We are nearing the halfway point of the pre-season, the NFL news is flowing at a furious pace. It’s nearly impossible to keep up and that’s why we’re here with the latest updates from all dynasty relevant players over the past several days.
Le’Veon Bell, RB PIT
Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell had his suspension lowered from four games down to three after his representatives came to an agreement with the league. It’s good news for one of the league’s best backs, as well as his fantasy owners, but the one game has little impact on Bell’s dynasty value. The more important part of the story comes in the fine print. The league also agreed to keep Bell in stage two of the substance abuse program, rather than advancing him to stage three, as was expected. From what we know of the policy and the punishments that accompany violations, this likely means Bell’s next suspension would be 10 games rather than a full season. After the rough off-season, most consider Bell as the third or fourth ranked runner in dynasty leagues. He’ll need to get on the field, and stay there, to earn back that lost value.
Christine Michael, RB SEA
Stop me if you’ve heard this one… it appears as if Christine Michael could have a prominent role in the Seattle Seahawks backfield. With presumed starter Thomas Rawls still not fully back in action, Michael has made the most of his opportunity, impressing both in practice and in the first two pre-season games. Head coach Pete Carroll has made statements alluding to a potential timeshare between the two backs. It’s time once again to put Michael on your radar and ensure he’s not sitting on your league’s waiver wire.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR PHI
After weeks, even months, of negative reports out of Nashville regarding dynasty darling Dorial Green-Beckham, the Titans chose to move on, dealing DGB to the Eagles for a backup offensive lineman. The deal was a shock to the dynasty community who continued to believe in Green-Beckham despite multiple signals showing that was a bad idea. Regardless of his issues in Tennessee, a fresh start is the best thing for Green-Beckham and it was clear the Eagles needed some help at the receiver position. Personally, I’m still a believer in DGB and would consider buying him at his new lesser price tag. We’ll see how this plays out, but he has to be considered the second most-talented receiver on the team in Philadelphia. This move could ultimately lead to the team dumping free agent signee Rueben Randle.
Sammie Coates, WR PIT
Another dynasty favorite over the past few months has been Sammie Coates, who many projected would step up in relief of the suspended Martavis Bryant and become a fringe fantasy starter. Through two pre-season games, Coates is struggling to get going, committing multiple drops, along with some sloppy penalties. With Markus Wheaton previously showing he was not cut out for a major role, the Steelers are running out of options. One interesting note: second-year wideout Eli Rogers has looked great and drawn praise from the coaching staff. He’s a player to stash in deeper leagues.
Wendell Smallwood, RB PHI
Eagles rookie runner Wendell Smallwood is dealing with a leg injury and he just missed his second preseason game. Beat writers in Philadelphia are suggesting Smallwood has fallen far behind veterans Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and even Kenjon Barner and it’s easy to understand why. After getting relatively little attention through the pre-draft process, Smallwood became a hot name in the dynasty community and began to move up draft boards, but there was little reason for the jump other than speculation. None of this means Smallwood can’t be a contributor for the Eagles, only that the expectations got out of hand in short order. He is easily worth a roster spot, but may not be too useful for dynasty owners this season. Other rookie backs who are currently buried on their team’s respective depth charts include Paul Perkins, Jordan Howard, CJ Prosise and Keith Marshall.
Breshad Perriman, WR BAL
Former first round draft pick Breshad Perriman is still not practicing for the Ravens and there has been very little news about the injury and recovery. Of course, Perriman missed his entire rookie season and earlier this off-season, there was a rumor Perriman had suffered a torn ACL and would miss the 2016 season as well. This is becoming frustrating and suspicious from a fantasy owner perspective. If you already have Perriman on your roster, you have little choice but to keep him. He is not a player I would be pursuing in any way until we know more about the recent injury and his playing timeline.
John Brown, WR ARI
This has been a good off-season for John Brown’s dynasty owners. He got the seal of approval from some of the big names in the fantasy industry and was gaining value throughout the past few months. Of course, that has very little to do with Jones’ on-field performance for the upcoming season. The real news surrounding Brown is the concussion he is still dealing with, which continues to keep him on the sidelines. Brown has not been cleared and has missed the first two pre-season games. He is still expected to be ready for Week One, and perhaps even a pre-season appearance. Brown’s dynasty value is not budging yet, but this is a situation to monitor.
Brandon LaFell, WR CIN
Bengals new wideout Brandon LaFell is out after tearing a ligament in his hand. It is still unclear how much time LaFell will miss, though he is not expected to miss the entire season. This is not huge news at first glance considering LaFell is a fringe roster option in most dynasty leagues, but it could be huge for rookie Tyler Boyd, who has been a standout in both practice and pre-season action this year. This could open the door for the former Pittsburgh star to start from day one. Depending on how long LaFell will be out of action, he could be dropped in dynasty leagues.
Jeff Janis, WR GB
The pre-season is over for one of the most polarizing players in the dynasty football community. Packers receiver Jeff Janis needed surgery after breaking bones in his hand and will be out of action for up to six weeks. While both Janis and Davante Adams failed to impress, Ty Montgomery surprisingly returned to the field and could sneak in and earn the coveted WR3 role in Green Bay. Janis should be back early in the season and remains worthy of a roster spot in deep dynasty leagues.
Dak Prescott, QB DAL
One of the top performers of the first two weeks of pre-season action has been Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott. He dominated the team’s week one game against Los Angeles and then served as the backup to Tony Romo in week two. In both games, he looked like a star and a future NFL starter. While Tony Romo should and will remain the team’s starter, he’s also one of the most injury prone quarterbacks in the league. The Cowboys may have found their quarterback of the future and I’m adding him to my roster in every league I can.
Ladarius Green, TE PIT
While new Steelers tight end Ladarius Green remains sidelined, rumors are beginning to swirl about the former Charger’s future. Green underwent January ankle surgery and has been sidelined since. In recent days and weeks, questions have begun to surface about Green’s status. First came a report that Green is out of action due to persistent headaches as a result of concussions, which was followed up by a suggestion that Green is considering retirement due to the headaches. Finally, another report mentioned the possibility of the Steelers releasing Green. There has been little follow-up on these now week old reports. At this point, Green could start the season on the PUP list, miss the entire season or even call it a career. I’m not selling low just yet, considering I’ve held the high upside tight end for years. If Green misses any serious time, second-year man Jesse James could be the big beneficiary.