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.
The long-awaited suspension of Jameis Winston was announced a couple of weeks ago. The three-game suspension was negotiated between Winston’s representatives and the league. In a released statement, Winston admitted to the allegation of groping an Uber driver in 2016. "It is uncharacteristic of me and I genuinely apologize," Winston wrote. The statement also included that Winston has "eliminated alcohol from my life." The NFL also released a statement warning Winston that "a future violation of the Personal Conduct Policy will result in more substantial discipline, including a potential ban from the NFL." This, alone, should scare most fantasy players. The Buccaneers will give veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick the opportunity to win the job during Winston’s absence. He will battle Ryan Griffin for the chance to face New Orleans (away), Philadelphia (home), and Pittsburgh (home). This is a tough schedule to begin the season. As for Winston, Tampa Bay will have to make a decision on his future in the coming year. His 2019 salary is guaranteed for injury only and the passer is a free agent in 2020.
In a surprising report, ESPN Panthers beat reporter David Newton opined that quarterback Cam Newton will be on the hot seat this year. He wrote, "This is a big year for Newton with a new offensive coordinator and system … If he doesn't show improvement after consecutive down years, there will be a lot of questions about his future." It would be shocking if the Panthers parted ways with their star quarterback. He is just 29 years of age and in his prime. Newton is under contract through 2020 at reasonable numbers.
Andrew Luck has continually stated that his surgically-repaired shoulder remains pain-free. The passer has increased his rehab workouts in recent weeks and his shoulder is still in good shape. This is a vast improvement from last year where rehab workouts caused inflammation and pain in his right shoulder. While encouraging, Luck is still not out of the woods on his recovery.
This past week has been unsettling with the LeSean McCoy news. It started with an Instagram post containing a photo of a severely beaten woman, and accusations of domestic violence, drug abuse, child abuse, and animal abuse. The pictures were very graphic. The accusations are serious. The NFL could place McCoy on the “Exempt List” to keep him off the field while the legal investigation runs its course. Beat writer Jay Skurski reported that Chris Ivory would be the first option if McCoy misses games. While talented, Ivory has been brittle over his NFL career. The Bills offense could be a big mess this year, especially if McCoy misses significant time.
After Packers tailback Aaron Jones plead no contest to a marijuana-related traffic charge in March, it was of no surprise that the NFL suspended Jones for two games. The suspension should vault Jamaal Williams into the starting role, leaving Ty Montgomery to play on passing downs. The suspension sets Jones up as a buy-low opportunity for those you liked last year’s performance. In addition, the beat reporters have posted ample pictures of Jones’ bulked-up body. He told Packers.com, "I’m bigger all around … That’s something that’s going to help me in pass protection. ... I’m stronger, so definitely when a defender who’s bigger than me comes up I can hold my ground." Green Bay is expected to play all three running backs enough to irritate those in the fantasy community.
This past week, DeMarco Murray announced his retirement after seven seasons. After he turned down the Saints in June because he was waiting “on the right opportunity” many thought Murray would sign after a team loses a starter to injury in training camp. He hung up his cleats before training camp even began. Murray had a solid career, with 7,174 rushing yards in 99 games. Most will remember Murray’s 2014 season in Dallas when he was a first-team All-Pro selection while leading the league with 1,845 rushing yards. It is too soon to drop Murray, He could unretire any week if a starter goes down to injury.
Colts veteran back Robert Turbin was suspended for four games for violating the league’s policy on Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). With Frank Gore now in Miami, the door was opened for Turbin to have a role in the Indianapolis offense. He should split time with Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, and Jordan Wilkins upon returning to the team. The youngsters are talented, so the veteran back will need to earn playing time in camp. Turbin broke the news on Twitter, "It absolutely kills me that I allowed this to happen … I will continue to work diligently on correcting my error, assuring that this will never happen again."
One veteran ball carrier who may be on the market again is Thomas Rawls. Beat reporter Darryl Slater recently opined that Rawls is the "longest shot" to make the roster among Jets running backs. After signing with New York in March, Rawls faces an uphill climb with Isaiah Crowell, Elijah McGuire, and Bilal Powell locked in, per Slater. Rawls is competing with two lesser youngsters and the team may choose to invest in one to develop. Injury and poor play by the trio above him on the depth chart could enable Rawls to stay on the roster.
After his appeal was denied, it is now certain that Julian Edelman will miss the first four games of the season via suspension. Chris Hogan is expected to emerge into the WR1 role as the Patriots face off with Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Miami. ESPN's Mike Reiss anticipates Jordan Matthews to "emerge in some form" during Edelman's four-game ban. Matthews is still just 25 years of age and gets a huge quarterback upgrade after languishing in Buffalo last year. The suspension could enable Edelman to be a dynasty buy for teams looking to add receiver firepower for the stretch run. The time to buy is during the suspension.
One tight end with ample buzz is Ricky Seals-Jones. The Cardinals expect the former college wideout to be the starter. Beat reporter Mike Jurecki named Seals-Jones his Cardinals' "breakout offensive player" in 2018. Jurecki has repeatedly pushed the youngster this offseason. For a team without depth and talent at the wide receiver position, Seals-Jones has a path for targets.
Former Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew was arrested last week for aggravated assault, theft of services, and public drunkenness on Monday in Pittsburgh. The situation arose as Pettigrew allegedly got into a confrontation with a limousine driver over a $97 fare. When the police arrived, Pettigrew was noticeably intoxicated and punched an officer three times in the chest, according to the police report. Out of the NFL since being waived in December of 2016, Pettigrew was also arrested for public drunkenness and disorderly conduct in his home state of Oklahoma last February. For an NFL player searching for work, this incident should ensure he will never play in the NFL again.
Beat reporter Drew Davison surprisingly left Rico Gathers off his projected 53-man roster. Gathers has his supporters in the fantasy community, but the bandwagon is thinning. After flashing early last year, the former Baylor basketball player spent the 2017 season on injured reserve. Hopes were high after the Jason Witten retirement, but it appears that Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin will battle for the starting gig. The Cowboys offense will look much different without Witten and Dez Bryant in the lineup.