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.
Fantasy managers must be thoughtful in how they consume the news bites. For example, last week, Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that he did not have a timeline for quarterback Dak Prescott to resume throwing. So, there is no timeline for him to begin throwing, not to mention stepping foot back on the field for a game. The coach went on to say that there is still some swelling in the thumb. The very next day, Ian Rapoport reported that Week 6 is Prescott’s "the most realistic" return date. With the Rams next on the schedule and the Eagles slated for Week 6, Dallas is anxious to have their star back under center. While Cooper Rush has played passably, these next two games will be tough to win without Prescott. Until the swelling goes down, it will be difficult to put a timetable on his return. Even though the talking heads have predicted a return as early as this Sunday, we will know more when the swelling subsides.
The concussion of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was a hot topic following the Week 3 game against Buffalo. After his departure from the Thursday night game against Cincinnati, we expect Tagovailoa to miss at least one or two games. It was heart-wrenching to see his hands in the “fencing” position. Friday, coach Mike McDaniel told reporters that there is no timetable for Tagovailoa’s return. McDaniel said that Tagovailoa was experiencing headaches and had undergone an MRI, CT Scan, and x-rays. The coach said, "I'm not even thinking about timetables as a player. It's about Tua as a person. We're just worried about him getting healthy and getting all of the testing done. We'll cross the bridge on timetables." Teddy Bridgewater came on in relief of Tagovailoa and played better than expected. The McDaniel offense made Jimmy Garoppolo look good and can do the same for Bridgewater. Additionally, the veteran passer threw the ball down the field more than he had in the recent past. Bridgewater is a viable fantasy QB2 while Tagovailoa works back to the field. But, the story should be about the youngster’s recovery. Concussions and brain injuries are serious and should be treated as such.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston missed the Week 4 game with a back injury. He tried to play through the injury in Week 3 but played poorly so it was time to rest him. An already erratic quarterback, asking him to play through broken bones in his back is asking too much. Back injuries are unpredictable and this is one to monitor in SuperFlex and two-quarterback leagues. The Saints offense misses Sean Payton more than Drew Brees. Even with a cache of weapons, New Orleans is struggling to consistently move the ball.
Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor left the loss to the Titans late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury that was later described as a high-ankle sprain. The tailback has yet to get things going this season. In Sunday’s contest, he gained just 42 yards on 20 carries. Indianapolis plays on Thursday night at Denver, so we should know more about Taylor’s game availability early in the week. Monday morning, Ian Rapoport indicated that the injury is not thought to be serious. Nyheim Hines will have a larger role Thursday, especially if Taylor misses. He will be in no shape to carry the full load with the ankle injury even if playing. While hyped in the offseason, Hines has yet to have a big outing, and the primetime game against the Broncos could provide the optimal opportunity.
Another hot running back this offseason left the stadium on crutches, Javonte Williams. Williams exited the loss to the Las Vegas Raiders and did not return. He injured his right knee in the third quarter. The budding star saw the vast majority of the early-game action, indicating a larger role on the horizon. Melvin Gordon III only had three carries in the game. Gordon steps into the lead role, with Mike Boone playing a complementary role. Monday, the extent of the injury was reported to be a torn ACL and LCL. Boone has some weekly fantasy upside with Gordon’s fumbles and recent injury history.
While we have written about preparing for the return of Gus Edwards to the Baltimore Ravens backfield due to the past-their-prime placeholders in Mike Davis and Kenyon Drake, Justice Hill has played well enough to possibly have a long-term role in the Baltimore offense. After the Week 3 victory, coach John Harbaugh told reporters that the former Oklahoma State star ran "like a star running back." That is high praise. Harbaugh went on to say, "I thought Justice Hill really stepped up … He was kinda the bell cow today. He made some exceptional runs. He and I have been talking about that for a couple of weeks -- he was gonna break out and run like a star running back, and he did." Yes, J.K. Dobbins was in his first game back from injury and needed help carrying the load, but given his presence on the weekly injury report, Hill and Edwards are great, inexpensive stashes in dynasty as each has proven ability and in a run-heavy offense. Against the Bills, both Dobbins and Hill looked good before Hill left the game with a non-contact leg injury. Dobbins had his pre-injury juice and scored twice against Buffalo. If Hill misses time, Dobbins should step into a larger, three-down role until Edwards returns.
Tennessee Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of the victory over the Indianapolis Colts. He left the locker room on crutches and in a walking boot. The initial reports depicted a foot injury for Burks. Most foot injuries take at least a few weeks to heal. If the rookie misses time, veteran Robert Woods would step into a larger role. This is a situation to monitor as the week progresses. The team will put Burks through a myriad of imaging this week. He was diagnosed with turf toe. We do not know the severity as of yet.
An injury that did not get much publicity after Week 3 was Michael Thomas’ toe injury. He was ruled out a couple of days before the Week-4 matchup against the Vikings in London. Toe injuries, especially turf toe, take a few weeks to fully recover. The veteran receiver seemed to have regained his pre-injury form this season so this is just a minor setback on his 2022 season. With Andy Dalton under center for the contest, Thomas’ big-play ability was missed.
When the history records are complete, there will be an asterisk next to the name of Sterling Shepard as he has flashed talent throughout his career but battled through injuries far too frequently. After coming back from injury to play in 2022, Shepard tore his ACL in Week 3 and will now miss the remainder of the season. With the Shepard injury and the disappearance of Kenny Golladay from relevance, the void opens a huge opportunity for Kadarius Toney – if he can ever get healthy from his hamstring injury – and veteran Richie James. Toney will have ample chance to prove his doubters wrong this season. Brimming with talent and play-making ability, the situation is set up for him to succeed.
Ian Rapoport reported Monday bad news on Jamison Crowder’s injury, “#Bills WR Jamison Crowder suffered a broken ankle in Sunday’s dramatic win over the #Ravens, source said. He’ll have additional tests to see what other damage went along with it, but Crowder is now out indefinitely.” We expect the veteran pass catcher to go on injured reserve and miss the remainder of the season. He will be 30 years of age and an unrestricted free agent before taking the field again, Crowder still can add value as a reliable slot receiver. His absence should open up more playing time for Isaiah McKenzie.
Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich created a buzz in training camp, especially after the Broncos included Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson trade. Last week, coach Nathaniel Hackett told reporters that the youngster has a "good chance" to practice this coming week. This will start his clock for return from injured reserve for a hamstring injury. No, it does not mean Dulcich will immediately be activated. Rather, it is a good sign for his recovery. Albert Okwuegbunam has not played well enough to keep Dulcich off the field upon his return. Rather, we suggest dynasty managers stash him now as Dulcich has a great chance to see meaningful playing time down the stretch.
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