Week 7 was devastating for thousands – if not millions – of fantasy owners. Whatever misfortune may have befallen you this dark and unpropitious day in fantasy, just be glad you aren’t me. I lost Doug Martin, Reggie Wayne and Arian Foster this week in one league. This article may be a little “bluer” than you’re used to. However, the sun also rises, so let’s take a look at what you can do to fill the many holes in your fantasy football heart.
Doug Martin – RB – Tampa BayTorn Labrum, Out for Season**
On a diving catch near the endzone, Martin fell on his shoulder hard. Minutes later he was sporting a sling on the sideline. Tampa had high hopes the injury wasn’t serious, but an MRI confirmed that the Muscle Hamster had, in fact, torn a muscle.
**The Bucs are not placing Martin on IR yet in the hopes that there is a chance he could take the field again this season. Coach Greg Schiano says that there is even a minute possibility that Martin could play week 8 but that’s likely just an attempt to throw off defenses. Don’t drop him until it’s confirmed but he is assumed to miss the season at this juncture.
Solution: None of the TB backups have ever been a featured back. Mike James did okay in Martin’s departure, Jeff Demps is still recovering from surgery and Brian Leonard has been nothing more than a 3rd down back his entire career. They just signed Bobby Rainey off waivers from the Cleveland Browns which makes me think he could see maybe a small chunk of time in what would be a shared backfield. None of these backs are worth starting, however James and Rainey could be worth a bench spot in deeper leagues or desperate situations to see what develops.
Jay Cutler – QB – ChicagoGroin Tear, Out Minimum 4 Weeks
This news is probably worse for Marshall (and Jeffery) owners than it is for Cutler owners. The Bears QB went down with a torn groin in the second quarter Sunday via a sack by Chris Baker. His timetable for return is labeled initially as 4 weeks, however 6 weeks wouldn’t be surprising.
Solution: Josh McCown did all right filling in for Cutler and he’s worth adding off waivers in deep or 2-QB leagues if needed. Marshall will struggle a bit without Cutler around as the two have possibly one of the best QB-WR connections in the league. If Mike Glennon is available in your league, pick him up as a potential Cutler replacement.
Sam Bradford – QB – St. LouisACL Tear, Out for Season
Unfortunately, Sam Bradford’s departure somewhat further solidifies my belief that anyone on the Rams outside of Zac Stacy isn’t worth owning anymore, and even Stacy isn’t a solid option either. The value of Rams receivers go down; Stacy may improve slightly.
Solution: If quarterbacks are scarce in your league, you would be better off picking up Josh McCown than Ram’s backup Kellen Clemens. The Bears simply have more proven offensive weapons and Clemens isn’t going to dazzle anyone. Plus the Rams face the Seahawks next which is certainly an ugly matchup for the new starting QB. Again, there’s always Glennon, if he’s available. Today, the Rams added a couple of Quarterbacks to the roster with Brady Quinn being the most noteworthy. Given the fact that Clemens’ has struggled, historically, when given the chance to start it seems unlikely that he’ll hold the job for the next nine games, so Quinn will likely be in play at some point in the not-so-distant future.
Reggie Wayne – WR – IndianapolisACL and Meniscus Tear, Out for Season
Since Andrew Luck‘s arrival, Wayne has been one of the most targeted receivers in the league. Not only is the loss of the veteran WR a huge hit for the Colts, it’s one for fantasy owners as well. The injury occurred on a non-contact play where Wayne made an awkward move to catch an underthrown ball from Luck, which would have gone for a big gain.
Solution: T.Y. Hilton owners are ready for the big season he was supposed to have and with the departure of Wayne it’s seeming like that could come to fruition. He’s faced limited snap counts for much of the season but that particular hurdle should no longer be a consideration. The player to add off waivers right now is Darrius Heyward-Bey. We saw him get involved in the run game against Denver and he looked pretty fresh. Once he gets into the open field his legs start moving so fast you would think they were trying to separate from his torso. He still needs to work on his football mechanics a bit, but if he can form a good connection with Andrew Luck he has big play ability.
I get a cold feeling anytime I see a player suffer an injury like the one Finley did on Sunday. He spent the night in the ICU through Monday but has since been released with full feeling in his extremities. Finley is getting multiple opinions before moving forward with a return time but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Packers placed him on IR sometime this week. It is expected that this will not be a career ending injury.
Solution: The Packers have now lost Cobb and potentially Finley for the season. Obviously Jordy Nelson will continue to step up in their absence and James Jones, who is recovering from a PCL sprain, is expected to be back week 8 at Minnesota. Jarrett Boykin should continue to be involved after having a nice 100 yard game over the weekend. After Finley left, no TEs caught any passes although Andrew Quarless did have one target. If you’re in need of a TE, check your waivers for Jordan Reed because after this week he most likely will be owned across the board. If he’s unavailable then the rest of your options are pretty inconsistent, although Delanie Walker is averaging about 7 fantasy points per game right now. If you’re looking for a safe, temporary play then he’s your guy. What is perhaps most interesting about this situation is the impact that it will have on Jarrett Boykin. Boykin played a great game for the Packers over the weekend and was in line for continued reps regardless, but, with James Jones returning from his PCL injury in the next week or two Boykin’s targets are at risk. With Finley out of the passing equation and Quarless unlikely to pick up much of his targets, there remains a reasonable piece of the pie for Boykin and his investors.
Nick Foles – QB – PhiladelphiaConcussion, 1-2 weeks
Some of us may have gotten a little ambitious when Foles had a big game during the absence of Michael Vick in week 6, but week 7 not only saw Foles struggle but get rocked as well. With a concussion, players typically miss about 1-2 weeks before they pass the proper medical examinations.
Solution: Matt Barkley filled in for Foles and threw the ball quite a bit – albeit he threw it to the other team often as well with 3 INTs. Barkley will need time to adjust to the big leagues if he’s ever going to go anywhere in the NFL and that time is not now. Michael Vick is expected to be back this week and if not, he will most likely return before Foles is cleared. McCoy might get a slight increase in carries if Vick is still out however there’s no point in adding Barkley off waivers in this situation. If you’re in need of a backup for a week or more, Mike Glennon has proven to be a reliable replacement in Tampa Bay and has a great connection with Vincent Jackson. In fact, Glennon has very high QB2 value if he keeps this play up.
Arian Foster – RB – HoustonPulled Hamstring, likely to return week 9 after bye
Even though he left the game after only 4 carries, owners lucked out that Foster pulled his, already sore, hamstring the week before his bye. This should allow Foster to get the rest that his hamstring has needed all year although it would be better news if he was heading into the bye having not pulled it at all so we could guarantee a close to 100% healthy return. The Texans say they will know more about Foster’s week 9 status after practice on Wednesday so I’ll be keeping tabs on the reports via Twitter all day. Ben Tate has also reported that he has four cracked ribs but expects to play week 9 after the bye.
Solution: If Foster were to miss week 9 for some reason, even his handcuff Ben Tate isn’t at full strength. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tate is a bit more banged up than he leads on either. Rookie Cierre Wood is the 3rd string back on the depth chart but it isn’t likely he’ll see more than three or four carries unless both top backs are out. If you’re looking for a replacement this week in this shallow RB market, keep an eye on Peyton Hillis. I listed him as a deep sleeper last week with a very slim chance of producing, however in Brandon Jacobs‘ absence Monday night he showed that he still has enough talent to run with the big boys. The former Browns star finished with 81 total yards between 18 carries and 5 catches and also punched in a goal line TD. Even if Jacobs plays week 8, Hillis has assumed the 3rd down RB role as well as some shared time on passing downs.
Those are just the major injuries that we saw in this mid-season hospital bill sweepstakes. It should also be noted that Texans linebacker Brian Cushing will miss the rest of the season with a broken leg and torn LCL. The Texans DST hasn’t been a factor all season so this shouldn’t affect many fantasy lineups.
Bears linebacker Lance Briggs suffered a shoulder fracture and should be out for 6 weeks. This comes at a time when the Bears surely need their defense to step up as Cutler is expected to miss some time too. This won’t break the Bears D, who are currently 8th in fantasy points, but it definitely doesn’t boost their leverage.
Wide receiver Brandon Marshall got an X-ray on his wrist following Sunday’s game however tests came back negative for any fractures or breaks. Marshall is expected to be fine to play this week.
Champ Bailey, cornerback for the Denver Broncos, re-injured the foot that held him out earlier this year. The team is considering him “day-to-day”.
For more insight and analysis from Ryley Henry, follow him on Twitter: @ryleyhenryff