The 2012 National Football League season is underway. You have to pay close attention to everything in order 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:
Brandon Bolden, RB NE
Bolden, the Patriots undrafted free agent rookie running back, burst onto the scene as the backup to starter Stevan Ridley. He gained 137 yards and scored a touchdown as he showed dynasty owners everywhere he is indeed worthy of consideration. It is difficult to predict how Head Coach Bill Belichick will handle the running game, but Bolden is clearly on the radar now.
Lestar Jean, WR HOU
Houston wide receiver Lestar Jean underwent surgery to correct a slight tear in his lateral meniscus. Although the surgery and injury are both considered minor and will only keep Jean out of action for one or two games, it costs him in his battle to maintain playing time in the Texans offense. Jean is droppable in some leagues, depending on roster size, but he is still a player I like as an injury to either starting wide receiver Andre Johnson or Kevin Walter would not be surprising.
Hakeem Nicks, WR NYG
The Giants athletic wide receiver will miss his third consecutive game due to lingering injuries to his knees and foot. A one week injury will not warrant a mention here with the dynasty focus, but this pair of injuries has now cost Nicks nearly one quarter of the fantasy football regular season and dynasty owners have to begin asking themselves if his value needs to be re-examined. At only 24 years old, I consider Nicks a “buy low” candidate, but the injuries were a concern when Nicks entered the league and this recent news does not quell our doubts.
James Starks, RB GB
Packers running back James Starks is finally healthy and over the turf toe injury that has sidelined him for weeks. The bad news is he was still inactive in week four. With starting running back Cedric Benson playing well and young options like Alex Green and Brandon Saine still in the fold, Starks has no role left for Green Bay. If you were one of the few still holding out hope for Starks to gain value, it’s time to move on and hit the waiver wire.
Colin Kaepernick, QB SF
Although starting quarterback Alex Smith continues to play moderately well in leading the 49ers to a 3-1 record, backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to earn more snaps and has been especially impressive running the ball. In week four, he gained fifty yards rushing and scored a touchdown. He is a player to monitor, although it is doubtful San Francisco would make a change if they continue to win. If Kaepernick is on your waiver wire, try to make room for him.
Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ
Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes, the team’s only real receiving threat, suffered a Lisfranc injury in week four and will miss the remainder of the season. Holmes will be 29 before the 2013 season begins and his dynasty value takes a huge hit with this news. Holmes will be a player to watch for dynasty owners if the Jets make a change at quarterback prior to the 2013 season. Another angle to consider, if Jets owner Woody Johnson cleans house and both quarterback Mark Sanchez and head coach Rex Ryan are no longer with the team, Holmes could be a cap casualty as well, despite a sizable amount of guaranteed money coming his way in 2013.
Ryan Mathews, RB SD
Fantasy owners have long complained about Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, but now it is the Chargers Norv Turner making decisions that make us all scratch our heads. After losing a fumble in his week three return to action, Mathews was benched in favor of veteran Jackie Battle. Mathews totaled 82 yards in backup duty. While it is clear Mathews is the more talented option for the Chargers, it is tough to insert him into starting lineups until the fumbling ceases.
Kevin Smith, RB DET
For the second consecutive week, former Lions starting running back Kevin Smith failed to log any carries, while Mikel Leshoure continues to start and carry the load for Detroit. It is rare to see a player lose value this quickly, but this is the reality in Detroit. Consider Smith a borderline rosterable player and drop him if you see a better option on the wire.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT
Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall will reportedly make his debut in week five. The Steelers ground game has struggled with both Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer failing to take advantage of increased playing time as he rehabilitated his ACL injury. While nothing is official yet, it is expected Mendenhall will return as the starter. The buy low period is long gone for the 25 year old runner.
Josh Gordon, WR CLE
Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur revealed plans to get rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon more involved in the offense. Gordon has been one of the more disappointing players early this season, so this would be great news to his dynasty owners. It is obvious the Browns need playmakers and could give Gordon a chance in order to see what they have. Gordon’s value has plummeted and makes for a great guy to take a chance on while he is cheap.
Vincent Brown, WR SD
Chargers wide receiver Vincent Brown is on track in his recovery from a fractured ankle and is eligible to return to game action in week seven. With the struggles of the Chargers passing game, specifically free agent acquisition Robert Meachem, Brown could quickly emerge as the WR1 in San Diego. In general, Brown owners have been patient in waiting for him to return, so there is no buy low chance here.
Steven Jackson, RB STL
The St. Louis Rams will reportedly allow starting running back Steven Jackson to void his contract following the 2012 season and become a free agent. It will be interesting to follow this situation this off-season as Jackson seeks a new home. He will likely not be considered for any starter’s positions, but could be a strong option as a team’s third down back. Also, both rookie running backs Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead stand to gain value with the starting position open. Both players would make good trade targets prior to the off-season.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23.