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 Darnold has not been seen since injuring his foot in Week 9. Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport, reported that Darnold has a better chance of missing this week’s game against Tennessee than to play. According to the ace NFL reporter, the rookie quarterback has not made much progress in his rehab and recovery. We expect veteran Josh McCown to continue starting for the Jets at least one more week. Given the quality of the Titans defense, it might be best to allow Darnold to sit out the game. This team will look much different next year with a new coaching staff.
Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, returned to the field to face the Colts this past Sunday. He played well, and Miami only lost on a last-second field goal by veteran kicker, Adam Vinatieri. It is ironic how Tannehill’s future is in question as he returns from shoulder problems in time to face Andrew Luck, who is just now showing his shoulder is as good as it was a few years ago. Luck now has a streak of eight consecutive outings with at least three touchdown passes. Last week, Tannehill told reporters that the injured shoulder is not back to 100%. He said, "I feel really good … Not quite 100 percent, but I feel confident and have made all the throws I’m going to need to make over the course of a game." Let’s remember that the quarterback experienced a setback a couple of weeks ago in his recovery. With an even, .500 record entering the game against Indianapolis, Miami was desperate to have Tannehill back under center, sending Brock Osweiler back to the bench. The Dolphins can save roughly $13 million by parting ways with Tannehill after the season so he is anxious to prove himself. This should be an interesting last five games for the quarterback and the team.
Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, left the Week 12 loss against the Browns with a thumb injury and did not return. He hurt his thumb attempting to pounce on the football after a bad snap. Dalton was replaced by Jeff Driskel. Driskel played at a middling level attempting to bring Cincinnati back. His team was down 35-7 on the scoreboard at the time so we expected better play with Cleveland in a “prevent” defense. Those evaluating just the stat line will not have an accurate account of Driskel’s level of play. The Bengals play the Broncos in Week 13, so we expect the Denver defense to bring the pressure in the contest. Dalton was diagnosed with a sprained thumb and eventually placed on injured reserve. With rumors of a coaching change after the season, Cincinnati is circling the drain and could soon implode. We wonder how the offense - including at the quarterback position - will change with the new regime.
Coming into the Week 12 contest against the Cardinals with hamstring and knee injuries, many thought Melvin Gordon III would sit out the seemingly-cupcake game. Maybe he should have sat this one out. Gordon exited the contest in the third quarter. Sadly, the stud running back was having a monster performance before leaving. He had 61 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns at the time. The injury happened when he was leg-whipped while lined up at wide receiver. Sad, freak injury. Noted former Chargers team doctor, David J. Chao, MD, later tweeted, “Doubt #MelvinGordon @Chargers season is over but also no guarantee he plays next week. Low-grade MCL is my hope which could mean 1-3 weeks but can't be certain on severity based on the video.” Gordon was considered “Questionable” to play against Arizona but talked coaches into allowing him to start. Ian Rapoport tweeted early Monday morning, "#Chargers star RB Melvin Gordon III was diagnosed with a grade 2 MCL sprain suffered in yesterday’s blowout win, sources say. He had his MRI last night. Gordon is out the next few weeks, but should be back before the end of the regular season if all goes well." We do not expect him back until after Christmas.
Last week, Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters that J.D. McKissic is at least two weeks from returning from his foot injury. McKissic is still on injured reserve but practiced last week for the first time since his placement on injured reserve. He will add juice as a receiver and runner in a crowded backfield. The Seahawks also have Chris Carson, Mike Davis, and Rashaad Penny as talented runners in the backfield. Seattle is peaking at just the right time, anchored by a strong running game and quality quarterback play by Russell Wilson.
On Monday, the New England Patriots tailback Rex Burkhead was activated off injured reserve. Burkhead's presence might impact James White and Sony Michel after a few weeks. He will need time to get up to speed and conditioned.
Early this week, the Detroit Lions placed wideout Marvin Jones Jr on injured reserve with a knee injury, ending his season. Jones was thought to be able to return this coming week. His absence should open up even more targets for Kenny Golladay. The trade of Golden Tate leaves Detroit dangerously thin at the receiver position.
As the season progresses, keep an eye on Jake Kumerow. He was starring in summer camps and the preseason before injuring his shoulder prior to Week 1. Kumerow is a great route runner and was much-discussed by the Packers media this summer. He was rumored to be activated this weekend to play against the Vikings, but it will have to wait another week. Kumerow will step into an ideal situation with Geronimo Allison on injured reserve with a core injury. Plus, Randall Cobb is not at full health with a hamstring injury. Jordy Nelson was jettisoned in the offseason and Kumerow’s main competition for touches comes from rookies. Kumerow is a great receiver to stash as the pass-happy Packers make most pass-catchers fantasy viable.
Jack Doyle was placed on injured reserve early this week after he suffered a kidney injury in the victory over Miami. This should result in even more opportunities for Eric Ebron. This puts a period on Doyle's injury-plagued 2018 season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been a team under siege this season. Injuries on both sides of the ball and wildly inconsistent quarterback play have led to the probability of a high pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Just as he was starting to get in a groove, tight end O.J. Howard was placed on injured reserve last week. He injured his foot and ankle in the loss to the New York Giants. With nothing to play for, the decision was made to pack it in for the season. Oddly, Howard’s rookie season (2017) was cut short by an ankle injury. His injury promotes Cameron Brate to the fantasy-starter discussion, especially with Jameis Winston under center. For Howard, the injury comes at an inopportune time. With at least 50 receiving yards in eight of his ten healthy games and 565 receiving yards on the season, Howard was just starting to emerge. The former first-round pick will be on our “buy” list this offseason. His upside could be determined by how Tampa Bay handles the quarterback situation.
Thanksgiving night showed the world that the Saints have passed the torch from Ben Watson to second-year pro, Dan Arnold. With just six receptions coming into the game, Drew Brees connected with the youngster 4 times for 45 yards and a score. Arnold is a former small-school wide receiver who has converted to tight end in the NFL. He is fluid as a route runner and seems to have the trust of his quarterback. Dynasty players are encouraged to pick up Arnold as soon as possible. With a void of young up-and-coming tight ends in the NFL, Arnold has Top 10 upside in this prolific offense.