Dynasty News and Implications #10
By Jeff Tefertiller
August 31st, 2010

The training camps are now in full swing and the news is starting to pick up in a big way. This article can serve as a place to catch you up on the week's news as it relates to dynasty leagues. We will look to identify some winners and losers. The focus will be on the players with recent injury issues or change in situations during the past week. Keep a close eye on the Footballguys.com news page for the up to date news.

NFL Network's Mike Lombardi was one of the first to report that Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart could be released during the team's final cuts. Lombardi had good reasoning, saying that the team would not carry four quarterbacks, and seem very happy with rookie Max Hall. This leaves Derek Anderson as the presumed starter with Leinart and John Skelton battling over the last roster spot. Anderson has been merely average so far this preseason, but has shown more willingness to throw down the field. This gives him the edge. Leinart is known for checking down, having a great completion percentage and little production. ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen reported that the Cardinals see some "Kurt Warner qualities" in Hall. He has a been a "tremendous surprise" outplaying Skelton throughout camp. There is growing speculation that Matt Leinart won't be on the final roster because the Cardinals don't want to lose one of the rookies on waivers.

Green Bay backup quarterback Matt Flynn is a name to remember. Dan Pompei of National Football Post said that he believes the Packers have developed Flynn into a valuable trading chip. Flynn will continue to serve as Aaron Rodgers' backup for this season, and could be available for a draft pick next offseason. Also, with Rodgers' injury history, Flynn makes a decent stash in deeper leagues just in case something were to happen to Rodgers. The Green Bay offense has enough weapons to make Flynn very productive and valuable.

Adam Schefter reported that Maurice Jones-Drew's knee injury as more about "soreness" than injury. He also confirmed the report that the Jacksonville star is not coming off surgery. This soreness for Jones-Drew is concerning because there has to be something creating the issue. Jennings is the backup so he could quickly become a valuable handcuff.

Few are talking about the speedy recovery Ronnie Brown has made from his Lisfranc injury. Brown reiterated that he's made a full recovery. "I feel real good," said Brown. "It was a little different coming back from the foot injury. It was a little easier than the knee. Everything has fallen into place as far as timetables. Everything looks good. Everything feels good. I'm just looking forward to the season to start." The caveat is that Brown has had trouble with injuries most every year of his short career. Expect a strong start to the season, the last he is under contract with the Dolphins.

Denver beat writer Mike Klis said he believes Knowshon Moreno's hamstring may have been partially torn, rather than just strained, when he injured it the first week of August. The second-year rusher was seen cutting "very gingerly." Klis even speculated that Moreno could even be a slow healer. There is a chance that he does not make it back to the field for several weeks.

Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reiterated his belief that injured rookie tailback Montario Hardesty will have the biggest impact of any Cleveland rookie. Hardesty disclosed last week that his right knee injury was a bone bruise sustained on the last day of Browns' rookie camp in late July. He is positioned in a great situation, and runs very hard. But, Hardesty is not blessed with amazing talent. While he could start for the Browns, he will have trouble making a huge fantasy difference. Take note of his poor performances against the better teams Tennessee faced while Hardesty was in college.

Many times, fantasy owners do not get an indication of why certain players get (or not) the playing time. According to Indianapolis beat writer Mike Chappell, Donald Brown's struggles in pass protection remain a concern for the team ... and should be for fantasy owners as well. The team will go out of its way to protect its most valuable asset, Peyton Manning. This is Joseph Addai's last season under contract with the Colts so Brown will need to develop in order to gain a larger role going into 2011.

Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable is not ruling out Michael Bush, after his recent thumb surgery, for the team's first regular season game. This injury could set up a "buy" situation for dynasty owners as Darren McFadden has relatively no chance to be the team's primary ball carrier. Of the backs on the roster, Bush is the only one capable of viable fantasy production carrying a load over 200+ carries.

Fantasy owners should not minimize the impact of turf toe for Texans' tailback Steve Slaton. He was still coming back from the serious neck surgery and the toe injury could push him further down the depth chart. This is definitely an injury which could linger for the better part of the season. Even before the injury, the Houston Chronicle indicated that second-year back Jeremiah Johnson was "fighting" Slaton for playing time behind Arian Foster. Johnson has been very impressive so far in preseason, even if it was against backups. Coach Gary Kubiak has shown in the past that he likes using multiple backs so Johnson makes a great upside player to stash.

New York Jets rookie tailback Joe McKnight has been anything but impressive. He has not run well in preseason and recently coughed up a costly fumble in Friday's preseason game against the Redskins. Coach Rex Ryan was not happy as McKnight lost the ball while the Jets were trying to protect a late lead. His poor play will make the Jets wish they had not given Leon Washington away for peanuts.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress was noncommittal at the possibility of Sidney Rice going on injured reserve following last Monday's hip surgery. "We haven't made any determination of whether he'll be on IR or PUP," said Childress. Beat writer Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported that he is "hearing" Sidney Rice will be on crutches for eight weeks following hip surgery. Even if he does not go on injured reserve, do not expect Rice back in the lineup before the weather gets cold.

There were reports last week that the Broncos feared one of the screws in Demaryius Thomas' surgically repaired left foot may have come loose. This would be horrible news for the unlucky rookie receiver. Even though Broncos coach Josh McDaniels stated he expected Thomas back "soon", that may be overly optimistic. There is a chance another surgery will be needed to correct the issue. The Denver Post's Mike Klis expressed this weekend Thomas does not "look anywhere near close" to playing in the near-term. This is good information from an informed writer. So, if the athletic rookie is out for any length of time, Thomas will quickly become a great buy low candidate. He is talented.

The Cincinnati Bengals released overpaid wide receiver Antonio Bryant. His knee is still not healthy and it could keep him from signing with another team for quite a while. He has produced in the past, so Bryant could be worth a dynasty roster spot if dropped. He never played a down for the Bengals, but made out like a bandit with approximately $7 million of the team's money. The beneficiary of the move is rookie Jordan Shipley who will instantly be inserted into three-receiver sets.

Pittsburgh rookie receiver Emmanuel Sanders has been impressive so far in training camp. He opened camp as the team's No. 2 split end, and is now learning the flanker position, too. The versatility will help Sanders hit the field sooner after Hines Ward retires. "He's shown a physicality in his blocking that's really been impressive," expressed offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. Sanders disappointed Sunday night, leading to two picks, but still has huge upside.

Raiders beat writer Jerry McDonald opined that Louis Murphy is "far and away the Raiders' best and most dangerous receiver." The team has only Heyward-Bey and Schilens as other wide receiver options so it is Murphy or nada. The upgrade at quarterback with the addition of Jason Campbell could vault Murphy to fantasy viability at a cheap price.

It was sad to watch Rams speedy receiver Donnie Avery tear his right ACL in Thursday night's preseason game. He has since been placed on injured reserve. Howard Balzer of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat indicated that rookie Mardy Gilyard may get the first crack at replacing Avery. Gilyard has a similar skill set and the team needs play makers on offense. Gilyard has been a forgotten man since the draft. On the updated depth chart, St. Louis has named Danny Amendola to replace Donnie Avery as the Rams' first-team flanker but he is best in the slot.

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Chaz Schilens has flashed upside over his brief career. But, the injury bug has bitten often. The speedy receiver is out indefinitely after having his balky knee scoped last Tuesday. The Oakland Tribune's Jerry McDonald opined that Chaz Schilens "simply cannot be relied upon as a big part" of the Raiders offense this season. He is totally correct. Schilens, while gifted, needs to stay healthy. "The Raiders are holding out hope he'll be ready for Week 1, but that's not the way to bet," cautioned McDonald. In the past year, Schilens now has undergone two foot surgeries and a knee surgery. Dynasty owners should be looking to buy Louis Murphy on the cheap. He is the best option of the Raider receivers.

Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said this past Sunday that Owen Daniels will play just 15-20 snaps in a "best case scenario" during the week one contest. This is disappointing for fantasy owners expecting Daniels to be healthy and producing early in the season. The report merely confirms the news that Daniels would start the season slowly. Daniels normally would play at least 50 snaps if healthy. Even though he received medical clearance this past week, the Texans tight end admitted "I'm not in football shape, I can pretty much guarantee that."

Many are very high on Saints rookie tight end Jimmy Graham. The former basketball player has been nicked most of preseason. Graham returned to practice Monday. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported that he has battled a high ankle sprain. The athletic tight end will need a year or two to develop so this is not a huge deal, but might offer a "buy" situation.

A very deep sleeper at the tight end position is St. Louis Rams rookie Michael Hoomanawanui. In just a half of football this past weekend, he caught four passes for 53 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots. Fellow rookie Sam Bradford looked for the tight end often. He is a definite sleeper prospect with potential.

Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.

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