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.
The Joe Flacco story dominated sports media for a few days last week. There were conflicting reports over the severity of his back injury. Beat writer Jeff Zrebiec reported last week that Flacco has experienced back discomfort for a little while, culminating in a trip to the doctor on Wednesday. In a related report, Adam Schefter said the back injury occurred while he was lifting weights. The Ravens are hopeful their quarterback can come back in a week or two with rest. But, back injuries tend to linger and reoccur. Veteran Ryan Mallett is the team’s backup. He is marginal, at best. Zrebiec reported late in the week that Mallett practiced poorly while getting the starter’s reps. With Mallett showing poorly, we expect Colin Kaepernick to be signed shortly. He played for the “other Harbaugh” in San Francisco so the transition should not be too difficult
Late last week, Ben Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is undecided on continuing his playing career in 2018. Several media outlets ran with the story. ESPN ran with a few of Roethlisberger’s quotes. They are not reassuring to dynasty owners. Roethlisberger said, "I've been blessed to do this a long time … I think it's just seeing my kids growing up, and in the offseason I love getting to spend time with them, and then I come here and football season just has to take up so much of your time. Even when you get home, I try my best to turn it off when I walk in the front door. I think I do a pretty good job of that, but it still consumes you in a way … Just all those things combined -- being healthy, being able to play catch with my kids. I feel good mentally, I know this new study that came out that 90 percent of players' brains who were studied had CTE … There's a lot of scary things, and I think my wife would be OK if I hung it up, too. But I still love the guys, I still love the game, so it was right for me to come back and give it everything I have this year." Wow! After many dismissed the possibility of his retirement this past offseason, Roethlisberger sure sounds serious about hanging it up in the near future. He is 35 years of age and has made plenty of money.
We have written frequently about the concern over Colts quarterback Andrew Luck making it back into the lineup in time for the regular season. The Indy Star had an article over the weekend shedding more doubt on the situation. According to the article, Luck, who is on the preseason physically unable to participate list, said he's not ready to commit to playing the regular season opener. Luck said, "It's hard for me to look beyond, really, today's rehab session … That's the approach I have to take ... if you want to get truly healthy. If you want to get better than you were before the injury." That is far from reassuring. The star quarterback went on to say, "There's no reason to freak out … I don't know what day it's going to be, I don't know what week, I don't know when, but I definitely will be (better)." Given that the season is just a few weeks away, we are from certain that Indianapolis will have its star under center for Week 1. This would wreak havoc on the fantasy world. Savvy owners might use this as an opportunity to buy Luck on the cheap.
One under-reported story impacting dynasty owners is Drew Brees and his contract. This is the last season the passer is under contract and he has a clause in his contract that will not allow the Saints to franchise tag him after the season. The odds are increasing that Brees plays elsewhere in 2018. Plan your dynasty strategy accordingly.
After not seeing many reps in practice, the beat writers had a feeling something was about to happen with Bills quarterback Cardale Jones. They were right. He was traded last week to the Chargers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick. Basically, Buffalo gave him away in order to give rookie Nathan Peterman and journeyman T.J. Yates more work in practice. With the long-term uncertainty of Tyrod Taylor, the Bills needs to see what they have in Peterman.
The injury bug has bitten the Baltimore Ravens. The team has lost several starters on offense just in the past few weeks. One such loss was running back Kenneth Dixon who will miss the 2017 season after surgery to repair his meniscus. Dixon was slated to miss the first four games due to suspension but now leaves a big void at the position for the entire 2017 campaign. Terrance West is a marginal talent who will see early-down work while the aging Danny Woodhead handles passing downs and possibly red zone snaps. There is a chance a tailback is signed off the street. Aging options like DeAngelo Williams and Rashad Jennings are the best options. The team may just wait to see who is released or make a trade. While just 23 years of age, Dixon makes a great buy low in dynasty leagues.
One story getting little press is Jordan Matthews in Philadelphia. Les Bowen, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, said that "there is talk around the locker room" that Matthews’ knee injury is more serious than the reported tendinitis. Bowen said, "But there is talk elsewhere in the building that Matthews could have practiced more in the spring … that the real issue is his contract." Could this be the reason that the Eagles have been unable to trade Matthews as he enters his last season under contract? File this away under the “rumor” category until further information is known.
Fantasy owners had a sinking feeling last week when Washington tight end Jordan Reed was not able to begin practicing at training camp. The cause is uncertain. What we do know is that Reed is recovering from a toe injury and twisted his ankle compensating for the toe. Toe injuries are tough to gauge given that the severe turf toe injuries can linger for months. The team insists, per reports, that the tow and ankle injuries are not serious. But, it would be nice to see the star tight end healthy. Hopefully, this situation is just the team showing extreme caution with their star player.
As the Ravens have been decimated by injuries to the tight end position, it was good news to see that Maxx Williams was healthy enough to avoid the PUP list to begin training camp. He and Ben Watson will compete for the starting job.