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.
Jeremy Fowler reported on SportsCenter Saturday that “A possible coaching change in Carolina looms large in Cam Newton future – a new regime would have significant say in QB.” The embarrassing home loss to Washington will not help coach Ron Rivera’s hot seat. A new coach will want to bring in his own quarterback. Given Newton’s age, injury history, and playing style, an established coaching staff (e.g., Matt Nagy in Chicago) might take the risk.
Saturday, Ian Rapoport was one of the first to report on the Detroit Lions quarterback carousel, “The #Lions are placing QB Jeff Driskel on Injured Reserve, source said. He’s battled a hamstring. The corresponding move is signing QB Kyle Sloter off the #AZCardinals practice squad.” After the loss to the Bears on Thanksgiving, there seems to be the desire to see what David Blough can do as the Lions wait for Matthew Stafford to get healthy.
The surprise outing of Rashaad Penny in Week 12 had tongues wagging about his role going forward. Adam Caplan captured notes from Seahawks offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer from his recent press conference, “#Seahawks OC Brian Schottenheimer on Chris Carson: (1) ‘I mean, Chris is our guy. We know that. He’s playing terrific football as well. But, like what happened last year some, each week, sometimes different guys step up. It happens that way in the passing game...’” and “Schottenheimer on Carson (part 2): ‘Different receivers step up. Happened in the running game. Of course, we want to get Rashaad (Penny) his touches, get him in the game. In terms of forcing it to happen, we’re not going to do that.’” It is still Carson’s job, but the former first-round pick has a chance to push the situation into a committee.
Last week, Colts beat reporter George Bremer tweeted an update on receiver T.Y. Hilton, “T.Y. Hilton will not play Sunday against the Titans. Had a setback with his calf during Wednesday’s practice. It’s a week-to-week injury, per GM Chris Ballard. #Colts.” It was obvious in the Thursday night loss to Houston that Hilton was not close to 100%. Adding a setback into the situation should mean that the star receiver might not be back until Week 16 or 17. With the other injuries to the Indianapolis skill players, the loss of Hilton hurts Jacoby Brissett’s fantasy numbers. Given the missed time, Hilton will be on our offseason “Buy” lists.
Beat reporter Todd Archer wrote Friday, “After undergoing an MRI Friday, Amari Cooper did not suffer any structural damage to his left knee, according to a source. Cooper took a hit to his knee in the fourth quarter after making a catch but he was able to return to the game. Cooper was limping noticeably after the game. Throughout the season he has played through heel, ankle, knee and quadriceps injuries but has not missed a game.” The Cowboys made a concerted effort to get Cooper the ball. While he was able to re-enter the contest, the after-game limping is a concern for the fantasy playoffs. The good news is that Dallas has a few extra days to recover as the pressure is on and owner Jerry Jones is keeping a high profile. With the offense lacking a strong second receiver, opposing defenses are giving Cooper extra attention.
It did not matter with Matthew Stafford sidelined, but the injuries to the Lions’ skill-position players have made it almost impossible to consistently move the ball. Detroit beat reporter Kyle Meinke tweeted last week, “The Lions have signed WR Chris Lacy to their roster, moved Marvin Hall to IR.” Hall flashed some potential earlier in the season, giving Detroit a deep threat. He had five catches that covered at least 30 yards. The Lions have been without most of their play-makers for multiple games. In the stiff NFC North, the Detroit roster is not good enough to be competitive on a week-to-week basis.
Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “Sources: The #Colts don’t plan to activate WR Devin Funchess off Injured Reserve by the deadline of Dec. 4, meaning he can’t play this season. He’s recovering from a fractured collarbone, and the plate inserted into the break did not work out as hoped. He hasn’t healed enough.” After a promising training camp and preseason, Funchess never got going. He is likely playing elsewhere in 2020.
Monday afternoon, Ian Rapoport tweeted, "The #Lions placed 1st round pick T.J. Hockenson on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury that ends his season. He flashed major potential, but battled injuries all year." The former first-round pick will miss the remainder of the season. His future will be highly-discussed in the offseason.
Mary Kay Cabot was one of many Browns beat reporters to offer an update on tight end David Njoku, “#Browns not activating David Njoku (wrist) for the #Steelers game. TE says he's ready to go, but Kitchens says they're still working through some things.” Given the overall chaos in Cleveland, this “news” should not be surprising. The Browns had an opportunity to beat the Steelers but could not put together enough second-half drives and Njoku would have added another weapon.
Last week, the Tennessee Titans placed tight end Delanie Walker on injured reserve. This could be the end of the line for the athletic tight end. Walker has been in the NFL since President George W. Bush’s second term in office (2006). At 35 years of age, the Titans veteran has seen the last two seasons end abruptly. To briefly recap Walker’s success in case this is the end of the trail, he has played in 183 games (starting 101), hauling in 504 passes (of 790 targets) for, 5,888 yards, and 36 touchdowns. He was never dominant enough to be a Hall-of-Fame candidate but was a solid starting tight end. While flashing oodles of potential in San Francisco for seven years (starting only 40 games), it was not until he signed with Tennessee that Walker’s star began to shine. The Titans inked Walker to a two-year deal in 2018, including $12.6 million guaranteed. Tennessee did not get much value out of the deal with just a few games played. Jonnu Smith has another golden opportunity to shine. He failed to seize the occasion in 2018 so the remaining four contests will be huge for his future.
Last Saturday, the Chicago Bears placed backup tight end Adam Shaheen on injured reserve. He has been out of action since Week 10 with a foot injury and was not going to make it back before the end of the season. Many had fantasy dreams for Shaheen with Trey Burton going on injured reserve himself just a couple of weeks ago, but Shaheen joins him on the sideline for the remainder of the season.
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