Much like here at DLF, there really is no off-season in the NFL. Even after the dramatic conclusion of the Super Bowl and the MVP’s trip to Disney World, the day-to-day business of the league continues. This means you should be paying attention to give yourself every advantage in 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 Sundays. However, 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!
In the first of a regular installment here at DLF, here is a quick look at the events of the past week and how it impacts the players on your team.
- Brian Quick, WR STL – The Rams are reportedly “insanely excited” about Quick after last week’s rookie minicamp. Quick showed great speed, even with a huge frame of 6’4” and 220 pounds. He also displayed great hands. With the lack of talent at the wide receiver position, look for quick to be a starter and favorite target of Sam Bradford from day one. Coach Jeff Fisher said, “We expect him to play and be a big part of our offense.” Quick is looking like a very solid pick in the last first or early second round of rookie drafts.
- Brent Celek, TE PHI – The Eagles starting tight end is still recovering from multiple offseason surgeries and is in danger of missing OTAs. While he is likely to be ready for the regular season, it is hard to count on Celek as a TE1 going into 2012. We focused on his chances of being a top five tight end earlier this week, but he needs to recover quickly.
- Evan Moore and Jordan Cameron, TEs CLE – Speculation out of Cleveland is that the pair of Browns receiving tight ends will be much more involved this season, as Cleveland has upgraded their offensive line, requiring less blocking from the tight end position. Both players are dynasty sleepers and worthy of stashing on deep rosters to see how this plays out. The lack of wide receiver depth in Cleveland could be a benefit to at least one of these young tight ends.
- Mohamed Sanu, WR CIN – The third round draft pick is expected to start opposite sophomore AJ Green for the Bengals young offense. The team is also experimenting playing Sanu at multiple wide receiver positions. Team representatives have compared Sanu to former Bengals star TJ Houshmandzadeh. Sanu is a great option in the mid-to-late second round of rookie drafts.
- Travis Benjamin, WR CLE – Benjamin has received little attention, even after being selected in the fourth round by the wide receiver needy Browns. Head coach Pat Shurmur has already said that Benjamin will play a significant role in 2012 and could even start opposite 2011 draft pick Greg Little.
- Russell Wilson, QB SEA – Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll caused many dynasty owners to rush to the waiver wire this week when he suggested that rookie signal caller Wilson would be given a chance to compete with free agent signee Matt Flynn as the team’s starting quarterback. Carroll mentioned Wilson’s early grasp of the West Coast offense as a key sign he would be ready to compete for snaps. Wilson is certainly worth a roster spot in dynasty leagues, but he does have a long way to go to earning a starting job in the NFL.
- Tim Hightower, RB WAS – Well, he did it again. Dynasty owners are fully aware of the Shanahanigans that are played when it comes to trying to identify the top running back for a Mike Shanahan coached team. Many tabbed Roy Helu as the top candidate for the upcoming season and he was being drafted as early as the fourth round in startup drafts. Then, the Skins resign Tim Hightower, who missed much of 2011 with a torn ACL. Immediately, Redskin beat writers labeled Hightower as the favorite to be named the starter. It is impossible to predict how this will play out, but I would not invest much hope in Hightower. Helu and Evan Royster are still likely the best bets for production in DC, but it may be best to avoid the situation altogether.
- Taylor Thompson, TE TEN – There seems to be a sleeper tight end in the rookie class every year. This year, it could be Thompson, the converted defensive end from SMU, selected by the Titans in the fifth round. He is already drawing praise from teammates and beat writers for his athleticism and size combination. With Jared Cook the likely starter at tight end, Thompson is more of a dynasty stash for now, but one that could pay huge dividends at some point.
- Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX – MJD will not be attending this week’s voluntary workouts as he awaits a new long-term contract. It’s not panic time yet for dynasty owners, but there is already speculation he will also skip the upcoming mandatory minicamp, which would certainly cause a strain between the player and ownership.
- Kellen Winslow, TE TB – Winslow has been absent from offseason workouts thus far with no excuse given. Speculation is “The Soldier” is unhappy with his contract. There have already been rumors this offseason that Tampa Bay could release the former Hurricane, and this will not help his case to remain with the team. He is a player I am avoiding in dynasty leagues. Fellow Bucs tight end Luke Stocker could be worth a stash with the possibility he gets some starts in the young offense led by Josh Freeman.
- Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, QBs TEN – Locker has been a trade and draft target of many savvy owners this offseason, but multiple reports have the elder Hasselbeck being the more likely candidate to start the season as the leader of the Titans’ offense. While this would not likely be the long term situation, it is somewhat disheartening for Locker fans that he may start the season holding the clipboard. If these reports continue, use this as a chance to buy Locker at a discount and stash him on your bench in dynasty leagues.
- Kenny Britt, WR TEN – Britt is another player receiving a lot of hype this offseason and he has been valued as a top ten dynasty wide receiver. Now comes the news of a second knee surgery following his ACL/MCL tear early in the 2011 season. This surgery was intended to clean up a minor issue, but a second surgery in less than a year is a cause for concern. This could affect Britt’s value and makes me a little leery of placing him in the same tier as Mike Wallace and Julio Jones. Although Titans general manager Ruston Webster claimed the procedure will only set back Britt a week or two in his recovery process, he later mentioned the possibility that Britt could miss all of the preseason in order to be ready for week one.
- Jacoby Jones, WR BAL – The former Texans wideout signed a two year deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Jones will battle for the third wide receiver position behind veteran Anquan Boldin and second year man Torrey Smith. Jones is not worth a roster spot in the majority of dynasty leagues.
- Jerome Simpson, WR MIN – Early reports sound very positive for the Vikings new wide receiver. Both offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and quarterback Christian Ponder have been raving about the skill set that Simpson brings to the team. He has been seemingly forgotten in dynasty leagues, likely due to his off the field drug related issues and subsequent four game suspension, but he has flashed a great ability in the past. He is certainly worth stashing on your dynasty roster.
- LeSean McCoy, RB PHI – The Eagles star runner signed a 5 year- $45 million contract extension with the team, which will pay him the third highest average yearly salary among running backs. Obviously, this ensures McCoy will be a part of the explosive Philly offense for years to come and he remains a very safe top three dynasty startup pick.