I've always been an advocate for Fantasy Football Championship Week being in Week 16 instead of Week 17, when many teams will rest their starters once first-round byes and seedings are locked up. Unfortunately, it seems that injuries are starting to take their toll on owners to the point that those Week 17 fears of using backups to win a title are starting to creep into Week 16. We saw that with the latest news that Ben Tate was placed on injured reserve due to multiple injured ribs.
Tate, known as the No. 1 handcuff in the preseason, kept owners afloat after Arian Foster was placed on injured reserve because of a lingering back injury that eventually forced Foster into surgery. Owners who had Tate were pleased for a few weeks, but his rib injury eventually took it's toll. We saw this when Dennis Johnson had to carry the rock against the Jaguars in Week 12. Tate was held to 1 yard on 7 carries. Johnson, who nobody really had much info on, wound up rushing 13 times for 74 yards. Tate made a comeback, but those damaged ribs were just too much. With Tate now done for 2013 and possibly done with the Texans entirely since his contract is up after this year, Johnson could be playing for the backup job if/when Houston opts to continue using Foster as the starter. That's also not a given.
The injuries didn't stop there. Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts was also placed on injured reserve earlier this week due to a groin injury. Shorts had his good games and bad games, but much of the bad came from the simple fact that the Jaguars' still have a huge need for a true NFL starting quarterback. However, Shorts' fantasy future is on much steadier ground than that of Tate.
Rob Gronkowski............eh, lets just leave THAT one alone.
Along with these players being placed on injured reserve. we also have Packers QB Aaron Rodgers who might or might not play. You will see in our Week 16 Quarterback Rankings that we have Rodgers ranked fairly high due to the matchup. But because of the tight-lipped Packers, Matt Flynn could be the starter. What a mess for Rodgers owners.
BTW, has anyone seen Seahawks WR Percy Harvin lately?
I can go deeper with guys like Browns TE Jordan Cameron and Texans TE Garrett Graham, but you get the point. With injuries galore this year compared to years passed, you have to wonder if this will wind up being a trend in the future. Either way, it looks like a lot of owners will be hoping unknown backups and lower-ranked players can pull in that fantasy title for the 2013 season.