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…
Alshon Jeffery, Bears: The Bears wideout left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury and never returned, finishing with 5 catches for 71 yards. He was seen standing up and stretching out on the sidelines, so one has to think he’ll be okay for this week’s matchup vs. 49ers. The Bears haven’t given much info in regards to the injury, but facing SF’s secondary isn’t exactly the best matchup in the world anyway. They also have the Sunday Night Football game, which could put owners in a real quandary. If he continues to remain questionable through the weekend, Jeffery could end up being more of “sit” than a “start”.
Derrick Johnson, Chiefs: The Chiefs defensive leader tore his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s game with the Titans and will miss the rest of the 2014 season. He was a top 20 fantasy linebacker last year, so it’s a real tough blow to his owners in IDP leagues. The Raiders’ Sio Moore and the Cardinals’ Larry Foote had fantastic showings in Week 1 and are good pickups.
Andre Ellington, Cardinals: After four long days of “will he/won’t he”, we finally got our answer to whether or not Ellington would play on Monday night — one hour before game time! For those that stuck it out, it probably wasn’t worth the wait, as he finished with a disappointing 10 points in PPR leagues. Not only did he fail to produce, the decision to let him play could cost him games down the line. The Cards were better off playing it safe and letting him rest his foot injury, but have now thrown away any progress he had made over the weekend. Ellington admittedly said he wasn’t playing at 100 percent, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him play at less than full strength until possibly after AZ’s bye in Week 4. The peroneal tendonitis he’s experiencing could be a problem all season long and I’d advise owners to try and sell. Because he played on Monday, a trade window that was once closed may have opened slightly. Act fast.
Ben Tate, Browns: Where there are ambulance sirens, there is Ben Tate. The RB is hurt yet again, and while the Browns haven’t disclosed too much info as to the severity of his knee injury, they’ve announced he will be out 2-4 weeks. All Tate owners should be adding Terrence West and/or Isaiah Crowell if they weren’t smart enough to have already handcuffed the oft-injured running back. Even if Tate does suit up this weekend, he’s about as likely to play 16 games this year as I am.
Jordan Reed, Washington Football Team: Owners who drafted the Skins’ talented tight end knew what they were getting into. Reed, who dealt with concussions all of last season, injured his thumb in training camp and had to leave Sunday’s game vs. the Texans with a hamstring injury. Coach Jay Gruden thinks Reed “could be out (for) some time”, so his owners should be looking for a replacement for at least a couple of weeks. The Skins’ in house options include converted wideout Niles Paul (4 catches, 86 yards) and Logan Paulsen (2 catches, 0 yards), but in 12-team leagues or less, there are probably better options than that on the wire. The Colts’ Dwayne Allen and the Falcons’ Levine Toilolo are tight ends worth adding.
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