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 are not meant to be an exhaustive look at all the recent happenings around the league.
Saturday afternoon, Adam Schefter broke the news about the future of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, “Ben Roethlisberger privately has told former teammates and some within the organization that he expects this to be his final season playing quarterback for the Steelers, league sources told ESPN.” In the upset victory over the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Roethlisberger played well, completing 21 of his 31 pass attempts for 236 yards and two scores. The Steelers are set up to win but will not be in a position to draft a quarterback in the top half of the first round so the team will likely either pursue a quarterback via trade or free agency. Aaron Rodgers landing in Pittsburgh would be the dream scenario.
Fantasy managers are clamoring to see more of rookie quarterback Trey Lance, but head coach Kyle Shanahan has resisted because he likes getting in a play-calling rhythm. Shanahan told reporters, “What’s been hard on me ... is when you do bring in a different quarterback who gets a different set of plays, it’s almost the first play I’ve been seeing of a new defense … (it) kind of hurts my rhythm a little bit." In fairness, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has played decently, well enough to keep Lance at bay for the remainder of the year. We expect to see the rookie if or when the 49ers are eliminated from the playoffs. The third-overall-pick will have to wait his turn. Hopefully, this is a quality learning opportunity to sit behind a veteran and learn the Shanahan system. Still brimming with upside, Lance is a future fantasy starter. It just may not be until 2022.
Many had high expectations entering the season for rookie Trey Sermon. He missed his chance while the injuries mounted and finally ceded to fellow-rookie Elijah Mitchell. Sermon was carted off the field with an ankle injury in the Week-12 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, leaving Jeffrey Wilson as the lone depth behind Mitchell. Sermon was placed on injured reserve over the weekend. It is too soon to know whether Sermon will make it back to the field this season. Mitchell has looked strong and should be considered the favorite to be the 2022 starter at tailback.
Kenyan Drake went down with an ankle injury in the loss to Washington. Sunday night, Ian Rapoport tweeted an update on his status, “#Raiders RB Kenyan Drake suffered a broken ankle in today’s game, sources say, and he is out for the season. Drake, the team’s second-leading rusher, was ruled out quickly in the loss to the Washington Football Team.” He is guaranteed $5,5 million in 2022 so Drake is very likely to be back in Las Vegas next season. He has suffered numerous ankle injuries throughout his career, but this is the most serious. Drake will be 28 years of age soon. He will be replaced by Jalen Richard in the passing game.
Many thought regression would be what brings Adam Thielen’s fantasy numbers down to earth. He was scoring touchdowns at a torrid pace. But, it was a high-ankle sprain suffered in the loss to the Detroit Lions that will move the veteran pass-catcher down the ranks. He will miss a few games. He was injured early in the quarter after hauling in a screen pass that went for no gain. He tried to fight through the injury to no avail. K.J. Osborn and Dede Westbrook will see an uptick in targets. With the Thursday night game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Minnesota Vikings could see their playoff hopes dwindle further in a short time. Expect Justin Jefferson to be surrounded by defenders as he is the lone offensive weapon as Thielen and Dalvin Cook are sidelined.
Adam Schefter was the first to break the news that Tampa Bay receiver Antonio Brown has been suspended for three games for submitting a fake vaccination card. After a strong start to the season, Brown has missed most of the year with ankle and heel injuries. The soonest he can return is Week 16. It is good news for fantasy managers of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Godwin is a free agent after the season so the Brown suspension may make the team rethink his departure. Brown was recruited to Tampa Bay by Tom Brady. Coach Bruce Arians told reporters that Brown’s status with the team “has not been decided.” Now is a time for contrition and getting healthy to be ready for the Buccaneers playoff run. To replace Brown, the team signed Breshad Perriman from the practice squad. Perriman is a quality veteran who also played in Week 11 for the team. He had three targets in the Buccaneers' victory over the Falcons in Week 13. Brown’s absence is a bummer for those in fantasyland but is a matter of trust for teammates and coaches.
Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas returned to play just a couple of weeks ago from injured reserve. He battled a hamstring injury for most of the season. In the fourth quarter of the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Thomas went down after taking a helmet to the knee. He was having a quality game before exiting. His backup, Ricky Seals-Jones, missed the Week 13 game with a hip injury. Rookie John Bates filled in after Thomas departed. Sunday night, Adam Schefter tweeted an update, “Washington believes TE Logan Thomas “likely” tore his ACL and MCL during today’s win over Las Vegas, per source. Thomas will undergo further testing to confirm the injury after the team returns to Washington.” This is a brutal injury for the veteran. He will likely miss much of the 2022 season, too. The Washington starting tight end has been fantasy viable this season, especially with Taylor Heinicke under center. With Thomas’ uncertain 2022, rostering both Seals-Jones and Bates is a wise fantasy move. Opposing defenses are giving star receiver Terry McLaurin plenty of attention and the quarterback favors short passes in the middle of the field. Plus, the injury will give Bates a golden opportunity to prove he should be the 2022 starter in training camp.
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