Much like us here at DLF, there really is no offseason 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 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!
Here’s a quick look at the events of the past week and how they impact the players on your team:
Brandon Marshall, WR CHI
It was announced late last week that New York City officials will not bring charges against new Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall stemming from the incident in March when he allegedly struck a female outside of a nightclub. This is obviously good news for Marshall owners who feared a suspension from commissioner Roger Goodell, but it is another strike on Marshall’s long record. He is an immense talent, but risky to own in any format.
Beanie Wells, RB ARI
The Cardinals starting running back underwent knee surgery in late January and is still in the rehab process. Wells say he doesn’t know when he’ll be back on the field. With sophomore runner Ryan Williams also recovering from a serious knee injury, the Cardinals running back position is left very uncertain. Dynasty owners already had their doubts about Wells, it seems, and this is just another reason to avoid him.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB SEA
The former Seahawks starting quarterback is not attending the team’s voluntary conditioning workouts. After the team signed former Packer Matt Flynn and drafted Russell Wilson, Jackson is thought to be in danger of being released. He is certainly not worth a roster spot in the majority of dynasty leagues.
Leonard Hankerson, WR WAS
The speculation from multiple Redskins’ beat writers is that sophomore Leonard Hankerson will earn a starting position, ahead of free agent acquisition Josh Morgan. There is also talk that Morgan is penciled in ahead of Santana Moss, who could be released. Moss could be a great fit for a contending team and would be worth a flyer if he is sitting on the waiver wire. Hankerson’s value has fluctuated throughout the offseason, but will be on the rise again with this news. If you can trade for him on the cheap, now might be your last chance.
Mikel Leshoure/Jahvid Best, RBs DET
After an offseason filled with negative news for the team’s top two runners, we finally have some good news. Both young running backs are expected to be 100% in plenty of time for the start of the season and are already participating in OTAs. They could still miss portions of OTAs, or even training camp and Leshoure is facing a possible suspension related to his drug arrests. Both players carry injury risks as well. However, this could be a situation worth gambling on as both players have recently been going for second round rookie picks in some dynasty leagues.
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said that first round pick Ryan Tannehill will be eased in slowly to the lineup and Matt Moore is expected to start early season games. Even with limited offensive weapons, Tannehill is worth an investment for dynasty owners, as he has been falling to the mid-to-late second round of rookie drafts. Expect to sit on him for a year or more before finding his true value. ESPN’s Adam Schefter compared this situation to last year’s Tennessee Titans plan for Matt Hasselbeck and then rookie Jake Locker.
Brandon LaFell, WR CAR
The hype in fantasy circles has been building regarding LaFell for a few weeks now and the recent comments from Panthers head coach Ron Rivera will only fuel the flames. Rivera is said to be very confident in LaFell and is counting on him to emerge as the WR2 in Carolina’s offense. Like Hankerson (although not as expensive), now is the time to make a move for LaFell. As Cam Newton works to improve his passing, the offense will be able to support a fantasy relevant secnd wide receiver. Rookie Joe Adams is expect to work out of the slot.
Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN
The oft-injured running back is participating in Broncos OTAs and hopes to earn a roster spot. Considering he is coming off a torn ACL, combined with the solid play of Willis McGahee and the drafting of rookie Ronnie Hillman, Moreno has a long road ahead. Still, he is only 24 years old and a new address could be the best thing for the former Georgia Bulldog. Moreno has been dropped in many leagues and could be worth stashing this offseason to see how this plays out.
Andre Johnson, WR HOU
The Texans star wide receiver revealed he underwent yet another surgery in May, this time on his left knee. This is the third surgery for AJ in a little over a year and dynasty owners, along with the Texans, have to be concerned. Johnson estimated he would be ready for action in three to four weeks. Considering he is already on the wrong side of 30, now may be the time to deal Johnson in your dynasty league. He is still a superb, albeit risky redraft wide receiver, but the wheels could fall off at anytime. Find an owner who still believes and make a move. Younger, upside players to target in a deal might be Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, Justin Blackmon or Jeremy Maclin.
Lestar Jean, WR HOU
With Johnson missing OTA work due to his injury, the little known Jean is practicing with the first team offense. The Texans are clearly looking to improve the wide receiving corps as they drafted DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin, as well as signed undrafted free agent Dwight Jones. Since the team released Jacoby Jones earlier this offseason, there should be plenty of opportunity for Jean and the three rookies, although it is hard to predict now which ones will emerge and take advantage of this chance. Jean has already been scooped up in most of my leagues. Go get him now if your waiver wire is open!
Dexter McCluster, WR KC
The Chiefs are again working the speedster McCluster with the wide receivers. This has been tried once (in his rookie season), but resulted in failure. After struggling to make an impact out of the backfield, the team sent McCluster a clear signal by bringing in Peyton Hillis and drafting another speedy back, Cyrus Gray, who excelled in the passing game while in college. McCluster is in danger of not making the team. The dynasty roster spot you have is better used on someone else, unless you get points for return yardage.
Dallas Clark, TE TB
Despite rumors that his playing career could be over, the former Colts tight end signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It is an interesting move as the team’s offensive skill positions are so young. Bringing in veterans like Clark and wide receiver Vincent Jackson should be a good mix with the youth in the starting lineup. Second year tight end Luke Stocker should see plenty of work and could out-produce Clark. Many may buy in to Clark’s past and name value, but if I had my choice, I’d take a shot on rostering Stocker, or neither of them at all.
Kellen Winslow, TE SEA
The Seahawks acquired the disgruntled tight end for a conditional 2013 seventh round draft pick. This is another curious move for Seattle who takes on Winslow’s inflated contract and shoddy knees. It is unclear how Winslow will work with last year’s tight end acquisition Zach Miller, who had a disappointing fantasy season in 2011. While both players are still worth of roster spots, each offers limited upside and are not difference makers on your fantasy team.
Brandon Weeden, QB CLE
Browns general manager Tom Heckert expects rookie Brandon Weeden to be the team’s starting signal caller in 2012, ahead of Colt McCoy and Seneca Wallace. He also said there is a possibility of all three quarterbacks making the 53-man roster. Despite all that is going against Weeden in assessing his dynasty value – the lack of weapons, learning a new offense and his status as an older than normal rookie, he is a guy I am still willing to take a chance on, given the roster space. He has value as a third round rookie pick and developmental quarterback.
Titus Young, WR DET
There was a little mystery regarding the current status of Detroit’s young playmaker. An early week report said that Young had been suspended and would not be allowed at OTAs due to a fight with defensive back Louis Delmas. Later, a team report disputed that and claimed Young was not suspended, although star wideout Calvin Johnson was quoted as saying, “We can’t talk about that,” when asked about the incident. No matter the explanation, it is not a good sign for Young. However, considering the talent he flashed, this might be a chance to deal for him in your dynasty league.
Brent Celek, TE PHI
Following up last week’s discussion on Celek’s injury status, new reports say Celek is looking good and doing more than expected in OTAs. He claims he feels better than he has in ages as he was hampered by injuries the past two years. I would still not be confident going into 2012 with Celek as my starting fantasy tight end, but he certainly offers some upside in Philly’s offense.
Danny Coale, WR DAL
Coale, a fifth round pick from Virginia Tech, broke a bone in his left foot during practice this week and will be sidelined up to six weeks. Coale was a sleeper wide receiver who had a chance to win the Cowboys WR3 job, left vacated when Laurent Robinson signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fantasy owners looking back at Robinson’s impressive statistics were snagging Coale late in rookie drafts or even off the waiver wire and are now faced with a tough decision of holding on to Coale or taking a chance on another camp star.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin revealed the team has plans to use rookie running back Lamar Miller in a variety of positions, including as a slot wide receiver. This is great news for Miller’s short term fantasy value, especially in PPR leagues, as some were questioning the playing time he would get competing with backfield mates Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas.
Mike Thomas, WR JAX
Jaguars beat writer Mark Long has eluded to the possibility that Thomas could be released. He is due a sizable roster bonus and the Jags could make the decision that he is not worth it, even though much of his contract is guaranteed. Thomas has lost almost all his value from a year ago. Going into the 2011 season, owners saw value in a speedy young wide receiver on a team lacking other options and the chance to form a tandem with a first round quarterback. It all went wrong for Blaine Gabbert and most of the Jaguars franchise instead and both players are now nearly worthless in dynasty leagues. The team has since made a strong effort to improve their wide receiver corps bringing in both Laurent Robinson and rookie Justin Blackmon.
Stephen Hill, WR NYJ
The rookie wide receiver out of Georgia Tech has been lining up with the starting unit, opposite Santonio Holmes. Hill has been labeled by many as raw, but the Jets are giving him a clear path for playing time and his fantasy value could see gains as a result. Each dynasty owner seems to have their favorite second tier wide out among the group of Hill, Reuben Randle, Brian Quick and Kendall Wright, but this is a good early sign that Hill will be worth the late first or early second round rookie draft pick.
Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
Star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot and could be out of action for the next twelve weeks. This is obviously huge news and has impact on multiple players. Nicks could miss the entire preseason program and potentially week one of the regular season and now has an increasing list of injuries.
He still has top five dynasty value among wide receivers. I would be trying to buy if possible at a reduced price, but I doubt many owners are willing to sell now. There is really no benefit for moving Nicks in the early summer with so much time until real game action.
Also affected by this injury are the other contributing wide receivers for the G-Men, including 2011 breakout star and salsa dancer Victor Cruz and rookie Rueben Randle. Randle is thought to gain the most value from the situation as he will likely be thrown into work with the starting squad. His dynasty value will see a slight increase, but it’s important to remember that he is still a rookie, specifically a rookie that fell to the end of the second round, much further than most expected. I have liked Randle’s potential for a while now and have been scooping him up in the late first round when given the chance. Like Hill, this further solidifies his rookie draft position.
More information will likely come out this week on the extent of Nicks’ injury. He could be out as little as one month, but we’ll just have to wait and see on that front.
Johnny Knox, WR CHI
Knox, who suffered a spinal injury and underwent back surgery last season, states that he could miss the entire 2012 season and is taking his time as he rehabs. His focus now is gaining back the weight he lost. Knox has no value in dynasty leagues, especially as the Bears have upgraded the wide receiver position.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23 and in the DLF forum as dlf_ryanm.