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 of the recent happenings around the league.
New England quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the bigger surprises this season. Many wondered how he would do in the four-game tryout. Tom Brady’s backup has played very well the first two games of the season. After throwing three touchdowns in the game against Miami, Garoppolo injured his right (throwing) shoulder late in the first half. He was replaced by rookie Jacoby Brissett. Garoppolo sprained his AC joint and could be back Week 4. The bad news is that Brissett will start Thursday night against the aggressive Houston defense. Brady is back from suspension Week 5. The good news for the Patriots is that Garoppolo has proven he is a quality quarterback and could possibly be Brady’s heir apparent.
The Cleveland Browns will start their third quarterback in as many games this coming week. After Robert Griffin III went down with a shoulder injury, Josh McCown stepped in. Griffin is expected to miss the next 10-12 games, per Adam Schefter. McCown took over the reins against Baltimore and rookie Cody Kessler stepped up to be the backup. In the game, McCown injured his shoulder and played through the pain. But, the injury is serious. He is now expected to miss a few games. Kessler is the next man up. Many fantasy owners wondered if the third-round pick would start games this season. The answer is “yes.” We did not like Kessler as a prospect as much as coach Hue Jackson (for him to select the middling collegian in the third round). Interestingly, Schefter reported this past week that Kessler is "not close to being ready to play" and now he is thrust into action. Given the likelihood of a top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, we fully expect the Browns to select either Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer in just a few months.
For those wondering about the Seahawks plans at quarterback in the event Russell Wilson misses time due to injury. We know that rookie Trevone Boykin is not the answer at this point. While he is the backup on the depth chart, Boykin needs time to develop. When Alex Marvez reported last week that Seattle has kept in direct contact with free agent Tarvaris Jackson now that he’s past his legal woes stemming from a domestic violence charge, it makes sense. The team will hold off on bringing in Jackson unless Wilson goes down. No need to have the public relations nightmare unless needed. There is still a chance that Jackson will be suspended after signing a contract.
Even though Adam Schefter tweeted early Sunday morning, “Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles is expected to make his debut in week 3 against the Jets, per source” we do not expect the veteran ball carrier to play this week. The Kansas City Star reported that coach Andy Reid told reporters Monday that Charles "told him directly last week that he wasn't quite ready to play." This gives us the indication that the running back is still a week or two away from playing. He does not have confidence in the injured knee and will need more time.
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson left the Sunday night game against the Packers with a torn meniscus. He was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the contest which communicated the gravity of the situation. There is no definite timetable for the future Hall of Famer to return but we expect Peterson back in a few weeks. Beat writer Matt Vensel opined that Jerick McKinnon and Matt Asiata to form a "65-35" split while Peterson is sidelined. As was the case against the Packers Monday night, the offensive line is opening up few holes so expectations should be tempered for both backs.
Chargers diminutive tailback Danny Woodhead had a horrible-looking injury in the first quarter of the game against the Jaguars. On Monday, Adam Schefter tweeted, “As thought, Chargers now confirm Danny Woodhead has a torn.” Now, the San Diego offense will rely heavily on Melvin Gordon at the running back position.
Panthers tailback Jonathan Stewart exited Sunday’s games against the 49ers with a hamstring injury. He went to the locker room early in the contest and never returned. This hamstring injury, on top of the nagging ankle injury he has dealt with, may put the Carolina runner on the shelf for a while. So, fantasy owners are left wondering whether to pick up Fozzy Whittaker or Cameron Artis-Payne. When asked about who he expected to replace Stewart in the lineup, beat writer Steve Reed tweeted, “Rivera said CAP is a stout inside runner, where Fozzy is niftier and runs the ball well outside. Fozzy more of a route runner.” On Monday, Adam Schefter tweeted, “Panthers HC Ron Rivera said RB Jonathan Stewart is likely to miss ‘at least a week or two’ with a hamstring.” We take that as 3-4 weeks expected absence. Stewart rarely returns to action on the initial timetable.
Lions tailback Ameer Abdullah was limping noticeably after the game against the Titans. The good news is that x-rays on the injured foot were negative. So, the outlook was positive until Josina Anderson tweeted, “I'm told #Lions RB Ameer Abdullah is scheduled to visit Dr. Robert Anderson in North Carolina to evaluate his left foot injury Tuesday.” Footballguys resident doctor, Jene Bramel, then tweeted, “Mechanism wasn't obviously scary on Abdullah. In person consult w/ leading foot specialist is, however.” We concur. If just a mild injury why the need to visit the famed Dr. Anderson? As feared, Detroit placed Abdullah on injured reserve after meeting with the foot doctor. Now, we are waiting for the specifics of the injury. The Detroit Free Press had a quote from coach Jim Caldwell regarding the role of rookie Dwayne Washington following Ameer Abdullah's foot injury. Caldwell said, "He was productive obviously on the carries that he had and I think he’s coming along … I think without question he’s certainly capable of giving us some unique production in his way because he’s a little different type of back."
In a surprise move, the New Orleans Saints released running back C.J. Spiller last week after making the tailback inactive against Oakland in Week 1. We do expect Spiller to sign with a different team in the next week or two but wonder if he has anything left in the tank. The Saints let Spiller go with little behind him on the depth chart and the team has to eat some of the dead cash remaining from the four-year, $16 million deal signed just eighteen months ago.
Dolphins tailback Arian Foster ran the ball just three times before injuring his groin against the Patriots. Coach Adam Gase told reporters Monday that Foster is “day to day” but we expect the veteran to miss a game or two. He is notorious for slow returns from soft tissue injuries. In addition, we are not believers in Jay Ajayi and recommend dynasty owners invest in the Miami passing game instead of bench tailbacks.
We are happy that Jaguars running back Chris Ivory was released from the hospital last Tuesday after a several-day stay. The cause of the hospitalization is not known. After missing Week 2 in San Diego, we are hopeful that the powerful back will return to action Week 3.
A player to monitor in deep dynasty leagues is Jacquizz Rodgers. He was released by the Bears and reunited last week with Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay. Rodgers played for Koetter in Atlanta early in his career. Doug Martin and Charles Sims are ahead of Rodgers on the depth chart. With the Martin hamstring injury, Rodgers could see extended time this week.
Dynasty owners got a scare on Thursday night when Jets receiver Brandon Marshall went down, grabbing his left knee. But, the good news is that the knee was just a mild sprain and Marshall re-entered the game in the second half. Marshall pronounced himself good to go after the game and the sentiment was echoed by coach Todd Bowles. But, there is talk this week that puts into question whether Marshall will be at full health Week 3.
A player we expect to land on waiver wires very soon is Titans receiver Kendall Wright. Wright was a good possession receiver early in his career but has been passed by many Tennessee pass catchers while out of action nursing several hamstring injuries. Wright is a free agent after the season and will likely sign elsewhere in the offseason. He could be a fantasy-viable player on many teams. We recommend buying Wright on the cheap in dynasty leagues.
Last week, ESPN's Bob Holtzman reported that Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert will still be out of action a few more weeks. This is in synch with the early reports of a Week 6 return. Other reports had Eifert running at half-speed last week. Encouraging dynasty owners even more, Eifert was running routes before the game against Pittsburgh this past Sunday.
Dynasty owners need to keep an eye on the status of Eagles tight end, Zach Ertz. The Philadelphia starter was ruled out early for the Week 2 game against Chicago after suffering a displaced rib in the Week 1 game against Cleveland. Coach Doug Pederson said that Ertz is “week-to-week” as the rib is high on the left side, not far from his head and neck.
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