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.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk had a long-form update on the status and future of quarterback Deshaun Watson. Florio mentions how Watson was almost a Miami Dolphin. Miami has won six consecutive games to land at 7-7. If Tua Tagovailoa can get the Dolphins to the playoffs, it might be difficult for the team to acquire Watson. According to Florio, “Per a source with knowledge of the situation, 18 of the 22 plaintiffs suing Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson for sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions were ready to settle with him in late October. Four holdouts prevented a deal from being done. In turn, that prevented the Dolphins from trading for Watson. Miami owner Stephen Ross wanted Watson, but only if Watson settled all of the pending civil actions. Without 22 of 22 resolving their claims, the Dolphins wouldn’t do the deal.” Drama may ensure this offseason in Miami. Florio added, “The Panthers would have traded for Watson without a civil settlement. However, Watson decided not to waive his no-trade clause for a ticket to Carolina.” The veteran quarterback still has the power to choose his destination. Adding another layer to the conversation, Watson’s salary jumps from $10.5 million guaranteed to $35 million guaranteed this offseason. There will still be ample interest, but the fervor will increase if Watson’s legal predicament goes away via settlements.
Fantasy managers had hopes that Giovani Bernard would be fantasy-viable in a passing-game role this season. It never came to pass as Leonard Fournette emerged as the every-down back and has been active in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers passing game. Bernard will likely test free agency in the offseason after only catching 23 passes in 2021. He makes an under-the-radar fantasy acquisition this offseason.
Antonio Brown has missed several games with injury and now suspension. Last Tuesday, reporters asked coach Bruce Arians about Brown. The coach said Brown’s future “could go either way” whether the team retains the play-making receiver or releases him. The fake vaccination card did not endear Brown to his coaching staff and likely diminished the trust he had within the organization. Given Brown’s on-field performance, it is likely that he is retained through this season – and possibly next year - as the Buccaneers make a Super Bowl push. The Sunday night injuries to Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin should give Brown ample fantasy opportunity for success. Fournette and Evans left the game with hamstring injuries and were quickly ruled out for the game. Godwin suffered a gruesome-looking knee injury in the first half of the contest. The Tampa Bay weapons dissipated quickly for quarterback Tom Brady.
After seeking a second opinion, DeAndre Hopkins pursued surgery to repair his torn MCL. Ian Rapoport tweeted the update, “The full story on #AZCardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins having surgery imminently, why it was the only option to stabilize his knee after several consultations and his expected return in 6 weeks.” This puts him back on the field around the NFC Conference Championship Game. Hopkins will close the regular season without topping the 100-yard mark even once and suffering through a disappointing season from a production standpoint. Hopkins will be replaced in the lineup by Antoine Wesley. Wesley has a chance to shine until Hopkins gets back.
New York Giants receiver Sterling Shepard went down to a non-contact injury in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Beat reporter, Jordan Schultz tweeted an update on Shepard’s condition, “League sources: #Giants believe WR Sterling Shepard has suffered a torn Achilles, after a non-contact injury. Shep was carted off the field. The team will get him immediate medical observation, with the hope that it’s a less severe injury.” Surgery will occur very soon and Shepard’s 2022 outlook does not look good. He turns 29 years of age in February and has a long recovery in front of him. Making matters worse, the Giants have an “out clause” in Shepard’s contract this offseason, which may permit the team to cut Shepard loose. The emergence of rookie Kadarius Toney will not help Shepard’s chances. With a long injury history, and no assurance of future health, Shepard will likely be playing elsewhere in 2022.
Adam Schefter was the first to report on the Lions losing star tight end T.J. Hockenson for the season, “Lions’ Pro Bowl TE T.J. Hockenson underwent thumb surgery this morning with the renowned hand-specialist Dr. Thomas Graham, and is expected to make a complete recovery in time for the off-season program, sources tell ESPN. But Hockenson’s 2021 is over.” Detroit is not chasing wins so the loss will mainly be felt by the fantasy community. Without an emerging backup option, the Lions will lean more on rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown. He has led the team in targets the past three games and should see a strong finish to his initial professional season. For Hockenson, his numbers were disappointing, totally just 596 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns on the season.
When Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr’s head bounced off the turf in the first half of Thursday night’s loss, it was obvious that the situation was serious. He soon was transported to the UCLA Medical Center for observation and tests, imaging and evaluation. His season – and possible career – are in jeopardy. Dr. Chris Nowinski, Ph.D. tweeted out, “I've spoken to multiple brain injury experts and no one is confident in the diagnosis for Donald Parham Jr Jr.'s shaking arms here based on this video. But it's not good. The team at @ConcussionLF is hoping for the best possible outcome.” Friday, the team tweeted, “Update: Tight End Donald Parham Jr Jr. stayed overnight at UCLA Harbor Medical Center for observation after being diagnosed with a concussion. He is resting comfortably, alert and will likely be discharged from the hospital later today.” On Friday evening, Parham, tweeted out a “thumbs up” picture with the following verbiage, “I’m all good errbody … you know can’t nothing hold a real one down! … But, I appreciate all the love and support from everyone … it means so much to me and my family to know so many people are thinking about me and my well being! And, God has a plan for my life and so just know I’m coming back better than before! Bolt Up!” He was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. Like many other injuries, the general public will not fully understand the extent of Parham’s brain injury. In his stead, veteran Jared Cook saw an uptick in targets. Stephen Anderson will be next in line.
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