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 they impact the players on your team.
Brandon Tate, WR CIN
Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden singled out Tate, calling him one of the best surprises of camp. Tate has seen plenty of time with the first team and is battling rookies Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones for the starting spot opposite top receiver AJ Green. Tate is not someone I would add to my roster yet, but the WR2 in the explosive Bengals offense is certainly worthy of consideration. If your league rewards points for punt and kickoff return yardage, Tate is surely already rostered. If not, grab him immediately.
Matt Forte, RB CHI
The offseason has not been kind to the Bears starting running back. He has been unable to come to terms with the team on a long term contract and the team chose to sign one of the top free agent running backs, Michael Bush as a backup and as Forte insurance. There are recent reports that Forte is feeling optimistic about his contract negotiations with the team. Both the holdout and the Bush signing are having an affect on Forte’s dynasty value. Even though he averaged over 18 fantasy points per game in 2011, Forte’s stock is falling. He is now a late second or early third rounder in startup drafts and is not drawing near the return in trades he did a few months ago.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX
Unlike Forte, there is little to be happy about in Jacksonville where star running back Maurice Jones-Drew continues to hold out. Many fear he may miss not only the preseason, but even regular season games. Like Forte, Jones-Drew has lost some dynasty value during this process. Every day that passes without a new contract increases the value of backup Rashad Jennings, who is coming off a season ending injury in 2011. It has been mentioned here before, but acquire Jennings sooner, rather than later if you are a Jones-Drew owner. Even if there are no missed games by the starter, Jennings serves as a quality handcuff.
Deonte Thompson, WR BAL
Undrafted rookie Deonte Thompson has been drawing some praise from Baltimore coaches and local beat writers and has reportedly outperformed fellow rookie Tommy Streeter. Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin will be the starters for the Ravens and veteran free agent signee Jacoby Jones will have a role as well. Beyond that, spots are open on the depth chart for Thompson in his competition with Streeter and Tandon Doss, among others. Thompson is another wide receiver like others mentioned in this column who is not yet worthy of a roster spot on your dynasty league, but should be monitored as he progresses during training camp.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB SEA
According to a report from ESPN’s John Clayton, the Seattle Seahawks will enter training camp with Jackson atop their quarterback depth chart, ahead of free agent signee Matt Flynn and rookie Russell Wilson. While this is likely just a case of the newcomers not yet unseating the most recent starter, it is a cause for concern, specifically for Flynn. After signing a sizable free agent contract, everyone assumed the starting job would be his to lose. He still has training camp to earn the job, but has his work cut out for him. Jackson still has very little dynasty value as his time as a starting quarterback has not been productive. Flynn is losing some value he may have had as well. The most valuable dynasty asset might be the one with the least chance to earn the starting role, the rookie from Wisconsin.
Anthony Fasano, TE MIA
Reports this week suggest that Fasano’s role with the team could be diminished as his skills do not fit well in the offense of new head coach Joe Philbin. Fasano has never flashed elite skills, but has been a serviceable fantasy tight end, finishing as TE9, TE26, TE17 and TE21 over the past four seasons with the Dolphins. Expect rookie Michael Egnew, who has much more athleticism than Fasano to earn the role as the pass catching tight end in Philbin’s fast paced offense. Fasano is not worth rostering in dynasty leagues, while Egnew is a great sleeper to take a chance on this season.
Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
We got an update on Nicks’ foot injury this week from the star wide receiver himself. Nicks told reporters he has already resumed running and that he plans to be on the field for training camp. Injured players almost always err on the positive side of their prognosis, but fantasy owners hope Nicks is correct in his estimation. Even if he does miss portions of training camp or preseason game action, Nicks is expected back by week one of the regular season. While a few owners sold Nicks at a discounted price, his dynasty value remains very high and will only maintain or even increase as the season approaches.
Tim Hightower, RB WAS
There continue to be reports, both local and national, that the Redskins plan to start veteran Tim Hightower at running back. Hightower was off to a great start last season before sustaining the season ending ACL tear and now head coach Mike Shanahan hopes he can pick up where he left off. This is much to the dismay of dynasty owners who were counting on Roy Helu to start for Washington and their own fantasy teams. It is impossible to predict how Shanahan will handle the running back rotation, but it is safe to assume that whoever starts will produce solid numbers. Hightower remains on the waiver wire in many dynasty leagues and now is the time to add him. Although Helu has many fans and believers, it is difficult to invest in him at this point. As his value drops, his owners have only one choice, hold him and hope he earns the starting job away from Hightower.
Adrian Peterson, RB MIN
Much of the news regarding Adrian Peterson’s recovery from a torn ACL and MCL has been positive throughout the offseason. This week, the Minnesota coaching staff explained that Peterson is a candidate to begin training camp on the PUP list. This is not the same PUP list that would keep Peterson out the first six weeks of the regular season, but it is one of the first negative signs that Peterson is not back to the stud running back of old quite yet. Peterson’s dynasty value remains very high as he is coming off the board in the third round and being counted on by dynasty owners everywhere. Just in case Peterson does miss regular season action, acquiring backup Toby Gerhart is an easy way to provide yourself with insurance.
Rob Gronkowski, TE NE
Another star player who could miss some action in training camp is the Patriots stud tight end Rob Gronkowski, who continues to recover from ankle surgery. The news has been quiet much of the offseason regarding this injury and there is no real cause for concern yet. Gronkowski remains a top two option at tight end, along with the Saints’ Jimmy Graham.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23