When it comes to Fantasy Football there is nothing worse than dealing with injuries. In fact, it sucks. A good owner either stocks their bench with quality depth or works waiver wire magic to stay afloat. That being said, while an owner can prepare for an injury, nothing stings worse than when a guy gets injured during the game and hangs you with a goose egg.
Two Top-15 players went down on Sunday. A.J. Green left midway through the first quarter after aggravating a foot injury he probably suffered during the Bengals’ Week 1 win over the Ravens. The local media considered it a minor concern and Coach Marvin Lewis declared him good to go for the game last Friday. He was locked into all lineups as a result. Now we know he may have turf toe, a nagging injury that will likely make Green a dicey play for next few weeks at least.
Jamaal Charles limped off the field in the first quarter with a left ankle injury. I watched this one live. It’s not clear whether this is the same foot he injured moving out of his dorm room at training camp or not. What we do know is that he only lasted for three touches and accounted for just one point in PPR leagues and zero points in standard scoring leagues. Based on what I saw, I don’t think the injury is all that serious. He didn’t need assistance coming off the field and didn’t have a very bad limp. I also am not a doctor, so take this for what it’s worth.
The injuries didn’t stop there, though. Robert Griffin III dislocated his left ankle on a non-contact play and his status for the rest of the season is in question until MRI results come back. Knowshon Moreno dislocated his elbow and is expected to miss 4-to-8 weeks. Ryan Mathews was carted off the field with a sprained MCL in his right knee. DeSean Jackson sprained the AC joint in his shoulder and left in the first quarter. Vernon Davis got his ankle rolled in the fourth quarter last night and left the stadium on crutches. It got ugly this week; hopefully, you dodged these injury bullets.
Heading into this season, it’s pretty safe to say Antonio Gates wasn’t a guy getting all that much attention. Now 34, he took over as the elder statesman of the position with the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. In standard scoring formats he ranked ninth in scoring last year. He also played in all 16 games. His age and nagging lower body injuries over the past few seasons have led many owners to pass him over, fearing his inability to stay healthy. Through two games he has 13 receptions for 177 yards and three touchdowns on 17 targets. Philip Rivers has nothing but confidence in Gates, and continues to look to him in the red zone. He may not move as fast as he used to, but he still knows how use his body to box out defenders and catch the football. I waited on tight ends this year with an eye on grabbing Zach Ertz with Gates as my fall back. I think Gates is going to make me wish that order was switched.
I opened with all of the injuries suffered this week. The one that will likely have the biggest impact was to RGIII. Kirk Cousins stepped in and proceeded to absolutely shred the Jaguars. Cousins has been solid in spot duty over the last two seasons, showing enough to lead me to believe he can be an average signal caller. This week, he peppered Niles Paul (11 targets), Ryan Grant (8) and Andre Roberts (5) with love while pretty much ignoring Pierre Garcon (4). Before you Garcon owners out there start panicking, just remember that Cousins worked on the second team with these guys throughout training camp. His comfort level with them in terms of timing is naturally better. This week, when he works with the first team, these guys will get on the same page. We should see a much improved rapport next week against the Eagles.
Some athletes come into the league and just dominate. Others take time for that light switch to come on. From what I have seen from Mark Ingram since his strong showing in the playoffs last season, he looks like he falls into that latter category. Over his last four games he has 62 carries for 289 yards and four touchdowns on the ground (4.7 yards per carry) while also catching seven passes for 39 yards. He runs hard with authority, something we didn’t see earlier in his career. I think Ingram has earned some more work at the expense of Khiry Robinson. Heading into this week I viewed him as a flex option. After this week, I am ready to bump him up into the RB2 conversation. An extra three to five touches a game is all that would take, and I think Sean Payton dials his number. Get him active folks, his time is now.
Through two games, Jordy Nelson has 30 targets. That is 15 (yes 15) more than teammate Randall Cobb, who currently ranks second on the team. Aaron Rodgers has locked in on Nelson and it’s hard to blame him. He does a great job locating the ball and making difficult grabs in situations in which he is “covered”. It is a bit of a surprise, though, in that we are used to seeing Rodgers spread the wealth a bit more. Rookie Davante Adams ranks third on the team with seven targets; most expected Jarrett Boykin to occupy in the team’s pecking order. Boykin has just three targets on the season, securing one for six yards. A tough Week 1 matchup against Richard Sherman is partly to blame here, but his lack of usage again this week was telling. It will be interesting to see if Adams or Boykin is the man we see used during the Packers first three-wide look against the Lions. My money is on Adams and he’s the player that Boykin owners should target this week.
The Redskins absolutely abused the Jaguars up front this week, racking up a franchise record 10 sacks and holding the running game to just 2.5 yards per carry. Toby Gerhart owners have watched him plod for 42 yards on 18 carries this year (2.2 yards per carry). Anyone who has seen Gerhart run knows he is the kind of runner that gets what is blocked and has just a little more wiggle than a two-by-four. He can succeed in the right situation, but this isn’t it. The Jaguars need a running back that can create something if there isn’t optimal blocking. If Denard Robinson is available in your league, now is the time to pick him up. He had a strong camp and leap-frogged Jordan Todman on the depth chart. He is still learning the position, but has made some nice strides over the last season plus.
There isn’t much going right for the Giants these days. Eli Manning is seriously struggling to digest Ben McAdoo’s quick-hitting West Coast offense. The only thing Manning has done right is connect with his 6’6″, 265 pound tight end, Larry Donnell. Victor Cruz has been seeing blanket coverage and having difficulty getting open. Rueben Randle has the talent, but makes too many mistakes, and he hasn’t emerged as a weekly threat opposite Cruz. All of this has led to Manning keeping the ball in the middle of the field, and the biggest beneficiary has been Donnell. He currently leads the team in targets (17), receptions (12) and receiving yards (137). While I don’t expect Donnell to lead the team in these categories at season’s end, I do think he continues receiving enough work that he can provide value to a Fantasy team that plays matchups at the position. He is worth adding.