Dynasty News
By Jeff Tefertiller
June 27th, 2011

The unofficial player workouts are now in full swing, even without a formalized collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The news is beginning to ramp up in a big way. The series of articles will look to keep you in the loop on some of the recent news as it relates to dynasty leagues. We will identify some winners and losers. This is not an exhaustive list, but will include some of the bigger news. Keep a close eye on the Footballguys.com news page for the up to date news.

Peyton Manning - Manning has been as durable as any player since being drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. He has played in every game since being selected. But, the neck surgery on May 23 could be an issue. He has yet to resume throwing the football. Manning's football acumen is unmatched so he will be mentally ready for the season, but will his body? He is not expected to be back on the field (even if the lockout is lifted) until approximately August 1. Manning is also wanting a long-term extension after the lockout is lifted. What a precarious spot for the shrewd Colts. He will get a new deal, but it is a risky situation. The 35-year old star has now gone under the knife for neck issues twice in a period of sixteen months. Here is what Sports Illustrated's Peter King wrote a few weeks ago on the subject, "I think if I was about to lay out $120 million, or whatever the five-year price tag for Peyton Manning will be for the Colts when the contract gets done, I'd be a little nervous about the last couple of years of that deal after seeing him undergo two neck procedures in 16 months." King is correct. How much risk does Indianapolis wish to take on? There is little chance Manning will be able to play the next five years with the durability and success of the last five.

Matt Hasselbeck - One could easily expect Hasselbeck back in the Pacific Northwest next season. Before the lockout, he was offered a one-year deal with a salary of $7 million. It is remarkable that the aging veteran thought then, and still thinks, that he can garner a larger contract. While he wants a longer deal, Hasselbeck should run to sign that offer. He has been rumored to join the Tennessee Titans or Arizona Cardinals, but there is NO POSSIBLE WAY those teams would give the soon-to-be-36-year old that much. The Titans will have a lot of money tied up into first rounder Jake Locker. The Cardinals will want a long-term fix, not just a temporary Band-Aid to the situation. These are poor fits for Hasselbeck. In Seattle, it makes sense. Offer the veteran a one-year contract in order to further develop Charlie Whitehurst to see if he is capable of being the starter going forward. If not, select a passer high in next year's NFL Draft. Keep in mind that Pete Carroll's former recruit Matt Barkley should be available.

Chris Johnson - Johnson is as good as any running back in football at making the big play. His workload is a concern for fantasy owners. Johnson had 372 offensive touches last season ... and 781 over the past two seasons. This has to raise red flags. But, the news-worthy item is that the local beat writers expect Johnson to hold out if his $800,000 salary is not increased. He received a token pay increase last summer, but that was then and this is now. So, we have a smaller back who has carried a heavy workload the past two seasons and may hold out. It is interesting that the speedy Johnson only finished as RB5 last season even with the large number of touches. Fantasy owners need him to stay healthy and fresh, not overworked. Piling on, making a risky fantasy situation worse, was the Nashville Tennesseean when they ran a story this past week that gave the impression new offensive coordinator Chris Palmer might not ease the burden from Johnson. In fact, the last line of the story read, "Bottom line: I wouldn't expect a huge change in the number of carries for Johnson this season, especially with the questions the Titans will have at quarterback and the shortened offseason." The Titans are on a path of having their lone star offensive player worn out early in his career. Johnson is a premier player in the league. Can he hold up year after year under the heavy workload?

Brandon Marshall - Few players can boast the talent of the Miami receiver. He is a star. In Denver, and now near the shores of South Beach, Marshall has found it difficult to stay out of the news and remain focused on football. At just 27 years old, he already has three seasons finishing as a fantasy WR1. The 2010 campaign was not one of them. The trade to the Dolphins was not a great one for Marshall's many dynasty owners. He finished a lowly WR30 last year. The big reason was the lack of touchdowns. Having Chad Henne under center was horrid. He only threw 15 scoring passes on the season. As this situation was not bad enough, Marshall was injured early in the offseason after being stabbed by his wife in a domestic incident. He has since not pressed charges and been difficult for police investigators. The big receiver is still recovering and is the lone wide receiver not at the recent player workouts. Instead of upgrading the quarterback position through the NFL Draft, the team brought in a rookie tailback. It appears that Marshall and the other Dolphin receivers are stuck with Henne. It is sad when Vince Young or Donovan McNabb are the best options for Miami to bring in as quarterback competition. It might be 2012 until Marshall can rebound. In 2010 with Henne at the helm, Marshall only had nine (out of 14) games with over 71 yards receiving. That is pathetic for a player with Marshall's talent. With any type of a slow start, a tremendous buying situation will develop. Yes, the athletic receiver has trouble staying out of the news. But, there is always a place in the NFL for talented players and he certainly fits that description.

Kenny Britt - How could we not talk about the NFL news without discussing Kenny Britt? He is on the news more than Ted Koppel. Britt has been arrested three times in two different states since the end of the 2010 season. Even with the lockout, expect Commissioner Goodell to make an example of the young receiver. It is safe to say the 22-year old is a "repeat offender" under the NFL's personal conduct policy. Getting on the soapbox ... Why would the union want to publicly oppose the punishment (since the last two offenses occurred during the lockout) and thus giving the perception that they condone the behavior? Britt has been arrested a whopping six times since being drafted in April of 2009. At what point do we dynasty owners stop dismissing the behaviors as "bad decisions" and start looking at the youngster as a player who could end up in jail or worse? Here is an article detailing his trouble with the law. Britt has flashed so much potential that this situation is a huge risk/reward for dynasty owners. Do you see the recent legal troubles as a chance to buy him low? Or, is it best to sell now before he goes to prison ala Burress?

Plaxico Burress - The former Steeler and Giant is now free from prison and a free agent. He is able to sign with any NFL team once the lockout ends. Adding a shark of an agent in Drew Rosenhaus was a solid move. The big receiver is now 34 years old and ready to resume his career. The beat writer of almost every NFL team has speculated as to their local squad's desire to sign Burress. He will likely receive an incentive-laden contract with a minimal signing bonus. Expect a two-year deal similar to the one Michael Vick received from Philadelphia. Many have speculated the Burress might land in Philadelphia, but that does not seem like a good move for either side. Burress wants a prominent role in the offense and the Eagles have a pair of very good young receivers. It just is not a good fit. One of the best situations for Burress would be in St. Louis with a great young quarterback (Bradford), an offensive coordinator he has worked with in the past (McDaniels while at Michigan State), and a head coach he has worked with before (Spagnuolo with the New York Giants). The Rams have a huge void at the receiver position. Even the average-talented Mark Clayton put up great numbers in St. Louis last season prior to injury. Another optimal landing spot would be in New York if the Jets cannot re-sign both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. Burress would be an ideal complement to Holmes' speed. Two other teams that could provide a fantasy-viable opportunity for the free agent are the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks. Washington only has one decent veteran receiver (Santana Moss) and he is a free agent. Mike Shanahan loves veterans and will not want to go into the 2011 season with just Anthony Armstrong and rookie Leonard Hankerson as starters at the wide receiver position. In Seattle, Big Mike Williams shocked the world with a great comeback story. The Seahawks have little else at the position. After paying such a high price for a stupid decision, it will be good to see the former star back on the field. He has a lot to prove, but could surprise with so many teams needing a proven starter.

With the offseason now in effect, please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any suggestions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there. I will also be active in the "wannabee" thread in the assistant coach forum.

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