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!
Each week there are many news items that are important and helpful in the day-to-day managing of your fantasy team, yet have little affect on the dynasty value of players. Because of this, I will not be mentioning those here. Here is a quick look at the events of the past week and how they impact the players on your team:
Matt Forte, RB CHI
Bears star running back Matt Forte suffered what appeared to be a high ankle sprain in the team’s loss against the Green Bay Packers last Thursday. Forte was off to a great start following up his strong week one performance, but backup Michael Bush looked great in his place. In the week since the injury, there have been conflicting reports about the severity of Forte’s injury, but the latest say that the sprain is not the high ankle variety and he could return sooner than expected. Forte remains a stud, especially in PPR leagues. Take this chance to buy low if you can.
Austin Collie, WR IND
Colts wide receiver Austin Collie was again out of action in week two, following his concussion suffered this preseason. As you know, Collie has a lengthy history of head injuries. It was reported he had been cleared to play following the team’s week one game, yet it was ultimately decided he was not ready. This is a scary situation considering all the news of retired players having some serious physical and mental issues resulting from head injuries suffered during their playing career. Many think Collie should call it a career while he can, but he seems determined to keep playing. While I will be rooting for Collie, he is a player I will avoid due the possibility his career could end with one more vicious hit.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT
Although the Steelers running back is not back in action yet, he has begun practicing and should return to game action in the upcoming weeks. In his place, the team turned to Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. Both players have seen their dynasty value rise at points during the off-season and early regular season, yet both have failed to capitalize on their increased playing time. Mendenhall remains the most talented running back on the team and is still only 25 years old. Now is the time to make a move to acquire him before he makes his return to Pittsburgh’s starting lineup.
Jacoby Ford, WR OAK
The Raiders placed wide receiver Jacoby Ford on the season ending injured reserve list following surgery to repair his a Lisfranc foot injury, the same injury that sidelined his in 2011. Ford is an explosive player when healthy, but the combination of recurring foot injuries and the young wide receiver depth the Raiders possess spells the end of Ford’s dynasty value. He was already expected to play behind wide receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and undrafted rookie Rod Streater. If you have an open IR spot in your league, stash Ford there for now, but if not, he is a safe drop.
Dion Lewis, RB PHI
The Eagles backup running back was inactive in week two, but not due to the hamstring injury he had been dealing with. It seems that both rookie running backs Bryce Brown and Chris Polk have passed Lewis on the team’s deep running back depth chart. If you are attempting to find the handcuff for starter LeSean McCoy, it seems that Brown is the best bet for now. Local beat writers have even tabbed him as a player to watch. If McCoy were to get injured, it would likely be a running back by committee, but Brown figures to be the biggest part of that. Lewis can be dropped if you had been holding out hope for him, while Brown should be rostered in deep dynasty leagues, specifically by the McCoy owner.
Wes Welker, WR NE
As always, it is tough to figure out what is going on in New England. In their week two home opener against the Arizona Cardinals, veteran wide receiver Wes Welker began the game on the bench in favor of Julian Edelman. In fact, Welker did not get any game action until tight end Aaron Hernandez got hurt. This is a confusing situation, but it seems evident that Head Coach Bill Belichick is trying to send a message to Welker regarding his contract and the team’s chances of winning without him in 2013. If that was indeed his plan, he severely misfired as the team struggled on offense and lost their first home opener in years. While Welker ended the game as the team’s top receiver, their was no flow to the offense throughout. With his role on the team up in the air, Welker’s dynasty value is suffering. Until we see that he is back to his starting role, Welker is not a starting fantasy option and for a 31 year old, that kills his dynasty value. As for Edelman, take a shot on him in deep leagues. If Belichick gets his way and Edelman is the “new Welker,” he is a possible fantasy starter down the road.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB NYG
The Giants starting running back suffered a neck injury and was forced from the team’s week two game. While we still do not know how serious the injury is, we know Bradshaw missed week three and Andre Brown played exceptionally well in his place on Thursday night. Brown took the biggest share of the carries after Bradshaw exited last week and responded with 90 total yards and a touchdown. On Thursday night, he posted nearly 100 yards in the first half and ended with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and added 17 more receiving yards on three catches.
Rookie David Wilson was expected to play a large role in the Giants offense this year, especially if Bradshaw suffered an injury, but Wilson’s season has been filled with mistakes and his role has diminished because of that. It is hard to see any long term value for Brown, who has dealt with some serious injuries throughout his career, but he surely makes for a great short term investment. Meanwhile, now is the time to pounce on this opportunity to acquire Wilson at a possibly discounted rate.
Daryl Richardson, RB STL
The late round rookie running back entered the game for the Rams following starter Steven Jackson’s combination of benching and injury and looked electric. Richardson posted nearly 100 total yards and is the definite backup to Jackson. There is even a possibility that the Rams go to more of a timeshare at running back to spell the veteran. Richardson’s dynasty value likely spiked more than any other player following the week two games. Meanwhile, fellow rookie Isaiah Pead has yet to touch the ball in the regular season. Pead’s value is plummeting while Richardson is booming. I like the idea of targeting both players as a way to ensure owning the starter in St. Louis beyond the Jackson era.
Santana Moss, WR WAS
Veteran wide receiver Santana Moss is off to a quiet start to his 2012 season and it is evident he is not being counted on to play a major role for the Redskins. Many owners hoped for a Steve Smith-like resurgence following the drafting of quarterback Robert Griffin III and while Griffin has excelled, Moss has been unable to benefit, collecting only six catches for 61 yards. Moss is now behind wide receivers Pierre Garcon, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson on the depth chart, not to mention the upstart Leonard Hankerson. Moss is likely a safe drop in most dynasty league formats.
Mikel Leshoure, RB DET
Talented, but troubled running back Mikel Leshoure is expected to return to the team in week three following his suspension and one beat writer expects him to quickly take over as the team’s starting running back. The idea is somewhat surprising as starter Kevin Smith has played well, putting up over 150 total yards and two touchdowns early this season. At the very least, we can expect a timeshare at running back, which could get even cloudier if Jahvid Best is able to return following his stint on the PUP list. I have long believed Leshoure was the most talented option for the Lions, so I am on board and will attempt to acquire him in each of my leagues before he has that breakout performance.
Greg Salas, WR FA
The New England Patriots released wide receiver Greg Salas, whom they acquired in a preseason trade with the St. Louis Rams. After passing through waivers unclaimed, the Patriots signed him to their practice squad. Salas had been viewed by many as Wes Welker insurance, but following the solid play of Julian Edelman, the team evidently felt they had no need for Salas. In his place, the Patriots re-signed veteran Deion Branch. Neither Salas or Branch have dynasty value currently, except in the deepest of leagues.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events! Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23.