THURSDAY’S DFS NEWS NUGGETS
1. Peyton Manning, Chris Harris practicing in full for Broncos
Manning’s foot injury is not a real concern heading into Sunday’s Championship Game. Neither is the weather. What is a concern is Manning’s brutally low ceiling. He’s played 10 full games this year, going over 300 yards twice and throwing nine touchdowns in them. In today’s pass-happy NFL, that’s nothing short of pathetic. Peyton is the cheapest QB by a wide margin at $5500, but I suspect it’s going to be really hard to win a tournament with him.
As for Harris, it’s a surprise he’s practicing fully after being so limited against the Steelers. He’s going to be absolutely crucial if the Broncos hope to contain Julian Edelman Sunday, as I outlined on Tuesday.
2. Rob Gronkowski’s injuries appear overblown
I’m as guilty as anyone about last week’s injury reports out of New England. With Gronk reportedly battling problems with his previously blown out right knee and chronically balky back, I only had him in one GPP lineup out of fear he’d be limited. Of course, Gronk went out and put 7-83-2 on the Chiefs while playing on 91.4 percent of the snaps (his usual rate). Gronkowski is limited in practice again this week, but he’s going to be a focal point Sunday as the Broncos possess three of the top corners in the league. They were more exploitable against the tight end, giving up 2.0 more points than salary-based expectation to the position.
3. Cam Newton facing Cardinals’ man coverage
One of the most disappointing aspects of last week was Cam Newton’s meager 11-3-0 rushing line. Some of that had to do with game flow as the Panthers jumped out to a 31-0 lead with ease. But part of it had to do with the zone coverage the Seahawks play, making it easier for their back seven to keep eyes on Newton. That shouldn’t be the case against the aggressive Cardinals, who love to play man. In last year’s playoffs, Newton hit the Cards for a 7-35-0 rushing line. That’s close to the floor of what I’d expect Sunday.