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.
Late in the fourth quarter, James Conner went down with a leg injury. He was replaced by Jaylen Samuels, a swiss-army-knife rookie. Former Chargers team doctor, Dr. David Chao, MD tweeted, “By video, appears to be a high ankle sprain. Hoping for mild but still can hamper him.” Dr. Chao followed that tweet up with, “Hoping/expecting a mild high ankle sprain (but need to wait to see about overnight swelling) with only a short absence. Not all high ankle sprains lead to 6 weeks out” and “The fact that the video clearly showed high ankle injury does not preclude #JamesConner from playing next week. Different levels of severity and his seems to be mild.” Coach Tomlin says it is just a bruise, but we are going with the doctor’s analysis. So, there is optimism that Conner will be back in the lineup soon. In the meantime, consider Samuels a stash in all leagues. Stevan Ridley is a decent speculative play, too.
The video that led to the release of Kareem Hunt was a punch to the stomach of humanity. The situations of Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Tyreek Hill, and Joe Mixon illustrate the fallible nature of all people, even those we idolize on the football field. But these actions are reprehensible just as if they were performed by Joe Plummer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Chiefs have placed the franchise in a precarious situation in that Hunt’s situation - with a video - was viewed more harshly than Hill – whom the team drafted – even though the latter allegedly punched his pregnant girlfriend in college. While the team gets kudos for doing the right thing, the question becomes “did they do it only because there was a video?”. The entire situation is sad. Hunt was placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list before being waived. Noted salary cap expert, Joel Corry tweeted, “KC will have a $387,976 salary cap charge in 2019 for Kareem Hunt (2019 & 2020 signing bonus proration). Hunt gets paid this week since his release happened after 4pm on Tuesday. The Chiefs aren't paying the last 4/17th of Hunt's $575,250 base salary ($135,353).” Hunt went unclaimed off waivers. He is now technically free to sign with any team for any amount but will remain on the NFL's commissioner exempt list indefinitely, making Hunt ineligible to play until Roger Goodell clears him. The team signing Hunt will have public relations nightmare but a good tailback likely cheaply under contract for the next couple of years. For now, Spencer Ware and Damien Williams will fill the void in Kansas City. Many have rumored the Chiefs to now be in the market for LeVeon Bell this offseason. Former NFL executive, Joe Banner, does not buy it. Banner tweeted, “It makes no sense if you know Andy Reid’s philosophy of team building. An RB with problems on and off the field who wants a ton of money. Andy will be the 32nd team in the league in that line.” Another former league executive chimed in. Greg Gabriel tweeted, “Did some checking around the League. Hunt can be claimed but he remains on exempt list and cannot play/practice until he is removed from the list. If a team claims him, they pick up the remainder of his salary until he’s cleared by the league or waived by his new team.” This is why no team claimed Hunt. They’d be stuck with the salary until cleared. Ian Rapoport tweeted, “Ex-#Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt is facing more than a 6-game suspension, sources say. The NFL is expected to discipline him for two separate incidents and he may not play again until deep into next season — assuming someone signs him.” It does not appear as though the star back will play again in 2018. At the end of the day, many in the dynasty community are wondering if they should be in the market to buy or sell Hunt after the season, assuming the league trade deadline has passed. It all depends on your personal aversion to risk. While we all recognize Hunt’s talent, let’s also realize that there are few situations as favorable for fantasy success as Kansas City. His numbers should take a step or two down. In addition, as we learn more about Hunt’s personal life, we must admit that he has increased risk. This situation will place him under the microscope. As far as the Chiefs, Ware will likely be playing elsewhere next season unless signing a cheap deal to stay in Kansas City. Since Hunt was a third-round pick, we expect the team to follow suit in the upcoming NFL Draft, addressing the position in the second day. The loss of Hunt should result in even more pass attempts by Patrick Mahomes.
Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that 49ers tailback Matt Breida aggravated his ankle injury in pregame warmups on Sunday. Therefore, Jeffrey Wilson ran as the lead back and looked great doing so. When talking to reporters again on Monday, Shanahan said Breida would miss the Week 14 tilt against Denver. Breida has been playing through injuries for many weeks and finally succumbed. Wilson makes for a great addition as a spot flex play versus the beat-up Broncos defense.
On Saturday, the Baltimore Ravens twitter account tweeted, “We have placed RB Alex Collins on the Injured Reserve list and activated RB Kenneth Dixon.” Collins followed up his breakout 2017 season with an injury-riddled 2018 campaign. He has been in a timeshare with Gus Edwards the past few weeks before ceding to the season-ending injured reserve designation with a foot injury. Dixon joins Edwards and Ty Montgomery in the Ravens backfield. Edwards has battled an ankle injury the past few weeks and the door is ajar for Dixon to emerge. With an unsettled quarterback situation and a team sliding out of the playoff chase, the situation is very fluid. Dixon has shown flashes, albeit a few years ago.
We have been writing about DOnta Foreman for the past few weeks in hopes of him coming back from the Achilles injury. Last week, Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Foreman has not made it back to full health. O’Brien said, "I think he feels good … We've got a little more time on that decision (to activate)." He has practiced for almost three weeks and the team has until this coming Wednesday to make the decision. If Foreman is not activated, he will be out the remainder of the season. If he is activated from the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list, then Foreman could impact the playing time of Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, if he is completely back to full strength and burst.
Late last week, coach Pete Carroll told reporters that running back C.J. Prosise is a candidate for injured reserve with his core injury. Core injuries are usually season-ending. Prosise had been battling the injury for weeks and is done for 2018 after his placement on injured reserve Saturday. Earlier in the week, Seahawks activated tailback J.D. McKissic from injured reserve. McKissic needed three full months to recover from a broken foot but has practiced the last two weeks. The Seahawks have a crowded backfield with Chris Carson, Mike Davis, and Rashaad Penny, but McKissic could add value as a receiver out of the backfield or in the slot.
Late Monday afternoon, Adam Schefter reported that Bengals star A.J. Green will undergo season-ending surgery for torn ligaments in his toe. He is expected to be sidelined three or four months. The non-contact injury sent Green immediately to the ground and to the cart. While the injury was thought to be a foot injury, torn ligaments in a toe is extremely painful and could require surgery.
In a shocking move, the New York Jets turned down a fourth-round pick for Robby Anderson, according to The New York Daily News. A rebuilding team turned down a quality pick for a player who will be a Restricted Free Agent after the season. The offer was made by the Philadelphia Eagles who then turned their sights on Golden Tate. Anderson would have been a great fit for the Eagles, much better than Tate. With Anderson’s history of off-field issues, injuries, and dropped passes, it is difficult to imagine New York giving him a big contract. However, the refusal to trade Anderson bodes well for his role in the offense.
Packers beat reporter Rob Demovsky tweeted something we have been expecting for a few weeks, “The Packers are putting WR Jake Kumerow on the 53-man roster today, a source said. Expect a move to injured reserve to create a spot.” We expect the former preseason star’s role to increase as the season progresses. To make room on the roster, Green Bay placed Trevor Davis on injured reserve. We did not know Davis was injured. He had played well since returning from injured reserve in November.
Panthers tight end, Greg Olsen, is expected to miss the rest of the 2018 season with a foot issue. He reportedly tore his plantar fascia while compensating from the previous foot injury. We expect the team to give a long look – and ample targets – to rookie Ian Thomas. This could be the be the end of a great career for Olsen.