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It’s finally here!
The 2012 National Football League season is underway. You have to pay close attention to all this to stay on top of 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:
Kellen Winslow, TE FA
In a surprising move, the Seahawks released tight end Kellen Winslow after acquiring him in a trade from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the off-season. It seems that Winslow is not healthy and this might be the end of his career. He has no dynasty value at this point.
Jonathan Dwyer, RB PIT
The Pittsburgh running game has been tough to predict this offseason. With former starter Rashard Mendenhall injured and rehabbing his injury throughout the offseason, it was expected that Isaac Redman would take over as the starter. Recently though, Redman has dealt with his own injuries and fellow running back Dwyer has taken advantage with solid play. Dwyer is now the likely starter for the Steelers this week. His dynasty value is on the rise after being on the waiver wire of many leagues earlier during the offseason.
Tommy Streeter, WR BAL
The Ravens placed promising rookie wide receiver Tommy Streeter on the injured reserve list, ending his season after suffering a foot injury. Baltimore chose Streeter in the sixth round of the draft. If your league uses a injured reserve spot, you might as well use it on Streeter, at least until you have a better option. In leagues with no IR spot, Streeter is certainly not worth carrying this entire season.
DJ Ware, RB TB
Following his release by the New York Giants, running back DJ Ware was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This move drew little attention at first. Soon after the signing, however, rumors surfaced that the Bucs were shopping backup running back LeGarrette Blount. If the team does follow through and move their former starter, Ware instantly gains dynasty value as the primary backup to rookie starter Doug Martin.
Tim Hightower, RB FA
Running back Tim Hightower has had a roller coaster of an off-season. The free agent re-signed with the Redskins despite suffering a serious knee injury last season. Although young running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster both showed promise during their rookie season, Hightower was labeled as the starter while still in the middle of his injury rehabilitation. Reality finally caught up to Hightower this week as the Redskins released him. He has little dynasty value as we wait to see if any team is willing to give him a chance.
John Skelton, QB ARZ
The Arizona Cardinals have named John Skelton as their starting quarterback, beating out former starter Kevin Kolb. It comes as somewhat of a surprise since Kolb is the one boasting the large contract. Neither passer was particularly impressive during the preseason, but the team went with the player with the bigger arm. Even as the starter, Skelton carries little dynasty value currently, but the best news for dynasty owners is Skelton’s penchant to look for star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Nick Toon, WR NO
Rookie wide receiver Nick Toon was placed on the injured reserve list by the Saints, ending his season with a foot injury. Toon was a fourth round pick by New Orleans and appeared to have an opportunity for playing time with the departure of wide receiver Robert Meachem and Adrian Arrington battling injuries. Like Streeter, use your injured reserve spot for Toon if you have one. If not, he should hit the waiver wire.
Jeff Demps, RB NE
The Patriots placed speedy running back Jeff Demps on the injured reserve list, ending his season with a leg injury. The unproven rookie is in the same class as others mentioned here. He is worth stashing on your injured reserve spot, but not carrying on your active roster.
Greg Salas, WR NE
The New England Patriots acquired wide receiver Greg Salas from the St. Louis Rams for a conditional draft pick. Much has been made of wide receiver Brandon Lloyd reconnecting with his former head coach Josh McDaniels, now serving as Patroits offensive coordinator, but Salas played under McDaniels as well and was a favorite of the coach. The Patriots seem to be hedging their bet on star wide receiver Wes Welker, who could leave after the 2012 season. Salas is worth a roster spot in leagues with large rosters, although he may not claim many targets behind Welker, Lloyd and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB JAX
Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew finally ended his long holdout and reported to the Jaguars, just in time for the regular season. Although most assumed Jones-Drew would ultimately report to the team, this has had an effect on his dynasty value as fantasy owners have focused on the downside of 2011’s leading rusher and have observed the strong running ability of backup Rashad Jennings. Now, we are unsure how the carries will be divided throughout the season. It is safe to expect Jones-Drew to regain his starting position at some point, but his dynasty value has taken a hit. Expect Jennings to get the start and the majority of the carries this week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Chris Rainey, RB PIT
The explosive running back has risen up the special teams depth chart and is now the first team punt returner and kick returner for the Steelers. This is especially important to those in leagues that award fantasy points for return yardage and touchdowns, but it is a good sign for all dynasty owners that the Steeler coaching staff trusts Rainey in a significant role. With the running back depth chart in flux and the wide receivers without veteran Hines Ward following his retirement, Rainey will have an opportunity for snaps in a variety of roles.
There are several players battling nagging injuries or even recovering from serious injuries. Expect these players to be questionable heading into this weekend. Watch their status closely… Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith and running back Jonathan Stewart, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Austin Collie, Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson, and New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller
Many young players and veterans were waived during the teams’ process of narrowing their active roster to 53 players. None of these players are currently worth much in dynasty leagues, but it is always a good idea to monitor them. Some of these players landed on a taxi squad, while some were scooped up by a rival team. Also, several players are still waiting on a call for a tryout. Among the players who were cut are: wide receiver Clyde Gates; wide receiver BJ Cunningham; wide receiver Roberto Wallace; wide receiver Jeff Fuller; wide receiver Tori Gurley; running back Anthony Allen; quarterback Brian Hoyer; wide receiver Deion Branch; wide receiver Marvin McNutt; quarterback Seneca Wallace; tight end Evan Moore; quarterback Mike Kafka; quarterback David Garrard; wide receiver Chris Owusu; wide receiver Marcus Easley; running back Deji Karim; running back Dan Herron; running back Edwin Baker; running back Terrance Ganaway; quarterback BJ Coleman; wide receiver Diondre Borel; quarterback Josh Johnson; wide receiver Deon Butler; wide receiver Ricardo Lockette; running back Tauren Poole; wide receiver Jordan Shipley; quarterback Stephen McGee and running back Steve Slaton.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events! Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23.