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.
Sam Bradford’s return from the bone bruise in his surgically-repaired knee is a welcome sight in the Minnesota lineup. He returned to a limited practice last Thursday and practiced again on Friday and Saturday. Bradford told reporters that taking the two weeks off practicing has made a “night and day” difference. The presence of Bradford in the lineup significantly lifts the fantasy outlook of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. In a contract year, Bradford played great in Week 1 against the Saints and has fantasy QB1 upside when healthy.
After pining to play Monday night, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr should play this week against the Los Angeles Chargers. Carr was originally given a 2- to 6-week timetable but looks to be trending in the right direction for an earlier-than-expected return. He had a serious back injury but Oakland needs its quarterback in the lineup as soon as possible.
The Pittsburgh Steelers played poorly on both sides of the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. Crazily, the Steelers have now lost to Mike Glennon and Blake Bortles in the first five games of the season. After throwing 5 interceptions against the Jaguars, two going for touchdowns the other way, Ben Roethlisberger said, "Maybe I don't have it anymore." While many will quickly dismiss the comment as a “heat of the moment” statement, let’s remember that Roethlisberger reportedly contemplated retirement this past offseason. The game against the Chiefs in Kansas City next week will not offer an easy opportunity for a rebound. Dynasty owners are encouraged to consider the possibility that Roethlisberger will retire at the end of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers have been a dumpster fire on offense for most of this season. The lone bright spot for much of the year has been the play of running back Carlos Hyde. For a tailback to excel on a bad team speaks volumes about the play of the back. Many worried about Hyde’s future in San Francisco after the team drafted Joe Williams but we now see how foolish that notion turned out. Hyde looked nicked up against the Colts Sunday, allowing Matt Breida to consume a solid workload. But, ace beat reporter, Matt Maiocco tweeted out a different point of view from coach Kyle Shanahan, “Kyle Shanahan: Playing Matt Breida over Carlos Hyde had nothing to do with Hyde’s hip. ‘It was just about trying to go with the hot hand.’” Breida is a solid dynasty stash. Last week, the Mercury News reported that the 49ers could extend the contract-year running back. We would expect him to get more than Lamar Miller and less than Devonta Freeman in their respective recent extensions. If Hyde can get and remain healthy this season, he will cash in.
Even though Damien Williams plays more snaps, Miami coach Adam Gase told reporters last week that second-year player Kenyan Drake in the RB2 for the Dolphins. Given Jay Ajayi’s knees, Drake may be a solid stash. He is available on many waiver wires. Let’s remember that it was Gase who told reporters about Ajayi’s knee soreness a few weeks ago. He appears to be wanting a larger role for his 2016 draft pick, Drake.
Just as he was beginning to take control of the Seattle backfield, rookie Chris Carson hurt his ankle and was placed on injured reserve. His injury is more complex than most, with both a broken leg above the ankle and ankle damage. His absence leaves Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy to battle for early downs. At this stage in their respective careers, Rawls is the better back. The situation was a quagmire Sunday against the Rams.
ESPN's Jordan Raanan has been on the leading edge for Odell Beckham Jr Jr reports. Sunday night, Raanan reported that Beckham had been diagnosed with a broken ankle, but is waiting on a second opinion before undergoing surgery. His fibula is fractured above the ankle and there is likely ligament damage as well. On Monday, Dr. David Chao tweeted, “And now official. Surgery is for fracture and torn syndesmotic ligament. IR. No chance for 2017, Good to go 2018.” For dynasty teams not competing for a title, Beckham makes for an intriguing buy opportunity heading into his contract year.
As though the Giants receiving corps was not impacted enough, both Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard left the Chargers game earlier in the contest with injuries. Adam Schefter tweeted Sunday night, “Giants believe WR Sterling Shepard suffered sprained ankle similar to one he had in summer; more tests Monday, per source. Could be 2 weeks.” Without Beckham in the lineup, and an 0-5 record, there is little reason to rush Shepard back to the field until he is healthy.
One rookie receiver we have been monitoring is Dede Westbrook. Westbrook was awesome in the preseason before suffering a core muscle injury which required surgery. The Florida Times Union reported last week that Westbrook is planning to return to the field Week 9. In that article, the rookie said, "I’m progressing really well, actually … It’s a lot faster than I thought I would be." Westbrook will have a large role with Allen Robinson also on injured reserve and a free agent after the season.
Even after suffering his 4th known concussion in 14 months, San Francisco wide receiver Marquise Goodwin traveled with the 49ers to Indianapolis for the game against the Colts. It is great that he recovered so quickly but there should be concern for long-term damage. Every person and every concussion is different so it is difficult to make conclusions as an outsider. Goodwin had a big game against the Colts Sunday, securing 5 of his 11 targets for 116 yards.
One of the players we monitored last year was Eagles receiver Bryce Treggs. He played ok in limited snaps for Philadelphia at the end of the 2016 season. Last week, Treggs was signed by Cleveland off the Philadelphia practice squad. A slender receiver (6’1”, 185 pounds), Treggs is blistering fast. He is known to run a 40-yard dash in under 4.40 seconds. With the negativity surrounding Kenny Britt, there may be opportunity for Treggs as the season progresses. The Eagles liked Treggs enough to match the pay, but leave him on the practice squad, but Treggs chose the opportunity to play for the Browns. He played against the Jets Sunday, garnering the second-highest target count for Cleveland. Treggs is a player to watch the next few weeks.
While he is far away from the fantasy radar, the knee injury to Tyler Boyd Sunday will allow help rookies John Ross and Josh Malone gain more snaps, along with Brandon LaFell. Given that Boyd was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game, the right knee injury is serious. Ian Rapoport tweeted Monday, “#Bengals WR Tyler Boyd was diagnosed with a sprained MCL on Sunday, source said. He’s expected to miss a few weeks.”
After missing the game Thursday night in Tampa, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to be back in the lineup against the New York Jets this week, according to Adam Schefter. The Thursday night game gives the elite tight end a few extra days for his thigh contusion to heal.
Quietly having an elite fantasy season, it was hard to watch the Charles Clay knee injury. He was forced from the game against Cincinnati in the first quarter after a 24-yard reception. On Monday, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “#Bills coach Sean McDermott says TE Charles Clay had a procedure on his knee this morning to knock him out several weeks. A big playmaker.” Then, ProFootballTalk tweeted, “Bills TE Charles Clay underwent knee surgery this morning. He had torn meniscus and sprained MCL per source.” Expect Clay out until after Thanksgiving.
Concussions are serious business and we feel for those players who still feel the effects several months after the injury occurred. This is the case with Dallas tight end Rico Gathers. Gathers tore up the preseason, looking like a future All-Pro player until suffering a concussion almost two months ago. He is still experiencing symptoms, according to beat reporter Brandon George. Gathers is a player to monitor as he has immense upside paired with concussion worries.