Dynasty News and Implications
By Jeff Tefertiller
August 24th, 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.

Michael Vick has made a startling comeback. He is a definite player of interest in dynasty leagues. In last week's game, Vick completed 11-of-17 passes for 119 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. He showed a "live" arm and his old quickness. The speedy Vick ran for 60 yards and a score on five scampers. This is his last year under contract with Philadelphia and will likely be playing elsewhere next year, possibly as a starter.

Second-year back Shonn Greene is expected to be the primary ball carrier for the Jets. This past week, Rex Ryan referred to Greene as the team's "bell cow" running back in a post-practice press conference. Ryan went on to say that he has been really impressed with the former Iowa star in training camp. "Everyone knows the kind of runner he is, the kind of ability he has when the ball's under his arm," said Ryan. He went on to say that Greene has improved in his pass protection. The coach is right, everyone knows Greene has talent running the ball, and it is good to see that he has improved in pass protection. Barring injury, the second-year rusher could have a monster season.

Even though the New Orleans Saints signed Ladell Betts to a one-year, $755,000 contract (with another $250,000 available in incentives) there is a definite chance the team adds another veteran after others teams cut down their rosters. The loss of Lynell Hamilton could be big for the Saints after letting Mike Bell depart this offseason. Betts is a candidate to "vulture" goal-line work from Pierre Thomas, but that is far from a given. He is 31 years old and coming off reconstructive knee surgery for a torn ACL and MCL. At this point, Betts is not worthy of a roster spot unless in the deepest of leagues.

Early in the offseason, we heard how Felix Jones will be the starting back in Dallas. But as the preseason has progressed, it is Marion Barber who has emerged as the starter. FOX Sports' Adam Caplan confirmed the thought when he opined that Barber is "entrenched" as the Cowboys' starting tailback. With all of the Jones-love, Barber is very cheap right now in dynasty leagues.

Ryan Grant suffered a concussion in the team's preseason opener. Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Monday that Grant was concussed. While many players endure head injuries, it is a concern. It was not helped by the fact that Grant was having a miserable game before the injury, managing just six yards on three carries AND a lost fumble.

The hand injury to Fred Jackson has had a cascading effect on the world of fantasy football. Jackson confirmed Monday that his hand injury involves a fracture of the fourth metacarpal. "Yes. I broke a bone in my hand," he said. "Hopefully ... I can get back by the opener." The Bills suffered another loss when fellow tailback Marshawn Lynch injured his ankle in the same game. Both players are hoping to be back before the first regular season game. Lynch was playing well before he got hurt. If Lynch is back in the lineup before Jackson, it would give him a chance to showcase his talents to the coaching staff.

The Houston Texans suffered a huge blow when rookie back Ben Tate went down with a nasty ankle injury last Saturday night. The team has placed him on injured reserve, ending his season. It will be difficult for Tate to come back strong in 2011 in order to take the starting gig.

Kevin Smith has returned much earlier than expected from his knee injury. Even with the quick return, the Lions are giving rookie Jahvid Best "every opportunity to be the No. 1 back," according to the Detroit News. Best looked very explosive this past weekend, giving many hope that the Lions selected a future star running back in April. The two runners will split time, but Best is the far superior fantasy option.

Packers rookie back James Starks has been out of action since May with a gimpy hamstring. Coach Mike McCarthy is "clearly disappointed" with the situation. The Green Bay Press-Gazette speculated last week that Starks, once considered a promising sixth-round pick, could end up on injured reserve. This would be a huge blow for a player who missed so much action in college with a shoulder injury.

Last Friday, San Francisco 49ers second-year back Glen Coffee announced he was retiring. "This has been a tough decision for me to make, but at this time in my life I feel it is best for me that I move on from football," Coffee said in a statement released through the 49ers. "I appreciate what the 49ers, my teammates and coaches have done for me, and I wish them a blessed season and all the best in the future." After the retirement, many expected talented rookie Anthony Dixon to the be Gore's backup. But, when the 49ers signed Brian Westbrook to a one-year contract, Dixon moved down to the RB3 position. The addition of Westbrook was a surprise, coming one day after Dixon totaled 122 yards in San Francisco's preseason opener. Westbrook will be 31 in two weeks, so expectations should be tempered.

Denver Broncos beat writer Mike Klis warned last week that expectations for Demaryius Thomas this season should be tempered because of the rookie's troublesome foot injury. Thomas is having scar tissue problems with his previously fractured foot. It's unclear how serious the aggravation is, but Thomas is missing a ton of valuable practice time. This may set up a golden opportunity to buy the talented rookie with the focus on the injury.

It was good to see Robert Meachem activated from the PUP list this past Monday. He had been battling a toe injury. Meachem possesses the size and speed to take another step in his development this year. He scored a ton of touchdowns (especially on a per reception basis) and is a big play threat. Fantasy owners are waiting to see if he can put it all together and have a truly dominant season.

Adam Schefter reported that the Buccaneers believe rookie split end Mike Williams "has star written all over him." The Tampa Tribune's Anwar Richardson said that Williams is working as the team's starting 'X' receiver (flanker) and is listed as the WR1 on the team's initial depth chart. He is a star in the making and could become the best receiver of the draft class. Even with all of the buzz surrounding Williams, this may be the cheapest he will ever be in dynasty leagues.

Saying what many already felt, ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas stated the starting job opposite Steve Smith belongs to Brandon LaFell barring a "disastrous preseason." Lafell has much more ability than teammate Dwayne Jarrett.

Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun reported that there is speculation the Baltimore Ravens may be shopping former first round wideout Mark Clayton. The Ravens gave other teams a good look at Clayton during Thursday's preseason game, one where he had a 30-yard touchdown reception. This is a situation to monitor with so many teams having weak options at the WR2 position. He might be worth a pickup if on the waiver wire.

There are local beat reporters who now believe that the Redskins placing Devin Thomas low on the depth chart was a motivational ploy. He is now expected to receive significantly more playing time as the preseason unfolds. This comes after Thomas caught three passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in the team's preseason opener Friday night.

The Green Bay Post-Gazette reported that Packer receiver Jordy Nelson looks like he "will claim the WR3 job outright." Nelson is playing well in training camp, putting him even or ahead of James Jones. There is no way to know for sure. This report came just days after Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy indicated Jones has a slight edge over Nelson for the team's WR3 job. One thing at work is that possibly Nelson is the better slot receiver while Jones would start out wide if either Jennings or Driver missed time.

Cardinals rookie receiver Andre Roberts was a personal favorite heading into the draft. He is talented, but a bit on the raw side. Arizona beat writer Kent Somers reported that the rookie Roberts is having a "shaky" camp performance. He is battling for the WR4 job so there is little short-term upside.

It was sad to see rookie receiver Marcus Easley injured his knee. Bills coach Chan Gailey confirmed last Wednesday that Easley will need surgery on his injured left knee. "I don't know exactly when that's going to take place," said Gailey. "I think we'll get a better determination on what we're talking about, long term, short term, after that." It would be sad to see Easley on season-ending injured reserve.

Chris Cooley could be a huge surprise this season. He is now fully healthy and has a chance to be elite at the position once again. In the Redskins' preseason opener last Friday night, Cooley caught three passes for 33 yards. He was quarterback Donovan McNabb's favorite target, lining up in the slot and getting open seemingly at will against a stout Bills secondary. Many worried about the impact of Fred Davis, but it was only Cooley who was effective in the game. He is a player to buy now while his owners are concerned over last year's injury.

Rookie tight ends seldom make an impact. Bengals offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski stated last week that Jermaine Gresham is still "learning how to get open" at the professional level. "He's seeing so many different coverages now than what he saw in college," said Bratkowski. "Guys are playing him and he has to learn how to beat NFL players." While there is plenty of time for the rookie to get things together, there should be very low expectations for this season.

Mike Reiss, of ESPNBoston, stated that he believes Patriots rookie tight end Aaron Hernandez is in a good position for a "major offensive role" in his first year. What this means is unknown. Hernandez has heavily utilized in red-zone and goal-line drills, a place where the Pats throw as often as any team in the league. He is a great dynasty tight end prospect.

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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