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.
A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the lack of news on Andrew Luck’s recovery from shoulder surgery. Last week, Colts.com's Kevin Bowen wrote that there still have been no updates on Luck's status. Per the report, it is still unknown whether the star has resumed throwing passes. Bowen states that the team seems unfazed by the lack of progress. With training camp opening soon, we should have an update in the coming weeks. In quarterback-premium leagues, it might be a savvy move to stash Scott Tolzien just in case Luck is slow to return.
Teddy Bridgewater has been impressive in his return from a nasty left-knee injury. While the jury is still out on whether he will be available Week 1, the young quarterback is making progress. Last week, the Minnesota passer posted pictures on Instagram of him working out without a brace. While the pictures were not a huge deal, Bridgewater working out without the brace is a big feat. He was filmed working out in OTAs with a brace so the shedding of it shows progress. Even though he is expected to begin training camp on the PUP list, the odds are increasing that Bridgewater will return at some point in the season, possibly early. With Sam Bradford in the last year of his contract, the Vikings will want to see what they have in Bridgewater before making any decisions on Bradford.
The anti-Carlos Hyde press has been loud and frequent. Matt Maiocco was the latest to suggest that the veteran ball carrier will have to compete for the starting gig. Maiocco cited Hyde’s injury history, impending free agency, and unfamiliarity in Kyle Shanahan’s offense as reasons for the pressure to be on Hyde. While all of these reasons are true, the injury history and lack of experience in the offense are true for the two backs competing with Hyde, Tim Hightower and rookie Joe Williams. In the end, we still expect Hyde to be the starter and these two to battle for touches behind him.
One running back who has not received much buzz in the fantasy community this offseason is Robert Turbin. He has been mentioned a couple of times in this column yet is available on many dynasty waiver wires. Indianapolis offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski raved about Turbin in an article on CBS Indianapolis. Chudzinski said of Turbin’s offseason, "Much better this spring than he was this time of year a year ago." With Frank Gore bordering on fossil status, Turbin makes a sage pick up. Rookie Marlon Mack is talented but Turbin is Gore’s backup while the rookie learns the ropes.
One rookie receiver we targeted in every rookie draft was Josh Malone. The Bengals pass catcher is talented and combines size and athletic ability. Cincinnati wide receivers coach James Urban spoke of the rookie in a Bengals.com article. Urban said, "He showed us what we thought he was … He’s big and he’s fast and he has a good natural feel for the game. He’s learning how to run our routes." Even fellow rookie John Ross chimed in and said, "to be his height and run as well as he does and catch the ball as well as he does – I think he’s got a bright future." With the team having a plethora of receivers, we do not expect Malone to make an impact in 2017 unless the injury bug strikes. This will allow dynasty owners to buy him on the cheap from impatient owners.
The Michael Floyd saga has come full circle. He was released from the Cardinals after a December DUI arrest, then signed with the Patriots. After the Super Bowl champions did not retain Floyd’s services, he signed with the Vikings. Then, Floyd tested positive for alcohol, violating the terms of his house arrest. Floyd claimed herbal tea was the cause for the positive test. But, Floyd is now suspended for four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Making matters worse, Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer told Floyd that he will be released if the team determines he was lying about his herbal tea claim. For a player who possesses so much physical talent, it is sad to see Floyd’s career circling the drain.
It has only been a little over a year since there were sharp debates about which Mike Thomas was the superior talent. In 2016, Michael Thomas showed off his talent while Mike Thomas caught just three passes. The news gets worse for the Rams receiver. First, the team drafted Josh Reynolds and Cooper Kupp in the NFL Draft increasing the competition for snaps and targets. Second, Thomas has been suspended by the league for performance-enhancing drug usage. This is not the ideal way to impress a new coaching staff.
In a 49ers.com article, general manager John Lynch said rookie tight end George Kittle has "exceeded our expectations" so far. Lynch said, "He’s really flashed … He’s got some suddenness to him in his movements. He catches the ball extremely well. George gives us something we don’t have as a playmaker down in the red zone. He is that guy who can win 1-on-1. He can impose his will and out-athlete people." We are fully expecting Kittle to pass Vance McDonald and the others on the depth chart in short order. He is the choice of the new regime so the other tight ends are expendable. Kittle has gone from undrafted in rookie drafts to a second-round selection in tight end premium leagues.
We wrote about Browns tight end Seth DeValve just a couple of weeks ago when beat reporter Nate Ulrich wrote about his progress. Now, it is Mary Kay Cabot’s turn to rave about the young tight end this past week. Even though Cleveland drafted David Njoku in the first round of the NFL Draft, the team thinks they have something special in the former fourth-round pick from Princeton. On a team void of special players, expect Hue Jackson and company to find a way to get both tight ends on the field often.