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.
There were multiple reports last week of Alex Smith possibly not able to play football again after complications from the spiral fractures in his leg. It was a disappointing end to the season after signing a $111 deal this past January. Smith is under contract for four more seasons. He now has an infection after undergoing multiple surgeries. Sadly, Smith has been hospitalized since the injury occurred on November 18. The veteran passer is 34 years of age and may be near the end of an underrated career. As a former first-overall pick, Smith will not be lacking financially, but every player wants to go out on their own terms. For Washington, the injury creates a void after allowing Kirk Cousins to depart last offseason. With a middling record, the draft pickings will be slim unless paying a steep price to trade up. The only available quarterback free agents will be the type to avoid as solid payers at the position rarely see the open market.
Dynasty players should take note of Cam Newton’s comments last week regarding his throwing shoulder. He told reporters that another surgery is entirely possible. Let’s remember that Newton had the same shoulder repaired in 2017 and did not have the arm strength for a Hail Mary in the Week 13 loss to Tampa Bay. The same scenario transpired at the end of the first half against Cleveland in Week 14. Still just 29 years old, Newton has endured a lot of punishment since his selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. We expect him to be shut down for the year once the Panthers are eliminated from the playoff chase.
Washington now has lost two quarterbacks to broken legs after Colt McCoy broke his last week. His recovery will be quick but not in time for the remainder of the season. McCoy’s injury left the venerable Mark Sanchez as the team’s Week 14 starter. Sanchez was replaced by Josh Johnson and the latter will start Week 15. It is likely that McCoy will hold the clipboard again in 2019. He has enjoyed a long career as a backup. Few players are able to approach ten years in the league.
Dynasty owners should look to stash John Kelly after it was announced that Malcolm Brown was lost for the year with a broken collarbone. Brown is staring at a multi-month recovery but should be good to go for 2019. Justin Davis will also be mixed in if Todd Gurley misses time. Those in leagues that have fantasy playoffs that stretch into Week 17 should consider stashing Kelly now given the Rams’ chances of resting players for the final game. Kelly was a sixth-round pick who looked good in preseason and has passing-game appeal.
Beat reporter Sam Mellinger was quick to report Sammy Watkins experienced a setback in his recovery from a foot injury. The new timetable stretches well into the playoffs if he can return at all. Watkins has a long history of major foot injuries and the end to his career may be sooner than most expect. This injury led the Chiefs to sign Kelvin Benjamin last Thursday. The landing spot is a good match for both the team and the receiver. Benjamin’s arrival should limit the upside of Chris Conley.
Emmanuel Sanders tore his Achilles in last Wednesday’s practice and is now out for the remainder of the season. It is questionable whether he will be ready for the start of the 2019 season. He will be 32 years of age at the time. Denver can save $10 million by releasing the veteran, but the veteran will likely be back with the Broncos. The injury occurred just a couple of weeks after the trade of Demaryius Thomas squashes the remainder of the team’s wide receiver depth. Now, rookies Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton are the top pass-catchers for the team. In a related move, the team claimed Andre Holmes off waivers from Buffalo. Holmes is an athletic receiver with a chance to make plays now in Denver. He was solid a few years ago in Oakland. The Broncos will likely address the receiver position again in the 2019 NFL Draft. With the running back position under wraps with the pair of rookies, Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman, the quarterback position is expected to be upgraded this coming offseason. If so, this will be a solid, young offense.
Last week, the Oakland Raiders placed Martavis Bryant on injured reserve with a knee injury. He tore his PCL in Week 10 and has been sidelined since. Many will remember that Bryant joined the Raiders after a draft-day trade from the Steelers for a third-round pick. Now headed for free agency, the receiver will likely have a tepid market. Last offseason, many opined that Bryant was destined for a long suspension. It has yet to come. He does make an interesting stash off the waiver wire. Back to the Oakland point of view. Why would the team give up a day-two pick for an oft-troubled receiver with one year left on his contract? This trade is not discussed enough since the Raiders are in the mode of collecting picks.
Washington placed rookie Trey Quinn on injured reserve last week, putting an end to a rollercoaster season. The “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2018 NFL Draft began the season injured reserve so the ending makes it a full circle. Quinn played in three games but missed the others with multiple ankle injuries. When playing, though, the rookie was able to get open and make plays. He will compete for the slot receiver role in 2019.
Keep an eye on the Jordan Reed foot injury. He had to be helped off the field and straight to the locker room in the first quarter of the lopsided loss to the Giants. Ian Rapoport reported Reed's toe sprain is not believed to be major but noted that it is still possible he misses the remainder of the season. The tight end has battled injuries for most of his career and foot injuries can be career-threatening so a serious foot injury could impact the start to Reed’s 2019 season. Vernon Davis makes an intriguing play down the stretch if Reed is sidelined.
It was painful to watch Jonnu Smith go down on Thursday night while blocking on a long Derrick Henry run. His legs were rolled up on from behind. It was later announced that he is out for the remainder of the season with an MCL injury. Smith was just starting to emerge into a bigger role in the offense. His dynasty value is suppressed until we have clarity on the status of injured veteran, Delanie Walker.