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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.
This past Saturday, Colin Kaepernick worked out for NFL teams. Not without the requisite drama, Kaepernick chose to move the workout to another location at the last minute. He had reasons for doing so but the drama was thick, as most might have expected. This could be his last big chance given Kaepernick turned 32 years of age a couple of weeks ago. Oddly, the NFL – and not individual teams - is the instigator of the workout and caught both the quarterback’s camp and individual teams off guard with the timing, on a Saturday with just a few days' notice. Given that Kaepernick and his representatives have expressed interest in a return, this move is a great one from the league’s point of view. It allows the NFL to save face and say it tried to help. Also, there is the thought that this tryout was part of the settlement reached between Kaepernick and the NFL. Either way, the workout should absolve the league from the perception of blackballing Kaepernick, whether it was actual or not. He has not played a down since 2016 so the odds are slim of a starting gig, but he could latch on for the 2020 season or a few games at the tail end of this season.
Last week, Ian Rapoport tweeted an update on Devonta Freeman, “#Falcons RB Devonta Freeman could be out about two weeks with a foot sprain, source said. So, relatively minor. Though it’s an injury that affects the toe more than the foot.” With the Falcons far out of the playoff chase, Freeman has no reason to rush back to the field. He is likely playing elsewhere next year. Also, it is still curious that Atlanta would not trade the veteran at the trade deadline. There is no upside of carrying him into the offseason.
Another season ends prematurely for running back Darren Sproles. Mike Garafolo tweeted, “Sproles made it through Monday's practice with no issues. It wasn't until Wednesday when he experienced discomfort.” He added, “#Eagles RB Darren Sproles will miss the rest of the season with a quad injury he suffered in practice this week, sources say. Sproles, who missed 3 games with a quad injury before being cleared to play vs. #Bears, had an MRI after Wed’s practice that revealed the new injury.” Expect a larger role for Boston Scott the remainder of the season. Scott looks and plays like the veteran and the team may move on from Sproles in the offseason if Scott can play well.
Last Monday, Schefter tweeted, “Rams’ HC Sean McVay said WR Brandin Cooks and OT Rob Havenstein are out for Week 11, while starting C Brian Allen is done for the season with an MCL injury.” While there were rumblings that Cooks was close to returning, getting ruled out on Monday for the Sunday night game is a bad sign for his quick return from a concussion. As we speculated a few weeks ago, the speedy receiver is not assured of coming back this season. Josh Reynolds will continue to start in three-receiver sets for the Rams.
Last Wednesday, Schefter tweeted, “After spending the past two days at a Bay Area hospital, Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is flying back to Seattle today, per source. Seahawks owner, Jody Allen, provided her plane to fly back Lockett. Expectation is, despite his leg contusion, Lockett will be ready to play vs. Philly.” Coach Pete Carroll told reporters that he expects Lockett back this week and was thankful for the great timing of the bye week. Lockett’s chemistry with quarterback Russell Wilson makes him an underrated fantasy player every week and every season.
Beat reporter George Bremer tweeted an update on the status of Colts rookie Parris Campbell last Wednesday, “Parris Campbell hopes to be back by December. Not sure how he broke his hand. Happened in fourth quarter at Pittsburgh. Thinks he might have hit defender’s helmet. #Colts.” With Devin Funchess and Jacoby Brissett healthy, the Colts are inching closer to full health.
One player to consider buying is John Ross. Last week, multiple reports surfaced that Ross would be one of the two Bengals players designated to return from injured reserve when able. He still has a couple of weeks to go before returning from the broken clavicle but could give fantasy players a boost during the fantasy playoffs. Cincinnati will want to see what it has with the three young receivers (Ross, Auden Tate, and Tyler Boyd) the last few games of the season.
With the Saints still looking for a WR2 to step up opposite Michael Thomas, keep an eye on Keith Kirkwood. He is older than many realize (turning 26 this December) after hauling in 13 passes (on 21 targets) last year in eight games. Kirkwood played well in the 2018 preseason and was signed to the practice squad before activation to the main roster midseason. He injured his hamstring in early September and was placed on injured reserve. Beat reporter Katherine Terrell tweeted last week, “Saints WR Keith Kirkwood was officially designated for return today. He was participating in practice.” Given how little Ted Ginn Jr and others have produced, Kirkwood may emerge down the stretch.
Quincy Enunwa is a name many fantasy players have forgotten. He is an afterthought on a dismal Jets team. Beat writer Rich Cimini reported that Enunwa was fined $27,900 for missing two days of treatment. But, it was Enunwa that offered context to the injury and his career prospects on Twitter, “The biggest reason it hurts is that I’m on IR for the second time in my career and the doctor told me I have a 50/50 chance of coming back to play. I shouldn’t even HAVE to be in that building being reminded every day of what I can’t do.” If he only has a 50% chance of return at this point, the odds are likely much less given that he was placed on injured reserve several months ago. File this information away for the offseason as New York has several receivers in the last year of their respective contracts.
Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed receiver Ryan Switzer on injured reserve with a back injury. Switzer only played 81 offensive snaps for the Steelers, but his loss further depletes the depth at the position. His loss was noticeable in the loss to the Browns on Thursday night after both JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson were forced from the game with concussions after cheap helmet-to-helmet hits by Cleveland defenders. James Washington was the lone experienced receiver left for quarterback Mason Rudolph to target. The lack of receivers illustrated the short-comings of the young quarterback. He was awful in the contest. In an attempt to gain depth at the position, Pittsburgh signed Deon Cain from the Colts practice squad, according to Field Yates.
Ian Rapoport broke the news of Cleveland moving away from receiver Antonio Calloway and why, “The #Browns are activating OL Drew Forbes and releasing WR Antonio Callaway.” He followed it up with, “#Browns WR Antonio Callaway is appealing a 10-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, sources say. That is not the only reason the team waived him, but it is an important factor. He had his hearing in the last week.” Rapoport added a third tweet, “Callaway has told those poised to administer the suspension that it stems from a tainted CBD product. The drug policy is usually very strict, though, about players knowing what they put in their bodies.” This may be the end of the line for Calloway. The Browns offense did not miss him on Thursday night.
Ian Rapoport tweeted Saturday, “The #Dolphins signed WR Allen Hurns to a 2-year extension worth $8M, source said. He gets $3.27M guaranteed.” This deal is basically for the 2020 season so Hurns getting guaranteed money for next year shows he is in the team’s plans. Consider picking up the veteran receiver off the waiver wire.
Last Wednesday, Rapoport tweeted an update on Austin Hooper, “Update on the MCL sprain suffered by #Falcons TE Austin Hooper: He’s expected to be out about a month, source said. Not great news for the NFL’s leader in catches at his position.” Like Freeman, Hooper has no reason to rush back from the knee injury and risk further harm. This break-out year has proven Hooper is an elite tight end.
Last Monday afternoon, Adam Schefter tweeted, “Jets’ TE Chris Herndon fractured his ribs and will be out “an extended amount of time”, per HC Adam Gase.” For those scoring at home, Herndon began the season with a four-game suspension. He then pulled his hamstring three days before his season debut. Then, in his first game back – in Week 10 – Herndon fractured his ribs and is out indefinitely. Ryan Griffin will re-take the starting job. He is a solid add in dynasty leagues. Herndon should not be considered the de facto starter for 2020. Griffin could play well enough down the stretch to assert himself. Also, this gives Griffin more opportunity to build a strong relationship with quarterback Sam Darnold. His strong outing against Washington is certainly a step in the right direction.
Rapoport also gave an update on Bengals rookie tight end Drew Sample last Wednesday, “#Bengals TE Drew Sample suffered a high-ankle sprain during the loss to the #Ravens, tests showed. He’ll have more done to determine how much time he’ll miss, but the second-rounder is considered a candidate for Injured Reserve.” The team invested a good draft pick in Sample, but the rookie has yet to contribute. It took him most of the season just to see meaningful snaps and now his season might be cut short.
On Saturday, the Chicago Bears mercifully placed Trey Burton on injured reserve, ending his 2019 season. Just a couple of weeks ago, we learned that Burton was not fully healed from the core injury surgically repaired months ago. The latest injury was to his calf. On the season, Burton caught just 14 passes and was a fantasy disappointment. Considering Burton’s athletic ability, he makes a decent stash for 2020. There is some upside.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.