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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Hay-low boys and girls, it’s that time of the year again when mini-camps and OTAs are over and the NFL Preseason is underway.  With most teams having already played their first game, and some having played two, there’s no better time than now to begin reviewing some of the injuries that are plaguing the league’s players. If you follow the fantasy baseball side of Razzball, which I’m sure most of you do (if you don’t, you’re dead to me), you all know I, SethDaSportsMan, bring you the weekly “Ambulance Chasers” column, featuring all the nicks, bangs, and bruises from across the diamond.  Luckily for you pigskin lovers — and you perverts with S&M fetishes — I’ll be doing the same throughout the entire fantasy football season.

Why me, you may ask?  Am I turned on by the idea of blood and breaking bones?  Not really.  In fact, I’m getting sick and tired of seeing all these guys across the sports landscape getting hurt.  What I offer is experience in the health and fitness field — I’m a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, as well as a certified fitness instructor.  I’m no doctor (it’s never gonna happen, mom!), but all my schooling gave me a vast knowledge of sports injuries and the human anatomy.  I also played sports at a highly competitive level until my early-20s and have personally gone or will have undergone five major surgeries by the time 2015 rolls around.  So, yeah, you could say I’m “close” to the subject. This piece will be the first of many to grace the glorious pages of Razzball Football.  Once the season starts, look for Ambulance Chasers each and every Wednesday morning, and you can see my handsomeness in the flesh when I review my Weekly Injury Report on Razzball Radio with the Italian Stallion himself, host Nick Capozzi.

Now, what you’ve all been waiting for…

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Ouch! That hurts! A lot! Get the cart and take this guy back to the locker room. Let’s check out his (insert body part here) and…oh my…this doesn’t look good. Let the coach know he’s done for the year and put him on injured reserve.

That scene has played out across the NFL countless times this season. Because of how often it’s happening, we have enough players to put together an amazing team of players who are or have been on injured reserve this season.

We took into consideration players on the traditional injured reserve list as well as those who have had a stint on the designated-to-return injured list as well. This was going to be an end-of-season feature but we have enough talent down for the count that we can do it now.

Without further delay, let’s meet the All-IR Team for 2013.

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In most leagues this is championship week. It also means 80 percent or more of players are done for the season. For those who still remain, let’s take a look at the key injuries that can make or break your title dreams.

Adrian Peterson (foot, groin) was limited in practice the last couple days as was Toby Gerhart (hamstring) and Matt Asiata didn’t practice either so the Vikings’ running back situation looks like a big mess heading into this week against Cincinnati. Today should provide clarity as to who will do the running against the fifth-best rush defense in the league.

If Peterson’s available, you play him. Gerhart is more of desperation play and Asiata looks like someone to avoid all together. While Asiata scored three times last week, keep in mind his low yardage totals. Asiata should only be used in TD-only formats if both AP and Gerhart are out.

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Doc is back and has another room full of patients after last week’s spate of season-ending injuries.

Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season after tearing two ligaments in his knee. Arizona lost safety Tyrann Mathieu to a torn ACL and LCL which ends his strong rookie season. Baltimore wide receiver Brandon Stokely suffered a concussion and is done for the season. Green Bay put seldom-used receiver Myles White on IR with a knee injury and it leaves the Packers few options in the passing game. Brandon Jacobs of the Giants is done after getting a cartilage graft in his left knee.

You get the idea. People are dropping like flies at the end of the season but most of them aren’t fantasy-relevant which makes it easier to sift through the impacts of said injuries.

Gronkowski being done makes Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman better options, especially in PPR formats. When you factor in Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) being questionable for this week, it makes both of those wide receivers Tom Brady’s top targets. Shane Vereen is also back there too but when it comes to deep passes he really has two choices.

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We’re coming down to the last week of the regular season in most leagues and the first week of the playoffs in others. Hopefully you have your playoff spot wrapped up and are planning your path to postseason glory.

But Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) shouldn’t be a part of those plans. He practiced yesterday for the first time in the month since he suffered his collarbone injury against the Bears. Matt Flynn is expected to get the start this week against Atlanta at Lambeau Field.

If you’re hanging on to the hopes of having Rodgers for the playoffs, don’t. The Packers are 0-4-1 without him this season and his absence has dragged down the values of the Green Bay wide receivers. At 5-6-1 their only real chance of trying to make the playoffs is to win the NFC North. They have virtually no shot at a wild card and losses to Philadelphia and San Francisco really hurt their chances in that regard.

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