Ouch. This is the time of year when injuries begin to really hurt (no pun intended) your Fantasy team. The bye weeks are upon us and while the six-team bye weeks are still ahead, you may already be scrambling to replace guys on your roster that are either out for the week, the month or the season. There are many columns offering advice on who to pick up. However, who should you drop? Who should you look to trade? That’s where the predictions here will come in handy.
And don’t let anyone tell you differently – there is an element of luck involved in Fantasy football at this point. You can look at the matchups, you can find the stats, but when it comes down to it, no one knows what will happen on any given Sunday, especially when it comes to injuries. I put out a trade offer last week to another: I was giving Russell Wilson and getting David Wilson. The other owner had RG3 on a bye and didn’t have a backup QB. My poor team was ravaged by injuries to running backs and I liked the David Wilson matchup last week. The other owner didn’t respond by Saturday, so I pulled the trade back. Looking back, I’m glad he did. David Wilson would have just joined the infirmary that is my team.
So cross your fingers, do your research, and see what the Pink Football predicts this week.
1. Trent Richardson will continue to struggle.
I’m not sure what the problem is to be honest. Through three games with the Colts, Richardson has rushed for 151 yards and is averaging less than three yards per carry. Since trading him, the Browns are 3-0. Does this have to do with Richardson? It’s hard to make that jump, but maybe they did see something there that we didn’t. When Ahmad Bradshaw was healthy, it looked as if both backs would end up with some Fantasy value, as the Colts wanted to have Bradshaw in to give Richardson a break and preserve him. We saw in Week 5 that Donald Brown was used as a change-of-pace back. I’m not advocating picking up Brown, but he is going to get carries and touchdowns. Through the same three weeks, Brown has 127 rushing yards and much higher yards per carry than Richardson. On paper, it looks worse than it is. Brown’s stats are boosted by a few long runs. But the reality is, Trent Richardson is squarely in RB2 territory based on total Fantasy points. Depending on the league scoring, Richardson is in the 15-20 range.
It’s hard to recommend buying low on Richardson even though the talent appears to be there, albeit hidden. If you do believe in Richardson, you believe that he’s going to turn things around and put up numbers like he did in the middle of the season last year. Through the first five games in 2012, Richardson had 303 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He had 20 receptions for 169 yards and a receiving touchdown. Just for comparison, for the first five games in 2013, he has 256 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He’s had eight receptions for 57 yards. And here’s where I’m concerned. Out of those eight receptions for 57 yards, one of those for six yards has been while Richardson has been playing for Indianapolis. For whatever reason, Indianapolis isn’t using Richardson in passing situations. Unless that improves, Richardson’s Fantasy value is dropping. The Colts play San Diego on Monday night this week. The Chargers are giving up a lot of Fantasy points to running backs. If Richardson can get things going, this is the week for it to start. If he can’t, then Fantasy owners should be worried.
2. Most weeks, there isn’t a single player on the St. Louis Rams that is worth starting.
Greg Zuerlein may perhaps be an exception. The Rams are struggling and it’s hard to trust anyone outside of a deeper league. Sam Bradford is having trouble getting rid of the ball and his receivers aren’t helping him. Sure, there was a nice week against Jacksonville in Week 5, and who did you really wish you had started on the Rams? Austin Pettis is probably the most likely answer. In looking at the box score, you’ll see two touchdowns, which equates to a lot of Fantasy points. Again, look at the matchup. Sure, he did a good job beating bad coverage, but that doesn’t mean he’s an elite talent that you want on your team. Chris Givens, the preseason deep threat sleeper, has done nothing all season. Rookie Tavon Austin had promise, but the Rams aren’t using him effectively. He needs to get the ball in space and do something with it from there, rather than catching a short pass behind the line and trying to beat that coverage. Tight end Jared Cook had a great game in Week 1 but has done nothing since.
What about the running backs, you may ask? What about them? The St. Louis running backs have totaled 265 yards this season…combined. Bilal Powell has 330 rushing yards himself. The Rams running backs have also combined to score as many touchdowns as me so far this season; which is a not-so-funny way of saying zero. It looked like Daryl Richardson was going to be the starter heading into the season. Isaiah Pead was suspended and it was Richardson’s job to lose. Well, he certainly didn’t do anything to win the job. Pead came back from suspension and showed that he was just as ineffective as Richardson. The Rams have now turned to rookie Zac Stacy to see if he can get something going in the running game. Many people are rushing to the waiver wire to pick up Stacy, but I’m not buying it. The offensive line is an issue, and Stacy isn’t a strong enough player, from what I’ve seen, to overcome that. Stacy is battling injured ribs as well. I don’t see any Rams running back becoming Fantasy relevant this year.
The other negative for St. Louis: the schedule. The next few weeks: at Houston, at Carolina, Seattle, Tennessee, at Indianapolis. Not easy.
3. An overreaction and an under-reaction: Geno Smith is good, but let’s not get too excited, and Tony Romo is a top QB1.
Yes, the Jets beat the Falcons on Monday Night Football. However, let’s look at why that occurred. The Falcons defense was terrible. This was a team that needed to win, playing at home on national television, and they just stunk. Geno Smith looked comfortable and poised in the pocket. His stats weren’t spectacular: 199 yards for three touchdowns and no interceptions. He only completed 16 passes (out of 20 attempts). Essentially he managed the game well enough to win. Like Alex Smith in Kansas City, Geno Smith figured out a way to use the lack of weapons, kill enough clock and let his team win. The Jets D/ST certainly helped with the win as well. Smith was working with the third- and fourth-string receivers and was able to pull off the win. That’s impressive, and real-life Jets fans should be excited about Smith’s prospects, but Fantasy owners shouldn’t read into this performance.
Some may argue that this may be an overreaction, but Tony Romo proved on Sunday against Denver that he truly is a high-level QB1. He’s only thrown two interceptions this year despite a reputation for turning the ball over. He’s connecting with Dez Bryant and has looked good throwing the ball. With Miles Austin banged up, Terrance Williams has stepped up. Jason Witten is solid week after week and DeMarco Murray has managed to stay healthy through five weeks so far. The weapons are there for Romo, and the schedule is on his side. The Cowboys play Washington this week, followed by Philadelphia and Detroit. For someone that was drafted some people’s backup quarterback, Romo will likely be in the discussion as someone to remain among the best at his position.