Dynasty Implications
By Jeff Tefertiller
June 30th, 2010

This was a weekly feature during the season. During the offseason, we will be looking at the dynasty implications from some of the most recent events and identify some winners and losers for dynasty leagues. The focus will be on the players with recent injury situations or change in situations during the past week. The injury news of depth chart pecking order will begin to pick up shortly with training camps right around the corner.

Last week, Adam Schefter, one of the NFL's most plugged in reporters stated that "he would not be surprised" if Derek Anderson beats out Matt Leinart for the Arizona starting quarterback job. This is a huge situation to watch as it effects so many players for fantasy purposes. Craig Morgan, from CBSSports.com, reported last week that Arizona must find out soon what QB Matt Leinart can do because his salary will increase almost $5 million to $7.4 million in 2011. He's also due for a roster bonus of $5.5 million. That is a huge jump. Talk about a lot of money for an average NFL quarterback. In OTAs, Anderson was reportedly "both impressive and erratic". That is the best any Anderson owner can hope for. With the way he sprays the ball around the field, there is little chance Anderson can hold onto the starting gig long term. I expect Leinart to open the preseason as the starter, with a great chance to start week one. From there, he will need to limit mistakes and win games.

With the recent news of a shooting at Michael Vick's birthday party, dynasty owners need to think how to capitalize. Rookie Mike Kafka would stand to benefit. After the trading of Donovan McNabb to Washington, Philadelphia has only Vick and the newcomer behind starter Kevin Kolb. Kafka does not possess the strongest of arms but has decent accuracy on the shorter routes. He also is athletic and a threat to run. In the deeper leagues, Kafka might be a player to stash, especially through the preseason to see how Kolb and Vick handle their new roles.

The dynasty value of Seattle running back Justin Forsett keeps going higher and higher. After the Seahawks released LenDale White, coach Pete Carroll stated that the starting running back job remains "wide open," with Justin Forsett and Julius Jones splitting first-team reps a couple of weeks ago. Anyone who has watched much football can easily see that Jones is a shadow of his once overrated self while Forsett shows play-making ability. It should be more than obvious to a coach as knowledgeable as Carroll as to the talent of each back. The use of Jones may merely be because the coach is unsure as to Forsett's ability to shoulder the load as the primary ball carrier.

There has been conjecture most of the offseason that the Buffalo Bills could trade malcontent running back Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks. Considering Seattle will need to rely on Julius Jones, it is easy to see why they might be interested. But, Adam Schefter reported a couple of weeks ago that he thinks that Marshawn Lynch will be a Bill this season. His reasoning is that Buffalo is not going to trade him unless they get a great offer because Lynch is under contract for two more years at a relatively inexpensive price. As long as Lynch remains a Bill, the more of a muddled mess in Buffalo and the better chance Forsett has a big season in Seattle.

The last two offseasons have seen dynasty owners clamoring to acquire the incoming rookie who would backup Frank Gore. No way would San Francisco continue to use their stud ball carrier so heavily, right? Well, 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco believes the 49ers will struggle to incorporate another back into the offense as long as Frank Gore stays healthy. That is the key. Coffee and Dixon only have value if Gore is injured ... and that remains a possibility with his injury history. But, the good news for Gore owners is that he will get the majority of carries as long as he continues to be durable. Keeping the talented back on the field are his receiving ability and willingness in pass protection.

The running back situation in Dallas continues to be a mystery. The Cowboys are blessed to have three talented ball carriers on their roster. But, what will happen over the next few years? Who will be the starter? Anything could happen, but ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon speculates that 2010 will be Marion Barber's last season with the Cowboys. MacMahon is plugged into the Cowboys so this is not conjecture on his part. His reasoning is that Barber will be expensive to keep another season if the performance on the field is not there. He is due $4.25 million in 2011. The key for the hard-running Barber is health, not talent. Dallas running back coach Skip Peete revealed this offseason that Marion Barber played the last 13 games of the 2009 season with a torn left quadriceps muscle. My, that sounds painful. "He still has a hole in it," Peete said. The week two injury was originally called a "strain". Barber is a tough guy, playing through the injury. Also playing a role in Barber's future will be the play of Felix Jones. It is anyone's guess as to their respective roles this year. If you are looking to acquire Barber or trade him away, remember that he could be playing elsewhere in 2011 if 2010 is a repeat of last season.

Another difficult running game to predict is the one in New York. The Giants' tailbacks, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, are each coming off injury-plagued seasons. Fantasy owners are left not knowing which to target this offseason. There have been some, including ESPN.com's Matt Mosley who believe Bradshaw is "capable of being the best running back in the division" if he's back to 100 percent this summer. The worry for him is the injuries. Coming into the 2009 season, Bradshaw had not eclipsed 70 carries in a professional season. Then, when getting one hundred more than the previous high, Bradshaw is nicked up most of the season.

It is funny how LaDainian Tomlinson is now saying, per ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, how the Jets have given him an opportunity to start. Tomlinson said, "I think the best man is gonna win the starting job," and "I'm tired of being doubted by so many people about what I can do." Many of those doubters are the same ones who watched the painfully slow Tomlinson last season. The New York Post reported that one anonymous NFL GM said, "If you watch the films from the end of last year, [he] had nothing left." The offseason camps have proven that last year's version of Tomlinson was reality. The Post went on to say that Tomlinson looked three steps slow at minicamp. ESPN New York writer Rich Cimini confirmed the Tomlinson offseason performance. Cimini pointed out how the future Hall of Famer failed to stand out in the spring. The Jets could be in quite the pickle. Do they rely on a youngster with 109 career regular season carries or an aging veteran past his prime? Rookie Joe McKnight will fight to get on the field. Dynasty owners are encouraged to either pursue Greene or leave the situation along. I expect the Jets to add a play-making complement next offseason. The team could miss Leon Washington, and possibly Thomas Jones, much more than expected.

For a team not known for its passing game, the wide receiver corps of the Jacksonville Jaguars has gotten a lot of press this spring. First, it was Troy Williamson making a statement to start. He was thought to be battling second-year player Mike Thomas for the opportunity to to line up across from Mike Sims-Walker. But, as many would expect, Williamson is really on the outside looking in. Now, the reports have Thomas battling Jarett Dillard for the gig. This is Thomas' job to lose. He is the Pac 10's all time leading receiver for a reason and can make plays. Many question Thomas due to his size, but he makes plays after the catch .... something Dillard struggles with. With the injury history of Sims-Walker, Thomas is a guy to target this offseason. His middling rookie campaign should help keep the price down for prospective suitors.

Kenny Britt has had a disappointing spring. He admits to having a "horrible" offseason in terms of both consistency and work ethic. "I am disappointed in myself," he admitted. "I know I have to get better. They expect me to get better. And that's what I plan on doing." Britt is still very young and has a huge ceiling if he get healthy and limit the mental mistakes. The questions about this offseason will only serve to lower the asking price in dynasty leagues. Britt showed flashes of talent last season. One limiting factor will be the play of quarterback Vince Young. It will be difficult to get overly excited about Britt as long as Young is under center. But, let's remember that Britt is younger than many of the incoming rookies and has shown ability. This may be the time to buy if you are a believer.

It is close to being official. James Hardy is a flop ... a bust ... a disappointment. Whatever you want to call him, the former Indiana star has failed to emerge from an average group of NFL receivers in Buffalo. Hardy looked out of shape on the practice field at Buffalo's recent round of minicamps. Hardy is coming off an offseason sports hernia surgery, which prevented him from working out for a few weeks. It would be different if he had shown talent before. Steve Johnson is now the favorite to start opposite Lee Evans. Johnson also was the starter at OTAs a few weeks backs. Rookie Marcus Easley has talent but does not seem likely to start until midseason, at the earliest. One deep sleeper is undrafted rookie David Nelson. The former Florida Gator saw a few reps with the Bills' first-team offense during OTAs. Johnson is still the favorite to start, with Easley the long-term option.

No team has turned over their wide receiver corps this offseason more than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With a young starting quarterback in Josh Freeman, it will not be a surprise to see the offense out of synch at times this coming season. The Buccaneers drafted Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams in Aprils' NFL Draft. Even though Benn was drafted higher, it has been Williams who has impressed in the early going. NFL.com's Steve Wyche, said the Tampa Bay coaches "have big plans" for rookie wide receiver Mike Williams. He further noted that Williams offers "the more vertical threat" in comparison to the higher drafted Benn. The St. Petersburg Times reported that Williams is in front of Benn after spring practices. This is not surprising considering that Benn has suffered through an ankle injury. The time he missed was invaluable. It is difficult enough for rookie wide receivers to make an impact, even if healthy. Dynasty owners should expect Williams to have the superior rookie season with Benn making plays the last half of the season. Also in the mix in Tampa Bay is Reggie Brown. The Buccaneers traded for the ex-Georgia star to add depth. He has been a pleasant surprise so far. In fact, it would not surprise some to see Williams and Brown as the starters to begin the season.

With the way Aaron Rodgers throws the football, the young pass catchers in Green Bay are attractive dynasty targets. James Jones and Jordy Nelson could break out in a big way this season. Donald Driver is coming off knee surgeries to both knees. It is amazing how durable he has been over the years. Driver is 35 years old and will not be able to keep up the pace much longer. The injury bug will get him soon enough. There is much rhetoric coming out of the Packer camp this offseason. Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy described backup receivers James Jones and Jordy Nelson's offseasons as "outstanding." The coach also said "Jones may be most productive on the team." But, Packer beat writer Greg Bedard called Nelson "the new Driver" for his strong camp a couple of weeks back. When the time comes for Driver to hang it up, or be put out to pasture, there will be a battle for the starting job across from Greg Jennings.

The Philadelphia Inquirer guarantees Brent Celek will catch at least 75 catches this coming year. The Eagle tight end is close with new Eagle passer Kevin Kolb. Their strong rapport was reportedly obvious during spring camps. This prediction is not that far-fetched considering that Celek did catch 76 balls last year. It is amazing that the big tight end had three 100-yard games in 2009. Also, he finished second among tight ends in catches of 20 yards or more, only trailing Antonio Gates in the category. For a player who does not possess the athletic ability of others at the position, it is pretty incredible that Celek had 16 plays of 20, or more, yards. His friendship with Kolb could propel Celek to another huge season. At only 25 years of age, he is a tight end to target this offseason.

Shawn Nelson suffered through his rookie season with little fanfare. He is athletic and can make big plays after the catch, as evidenced by the touchdown dive in week one. Nelson is expected to be the Bills' starting tight end, according to the Buffalo News. He is on the waiver wire in many dynasty leagues. With Terrell Owens now departed, there could be opportunity for the youngster to make a splash in the passing game. Nelson is an over-sized wide receiver playing tight end who struggles in the blocking aspect of the position.

Rookie Tony Moeaki impressed during the early camps. He earned the respect of his teammates in the OTAs. He is easily the best offensive threat at the position and is displaying good hands. Moeaki made the catch of the day in consecutive practices, causing teammates to begin chanting "MOO-AHH-KEYYYYYY". The rookie is very athletic and talented. The only knock on him is the injuries. Moeaki is a player to acquire on the cheap this summer before he makes plays in the season. Like most rookie tight ends, Moeaki will struggle with consistency this year. But, the talent is there.

Jacksonville Jaguar tight end Zach Miller was a sleeper candidate at the end of the 2009 season, but the converted quarterback has battled a foot ailment the entire spring. Even though the team asserts that the injury is minor, it is concerning that Miller did not practice at all during the spring. If the foot will be healed by preseason, Miller could be a sleeper tight end once again. He is very fast for a tight end. Last offseason, the Jaguars were hoping to use him the way the Colts use Dallas Clark. The point was reiterated after the 2009 year. While that may be a bit much to ask, Miller has ability to be on the dynasty radar. Surprisingly, he was dropped in several dynasty leagues this spring. The biggest concerns are the foot and the missed time for a young player learning a new, and difficult, position. But, Miller is a great player to stash. For those questioning Miller's ability to make big plays, check out the week 13 game against Houston and the monster week 17 game against Cleveland. In the season finale, Miller caught eight balls for 69 yards and a pair of scores. It is not as though the Jaguars have many receiving threats.

Please feel free to email me at tefertiller@footballguys.com with any questions or comments. Also, I am on Twitter, so feel free to ask me questions there.