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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.
We try to find interesting angles for fantasy players. Mark Stopa tweeted something last week that should be leveraged in dynasty leagues, “Interesting note from Vegas: Even as they’re sleeping on so many prop bet lines, Giants removed Eli bets (O/U on TDs; O/U on passing yards) from the board.” Vegas usually knows much more than the public so we take this information seriously. The poor start to training camp by rookie Daniel Jones could make the Giants stay with Eli Manning longer than the team desires. Jones will start sooner than later as New York is a dumpster fire on both sides of the ball.
Josina Anderson is as plugged in as any in the media. Last week, she tweeted, “Chargers RB Melvin Gordon's agent Damarius Bilbo tells me he requested a trade last wk for his client, after the team remained at their initial offer of aprox $10M/year. GM Tom Telesco told Bilbo, Gordon is still family, but Bilbo was not given permission to seek trade partners.” While Gordon’s representative scoffed at the $10 miller per season salary, that money would easily place him in the top five paid players at the position. This seems like an appropriate placement. The issue for Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott is the lack of respect and compensation for the position.
Many in the fantasy community gasped when seeing Derrick Henry in a walking boot but, Adam Schefter tweeted good news, “Regarding Titans’ RB Derrick Henry’s injury that left him in a walking boot: he has a strained calf muscle that could sideline him about two weeks, per source. But the injury is not considered serious and the team is being cautious.” The boot is merely a precaution and Henry will be ok … for now. His bruising style could open the youngster up for more injury risk, but he escaped this time.
The Cowboys Wire quoted owner Jerry Jones on the expected timetable for a resolution to the Ezekiel Elliott contract holdout, “No timeline, even months into season.” Jones has talked like this in the past but caved quickly when the team began losing. Thankfully for Dallas, the Cowboys start the season against New York (Giants), Washington, and Miami … all winnable games without the star tailback.
Rob Demovsky was the first to break the news, “Veteran RB Theo Riddick, released by the Lions, is signing with the Broncos, a source said.” Footballguys own, Cecil Lammey, tweeted, “The #Broncos really wanted to add Riddick. Immediately the best receiver in the backfield. Bad news for Devontae Booker unless they want to keep 4 running backs. @1043TheFan Riddick has the skill to run routes, can line up anywhere and become a favorite target of Joe Flacco.” Denver brings in a veteran presence into a young backfield. Riddick would instantly become fantasy-viable with an injury to either Phillip Lindsay or Royce Freeman.
Ian Rapoport broke the news of Michael Thomas’ new contract, “The #Saints & star WR Michael Thomas have reached a blockbuster, 5 yr $100M extension. This contract makes Thomas the highest-paid WR in NFL History. He’s also the first non-QB offensive player to sign a $100M contract. Agents @DavidMulugheta & Andrew Kessler negotiated the deal.” The new pact keeps Thomas in New Orleans through the 2024 season. Still just 26 years of age, Thomas gets the opportunity to cash in once more before the end of his career. Noted NFL cap expert, Jason Fitzgerald at OverTheCap.com tweeted, “Since we're seeing this in a few spots- Michael Thomas is not the first $100M contract at WR. Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson both signed deals around $113M in 11 and 12. He is, however, the first at $20M per year. #Saints”. While Thomas’s agents are doing a great job promoting the new deal they negotiated for their client, most reports were full of embellishments, so Jason’s perspective and experience is welcomed.
The loss of A.J. Green to the Cincinnati offense cannot be underappreciated. He will miss some time. Last Tuesday, coach Zac Taylor told reporters, "When they get in there and get the surgery done, they realized it's going to be a little bit longer … It's just going to be a couple of games ... hopefully, he'll be ready to go at the beginning-half of the season." With John Ross also sidelined, all eyes will be on Tyler Boyd. The Bengals look great locking him two weeks ago. Ian Rapoport tweeted about Green’s outlook, “Another update on #Bengals WR AJ Green: Following surgery, based on what they found cleaning out the ankle, he’s now expected to miss a few games, I’m told. Not ideal.“ Noted injury specialist, Dr. David Chao, quote-tweeted Rapoport with, “Makes sense. I expect #AJGreen to be out about 2 months and that would be an over/under of a Week 3 return.” The Cincinnati offense will be in shamble by then. Injuries on the offensive line and receiver will put a lot of pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton and his new coach.
The receiver who has seen his stock rise meteorically is Curtis Samuel. After battling injury most of his rookie campaign, Samuel is turning heads at Panthers’ camp. Jourdan Rodrigue tweeted, “Ron Rivera on Curtis Samuel’s jump from year 2 to year 3: ‘It has been amazing.’” Word is getting out on the size/speed specimen. A healthy Cam Newton will enjoy having Samuel in the lineup.
Ace beat reporter Sal Capaccio proclaimed last week that wideout John Brown had been the "most impressive offensive player" so far in training camp. Brown has always possessed talent and just needs to stay healthy. He is criminally underrated in dynasty leagues.
Cardinals beat reporter, Josh Weinfuss tweeted why we have not seen much of rookie receiver Andy Isabella lately, “Cardinals WR Andy Isabella is dealing with a ‘minor knee issue,’ coach Kliff Kingsbury said. He expects Isabella back ‘sooner than later.’ Kingsbury is ‘hopeful’ Isabella will be back for next week's preseason game but added the Cards won't ‘press it.’" This is why KeeSean Johnson has seen extended practice time and seized the WR3 role. Johnson has consistently been in the lineup with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.
Many in the dynasty community had high hopes for a second-year breakout for Antonio Calloway, but he has been pushed aside by Rashard Higgins. Mary Kay Cabot tweeted context to the story, “#Browns OC Todd Monken said WR Antonio Callaway came to camp out of shape, which helps explain why he’s been on the 2nd and 3rd team.” With stars Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, the third receiver may not matter for fantasy, but Calloway has talent that could go to waste. But, credit Higgins for developing and improving.
Howard Balzer tweeted late last week, “Heard from league source that Josh Gordon has filed for reinstatement from suspension.” This tweet made the rounds and Evan Silva gave great context to what Gordon would mean to the New England offense, “Josh Gordon in 2018:
- Led #Patriots in yds/target (10.6)
- Led Pats in yds/catch (18.0)
- 14th/96 WRs in yds/route run (2.15)
- 7th/125 WRs in yds after catch/reception (6.7)
- Brady averaged 1.8 more YPA & 3.5 more FF points in games with Gordon.”
Gordon is a playmaker who would be an asset to Tom Brady and the offense. Like we wrote last week regarding Martavis Bryant, fantasy players will have a tough time predicting if and when he will be allowed to return to the field.
NFL Network's Michael Giardi reported last week that New England first-round pick, NKeal Harry, has been outplayed by fellow rookie Jakobi Meyers through the early days of camp. Meyers is an undrafted free agent who has turned heads early in camp. Giardi also tweeted, “Brady threw a couple of balls to UDFA WR Jakobi Meyers while he was still coming out of his break. Trust is building. Confidence that Meyers will be where he needs to be. #Patriots” Fellow beat Mike Reiss had a coach Belichick quote on Harry, “Bill Belichick, to @SiriusXMNFL, on rookie WR N’Keal Harry: ‘A big kid that runs well. Good catch radius. Very strong, physical receiver. He has a long way to go ... but he’s gotten better every day and been dependable, durable, tough. ... making good progress.’” Both youngsters could lose playing time if Gordon is reinstated, but the Patriots have done a great job restocking the shelves for Tom Brady.
In Jacksonville, Hays Carlyon opined that receiver Marqise Lee – who is on the PUP with a knee injury - is unlikely to have a significant role this season. This is quite the surprise as many had penciled Lee in as a Jaguars starter. His absence pushes Chris Conley and D.J. Chark to starters with Dede Westbrook. Coming back from the ACL injury, Lee is slow to regain his speed.
Chad Williams is a longshot for a roster spot on the Arizona Cardinals. Beat reporter Josh Weinfuss reported last week that the young receiver had yet to practice at training camp. With coach Kliff Kingsbury bringing in a new offense, Williams is losing valuable time. Arizona drafted three receivers in the draft, so the odds have been stacked against Williams from the onset.
Beat writer Phillip Heilman tweeted late last week, “Doug Marrone says TE Josh Oliver has a ‘significant’ hamstring injury. Sounds like the team will plan as if he won’t be ready for the start of the regular season. #Jaguars.” The rookie suffered the injury in Thursday’s practice. His absence could push Geoff Swaim to fringe fantasy status. We are high on Oliver’s long-term outlook and will use this injury as an opportunity to buy on the cheap.
Beat reporter Joe Buscaglia tweeted last week, “#Bills TE Tyler Kroft is out of his walking boot and is out on the field in his jersey. Not practicing tonight, but a definite upgrade of where he was a few days ago.” Buffalo has yet to put a timetable for Kroft’s return, but he is tracking to be ready by the season opener.
Even with second-year tight end Jordan Thomas excelling so far in camp, keep an eye on rookie Kahale Warring. Warring was activated from the active/NFI list last week. While he missed valuable time - the first 10 days of camp – the third-round pick could push for playing time in the coming days.