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.
Early Sunday morning, Jason LaCanfora dropped the news that Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is expected to miss several more weeks. It was reported that Luck is building strength in his surgically-repaired shoulder and will resume throwing shortly. Given this news, it was of no surprise when Indianapolis ruled Luck out of Sunday’s game on Monday. To rule a player out that early, it shows that he is not close to returning. We still expect Luck back on the field Week 5 or 6.
The Arizona Cardinals and running back David Johnson reviewed their options and the star runner underwent wrist surgery. While the x-ray showed no broken bones, there is pessimism that he can return to the field shortly. With just Kerwynn Williams and Andre Ellington able to step in, the Cardinals signed D.J. Foster off the Patriots practice squad, this looks to be a full-blown committee. Arizona could also re-sign veteran Chris Johnson. Williams will likely get early-down touches, Ellington passing-down work with Foster playing a similar role. Youngster Elijhaa Penny might get short-yardage touches. The massive rookie from Idaho only played one snap against the Lions Sunday. Rookie T.J. Logan was placed on injured reserve prior to Week 1 and is eligible to return Week 10. He is a player to stash if your league allows an injured reserve spot.
The high drama of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension had another act Friday as a Texas district court granted Elliott a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), allowing the star to be on the field in the near term. This is very similar to the Tom Brady suspension. Elliott will play the next several weeks as the NFL appeals to a higher court. In dynasty, we value the current season more than subsequent ones so the chance that Elliott plays the entire season boosts his value. Expect the league to prevail in the long run so be ready to pick up Darren McFadden if his owner gets impatient with the legal wrangling.
The Buffalo Bills are confusing. First, the team avoids a long-term investment in quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Next, the Bills trade away the two top young players in Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby. So, we were confused last week when the team gave running back LeSean McCoy $2 million in incentives after releasing his talented backup Jonathan Williams. When asked about McCoy's workload, head coach Sean McDermott said, "If he has to play every snap, and he feels good, that's what we'll do." Of course, the team wants to ride its lone star but why keep him and run the ball carrier into the ground? It is confusing, but this is the Buffalo Bills. What should we expect?
After catching three passes on the opening drive of the game, Ravens running back Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring as Baltimore was near the goal line. Details are not known regarding the significance of the injury, but he is expected to miss a minimum of two or three games.
After the Thursday night loss to Kansas City, beat reporter Jeff Howe tweeted that several teams have reached out to the Patriots, expressing interest in trading for running back Dion Lewis. Howe noted that teams have inquired about Lewis for much of the offseason. This is noteworthy given his lack of use in the season opener, playing just six snaps, the least of the four New England tailbacks. Howe pointed out that the team is not shopping Lewis, but the Patriots always listen.
The release of Jonathan Williams was unexpected. Even more unexpected was Williams passing completely through waivers without getting claimed. This was good news for the young ball carrier. He avoided the poor teams and signed for a whopping $510,000 with the Denver Broncos to be a member of their practice squad. This gives the indication that Williams will be called up to the active roster very soon. Also, the high salary will dissuade other teams from poaching the youngster from the practice squad. The Broncos have two aging, injury-riddled runners at the top of the depth chart (C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles) and a rookie (De'Angelo Henderson) in the wings for playing time. It is not difficult to imagine Henderson and Williams playing often down the stretch.
The victory over the Houston Texans was bittersweet for the Jacksonville Jaguars as star receiver Allen Robinson tore his left ACL in the victory over the Texans. Robinson was hoping for a big season since 2017 is his last under contract. The good news for dynasty owners trading for Robinson is that he will have a quarterback upgrade in 2018, no matter which uniform Robinson is wearing.
First Julian Edelman goes down to a knee injury. Then, it was Malcolm Mitchell who injured his knee in practice last week and was placed on injured reserve. The injury came just as Mitchell was returning from another injury. It was a stroke of bad luck for the second-year pro. To make matters worse for New England, Danny Amendola left the season opener with a concussion and is “week to week.” Amendola was the leading receiver for the Patriots in the loss to the Chiefs and his absence would create a void. Only Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and newly acquired Phillip Dorsett are healthy at the position. The extended time between games will allow Dorsett time to get up to speed in the offense. Even so, the loss of Amendola would be a large loss if he misses extended action.
After the release of Jeremy Kerley, 49ers rookie Trent Taylor now has a chance at 50 receptions from the slot receiver position. Coach Kyle Shanahan likes using three receivers and his slot receiver catches a lot of passes. The San Francisco offense will produce more passing yards and scores than most expect. The Carolina Panther defense is one of the better defenses the 49ers will face this season. With the focus on Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin, Taylor will be a consistent force in the middle of the field.
The Chicago Bears wide receiver group looks like a M*A*S*H unit. First Cameron Meredith goes out with a knee injury and now Kevin White is out of action with a fractured scapula. White was placed on injured reserve, too. This leaves Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson, and Josh Bellamy as the remaining receivers. Throw in a mediocre quarterback in Glennon, and it is easy to recommend owners avoid this entire mess.
There were signs of rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook recovering from his core injury as he played in the preseason final. Therefore, it was a surprise to see the team place the emerging receiver on injured reserve. He is a candidate to return later in the year. NFL players with core injuries usually require surgery and several weeks to get back to full speed. His injury means Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are guaranteed to start with Allen Robinson’s knee injury. Before the Westbrook injury, Hurns was listed behind both Westbrook and Keelan Cole on the depth chart, according to beat writer Mark Long. We are unsure of Cole’s role at this point. He is a great special teams player who could pass Hurns shortly. Given the poor quarterback play, none of the corps should be relied upon by fantasy owners until Westbrook is back on the field. He looked fantastic in preseason and should be a trade target even while injured.
After the trade of Vance McDonald to Pittsburgh, rookie George Kittle is the unquestioned starter in San Francisco. The youngster aggravated his hamstring last Wednesday, but still played Sunday against Carolina. He missed a week of practice in training camp with the same injury. If Kittle gets off to a slow fantasy start, he is a great trade target with considerable near-term upside.
Training camp darling, Rico Gathers, was placed on injured reserve by the Cowboys. After excelling in the preseason games, Gathers suffered a severe concussion and has been slow to recover. While on injured reserve, Gathers can begin practicing (if able) in six weeks and be activated in time to play Week 9. This is the earliest he can take the field. Given the potential we saw, Gathers is a guy to trade for on the cheap. Even though concussions are very scary, his upside is immense.
The season opener against Jacksonville was a tough game for the Houston tight ends. All three active players at the position left the game. In particular, C.J. Fiedorowicz left the game with a concussion after just getting cleared to play a few days before the opener. It is doubtful that he will before Thursday’s Week 2 against Cincinnati.