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 reports last week regarding the knee of Sam Bradford after the opening-week win over New Orleans alarmed fantasy owners. This is the same knee that Bradford had surgically repaired in 2013 and 2014 and the swelling was enough after the Saints game that he needed an MRI. On Sunday morning, the team Twitter account tweeted, "Sam is fine. He might play one game from now, he might play six weeks from now. Either way, he's fine. -Mike Zimmer on Bradford's status.” This is not believable. Saying the player is “fine” and giving a timetable ranging from 1-6 weeks gives no reassurance. Moments before, Ian Rapoport reported Teddy Bridgewater expects to return by midseason. Bridgewater is currently on the reserve/PUP list and is not eligible to return to the field in the first six games of the season. While replacing Bradford, Case Keenum was not sharp and the Vikings are in trouble if Bradford misses many more games. On Monday, Tom Pelissero tweeted, “#Vikings QB Sam Bradford is believed to have a bone bruise, source said. They'll see how his knee responds to an injection and go from there.” While the veteran
Last Tuesday, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians spoke to the media regarding star runner David Johnson. Johnson was placed on injured reserve and will battle to get back on the field this season. Arians said that the team hopes to have Johnson back on the field by Christmas. That return would be Week 16 for fantasy owners. If the Cardinals continue to struggle, there may not be any reason to rush Johnson back. Kerwynn Williams, Andre Ellington, and newly re-signed Chris Johnson will try to fill the void. Arians stated later in the week that Ellington will see his role increase on passing downs with Williams and Johnson splitting early-down work.
Last week, Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase reminded us why Jay Ajayi slipped in the 2015 NFL Draft. Gase told reporters that Ajayi has been dealing with knee soreness for a while but it is not a big issue at this time. Well, let’s put some context on the issue. Miami had yet to play a game and a player who slipped in the draft because of worries over career longevity due to his knees is already feeling soreness in his knees. Yes, he played Sunday against the Chargers but we wonder if he will have more knee issues as the season wears on … especially since the Dolphins do not have a bye week going forward. Ironically, the same head coach who told the media about Ajayi’s knee soreness played his back on 64 of a possible 68 snaps in the victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
After the Ravens shellacking of the Bengals in Week 1, there was optimism that running back Danny Woodhead would only miss “4-6 weeks” as reported by Ian Rapoport. But, later in the week, the Ravens placed Woodhead on injured reserve, meaning he can return after the team’s Week 10 bye. Woodhead’s absence leaves a large chasm in the Ravens passing game.
Coach Pete Carroll talked up rookie running back Chris Carson last week. Carroll gave the impression that the Seahawks will give the rookie more playing time. The coach said, "We haven't seen the top end from Chris … He's got a lot to offer. He's a very well-rounded football player. I'm anxious to see how he grows with us and if his role can expand as we find out more stuff." In the close game against San Francisco Sunday, Eddie Lacy was a healthy scratch while Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise combined for five carries. With Rawls and Prosise seemingly always injured and the veteran Lacy a shell of his former self, Carson will have a regular role if he continues to progress and impress.
Washington was slowly working in rookie Samaje Perine but his usage is expected to pick up following the rib injury to Rob Kelley. Kelley left the game against the Rams in the first half and never returned to action. Like most injuries, we will find out more by mid-week, but this appears to be a multiple-week injury. Expect Perine to play on early downs and Chris Thompson to continue his receiving back role.
The demise of Kenneth Dixon’s NFL career has been swift. He was suspended for four games for use of performance-enhancing drugs, then the young back injured his knee and was placed on injured reserve. At that point, many had hope for the youngster. But, last Friday, it was announced that Dixon will be suspended two additional games for substance abuse. Yes, he can “serve” these suspensions while on injured reserve. But, the trend is downward at a high rate of speed.
The Philadelphia Eagles talked up fourth-round rookie tailback Donnel Pumphrey all offseason and training camp. But, late last week, Pumphrey tore his hamstring in practice this past week and was subsequently placed on injured reserve. Since he was a healthy scratch Week 1, his loss will not create a large void. Philadelphia will continue to be a pass-oriented offense, using Darren Sproles often. LeGarrette Blount went without a carry in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer was the first to report that Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman broke his hand in the loss to the Ravens. Coleman was not having a good game even before the injury. He is one of the few big-play receivers for Cleveland. Footballguys’ own Dr. Jene Bramel tweeted, “Awaiting info on Coleman. Early timetable may be 4-6 wks. 2016 injury kept him out seven. Receivers need full healing to play effectively.” With surgery on the horizon, expect Coleman to miss most of the rest of the season given the comment from Dr. Bramel above that receivers need full healing before returning to the field.
Chargers rookie receiver Mike Williams returned to practice last Friday. This news went fairly under-reported and was initially tweeted out by Dolphins beat reporter Armando Salguero. This was his first practice since injuring his back in OTAs. At that time, his target return was “late September or early October” and Williams looks to be on track for a return in a few weeks.
Rookie Dede Westbrook underwent core-muscle surgery last week. His recovery timetable was six weeks but Westbrook must wait until Week 9 to come off of injured reserve. With Allen Robinson out for the season, the Jaguars will be anxious for the rookie to return when able. Robinson is a free agent after the season and Westbrook will have the opportunity to become the WR1 in Jacksonville with a strong finish to the season. He shined in preseason and has the potential to be special.
We have empathy for Cardinals receiver John Brown. He missed most of the 2016 season with the sickle cell trait slowing healing from another injury and now has a quadriceps injury. When asked about Brown, coach Bruce Arians said he does not know when the speedy Brown will be healthy. With David Johnson also out of action, a prolonged absence of Brown, the Arizona offense was impotent against a mediocre Indianapolis defense Sunday. On Monday, coach Arians revealed that he did not expect the receiver to return this week. This should mean more snaps for J.J. Nelson and Jaron Brown once again.
For a team void of consistent weapons in the passing game, the loss of tight end Greg Olsen is huge for the Carolina Panthers. In the victory over Buffalo Sunday, Olsen broke his right foot. He will likely land on injured reserve and miss most of the rest of the season. Next week will be Olsen’s first missed game since 2007. We cannot recommend fantasy owners acquiring backup Ed Dickson. He is more of a blocker than receiver. There is a chance the Panthers sign Gary Barnidge or another free agent tight end. Chris Mortensen had a couple of valuable tweets Monday, “Team will decide after surgery whether Olsen will go on IR with expectation to return later in season, per source” and “Update: Olsen had surgery on foot this morning. Not complicated but team is discussing how to proceed with possible IR designation.” Jeremy Funk tweeted, “G. Olsen experienced a Jones fracture and will likely require a implant of a screw. If ending a season isn’t bad enough, he will be at high … risk for a second surgery in the offseason. Both Edelman and Dez Bryant had the same injury and required the second operation.” So, we do not have high hopes for Olsen to come back this season without rushing too much to get back. The Panthers offense will dearly miss their top pass catcher.
Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz signed a contract extension a couple of weeks ago and soon missed action due to a concussion. In his first action back, Fiedorowicz suffered another concussion in the Week 1 loss and was placed on injured reserve. The Texans lost all three tight ends to concussions in that game.