FRIDAY DFS NEWS NUGGETS
1. Rob Gronkowski suddenly all over injury report
This one is out of nowhere. Gronk was seemingly fine as he played on 90+ percent of the snaps in each of the regular season’s final three weeks. Then he had a chance to rest the last two weeks. But Gronkowski isn’t healthy, as he reportedly spent Thursday in the hospital getting an injection in his right knee. This is the same knee he blew out in December of 2013 and the same one that forced him to miss a game earlier this year. Later Thursday night, a back issue was added to Gronk’s injury report. I’d expect him to play, but now he’s at less than 100 percent in the best possible matchup.
2. Antonio Brown OUT
As of Thursday, Antonio Brown was not back in practice. It’s a bad sign, as the concussion protocol has stages and the beginning of them include getting some exercise in. I’ll still be looking for late-swap options on Brown, but the Broncos D/ST is getting better and better. With Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder) possibly limited and dealing with Markus Wheaton/Martavis Bryant as his top-two wideouts, and Fitz Toussaint/Jordan Todman at running back… it could get ugly.
UPDATE: Antonio Brown has been ruled OUT for Sunday’s game vs. Denver
3. Jeremy Maclin out, Spencer Ware back at practice
It’s becoming increasingly likely the Maclin will be very limited if he’s active against the Patriots Sunday. That will leave Chris Conley and Albert Wilson as the top-two wideouts for Alex Smith. Conley has caught just 18 passes all year despite playing 419 snaps. Wilson has shown more chemistry with Smith, but only posted a 35-451-2 line during the regular season. Both plays would be GPP-only pivots off Travis Kelce, who figures to be very heavily owned.
4. Tom Brady’s stats get a big jump with Julian Edelman
There were a lot of factors that led to Tom Brady’s slow second half. Offensive line play and the loss of Dion Lewis come to mind. But perhaps the biggest issue was Brady didn’t have his favorite blanket, Julian Edelman. Note that Brady averaged 27.8 DK points in Edelman’s eight full games vs. 18.5 when Edelman was inactive. He’s my favorite contrarian QB play this week as long as Rob Gronkowski is active. Expect Carson Palmer, Cam Newton and Russ Wilson to have more ownership.