Dynasty News #3
By Jeff Tefertiller
July 21st, 2011

We seem to be on the edge of a formalized collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and 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.

After the surprise retirement of Kerry Collins, the Tennessee Titans' coaching staff is left with just first round rookie Jake Locker and youngster Rusty Smith as options for the quarterback position. The Titan organization has stated loud and clear that Vince Young is STILL not in the conversation. He will be shown the door. So, fantasy owners are left to wonder if the reins will immediately be given to Locker. That question was answered a few days ago when head coach Mike Munchak stated that the team has every intention of bring in a viable veteran quarterback, one "that can come in and win." The interesting part to the story is that Tennessee will have a lot of money tied up in Locker and any decent veteran will want a multi-year contract. How much money does the team want tied up in a stopgap player? The coach said he wants a passer "capable of both teaching and potentially starting." The presence of the rookie will discourage most of the better free agent options. Most speculation has Matt Hasselbeck tied to this opening, but will he really want to play nursemaid to Locker? With so many rookie quarterbacks drafted high in April's NFL Draft, Hasselbeck is connected to a few teams outside of a possible return to Seattle, which is still a distinct possibility. The youth and uncertainty for many teams at the quarterback position will help the less attractive veteran free agents find jobs. The market for Bruce Gradkowski, Tarvaris Jackson, and Hasselbeck will be better than expected. For those wondering why the Titans want to bring in an experienced player at the position, John Glennon of the Nashville Tennesseean had an eye-opening statistic this past week: New Titan offensive coordinator Chris Palmer's week one rookie starting quarterbacks have compiled just a 6-24 first-year record in Palmer's Houston (David Carr) and Cleveland (Tim Couch) stops. While these passers did not play up to expectations, throwing them into the fire early could not have helped matters. Expect Tennessee to want to bring Locker along slowly, especially with he flaws in his game exposed during his Senior year at Washington.

The Jacksonville Jaguars selected quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the NFL Draft. Some expected him to compete for the starting job early on. But, coach Jack Del Rio threw cold water on the idea since Gabbert will be far behind incumbent David Garrard entering training camp after missing offseason practices. Garrard has experience and knowledge of the offense on his side. The coach stated, "We believe long term he has a chance to be special ...In the short term is it impacted? Absolutely it's impacted." There will be a window to buy Gabbert in dynasty leagues. His owners may get impatient while Garrard starts the season as the unquestioned starter, and the rookie holding the clipboard, barring injury.

Denver Post columnist Woody Paige never has a loss for words. He had sharp comments regarding Denver running back Knowshon Moreno. Paige said that former coach Josh McDaniels and his coaching staff quickly realized that drafting Moreno was a big mistake. The opinionated columnist cited "someone who worked closely with Josh" and who Paige "trusts to tell me the truth." The source told Paige that McDaniels' staff quickly realized that Moreno had issues with work ethic and did not have a positive presence in the locker room. Paige went on to call Moreno a bust and "wimp on the field." Just a few days prior, the Denver Post ran an article stating the desire of new Broncos head coach John Fox to acquire a running back once free agency kicks off. The Post article called it the team's number one priority in free agency. Most speculation has DeAngelo Williams signing in Denver because of his relationship with Fox, but there will be other options. Fox will want a ball-control, conservative offense. Moreno is a good receiver so he will have a role in the Bronco offense, even if just on third downs.

The Washington Post's Mike Jones opined that he believes rookie running back Roy Helu has the ideal running style for the Redskins' zone-blocking scheme. The fourth round pick only has Ryan Torain as competition currently on the Redskins' roster. There is a good chance that a veteran will be brought in to compete for the job, especially with the mess at the quarterback and wide receiver positions. The Redskins will look to run the ball well and often. As stated above, there will be plenty of free agent running backs on the market. But, one thing we know about Shanahan is that he likes "his" guys. The rookie was the feature back in Nebraska's zone running game. Helu is big and fast and possesses the ability to make a cut and get up the field in a hurry. Jones stated his belief that Helu "reminds Shanahan of a young (Clinton) Portis." This might be a bit of hyperbole, but the coach would take a "young Mike Anderson" or "young Olandis Gary" in comparison to the current backs on the roster.

Dez Bryant has made the news for all of the wrong reasons this offseason. Most of the attention has been on his legal woes. But, last week, Bryant revealed on a Dallas radio show that he has not yet been medically cleared for football activities. This is a shocker for fantasy owners hoping for a big bounce back season from the young receiver. Yes, the lockout may be preventing him from gaining the necessary clearance, but he was expected to be back to full strength a while ago. Bryant said that he has been working out with teammates since the first week of May, but did not elaborate on the degree of his activity. Also last week, Bryant said that the Cowboys "have nothing to worry about" regarding his commitment to football. This was in response to criticism from former mentor Deion Sanders. "I'm getting everything done like I'm supposed to do. I'm ready to go out and play football and do what I do best," said Bryant. "My focus is on the Cowboys." Yes, Bryant is still very young, so there is plenty of time for him to mature. With the fibula injury and the legal distractions, fantasy owners could be very disappointed until he finds the maturity.

Following the Bryant news, it is good to read positive news regarding a rookie wide receiver. Dan Pompei, who writes for the National Football, reported that Kansas City rookie Jonathan Baldwin's character concerns were severely overblown coming out of Pittsburgh. Pompei said that Baldwin was not a "major problem" in college, and many there agree with him that he was misused by the coaching staff. Dave Wannstedt at his best. Baldwin had a reputation as a "tremendously hard worker" and an "exceptional talent." Dwayne Bowe is in the last year of his rookie contract. The situation may set up for Baldwin to take on the primary receiver role in 2012.

Darren Urban is one the better NFL beat writers. He writes for the Arizona Cardinals official website, AZCardinals.com and fantasy owners should pay attention to his opinions. Urban stated his belief that second-year receiver Andre Roberts showed enough by the end of last season that he "may indeed be the Cardinals' future No. 2 receiver." Roberts was put in a tough situation as a rookie, transitioning from a small school to Arizona. The quarterback situation last season was abysmal and enough to make any up and coming player struggle. Even Larry Fitzgerald saw his numbers decline sharply. Urban wrote that Roberts' late-season push has "changed the dynamic of the wideout corps." Free agent Steve Breaston is a few years removed from his big season, one as the WR3 while defenses were focused on stopping Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. He has struggled since Boldin's departure. Expect Breaston to sign in Kansas City, reuniting with former coach Todd Haley. Even though Early Doucet has played well every time he has seen the field, the former LSU star has been hurt a lot since joining the Cardinals. Since Arizona did not address the position in the NFL Draft, it can be assumed that the team will either go with the current players or sign a veteran once free agency opens. Roberts is currently far under the radar in dynasty leagues and is a great player to buy before the buzz starts. He has plenty of upside playing across from Fitzgerald. Stephen Williams is the only other player in the equation. He has talent but is still raw.

Sometimes, fantasy owners do not know whether a news item is really news or just propaganda put out to benefit a situation. When Adam Schefter predicted last week that "there will be a market" for free agent wide receiver Randy Moss, it seemed hard to believe. Is he talking about the player dropped like a hot potato by several teams the last two seasons? Schefter did indicate that Moss will have a market only at a reduced price. The Schefter report came on the heels of smoke blown by agent Joel Segal who told NFL.com that his client "has a huge chip on his shoulder" entering the 2011 season and is determined to be "the old Randy Moss." Does he have enough left in the tank to be "the old Randy Moss?" That is doubtful. "Randy has been working out, two-a-days, all spring and summer in West Virginia," Segal said. "He is determined, motivated. ... He's not just coming in to be on the team, he's going to be Randy Moss - a difference maker." While he still may have his speed, what will happen when things do not go his way? Will he take plays off again? It is difficult to project a productive Moss for 16 games.

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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