The New England Patriots traded offensive lineman Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday for a 4th round pick and tight end Tim Wright. There are a few fantasy implications here. One is the much-needed addition to the Bucs offensive line. Mankins is probably on the downside of his career, but was still strong as a run blocker with Pro Football Focus grading him as the fourth best in the league last season. That is good news for Doug Martin. An upgrade in run blocking plus the recent injury to Charles Sims has his fantasy arrow pointing up. But we knew Martin was a good fantasy player, but what about Wright?
On the surface this looks like a great move for Wright who goes from a conservative, defensive minded coach in Lovie Smith, to the ever changing, but always looking to score as many points as possible Bill Belichick. But how good is Wright?
Last season Tim Wright was an undrafted free agent rookie wide receiver from Rutgers who was picked up by his old coach Greg Schiano. The 6’4” 220 pound Wright was then moved to tight end in training camp. His 4.65 forty went from ho-hum for a wide receiver to good for a tight end (Rob Gronkowski also ran a 4.65 forty). He then went on to learn his new position, started eight games (played in 14), and finished with 54 receptions on 72 targets for 571 yards and five touchdowns. For a rookie tight end he doesn’t have many peers with those reception numbers. Only five other tight ends have ever had more than 54 receptions in their rookie season.
Those numbers on a per game basis put him as a starting fantasy tight end in most leagues and this was with Mike Glennon throwing him the ball. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Clay tweeted, “When QB and aDOT are factored in, only Jordan Cameron exceeded Tim Wright's catch rate last year (13% above expected).” So he can catch the ball and has decent speed. He also is just learning the tight end trade. His biggest problem is blocking. He’s not good at it. He’s not really big enough and has little background lining up in-line and taking on linebackers. The good news is Rob Gronkowski is a good blocker and can lineup in-line while Wright works from the slot or outside. Aaron Hernandez was also an awful blocker so Belichick just didn’t ask him to block.
So Wright has a good offensive game and his deficiencies can be hidden, as Belichick has done before, but will he get the playing time? That’s a tough question to answer. We’ve been asking that question about Patriots' players on a week-to-week basis and some of these guys have been on the team for years. Their best inside runner Steven Ridley is rumored to be on the roster bubble, so I don’t think we can really have a strong idea of what Belichick plans to do. I do know that he loves mismatches and two tight ends with the offensive goods of Gronkowski and Wright have to be making The Hoodie twitch a little.
There are a lot of good coin-flip tight ends this season with some amazing upside and similar downside. Wright is now right in there with them. If Belichick uses him he could easily be a top-12 tight end again, but of course that is not a given. Roster him over your bluh backup tight ends and if you are in dynasty he probably should have already been owned.
And here is your daily Josh Gordon update: we know nothing! But Adam Schefter reported that the hearing officer Harold Henderson does. So Henderson knows and Adam Schefter doesn’t know. Someone knows how to keep a secret. Hopefully by the time you read this we will know, but it has officially gone on for too long.
Wes Welker is doing “fantastic” in the concussion protocol according to coach John Fox. We have seen players with multiple concussions take weeks to be cleared. This is good news, but like running out of gas and realizing you only have to walk 30 miles to the closest gas station rather than 40 kind of good news.
According to Peter King coach Bruce Arians believes wide receiver John Brown could play up to 60 percent of the Cardinals' offensive snaps. That sounds like a lot of snaps for a third wide receiver, but Arians was able to give T.Y. Hilton similar numbers in 2012. Defenses will have some mighty trouble trying to stop Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Brown this season.
According to beat writer Bob McGinn, DuJuan Harris is now in a real battle for the Packers' No. 2 running back job, and "it's anyone's guess" if it's Harris or James Starks. After Harris was injured last season Starks looked great in relief of Eddie Lacy and looked to have the job wrapped up, but Harris hasn’t lost his speed and looked great accumulating 98 yards on 14 touches in their third preseason game. Starks is still the guy to own at the moment, but keep a very close watch on this battle. Lacy’s bull in a china shop running style is great for extra yards, but can lead to extra punishment.
Depth Chart Quick Slants
ESPN New York doesn't expect Mario Manningham to make the Giants' 53-man roster. . . . The Newark Star-Ledger believes Stephen Hill "could be in his final days" with the Jets. . . . The Raiders released WR Juron Criner. . . . Saints released OLB Victor Butler.
Injury Quick Slants
Packers placed NT B.J. Raji on injured reserve with a torn right bicep. . . . Rams placed QB Sam Bradford on injured reserve with a torn left ACL. . . . Giants LG Geoff Schwartz (toe) doesn't need surgery and is considered week-to-week.