Finally, after a seemingly never-ending wait, football is upon us. Training camps are opening and the news cycle is busier than ever. You have to pay close attention to everything in order to stay on top of your dynasty league. For most of us, we do well to steal some time away from our families and jobs to watch the games on Sunday. It becomes difficult to monitor the daily happenings around the league and even more demanding to process how that news affects your dynasty team.
That’s why we’re here!
Now that we’ve entered the training camp and preseason, the next few weeks will be filled with positive and negative reports of almost every NFL player. Much of the “news” will be speculation about the futures of individual players. While this can be important, it can also be a challenge to determine the validity of certain reports. I will include many of these reports and share my opinion about how the player’s value might be affected, for better or worse.
Here is a quick look at the events of the past week and how they impact players on your team:
Jeremy Maclin, WR PHI
Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who is entering a contract year, suffered a torn ACL and will be lost for the season. It obviously greatly diminishes Maclin’s dynasty value and I have witnessed many owners dumping him for anything they can get in trades this week. Don’t be surprised to see Maclin suiting up for a new team next season. We’ll have to wait to see if that is a positive for Maclin’s value. For now, don’t be afraid to acquire him cheaply and stash him on your injured reserve spot. Meanwhile, the Eagles are left with DeSean Jackson as their top target and a host of unproven pass catching options behind him. One of the wide receivers is likely to emerge and that is why it’s so crucial to follow camp reports closely.
Ryan Broyles, WR DET
Lions wide receiver Ryan Broyles received full medical clearance to participate in training camp. Following back-to-back seasons ended by a torn ACL, his speedy recovery is very impressive. Broyles is still a relative bargain in dynasty leagues and he has a chance to win the WR2 job in Detroit, alongside Calvin Johnson.
Chad Spann, RB NYJ
The Jets signed running back Chad Spann this week. Spann has done little in his career but is a favorite of Rookie Scouting Profile author Matt Waldman and any considering the multiple issues plaguing the members of the Jets backfield, this is a situation to monitor. I would not add Spann yet, except in the deepest of leagues.
Kenbrell Thompkins, WR NE
Another Waldman favorite is undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins, who continues to impress in Patriots camp. After veteran Danny Amendola, the depth chart is wide open and the rookies, including Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson, are making some waves. All three of these players are seeing nice gains in their dynasty value, but at this early point, it’s difficult to predict who makes the best investment. If Thompkins is still on your league’s waiver wire, it’s time to change that.
Dennis Pitta, TE BAL
Soon after news broke of Maclin’s injury, tight end Dennis Pitta suffered his own season ending injury in Ravens camp. Pitta suffered a dislocated and fractured hip and underwent surgery later that same day. Just like Maclin, Pitta’s dynasty value plummets. Unlike Maclin, I would not recommend trading for Pitta. There has already been some talk that the hip injury could have long-lasting repercussions. Factoring in the depth of the second and third tiers of tight ends, and there are plenty of others to take in place of Pitta. It looks like Ed Dickson will likely take Pitta’s place. Dickson was a hot waiver wire add soon after the Pitta news broke and he actually had a solid year in 2011. Needless to say, if Dickson is sitting on your waiver wire, run to add him.
Marcedes Lewis, TE JAX
Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has vowed to get tight end Marcedes Lewis more involved in the passing game. Lewis proved himself as a worth red zone target in 2010, but has had little success since. Assuming he will fall behind wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon in the battle for targets, it’s difficult to see Lewis becoming a fantasy relevant tight end, but with the parity at the position, he is a player to watch.
Nick Toon, WR NO
Saints wide receiver Marques Colston has missed much of training camp due to a foot injury and second year man Nick Toon is taking full advantage. This was a situation dynasty owners have closely monitored this off-season. Colston and Lance Moore are the presumed starters, but with both over thirty, finding the next Saints star wide receiver is crucial. Along with Toon, the other options are Joseph Morgan and Kenny Stills. Toon, labeled by beat writers as a “camp standout,” has been playing mostly in the slot and has been very impressive in the early portions of camp.
Lance Dunbar, RB DAL
When the Dallas Cowboys let running back Felix Jones walk and drafted fifth rounder Joseph Randle, most dynasty owners assumed that Demarco Murray’s backup job was Randle’s for the taking. Early in Cowboys’ camp though, its Lance Dunbar who is distinguishing himself as the favorite for the job. Any backup to Murray should be on the radar of dynasty owners due to the injury issues of the Dallas starting running back. For now, Randle still has more dynasty value, but adding Dunbar is not a bad short-term plan.
Percy Harvin, WR SEA
Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin revealed this week that he will indeed need surgery to repair a torn labrum. After news broke of Harvin’s injury, there was a brief period of hope that the Seahawks prize off-season acquisition would be able to play through the injury. Once he sought a second opinion though, the need for surgery was discovered. The length of Harvin’s absence has been widely speculated, but is not yet clear. It seems at a minimum Harvin will be out for the majority of the fantasy football regular season. While this injury hurts Harvin’s dynasty value, he is still one of the most electric playmakers in the game and there is no reason to think he won’t come back strong, if not later this season, than in time for the 2014 season. If you can buy low in your dynasty league, make the move.
Chris Ivory, RB NYJ
Jets starting running back Chris Ivory, who was acquired from the New Orleans Saints this off-season, is already dealing with hamstring issues. Ivory has had recurring injury issues throughout his career, so this is not a good sign for his prospects early this season. If he continues to struggle with this ailment, the Jets backfield depth chart is wide open. Bilal Powell would be next in line since Mike Goodson has yet to make an appearance in camp. With these injuries already popping up for Ivory, his dynasty value is taking a slight hit.
Julian Edleman, WR NE
Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was finally cleared to return to action after missing the end of last season and all off-season workouts. Upon the departure of Wes Welker and the issues of the Patriots tight ends, Edelman was a hot waiver wire pickup, but early in training camp, a trio of rookie wide receivers has Patriots camp buzzing. Edelman could again be left without a significant role for New England. As I mentioned, he was routinely found on the waiver wire and could land there again should he not earn a starting job for New England.
Denard Robinson, RB JAX
Following some mental mistakes and ball security issues, the Jacksonville Jaguars have already scaled down the workload of “offensive weapon” Denard Robinson. Robinson should be heavily involved in special teams, but has to prove himself reliable before he gets many touches on offense. He has been viewed as a lottery ticket in dynasty leagues and could still pay off, but the odds might be a bit longer now.
Tyler Eifert, TE CIN
According to early reports, rookie tight end Tyler Eiffert will be used alongside fellow tight end Jermaine Gresham in two tight end sets, with Eifert being used more as a receiver – this is good news for both players. It affirms the thought most dynasty owners had that Eiffert would receive plenty of targets, but the veteran Gresham will still be on the field and could be a fantasy option as well if he can get some red zone looks.
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