Because Monday night’s game went exactly as we all thought, right?  The Washington (enter name here) football team defeated the first-place Dallas Cowboys in primetime.  And yes, at one point in the night, Cleveland fans rejoiced (or puked) when both Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden were in the game. So with McCoy’s performance over the past two weeks — he leads all quarterbacks in completion percentage over that stretch — what does this mean for Robert Griffin III?  Washington head coach Jay Gruden said that McCoy’s stellar play won’t have any impact on Griffin, as he’s the starter as soon as he’s healthy.  On Tuesday, Gruden said that Griffin is “very, very, very close” to returning.  With six teams on bye this week, fantasy managers are scrambling to the waiver wire to replace Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Kyle Orton, Matt Ryan and Zach Mettenberger.  OKAY, maybe not Mettenberger, but you get the picture.  Can Griffin be that guy this week for you?  Chances are slim, to be honest.  Yes, he could probably go out there against Minnesota on Sunday, but with a Week 10 bye week, it makes more sense to sit him until Week 11.

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There are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and fantasy football injuries.  Like clockwork, the injury bug struck again this weekend, as running backs seemed to take most of the damage on Sunday.  To get you ready for Week 8 of the NFL and fantasy season, let’s take a look at some of the more severe running back injuries and what they mean from a fantasy perspective.

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There were lots of cringe-worthy injuries in the NFL this week, and many that will have a lasting impact in fantasy football leagues. I could sit here and draw out the lede with some funny remarks that are linked to even funnier videos, but let’s face it, injuries aren’t very funny, and with so many guys to cover, let’s just get right into it!

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Back in March, ex-Denver Broncos’ running back Knowshon Moreno left the frigid air of the Rocky Mountains for the opportunity to spend this season in sunny South Beach, and believe me, he’s not crying about it.  His one-year deal didn’t take over the media the way another famous athlete did when he left a championship runner-up so he could play in Miami, but it did make his former backup with the Broncos a hot commodity in fantasy football drafts.

Despite gaining just 559 yards on 120 carries in 2013, Montee Ball was the 10th overall player taken in this year’s drafts (according to ADP).  The volume wasn’t there for the rookie out of Wisconsin (Moreno excelled as Peyton Manning‘s go-to back), but you could feel the electricity with Ball.  He had some early-season fumble issues in goal line situations (two in his first three games), but his 4.7 yards per carry was definitely something he could build on. Manning and the Broncos broke nearly every offensive record last year, and that’s a big reason why the second-year pro became such a popular draft pick — but Ball’s season is going down the drain faster than a goldfish with an irresponsible four-year-old for a parent.

Not only had Ball been downright awful in his first three games (165 yards, 3.37 YPC), but he left Sunday’s contest vs. the Cardinals with a groin strain.  News broke that the injury was “a significant one”, but that was later changed to a “two-week timetable”.  Based on what I’ve seen from injuries like this before, as well as his current conditioning (he missed nearly all of training camp after an emergency appendectomy), this has the makings of a much longer absence than what the Broncos are letting on.

So what do you do if you’re a Ball owner?

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We should all consider Week 4 a success.  We escaped the quarter-season mark with nary a single catastrophic injury.  I’m sure I just jinxed us, but in the NFL, if you can play out an entire week’s worth of games and keep your fantasy roster away from the IR, you, my friends, have won at life itself. Of course, there were a few injuries (Cecil Shorts, Teddy Bridgewater, Niles Paul), but not enough to warrant a rant over.  So this week, we will discuss some previously injured players, who returned to the field or have made notable progress in their recoveries.

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Fantasy football ain’t for the faint of heart.  This is real sh*t right here.  Injuries happen.  You can’t avoid them.  I can’t remember the last time I owned a fantasy team, in any sport, that didn’t suffer a huge loss due to injury.  Part of being a successful fantasy football owner is how you handle those injuries.  You can’t sulk and say, “That’s it.  My season’s over.”  No way.  Get on the waiver wire.  Make some trades.  Fight till the end.  No one likes a quitter.  My boy DMX said it best: either put up or shut up!

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Rarely do we see a week so overabundant in the injury department.  Millions of fantasy teams were brought to their knees (likely ‘cuz they have no ankles to support them) after the seemingly endless amounts of bones, ligaments and tendons that were demolished in Week 3’s slate of NFL games. Fantasy football owners are going to be racing to the wire this week to replace their fallen and it’s important that you are kept up-to-date with who to grab and who not to grab…

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Week 1 in the NFL brought us a number of injuries, and it also brought us the (unnecessary) return of some of our favorite Saturday Night Live characters.  Reprising their Aaron Rodgers “Discount Double Check” series, State Farm graced us with a couple of new commercials featuring The Richmeister (Rob Schneider repeatedly saying “makin’ copies!”), and of course, Hans and Franz.  You remember those two lovable German steroid freaks?  All they cared about was getting us puny weaklings in shape… and at any cost.

Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin may need a little pumping up from Hans and Franz, ‘cuz a knee injury could sideline the Muscle Hamster for the Bucs’ matchup with the St. Louis Rams this Sunday.  Lovie Smith is downplaying the injury, but the fact that Martin got just nine carries, yet his knee injury was deemed “minor”, is a little bit concerning.  There could be other factors at play here (conspiracy theorists unite!).  Some NFL pundits have speculated that Martin may have been benched, and as a member of the old regime in Tampa, he doesn’t look to be a favorite of the Bucs’ new coach.  Either way, after a dismal and injury-shortened 2013, there is very little wiggle room for the Bucs back.  Fantasy owners in standard leagues would be wise to stash Bobby Rainey (4 carries, 12 yards; 2 catches, 8 yards, TD).  Mike James is also worth a look in much deeper leagues.

And, now to the rest of the forlorn…

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Week One of the NFL season is finally here!  Months and months of drafting and prepping your fantasy football teams has reached it’s end.  Invite your friends over, get some charcoal for the grill, and stock your fridge full of your tastiest beverages, ‘cuz it’s gonna be a helluva ride the rest of the way.

As always, I will bring you my “Ambulance Chasers” articles each and every Wednesday during the entirety of the football season.  So, while you’re sipping on a cold one, let’s go over some fantasy football players that may or may not be “on ice” this week, starting with New England Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski. [Jay's Note: Because of course.]

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The tale of St. Louis Rams’ running back Isaiah Pead may end up being a short one.

Pead was taken by the Rams with the 50th overall pick of the 2012 Draft, eights spots ahead of stud linebacker Lavonte David and ten picks ahead of corner Casey Hayward.  There would’ve been no reason to doubt the Rams selection at the time, after all, the University of Cincinnati product was an electrifying running back in college and performed very well in the pre-draft combines.  The 5’10”, 200-pounder finished fourth among all RBs in the cone drill (6.95) and had the fifth-best 40 time at the position (4.47).  Pead went into camp that year looking to compete, but quickly fell behind Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson on the depth charts, finishing with just 10 carries for 54 yards during his rookie season.

2013 was supposed to be his breakout.  Fantasy football owners pegged him as a guy who could be taken later in drafts, yet had fantasy starter capability.  With Jackson signing in Atlanta, Richardson was the starter on paper, but he could easily be overtaken.  Pead’s sleeper status grew exponentially during the off-season, until a suspension for substance abuse derailed that somewhat.  He was forced to miss the Rams’ season opener and never regained any of his momentum from training camp.  Coach Jeff Fisher saddled Richardson with the bulk of the ball-carrying duties for the first couple weeks of the season, limiting Pead’s upside.  Pead received only one carry in Week 2, turning that into just one yard.  He had two catches for 18 yards as well, but he was clearly behind the eight ball.  During Week 3 vs. Dallas, Pead rushed for 20 yards and caught seven balls for 43 yards — a pretty productive game.  Things were looking up for the second-year back — or were they?

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