We scour the news around the NFL to bring you what matters most to you and your dynasty team: the most current news on players, both superstars and the relative unknowns, and analysis to decipher the respective situations. These are many of the major stories and not meant to be an exhaustive look at all the recent happenings around the league.
Beat writer Mary Kay Cabot, of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reported last week that Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III will undergo another scan in the "next couple of weeks" in order to determine whether he can return this season. Griffin has long odds to play this year with the team focused on exploring what they have in Cody Kessler. We are unsure about Griffin’s future in Cleveland. He is currently on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He should be fine by the offseason. The team could go with Kessler and a rookie in 2017. Last March, Griffin signed a two-year, $15 million contract with only $6.75 million guaranteed, including a $3.5 million signing bonus. This means that the team can cut the veteran quarterback without any financial penalty.
With Christine Michael playing gimpy, Seattle is anxious to get Thomas Rawls back in the fold. Rawls has missed most of the season with a broken fibula. He returned to practice last week and is getting close to playing. Late last week, coach Pete Carroll said that Rawls "really has a chance" to return Week 11. Carroll said, "He looked fast and confident making his breaks. It was a good week for Thomas coming back. You couldn't see anything that was bothering him.” Many will assume a three-way committee with Michael, Rawls, and rookie C.J. Prosise. We expect Rawls to be the lead back with Prosise getting the passing-down work and Michael the Rawls handcuff. Seattle ran the ball well with Prosise leading the charge versus New England and should use this trio of ball carriers to pound the rock down the stretch. All indicators are pointing to Rawls returning this week. On Monday, beat writer Sheil Kapadia tweeted, “Pete Carroll on @710ESPNSeattle: ‘Thomas [Rawls] is ready to go. He's going to practice to play this week.’” The rest of the NFC does not want to see the Seahawks get healthy in time for the playoff chase.
Many were surprised when Patriots tailback Dion Lewis was inactive on Sunday night against the Seattle Seahawks after practicing all last week. Fantasy owners still remember the huge impact Lewis made pre-injury in 2015. We expect him back on the field next week. But, coach Bill Belichick threw cold water on the notion that Lewis would quickly regain the lead back role. In an ESPN article, the coach said that it "would take quite a bit" for Dion Lewis to pass James White on the depth chart. White is an ok player so we expect much of the following quote to be fodder for encouraging Lewis to get healthy quickly. Coach Belichick said, "I think White is a good player … What he does is good. Could somebody do it better? I don't know. But it would take quite a bit, I would say, based on where he is and how consistent he's been with what he's done. It would take somebody playing pretty good to be better than him." Trying to choose the correct New England running back is difficult on a weekly basis so adding Lewis to the mix could muddy the situation in the short term. But, Lewis will see his role increase as the playoffs near.
Washington coach Jay Gruden was true to his word in playing tailback Rob Kelley as his “first-string” tailback. Even with Matt Jones healthy, Kelley received 22 of the 26 running back carries in the win over Minnesota. Chris Thompson received the other four carries. Kelley rushed for 97 yards against a very stout Vikings defense. We do not expect Gruden to deviate from his now-starting back.
DKPittsburghSports.com was the first to report we saw that Pittsburgh tailback DeAngelo Williams underwent knee surgery last Wednesday. Per the report, Williams underwent a knee scope, and will be sidelined "up to a month." This means that Fitzgerald Toussaint will serve as LeVeon Bell's handcuff. With all the injuries to the tailback position this season, Toussaint makes a decent stash given the workload Bell is carrying.
In an interview last week, Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter said that he expects running back Charles Sims back this season from his knee injury. Sims is on injured reserve and eligible to return Week 13. Tampa Bay got Doug Martin back on the field for the victory over Chicago Sunday. He was not overly productive but scored a touchdown. The 16 carries showed that his hamstring is now healthy. Jacquizz Rodgers is out of his walking boot and will be healthy soon. As crazy as it sounds, the Buccaneers are second in the NFC South with a 4-5 record and are getting healthy at the right time.
Fantasy owners were shocked to learn of the Alshon Jeffery suspension Monday. The Bears superstar will miss the next four weeks due to taking a "recommended supplement to combat inflammation." The supplement had an ingredient on the NFL’s banned substance list. Chicago is 2-7, with a struggling Jay Cutler at quarterback and few weapons. Mike Freeman tweeted Monday, “One of the Bears players told me that Cutler's lack of preparation ‘was truly embarrassing.’” Neither Jeffery nor Cutler is expected back with the team next season. Jeffery is due back Week 15. He has been injured for most of the season and now the suspension. The free agency market for his service could be shrinking.
Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson is battling a shoulder injury. It was not disclosed what the injury was or an expectation of his return to the field. So, when Ian Rapoport tweeted, “#Redskins WR DeSean Jackson, out with a rotator cuff injury, likely misses next week, too, I’m told. Source on his shoulder: ‘Not good.’”, we quickly knew that Jackson was out for the game against Minnesota and likely longer.
We mentioned New York Jets receiver, Devin Smith, a few weeks ago. He had begun practicing at that time and was activated from the PUP list last week. With the Eric Decker shoulder injury, Smith should be able to carve out a role in the Jets’ offense. Brandon Marshall is the only sure thing and Smith could pass all of the other receivers if fully healthy. There is a slim chance that Smith plays well enough for a starting job in 2017. He was very good at Ohio State so we are hopeful he still has elite speed.
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