Fantasy News and Notes – Bad News In Denver

Wes Welker – In the Welker blurb in our Wide Receiver rankings we mentioned that welker was “one more shot to the head away from his season ending (or retirement) so be warned” and unfortunately for Welker that shot to the head came in preseason game 3. Welker was officially diagnosed with a concussion and it is yet to be determined whether he will be ready for the team’s regular season opener against the Colts. Obviously this drops Welker’s draft stock significantly, but it’s also a blow to Peyton Manning as well.

Free agent signee Emmanuel Sanders figures to get the biggest bump from a Welker absence – and he shined Saturday catching 5 passes for 128 yards and 2 TD – but rookie Cody Latimer is a player to watch as well, especially in dynasty leagues. Latimer has good size and outstanding hands (he dropped just ONE pass his senior year in college) and playing with that Manning guy won’t hurt either.

Matt Prater – In other Broncos news, star kicker Matt Prater was hit with a four game ban to start the season, believed to be stemming from alcohol abuse. Prater was the only kicker on the roster so the team will need to sign someone to replace him. No word on whether Peyton Manning dropped any “liquored up idiot kickers” blasts on Prater.

Sam Bradford – For the second year in a row the Rams QB will miss the rest of the season with a re-torn ACL. There was speculation in the off-season that the Rams would move on, but they stuck with him and are now paying the price. Shaun Hill has been named the starting quarterback for now, but there has been talk about a trade for another QB (Mark Sanchez has been mentioned already) to fill the void. With his career in jeopardy, Bradford can be cut in all formats.

Cam Newton – Newton has been diagnosed with a hairline fracture in his ribs suffered in preseason week 3 against the Patriots. The team has told the medial that they expect Newton to be ready for the start of the regular season but since a large part of his fantasy value comes from running the football this is a concern. Newton is still a QB1 but fantasy owners would be wise to back him up with a quality signal caller just in case the injury hinders his play.

Josh Gordon – There has been no official update on the Josh Gordon suspension watch – at least at the time I’m writing this – but Browns coach Mike Pettine told the media that he expects Gordon to be suspended for at least part of the season. There had been some speculation that the decision would be “all or nothing” but it sounds like there is some hope that Gordon will miss half a season or less.

Mike Wallace – The Dolphins speedy wide receiver looked impressive on Saturday catching 6 balls for 67 yards and nearly scored on a long touchdown. All signs point to a big year from Wallace in the ‘Fins revamped offense and he makes an excellent buy with his 7th round ADP.

Zac StacyBenny Cunningham, not Stacy was given the start in the Rams third preseason game. Rams coach Jeff Fisher told the media that they just wanted to see Cunningham in action with the starters and that it’s still Stacy’s job, but it’s a bit unsettling for fantasy owners who spent a second or third round pick on him. With the competition and the Bradford injury I’m sliding Stacy from a low end RB1 to a high end RB2 for this season.

Robert Griffin – For all the high expectations from fantasy analysts for a big season in DC, Griffin and the Redskins first team offense has yet to score a touchdown in the preseason. It’s a concern, and I’m moving Griffin down slightly on my cheat sheet rankings, but it’s a new offense and it’s very early so I still have faith in what RG3 can do. Still, it would be nice to see them put up a score or two in the team’s final game before the regular season starts.

Matt Schaub – Raiders coach Dennis Allen told the media that Schaub is dealing with a sore throwing elbow, leaving rookie Derek Carr to run with the first team in practice. This is a big opportunity for Carr to steal the job, and while all rookie signal callers have issues, would be an upgrade for the Raiders offense as a whole.

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