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.
While it was assumed that Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was not playing in Week5 due to the concussions, it was surprising to see coach Mike McDaniel tell reporters that his star passer was “not going on IR today or tomorrow” and that the team is “still gathering information.” With the increased scrutiny, it may be a few weeks before we see Tagovailoa again. He had the Dolphins offense humming along, and his presence was missed against the Jets. When healthy, Teddy Bridgewater is a better-than-average backup but does not throw deep like Tagovailoa. Bridgewater exited the loss to the Jets Sunday with an apparent concussion. He is expected to be cleared to play this coming week. Rookie Skylar Thompson was not effective and the offense looked lost without a viable passer.
Mac Jones may still be a week away from returning to the field. His ankle injury has kept him sidelined for two games already. Yes, he hobbled around in practice last week, but that is a far cry from playing quarterback with 300-pound defenders trying to crush you. Last week, the Patriots placed the backup quarterback Brian Hoyer on injured reserve with a concussion. He will miss at least three more games. Stepping into the New England starting role is rookie Bailey Zappe. The Patriots selected Zappe in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He set records at Western Kentucky last year with 5,967 passing yards and 62 touchdowns. In the victory over the Detroit Lions Sunday, Zappe completed 17-of-21 pass attempts for 188 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. He played surprisingly well, even though the Lions have a poor defense. Zappe will not “Wally Pipp” Jones, but has a great chance to become the long-term clipboard holder behind him.
Monday afternoon, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “#Panthers QB Baker Mayfield suffered a high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s game, sources say. That means he’ll miss time, but how much will be determined by more tests and opinions. PJ Walker in line to start at QB this week vs. the #Rams.” Sam Darnold is on injured reserve, so Mayfield’s injury sets up P.J. Walker to start. With head coach Matt Rhule fired earlier on Monday, the offense with Walker may look much different this week. The Panthers have decent weapons, but the offensive line is horrible. Oddly, Walker is only in Carolina (same for receiver Robbie Anderson) because he played for Rhule in college.
The Baltimore Ravens have suffered through running back injuries the past two seasons. With J.K. Dobbins now healthy, the offense has improved from the veteran fillers of Mike Davis and Kenyan Drake. Justice Hill also shined before injuring his hamstring in Week 4. He missed the Sunday night matchup against the Bengals. Dobbins could soon get help soon in the form of Gus Edwards, who is scheduled to return from the reserve/PUP list in the next couple of weeks. Once the trio is all healthy – if that is even possible – we expect a split in carries and touches. When healthy, Edwards has been impressive. He is a player to acquire from the waiver wire if available. The same goes for Hill. The Ravens love to run the ball, and the healthy back or backs will be fantasy-viable in the second half of the season.
Seattle Seahawks tailback Rashaad Penny suffered an ankle injury and did not return against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Penny was playing well pre-injury with 54 yards on just 8 carries. He left the locker room in a walking boot, indicating a potentially-substantial injury. After the game, coach Pete Carroll told reporters that Penny had a “serious ankle injury.” Ian Rapoport later reported that the injury was a broken fibula. Penny requires surgery and will miss the remainder of the season. Just completing his fifth season as a professional, Penny has flashed immense talent but has battled injuries every season. He should be healed by next summer but will be a free agent. We expect Penny to sign a one-year “prove-it” deal similar to the one he signed prior to the 2022 campaign. With his injury history, a long-term deal laden with guarantees does not seem likely. No matter what is said publicly, the Seahawks were worried about Penny’s long-term health. This is why they drafted Ken Walker in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the 41st overall selection. The Seattle offense is playing well and Walker should be considered a fantasy starter going forward.
The subject of much discussion during training camp, Tennessee Titans placed rookie receiver Treylon Burks on injured reserve with a left toe injury. We will not see him back on the field until at least November. The Titans will rely even more on the rushing attack, anchored by Derrick Henry. The injury and lack of strong numbers open the door to acquire Burks on the cheap for those who believe in his talent. There have been flashes of brilliance.
Talking to reporters last week, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said that rookie receiver Jameson Williams has begun picking up the pace of his rehabilitation over the past three weeks. He is eyeing a return after the team’s Week 6 bye. This indicates Williams has not encountered a setback and is on pace to return very soon. ACL recoveries are commonplace now and teams know how to get players back sooner than ever before. Williams would add to an already explosive Detroit offense. Quarterback Jared Goff could win fantasy championships with his elite weapons.
New York Giants coach Brian Daboll told reporters last week that receiver Kadarius Toney hurt his “other” hamstring while trying to return from a hamstring injury to the other leg. If it is not one thing, it is another for Toney. Laden with speed and ability, Toney has struggled to get – and stay – on the field. He did not make the trip to London. As a reminder, Toney was in Daboll’s doghouse to begin the season and then injured his hamstring. Now, the other hamstring is injured. If nothing else, acquiring the second-year receiver in dynasty leagues is getting easier and cheaper by the day.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offense has been a mess this season. The quarterback change helps. So will be the addition of rookie Calvin Austin. He is set to practice soon, opening the 21-day window for his return from a foot injury that placed him on injured reserve. Though undersized by NFL standards, Austin’s speed and play-making ability will add another dimension to Pittsburgh’s offense and special teams. The Steelers locked up Diontae Johnson before the season and drafted George Pickens and Austin to surround fellow rookie Kenny Pickett with viable weapons.
Last week, the New England Patriots designated rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton to return from injured reserve. He was officially activated before Sunday’s game. The rookie only caught two short passes in the game but was on the field often. He is a great player to add as we expect Thornton’s role to grow. He played more than DeVante Parker in Sunday’s victory. Thornton broke his collarbone in the team’s second preseason game and was promptly placed on injured reserve. While raw, the rookie has ample opportunity to make an impact with the other receivers not playing especially well. He has something – speed – that the other receivers lack.
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