The Week in NFL News - 3/30

A look at happenings around the NFL over the past week that move the needle in fantasy football circles.


Baltimore - Head coach John Harbaugh said Terrance West is currently the #1 running back on the depth chart.

Why It Matters: Between the signing of Danny Woodhead, Kenneth Dixon’s four-game suspension to open the season, this comment, and the possibility that the Ravens draft a running back out of this excellent class (they reportedly love LSU’s Leonard Fournette), expect a repeat of a frustrating 2016 for fantasy in the Baltimore backfield - even if they improve in the running game.

Cleveland - Browns VP of Football Operations Sashi Brown left open the possibility of Josh Gordon returning to the team.

Why It Matters: Gordon is available for a song in early MFL10 drafts, and with an expectation of an answer on his reinstatement application by mid-May, that window won’t last long. It has been widely assumed that Gordon would be released if reinstated, but Brown’s comments have changed that outlook. It might actually be better for fantasy if Gordon went elsewhere because of the Browns quarterback situation, but his talent is enough to create a #1 role wherever he is if Gordon is right and re-dedicated.

Cleveland - Head coach Hue Jackson said second-year WR Corey Coleman is “seen as the guy” in the passing game after Terrelle Pryor left in free agency.

Why It Matters: Jackson’s comments weren’t exactly glowing, as he indicated disappointment in Coleman’s adjustment to cold weather and the rigors of being a rookie, but it is clear the team expects him to take on a much larger role this year, even with Kenny Britt (and potentially Josh Gordon) in tow. Whether Coleman can rise to the occasion or the Browns quarterback can play well enough to unlock his fantasy potential is yet to be seen.

Indianapolis - Team owner Jim Irsay said the Colts will not rush back QB Andrew Luck and “will be prepared” if they need “an extra arm in camp”.

Why It Matters: Luck bounced back from his disastrous 2015 to an extent, but this shoulder surgery was obviously serious and it could affect his play early in 2017. He’s probably not worth his QB2 ADP right now.

Indianapolis - GM Chris Ballard indicated that part of the reason the team traded TE Dwayne Allen was to give basketball convert TE Erik Swoope a chance to “take another step”.

Why It Matters: Swoope finally looked like a football player in his third year playing the game (really, he had no experience prior to 2014), so the ceiling for the soon-to-be 25-year-old is very high. He might have some appeal to tight end streamers and limit the weekly and season-long ceiling for fellow tight Jack Doyle and whoever wins the #3 wide receiver job, while boosting Andrew Luck with a size/speed mismatch in the middle of the field.

Kansas City - Head coach Andy Reid believes WR Tyreek Hill’s role in the offense will grow, particularly as a receiver.

Why It Matters: Hill was WR7 in PPR leagues after his snap count increased in Week 8 last year, yet he is only WR29 in early MFL10 drafts. The fantasy community doesn’t seem to buy Hill’s arrival, and growth has clearly not been priced into his outlook. If you believe Reid or in Hill’s talent, the buying window in dynasty is still wide open.

New England - Cleveland head coach Hue Jackson thinks RB Rex Burkhead will “flourish” with the Patriots.

Why It Matters: Jackson was Burkhead’s position coach and offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. He touted Burkhead’s versatility and insisted that Burkhead is a “really good” player who was blocked by other talented players in Cincinnati. The ride with the Patriots backfield can be bumpy in fantasy leagues, but it appears the Burkhead will be the driver.

Oakland - The NFL approved the Raiders move to Las Vegas.

Why It Matters: The team won’t make the move until 2020, so Oakland will still be the home of the resurgent Raiders for the near future. Perhaps this could influence hometown son Marshawn Lynch to push his plan to come back from retirement and play for the suddenly contending team.

Pittsburgh - The reinstatement of Martavis Bryant is expected, but there is no indication of when it will occur, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. A league source told Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times that reinstatement is imminent.

Why It Matters: Bryant has a 7th/8th round ADP in early MFL10 drafts, but post-reinstatement, his value should rise to the 4th-5th round level. Ben Roethlisberger’s ceiling also gets higher if Bryant is back in uniform this season. The league was going to reinstate Aldon Smith before his latest incident, so it’s easy to believe that Bryant will be back in 2017.


Carolina - RB Jonathan Stewart was signed to a one-year extension through 2018.

Why It Matters: Stewart is going in the 11th/12th round of early MFL10s as RB46 despite finishing as RB30 last year. He could be joined by LSU’s Leonard Fournette at the #8 pick, which would validate the pessimism, but this new deal guarantees his 2017 salary of over six million dollars, which ensures as much work as Stewart can handle.

Dallas - According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the “Cowboys situation with Tony Romo “isn’t ending any time soon” and could go “past the draft”.

Why It Matters: The fantasy value of wide receivers in Houston and Denver hinge on where Romo ends up, at least as long as he doesn’t surprise everyone and decide to retire to take a television gig. After early indications that Dallas would release Romo, it appears that this situation will force the hand of both Denver (who continues to insist that they aren’t going after Romo) and Houston, who might have an opportunity to take a quarterback in the late first round.

Los Angeles Rams - Head coach Sean McVay mentioned the name “Chris Thompson” in his meeting with free agent signing Lance Dunbar. Dunbar is expected to be a change of pace and passing game option spelling RB Todd Gurley.

Why It Matters: Dunbar would still only be on the very fringe of PPR running back rankings with a full third-down role, but he could reverse Todd Gurley’s increase in receptions from 2016. Before his catastrophic knee injury in 2015, Dunbar was looking like one of the more dynamic passing down backs in the league.

Minnesota - Former Vikings RB Adrian Peterson said he is in “no rush” to find a new team. This was a response to a report by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Peterson wanted more than eight million dollars in the first year of his new contract. Peterson denied that. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report wrote that about a half-dozen team executives believe Peterson has lost his burst.

Why It Matters: Peterson is going to have to wait for an injury to open up a glaring need at running back or perhaps for a team to miss on their running back targets in the draft. His play definitely dropped off in late 2015 and early 2016, but he could still be an important fantasy running back in the right spot. His early MFL10 ADP is dropping and leaving him on the board as late as a the 8th round at times.

Seattle - Backup QB Trevone Boykin was arrested for marijuana possession and public intoxication.

Why It Matters: The Seahawks were content to have the UDFA as their backup quarterback in a Super Bowl window last year, but this development could influence them to sign an experienced backup. If Colin Kaepernick can’t find a job with the potential to start, his former bitter rival Seattle could be a good fit.

Seattle - Byron Drahold of SeahawksWire (USA Today) expects Eddie Lacy to start at running back for Seattle with Thomas Rawls and CJ Prosise complementing him off of the bench.

Why It Matters: Lacy’s early MFL10 ADP is just now getting close to the sixth round, which is very reasonable for a starter with his track record, even behind the suspect Seahawks offensive line. If Rawls and Prosise can stay healthy, they could turn this into a true committee, but Lacy getting the first crack at a workload big enough to support RB2 numbers is the most likely starting point for this backfield.

Tampa Bay - Free agent RB Adrian Peterson was seen working out with Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Why It Matters: Peterson could be on the market for a while and the Bucs have expressed a desire to let the Doug Martin situation play out in order to see if he stays on track after getting suspended for the first three games of the season. Winston having a relationship with Peterson certainly doesn’t hurt the chances of a marriage and Peterson would fit in the Bucs offensive scheme and philosophy. It’s one of the better possible landing spots left for him out there along with Oakland.

Washington - The team signed former Rams WR Brian Quick to a one-year contract.

Why It Matters: Washington now has three 6’3” or taller receivers along with the 6’2” Jordan Reed, which should help Kirk Cousins recover from losing his top two receivers. Quick was a big disappointment with the Rams, but he should be able to win the #3 wide receiver job in a wide receiver corps lacking depth.

Washington - Head coach Jay Gruden said that without DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon, the offense “runs through” TE Jordan Reed.

Why It Matters: Reed was far and away the #1 tight end on a points per game basis before his shoulder injury in Week 12. He is going off of the board as TE3 in early MFL10 drafts, but Reed’s risk/reward makes him worth the fourth round pick he costs in a format that allows you to have a backup or two that automatically scores in place of him if he gets hurt. In typical redraft leagues, Reed will be an attractive pick for owners that like to attempt to build a juggernaut.

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