Surviving The Mass Of Week 8 Injuries
This was a brutal, and I mean brutal, week for injuries. I’ve said it over and over again, injuries define who will win a Fantasy Football championship as much as anything else. You could have drafted like a pro, made all of the correct waiver wire moves so far this season, even pulled off a steal of a trade or two, and it could’ve all come crashing down yesterday. Le'Veon Bell (MCL) gone, out for the season. Steve Smith (Achilles) gone, out for the season. Matt Forte (MCL) is out for an unknown amount of time. Ryan Fitzpatrick (thumb) is out for an unknown amount of time. This doesn’t even account for Arian Foster, who was lost last week with an Achilles injury. So much for perfect planning. Fantasy Football is now, more than ever, a game of survival. He or she who is the healthiest at season’s end, wins.
The Dolphins were greeted to a cruel awakening in their loss (putting it nicely) to the Patriots. Sure they may have improved since their coaching change, but the Pats aren’t the Titans or Texans. They are a real football team and there is still work to be done. Ryan Tannehill once again just doesn’t have the look of a legitimate Fantasy Football starting QB. Someone you can use in a pinch, sure; when your starter is on bye, yes, but not week in and week out. The Dolphins also lost DE Cameron Wake (Achilles) for the season. Wake had seven sacks over the past four games, and without his presence, the defense will find it much more difficult to pressure the opposing quarterback. This will keep the defense on the field longer and thus the offense on the field less.
Well so much for the new offensive coordinator in Detroit, Jim Bob Cooter, getting the offense untracked. Matthew Stafford was hit time and time again and is truly starting to look like a deer in the headlights. The passing game is out of sync, and it’s anyone’s guess if or when that will change. If you’re looking for some good news, Joique Bell finally looks healthy (56 yards on seven carries). You might want to check your waiver wire to see if he’s available.
The Cardinals pulled a fast one on Fantasy owners on two fronts yesterday. First, we had heard during the week how they were going to get Andre Ellington more involved in the offense and give him more than just a handful of touches. Well, unless their definition of more touches is different from mine, three wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for. I’m not saying you should release Ellington, just about any healthy RB has value about now, but I’m not starting him anytime soon either. The second deception was making WR John Brown active. We had heard all week that Brown’s status was questionable at best. When he was active, this could’ve led to Fantasy owners activating him, or maybe worse, not playing Michael Floyd. Brown was just a break glass in case of emergency player, and didn’t play yesterday whereas Floyd went off with four receptions for 106 yards and a score. Hopefully you still started him.
Reggie Bush was another player who may have been lost for the season yesterday (ACL?). Bush is not the player he used to be, but the 49ers offense, what’s left of it is in shambles right now. Colin Kaepernick has been nothing short of terrible this season. Carlos Hyde missed the game yesterday with a foot injury, and it’s just a matter of time until he will require surgery to fix it. Whether that time is now or after the season remains to be determined. Anquan Boldin also missed the game (hamstring). Next week should be fun for the 49ers.
Thirteen touchdown passes in that game between the Giants and Saints, 13. The first team to 50 points wins. I don’t know what to say. Sure, both teams have poor defenses, but who saw either offense coming up with this performance, especially the Giants? They lost TE Larry Donnell and RB Orleans Darkwa to neck and back injuries, respectively. Victor Cruz is still out and although Reuben Randle is playing, he’s clearly not at 100 percent. Somehow, I wouldn’t expect this kind of performance again anytime soon.
We are still waiting to find out how long Matt Forte will be out for. The Bears believe he suffered an MCL injury. While that’s better than tearing the ACL, the severity of the injury puts his season, and possibly career, in jeopardy. Jeremy Langford will be the hot pickup this week on the WW, as just about everyone will need a starting RB. How good he can be remains to be seen. He’s not Forte, he will struggle some, but if you saved your FAAB, congrats, you just might have something as defenses may be geared more towards stopping the passing game with Forte out.
Was the torn Achilles that Steve Smith suffered after a reception the last play of his career? Possibly, but what Fantasy owners need to worry more about now is who will become the number one WR in Baltimore and will it matter? Kamar Aiken will be the popular choice, but can he handle the job? He will now go up against the number one cornerback more often than not. Chris Givens is also a player to watch here, especially if you’re looking for a deep threat, an all or nothing guy. Any way you look at it the passing game is in big trouble and opposing defenses will look to clamp down on the running game.
Well if you held on DeAngelo Williams even after Le'Veon Bell
[caption id="attachment_59017" align="alignright" width="300"] Say it isn't so, Le'Veon Bell is out for the season with an MCL tear. Photo Credit: Justin Aller, Getty Images[/caption]
came back, congratulations. It is expected that Bell will be placed on season ending IR after tearing his ACL on Sunday. I’m sure quite a few Fantasy owners are cringing right now. Williams will be the top play on the WW if he is out there, and yes I would probably blow most if not all of my FAAB on him. It’s a shame though, just as Ben Roethlisberger comes back, Bell goes out. Williams performed very well the first two games that Bell missed (suspension) and also did well yesterday. He’s not Bell, but could still be a low end RB1 or high end RB2 for the remainder of the season. The Steelers offense will certainly miss Bell, but won’t be crippled without him.
What is wrong with the Atlanta offense? Yes, Julio Jones is still putting up impressive numbers each week and Devonta Freeman has been the possible Fantasy MVP, but this team can’t seem to find pay dirt once they reach the red zone. Last week versus the Titans, on the road, we just chalked it up as one of those games, but against the Bucs at home, there really is no excuse. Ryan’s accuracy is not what we have come to expect, and it seems that once he doesn’t have his first read (usually Jones), he can’t find anyone else open on a consistent basis. It may be time for the Falcons to give rookie Justin Hardy a chance to see if he can spark the offense. If you’re looking for a sleeper, he could be it.
The Jets all of a sudden have big problems at quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick tore ligaments in his left thumb during the first series of the game versus Oakland and Geno Smith injured his abdomen and shoulder. Fitzpatrick is a right-handed thrower so it may just be a matter of pain tolerance and his ability to hold onto the football until he can play again, whereas Smith believes he can play as early as Sunday. Should you go out and grab Smith? Well, even Fitzpatrick was a mid QB2. Smith, at best, will be a low-end QB2, and that’s being kind. He does have the kind of players you need at the skill positions though, but keep in mind Brandon Marshall came up lame after a couple of receptions yesterday. He should be good to go this week, but it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on how much he practices.
So much for the return of Dez Bryant as the solution to the Cowboys problems in their passing game. Sure, Dez was going to be rusty and yes, Seattle has a very good defense and shadowed him with Richard Sherman, but the bottom line is Matt Cassel isn’t getting the job done and really is no better than Brandon Weeden. It makes you wonder what the Cowboys saw in Cassel to trade a draft pick for him. The passing game is not going to perform until Tony Romo returns, and that won’t be until Week 11 at the earliest. I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but this offense will go as far as Darren McFadden can take them.
The Broncos held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing last night. Wow, most of us didn’t expect an offensive explosion out of Green Bay, but coming off their bye week, you would’ve thought they would’ve figured out a way to solve the Denver defense. Apparently not, as Rodgers seemed to be hit every time he dropped back to pass. If you’re looking for a silver lining, Davante Adams did return, but he only had one reception. Life won’t get much easier next week for the Packers as they will head to Carolina.
The Broncos looked fresh coming off their bye, and the time off did wonders for Peyton Manning’s arm strength. He looked fresh and strong, as did the running game as both Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson performed well. Anderson had over 100 yards rushing while Hillman had 60 yards and two scores. Perhaps the Broncos have found the right mix of how to use the two to get maximum efficiency. If CJA is on your waiver wire, it’s time to grab him again.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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