If we do not talk about them, they will stomp about, snort, and suck up all of the bathwater with their snouts. They will ramble aimlessly, untamed, destroying our fine China, breaking the furniture, and muddying the floors. They will gore wall paintings, ruin bedsheets, and cause general mayhem throughout the residence.
The elephants I speak of are, sadly, injuries. And though this week’s slew of maladies have been bantered about ceaselessly by trainers, players, coaches, and fantasy owners and analysts alike, we must speak of them. And though many fantasy owners have taken a strict vow of silence (perhaps in mourning for their 2011 season) regarding the week 2 hurt locker, we must speak of them. And though writing about their impact will not suddenly revive the player or magically fill your roster spot, we must speak of them. And understand them. And evaluate and assimilate and adapt. Because that’s how you win.
We Shall Overcome
I’ve been winning fantasy leagues for twelve years by predicting, risking, and guaranteeing; much like we do in our weekly player rankings. Meaning I try to evaluate players who I think may have value, assess what that value is, obtain or deal them accordingly, and have a damn backup plan. The last part is extremely important and, shockingly, often overlooked. When I draft, especially in later rounds, I draft for value and upside. My teams will almost always look something like this: good solid core with a few upside starters, bench full of handcuffs and high-risk high-reward flex fill-ins (A.J. Green in the 14th round is now looking to be the pick of the year).
Let’s pretend for a moment you didn’t draft as well, or your bench is full of maybes and already-hurts. The best bit of advice I can give you is the same tidbit that I impart to my U10 girl’s soccer team before and during every game: don’t freak out. You’ve got the ball, the meanest 5th grader in the county is charging right at you, what do you do? Don’t freak out. Think with a clear head, find a teammate. If you freak out, you’re done. You’ll kick it right at her shin guards. Fin. Goal. Gooooaaaaallll!!! Your starting QB and RB1 are done for the season? Don’t freak out. Calmly peruse the waiver wire. Look for value-trades. Take calculated risks when you make moves. If you freak out, you’re done. You’re making lopsided trades and dropping good depth for marginal waiver wire picks. No Mas.
Okay, okay. Let’s look at the major effects of this weekend:
1) The Jamaal Charles Affair
The Chiefs are done. D-U-N done. They looked awful before losing their best weapon on offense, they look awful after. If you didn’t or were unable to handcuff Thomas Jones, it’s honestly probably for the best. He won’t do much, anyway. Given that your no. 1 overall pick has underperformed for two weeks, you’ve likely got a top waiver pick. No RB’s available? Use it on a Cam Newton (if he’s still available) or Ryan Fitzpatrick or A.J. Green and then trade your depth at those positions for a viable starter. After Michael Vick exploded last year, you’ll probably find a believer in Newton to rake in a trade.
2) No. 7
Speaking of Vick, my thoughts at the moment are positive. If you watched the game, the “hit” that knocked him out was just Vick getting spun into his own lineman. It looked bad- he was dazed and spitting blood- but certainly not as serious as it could have been... or even as serious as Dunta Robinson’s hit on Jeremy Maclin earlier in the game. I don’t think he will be out long, but in the short term we may have to downgrade all Eagles not named LeSean McCoy or Jeremy Maclin. Why not Maclin? Well, DeSean Jackson also went down with an “arm and buttocks” injury. That’s a new one. Still, it will help Maclin’s targets (as if he didn’t get enough last night). Arm and buttocks. Really.
Houston, we have a problem
I don’t know what coach first came up with the “running back by committee” or “change of pace” theories, but as a fantasy owner I’d like a time machine to be invented specifically to return to the past and kidnap him, permanently. How frustrating was Arian Foster’s “tightness?” Or James Starks and Ryan Grant getting “half the workload” each? Or Daniel Thomas doing his best Pierre Thomas circa 2009 impression? In my opinion, the Texans situation is the most frustrating because Foster could be a monster if Tate wasn’t so productive and if the Texans actually needed him (so far they’ve been so good in “real” terms they haven’t needed him). Really, this is just another reason I’ve been so high on backs like Matt Forte, Beanie Wells, and Jahvid Best. They’re not top-of-the-line talents, but they are in clear situations where they will receive the majority of the touches game in and game out. That’s valuable in a league full of murky backfields.
Formerly a nickname for the great Magic Johnson Los Angeles Laker teams, I think this moniker should now be bestowed upon the entire AFC East. The division is full of fantasy value at every position. I think all four quarterbacks are startable in 10-team leagues (and at least need to be owned). Meanwhile there are four usable tight-ends (two on the same team), and the wide receiving options are plentiful: Brandon Marshall and Steve Johnson are probably top-15 for the rest of the year, with Santonio Holmes not far behind. Fred Jackson is playing well and leading the league in rushing yards, while Green-Ellis and Daniel Thomas are both reasonable weekly options. Of course, I must take a moment to point out how correct I was on being very low once again on Shonn Greene. Yeah, he performed better this week but still is not putting up numbers to justify his draft position. Nonetheless, can we please petition to rename this division the Aerial Football Club East? Seriously.
Good luck filling your injury voids. As always, text questions, comments, complains, rants, and glorious expositions to my twitter: @petethegreekff.