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 Tuesday, the worry over Andrew Luck was magnified by a notable NFL media member. While we have been writing about Luck’s lack of training camp participation for weeks, his absence reached national attention last week. We appreciate Footballguys’ own Dr. Jene Bramel and his knowledge of football injuries. Dr. Bramel tweeted about the situation, “But -- unless there's more to the story than Colts/Luck letting on -- hard to see how anyone could make judgment on inseason PUP today.” Basically, it is way too early to get excited about Luck missing time at the beginning of the season. Beat reporter Zak Keefer later tweeted, “1 thing to stress again about Luck: There are SIX weeks until regular season starts. He's begun the throwing part of his rehab. Lot of time.” Then, late last week, Colts General Manager Chris Ballard was adamant that his quarterback will be activated from active/PUP before Week 1.
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer has been beating the DeShone Kizer drum for most of the offseason. Late last week, Cabot wrote that she believes the rookie won the first week of training camp. Cabot wrote, “In fact, it's not even close." We fully believe that Kizer will be starting before Week 2 or 3. While efficient, Cody Kessler is not near the talent that Kizer appears to be. The young Browns will want to get the second-round pick into the lineup as soon as possible.
Beat reporter Mike Rodak wrote last week that quarterback Tyrod Taylor's first five days of camp have "left something to be desired." Rodak wrote about Taylor’s inconsistent accuracy, something that has been present throughout his young career. It seems to stem from a lack of confidence. Buffalo drafted Nathan Peterman and did not commit to Taylor so it is not surprising that the starter lacks confidence. This will definitely be a situation to monitor throughout the preseason.
The injury to Ryan Tannehill and signing of Jay Cutler will be painful for Dolphins fans more than fantasy owners. Cutler will still force the ball to his receivers, making them all better fantasy options than if Matt Moore was under center. Cutler’s history with coach Adam Gase is the connection as to why the Dolphins are bringing in the veteran. We do not expect this new relationship (Cutler and the Dolphins) to end any better than his past several. In 2QB leagues, consider adding Matt Moore while everyone is fixated on Cutler.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have been consistent all offseason in the desire to lessen the number of passes quarterback Blake Bortles attempts. Last week, coach Doug Marrone said he was "concerned" about his quarterback after a poor practice in which Bortles tossed five interceptions. Marrone said, "I think any time someone doesn't perform to what you want to do, you're concerned about it … We're going to look at it." The Jaguars will look to run the football often with rookie tailback Leonard Fournette.
After failing to avoid the injury bug since leaving Nebraska, Lions running back Ameer Abdullah is poised for a big season. Last week, two different media reports stated Abdullah is slated for the primary back role. The Detroit Free Press ran a report with a quote from running backs coach David Walker. Walker said, "Ameer's our guy. Theo Riddick has his role, and then the other guys, they got to kind of fit where they fit and that’s how we’ll go." There is a chance that Abdullah is pulled at the goal line and on passing downs but he has a great chance to outplay expectations.
One upside receiver we like is Paul Richardson. With Tyler Lockett still on the PUP list due to a leg injury, Richardson has passed Jermaine Kearse in two-receiver sets. Richardson has big-time speed and the Seahawk offense benefits from him stretching the field. There were rumors earlier in the year that Kearse may be traded or released and this news only reinforces this belief. Lockett could be activated from the PUP list in the next few days so Richardson has a little time to make an impact.
Last Wednesday, Texans receiver Will Fuller suffered a broken collarbone and is out indefinitely. He will likely miss at least a few games. The speedy pass catcher is an asset to the Houston lineup. There was hope for a solid Sophomore season after languishing through poor quarterback play in 2016. We expect Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong to see increased playing time with Fuller sidelined. Before the injury, Fuller was still suffering from too many dropped passes in training camp. Wide receivers coach John Perry spoke out about the dropped passes. Perry said, "He has really taken a lot of ownership of that … He comes out and does a lot of pre-practice work on his own." While promising, Fuller will need improved pass-catching in order to reach his potential once back from the collarbone injury.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians does not mess around. Last week, he spoke out about rookie receiver Chad Williams showing up to camp out of shape. We were sky high on Williams in the NFL Draft process. Arians said, "Until he gets in better condition he won't have a role." This was true on Thursday night. Williams did not see a pass target until the third quarter but flashed potential in limited exposure. In the game, the rookie’s speed was evident.
The saga of Jordan Reed’s toe and ankle injuries were well discussed this past week. Reed went to see Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina, to get checked out. Dr. Anderson is a specialist for toe injuries. Beat writers reported that – while there have been no reported setbacks – the visit to Charlotte is concerning. However, there is optimism abounding in training camp that the star tight end will be back on the field very soon. Time will tell …
Fantasy owners looking for a sleeper tight end should look to quarterback-turned-tight end, Logan Thomas. The Buffalo News reported last week that Thomas has been performing consistently well at his new position, tight end. Thomas is on the third team, but closing the gap on starter Charles Clay, according to beat reporter Vic Carucci. Considering that the 26-year-old has only been playing the tight end position for just one year, he could be a fantasy starter in a year or two. He is worth picking up in deeper dynasty leagues.
Baltimore has suffered through numerous injuries at the tight end position. First, Dennis Pitta was lost to a career-threatening hip injury. Then, Darren Waller was suspended. Ben Watson and Maxx Williams are returning from injuries which impacted their respective 2016 seasons. Now, Crockett Gillmore is likely lost for the season after having his MCL repaired last Monday. Fantasy owners should monitor Watson and Williams during preseason games and training camp updates.