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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.
Last week, the San Francisco 49ers designated quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to return from injured reserve. He has been sidelined with a high-ankle sprain for several weeks. His replacement, Nick Mullins, has been marginal at best. Beat reporter Cam Inman tweeted, “#49ers QB news, Nick Mullens facing Tommy John elbow surgery. Jimmy Garoppolo will practice but won't play in games. CJ Beathard will start vs Arizona, by default. Josh Johnson on COVID-19 list. Looking to sign off practice squad.” Beathard has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff but got his opportunity to shine Sunday. It was a middling effort. Last Tuesday, Adam Schefter tweeted a surprise and a solid gamble by the team, “49ers are signing QB Josh Rosen off the Buccaneers practice squad on to SF’s active roster, per @FieldYates and me.” Rosen is now on his fourth NFL team after being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals with the 10th overall pick. He was traded to Miami after the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray. Rosen could not emerge with either team. Miami cut Rosen and he was claimed by Tampa Bay and signed to the Buccaneers’ taxi squad. San Francisco signed Rosen to give him a short window to shine with the injuries to Garoppolo and Mullins. Field Yates tweeted, “Any QB getting the chance to develop under Kyle Shanahan is in good hands. A chance for San Francisco to evaluate the 2018 10th overall pick.” Rosen’s presence means that Johnson will remain on the practice squad and Rosen will back up Beathard. Adam Schefter tweeted an interesting dynamic to the situation, “Postscript: San Francisco would have promoted QB Josh Johnson from its practice squad to its active roster, with a chance to play, but he tested positive for COVID, per source. 49ers then signed former first-round pick Josh Rosen off Tampa Bay’s practice squad.” In superflex leagues, Rosen is worth a stash.
What a sad ending to Dwayne Haskins’ tenure in Washington. He was released Monday after getting benched for Taylor Heinicke. While Haskins’ poor play contributed to the decision, it was driven by his off-field behavior. In his two years as the Washington quarterback, Haskins completed 60% of his passes and had 12 touchdowns opposed to 14 interceptions. Coach Ron Rivera hopes Alex Smith can be ready for the big game Sunday. If not, the team will fall back to Heinicke. Unsurprisingly, Heinicke outplayed Haskins in his limited duty against the Carolina Panthers, but Smith is a huge upgrade over both.
Last week, the 49ers placed tailback Raheem Mostert on injured reserve with a left high-ankle sprain, ending his season. He re-injured the same ankle that cost him four games earlier in the season. Mostert has a salary of just $2.975 next season so he is likely back in San Francisco in 2021. He is 28 years of age and will be coming off an injury-plagued season. Given the committee approach coach Shanahan has utilized in 2020, Mostert should not be considered the unquestioned starter next year, especially with the way Jeffrey Wilson played in his stead. One could argue that Wilson will be above Mostert in the 2021 pecking order.
Last Saturday afternoon, beat reporter Mike Klis tweeted, “The Broncos have placed RB Phillip Lindsay (knee/hip) on IR per source. He’s done for season. #9sports” Klis followed up with, “Broncos are calling up RB LeVante Bellamy to the 53-man roster per source. He'll replace Lindsay on roster. Undrafted rookie Bellamy has played in three games this year but is still looking for first NFL carries. #9sports.” Gordon saw two-thirds of the action with Lindsay out. Royce Freeman also played. Bellamy looked decent in his four touches in the loss to the Chargers. Lindsay is a Restricted Free Agent this offseason and will be back in the Denver uniform in 2021 as his contract is cheap and the tailback has not played well enough to warrant another team giving up a draft pick for his services.
The demise of Todd Gurley is far from a surprise. The veteran signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with Atlanta last offseason. His star has fallen, dramatically. Enough so that coach Morris told reporters last week that plodder Ito Smith was "the lead runner right now." Even with Smith as the lead runner, the Falcons still sprinkle in Gurley and Brian Hill enough to negate any fantasy upside. The big story for dynasty managers is what to do with Gurley for the 2021 season. He will be a free agent with chronic knee issues. The market is unlikely to be strong. For Atlanta, their 2021 starter is not on the team at this time. This team needs an infusion of youth on offense. A day-two pick on the position is the most likely solution. But the new coaching staff will have an impact on the fantasy situation, regardless of who is carrying the ball. This is a team that has not had a viable running attack for many years.
Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay missed another game Sunday with a hip injury. He has not practiced since Thanksgiving. Marvin Jones has been filling in admirably. As a pending free agent, Golladay’s future seems uncertain. The Lions will have a new general manager and coaching staff. The new regime must decide whether they want Golladay back ... and at what price. It is still shocking that the team did not place him on injured reserve in November, thus locking up a roster spot unnecessarily.
Last Tuesday, disheartening reports of Josh Gordon’s situation started to disseminate. He was slated to return to the Seattle Seahawks later that day, but beat reporter Bob Condotta tweeted, “Per source, Josh Gordon and the Seahawks were notified today that he has not satisfied all terms of his conditional reinstatement. He may attend team meetings and individual workouts but he is ineligible at this time to participate in practices or games.” Since the league had cleared Gordon the previous week, this news was a shock. Tom Pelissero offered more context, “#Seahawks WR Josh Gordon had a setback in his battle with substance abuse and now won’t be allowed to practice or play indefinitely, per sources. As @bcondotta reported, the NFL informed the team this morning Gordon hadn't complied with terms of his conditional reinstatement.” He followed it up with, “Just one day after Gordon returned to Seattle’s active roster, he's back where he was before: Allowed to be with the team, but not practice or play. The #Seahawks had cleared a roster spot to activate him Monday. All systems were a go until the new issue arose.” We are rooting for Gordon to get back on the field as soon as possible. He is supremely talented, and all reports he is a great guy to have in the locker room.
With many of his fellow rookies excelling, Antonio Gandy-Golden has been dinged up and has not been able to emerge. Saturday afternoon, Gandy-Golden was activated from the Reserve/Injured List. The Washington receiver has the physical attributes to be an NFL receiver. The rookie now has a couple of games to showcase his skills while Terry McLaurin is sidelined with an ankle injury. This is a team needing a second receiver to emerge and the rookie could be the guy.
If you would like to review our most recent Dynasty rankings, here is a link.