Good morning everyone. Chances are you are waking up this morning, checking your team and seeing a lot of red. On top of major injuries, this past weekend provided many more potential headaches for owners. There were several significant injuries to add to the pile. Let’s get to that first, then we’ll discuss some potential replacements and impacts of those injuries.
Injuries: To start things off, we’ll mention three players that have already been ruled out for week 11. That lovely trio would be Fred Jackson (concussion), Michael Vick (concussion), and Ben Roethlisberger (separated shoulder). It is unclear how severe Jackson’s concussion is and how long he will be out, but with a short week there was little chance he’d be able to go. Owners will want to monitor things early next week and cross their fingers that Spiller doesn’t go off while he’s out. Vick has what is being called a “severe” concussion. That sounds like a multi-week issue. Some reports have even stated that this may give Andy Reid a reason to roll with Nick Foles for the rest of the season. I’d say hold onto Vick for now if you have room on your bench or an IR slot, but if it becomes clear after a few weeks that Vick is done feel free to cut bait. Roethlisberger’s separated shoulder is on his throwing shoulder, and early reports are hinting and a multi-week injury. If you were skating by without a decent backup behind Big Ben, it’s time to go shopping. Alex Smith and Jay Cutler also suffered concussions this week. Early reports have Smith recovering well and pointing towards being able to play on Monday against Chicago. Not sure you can trust him there if he does go. The information on Cutler seems a bit more unclear. While Lovie Smith said that Cutler seemed to get better after the game, Cutler did miss one game with a previous concussion in 2010. Keep a close eye on him as the week progresses. Julio Jones missed a good chuck of Sunday’s game with an ankle injury but was able to return and the team did not seem to indicate they were worried about his availability for week 11. Ahmad Bradshaw left the Giants game early with what is being called a neck injury. Luckily for his owners he has a bye week coming in week 11, but if he misses any time on the other side of the break you might want a contingency plan. Owen Daniels was a bit of a surprise inactive this week and might have hurt some owners. He has a hip injury, but I think he should be good to go this week after he was reportedly very close to playing this past week. Finally, Jeremy Maclin suffered some sort of back strain that is expected to limit or even hold him out of this week’s practices. That would make him questionable for week 11 and trending towards a GTD.
Waiver-Wire Pickups: Of the QBs that left with injuries, only one backup intrigues me as far as a pickup. That would be rookie Nick Foles. Foles, a preseason darling, looked a bit shaky in his NFL debut in relief of Vick against the Cowboys. There were several bad throws, but let’s cut him some slack. Dallas has been very tough to throw on this year and Foles will have a full week of practice going into this weekend’s matchup against the Redskins, who are not the Cowboys. Greg Olsen is somehow owned in less than 50% of ESPN leagues. How that is possible I don’t know. Maybe 102 yards and 2 TDs will open some eyes. Speaking of opening eyes, Darnario Alexander has blown by Robert Meachem for the #2 receiver in San Diego with back-to-back big games. We’ve seen this kind of production from DX before, so he’s worth an add to ride him while he’s hot. Just don’t be surprised if he gets hurt in a few weeks. We touted Ryan Fitzpatrick last week as a good weekly fill-in versus the Patriots and he has two more decent matchups against Miami this week and Indy in two weeks. He might be a good target if you’re a Vick or Big Ben owner. Somehow Carson Palmer is also out there in 1/3 of leagues. Cecil Shorts needs to see his 15% ownership rise. This week’s contribution? Only 105 yards and a TD. Many owners cut bait on Danny Amendola with the initial reports of the severity of his injury (he is under 50% owned in ESPN leagues) and as a group wanted to see what Amendola would do in his return. Wonder no more owners, let’s get him to 100% this week! As mentioned in the injuries portion above, Andre Brown may be worth an add this week or next as he is becoming more involved in the Giants game plan each week.
Steelers: Roethlisberger’s injury could have a significant impact on several players moving forward. The Steelers are now looking at multiple weeks of Byron Leftwich and/or Charlie Batch at QB. I think you have to downgrade all Steelers receivers going forward. The one that might see the biggest drop-off is Heath Miller. Miller didn’t see a single target after Ben’s exit. As for other impacts, this may force the Steelers to focus more on a smash-mouth running game going forward. Rashard Mendenhall is expected back in week 11 and should get a bump up in value. This potential change could also keep Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman involved and allow them to retain some value.
Eagles: Similarly to the Steelers, Vick’s injury could have big impacts for the other skill players in that offense. The biggest beneficiary seems to be LeSean McCoy. He has been criminally underutilized thus far for the season, but with a rookie QB at the helm I would expect the Eagles to focus more on getting the running game going early in games. A good receiving back also can be a rookie’s best friend and McCoy is exactly that. The receivers shouldn’t be effected too much one way or the other, but I could see an uptick for Brent Celek. That offensive line is horrible so Foles will have to get rid of the ball quickly.
It’s Spiller Time: With Fred Jackson’s injury, CJ Spiller once again has the backfield all to himself. His owners have been begging for this since Spiller’s shoulder injury allowed Fred Jackson to get back into the mix early in the season. During that stretch (basically 2 games) Spiller managed 40 touches for 422 yards and 4 TDs. While he has a tough matchup against Miami, Chris Johnson did just shred them in week 10. Spiller should be a top-5 option this week and any other weeks Jackson might miss.
CJ1K: Speaking of Chris Johnson, I listed him as a sit last week because of his aforementioned tough matchup. I have to admit, this was a bad call. With this performance he has proved that he is once again matchup-proof going forward. That doesn’t mean that he won’t have a bad game or two, but you just can’t sit him regardless of the matchup.
Shut Your Mouth and Play: This point isn’t so much a fantasy talking point, but a general football one. I like Roddy White. He’s an excellent receiver and sometimes underrated I think. However, he ran his mouth non-stop before and after this past week’s game against the Saints. He talked a lot of trash, and basically I think he is one of the culprits in the loss. On the final Atlanta drive he managed to get by his defender and Matt Ryan delivered a perfectly thrown ball. There was nothing but green grass between him and a go-ahead TD. Inexplicably White started to square up to the ball and backpedal. I guess the idea is to secure the catch and make it an easier play rather than trying to catch it over your shoulder or trying to catch it while twisting your body. However, he starter the backpedal painfully too early killing his speed and causing the ball to go just over his reach as he fell down. If he doesn’t make this turn he still has time to slow down and focus on the catch while not breaking his stride too much. He could have walked into the end zone. Sometimes you just need to let your play speak, even if that means you shut up after the game.
Saints Backfield: Another horrible call from last week was my love for Pierre Thomas. Chris Ivory has gone from weekly inactive to jumping ahead of Thomas in the pecking order. This backfield just continues to haunt owners. Ivory seems to be worth an add, but I’m not sure you can trust any of them going forward. The situation will only get muddier when Darren Sproles returns.
Raiders Backfield: As I noted last week, Marcel Reece was the preferred pickup in the wake of the McFadden and Goodson injuries. While Taiwan Jones was worth a speculative add but at this point you can drop him. A practice Squad player was activated and saw more touches than Jones. Reece should maintain pretty good value as long at McFadden and Goodson are out.