Hello and Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you for reading this column throughout the 2017 fantasy football season, and I hope that you had plenty of cash to spend during the holidays after winning your championship. We’re heading into the NFL playoffs, and the news cycle never stops. There are plenty of coaching changes, injury news and declarations by underclassmen in college. It’s never too early to start scouting for fantasy football in 2018, getting a jump on those slackers who have turned their eye to basketball, hockey or another sport.
The coaching reality island was expected to boot another contestant on Tuesday, but instead the Cincinnati Bengals surprised the football world by inking head coach Marvin Lewis to a two-year contract. After a disappointing season it looked like Lewis was on the ropes. Perhaps it was his team’s no-quit attitude in Baltimore, including a touchdown in the final minute to ruin their rivals’ season. Perhaps the Buffalo Bills fans called Bengals owner Mike Brown and lobbied on Lewis’ behalf. It’s uncertain what exactly transpired to make Lewis a certain goner about a week or two ago, to receiving a new two-year deal. The team will not be bringing back defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, however. His deal is up and was not renewed, so he’ll be free to move along. It might not take long to find gainful employment, as he is reportedly a leading candidate for Jon Gruden‘s staff in Oakland, if the Raiders can finalize that hire at some point.
Lewis’ return is interesting. They have a potential star in the making with Joe Mixon, and a premier wide receiver in A.J. Green, while they have plenty of young depth with Giovani Bernard, Tyler Boyd and John Ross. He could look very good again, very soon, if everyone can stay healthy. It would be nice to see Tyler Eifert return to 100 percent and be the red-zone presence he has been in the past when healthy.
Editor’s Note: If it feels like people are talking about Bitcoin everywhere you go, it’s because they are. And now you can add FanDuel to that list, who this week are hosting their Bitcoin Bowl, consisting of two separate contests where you can win real Bitcoin. Join the Bitcoin craze now!
The Lions are not letting the grass grow beneath their feet after dismissing head coach Jim Caldwell. They have turned their attention in house first, interviewing offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Tuesday. Austin, in particular, has been a hot coordinator name for years, and if he doesn’t land a head coaching job in Motown, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him find a head coaching job elsewhere. It’s hard to imagine he’ll go through the interview process for yet another offseason and settle for a coordinator job yet again. Cooter has been a solid OC, but his name is relatively new to the coaching rumor mill. However, if Cooter were to stick around in Detroit in a head coaching role, it would be outstanding news for the likes of Matthew Stafford and his fantasy value heading into 2018.
The Baltimore Ravens are fine with John Harbaugh at the helm, but they’re looking to bring a former NFL head coach and familiar face back into the fold. The Ravens are reportedly interested in former Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, who served as the defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator for one season before shuffling off to Indy. Dean Pees is retiring, so the team needs a DC. It seems like a natural fit. Pagano is a brilliant defensive mind, and the Ravens defense would continue to be a nasty unit in the competitive AFC North. Well, competitive even with the winless Cleveland Browns as a member.
Speaking of the Colts, they’re expected to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for the heading coaching position on Thursday. That’s the first of a handful of interviews he has scheduled, including the Chicago Bears and New York Giants on Friday. He continues to be a hot name in the coaching search area. And what’s not to like? Sure, future Hall of Famer Tom Brady can make anyone look like a star, but remember, this is the same OC who made LeGarrette Blount into a stud last season, while also transforming Rex Burkhead from a nobody to a fantasy stud before he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
If McDaniels doesn’t land in Chitown, perhaps Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy will be their man. He has been rumored to Chicago and Indy this week. The Bears have requested permission for an interview, and he won’t be able to interview with the team until the team is done with their postseason run. So Chicago and Indy might be really big fans of the Tennessee Titans this weekend, cheering against the Chiefs so they get a crack at their man before some of the other vacancies are filled and the candidate pool starts to dwindle.
Banged up runners
A lot of the injury news for the Wild-Card Round of the playoffs is coming from the running back position. The Atlanta Falcons held RB Devonta Freeman (knee) out of practice Tuesday, and they promoted Terrence Magee from the practice squad from the active roster. It might be good news for Tevin Coleman‘s outlook in Saturday’s game on the road against the Los Angeles Rams. They ranked 28th in the regular season in rushing defense, allowing 122.4 yards per game with 15 touchdowns. The Rams also yielded 12 rushes of 20 or more yards, and four runs of 40 or more yards. If Freeman is unable to play on Saturday, Coleman might be an attractive pick in postseason fantasy pools and DFS play. WR Julio Jones (ankle, ribs) was held out of practice Tuesday, but it’s believed to be more of a mid-week veteran’s rest, and not because there is any real chance he’ll be out of their playoff game in L.A.
The Tennessee Titans held RB DeMarco Murray (knee) out of practice Tuesday. Remember, he suffered a torn medial collateral ligament and claimed that he feels he would be able to play through the injury. The Titans have an investment and do not want Murray to make his injury worse by playing, if that’s even possible. Derrick Henry is fully expected to shoulder the full load against the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday afternoon. The Chiefs ranked 25th in the league in rushing defense, giving up 118.1 yards per game with 15 rushing touchdowns allowed in the regular season. It might be a grind, however, as they allowed just six runs of 20 or fewer yards, and no runs of 40 or more yards. Still, Henry is a great postseason fantasy play and DFS option heading into Arrowhead.
Quick Hits: Carson Palmer announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. Well, actually it’s his second retirement, as you’ll remember he once retired as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, precipitating a move to the Oakland Raiders. This time, though, it’s for real, and unlikely he is coming back. With head coach Bruce Arians also calling it a career, the Cardinals will take on a very different look in 2018. … Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (knee) reportedly underwent a “minor” surgery, according to the Houston Chronicle. Fuller was a fantasy revelation in the middle of the season when pairing with QB Deshaun Watson, but once the QB went down to a knee injury, Fuller struggled with the turnstile under center before suffering more injuries of his own down the stretch. His fantasy value is hard to pinpoint in 2018. Will prospective fantasy owners remember his red-hot month-long run, or his multitude of injuries? … Denver Broncos QB Trevor Siemian is set to go under the knife on Wednesday, having work done on his left shoulder for a damaged posterior capsule. He also had a procedure on the left shoulder last offseason. … Albert Wilson (hamstring) was held out of practice on Tuesday due to a hamstring injury. He blew up for a career-high 10 receptions and 147 yards in the regular-season finale against the Broncos and could be a sneaky DFS play against Tennessee if he is ready. Charcandrick West (illness) also practiced in full, and he’ll be the understudy for Kareem Hunt on Saturday. … The Panthers placed TE Chris Manhertz (ankle) on the Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, ending his season. He was the third-string tight end behind Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson.
Source Article from http://rotoworld.com/articles/nfl/77038/77/daily-dose-staying-put