The Injury Bug Bites Again
Sometimes fantasy players wish they could just wake up from the nightmare that has become their team, and be in a reality where their roster didn't look like an emergency room waiting list. This season is most certainly one of those times with the amount of roster altering injuries we see week in and week out in the NFL.
This week the Giants lost WR Victor Cruz for the rest of the season after he tore his Patellar Tendon, and the Patriots lost RB Stevan Ridley for the rest of the year with tears to both his ACL and MCL. And, as if that wasn't enough, there are rumors swirling that Bengals WR Marvin Jones may need surgery to repair his foot/ankle injuries.
Rookie Odell Beckham will slide into his starting spot and Preston Parker will move into the No. 3 WR spot. Beckham is a must-own player going forward, and Parker is only an option for desperate owners in deeper leagues.
Brandon Bolden is probably going to be the guy who steps into the "big back" role for the Patriots with Ridley done. But, as we now know, there is no certainty when it comes to the Patriots back-field this season.
With A.J. Green also dealing with a toe injury, Mohamed Sanu is #2 on the must-add player list, right behind Beckham. Lewis could have had real value, but he can safely be cut in the leagues he was added in.
Joe Flacco – Ravens: Flacco is normally an every week QB2 for rankings because the Ravens have a run-first offense, but this week he went all Madden football on the Buccaneers defense! Flacco connected on 21-of-29 passes, for a total of 306 yards, 5 touchdowns, and no interceptions, ranking him #2 on NFL.com for QBs (Cam Newton was ahead of him because of the 391 total yards). Flacco doesn't get the Bucs defense every week, so he is still just a QB2 for fantasy purposes.
Derek Carr – Raiders: I'm not a big fan of rookies in fantasy football because consistency just isn't part of their game yet. This week however he was able to turn a rivalry game that was lopsided on paper into a horse race, thus allowing him to throw for 282 yards, 4 TDs, and 1 INT. Carr has thrown for less than 175 yards in 3 of the Raiders first 5 games, and he came into Week 6 with a 1:1 TD:INT ratio (4 TDs and 4 INTs). I consider him QB depth, not starter material.
Branden Oliver – Chargers: Oliver was the hot waiver wire pick for this week, and he didn't disappoint as he piled up 124 total yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Oliver is going to get as much work as his body can handle as long as Ryan Matthews is out, which looks a while as he hasn't resumed running yet. Oliver is going to be on the Start 'em list again next week, so don't try and sell high on him just yet.
Joique Bell – Lions: Those who have made it this far with owning Bell finally got a payday as he ran the ball 18 times for 74 yards and a touchdown this week. Bell was someone I targeted in the middle rounds of the draft because he was supposed to be the Lions thunder to Bush's lightning, but that hasn't been the case as long as Bush was in the line-up. Bush is expected to be back for Week 7, meaning Bell's fantasy value could slide back down the chart.
T.Y. Hilton – Colts: Fantasy owners must think T.Y. stands for Thank You after he reeled in all 9 of his targets in Week 6, finishing with 223 receiving yards and a touchdown. Hilton is owned in virtually all leagues, which means he normally wouldn't make this list. But, when a WR goes 9-for-9 with 200-plus yards, I have to show him some love!
Mohamed Sanu – Bengals: Sanu drew the start at WR1 with Green out and turned his 14 targets into 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. I'll reiterate it once again, Sanu is a must-own player in all formats going forward with Green hurting and Jones not progressing as quickly as the team would hoped he would have. Next week the Bengals face a Colts defense that is allowing just 16.2 fantasy PPG to WRs this season (4th fewest in the NFL), putting Sanu somewhere in the WR3 range.
Clay Harbor – Jaguars: Harbor's name is quickly becoming an interesting one for fantasy owners looking for production at the TE position off the waiver wire. In Week 4 Harbor put up 70 yards on 8 receptions, which turned a few heads. This week he hauled in 3 of his 4 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. NFL purists will say that is no big deal, but fantasy football nuts are leaping for joy because15.10 fantasy points on NFL.com for a waiver wire TE is like the second coming of Jesus himself! Word is that Mercedes Lewis is out until around Week 12. If that is so, then Harbor is a streaming option for those in need of a TE.
Philadelphia Eagles defense: The last thing you would expect to know about fantasy defenses this season is that the Eagles are leading in total points on NFL.com for the 2014 season. This week the Eagles didn't allow a single point to the Giants, while racking up 8 sacks and 1 recovered fumble. If it were not for the bye the Eagles have in week 7 I would tell you to grab them immediately. With that said, they do face a Cardinals team that just got Carson Palmer back in Week 8, then they get the Texans, Panthers, and Packers the following three weeks.
Eli Manning – Giants: There's this kid in my church named Mikey Glover, and he is a HUGE Giants fan. For three weeks now I've had to watch him strut up to me and say "how about them Giants? They look GOOD now!" Well, I have a feeling that on Wednesday night he won't be saying anything after Manning threw for just 151 yards, no touchdowns, and the O-Line allowed him to be sacked 6 times. Manning isn't all that much different than Carr from a fantasy standpoint, in that he is as inconsistent as they come. With Cruz out there are real question marks as to how the passing game will proceed going forward and I'd take a wait-and-see approach before starting him in all by 2QB formats.
Matthew Stafford – Lions: One of the more disappointing fantasy players thus far has to be Stafford, who finished Week 6 with just 185 passing yards and 1 TD. It's hard to put up big numbers when your top two options in the passing game (Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush) are out, but fantasy owners demand more when they burn a high draft pick on a guy. Coach Jim Caldwell was evasive when asked about Megatron's status for Week 7, and didn't rule out sitting him out through the Lions Week 9 bye. Stafford is going to be a risky play as long as Johnson is out, and owners should have a back-up plan in place until he hits the field.
Shane Vereen – Patriots: Vereen is owned in 93.0 percent of NFL.com leagues, but has been one of the more frustrating RBs to own this season. He's had less than 75 total yards of offense in 5 of the Patriots 6 games this season, and finished with a season-low of 7 total yards (4 rushing, 3 receiving). One would hope that his workload increases with Ridley gone for the year, but trying to predict what the Patriots will do with their running game this season would drive psychic Sylvia Browne insane! I wouldn't give up on him, but I also would wait for some definitive answers from the Patriots before starting him.
Chris Johnson – Jets: I'll be blunt here, the Jets are phasing CJ?K out of their offense and there are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Johnson played in just 21 of the Jets' 63 offensive snaps, finishing with 3 carries for 9 yards, and 1 reception for 2 yards. Johnson is NOTHING more than a handcuff for Chris Ivory owners at this point, and he won't have an ounce of fantasy value unless Ivory is injured.
Wes Welker – Broncos: One of the most overrated fantasy WRs has to be Welker. Listen to me now; there are simply too many mouths to feed in Denver and not enough spoons to go around to feed them. To put it another way, Walker is the runt of the litter and he is last in line at the food dish. He was targeted just one time on Sunday, which he turned in to an 8-yard reception. Welker's limited value comes in the way of PPR leagues. His season-high for receptions is 7, and his season-high for yards is 60 so far. I can see owning him for WR depth and as a handcuff in Denver, but I wouldn't consider starting him unless an injury put him higher on the depth chart.
Kendall Wright – Titans: Wright is, and always will be, one of those guys you hate in standard scoring formats and love in PPR formats. Well, that is until this week where he was targeted just one time and finished with 1 catch for 6 yards. It's hard to predict what a WR will do when you aren't even sure who his QB will be on gameday. Wright owners will have to endure more frustrating days as long as the Titans rotate between Jake Locker and Charlie Whitehurst, and it's only a matter of time before the Zach Mettenberger talk starts to gain momentum.
Larry Donnell – Giants: It's hard for any pass-catching player to have a good game when his QB finishes with 151 yards and no touchdowns. That is just what happened to Donnell this week as he finished with just a single catch for 6 yards. We already know TE is a boom-or-bust position in fantasy football, and nothing hammers that point home more than a 1-6-0 line from your starting TE.
Buffalo Bills defense: The Bills defense has been better than I thought they'd be this season, but that success didn't carry over to Week 6 as they got worked by the Patriots. The Bills allowed Tom Brady to turn back the clock and they gave up 37 points while getting just 2 sacks for fantasy owners. All totaled the Bills lost their owners 2.00 points, meaning you could have played the Saints or Chiefs defenses and been better off!
So, this week I missed on Tom Brady, Andre Williams, Odell Beckham, and the Chargers defense. I kind of missed on DeMarco Murray, although I told you that I also wasn't sitting him because the Cowboys are basically going to ride him until his wheels fall off. But, he did do well so I will take a half-miss on him. Of my 16 picks this week I missed on 4.5 of them, making me right on 72 percent of my picks. I'll take nearly three-quarters of my picks being right over other fantasy websites throwing darts at a dartboard any day of the week, and so should you!