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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.
Many fantasy players bought into the Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo connection in 2018, only to be disappointed by the quarterback’s knee injury that cost him most of the season. Garoppolo recently told reporters that his knee is healthy, and he will not need to start training camp on the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. He said, "The rehab process has gone really well. Knock on wood. We haven’t had any setbacks." Garoppolo was able to participate in much of the spring and summer activities. After the lost 2018 campaign, Garoppolo is vastly underrated in 2019 and got a big upgrade in his receiving corps through the NFL Draft.
Many fantasy writers – including your truly – are pining for Ryan Tannehill to push Marcus Mariota for the Tennessee Titans starting job. But coach Mike Vrabel made it clear last week that Mariota is the starter. He said of Tannehill, "His job as a backup — everybody’s job as a backup — is to push the guy in front of him … To compete and try to make yourself better and try to make the team better and see how everybody responds." This sentiment could have originated from the team picking up Mariota’s fifth-year option, guaranteeing him almost $21 million. That is a heavy investment for the quarterback to battle for the starting gig. However, if Mariota does not play well, Tannehill could seize the job. Also, Mariota has battled injuries through most of his career, so we expect the ex-Dolphin to start games either way.
After the departure of Nick Foles, many eyes are on Nate Sudfeld to backup the oft-injured Carson Wentz. The Newark Star-Ledger recently called Sudfeld a roster lock. He makes a strong speculative stash in Superflex and Two-Quarterback leagues. Wentz has not been deemed healthy, yet, and has suffered major injuries every year of his professional career. Granted, Sudfeld did not play well in OTAs, but the team only has Cody Kessler and fifth-round rookie Clayton Thorson as competition. Most teams do not like to carry three quarterbacks so Sudfeld has a golden opportunity to solidify his standing in the upcoming training camp.
Adam Schefter sent shock waves through the fantasy community with the news that Chargers star Melvin Gordon will not report to training camp and has demanded a trade if the two sides cannot agree on a contract extension. The running back is slated to earn $5.6 million in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. When asked, Gordon’s agent said his client is prepared to hold out during the season, if necessary. Many will harken back to the LeVeon Bell situation from last year. But this is much different. Bell was not under contract and Gordon is bound to his rookie deal. He must play this season or be under contract with the Chargers again next year. When looking back through the history of players threatening to holdout, there are very few who have followed through with the threat. It is likely that Los Angeles was going to allow Gordon to walk after the season, anyway. The team has done a great job of drafting running backs and knowing when to move on from the starter at the position. We think back to when Ryan Mathews was drafted to replace LaDainian Tomlinson, then Gordon was drafted to replace Mathews. The Chargers are likely not going to give Gordon a second contract … and he knows it. That is why the holdout. The team was planning on another high-usage season, then permitting the tailback to leave in free agency. Los Angeles would gain a third-round compensatory pick in return. Reflecting back on the trade demand, there is little reason for the Chargers to trade Gordon for any pick less than a second. They can call his bluff, knowing Gordon will report eventually, and try to win the Super Bowl as Philip Rivers cannot have many seasons left. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson get a short-term bump, but the expectation is the team selects Gordon’s replacement from the loaded 2020 NFL Draft class.
With Derrius Guice working to return from the knee injury that cost him his rookie season, the running back suffered a hamstring injury that could impact his ability to participate in training camp. Reports have the hamstring injury happening a few weeks ago, but this is not what dynasty players want to hear after being hopeful for the stud back’s return. His value has fallen, and Adrian Peterson makes for a solid stash once again. Coming back from both injuries could be more difficult than most anticipate.
When asked about running back, Damien Williams, coach Andy Reid said Williams will be "the full-time starter for the year." Reid went on to say, "He's taken that challenge … He wants to do this thing. He's earned the right to be that guy. And now it's a matter of production. Ya gotta go do it." Williams played well after replacing Kareem Hunt and produced solid numbers. Kansas City rewarded him with a new contract. The question should be more of durability and holding up under a full-time workload more than talent. Carlos Hyde is not a threat for playing time unless or until Williams is injured.
A receiver to monitor through training camp is Breshad Perriman. Beat writer Mark Cook recently said that many inside the Tampa Bay organization are "most excited about" Perriman. Given the upside that a Bruce Arians offense brings, this is a notable quote. After failing to impress in Baltimore, Perriman flashed late in the 2018 season with Cleveland. Perriman could push for DeSean Jackson’s vacated WR3 spot. He has the talent to be a viable fantasy flex option.
In a surprise to no one, the Arizona Republic recently wrote that the Arizona Cardinals to move on from wide receiver Chad Williams. Still just 24 years of age, Williams could catch on with another team. With Arizona drafting three receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft, the writing has been on the wall for several months.
Last week, the NFL suspended New York Jets tight end Chris Herndon for four games. This suspension has been expected for several months after his DUI arrest last June. Herndon played well as a rookie last season and has legitimate fantasy appeal. The suspension should permit savvy fantasy players the opportunity to buy at a reduced price.