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.
Ryan Tannehill missed the game against Chicago with a sprained shoulder and Brock Osweiler – yes, THAT Brock Osweiler – threw for 380 yards in the overtime victory over the upstart Bears. We expect Tannehill to regain the starting gig when healthy. Osweiler and head coach Adam Gase have a history together from their days in Denver. One thing to remember: when Osweiler starts, he looks for Danny Amendola. When Tannehill is under center, he throws down the field to Kenny Stills.
Josh Allen was forced from the Week 6 matchup against Houston in the third quarter of the game with a right elbow injury. Nathan Peterman took over, but the results were much of the same, poor. In one-quarterback dynasty leagues, the injury is only worth monitoring for the skilled-position players.
While we are unfamiliar with the source, Florida Football Insiders reported last week that Jaguars tailback Leonard Fournette will be held out through the team’s Week 9 bye, according to a source having knowledge of the Jaguars' thinking. Yes, Fournette was ruled out very early each of the last two weeks after having a setback with the hamstring in Week 4. Fournette has suffered with the injury for several weeks and we applaud the team’s approach to get the injury fully healed before putting the star back on the field. Coach Doug Marrone told reporters late last week that Fournette has a chance to play against Houston Week 7. Against better teams, the offense looks pathetic without a good running game. T.J. Yeldon is not good enough to carry a bad offense when the quarterback play is as bad as it was against Dallas.
Last Friday, the Falcons ruled Devonta Freeman out for the game against Tampa Bay. While the team brass has told reporters that it does not expect the foot injury to be a long-term issue, we know from experience that foot injuries are always risky. Freeman’s absence opened up work for Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, neither was good against Tampa Bay. With Coleman expected to explore free agency after the season, the once-stout running game could be tenuous if Freeman does not return in a strong manner later this season. This is an offense with several star players advancing in age, we could envision the Falcons selecting a running back in the first two days of the 2019 NFL Draft. If you believe in Freeman, the uncertainty circling his foot injury should provide an opportunity to buy low in dynasty leagues.
The Philadelphia Eagles were impressive on Thursday night. On Friday, beat reporter, Mike Kaye tweeted, “Howie Roseman told Corey Clement before the game to prove he didn’t need to bring in another back. He thinks he did. #Eagles.” With Jay Ajayi on injured reserve and likely exiting in free agency after the season, Clement has a chance to cement his status as the team’s starting tailback down the stretch.
In “should not be a surprise” category, Browns tailback Duke Johnson Jr expressed his frustration to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland has relied on Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb and Johnson barely played during the first five weeks of the season. He is trying to have a good attitude, but told the paper, "I've just never been a big fan of going up to coaches and demanding the ball." Yes, telling a newspaper is better than addressing the situation with the coaching staff. New offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, had not utilized Johnson’s pass-catching skills, even with the Browns’ lack of depth at the receiver position, before the loss to the Chargers. Johnson’s outburst must have gotten Haley’s attention as he had five pass targets, catching four passes for 73 yards in the loss to Los Angeles. Even with the “big” game, the six touches (two carries plus four receptions) makes it six games in a row with no more than six touches in a game.
Rookie Rashaad Penny has been outplayed this season by Chris Carson and Mike Davis. The former first-round pick has barely seen the field the past few weeks. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told reporters last week that the team is not going to force Penny into the running back rotation. We should remember that Seattle has had a long-held view of playing the best players without regard to draft status or free agency contract. This was first evidenced by rookie Russell Wilson playing over high-priced Matt Flynn. Schottenheimer said, "He’s looking for his opportunities and it’s going to come … "It’s about the little details for him and when you’re not getting the reps or you’re not playing in the game, can you stay in the game focused?" Until either Carson or Davis gets hurt or plays poorly, we do not expect Penny to have a major role in the offense. Let’s not read too much into his usage in the blowout win over Oakland. Penny had a 24-yard reception early in the game but still only had 11 total touches with most coming in the second half of a game that was out of hand early.
With the Fournette injury, and Corey Grant now done for the season, the Jaguars signed past-his-prime Jamaal Charles. At 31 years of age, Charles has lost his elusiveness. He may not make it more than a week or two with the team. In a related move, the team signed rookie Bo Scarbrough to their practice squad. Scarbrough was a seventh-round pick of Dallas this year but did not make the team. Scarbrough suffered a hip injury during the preseason and was cut by the Cowboys. With Blake Bortles at quarterback, the Jaguars are desperate to find a running game.
T.Y. Hilton has now missed two games and coach Frank Reich called him "week to week" with chest and hamstring injuries. Hilton was ruled out of Sunday’s game early enough that we do not expect him back this week, either. Indianapolis is not deep at the receiver position and relies on lesser pass catchers to move the ball through the air. Backup tight end Eric Ebron has been the most consistent pass catcher for the team. Let that sink in for a moment. The Colts running game has been absent many weeks. Andrew Luck and the offense desperately need Hilton back as soon as possible.
On Sunday, Jay Glazer reported that the Oakland Raiders are actively shopping Amari Cooper for a potential trade. Still very young, Cooper is talented and could excel outside of the Raiders organization. Cooper is under control through next season, so the market may be unexpectedly strong. We expect Oakland to ask for at least a first-round pick in return, so any suitor will need to see Cooper as a star and be willing to pay him as such in the next twelve months. Our first reaction is that this move would be difficult to make but the Raiders are a wildcard.
While he has been nicked up for most of his rookie season, Baltimore offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was extolling the play of Hayden Hurst last Thursday. Mornhinweg said, "He was knocking a little bit of rust off last week, and then, man I was excited, because he practiced really well.” He is splitting time with fellow rookie, Mark Andrews, and veteran Maxx Williams. The Ravens are loaded at the tight end position with all three youngsters playing well. At this point, none of the three are fantasy-viable most weeks.