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We scour the news around the NFL to bring you what matters most for you and your dynasty team: the most current news on players, both superstars and the relative unknowns, and analysis to decipher the respective situations.
It was far from unexpected when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released quarterback Josh Freeman. After a hot start to the 2012 season, Freeman has not played well since. It was time for player and team to move in separate directions. We expect the former Kansas State star to land with a new team early in the week. The frontrunner was thought to be Oakland. He would give the Raiders depth at the position behind Terrelle Pryor. But, Freeman signed with the Minnesota Vikings.The Vikings wanted to ink Freeman to a two-year deal, but the quarterback wants to enter free agency this offseason. We fully expect him to start for Minnesota as early as week seven.
The hip injury Jake Locker suffered in week four was potentially career threatening. So, it was great news when Ed Werder reported that Locker should be out of action for only four-to-six weeks. Considering that the Tennessee bye week comes in week eight, the Titans could be without their starting quarterback for only three or four games. The injury caused no structural damage and the quarterback has already began rehabbing.
When Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback EJ Manuel went down against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night, it looked as though the knee injury could be serious. Local beat writers initially had the timetable for return at six-to-eight weeks. But, after a series of tests, Ian Rapoport reported that the injury was a LCL sprain and the rookie is expected to miss approximately six weeks. Manuel has played well this season and dynasty owners could use this injury as an opportunity to acquire the talented youngster at a reduced rate.
Minnesota Vikings beat writer Judd Zulgad reported last week that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has a fractured rib near his heart and should be back in three or four games. The Freeman signing makes this injury a non-issue. Ponder is not getting his job back.
After conflicting reports and much deliberation, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez decided last week to undergo surgery on his torn right labrum. This will keep Sanchez out of action for four-to-six months. Many expect the Jets to release the quarterback after the season since he will have not guaranteed money remaining on his deal. It was the guaranteed money that kept Sanchez on the Jets in 2013. He should surface as a backup next year.
The Thursday night game was not kind to the knees of the starting quarterbacks. Browns starter Brian Hoyer tore the ACL in his right knee and will be lost for the season. Hoyer had gained command of the Cleveland offense and was looking good before the injury. Brandon Weeden will now be back under center for the Browns, limiting the upside of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron.
After his poor performance against Washington in week four, Oakland head coach Dennis Allen blasted quarterback Matt Flynn to the media. Allen said, "Matt didn't play well, and we've gotta move on. We've got to get better than that." In practice the following week, Flynn was bumped all the way down to the Raiders third quarterback, behind undrafted rookie Matt McGloin. At this rate, Flynn will not get many more opportunities. Flynn will forever be remembered by fantasy owners as the quarterback who threw for six touchdowns in a week-seventeen game, helping some owners to huge fantasy super bowl titles.
Beat writer Jerry McDonald thinks Oakland Raiders tailback Darren McFadden will miss the week-six game versus the Kansas City Chiefs, with the bye week following to allow for more healing. The oft-injured McFadden has the talent to be special but the injuries limit his dynasty appeal.
The neck injury for Indianapolis Colts back Ahmad Bradshaw came as a surprise. The injury is serious as Bradshaw is considering surgery after receiving a second opinion, according to Adam Schefter. With such a big decision, expect Bradshaw to consider all of the options and to take a few more days before deciding on a course of action.
The New York Giants waived running back Da'Rel Scott last week even though Scott had been used heavily after Andre Brown went down to injury. Many thought this move would indicate a step forward for rookie Michael Cox, but coach Tom Coughlin squashed the notion. Coughlin said the rookie is not ready for an increased role. This leaves David Wilson and Brandon Jacobs to battle for carries. Coughlin is stubborn and will play Jacobs more than he should considering the talent gap between the two runners.
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes injured his hamstring in week four. He did not practice at all during last week, and was quickly ruled out of the Monday night game. Beat writer Rich Cimini reported that the Holmes "could be looking at a month" before coming back to the field. Holmes will be a free agent after the season and will certainly not be back with the Jets.
The San Diego Chargers placed wide receiver Malcom Floyd on injured reserve with a neck injury. He suffered the injury in week two and was thought to be returning shortly. Maybe, the Chargers needed the roster spot. While still able to get open down the field, his age (32) and injury history may lead San Diego to letting the veteran depart in the offseason. The Chargers have good young receivers and will look to build through the draft.
The New England Patriots signed free agent receiver Austin Collie last week in an attempt to add depth to a position loaded with rookies and injury-prone veterans. We do not expect Collie to make a splash; he still lacks play-making ability and has a lengthy concussion history.
Last week, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh expressed frustration with the lack of progression in tight end Ed Dickson, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun. Harbaugh said, "He’s not the same player right now than he was then obviously … Ed just needs to go catch the ball. Make it easy: Run fast, get open and catch the football, put it away and get upfield." Dickson has struggled to get open and to catch the ball. He has been plagued by dropped passes this year, which is not good for a player entering free agency after the season. The young tight end responded with a decent game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday.
Last week against the Atlanta Falcons, tight end Zach Sudfeld saw very few snaps for the the New England Patriots. So, it was not a huge surprise when he was released early in the week. The Patriots arch rival, the New York Jets, claimed Sudfeld off waivers. The athletic tight end was one of the big stories of preseason as he flashed big upside. The Jets, needing young talent, are a great fit.
Injuries to monitor this week:
EJ Manuel: Knee
David Wilson: Neck
Steven Jackson: Quad/thigh
Ahmad Bradshaw: Neck
James Starks: Knee
Chris Ivory: Hamstring
Roddy White: Ankle
Vincent Jackson: Rib
Miles Austin: Hamstring
Jordan Reed: Quadriceps
If you have questions of any variety, please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIn, Google+, or in the Wannabee thread in the Assistant Coach Forum.