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.
Last week, Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spoke of the uncertainty around Teddy Bridgewater's return from the nasty knee injury suffered early last season. He said, "It’s an unknown because of the severity of the injury … We’re not going to put his health at risk." He later said that there is no timetable for the passer’s return. Yes, there were videos of Bridgewater throwing passes with a large knee brace, but he looked far from standing in the pocket and taking hits. But, the good news is that Bridgewater is making progress. Even if he is limited, the ex-starter is still better than most available backups in your fantasy league as Sam Bradford is not known for being the beacon of health. This is a situation we will monitor throughout the summer and into the preseason.
Fantasy owners had high hopes for Lions tailback Ameer Abdullah a year ago. He revealed last week that the injury was a Lisfranc "tear." The injury occurred in Week 2 after a strong season opener. He should play on early downs with Theo Riddick inserted on passing and third downs. A solid running game could help quarterback Matthew Stafford rebound after an off year. Abdullah is undervalued in most dynasty circles because of the injury. If he can stay healthy for 16 games, Abdullah will finish in the top 10 players at the running back position. On Sunday, beat reporter, Tim Twentyman raved about Abdullah's impact on the offense. He especially was awed by Abdullah's burst said that the offense was noticeably better when the third-year player was on the field. Adbullah makes a great player to buy low while other owners are concerned about the injury history.
There has been much doubt surrounding the ability of Adrian Peterson to return to his Pro Bowl form. In a recent New Orleans Advocate article, the veteran’s teammates gushed after seeing him just in in OTAs. He is 32 years of age so the odds are not on Peterson’s side to finish the season with a heavy workload but the future Hall of Fame back could be a dynamic situational option. Peterson said this about his age, "I'd be lying to you to say it doesn't give me a chip (on my shoulder) … Especially being a competitor. ... It's something that drives you a little bit. After 30, because it was the same back then. 'Oh, he's 30.' Then I ended up leading the league (in rushing) in 2015." Running behind a good offensive line – for a change – and in a great offense will only help his chances of being a force in 2017.
One player who is safe to drop in fantasy leagues is DeAngelo Williams. After playing a regular role in the Steelers offense for a couple of seasons, the 34-year-old has drawn zero interest in free agency and is now joining Impact Wrestling to kick off the next stage in his career, according to a recent CBS Sports report. Pittsburgh drafted James Conner to be the complement to Le'Veon Bell so a pricey veteran was too expensive for the cap-strapped Steelers.
On the surface, the release of Jeremy Maclin was a shocker. According to the Kansas City Star, he "looked spry" in OTA practices and ran with the first-team offense prior to getting his walking papers. But, as we look at the move as a business decision, it makes more sense. The post-June 1 release will save the team $10 million, but it leaves $7.2 million in dead money the next two seasons. While we were shocked due to the name value of the move, Maclin only totaled 536 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns a year ago while he was often nicked up. Even though many dynasty owners will be looking for the right receiver who could become relevant, but the real answer is that the role is not a fantasy goldmine and will most likely be a source of frustration.
San Diego Chargers rookie receiver Mike Williams hurt his back last week and now will be sidelined until training camp. The injury has been deemed a mild disc herniation in the lower back. The coaching staff has already come out and proclaimed to the media that the first-round pick is getting behind while on the sideline. Let’s remember that Williams almost lost his career with a neck injury while at Clemson after running into the goalpost so we should not take this back injury lightly. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are expected to pick up the slack until the rookie can return.
Chicago Bears receiver Cameron Meredith sprained his thumb two weeks ago in OTAs and will be out of action until at least training camp. The injury was called a “ligament” issue and surgery has not been ruled out. His absence will put more pressure on Kevin White to emerge. The other Bears receivers are merely average and the quarterback situation is uncertain. This is definitely an offense, sans Jordan Howard, to be cautious about before investing.
After the release of Maclin, Chris Conley will be the Chiefs' starting receiver opposite Tyreek Hill, according to the Kansas City Star. Conley is a size/speed prospect who has been slow to get his career off the ground. He has upside. One limiting factor is that Kansas City rarely throws the ball down the field.
Dynasty owners love rookie prospects but need to learn when to cut bait. A player who may need to be dropped soon is Shelton Gibson, a fifth-rounder from West Virginia. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane, Gibson has consistently had problems catching the ball at OTAs. The rookie had small hands when measured before the NFL Draft and struggled with drops in college. Dynasty owners should not be surprised by the drops as a pro. Unless Gibson can quickly turn things around, he will find himself on the Eagles practice squad to start the season.
Patience will be needed for the rookie tight ends this season, just like years before. This is something we forget each with the excitement of each new rookie class. Each of the first-year tight ends is talented but will need time to transition to the NFL. Pewter Report reminded us of this fact last week when suggesting tight end Cameron Brate may keep his starter role over first-round rookie O.J. Howard to begin the season. The website said, Brate and quarterback Jameis Winston's "chemistry is going to be tough to dethrone … it might be more difficult than we thought to see (Howard) as a solidified first-team player" due to the on-field connection between quarterback and tight end from last season.
Tight end Dennis Pitta was a feel-good story in 2016 after returning from two dislocated hip injuries on his way to big fantasy numbers. But, in OTAs last week, Pitta dislocated the hip for the third time and his career is over. The Ravens even released him with an injury settlement to save $2.5 million in 2017. The time is now for Maxx Williams to step up. He and Ben Watson have the inside track to replacing the 32-year-old Pitta, with Crockett Gillmore, Darren Waller, and Nick Boyle as sleepers.
Beat writer, Connor Hughes, stated last week that much-troubled tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was the "most impressive player on the field" at the New York Jets OTAs. Granted, the Jets do not have much talent so this may not mean much, but it is a positive sign in Seferian-Jenkins’ career that he is now making positive impressions. There will be opportunity for him if he can continue developing his craft. The article did describe how Seferian-Jenkins is taking steps to turn his life around.