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.
The career of quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to take another turn this coming offseason. Last week, Cutler underwent season-ending shoulder surgery. The injury is believed to be a torn labrum in his throwing (right) shoulder. He was placed on injured reserve Monday. This is not a great injury for a strong-armed quarterback who is about to enter free agency. The win over the 49ers showed that Matt Barkley is not the long-term answer for the Bears. We expect the 2017 starting quarterback to be Bryan Hoyer as the team develops a rookie.
On Sunday morning, before the lop-sided loss in Chicago, Ian Rapoport reported that San Francisco Colin Kaepernick will void his contract after the season and will become a free agent. This is a gamble for the mercurial quarterback. He is set to make $14.5 million in 2016. It is doubtful he can earn this much cash in free agency, especially with several other quarterback options available, but this would allow Kaepernick to get out of San Francisco. The team only allowed him to attempt five passes in the frigid game Sunday, and even pulled Kaepernick for Blaine Gabbert. It is likely best for both sides if the team and player go in a different direction.
Mike Garofolo stated last week that he expects Cleveland quarterback Robert Griffin III to regain and keep the starting quarterback job for the rest of the season if healthy and named the starter this week. The bye last week should have allowed the team to discern his health and ability. The Browns still have Cody Kessler and Josh McCown waiting in the wings. Last week, Ed Werder reported that Griffin was cleared for contact. Hopes are not high for Griffin’s success. On Monday, Adam Schefter reported that there is a "real chance" is the team’s starter this week, even though he has yet to be formally activated from injured reserve.
One player to stash in dynasty leagues is Giants running back Shane Vereen. Vereen practiced last Wednesday for the first time since injuring his triceps. He was subsequently placed on injured reserve. The team now has two more weeks to evaluate whether Vereen is able to come back to the field for the playoff stretch run. Vereen’s return would push rookie Paul Perkins back to a reserve role. He was a viable fantasy RB2 pre-injury.
The Denver Broncos have been fighting through injuries for most of the season. With running back C.J. Anderson already on injured reserve, and rookie Devontae Booker not playing especially well, Kapri Bibbs has seen more playing time. But, the young ball carrier suffered a dreaded high ankle sprain in the game against the Jaguars Sunday afternoon. Denver is quickly running out of options at the position. So, in a desperation move, the team claimed Justin Forsett off waivers. He is reunited with coach Gary Kubiak and could provide depth at the position for the Broncos. Forsett played for Kubiak in Baltimore while the coach was offensive coordinator under coach John Harbaugh. But, there is a reason that two teams void of depth at the position (Ravens and Lions) released the veteran ball carrier. He has lost a step. The timing is unfortunate for Bibbs. Beat reporter Mike Klis tweeted, “Bummer for Bibbs. He was about to overtake Booker in my estimation, when he went down with ankle sprain.” Bibbs was placed on injured reserve in order to make room on the roster for Forsett. With the tough opponents down the stretch (Tennessee, New England, Kansas City, and Oakland), and an ailing Trevor Siemian, the running game will be key for Denver’s quest to make the playoffs.
The rumor mill was well-stirred on Sunday morning. One tidbit of note dropped by Ian Rapoport was regarding Saints receiver Brandin Cooks. Rapoport opined that New Orleans could explore trading the explosive receiver this offseason. This report comes on the heels of Cooks complaining about his role in the offense. With the emergence of rookie Michael Thomas, trading Cooks would resemble the trade of Jimmy Graham to Seattle in 2015. Dynasty owners who believe that this is a possibility should acquire Willie Snead on the cheap after the season. Snead’s role would increase greatly if Cooks is traded.
Adam Schefter reported early Sunday morning that the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to make a strong push to bring free agent DeSean Jackson back to Philadelphia this offseason. Jackson would add a needed speed element to the Eagles offense. He was a very good receiver who is familiar with coach Doug Pederson. One other aspect of the situation to monitor is that the team will be bringing in talent at the receiver position. This would be good for Carson Wentz and bad for the current receivers Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green-Beckham.
Last Friday, tight end Rob Gronkowski underwent back surgery to repair a back injury. He will miss the rest of the season and postseason. The talented tight end will turn 28 years of age in May, and has already undergone at least three back surgeries. It is amazing that New England “hit” on two talented tight ends in the 2010 NFL Draft, selecting Gronkowski in the second round and Aaron Hernandez in the fourth. While Hernandez had off-the-field issues that pushed him down the draft, Gronkowski would have been selected higher if he did not have major back issues in college, at Arizona. He missed one entire season with a back injury. So, Gronkowski has endured back injuries for several years. By the way, Jimmy Graham was selected in the third round of the same draft.
With New Orleans tight end Coby Fleener seeing fewer snaps than Josh Hill the past few weeks, many thought Hill might overtake the ex-Colt for the starting gig. Well, that notion can be put to rest for a while. Hill fractured his fibula in Sunday’s game against the Lions.
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