Injuries happen on a weekly basis. Unfortunately for owners, Week 7's list of players seemed to come in like a tidal wave. Doug Martin, Reggie Wayne, Jermichael Finley, Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford were some of the big names who either got knocked out for the year, or will miss a good chunk of your fantasy schedule (including the playoffs). Below I'll cover each injury and the fantasy ramifications of each being gone.
Wayne was obviously the biggest name, for me anyway, to hit the injury wire after being lost for the season with a torn ACL. While Wayne's 2013 numbers weren't likely going to match his 2012 output, his loss is huge for a team that uses a base set of only 2 wide outs. Going forward, it looks like Darrius Heyward-Bey will step in as the new No. 1, with T.Y. Hilton getting his chance as the starter. Hilton was looking better and better the past couple weeks. Now is the time for him to prove himself to those owners who took him higher than I thought they should have. DHB is an interesting case. He was one of my Week 8 waiver options for this week, but this is DHB. We know his past. But does that past become clouded by a bad Raider organization? Or is Heyward-Bey merely a lost cause? I guess we'll find out when the Colts play the Texans in Week 9. As for Wayne, he's still signed through the 2014 season. However, he's set to turn 35 in November. Past research shows that receivers coming off such a brutal injury need a good full year to be back to 100%. I have no doubt Wayne will be back to play out the rest of his contract, but we could see his successor picked in next April's draft. He isn't getting any younger. This injury could prove bigger than other torn ACLs we've seen.
In a team I share with a friend, we lost both Wayne and Martin (Cutler to), but we somehow managed to win last weekend. Agree or disagree, but Martin's shoes won't be AS HARD to fill like other players who have missed games this year. After a strong rookie season, Martin had been a disappointment. He's only averaged 76 rushing yards a game with 1 score. Really not that great. There are some back-and-forth rumors that Martin will miss the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder, while the Bucs and Martin himself refuse to call the season quits. Either way, Martin is likely going to be out for your playoffs. New every-down back Mikes James is an interesting alternative. He's faster than his 5'10/220 frame. Plus he's a better pass catcher than fellow rookie Zac Stacy. James could be THE guy who we've seen come out of the woodwork in the past. Reuben Droughns, Marcel Reece and others have taken over starting jobs in prior years and have had tremendous success. It's hard for me to say James can have RB2 value, but it wouldn't shock me to see him give fantasy owners a fighting chance at a playoff spot.
Unlike the two players above, Cutler may have injured his way out of a job as his contract runs out at the end of the season. There were already rumblings that HC Marc Trestman would rather mold his own quarterback than to pay the amount of money Cutler would demand in contract talks. Cutler's groin injury is expected to keep him out a minimum of 4 weeks, but that could stretch into 6. While he wasn't a pure QB1, Cutler was a guy who played well in the right matchups. With Josh McCown set to start, this is awful news for guys like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Especially Jeffery, who was slowly building up his fantasy value at a rapid pace. If McCown can't get anything going in the passing game, Matt Forte will have his hands full with lesser running lanes than before. This is a bad fantasy situation for all.
Finley's injury was the scariest of all when he damaged his spinal cord after lowering his helmet on a hit involving Browns DB Tashaun Gipson. There is absolutely no timetable on Finley's return, or if he will even return at all for the rest of the 2013 season. With Finley out, Andrew Quarless will take over starting duties. However, don't get excited. Quarless was a big waiver wire pickup back in 2010 and did absolutely nothing. Don't even look his way. With Quarless set to be the primary blocker, this could mean more good news for rookie Jarrett Boykin after his breakout Week 7. Aaron Rodgers shouldn't miss a beat as he will keep doing what he does best: continue to put up points no matter who is on the field. Finley is a free agent after the season, so the two parties might finally part way after such an inconsistent relationship.
Out for the season with a torn ACL, I doubt owners will miss much of Bradford this year since he held more QB2 value. The news about Bradford isn't why I listed him, but more about what the Rams have been doing to try and fill his shoes. There were reports as early as Monday that the team was considering signing Tim Tebow (yep he's still around) to a contract and as a replacement over inept Kellen Clemens. There was also interesting news that came out recently that the Rams reached out to Brett Favre, which is a bit of a surprise in itself. The bigger surprise was Favre declining the offer. Although with a record of 3-4 and close to no shot at the playoffs, it's not a surprise that Favre would decline. 5-2 or 6-1? I think there would be mutual interest. With Clemens set to start, this will downgrade an already downgradable Rams passing offense. Zac Stacy could be called upon a lot more to keep the offense afloat against a very stingy Seahawks Defense.