By M. Britt Hayes
Week 8 is in the history books. There are still 4 undefeated teams. Eli Manning just lost a game after throwing 6 touchdowns. The NFC South has the best divisional record in the NFL (20-10). Andrew Luck has the 3rd worst QBR of any starting QB (37.6). Aaron Rodgers totaled just 77 yards this week, and RGIII still hasn’t seen the field. Are we overreacting?
Injuries happen. Its part of the game, but on November 1st it seemed as though it was a plague that had infected the entire NFL. There were broken legs, torn MCL’s, concussions, even kidney lacerations. That’s right, a cut open kidney. This scourge did not discriminate either. Big name fantasy studs went down, defensive line men crumbled, skill positions succumbed, even special teams players became victims on this day.
Disappointing for fantasy owners it may be, but its the middle the season and the playoffs are still an option. So, quit crying go the Wavier Wire and get the next man up.
Here are some options.
No injury was more distressing than that of Le’Veon Bell. After fantasy owners have invested most of their 401K in the Pittsburgh RB a torn MCL ended his season prematurely.
Next Man Up: Deangleo Williams
DWill filled in swimmingly for the suspended Bell in the first 2 games of 2015, posting 204 rushing yards and 3 TD’s. The veteran is as safe a bet as it comes to a back up RB in the league. Especially with Big Ben back in the saddle and fresh off of suspension, Martavis Bryant now in the fold, the Steelers running game should keep chugging along.
The Bears lost Matt Forte to a sprained knee on Sunday. The initial report is that it doesn’t look like a long term injury and he could miss minimal time.
Next Man UP: Jeremy Langford
Langford is a rookie, but rushed 12 times for 46 yards against Minnesota after Forte’s exit. He operated as an every down back and will be a promising fill-in for the veteran RB.
It looks like this may be the end of the line for future Hall of Famer Steve Smith Sr. The Ravens WR who announced his retirement at season’s end early this year tore his achilles thus likely ending his career.
Next Man Up: Kamar Aiken
Aiken reeled in 6 of 6 targets while facing San Diego Sunday. The 26 year old possession receiver will assume the WR1 duties for Baltimore in Triple S’s absence. KA could be a flex option based on volume alone.
Keenan Allen has been placed on season ending IR list after lacerating his kidney. He should make a complete recovery, but his kidney has been sliced open, so don’t expect him to play again this year.
Next Man Up: Stevie Johnson
Johnson was banged up early on in the year himself, but has returned to action and should be the biggest beneficiary of Allen’s injury. He is a proven talent from his days in Buffalo where he put up 3 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. Stevie will be a competent replacement target at WR1 for Philip Rivers and could potentially provide similar stats to those of Allen.
Reggie Bush Tore his ACL trying to play on the concrete in St. Louis and Carlos Hyde has a lingering foot issue. As a running back, feet tend to be important.
Next Man Up: Shaun Draughn, Pierre Thomas
San Francisco’s lineup hasn’t been this shaky since the 1989 earthquake. The entire roster is in turmoil and owning any 49er player is like kicking water uphill.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has “ligament damage” in his non throwing hand. Coach Todd Bowles says that it is up to his pain threshold as to how much time it could cause the Harvard grad to miss. If that sounds like he may be calling his starting QB a wussy to you, don’t worry it does to me too.
Next Man Up: Geno Smith
Smith was serviceable as Fitz’s replacement, but nothing to get overly excited about. Especially when you consider that he suffered a shoulder injury of his on and is now listed as Day-To-Day. Steer clear of the Jet’s QB situation.
A broken leg has ended Khiry Roibinson’s season.
Next Man Up: C.J. Spiller
Its been another disappointing start to a year for Spiller, but with the injury to Robinson, his carries have no where to go but up. Even if Brees keeps throwing for 500 yards a game, CJ is a talented pass catching RB and this could be just the break he needs to once again become fantasy relevant.
A rib injury has put Josh McCown on the sidelines. At least for the Browns upcoming Thursday night match up.
Next Man Up: Johnny Manziel
Manziel won his last start for Cleveland in Week 2. Johnny Football has shown flashes of quality play, but those flashes have been surrounded by poor decision making, even on the field. Avoid the Browns QB as if you were J.T. Barrett at a traffic stop.
IN MCFADDEN WE TRUST
The new starter in Big D is Darren McFadden. After running for 216 yards in his last 2 starts, the release of Joseph Randle and the underwhelming performance of Christine Michael, Mcfadden has surprisingly taken a stranglehold on the Cowboys backfield. Perhaps the only thing more surprising is that, DMC made it through Black Sunday’s injury outburst unscathed.
By process of elimination and after a few good showings, the job is his to lose. His health concerns me more than a Hillary Clinton war story, but he should be startable behind the Dallas O-Line.
If your’e looking for Drew Brees, chances are he’s down by river walking on water. A record tying 7 TD’s and 505 yard performance last week has Drew looking rather celestial by fantasy football standards. But let us not forget that this was against a 32nd ranked NY Giants defense, and even after such a showing he only climbed up to the top 6 as far a fantasy QB rankings. He should fall back to Earth soon enough, though it won’t be this week as the Saints face the fledgling Titans in Week 9.
CAN YOU DIGGS IT?
Stefon Diggs‘ 419 receiving yards through his first 4 games are the second most among all NFL players since 1960. He is averaging 6 catches per game and 16 yards per catch, leading the team in all receiving categories excluding TD’s where he is second only to TE Kyle Rudolph (3). Diggs 2 TD’s have come in back to back games, and are starting to look as if they may be a common occurrence. On track for a 1,200 yard, 6 TD season, Diggs is certainly becoming a must start.
Todd Gurley is the best RB in the NFL. He is averaging 6.1 yards per carry and 115 yards per game. He has 7 runs of 20 yards or more and 4 runs of 40 yards or more. All of these are league leading statistics after he missed the first 2 games, and did not start Week 3. If he’s not the best RB, then who is?
Vernon Davis will bounce back to his 2013 form after being traded to the Broncos. Not unless they also negotiated a trade for the 2013 version of Peyton Manning as well. Sure there will be an uptick in his value, but Daivs will be mostly utilized to protect an aging Manning and help block for a struggling running game.
Its Willie Snead, you better recognize. Snead has come from seemingly nowhere to settle himself in as one Drew Brees’s favorite targets. He is currently on pace for a 1,000 yard season and 6 TD’s. He should be owned.
Desean Jackson says he is good to go and ready to come back and make a difference. That’s good to know, but until proven healthy Jackson starts should be made out of necessity, not expectation. Trust him like a porcupine with a “pet me” sign.
Blaine Gabbert will replace Colin Kaepernick as the 49ers QB and all will be right in San Fran land. This is like substituting margerine for butter. No one notices and no one cares.
Thanks for visiting the Corner.