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.
One of the lesser-discussed nuggets of big news in the NFL is the Andrew Luck shoulder injury. A recent Indianapolis Star article stated that the superstar passer had yet to begin throwing. Yes, he is expected back in time for the season, but there is always risk in a quarterback having shoulder issues. In the article, Luck said, "Still haven't started throwing, but that process will come when it's ready … No reason to be sullen or morose. It's a beautiful day." Even if he returns perfectly healthy for the season, the lost offseason should not be discounted and he should not be expected to be sharp.
Coming off a disappointing 2016 season, Carson Palmer is still uncertain about his future after this coming season. He will turn 38 years of age during the 2017 season so the countdown is on. Palmer said, "That’s a great question …. And I don’t have an answer. ... I don’t want to stop. But I’ll have to wait and make that decision after the season." With nothing behind Palmer (Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton), coach Bruce Arians will look to encourage Palmer to stick around for as long as possible. Even if a rookie is selected in 2018 NFL Draft, Palmer would be a great mentor for a year as the youngster transitions.
Even after the selection of rookie Deshaun Watson, fantasy owners should not expect him to start right away. Sarah Barshop of ESPN Texans opined that she thinks incumbent starter Tom Savage will still be under center at the halfway point of the season. She wrote that coach Bill O'Brien will want to keep Savage in the lineup "for as long as possible." We agree with the reporter even though the pressure to speed up Watson’s development will increase if Savage plays poorly. It is only a matter of time before O’Brien plays the rookie but the youngster will do best if eased into the role instead of thrust into the lineup due to poor play or injury.
One of our favorite beat writers is Mike Klis who covers the Denver Broncos for 9News Denver. Klis wrote last week that Paxton Lynch turned the corner in his battle with Trevor Siemian for the starting quarterback job. Klis wrote, "He (Lynch) started to get it … He started to play as if he was doing just that—playing." For the Broncos to advance in the playoffs, Lynch needs to beat our Siemian and play well.
With Matt Asiata now in Detroit, Latavius Murray is expected to be the short-yardage back in Minnesota, according to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Murray has shown excellence in short yardage. There is an issue, though. Murray is still not back from his ankle surgery and may miss much of training camp. Even if Murray steals short touchdowns from rookie Dalvin Cook, Cook should still be the back to own in Minnesota. Cook was drafted high for a reason … he is much more talented than Murray and the team needed an upgrade at the position.
Jamison Crowder is one receiver we like more than most in the fantasy community. He is the reason Washington allowed Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson to depart in free agency. We expect Crowder to garner the most pass targets at the receiver position. Beat writer Rich Tandler agreed in a recent article. Terrelle Pryor will still be involved in the offense, but Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed are expected to be the most heavily targeted pass catchers. Also, a recent CSN MidAtlantic article stated that new acquisition Brian Quick needs a strong training camp to make the final 53-man roster.
Many times, coaches say things to the media in an attempt to motivate a player. We believe this is the case with a recent quote by Cleveland receivers coach Al Saunders when he expressed his disappointment that receiver Corey Coleman's was sidelined with a hamstring injury during the offseason program. Saunders said, "I'm disappointed for him that he can't continue to grow in the fundamentals and skills at his position … He missed a significant amount of time last training camp. He missed significant amount of time during the season and his growth and development, he was having a terrific OTA session and then he got hurt." This should not be an issue once Coleman gets healthy. The issue is that the young receiver has had hamstring injuries almost every year.
We were sad when the news that Dorial Green-Beckham was released by the Philadelphia Eagles last week. It is sad to see immense talent and potential wasted. Rarely is there a player with more natural talent who has failed to develop at his craft. With tremendous size (6’5”, 237 pounds) and great speed (4.49 in the 40-yard dash), Green-Beckham was drafted in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft after a tumultuous college career. The Eagles did him a favor by releasing Green-Beckham early enough that he could sign with another team before training camp.
The Baltimore Ravens had depth – even if lacking talent – at the tight end position. But, a Dennis Pitta hip injury and now a Darren Waller suspension have left the team precariously thin at tight end. Waller was suspended for at least one year for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He now has suspensions in consecutive years for substance abuse. Compounding the problem for Baltimore is that Maxx Williams is a candidate to open the season on the reserve/PUP list because of his lingering knee issues, according to Ian Rapoport. Williams had a rarely-seen knee surgery just eight months ago. If he lands on the PUP list, Williams will miss the first six weeks of the season. Expect Ozzie Newsome to bring in talent at the position. Ben Watson, himself recovering from injury, and Crockett Gillmore remain the likeliest to start week one. Gary Barnidge would make a solid addition to the lineup and could be a viable fantasy option.
One of the more plugged-in beat reporters is Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Last week, he surprised many by stating that tight end Zach Miller could fail to make the final roster. Miller has been plagued by injuries throughout his career but had a solid 2016 season. The Bears added talent at the position in the draft (Adam Shaheen) and free agency (Dion Sims). Miller missed much of the offseason with a foot injury so Biggs’ comment might mean either that Miller will be slow coming back to form or that the team will move on in a rebuilding season. Miller is expected to be a free agent next spring but will be 33 years of age at the time so the market is unlikely to be brimming for suitors of his services.