Summer camp is supposed to be full of practical jokes, team building and fun. Unfortunately, dynasty owners aren’t worrying about their players having their hands put in warm water when they’re sleeping. Instead, it’s August and everyone instead starts crossing their fingers, hoping their players can make it through training camp and the preseason healthy. Unfortunately, we’ve only had one preseason game (and that one hardly counts) and we’ve seen three significant injuries that are going to impact dynasty leagues in 2017 as Kenneth Dixon, Ryan Tannehill and Will Fuller have all been inflicted with serious ailments that have ranging dynasty impact. Let’s grab a marshmallow roasting stick and have a fireside chat about the players who are going to be impacted in dynasty leagues as a result of some pretty bad early camp luck.
Kenneth Dixon, RB BAL
Dixon went in for a “trim” of his meniscus and came out of it with a full repair and a lost season of football. Dixon showed a glimpse of what dynasty owners were hoping for when they burned a valuable rookie pick on him last season but his off-season couldn’t have gone worse after he was suspended for the first four games then lost for the year due to this injury. Dixon was a pretty solid sleeper going into 2017 but now there are serious questions about his future. The Ravens will get a long look at their other backs and could be in the market for a big splash at the position in the draft or during free agency next off-season.
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Terrance West, RB BAL
West is likely the biggest beneficiary of the injury to Dixon as he’ll likely be employed as the short yardage and early down runner for the Ravens. Still, the Ravens have led the league in passing attempts over the last two seasons and it’s hard to say just how confident they are in giving West more than a complementary load. Time will tell if West can take advantage of this opportunity but his arrow is most certainly looking up – I’d just be a little wary of buying him at “starting running back” price tags.
Danny Woodhead, RB BAL
One of the most underrated players in dynasty leagues over the past few seasons, Woodhead should be peppered with targets out of the backfield this season. The Dixon injury likely won’t affect his value much as he was going to be the passing down back for the Ravens anyway. However, it’s not impossible to imagine him getting a few more carries now that the depth chart has been turned upside down in Baltimore.
Buck Allen, RB BAL
Allen owes Dixon a Hallmark card after his injury likely took him off the roster bubble and squarely in the mix for carries this season. He’s reportedly had a nice start to camp and will have a golden opportunity to make an impact this season for Baltimore if he can indeed make the final roster. Expect the ADP chart below to change over the next month or two as the market starts reacting to the injury to Dixon.
Rashad Jennings and DeAngelo Williams, RBs FA
The prevailing thought was the Ravens would look at the free agent market for a replacement for Dixon but it seems Williams and Jennings aren’t in the mix. These two veterans are still looking for a home and are waiting patiently for the next (and inevitable) running back injury.
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
Tannehill’s July ADP was all the way down to 205.67, which matches his low point over the past two years. After he went down in practice earlier this week, leading to rampant speculation his season is over before it began, expect that number to dip even further. This was going to be a critical year for Tannehill as the Dolphins really needed to see what he could do in new Head Coach Adam Gase’s offense. Instead, he’ll likely require ACL surgery to repair what is reportedly a partially re-torn ACL. Tannehill is on a six-year, $95.272 million contract he signed in 2015 and now represents a quarterback who is far from elite but far from awful as well. Tannehill should safely return as the starter in 2018 but the Dolphins have to be wondering if he’s the true long-term answer beyond that, especially since he’ll already be 30 years old at this time next season.
Jay Cutler, QB MIA
The Dolphins are obviously one step away from waving the white flag on Tannehill as they signed Jay Cutler to a one-year deal worth $10 million today. The 11-year veteran bring with him immense arm talent, 208 career touchdown passes and 202 career turnovers as well. Cutler is who he is at this stage of his career and that’s a player who will put up a monster game on occasion and look like Tom Brady is at the helm of your dynasty team. Unfortunately, he’ll also give you some efforts that look more like Tom Jones is quarterbacking the Dolphins. The enigmatic Cutler will undoubtedly take unnecessary chances and turn the ball over a lot but should be good enough as a bye week replacement or emergency starter for a dynasty team, though he’s more than likely a player your opponent likes to see in your lineup more than you do. Re-joining his former Coach in Adam Gase is a good thing but I wouldn’t be getting too excited here.
Matt Moore, QB MIA
Moore was in line to be the starter until Cutler was brought back into the fold. It’s likely he’ll make starts this year as Cutler hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2009. Still, it’s hard to see a place for Moore on many dynasty rosters as it’s obvious the Dolphins don’t see him as a viable option.
DeVante Parker, WR MIA
Few players have had more hype than Parker this off-season but the loss of Tannehill doesn’t help him much. Cutler will attempt to force feed Parker, Kenny Stills and Jarvis Landry but his addition isn’t going to help their fantasy stats much this season. While getting Cutler helps minimize the loss of Tannehill, it doesn’t make his loss completely transparent, either.
Colin Kaepernick, QB FA
There was some hope amongst the fantasy community that Kaepernick was going to finally find a home but the Dolphins obviously went in a different direction. Kaepernick is nothing more than a free agent with potential in both fantasy and reality.
Will Fuller, WR HOU
Nagging injuries hurt Fuller last year and a broken collarbone during camp has now sidelined him for the next 2-3 months. He’s quickly proving to be what many dynasty owners feared – a player with great ability and talent but also one who is fragile and has unquestionably poor hands. Fuller’s July ADP was at an all-time low at 121.67 and that number is going to dip again in August as a result of this injury. If you’re still a believer in Fuller, this is going to represent a buy-low opportunity. If you own him, you have no choice but to ride out the storm.
Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong, WRs HOU
DeAndre Hopkins was already going to be the top option for the Texans and while it’s safe to say teams will roll even more coverage his way, it’s not like he wasn’t going to be a key to the opponent’s game plan already. This injury really doesn’t affect Hopkins’ value much but it does give a nice boost to the values of Miller and Strong. Miller is especially intriguing as he looks to be given a golden opportunity and has been really impressing in camp. If you’re looking for a cheaper lottery ticket, Miller can be had as a sneaky part of a bigger trade.
Tom Savage, QB HOU
Savage looks to have taken the early lead in the quarterback competition but the loss of Fuller won’t help. If anything, Fuller was able to keep defenses honest with his speed and Savage (or Deshaun Watson) are going to be challenged more without him around.
These are just three different injuries that have impacted dynasty leagues so far. Let’s hope the next few weeks are as quiet as a smoldering campfire. However, we’ve all done this long enough to know Sasquatch is right behind a log and ready to pounce in his next victim.
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