The week before the draft can be filled with news stories which are more gossip and hearsay than they are news stories. General Managers, owners and even beat reporters spread news stories which can be viewed as less than true. Rumors are swirling and it’s not the easiest time of year to decipher what is “real” news. This edition of the Impact Events concentrates on real news stories. You’ve already been bombarded with fabrications and falsehoods. Let’s try to sift through the cold hard facts.
Justin Blackmon, WR JAX
Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell reportedly does not plan to have Blackmon on the active roster in 2014. This would be a huge blow to dynasty owners of Blackmon. While this time of year tends to be filled with “coach speak,” Blackmon has visited Roger Goodell’s office more often than you’d hope to see. If you are a contending team in dynasty, it may be time to cut bait with Blackmon. The consensus value on him seems to be an early second round rookie pick (at least this morning). If you’re a rebuilding team, taking a chance on Blackmon sounds like an enticing idea. He is one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. If he ever gets his head on straight, he could pay huge dividends for owners who bought him low.
The Jaguars may be in the market for Sammy Watkins or another receiver in first few rounds of the draft (or maybe that’s what they want us to think). Either way, Cecil Shorts will undoubtedly see an increased workload.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR MIN
The Minnesota Vikings hired offensive guru Norv Turner this off-season. Turner has reportedly been moving Patterson all around the offensive in mini-camps. The Vikings coaching staff received some criticism last year for being unimaginitive with their usage of Patterson – this year should be different. Patterson is anything but your normal receiver. He possesses elite return skills and exceeds when he has the ball in open space. If the Vikings offense can successfully use Patterson in an unconventional way, the sky could be the limit. It will be very interesting to see if the Vikings bring in a highly touted rookie quarterback. A warm body behind center could mean big things for that offense.
Shane Vereen, RB NE
Earlier this week, Vereen said his injured wrist will not be 100% healthy “probably for a while.” It’s never a good sign when an athlete admits when an injury is bothering him eight months after suffering it. Vereen played weeks after injuring his wrist last year, but managed to drop nine passes during that stretch. When healthy, Vereen is a PPR nightmare for your opponents. There is still plenty of time for him to get healthy before the regular season. Just don’t hurt your wrist crossing your fingers.
Tyrann Mathieu, S ARI
[inlinead]?Last season, the “Honeybadger” exploded onto the NFL scene. Many people thought Mathieu was too immature for the big leagues. Maturity aside, he was a great safety for the Arizona Cardinals. IDP owners were in for a pleasant surprise as he accumulated multiple tackles, defensed passes, two interceptions and even recorded a sack. Unfortunately, Mathieu suffered an ACL injury week 14 against the St Louis Rams. This past week, Mathieu resumed running “a few weeks” ahead of schedule in his knee rehab. He will likely start training camp on the PUP list, and it is unclear when he will be available. If you’re a patient dynasty owner, keep him on your bench and reap the rewards when he becomes active. If you’re opponents are not patient, oblige them in trading for Mathieu.
Michael Vick, QB NYJ
Geno Smith took first team snaps at the New York Jets mini-camp. Vick was then quoted as saying “Geno is the starting quarterback.” This may not be news to some, but many in the dynasty community seem to think Vick will be the week one starter in New York. Vick went on to say “Our goal is to try to help Geno become the best he can be.” Smith seemed to improve with each game down the stretch of the 2013 season and has proven enough to be the starting quarterback for the Jets. The Jets Offensive Coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg, threw some gasoline on this debate, saying the quarterback competition is far from over. Mornhinweg said that Geno is ahead in the competition to become the starter, but nothing is guaranteed yet. Whoever becomes the starter may have more value to fantasy owners than Jets quarterbacks of years past. The addition of Eric Decker and Chris Johnson add extra value to the offensive side of the ball for the Jets.
Jordan Reed, TE WAS
Dynasty owners were elated to discover a “diamond in the rough” in Reed last year. Reed routinely went in the third round of rookie drafts, yet outplayed his draft spot exponentially. A top five tight end list is now considered incomplete if lacking Reed’s name. There has really only been one knock on the sophomore tight end – concussions. This week, Reed gave dynasty owners a reason to celebrate. He fully participated in the Redskins mini-camp, and is reportedly a “full go” for offseason activities. Adjust your excitement level accordingly.
Sean Lee, LB DAL
Over the last two seasons, Lee has missed fifteen games due to injury. When healthy, he is one of the premiere middle linebackers in the game and there was reportedly discussion to move him to outside linebacker to preserve his health. Cowboys Executive Vice President, Stephen Jones, laid that rumor to rest. “He’s so good in the middle and leading the way, leading the defense. It’s a natural spot for him to work from” Jones said. It sounds like there will be no move to the outside for Lee, making his fantasy owners very happy.
Marcus Lattimore, RB SF
Lattimore is reportedly not “all the way back” from the gruesome knee injury he suffered in college. Reports say he is not comfortable “physically or mentally.” Lattimore was on course to be one of the most explosive running back prospects to come out of college in years. After suffering a triple knee ligament tear, he joined the NFL, was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers, and essentially was given a “redshirt” year by the team. It’s not out of the realm of possibilities that Lattimore never returns to pre-injury form.
Marcell Dareus, DT BUF
Tuscaloosa police arrested Dareus on Monday on charges of possessing synthetic marijuana. While this is a comparatively minor charge, we know Roger Goodell doesn’t appreciate NFL players being arrested. Dareus is one of the most talented and productive defensive tackles in the game. If he can put this issue behind him, he will continue to be a dominant force for the Buffalo Bills and will produce for IDP enthusiasts.
Jimmy Graham, TE NO
The NFLPA has filed a grievance on behalf of Graham. The New Orleans Saints franchise tagged Graham this off-season under the tight end label. Graham and the Players Association want him to be labeled a wide receiver, which would pay him more. How does this affect your dynasty team? If Graham is considered a wide receiver, his value relative to his position will plummet. This is a story to keep your eye on. If the prospect of him becoming a wide receiver bothers you, trade him. You can get a haul for him right now.
Everyone have fun watching the NFL Draft tonight. Remember, there are no winners or losers on draft day. Philadelphia fans hated the Eagles for drafting Donovan McNabb. New York fans hate the Jets every year for their picks. Draft pundits are routinely wrong and NFL teams are often smarter than they’re given credit for.
Enjoy the exciting weekend folks!
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