With preseason games in full swing, dynasty owners are keeping a close eye on all of the football news. This article can serve as a place to catch you up on the recent football news as it relates to dynasty leagues. We will look to identify some winners and losers. Keep a close eye on the Footballguys.com news page for the up to date news.
When Michael Vick hit his left (throwing hand) thumb on a lineman's helmet, fantasy owners were very scared. But, the good news is that the x-rays turned out negative. Vick dodged a bullet but will continue to be an injury risk going forward. His backup, Mike Kafka, is now out for a few weeks with a broken left (non-throwing) hand. Keep an eye on rookie Nick Foles this preseason.
After the strong offseason, beat writer Tom Curran tabbed quarterback Ryan Mallett as one of the players who had not met expectations in Patriots training camp. Per Curran, "Ryan Mallett has an opportunity to lay claim to being the heir apparent to Tom Brady ... and he just hasn't done it." After the Patriots' preseason game Friday night, beat writer Greg Bedard, of the Boston Globe, echoed Curran's sentiment. With two reputable onlookers in agreement, fantasy owners should take notice. Interestingly enough, other reporters like Adam Schefter have only had good things to say about the second-year passer. Brian Hoyer is expected to leave via free agency next offseason so New England is anxious for Mallett to develop into Brady's protégé. If he does not improve over the next three preseason games, expect New England to look to secure Hoyer's services via a long-term extension. The Patriots only have a small window left and need to ensure they have a capable backup.
Cleveland Browns rookie tailback Trent Richardson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last Thursday on his left knee. The Browns – and fantasy owners – had high hopes for the rookie so the surgery has to bring some disappointment. The good news is that Richardson is expected back soon, possibly by the first game of the season. He has the look of a future All Pro and would surely be missed on such a young offense. Use this injury as a chance to acquire the rookie at a discount.
Ryan Mathews injured his shoulder on his first carry in Thursday night's game. He was replaced in the lineup by veteran Ronnie Brown. This has to be Mathews' owners worst fears come to life. While he is as talented as any back in the NFL, the Charger ball carrier struggles to stay healthy. Footballguys own Dr. Jene Bramel estimates Mathews to be out roughly six weeks. This means that San Diego could be without their star rusher through the first two weeks of the season. Stay tuned for updates.
After suffering a season-ending knee injury late in the year, Rashard Mendenhall has vowed all offseason to be back week one. But, this timetable seems to be in doubt. Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert told CBS Pittsburgh that he would be surprised if the bruising ball carrier did not start the season on the PuP list. Given the fact that Mendenhall has yet to be cleared to practice, he most certainly will struggle to be healthy by week six, even if not on the PuP. Isaac Redman will have a six-week audition to win the job long term. Mendenhall is in a contract year and will be pushing to get on the field as soon as possible.
Fox Sports Midwest recently reported that St. Louis Rams rookie back Isaiah Pead has impressed so far in training camp. While there has been news that Steven Jackson will get a new contract with the Rams, Pead has quietly gone about his business and made an impression with his teammates and coaching staff. He is definitely a player to watch throughout the preseason.
Coach Mike Shanahan takes a beating from fantasy pundits for his use (misuse) of running backs. After spending the offseason touting injured Tim Hightower as the incumbent starter, it was the plodding Evan Royster (and not Roy Helu) started for the Redskins in Thursday night's first preseason game with Hightower still on the shelf. Royster looked just like he always does, giving a Shonn Greene impersonation of Tim Hightower. For some reason, the Washington coaching staff is unwilling to give Helu more touches ... even though he is easily the team's best ball carrier.
Terrell Owens, and his popcorn, signed a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks this past week. The contract included a salary of $925,000 which is not guaranteed. If the team cuts him before week one, Owens collects nothing. The team felt forced to sign the noted malcontent after he ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.43 and 4.45 while weighing in at a svelte 220 pounds. Two days earlier, Sports Illustrated's Peter King opined that starting receiver Sidney Rice "might not be ready to start the season" because of his lingering shoulder injuries. Fantasy owners, take note. Seattle signed Owens and Braylon Edwards for a reason. They are worried about Rice's inability to get – and stay – healthy. We (as fantasy owners) should, too. What a mess for Pete Carroll. His starting quarterback (Matt Flynn) has been unimpressive. Star running back gets a DUI after receiving a big contract. Now, Rice's injuries have forced the acquisitions of two notable problem players. Some may say that karma is in effect....
Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak is known for showering his players with compliments in the press so a filter is sometimes needed. But, fantasy owners should take note of a recent CBS Sports article where Kubiak said of rookie slot receiver Keshawn Martin, "He's a talented young man. He's the one guy out of the rookies that has acted like a pro from the get-go, handling himself mentally, physically and can run all day ... You coach him on something one time and it's fixed. He's a really sharp kid and professional in the meeting room ... He's just all business, and that's what pro football is all about." Martin is the favorite for the slot receiver starting job. He is a small, quick athlete who knows how to get open. The Texans seem to have two future starters in Lestar Jean and Martin. Jean is the main backup behind injury-prone starters Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson on the outside. Expect Jean to make a splash this year.
The Miami Dolphins drafted tight end Michael Egnew in the third round of April's NFL Draft with hopes he would add another receiving threat to the Miami pass offense. But, the rookie has struggled so far in training camp transitioning from Missouri's spread offense to a West Coast offense. In a recent article, beat writer Armando Salguero stressed how unimpressive Egnew has been so far in the young camp. The tight end position is difficult to transition to the professional level so it may take the rookie a year or two to develop. In the mean time, keep an eye out for Charles Clay. The speedy tight end/H-back could surprise this season. Clay has received plenty of positive buzz throughout the offseason. On a team void of play makers, the Dolphins will be looking to take advantage of Clay's athleticism.