ross There’s a lot of upside with Ross from a scoring perspective but he won’t contribute a lot in the other fantasy categories. Aaron Gordon ($4,900, $4,500) is another option to look at as the team’s new starting power forward with over 30 minutes a night.


Kosta Koufos, SAC, DKs ($3,500) FD ($3,500), Willie Cauley-Stein, SAC, DKs ($3,600) FD ($3,800) – It’s seems like it’s a 50/50 proposition as to if DeMarcus Cousins will be with the Kings in a week from now. In the case he gets moved (the Pelicans are the latest rumor, the Celtics are in play as well) it would be a huge boost to both KK and WCS. Between the two there’s more potential with Cauley-Stein who is almost five years younger and is still developing his offensive game. If Cousins is dealt don’t be afraid to use both of these guys on Draftkings; when Cousins was suspended on 2/8/17 they combined for over 52 fantasy points at similar prices.

Jusuf Nurkic, POR, DKs ($4,300) FD ($3,700) – Nurkic replaces Mason Plumlee in Portland and there isn’t much in the way of competition considering the upside of Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh. Myers Leonard ($3,300, $3,500) is probably the second-most intriguing big man but it’s Nurkic who has more upside. In his first contest with his new team he scored 29 fantasy points in only 21 minutes of playing time. Those minutes could easily go up and while it was one game it was against the Jazz one of the better defensive teams in the league. The return of Al-Farouq Aminu will cloud things a bit here.

Kelly Olynyk, BOS, DKs ($4,500 before break) FD ($4,600 before break) – Olynyk didn’t want to see the break come as he was one of the hotter players in DFS when taking his price into account. Before the break scoring at least 24 fantasy points in six straight games and over 30 fantasy points in three of those contests. The second team offense runs a lot through Olynyk and his ability to knock down three-pointers only adds to his value. The Celtics figure to make a move before the trade deadline and Olynyk could be part of a deal moving him to an even better fantasy spot.

Training Camp Notes: Graham’s a Go?

– Jimmy Graham was a full participant in practice Wednesday and appears to be on track to start Week 1 against the Dolphins. Pete Carroll stated there were now “good” odds of Graham playing this week putting him back on the fantasy radar. The Seahawks are the biggest favorites on the slate this week and should have no problem putting up points at home. Graham may not see a full complement of snaps but if you drafted him he’s likely a better option than anything on your bench or waiver wire.

– It appears the fantasy prospects’ for Graham’s teammate Thomas Rawls are a little cloudier. Rawls wasn’t listed on the injury report today but Pete Carroll stated that the only restriction on Rawls would be his “workload.” This puts his fantasy status in jeopardy this weekend as Christine Michael is 100 percent healthy and listed at the top of the depth chart. C.J. Prosise will work himself into the mix on third down as well and the decision for most as to whether to start Rawls is probably on a case-per-case basis considering the other options. A factor that doesn’t help Rawls’ owners is on the outside chance he’s inactive the Seahawks play the late slate of games Sunday and that report won’t come out until after rosters lock.

– Jamaal Charles was limited in practice Wednesday while backup Charcandrick West was a full participant. This further downgrades Charles’ value for Week 1 and West being 100 percent could lead to Charles being inactive this weekend. Even if Charles is active for the Chiefs’ tilt with the Chargers it’s hard to recommend him even as a flex in most standard formats.

– Rob Gronkowski was limited in Wednesday’s practice. This comes a day after he returned to practice so this is likely the Patriots being careful with one of their star players. Be aware it’s unlikely he’s 100 percent to start the season and has a tough matchup this week in Arizona.

– Larry Fitzgerald was not on the injury report suggesting he’s healed from the MCL injury that sidelined him the last three preseason games for the Cardinals. Interestingly, Fitz was drafted after teammate Michael Floyd in most drafts this season despite Fitz’s numbers being much greater as a whole. A lot of that could be attributed to Floyd being banged up early last season although he finished with three 100-yard games over his last six to finish strong. With Fitzgerald getting up in age/mileage this should be the season Floyd overtakes him as the top receiving option in the desert.

– Jordy Nelson wasn’t listed on the Packers’ first injury report. This doesn’t come as a surprise after coach Mike McCarthy stated Monday that “…we expect him to line up and be full bore in Jacksonville.” Even if Nelson’s snaps are reduced this weekend there’s the chance he’s more heavily targeted when he’s on the field. As a player taken in the second/third round he should be in everyone’s starting lineup without hesitation.