Unlock More Content Like This With a Footballguys Premium Subscription
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE
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.
After Tiffany Blackmon tweeted last week that Cam Newton would be having surgery, Jonathan Jones had an interesting perspective on the situation, “After getting multiple opinions across the country, Cam Newton will have foot surgery, per sources and as @tiffblackmon reported. He had a doctor's appt as recently as last week. Still unclear is the extent/type of surgery he will undergo.” He added, “The question, of course, is why wait so long? Obviously he's tried to avoid surgery. But also, depending on the type of surgery (again still unclear at the moment), he could be ready for the start of the season.” To review how we got here, the veteran passer suffered the injury in the third preseason game and came back for the start of the season, only to reaggravate the injury the second game. After resting the injury in hopes of returning, he was placed on injured reserve. Newton was adamant that he would not return until he was fully recovered. He waited a long time for the surgery, so it raises plenty of questions. Dr. David Chao penned an article in the San Diego Tribune with some context around the injury. He wrote, “By video, the injury is to his lisfranc joint in the mid-foot area. He received second opinions from noted foot specialists and continued with conservative care. Not all lisfranc injuries need surgery. In fact, most do not. Only when the bones are separated or when there is a fracture dislocation (not the case here) does a lisfranc require surgery. Certainly, the timing of December surgery is curious. One report said Newton would be fully healthy by March when roster decisions need to be made, but that is a tight timeline. Commonly, lisfranc surgery requires a recovery of 6-9 months. By March, a team could project where Newton will be, but he likely will not be 100 percent by then. That leaves some questions regarding Newton’s immediate future.” The timing of the surgery is curious as this decision was disclosed within hours of coach Ron Rivera getting canned. We fully expect Newton to be playing elsewhere in 2020, possibly wherever Rivera lands. The new Panthers regime will want to bring in their own quarterback.
Sunday morning, Diana Russini tweeted, “The Titans are internally discussing a new contract for Ryan Tannehill after the season per source. Not franchise tag, a new deal to be the future starting QB of Tennessee. #titans.” Tannehill has now won six of his seven starts for the Titans and has the team in the thick of the playoff chase. Extending Tannehill to a team-friendly two-year deal would be a wise move for Tennessee. The Titans have no viable quarterback under contract for the 2020 season.
In a Detroit Free Press article late last week, Matthew Stafford said he enjoys playing football and wants to play for a long time. Stafford was quoted, "Anytime you’re injured it’s frustrating, it’s tough. And especially if you’re playing good, and I felt like I was playing good … I felt like we had a good thing going and, honestly, really proud of Jeff (Driskel) and Dave, how they’ve stepped in and played, cause we’ve continued to be explosive and score some points and do some of that stuff. So proud of those guys for that." Stafford was playing at a high level before the back injury. The good news is that the injury is not expected to be long-lasting. In that same article, Stafford confirmed that the back injury is healing and should not impact his status for the 2020 season.
On Wednesday, Ian Rapoport tweeted an update on Kerryon Johnson, “Running back news: The #Lions got RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) back at practice from Injured Reserve, and he’s eligible to return Week 16 … The #Colts got RB Marlon Mack (hand) back at practice and he may play this week.” Mack played Sunday. But Johnson’s return is the big news story. Fantasy players getting Johnson back for the playoffs would be huge. If trading is open, he is a great player to float an offer for while the news has yet to hit.
Rashaad Penny left Sunday night’s loss to Los Angeles in the first quarter. After the game, Pete Carrol confirmed that Penny suffered an “ACL Sprain”. For those who may not know, an ACL Sprain is the same as an ACL Tear. So, Penny tore his ACL in the game and will be pushing to be back on the field by training camp.
James Conner will be an interesting use case for dynasty players this coming offseason. He had a strong 2018 campaign but has been injured for most of the 2019 season. Conner has missed five out of the last six games. Given the more-than-adequate play of Benny Snell, Conner could either be viewed as a “buy low” or “stay away”. Plus, there is a legitimate chance Pittsburgh brings in a rookie to add to the committee. Jaylen Samuels has played well in a receiving-back role. One thing is for certain, getting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back will do wonders for all Steelers skill-position players.
The Miami Dolphins have played well given all of the constraints in personnel. After the departure of Kenyan Drake, Kalen Ballage was expected to take the reins of the running game. He disappointed. Last Tuesday, “Adam Schefter tweeted, “Dolphins placed RB Kalen Ballage on injured reserve and claimed RB Zach Zenner off of waivers from the Cardinals.” This may do it for Ballage’s fantasy viability.
Jenna Laine reported Sunday night that Mike Evans was planning to undergo an MRI to best determine the severity of his hamstring injury. Bruce Arians labeled Evans “very doubtful for this week’s game. The star receiver could miss the remainder of the season.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are another team maximizing the talent available each week. Brooke Pryor reported last week, “JuJu Smith-Schuster said his knee injury is getting better but didn’t say specifically what the injury sustained in Cleveland was. He ran for the first time today, only working with straight-line runs. No cuts yet. He says he’s week-to-week.” The Steelers might soon get to the point of holding Smith-Schuster out for the playoffs, which is only a few weeks out at this point. The knee injury occurred in Week 11 and the star receiver is still not close to returning.
Adam Thielen is another receiver who has missed several games (four) and is not lock for Week 15 (versus the Chargers). After last Thursday’s practice, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters, "I think he’s getting really close, but there’s really no sense to push it … We’ll see how it goes next week or, uh, tomorrow." Coach Zimmer knew at that time that Thielen would not play against Detroit Sunday. With the Week-16 matchup against the Packers looming, a return for that contest may be the goal. Minnesota and Green Bay are fairly locked in for playoff berths and want to ensure key players are healthy for the matchup (determining division victor) and playoffs.
Calvin Ridley, per his Instagram account, stated he is going to miss the Falcons last three games. Ridley overcame a slow start to finish the season strong. He is definitely a “buy” for us going into the offseason.
We were excited to see New Orleans receiver Keith Kirkland back on the field. He began practicing three weeks ago, but the Saints never activated him from injured reserve. The team had 21 days to activate him after the return to practice but decided to hold off for next year. Kirkland is a great player to stash in dynasty leagues. He is raw but very athletic. For the remainder of the season, New Orleans will roll with Ted Ginn Jr and TreQuan Smith opposite Michael Thomas.
It was a surprise that Philadelphia released receiver Mack Hollins. Adam Schefter tweeted, that Miami claimed him off waivers. He is the second potential-heavy receiver the Dolphins have claimed. With the roster so void of talent at all positions, including receiver after trading Kenny Stills away and the Preston Williams injury, Hollins could stick. Returner and receiver Trevor Davis was signed by the Dolphins the day before.
Agent Buddy Baker broke the news of the Jack Doyle contract extension, “Congrats to my friend and client @doylejack84 on signing a 3 year contract extension with the @Colts. So well deserved. An incredible person who makes a difference on and off the field.” Ian Rapoport added the details, “The #Colts agreed to terms with TE Jack Doyle on a 3-year extension worth more than $21M in new money, source said. It can be worth up to almost $24M with attainable incentives. A priority for Indy.” The timing is interesting as the Colts have ample salary cap space and a cache of players needing extensions. In addition, a decision will need to be made on quarterback Jacoby Brissett’s future as he is a free agent after the 2020 season. For Doyle, it marks a solid payday given he will turn 30 years of age next May.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.