Much like us here at DLF, there really is no offseason in the NFL. Even after the dramatic conclusion of the Super Bowl and the MVP’s trip to Disney World, the day-to-day business of the league continues. This means you should be paying attention to give yourself every advantage in your dynasty league. For most of us, we do well to steal some time away from our families and jobs to watch the games on Sunday. It becomes difficult to monitor the daily happenings around the league, and even more demanding to process how that news affects your dynasty team.
That’s why we’re here!
Here is a quick look at the Events of the past week and how they impact the players on your team:
Ronnie Hillman, RB DEN
The rookie running back who has received much hype from dynasty league players since he was drafted by the Broncos has been running as the fourth running back in some team drills. For years, we wondered when John Fox would give the young and talented running back Jonathan Stewart a chance to shine and we have yet to see that. Now that Fox is in Denver, it is possible there will be a repeat. However, likely starter Willis McGahee does not have as many years left as the Panthers DeAngelo Williams did upon Stewart’s arrival. This could just be a cue for dynasty owners to temper expectations for Hillman under Fox, at least in his first season. Hillman is still worth a shot in the early second round of rookie drafts.
Adam Weber, QB DEN
In a surprise move, widely unknown Adam Weber, a second year quarterback from the University of Minnesota ended the team’s minicamp as the #2 quarterback, ahead of offseason signee Caleb Hanie and rookie Brock Osweiler. It is no surprise that Hanie has been unimpressive and many have labeled Osweiler as raw and a project. That leaves Weber, the only holdover from last year’s team. The backup quarterback will have a small amount of short term value until starter Peyton Manning proves he is healthy, but Weber is not yet worth a roster spot in any dynasty league. Osweiler still has more value as the expected incumbent once Manning calls it a career.
Chris Givens, WR NO
It seems that each week there is another young wide receiver being hyped as the next breakout star to come from nowhere, like Marques Colston and Victor Cruz. Our job as dynasty owners is to take in all the possible information about these players and make a decision about which are the real deal and which are just pretenders. This week, the New Orleans Saints Chris Givens is getting much of the attention from local beat writers, who claim that he is gaining on Adrian Arrington and Devery Henderson. The Saints sure have a lot of wide receiving options and have proven in the past that as many as three or four of their pass catchers can provide fantasy value. I am not sure how much talent is really there at wide receiver with Henderson, Lance Moore, Arrington, Joseph Morgan and rookie Nick Toon filling out the depth chart. Henderson and Moore have had solid years in the past, but the true battle will be for the fourth wide receiver spot and Givens has a shot. He has been getting a lot of action in the red zone as the Saints look to find a replacement for their top scoring wide receiver Robert Meachem. Again, Givens is not worth picking up yet, but this is a situation to watch closely.
Stephen Burton, WR MIN
Another young wide receiver who stood out during OTAs is second year man for the Vikings, Stephen Burton. Burton did little as a rookie in 2011, collecting only two catches in three games played, but there is opportunity in Minnesota. The Vikings wide receiver depth chart actually resembles the aforementioned Saints. After the solid WR1, Percy Harvin, the Vikings are filled with disappointing veterans (Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu) and unproven youngsters (Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, Burton). This means it would not be surprising if one of the young players claimed the third wide receiver spot and ran with it. Most assume it will be Childs, but we should be monitoring Burton at this point.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB PIT
What we all have expected for some time is closer to becoming a reality after this week. It appears that injured running back Rashard Mendenhall will start the 2012 season on the PUP list, meaning he would miss at least the first six games of the regular season. Mendehall is coming off a week 17 ACL tear and his dynasty value obviously took a huge hit. Most assume Isaac Redman to earn the starting role to begin the season and he could claim it for much longer with solid play. Mendenhall is only 25 years old and will have plenty of interest should his tenure in Pittsburgh come to a close. Now is a great time to buy in dynasty leagues. He can likely be acquired for a second round pick and a prospect.
AJ Jenkins, WR SF
The news can’t all be good for young wide receivers – rookie AJ Jenkins continues to struggle in OTAs and minicamp workouts. He has been practicing with the third team wide receivers, placing him sixth at best on the depth chart. For a team that worked hard this offseason to improve their wide receiving corps, adding Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, Jenkins is digging himself a deep hole. It is still early, but Jenkins will have to turn this around and have a strong training camp to secure playing time and maintain fantasy value. He is likely falling to the early third round of late rookie drafts and is worth taking a risk on at that point.
Diondre Borel, WR GB
I just wanted to share a quick update following the news last week about Borel. The Green Bay Press-Gazette now expects the Packers to keep six wide receivers. Borel would compete with Tori Gurley for the final spot on the depth chart. With Donald Driver wrapping up his Packer career and James Jones evidently on the trading block, now is the time to stash Borel in your deep dynasty league. In smaller leagues, you still have time to wait, but it is very doubtful he passes Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb anytime soon. Green Bay is another offense that can support up to four fantasy relevant wide receivers.
Mewelde Moore, RB IND
The veteran runner Moore signed with the Colts this week, reuniting with his offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh, Bruce Arians. Moore has always been an under the radar running back, excelling in third down situations. While he is very unlikely to have a fantasy impact, the signing says more about the Colts feelings about current running backs Donald Brown and Delone Carter, even though head coach Chuck Pagano has called Brown an every down back. Brown’s value has been increasing as it seems more and more likely he will be handed the starter’s job, while second year backup Delone Carter has lost nearly all of his value after a disappointing rookie season. I would avoid all running backs on the Colts as none of those are the long term answer and all could struggle as the team plays from behind for much of the 2012 season.
Cedric Benson, RB FA
This week there was a rumor (an Adam Schefter report, that is), that the Raiders were interested in signing veteran running back Cedric Benson. This move would be somewhat of a surprise as nearly all of the news regarding the Raiders’ backup runners, Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones, has been positive this offseason. Though with Darren McFadden as the starter, the team has to be sure they have done their due diligence and are happy with their running back depth chart, as an injury to McFadden would surprise no one. Many owners are still holding onto Benson, hoping he lands in a plum spot to receive carries.
Eddie Royal, WR SD
Yet another wide receiver earning beat writer praise is free agent signee Eddie Royal. The Chargers have made some changes to their wide receiver depth chart following the loss of Vincent Jackson to the Buccaneers. They brought in both Royal and Robert Meachem to add to holdovers Malcom Floyd and Vincent Brown. Many assume that Meachem will be the star from this foursome, but it is very hard to predict. Quarterback Philip Rivers will continue to look to tight end Antonio Gates in the end zone, while Meachem will provide the deep threat and is a huge scoring threat on any given play. Royal has proven he can work well from multiple wide receiver positions and had great success in Denver his rookie season. Many owners still value Brown highly in dynasty leagues despite a quiet rookie season, but Royal is a much cheaper option and could outscore Brown and Floyd. If Royal is sitting on your waiver wire, scoop him up now.
Percy Harvin, WR MIN
The talented Viking wide receiver has requested the team trade him. Although Harvin does have a modest salary over the next two years, many seem to think that money is not the issue here, but rather a discontentment with the team. Harvin famously (among fantasy circles at least) received far less playing time than expected in 2011, participating in just over 50% of the team’s offensive plays. Fans immediately began dreaming up possible trade scenarios, but the Vikings cannot afford to trade Harvin for anything less than a high first round pick. Harvin reportedly has no plans to hold out of training camp and he remains a strong WR2 option for your dynasty team.
TJ Graham, WR BUF
The Bills rookie wide receiver has looked strong and is battling Donald Jones for the starting spot opposite Stevie Johnson. Even though the Bills drafted Graham in the tjird round, he has been widely ignored even in dynasty leagues. As I said last week, it seems that each year there is a Bills wide receiver being overhyped and ultimately, disappointing his owners. The Bills have yet to prove the offense can support two fantasy relevant wide receivers. With that said, I would take a chance on rostering Graham in my deep dynasty league with the chance his speed pays off and provides a new dimension to the Bills offense. We have more on the Bills in this week’s premium content as well.
Check back next week for another update on the week’s impact events!
Follow Ryan McDowell on Twitter @RyanMc23
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