Finally, the fantasy playoffs are upon us. Whether your team is in the playoffs or not, playing in dynasty leagues means we are always working to improve our teams. Here’s the latest news from around the NFL to help keep you on top of your dynasty league.
Pierre Thomas, RB WAS
Dealing with an injury to backup running back Chris Thompson, the Washington Redskins have signed former New Orleans running back Pierre Thomas. Thomas was dumped by the Saints after the 2014 season and received surprisingly little interest, despite some teams having obvious holes at the running back spot. He was signed by the 49ers earlier this season, but didn’t last long. Considering it took so long for any team to really give him a shot, I think any hope dynasty owners had in him providing a late season boost to their team can be forgotten. Even with a team, Thomas has no dynasty value. Thompson will reportedly be placed on the injured reserve list, and he too can be dumped from your dynasty roster.
Gary Barnidge, TE CLE
The Browns and breakout tight end Gary Barnidge have agreed to a three-year contract extension. Barnidge has been in the league for six seasons, but never really made an impact until this season with Cleveland. He’s one of the few bright spots for the team and they are wise to keep him in town, especially for a fraction of what others, like Charles Clay, earned on the open market. Barnidge’s dynasty value is somewhat capped considering he is already 30, but with the number of quality fantasy tight end options dwindling, he’s an excellent option for the next year or two.
Kevin White, WR CHI
The Bears have opted to keep rookie receiver Kevin White on the PUP list, meaning he will not play this season. This has been rumored since before the season even began when it was revealed he was dealing with a serious leg injury. Considering he will essentially be a 24-year-old rookie in 2016, I have some concerns he’ll ever be the asset many expected when they used a top three rookie pick on him just a few months ago.
DeMarco Murray, RB PHI
After receiving only eight carries last week, fewer than Darren Sproles and Kenjon Barner, Eagles’ starting running back DeMarco Murray expressed frustration with his role. Head coach Chip Kelly did nothing to ease those concerns, basically stating that the team would use a hot hand, or committee approach going forward. Based on that, rumors of the team moving on from their prized free agent of last off-season have begun to pop up, with some even speculating that a Murray to Dallas reunion could be in the cards. I’ll believe that when I see it, but it seems Murray will need a new home in order for his dynasty value to rebound.
Mark Ingram, RB NO
The biggest news of the week was the surprise injury to Saints’ running back Mark Ingram, who was placed on the injured reserve list and underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. It’s a major blow to the Saints and to dynasty owners, who were counting on Ingram, who has been one of the more reliable fantasy options, in this week’s playoffs. He will be replaced by a combination of the disappointing CJ Spiller and veteran Tim Hightower. It’s unclear how the touches will be split between the tow, but I don’t see either getting much of a long-term dynasty bump. Ingram, despite the injury, should maintain his value as a top ten running back, given his age and role in the Saints’ offense.
Michael Crabtree, WR OAK
The Raiders wasted no time in locking up wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has had a surprising bounce back season with Derek Carr and playing alongside rookie Amari Cooper. Crabtree inked a four-year contract extension for $35 million. He has been a consistent fantasy option this season and has actually been Carr’s top receiver ahead of the superstar in the making, Cooper. With this production this season, Crabtree’s dynasty value has been rejuvenated and he’s back in the conversation as a top 30 dynasty wideout.
Larry Donnell, TE NYG
The Giants finally gave up on the idea of tight end Larry Donnell returning to the field this season, placing him on the injured reserve list due to a neck injury. Donnell hasn’t played in weeks and there is at least some concern the injury could be long-lasting. While he didn’t make a name for himself until last season, he’s already 27 years old and rookie Will Tye has been playing well in his place. This may be the beginning of the end of Donnell’s dynasty value.
Martellus Bennett, TE CHI
Donnell wasn’t the only veteran tight end landing on the injured reserve list this week as the Bears ended the season for Martellus Bennett with a rib injury. Bennett has just one season left on his deal with the Bears and he may not be welcomed back for the 2016 season. If that is the case, his dynasty value will come into question, considering he’ll be asked to learn a new playbook at 29 years old. Bennett may not be a top ten option going forward.
Johnny Manziel, QB CLE
The wild ride continues for the Cleveland Browns as they again named Johnny Manziel as their starting quarterback. The last time this happened, just a couple of weeks ago, it was expected to last the remainder of the season. Instead, Manziel was caught on camera partying during the team’s bye week and reportedly lied about the incident. That earned him a spot on the bench, but the subsequent season ending injury to veteran Josh McCown and the poor play of Austin Davis has Manziel back in line to lead the team. I really don’t know what to expect from the former Heisman winner at this point, but it is difficult to envision him becoming a top ten fantasy quarterback on a consistent basis.