The fantasy football playoffs are in full swing now and hopefully your team is still alive. Here is the most important news of the past week.
Thomas Rawls, RB SEA
Breakout rookie running back Thomas Rawls suffered a broken ankle in last week’s game, which will put an end to his surprising season. It’s not yet known exactly how the next few weeks will play out when it comes to the Seahawks’ running back position, let alone next season. Veteran Marshawn Lynch could still return at some point this season, though his future with the team beyond the current season is in doubt. Until Lynch is back, Seattle will rely on a three-headed platoon system involving veteran Fred Jackson and newly re-signed duo of Bryce Brown and Christine Michael. Jackson’s career surely is coming to a close, while Brown and Michael have failed to impress multiple teams.
Cameron Artis-Payne, RB CAR
With Carolina starting running back Jonathan Stewart expected to miss this weekend’s game against the Giants, rookie Cameron Artis-Payne could finally get a chance at some significant playing time. Artis-Payne, the former Auburn back, is a powerful runner that has barely seen the field this year. He won’t have the backfield to himself by any means, but we should get a good look at what he can do. If he’s available on your waiver wire, he may be worth stashing for the next few days, at least.
Leonard Hankerson, WR NE
Former Redskin receiver Leonard Hankerson was enjoying a nice breakout season with the Falcons before a hamstring injury landed him on the injured reserve list. Atlanta opted to part ways with Hankerson and he was claimed this week by the Patriots. New England has struggled to find consistent production from their current receivers since an injury put Julian Edelman out of action. Hankerson could play immediately for the defending Super Bowl champs. He should be rostered in most dynasty league formats.
Kevin White, WR CHI
[inlinead]This probably does not come as surprising news, but the Chicago Bears finally made things official this week. Rookie receiver Kevin White will not play this year. White has been dealing with a leg injury that we know mysteriously little about. Hopefully, White will be fully healthy for the majority of the off-season as he acclimates himself to the NFL. As a 24-year-old first year player, the pressure will be on White to produce immediately.
Montee Ball, RB NE
The good news is former Broncos’ running back Montee Ball was signed by the New England Patriots this week. The bad news is he is reportedly overweight and was assigned to the practice squad. Ball was being drafted as early as the second round in startup drafts less than two years ago and now finds himself without a job for most of the season. Even with start LeGarrette Blount done for the season, the team may still not be willing to give Ball a shot. He still has no dynasty value until he can make the active roster.
Devin Smith, WR NYJ
Rookie receiver Devin Smith of the Jets is done for the year with a torn ACL. Occurring this late in the season, there is a chance the injury and recovery period could impact Smith’s training camp or even pre-season schedule. On top of the new injury concern, dynasty owners must be worried about both Smith’s poor play on the field as well as the crowded depth chart, where Smith was far behind starters Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Smith’s dynasty value is quickly fading.
Andy Dalton, QB CIN
The biggest news story of the week actually has a relatively small impact on dynasty leagues. Bengals’ starting quarterback Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb, which will keep him out of action for a minimum of two weeks, but his absence could even extend into the playoffs. Dynasty teams still alive in the playoffs likely had another good option at quarterback, considering entered the 2015 season being viewed as a backup, at best. The only long-term impact that could come from this injury would be if Dalton’s backup, AJ McCarron, were to play out of his mind and create a quarterback controversy. Based on last week’s game, that doesn’t seem very likely.
Antonio Gates, TE SD
Veteran tight end Antonio Gates hinted this past week that he would return in 2016 for a fourteenth season. Gates has been one of the league’s top tight ends for over a decade and even after serving a four game suspension at the beginning of this season. Gates has proven to be a fantasy factor. Both he and backup Ladarius Green are free agents following the season, so Gates’ decision could have many ramifications. It’s fair to assume that if Gates does return, it would be to the Chargers, meaning Green could be looking for a new team.
Derek Carrier, TE WAS
The Redskins placed tight end Derek Carrier on the injured reserve list with a torn ACL. Carrier was a hot dynasty stash at times this season with starter Jordan Reed dealing with some injury issues. If Carrier can fully recover, he’ll be part of a strong trio of tight ends, along with Reed and Niles Paul, who is also on the injured reserve list.