Fantasy Football: Counter the injury bug
This past week included an almost unprecedented number of major injuries to skill position players in the NFL. While there are far greater concerns when a player’s career and well-being are impacted by a gruesome injury, it is an unfortunate part of the game we love, so let’s break down the fantasy football implications:
Jay Cutler (QB, Bears)
Cutler is expected to miss four-plus weeks with a groin injury. Thankfully for the Bears, his replacement, Josh McCown, looked surprisingly frisky and is worth a flier if you are in a pinch during your starting QB’s bye week. Meanwhile, teammates Matt Forte (RB) and Brandon Marshall (WR) should never be taken out of a lineup when they are playing, and Alshon Jeffrey (WR) and Martellus Bennet (TE) should only be down graded slightly due to the QB change.
Sam Bradford (QB, Rams)
Bradford is out for the year with a torn ACL. Filling in will be either ex-Jet Kellen Clemens or a cheap-street free agent, which means you should avoid players on the Rams offense not named Zac Stacy (RB) at almost any cost.
Doug Martin (RB, Buccaneers)
Martin is likely out for the year with a torn labrum in his shoulder. His backup, Mike James, is worth a flier simply due to the opportunity for a lot of carries. However, expectations should be tempered for all Bucs not named Vincent Jackson (WR) given the chaos in Tampa Bay right now.
Reggie Wayne (WR, Colts)
Seeing Wayne’s season end with an ACL injury is a tough pill to swallow. His QB, Andrew Luck, should be downgraded slightly. However, T.Y. Hilton (WR) becomes a weekly starter and Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR) and Coby Fleener (TE) are worth roster spots.
Jermichael Finley (TE, Packers)
The most terrifying injury happened when Finley suffered temporary paralysis. While the latest prognosis is optimistic, it is too soon to know when he will be back. In his absence, all other receiving options on the Packers should be upgraded, as Aaron Rodgers (QB) can make anyone look good.
Alex Case is amNY’s fantasy football columnist.