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Saturday, Adam Schefter an update on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray, “Cardinals’ quarterback Kyler Murray is not expected to come off the Physically Unable to Perform list when he becomes eligible Monday and still is considered weeks away from playing, league sources told ESPN.” We are entering Week 5, and he is still weeks away. The team may want to see how they are doing before making that decision. With a 1-3 record, it might be advantageous to keep Murray out the entire season as he recovers from the horrific knee injury. The longer it takes for Murray to get back on the field, the more attractive he becomes as a potential dynasty trade target for teams out of the playoff race. The Cardinals should be in a position to draft a quarterback high in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Deshaun Watson’s shoulder injury surprised many fantasy managers last Friday. Beat reporter Scott Petrak gave some context, “Deshaun Watson threw a couple of easy passes then stopped Friday during the portion of practice open to reporters. He’s been dealing with a sore right shoulder all week, talked with head athletic trainer Joe Sheehan, and dribbled the ball but didn’t resume throwing during the 20 minutes watched by reporters … Watson didn’t throw Wednesday to rest the shoulder and threw short passes with reduced velocity Thursday when reporters watched. He was listed as a limited participant both days.” In case you are wondering how he was injured, Watson took a big shot to the shoulder on a keeper midway through the third quarter of a lopsided victory over the Titans. Shoulder injuries for quarterbacks are usually bad news. Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson is the backup after the Browns traded Joshua Dobbs to the Cardinals in the preseason. Thompson-Robinson played well in preseason and is a viable fantasy option if or when Watson misses time. He did not play well against a stout Ravens defense Sunday. The stage may have been too big for the rookie in his first start. The Browns have a bye week next on the schedule and hope Watson will be fine afterward. It is a situation we will continue to monitor.
Many dynasty managers are wondering how to handle the Jonathan Taylor situation. Will he continue to sit out once he is able to return in Week 5? From reports, Taylor is healthy. It is just the contract stuff that needs to be resolved. Colts beat reporter Destin Adams wrote last week regarding the Taylor situation that these teams inquired about a Taylor trade: Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Commanders. The Packers and Steelers are the most surprising on this list. Adams also had some interesting quotes from a team source, “We want him (Jonathan Taylor) to be a Colt for life. I think this entire situation has been blown out of proportion. We hope to get him on the field very soon and to see him play his best football to date. Contract extension talks normally flow naturally after that.” So, the situation may have been resolved if Irsay had remained in the shadows. The source went on to say this about the relationship between player and team, “Of course, it's repairable, at the end of the day, money talks right. And if this were a situation where the team didn't value the player, maybe I'd have a different opinion, but that's not the case. Everyone loves Jonathan here, and at the end of the day, like I said, we want him to be a Colt for life.” Appearing on the Rich Eisen Show, Tom Pelissero said, “My understanding has been, there's really been nothing close to this point to what the Colts would want.” Pelissero told Eisen that the asking price via trade is "roughly" equivalent to the value of a "high second-round pick." Lastly, Pelissero said. "Nobody's been close, doesn't mean something won't arise here... but as of right now, there's nothing imminent on a trade." Sunday morning, Ian Rapoport tweeted, “The #Colts plan to open the 21-day practice window for star RB Jonathan Taylor, who is on PUP. And trade talks have quieted...” Will Taylor show up when activated? Will the Colts try to re-sign him? Will a trade suitor emerge? This is a fluid situation that will likely be resolved – one way or the other – in the next two or three weeks. We are hopeful cooler heads will prevail. He would be dynamic in the Indianapolis offense with Anthony Richardson. This is the ideal time to trade for Taylor in dynasty leagues.
Schefter also gave a post-surgery update on Nick Chubb, “When doctors operated Friday on Browns' RB Nick Chubb's knee, they repaired his MCL and discovered that they still need to fix his ACL with an additional surgery, per the team. Estimated recovery time would allow Chubb to return during the 2024 season.” That is not a timeframe that dynasty managers desire. Deepak Chona, MD. (@SportsMedAnalytics on Twitter) added context, “Nick Chubb will almost def be back. ACL is the rate limiter. Likely wait ~6 weeks from this, do ACL surgery, then return at an avg of 10 months (Sept/Oct ‘24). Our data projects performance dip but return to ~90% by last third of ‘24 season. Long term data = not awesome but…” The problem is that Chubb will be close to his 29th birthday when he returns. This becomes a dicey situation for dynasty managers.
We take notice when players pop up on the injury report late in the week. One such player was tailback Elijah Mitchell of the San Francisco 49ers, who injured his knee in Thursday’s practice and missed the session on Friday. Though the team listed Mitchell as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, he really was not close to playing. Jordan Mason was the next player up behind Christian McCaffrey. In the victory over the Cardinals Sunday, Mason rushed for a meager 10 yards and had a 13-yard reception. If Mitchell is out for a prolonged period of time, Tyrion Davis-Price is worth a stash. McCaffrey has battled injuries himself throughout his career.
This is the week to look for players like Baltimore rookie running back Keaton Mitchell to return from injured reserve. All players on injured reserve are able to be activated this week. Though an undrafted rookie, Mitchell may end up being the best tailback on the Ravens roster. He injured his shoulder in a preseason game against the Washington Commanders. Though undersized, Mitchell had a great 2022 season at East Carolina, rushing for 1,452 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Los Angeles Rams star receiver Cooper Kupp is eligible to return from injured reserve this week. Coach Sean McVay told reporters that he “hopes” Kupp will be healthy enough to return and is making progress. Friday, Jourdan Rodrigue tweeted an update, “’He's practicing next week.’ Sean McVay, pretty firmly, on Cooper Kupp, whose 21-day activation window opens next week. Says he ‘100%’ factors in Kupp's opinion on how he feels re. game activation - won't be reckless, he says, but adds Kupp knows his own body.” Kupp will begin practicing this week, opening up the 21-day window for activation from injured reserve. The emergence of Puka Nacua will give quarterback Matthew Stafford a stellar receiving corps of Kupp, Nacua, and Tutu Atwell. It remains to be seen how McVay will incorporate Kupp and Nacua, but he is a great coach who should easily find ways to get each of them their requisite targets.
Cincinnati receiver Tee Higgins has not had a great start to the season. In the loss to the Titans, Higgins broke a rib and did not return. With the bye week still two weeks away in Week 7, we expect Higgins to be back after the bye. Tyler Boyd stepped up in Higgins' place and garnered seven targets Sunday. With the slow start to the season, Higgins makes a great trade target for dynasty managers.
The Detroit Lions should get a boost this week with receiver Jameson Williams reinstated last week. Williams missed much of his rookie season recovering from a knee injury and was suspended for the first four games of the season for gambling. Late last week, his suspension was reduced from six games to four as the NFL altered its gambling policies. The Lions offense looked great on Thursday night and now gets the speedy Williams back.
The New Orleans Saints released Tre'Quan Smith off injured reserve last week. Now healthy, he visited the receiver-needy Broncos late last week but left Denver without signing. Many of the beat reporters felt a signing was imminent due to the connection with Sean Payton, so it is curious that Smith was able to leave without signing. Smith offers size and speed and is a willing blocker. Last Friday, Broncos beat reporter Mike Klis tweeted an update, “Other teams have stepped up interest in free-agent WR Tre’Quan Smith but he is expected to sign with Broncos early next week, per source. #9sports.” He will likely be a Bronco. It may just be a matter of time.
The Miami Dolphins receiver depth chart took a hit last week. Adam Schefter tweeted, “Dolphins placed WR River Cracraft on injured reserve and WR Erik Ezukanma on the reserve/non-football injury list.” These moves came a day after Jaylen Waddle was removed from the concussion protocol. Braxton Berrios and Cedrick Wilson will battle for receiver targets behind Waddle and Tyreek Hill.
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