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 not meant to be an exhaustive look at all the recent happenings around the league.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota missed the Week 2 game against the Texans with the elbow injury incurred in Week 1. There has been little information about this injury. Ian Rapoport shed some light Saturday with a tweet, “#Titans QB Marcus Mariota, who is dealing with a pinched nerve in his elbow, still has not regained complete feeling in his fingers, sources say. He’s going to try to play, but there is no telling how he’ll respond. That’s why Blaine Gabbert is expected to rotate in.” Gabbert got the start and led his team to victory. Regarding the injury, David J. Chao, MD chimed in with a tweet of his own, “Confirms ulnar nerve problem. The issue is not feeling, but grip. Can play QB without loss of feeling int 4th/5th fingers. As long as strength there, will be fine. If not, trouble.” The doctor followed up with, “The bigger potential concern goes beyond this week. if #MarcusMariota has problems with grip 1 week after injury, anticipate many weeks before that fully returns. The hope is his grip issues are mild.” Mariota has been slow to adapt to the new offensive system, so the injury may delay his acclimation and improvement.
Adam Schefter reported that Devonta Freeman will miss another 2-3 weeks with a knee injury. (knee) is expected to miss 2-3 weeks. The Falcons backfield should provide an opportunity for savvy dynasty owners. The team can get out of Freeman’s contract after next year. Tevin Coleman is a free agent after the season. Ito Smith was drafted to provide a power element to the offense. Freeman is the more talented back and should garner the eye of dynasty owners seeking to buy low.
The Thursday night victory over the Ravens was a costly one for Joe Mixon and the Bengals. In the game, Mixon was in and out of the lineup with a knee injury. He only played 39 snaps but carried the ball 21 times for 84 yards in the contest. Tom Pelissero tweeted Friday, “The #Bengals fear RB Joe Mixon will need arthroscopic surgery to clean up the knee he injured in last night’s win over the #Ravens and miss some time, sources tell @MikeGarafolo and me. He’ll get a second opinion first.” Then Saturday morning Adam Schefter reported that the surgery should keep Mixon out for 2-4 weeks. The surgery was performed on Saturday. The injury sets up Giovani Bernard to be the lead back while Mixon is sidelined. We also expect rookie Mark Walton to be mixed in. Cincinnati has started the season 2-0 but has Carolina next up on the schedule. Mixon has looked keen this season and should be considered a great “buy” candidate given his time on the shelf.
Early last week, Ian Rapoport reported that Kenneth Dixon would miss “several weeks” with a knee injury after scoring a touchdown against the Bills in the season opener. But, Baltimore placed Dixon on injured reserve last week, after the Thursday night game which means that Dixon is not eligible to return until Week 11. His absence should lead to more work for Alex Collins and Javorius Allen. Collins has looked sharp, but it has not translated into points in fantasy lineups. He, too, should be a great player to buy before he finally explodes in the coming weeks.
The long, sordid tale of Josh Gordon in Cleveland is now mercifully over. So, what happened? On Saturday, Adam Schefter tweeted out a statement from General Manager John Dorsey, “Browns GM John Dorsey: ‘For the past six years, the Browns have fully supported and invested in Josh, both personally and professionally and wanted the best for him, but unfortunately we’ve reached a point where we feel it’s best to part ways and move forward. We wish Josh well.’” You can hear the frustration in the statement. Ian Rapoport then tweeted, “On Josh Gordon: He was late today to the facility, source said. In addition, he was fine at Friday’s practice, then injured his hamstring. The question of how is part of the reason they released him. My understanding is it’s an overall trust issue for a player on thin ice.” Cleveland.com had more on the story, “Team doctors examined Gordon on Saturday, and in addition to a hamstring issue, there was concern that perhaps he was struggling with his substance use again, or possibly close to it. He was told to stay home from the team's trip to New Orleans for tomorrow's game against the Saints, and was upset about it, one source told cleveland.com. The source surmised he was upset because he felt he had let down the team with the tweaked hamstring.” As more details were leaked, we found out that Gordon was fine at Friday’s practice but hurt his hamstring at a promotional shoot. He was then late to practice on Saturday. It is difficult to believe that Gordon has been suspended 56 out of a possible 97 games in his career. So, after Dorsey’s message that the Browns were looking to release the 27-year old, Cleveland was surprised by the trade interest, so the team held Gordon for another day. On Monday afternoon, he was traded to New England for a fifth-round pick. Great reward for Tom Brady and company given the risk. Making the deal better for the Patriots, if Gordon is not active for 10 games, the pick changes to a late-round selection. Gordon has 180 receptions for 3,106 yards, and 16 touchdowns in just 41 games. Also, the Browns reasoning for trading Gordon has nothing to do with failed drug test or substance abuse violation, according to Adam Schefter. Gordon is under contract for two more years at very cheap salaries. This has the feel of a high-reward move after the Patriots offense looked anemic against Jacksonville Sunday.
Manish Mehta tweeted out Jets quarterback Sam Darnold’s thoughts on starting receiver Quincy Enunwa, “Sam Darnold on @QuincyEnunwa: ‘He's smooth but he is also physical. He is very sudden, a very quick dude. It's awesome to be able to throw to him. The routes he runs are very crisp, but very violent. It's cool to be able to... see how much separation he creates for himself’ #Jets.” In just two games, it is obvious that Enunwa has a legitimate chance to finish as a Top-20 fantasy receiver. He has shown the talent and just needs to stay healthy. The presence of Enunwa and Robby Anderson could allow Darnold to be a fringe fantasy QB1 for owners who stream the position.
In an unexpected move, the Oakland Raiders re-signed Martavis Bryant to a one-year contract. Cutting him before the season and re-signing after Week 1 means that Bryant’s contract is not guaranteed. Bryant still faces a likely year-long suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Coach Jon Gruden told reporters, “I think he’s healthy. I think he’s ready to go … I’ve said it before: when he’s right, he can be a difference maker and we’re hoping he can be one sooner rather than later." While there is an immense risk due to the suspension and the poor showings by the Oakland offense, Bryant could be a sneaky, short-term add for fantasy owners. Adam Schefter tweeted, “NFL allowing Raiders’ WR Martavis Bryant to play until a verdict is in during his suspension appeal, per sources.” Bryant should remain on waiver wires unless in very deep leagues. There is a slim possibility that the young receiver will be able to return this time next year.
Many fantasy owners were miffed at the healthy scratch of Cameron Meredith in Week 1 against Tampa Bay. Last week, coach Payton told reporters that Meredith is "still getting up to speed." Payton went on to say that Meredith still needed to work on the offense after missing much of training camp and needed to work on the timing of the offense. The situation still feels like more to the story left unsaid as Meredith played in the final preseason game usually designated for players on the roster bubble. He missed all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL and missed much of the offseason activities with an undisclosed injury. Impatient owners might drop Meredith too early as the New Orleans offense will make its receivers fantasy-viable and Meredith looks to start sooner than later once he has the trust of the coaches.
After his procedure to address an irregular heartbeat, Curtis Samuel was thought to be back at practice last week, but coach Ron Rivera told reporters late last week that there is no timetable for Samuel’s return. Samuel is a player we expect to see an expanded role with Greg Olsen out. He adds a size/speed element to the Panthers offense.
Another player to monitor for dynasty buy opportunities is Hunter Henry. Even though he injured his ACL a few months ago in offseason activities, Henry was seen running springs last Friday. While he will likely only come back late in the season, Henry is eligible to return after the Chargers’ Week-8 bye. Now is the time to send out offers for Henry to join your dynasty team.
The season opener against Dallas was costly for Carolina tight end Greg Olsen. In that contest, he re-fractured his surgically-repaired right foot. In an effort to come back sooner, Olsen has opted to not have surgery and rely on rest and rehabilitation. He will miss a month or two of action at a minimum and rookie Ian Thomas gets a golden opportunity for targets. Olsen tweeted that surgery is an option after the season. The situation feels like a player who is trying to squeeze in one final season before retirement.