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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.
On Friday, Josina Anderson was the first to report on Cam Newton’s progress, “I'm told #Panthers QB Cam Newton is headed to Green Bay to visit renowned foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson, per sources. A source of mine also spotted Newton on a plane this morning that landed in Chicago first.” Then, Ian Rapoport chimed in, “#Panthers QB Cam Newton hasn’t played since mid-September & his sprained foot is not getting better. He hasn’t done more than rehab to the side. The visit to Dr. Anderson in Green Bay is to learn why his condition isn’t improving, source said. Playing football is a long way off.” Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports offered more detail, “Panthers GM Marty Hurney to team site: ‘I spent a long time speaking w Cam this week and he’s done everything he possibly can in rehab process to get foot to 100%. Unfortunately, we haven’t reached that point. The next step is for him to go see Dr. Anderson and gather more info.’” Reports this weekend all confirmed that Newton is likely to end the season on injured reserve and has “options” for how to address the foot injury. It appears that Kyle Allen will be under center the remainder of the season … and possibly longer. Could this be the end of Newton’s professional career?
Ryan Finley takes over as the Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback as the team returns from the bye. While Andy Dalton has missed A.J. Green, the 32-year old has not played well for some time. We hoped the team would trade the veteran passer before last week’s trade deadline. Finley is an old (24 years of age) rookie with a weak arm but strong in the poise and accuracy categories. With Green hopefully returning this week, Finley makes a solid spot matchup-based starter. After eight-and-a-half seasons, Dalton finally gives way to a rookie. Let’s also keep in mind that coach Zac Taylor hand-picked Finley so he will get a long look for the remainder of the season.
The Denver Broncos have been searching for answers at the quarterback position for quite some time. The brief Peyton Manning era made us forget that Jay Cutler was the last decent quarterback – other than Manning - for the team, and he proved not to be a long-term answer. After failed attempts with Case Keenum, Paxton Lynch, and Joe Flacco, all eyes will soon turn to rookie Drew Lock. Flacco hurt his neck in the Week-8 loss to Indianapolis and is now on injured reserve, leaving Brandon Allen and Brett Rypien to play until Lock is activated from injured reserve. Early last week – after the Flacco injury was disclosed – beat reporter Mike Klis tweeted, “Provided Joe Flacco goes on IR as expected, Broncos will be only NFL team to have zero QBs on roster who have taken an NFL snap (Allen, Rypien, Lock). #QBsearch #9sports.” Lock, the 42nd pick in this year’s NFL Draft, is healthy but still has much to prove. Local radio star – and Footballguys own – Cecil Lammey tweeted a quote from coach Fangio on the topic, "I don't have a sense of urgency, for the simple fact that this guy (Lock) hasn't done anything since the early portion of camp....he needs practice. We have a plan as to when we want to start that." #Broncos Vic Fangio @1043TheFan.” Allen played well in the win over Cleveland. His play showed the world that Denver has an above-average supporting cast and it has been the quarterback position limiting wins. We are tentatively expecting Lock to take over the starting job against the Chargers in a few weeks. Fangio does not want to throw the rookie out there against the Vikings and Bills. The contest against Los Angeles is the game following. We do not advise picking up Allen unless you think the Broncos will win one or both of the next two games.
Many wondered about the T.Y. Hilton’s status until the news broke Friday afternoon. Ian Rapoport tweeted, “#Colts WR TY Hilton is out for this Sunday’s game against the #Steelers, with coach Frank Reich saying ‘With the information that we have, generally speaking, it's a 3-4 week (calf) injury.’" This is a huge blow for the Colts. Hilton gives the offense speed and big-play ability that others cannot provide. He is expected back for the big matchup against Houston. Hilton has dominated the Texans recently. This could be a huge division matchup.
Brandin Cooks visited a concussion specialist last week after leaving the Week-8 win over the Bengals. He was replaced by Josh Reynolds in the lineup. Reynolds played very well, catching three passes for 73 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown. Reynolds makes a strong acquisition if available on your waiver wire or cheap via trade. Back to Cooks. Coach Sean McVay told the media, "It will be something that we are going to be smart with. I think being able to get some answers, hear some other opinions on what’s going on, and other cases that have been like this will give us some clarity to hopefully, make the best decision for Brandin Cooks the person and the football player." The Rams are coming off a bye week so we should learn more in the coming days regarding Cooks’ future.
Ian Rapoport was the first to report on Josh Gordon getting claimed, “The #Seahawks have claimed former #Patriots WR Josh Gordon, source said. QB Russell Wilson gets his wish.” Rapoport later reported that Seattle was the lone team to place a claim for Gordon. Beat reporter Joe Fann, tweeted, “Josh Gordon won’t play vs. the Bucs, per Pete Carroll. Gordon will make his #Seahawks debut on MNF vs. the #49ers.” Fellow beat Gregg Bell tweeted, “Pete Carroll says #Seahawks will check out WR Josh Gordon’s readiness next week, but team has heard positive indicators. SEA has an extra day from Sunday’s game vs Bucs until next game Monday Nov 11 at SF. @thenewstribune.” It is a mild surprise that just one team placed a claim for Gordon. We expect him to be involved in the offense but will be a better NFL player than fantasy the remainder of the season. The Seahawks offense is run-heavy and conservative. There will not be enough volume for Gordon to be an every-week fantasy option as a WR2/3 for the team. But there was an intriguing storyline dropped on Sunday morning. Schefter wrote on the ESPN website, “Before they claimed wide receiver Josh Gordon on waivers Friday, the Seattle Seahawks had been doing their due diligence on free-agent receiver Antonio Brown, league sources told ESPN. Even star quarterback Russell Wilson was pushing the Seahawks to sign Brown before they claimed Gordon, according to sources.” So, Brown still has supporters in most organizations and can make a return after the NFL has investigated and doled out punishment. We expect Brown to play in 2020.
Saturday, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “More offense for the #Patriots: They are activating rookie WR NKeal Harry off Injured Reserve, source said. The first-rounder fits into a remade receiver group.” He was inactive against the Ravens on Sunday night but should play soon. Harry adds another weapon for Tom Brady down the stretch. While he is far from a finished product, the rookie could shine in a limited role.
Adam Caplan was on of the first to report that Pittsburgh waived Donte Moncrief Saturday, “#Steelers waived WR Donte Moncrief.” Caplan added, “Moncrief earned over for $4m for his 4 receptions.” Moncrief had been passed on the depth chart by James Washington and Diontae Johnson. There was no reason to continue to pay Moncrief to be a healthy scratch when the youngsters were playing at a higher level. Also, his departure helps the team’s ability to receive a comp pick. Easy decision for the Steelers. The Carolina Panthers claimed Moncrief off waivers. He is a player we would not recommend pursuing as the Panthers have not thrown to the receiver position enough to invest in a speculative WR3 option behind Moore and Samuel.
With the improved quarterback play, keep an eye on Tim Patrick who was placed on injured reserve with a broken hand and just designated last week for return. Patrick will occupy one of the two injured reserve – return spots, leaving either Lock or Theo Riddick to return … and Drew Lock is the favorite. After the Emmanuel Sanders trade, the starting wide receiver roles are wide open other than Courtland Sutton. Patrick is more of a long-term play given the lacking pass offense the Broncos have displayed, and the move to a youngster under center will only exacerbate the situation.
The Jacksonville Jaguars lost Marqise Lee for the year with a shoulder injury. He has battled knee and ankle injuries for much of his career and now adds shoulder to the list. Lee signed a $38-million deal eighteen months ago but is a candidate for release this coming offseason. This would clear $5.25 million in salary-cap space. With the emergence of D.J. Chark and the signing of Chris Conley, Lee’s role had diminished anyway.
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