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.
Ronnie Brown, RB SD
The Chargers signed former Dolphins and Eagles running back Ronnie Brown to compete for the backup job behind starter Ryan Mathews. Brown struggled in Philly last year, but Chargers head coach Norv Turner hopes Brown has enough left to give youngsters Curtis Brinkley and Edwin Baker time to develop. Brown is likely sitting on the waiver wire in most dynasty leagues, and should likely remain there, unless you are the Mathews owner and have a spot to burn. The signing does likely delay any playing time either Baker or Brinkley may have expected. One of the three is worth a roster spot, but it’s tough to predict which one. Watch training camp closely on this one and be ready to snatch Mathews’ backup.
Josh Cooper, WR CLE
Undrafted free agent Josh Cooper has been turning heads at Browns OTAs and is competing for a role as the team’s slot receiver. Cooper could be helped by his experience with Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, as the two played together at Oklahoma State. The depth chart is wide open after likely number one wide receiver Greg Little. Cooper is another deep sleeper along the lines of Lestar Jean, Armon Binns and Andre Holmes. His value is still well behind even those players and he is not yet worth rostering in your dynasty league.
Preston Parker, WR TB
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has praised second year wide receiver Preston Parker as a player who could make an impact in the Tampa Bay offense this season. Free agent signee Vincent Jackson has one starting job locked down, but the second and third wide receiver spots are open. Although Mike Williams is the likely candidate for the second starting spot, local beat writers have begun speculating that Parker could overtake him. Parker has already been working ahead of Dezmon Briscoe and Arrelious Benn. Most owners have been holding onto the highly drafted Benn, but this may be a sign its time to give up and take a chance on one of the young wideouts mentioned above.
Jason Snelling/Jacquizz Rodgers, RBs ATL
Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter plans on increasing the role of the running backs in the passing offense, specifically using screen plays. This is good news for both backup runners, as Michael Turner will not be expected to be used as a receiver out of the backfield. Couple this with the news that the team hopes Rodgers’ role will increase and this is a great sign for his owners. Snelling is likely on the waiver wire, and while he is a serviceable backup in the NFL, lacks the upside and explosiveness of Rodgers. Now is a great time to acquire Quizz in a trade, even if you are not a Turner owner.
Jerome Simpson, WR MIN
The NFL suspended the Vikings new wide receiver for three games for violating the league’s drug policy. This is no surprise to anyone following Simpson’s off the field trouble early this offseason. This does not dampen the positive buzz Simpson has created throughout OTAs. In fact, it gives dynasty owners a window to possibly acquire him at a reduced price. Simpson is still expected back beginning in week four of the regular season. The Vikings are the perfect storm for Simpson and he has more talent than returning wide receivers Devin Aromashodu or Michael Jenkins and more experience than Stephen Burton, Greg Childs and Jarius Wright.
Jake Ballard, TE NE
This week, the Giants waived their starting tight end from a season ago, Jake Ballard. The move was due to the torn ACL he suffered during the Super Bowl victory. Most insiders seem to think the Giants plan was to place Ballard on season ending injured reserve after he cleared waivers. The only problem with that plan is the savvy Patriots claimed Ballard and now have a new tight end. It’s hard to say what this does for Ballard’s dynasty value. He will still not see the field in 2012 and gives dynasty owners a chance to stash him on the injured reserve until a better option presents itself. I think there is little chance Ballard ever suits up for the Patriots. In fact, there is a very good chance he is back with New York in 2013.
Chad Ochocinco, WR MIA
The wide receiver needy Dolphins signed veteran Chad Ochocinco, released last week by the Patriots. There were only a few teams that he could have signed with that would result in fantasy relevance and Miami is one. He will have a chance to earn a starting spot, competing with Brian Hartline and Davone Bess. The major concern regarding Ochocinco is not even the fact that he is already 34 years old, but Considering veteran David Garrard and rookie Ryan Tannehill are competing to be the team’s starting quarterback, this may be a situation in which none of the wide receivers have fantasy impact. Many owners will scoop Ocho from the waiver wire and he is now worthy of a roster spot in most dynasty leagues, but don’t expect starting quality stats from 85.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX
There has been much chatter about various running backs being discontent with their contracts, and the talk is sounding worse and worse in Jacksonville. Jones-Drew has not been involved in any of the team’s OTAs and is now expected to hold out, potentially missing regular season action. Last year’s rushing champion is obviously being counted on by all fantasy owners and this would be a huge blow to week one rosters, should MJD not report. If you are a Jones-Drew owner, or you just need some running back depth and upside, make a move for Rashad Jennings before its too late.
Peyton Manning, QB DEN
Since the legend chose the Denver Broncos, his dynasty value has been steadily climbing, while the cost to acquire either young wide receiver Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker is through the roof. Fantasy owners envision the Manning of old with his new versions of Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. This week though, Manning threw some cold water on that as he reminded the media and fans that he is not yet 100% recovered from the neck surgeries that basically ended his career with the Colts. Manning, being drafted as the QB14 in start-up leagues, is way overvalued in my opinion. There is a chance we only see one season of Manning with the Broncos. If you are drafting soon, take a chance on another passer being drafted in the same area, like Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Schaub.
James Starks, RB GB
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy gave a vote of confidence to running back James Starks this week, saying the team is committed to Starks as the starter. Many fantasy owners expected the Packers to bring in some competition for Starks, especially when former Packer Ryan Grant left town as a free agent. When no other back was signed, the sleeper buzz for Alex Green and Brandon Saine heated up. Instead, the reliable and steady Starks will be the likely starter week one. With so many owners down on Starks, now is a great time to acquire him as running back depth.
James Jones, WR GB
Rumors are flying that the Packers are willing to trade wide receiver James Jones. While these are still just rumors, it does make sense, considering the depth Green Bay has on their wide receiver depth chart and the fact that Jones has never been able to put together a breakout season, as fellow Packer wideout Jordy Nelson did in 2011. Several teams would likely be interested in Jones depending on the Packer trade demands. If he landed on the right team, he could see a Robert Meachem-like rise in dynasty value.
Mikel Leshoure, RB DET
Like the Simpson suspension, this one surprises no one. Leshoure, coming off a torn Achilles a season ago, was arrested twice this offseason for marijuana possession. Considering he is still not back at full strength, the extra two weeks or rest could actually benefit the Lions back. It was only late this week that Leshoure was able to fully practice. With Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith competing for carries as well, Leshoure’s off the field trouble will not help him earn playing time. His value is all over the board according to dynasty owners I know. There is certainly potential and I would be a buyer for a future second or third round pick.
Dane Sanzenbacher, WR CHI
A report this week claims that Bears second year wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher is in danger of not making the Bears roster this season. Sanzenbacher was a dynasty sleeper choice of many this time last year and had some impressive moments during the season. The additions and upgrade to the Bears’ wide receiver corps this offseason, including Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, puts Sanzenbacher on the bubble. He has no dynasty value currently and should be on the waiver wire in all leagues.
Nick Toon, WR NO
The Saints have some great wide receiver depth, despite losing the main touchdown threat at the position, Robert Meachem. The team drafted Nick Toon from Wisconsin and the rookie has positioned himself to take over the team’s number four wide receiver spot. Considering the injury risks ahead of him on the depth chart, including Marques Colston and Lance Moore, this could be a chance to buy low on Toon and stash him at the end of your roster. I have never been a fan of Toon, but any wide receiver in that offense has some value.
Diondre Borel, WR GB
Second year wide receiver Diondre Borel spent last season on the Packers practice squad, but there is concern this year that he may not make it back there, as another team could claim him via waivers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy have had good things to say about the raw Borel and this could even be related to the James Jones trade rumors. The Packers also seem to like Tori Gurley, but have the same waiver fears regarding him. The Packers will likely carry five wideouts into the regular season, meaning Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are locks. Donald Driver is very likely to make the team as well, following his reworked contract. That leaves one spot for Jones, Borel and Gurley. Again, keep these guys off your rosters, but on your minds.
Titus Young, WR DET
The positive buzz continues regarding Lions wide receiver Titus Young. Other than his alleged fight with a teammate, this has been a tremendous set of OTAs for Young. His dynasty value is climbing and is currently being valued in the same area as the top rookie pass catchers. Young has been a hot name in dynasty circles throughout the offseason, but if you have an owner who is not paying attention, it’s time to pounce and acquire Young.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23