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Training Camp Notes: Ice Up Son...Ice Up One Last Time

Steve Smith Sr. announced Monday that this season, his 15th, will be his last. The diminutive Smith Sr. always played much bigger than his size and will leave behind a legacy as a tough-nosed player who, while maybe a little too fiery at times, competed his tail off and got the most out of his talent that he could have. From a fantasy perspective, Smith Sr. had a resurgent 2014 season with 1,065 yards and six touchdowns as he quickly became Joe Flacco's favorite target. And despite this being his swan song, there is still reason to believe Smith Sr. can have fantasy value again in 2015 as he is the only established wide receiver on Baltimore's roster. Due to his age and the fact that he slowed down over the second half of last season, Smith Sr. may actually present a decent value on draft day and could be a solid third receiver for your fantasy team.

  • Sticking with the wide receiver position Jeremy Maclin is currently suffering from a strained neck that kept him out of practice on Monday. Apparently the injury is not considered to be serious, but it is certainly worth keeping an eye on. Maclin signed a 5-year, $55 million free agent contract with Kansas City in the offseason, so expect them to make sure he is fully healthy before putting him back on the field. Maclin seems to be flying under the radar this draft season due to Kansas City's poor production from the wide receiver position; this is a mistake. While Maclin won't put up the numbers he did in Philly, he should still be a viable fantasy option with his new squad. Andy Reid still likes to throw the ball and Maclin is the best receiver he has had since he came to Kansas City.
  • Jordan Matthews, one of the the guys who will be called upon to help replace Maclin in Philadelphia, has said that he is feeling more comfortable heading into his second season; the pro game has started to slow down for him. Matthews had an outstanding rookie season - 67 catches, 872 yards, and 8 touchdowns - and looks like he may be in for a breakout season in 2015. The 23-year-old will be expected to take on a larger role in the Eagles' offense and should be playing with his best quarterback yet if Sam Bradford can stay healthy. In addition, Matthews has apparently looked great in camp and is catching everything thrown his way.  Based on the way he looks and the offense he is in, Matthews has the potential to be a stud this season.
  • Speaking of Bradford, the quarterback has apparently looked great through the first week of training camp. According to Eagles' beat writers, Bradford's arm strength and accuracy have been on display and, so far, his surgically repaired knee has held up well. Obviously it is impossible to judge Bradford without seeing him back in game action, but positive early reports are a great sign. If Bradford can continue to stay healthy and he can flash his talent in the preseason, he could become a trendy upside play at quarterback by the time the season rolls around.
  • Matt Cassel will be Buffalo's starting quarterback for their preseason opener on Friday against Carolina. For now it appears that Cassel has the edge over EJ Manuel and Tyrod Taylor in the competition for the Bills' starting quarterback job. However, there is still a lot of time for this situation to play itself out. Ultimately, as long as Cassel does not get badly outplayed during the preseason, he should be the favorite to win the starting job as he gives the Bills the best chance to win games quickly.
  • Julian Edelman returned to practice in a limited capacity on Monday. Whatever is ailing Edelman has not been specified (I know, it's shocking that Hoodie is keeping injury news close to his vest), but the fact that he was back practicing seems to suggest it is nothing major.
  • LeGarrette Blount's MRI on his right knee came back negative, confirming the sprained MCL that was the original diagnosis. While this is good news long term, it may be a little while before we see Blount back in action again.
  • More Patriots news as the team released third-string quarterback Matt Flynn and signed former Cardinal playoff starter (Hahaha) Ryan Lindley to replace him. Not a ton of fantasy relevance here, but if Brady's suspension is upheld and Garoppolo suffers an injury, Ryan Lindley is all of a sudden the starting quarterback for the reigning Super Bowl champs. Yikes.
  • In kicker news, Shaun Suisham reportedly has a torn ACL after injuring himself in the Hall of Fame Game. Suisham has been Pittsburgh's kicker since 2010, which is a pretty impressive tenure for a kicker in the NFL nowadays. Pittsburgh should have a solid offensive attack this season, so whoever replaces Suisham as Pittsburgh's kicker could have fantasy relevance, for whatever that is worth.