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 is a quick look at the events of the past week and how it Impacts the players on your team.
David Gettis, WR CAR
The Panthers wide receiver is on schedule in his rehabilitation from ACL surgery. Gettis has been a favorite sleeper among fantasy owners for the past two years, but it has not materialized on the field or in the stat line. He will again have his chance to battle for playing time, although the solid play of Brandon LaFell means Gettis will see most of his action in three or four wide receiver sets. I have never been a believer in Gettis, but as quarterback Cam Newton improves his passing offense, all offensive skill players will benefit.
Doug Martin, RB TB
A local beat reporter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers expects rookie runner Doug Martin to start in 2012 over incumbent LaGarrette Blount in the backfield. This is likely not a surprise as many fantasy owners visualized Blount being demoted, especially after Martin was drafted in the early portion of the NFL draft. Martin will cost you a top five rookie pick and has gone as early as 1.02 in several leagues. He is also being routinely drafted in the third round of startup dynasty drafts. Meanwhile, Blount has lost nearly all of his fantasy value and is now merely a handcuff in most owner’s minds.
Chris Givens, WR STL
Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has singled out fourth round wide receiver Givens as a player who will help the team in the perimeter passing game. Givens is the type of player the St. Louis offense has been missing since the days of the “Greatest Show on Turf.” It is very possible, if Givens continues to impress, the Rams could start two rookies at the wide receiver spot, with Givens across from second rounder Brian Quick. Givens is being overlooked in most rookie drafts as he falls in the third or even fourth tier of this deep wide receiver class, but he is certainly one to keep an eye on and is great value at the end of the second round.
Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
The big news of last week was the foot injury that most assumed would keep top wideout Nicks out until week one of the regular season, or even later. Now, less than a week later, many are already expressing optimism that Nicks will be back sooner than expected – he even had a screw inserted into his foot to speed up the healing process. As defending Super Bowl champions, the Giants will open the season the Wednesday before most other teams. This, of course, provides an even shorter time frame for Nicks’ return. If you can find any owner in your league willing to sell Nicks at a discounted rate, take them up on that. He is still among the top five fantasy wide receivers.
Rueben Randle, WR NYG
In related news, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has mentioned the team is thrilled with rookie Randle and feel he is the most NFL-ready wide receiver in the draft. Randle will practice with the first team and draw the start in place of Nicks, should he miss any game time. This is just more positive buzz for Randle and will continue to drive his fantasy stock through the roof.
Stevan Ridley/Shane Vereen, RBs NE
Early reports from Boston expect the Patriots to use their pair of sophomore running backs in a committee and for the two to get the bulk of the carries. Also, it was noted that Vereen began the season as the first team back – this would limit newly signed Joseph Addai to a backup role. Although both Ridley and Vereen are both still young and offer plenty of upside, with the three backs, along with the speedy Danny Woodhead, the Pats backfield is again one to avoid as it will be nearly impossible to predict how carries will be divided each week. Stay tuned to DLF as we dig deeper into this situation next week.
Matt Forte, RB CHI
Throughout the offseason, many have voiced the same opinion when it comes to the Bears/Forte contract dispute by simply saying, “Pay the man!” With the lack of depth at the running back position entering the offseason, everyone assumed the Bears and Forte would work out a long term contract. Instead, the team signed former Raider Michael Bush as a very good insurance policy. Now, reports are coming out that the Bears are concerned that Forte’s knees won’t hold up. If legitimate, this could be the reason Chicago has been unwilling to work out an extension for Forte. The one year franchise tender is still available for Forte to sign. His startup average draft position has been steadily falling throughout the offseason and he is now a third round dynasty pick. Even at that point, he offers a lot of uncertainty and other runners like Doug Martin or DeMarco Murray could be better values.
Chris Owusu, WR SF
Owusu, an undrafted free agent from Stanford, has already drawn positive reviews during OTAs. He has been favorably compared to fellow rookie wide receiver AJ Jenkins. Owusu still has the concussion history, which was the likely cause he was not chosen in the seven round NFL draft. He’s not a guy you should add to your dynasty roster yet, but we will keep an eye on him in the 49er offense.
Titus Young, WR DET
Lions wide receiver Young returned to OTAs and issued a public apology for his recent actions. While it never seemed to be a serious matter that would affect his role with the team, or his dynasty value for that matter, it is a sigh of relief to Young owners counting on the second year pass catcher to break out. Young is being drafted as a WR3 in startup dynasty leagues and could be a great investment as Calvin Johnson continues to draw double or triple coverage.
Dwight Jones, WR HOU
Jones, the undrafted rookie out of North Carolina, has left the Texans and told team representatives that he is not interested in pursuing a professional career. Few details are known, although Jones had multiple character concerns, likely leading to him not hearing his name called during the draft. Jones seemed to have great potential, but if he lacks the desire to play, it is obviously better for everyone that he leave the sport this way.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR NE
The Patriots released wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez. Gonzalez was a hot waiver wire pickup in many leagues a few weeks ago when the Pats signed him, but they have also brought in Donte Stallworth, Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney this offseason, as well as re-signed Deion Branch. The situation is messy, but with Wes Welker, Lloyd and the pair of tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez), there will be few targets for the WR3 and beyond.
Armon Binns, WR CIN
The Bengals’ staff continue to praise second year wide receiver Armon Binns. Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden referred to Binns as “awesome.” There is certainly opportunity in the young Bengal offense with the loss of Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell. AJ Green is penciled in as the top wide receiver, but Binns will battle rookie Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and veteran Brandon Tate for playing time. Early in the offseason, I noticed the chance for playing time that would be available in the Cincy offense and wanted to take advantage of this thought before my leaguemates did. Evidently, I chose the wrong guy and added Andrew Hawkins in many of my leagues. I would take this chance to add Binns in leagues where he is available, which should be most of them.
Lestar Jean, WR HOU
The positive news about the young wide receiver from the Texans continues. Teammates have nicknamed Jean “Big Play” based on what he has displayed in OTAs and he has reportedly already learned all three wide receiver positions. I mentioned Jean last week and he was a hot add in many of my leagues this weekend. If he is still on the waiver wire in your league, now is the time to scoop him up.
Donald Driver, WR GB
The veteran wide receiver and Dancing With the Stars champion has agreed to restructure his contract in order to remain a Packer. Driver had mentioned earlier in the week he would be a “Packer for life” and this seems to seal the deal. Driver has no dynasty value at this time, but should continue to see snaps in the offense that includes so many other weapons. Last year, we saw Jordy Nelson break out from Driver’s shadow and put up huge numbers. It remains to be seen if second year man Randall Cobb can do the same.
Santana Moss, WR WAS
Last week, I mentioned the possibility that veteran wide receiver Moss could be in danger of not making the Redskins final roster. This week, the news is better for Moss as a Skins beat writer notes that he is gaining separation over the middle and even called him the “Moss of old.” Free agent acquisition Pierre Garcon is likely guaranteed a starting position, but the WR2 job is wide open it seems as both Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson have yet to begin workouts. I have even seen some fantasy owners predicting a Steve Smith-like re-emergence for Moss with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III under center. I am not sure if I’d go that far, but Moss is dirt cheap in dynasty leagues right now. The offseason is always the best time to buy veteran players as owners want to make sure their roster looks “pretty.” If Moss is on your waiver wire, add him now and if not, he might be worth a third or fourth round rookie pick if you need some wide receiver depth.
Ryan Broyles, WR DET
There is speculation from team sources that rookie wide receiver Broyles could be ready for a full training camp. It had been expected that Broyles would miss most or all of the preseason and was even a candidate for starting the season on the PUP list due to his ACL injury in college. His fantasy stock was already high with owners gladly scooping him up in the mid second round – this news will only increase his value. It is hard to see him breaking into the first round of rookie picks with the depth at the wide receiver position, but his value is certainly on its way up.
Mike Williams, WR SEA
Seahawks wide receiver Williams is still not cleared to practice in his attempted return from broken bones in his leg and ankle. Head coach Pete Carroll has said it going to be “a while” before Williams returns. Combined with the earlier report that his poor play last season was due to his return to poor habits and weight gain, this could be the end of his time with Seattle. Williams resurgence under for college head coach Carroll was a great story, but he has no dynasty value at this time.
Golden Tate, WR SEA
Another Seahawks wideout in the news is the former Golden Domer in Tate, who is missing OTAs due to a broken hand. While the injury does not seem serious, there is a battle for playing time for the Seahawks and the importance of building chemistry with newly acquired signal callers Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson. Many are viewing Tate as a breakout candidate, but he must stay healthy before he can measure up to expectations. Tate is certainly worth a flier in your dynasty league, but watch training camps closely as he could be a player to drop when adding the hot name of the week.
Demaris Johnson, WR PHI
Here’s one for those of you in very deep leagues. An undersized and undrafted rookie from Tulsa, Johnson has drawn much praise early on in OTAs. While he is small, he has shown great speed and strong route running. He will likely have to make an impact in special teams to make the team. Again, I would not rush to the waiver wire to add this unknown rookie, but keep an eye on him as he progresses in the Eagles’ offense.
Mike Thomas, WR JAX
Like Santana Moss with the Redskins, there had been recent whispers that the Jaguars could part ways with wide receiver Mike Thomas. This week comes positive news for Thomas out of Jaguars OTAs. He has been working out at multiple wide receiver positions and head coach Mike Mularkey pointed out the improvement he has seen. Thomas has still lost nearly all of his dynasty value following his disappointing 2011 season. With improved quarterback play, he could see that value increase and is worth stashing in most dynasty formats.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23