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.
With the swirl of controversy following Andrew Luck’s leg injury, coach Frank Reich told reporters last week that he wants to make a call on the team's starting quarterback for the opener following the third preseason game. That game is this week, so fantasyland needs to watch the situation closely. Mike Garafolo opined that Jacoby Brissett will be in the lineup unless Luck makes some miraculous recovery. Luck has not practiced in months, so he is unlikely to be on the field for the opener. It will take him time to get up to speed.
For news that is only relevant in deep or Superflex dynasty leagues, Josh McCown is coming out of retirement to play for the Philadelphia Eagles. Adam Schefter broke the story on Twitter with a string of tweets beginning with, “Josh McCown, who announced his retirement this summer to spend more time with family, is returning to play his 17th NFL season with the Eagles, per sources. McCown is signing a 1-year deal with the but plans to resume his broadcasting career with ESPN after season, per source.” He added, “Josh McCown had said if the right opportunity came along, he would consider it. Now it has. He is signing a 1-year deal with Eagles. Eagles still expect Nate Sudfeld - who received a second-round tender last off-season - to return from injury this season; team still values him.” Schefter even offered McCown’s salary, “Compensation update: Eagles are giving Josh McCown a one-year deal that includes $2 million fully guaranteed and could be worth up to $5.4 million, per source.” For those wondering if the Sudfeld injury was the trigger for the move, Chris Mortensen tweeted, “As Adam reports, @Eagles interest was there even before injuries to Sudfeld & Kessler McCown unretiring to sign with Eagles.” Given the injury history of Carson Wentz, McCown could start games this season. The cache of weapons on the Eagles offense would make him an appealing option in Superflex leagues if Wentz misses time.
Todd Gurley is one of the most polarizing players in fantasy football. He has shown the talent to be special. The issue is health. Adam Schefter tried to answer the questions by tweeting a quote from the coach, “Rams’ HC Sean McVay on RB Todd Gurley: ‘Todd is feeling really good...He’s continuing to really show a lot of the things that make him such an elite player and I think he’s feeling really good. It’s been a smart plan with Todd...and we’re are going to continue to follow that.’” With Darrell Henderson starting training camp slowly, Gurley could see his workload remain high for 2019.
The San Francisco 49ers are a team that is difficult for the fantasy community to reconcile. The wide receiver position is a convoluted mess. The running back position is not much better. The team signed Tevin Coleman into a seemingly crowded backfield. But, the setback by Jerick McKinnon should give clarity. Last week, beat reporter Matt Barrows predicted that McKinnon will begin the season on injured reserve. He cannot go back on the PUP list since he was activated from that list before suffering the setback. Matt Breida should be the beneficiary until McKinnon can to return.
Last week, tongues were wagging after beat reports saw Miami tailback Kenyan Drake in a walking boot during Wednesday’s practice. The injury to Drake’s right foot occurred in Tuesday’s practice. When asked by reporters, coach Brian Flores said the foot will take “a while” to heal. This answer is straight out of the Bill Belichick handbook. The Dolphins coach is taking after his former boss. Foot injuries are tricky, and we expect Drake to miss several weeks. Kalen Ballage has stepped up in Drake’s absence.
Ian Rapoport broke the news on the Josh Gordon reinstatement. He tweeted, “The NFL is conditionally reinstating #Patriots WR Josh Gordon after his indefinite suspension. He is able to return to the team and under contract to do so. He is allowed to be at the team facility on Sunday.” Gordon has immense talent and the league benefits by having the athletic receiver back on the field. The Julian Edelman and Demaryius Thomas injuries should be mitigated by Gordon’s presence. Also, Gordon’s return should permit rookie Jakobi Meyers to mature and develop. The undrafted free agent is a budding star and will only get better. Also, if Gordon was able to get reinstated, maybe Martavis Bryant will be as well. As we wrote a few weeks ago, he is a player to stash if a dynasty player has roster room. Bryant is a free agent and several teams who could use his services.
While the Josh Gordon news garnered the headlines late last week, Jeff Howe reported that Demaryius Thomas had resumed sprinting in his return from an Achilles injury. The return of Gordon could permit the Patriots to start Thomas on the PUP list to begin the season. Either way, it is great to see the veteran approaching full health from a nasty injury. There is no reason to rush him back when the goal is the Super Bowl.
After a fast start to training camp, where he dazzled with speed and play-making ability, rookie Parris Campbell has been sidelined for a few weeks. He suffered a setback on his return from a hamstring injury. Campbell had missed two weeks and was on the verge of returning when the setback occurred. He still is in the Colts’ plans for 2019 and the “quiet” preseason may offer savvy dynasty players a golden opportunity to buy low.
San Francisco beat writer Grant Cohn tweeted his observations of the team’s receiver position last week, “Biggest takeaways from Week 1 of preseason: 1. The biggest setback didn’t happen on the field. 2. The best WR might be 1 of 2 rookies. 3. Pettis has been a disappointment. 4. The defense may have to carry the offense this season. 5. Robert Saleh is smart.” We do not expect any of these players to emerge as the de facto WR1. Pettis has the opportunity to rebound and should do so, but the situation is very fluid. Tight end George Kittle is likely the lone dependable fantasy pass-catcher.
As stated above, the 49ers receiving corps is crowded and clouded for the dynasty community. One player who has been hyped in training camp is Trent Taylor. He was expected to start in the slot. But ace beat reporter Matt Maiocco tweeted last week, “WR Trent Taylor had a screw inserted into the small toe, according to the #49ers. They expect him to be available early in the regular season.” Matt Barrows followed up with, “Trent Taylor complained of pain in the outside of his foot/pinkie toe following Thursday's practice. Team doctors determined his prognosis would be better if the small fracture they found were addressed now vs. if the fracture grew. He's expected to return early in the season.” Foot injuries are tricky, so we are hesitant to recommend Taylor as a “buy low” option.
The reports out of Miami Dolphins camp have been unanimous, second-year tight end Mike Gesicki, has not played well. Beat writer Armando Salguero said Gesicki has “neither become a consistent physical mismatch against safeties or corners or shown superior quickness and speed against linebackers.” On a team with few offensive weapons, Gesicki has every opportunity but has failed to deliver.
With Ben Watson starting the season on a four-game suspension, the New England Patriots are desperate for tight end talent and depth while trying to fill the void vacated by the Rob Gronkowski retirement. The team tried to address the need by trading for Eric Saubert from the Falcons. New England gave up a conditional seventh-round draft pick for the right to give Saubert a try. He is a better blocker than receiver, but one never knows how the Patriots will use their personnel. Watson is still the player to target.