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 camp reports have Tyrod Taylor ensconced as the starter. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley deemed Taylor the leader of the team this past week. This is in line with expectations after the coach said rookie Baker Mayfield “has a long way to go” just a couple of weeks ago. Cleveland has consistently communicated that Taylor is the Week 1 starter. Hue Jackson spoke on the topic, saying, “I made a commitment to him and he has held up his end of the bargain with not just the way he works but the way he plays and the way he leads." Taylor is in the last year of his contract and is motivated to play well and keep the rookie on the sideline as long as possible.
For those playing in deeper leagues, it appears journeyman quarterback David Fales is the backup to Ryan Tannehill. Beat writer Barry Jackson reported this last week. So far, coach Adam Gase has yet to name his QB2, but Fales has played better than Brock Osweiler and Bryce Petty so far in camp. Given the injury history of Tannehill, Fales is worth a stash in some leagues.
At this point in the offseason, it is difficult to separate the real buzz from the coachspeak. Beat writer Mike Rodak said this week that Nathan Peterman is a serious contender to start Week 1. While that seems highly unlikely after last season’s debacle, Peterman has impressed while splitting first-team reps with A.J. McCarron. Most remember the one start Peterman made in his rookie season, tossing five interceptions before the halftime break. It is possible for Peterman to make the jump in year two, but the Bills have too much invested in McCarron and rookie Josh Allen to let Peterman gain the starting role unwarranted. Coach Sean McDermott told reporters that Allen will open training camp as the third-team quarterback. Hopefully, Buffalo will allow Allen time to develop as a quarterback and not start until late in the season.
Beat writer Rick Stroud said that he expects rookie tailback Ronald Jones II II to get 15-20 touches a game this season. A few days before, Greg Auman reported that Jones would split touches with Peyton Barber on early downs and Charles Sims in the passing game. Barber is a solid pickup in most dynasty leagues. Jones is a star in the making and can easily become a fantasy RB1 on the limited touches.
Beat reporter Aaron Wilson reported last week that it remains uncertain if and when D'Onta Foreman will return to the field. He suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 11 last year but has looked healthy in his limited activity off to the side of practice. There is a chance that Foreman begins the season on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list which would result in him missing the first six games of the season. The lack of a viable backup for Lamar Miller should show the confidence the Texans have in Foreman’s return.
In a show of coachspeak, Steelers coach stated last week that rookie swiss-army-knife Jaylen Samuels is "highly evolved in the passing game." Samuels has a legitimate shot to be the handcuff for Le'Veon Bell. It is not as though James Conner and company are formidable to surpass for the sure-handed rookie. Samuels offers passing-game upside in a pass-heavy offense.
Long-term beat writer Manish Mehta wrote last week that he expects Elijah McGuire to be the New York Jets' third-down back this season. Running backs coach Stump Mitchell was quoted as saying, “Eli looks fantastic to be perfectly honest … I’ll tell you who I see Eli as — and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Eli has the skill set to be a LaDainian Tomlinson if he was given that opportunity." Mitchell was a decent ball carrier on his own, but the Tomlinson comparison is a bit much. There is a path to touches for McGuire as newly-signed Isaiah Crowell and veteran Bilal Powell are far from formidable.
After the departure of Donte Moncrief in free agency, Chester Rogers is the incumbent for the Colts’ WR2 job. Rogers missed the 2017 campaign due to a hamstring injury and was held out of early camp on the hopes he will be good to go for training camp. Ryan Grant and rookies Deon Cain and Daurius Fountain will be competing with Rogers for the WR2 and WR3 jobs. Cain, especially, has been playing well in camp. The sixth-rounder has been excelling in red zone action. Indianapolis gave Grant $5 million guaranteed, so he will get every opportunity to play.
Corey Coleman has been popping up in the news for all the wrong reasons. At a time when most articles are centered on propping up youngsters, Coleman seems to be going in the wrong direction. Beat writer Scott Petrak wrote last week about Coleman’s lack of work ethic. Sure, he was injured the first two years of his career, but we expected him to come back hungry and ready to put his best foot forward after the Browns acquired a bevy of pass catchers this offseason. Haley told reporters that this is a make-or-break season for Coleman. Haley said, "He understands this is a big, big year in his career … Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you're going to be. I've made that clear to him. He understands it, and he's working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be." The beat writers have oft-written that a strong camp from rookie Antonio Callaway could push Coleman off the roster.
One starting receiver who gets no love from the fantasy community – and rightfully so – is Terrance Williams. After the departures of Dez Bryant, Brice Butler, and Jason Witten, Williams will share the top pass catcher status with Allen Hurns for the Cowboys. The veteran Williams has missed action this summer with a foot injury but is expected to return by training camp. More concerning is the public intoxication charge. This seems like the type of matter the league assigns a suspension. The injury and possible suspension have allowed Williams to land on the waiver wire in most leagues. He could be a solid mid-year pickup and catch 60 balls this season. Hurns has a lengthy injury history of his own.
The Bengals beat writers have raved about rookie Auden Tate throughout camp. A seventh-round pick lacking speed and explosion, Tate was written off by many dynasty owners. However, Tate has excelled, especially in the red zone. Beat reporter Paul Dehner wrote, "He hit points in the sky where he was catching a ball where just guys can't really get there." Cincinnati has little at the receiver position opposite A.J. Green and Tate will have an opportunity to push his way onto the roster … and possibly the starting lineup. One report even called Tate “a baby Brandon Marshall.”
Beat reporter Nick Wagoner called out 49ers second-year receiver Kendrick Bourne as the surprise of the San Francisco minicamp. Wagoner even suggested that Bourne could push for an expanded role on offense. A slender receiver, Bourne made plays as an undrafted rookie last season, hauling in 16 passes for 257 yards. Bourne is a player to monitor as training camp unfolds next month.
Indianapolis beat writer Stephen Holder wrote last week that tight end Eric Ebron has been one of the more impressive players so far in the offseason program. Head coach Frank Reich said, "He’s really smart … And that’s really good because you want to use a guy with the versatility that he has and move him around and call all kinds of things with him." Given the lack of talent and depth at the wide receiver position, the Colts are expected to play the majority of time in two-tight end sets. Also, Erik Swoope is expected back for training camp. He may begin the season on the PUP list. Unless there is an injury to either Jack Doyle or Ebron, Swoope is not expected to see much action. Ebron makes a great player to stash as his value is very low and he has upside. Maybe the light has come on for him.
After the season-ending injury to Hunter Henry, many dynasty owners have gobbled up Antonio Gates, expecting his re-signing with the Chargers, and veteran Virgil Green. But, the tight end to watch is Braedon Bowman. He spent the 2017 season on the Los Angeles practice squad. The Chargers.com team website called out Bowman as a star in offseason workouts. Gates re-signing with the team could depend on how well the youngster performs.
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