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…
Jamaal Charles — X-rays came back clean, so there’s no break, but an MRI revealed the dreaded high-ankle sprain for the Chiefs’ running back. For many owners, Charles was their No. 1 pick, and his backup in KC, Kniles Davis (no, not the guy from Frasier), should be your top add on the waiver wire this week. Charles’ sprain could keep him out for up to 4-to-8 weeks, but there was some optimism in Chiefs camp that it could be sooner. Either way, expect him to miss time, and Davis is the obvious choice as a replacement — if he isn’t already owned (61 percent owned on ESPN). The second-year back rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos and it’s very likely we could see him as the Chiefs’ starter until after their Week 6 bye. De’Anthony Thomas is someone deep-league owners may want to spend a buck on as well.
A.J. Green — Green came into the Bengals’ Week 2 game having already dealt with a foot issue. He obviously rushed into it, and aggravated it, because he’s now looking at a multi-week absence. There have been mixed reports as to whether the injury is indeed a ligament sprain, or worse, turf toe. The two are actually quite different, as turf toe is an injury that directly affects the joint and cause persistent pain without a lot of rest, while a sprain could heal quicker. Fantasy owners will huddle and pray in mass for it to be the the lesser evil of the two. If we’re looking at the short term, I can’t really recommend spending a ton of FAAB on Mohamed Sanu, although he would probably be a better option at QB than a lot of NFL teams have right now.
Knowshon Moreno — After a rousing Week 1 performance (24 carries, 134 yards, TD), Moreno’s brief tenure in Miami was cut short for the time being. After getting just one carry on Sunday, Moreno suffered a dislocated elbow, which doctor’s estimate could keep him out of the lineup for 4-to-8 weeks. If tests also reveal a fracture, we could be looking at an even longer absence. It’s really too bad, because the tandem of Moreno and Lamar Miller had looked quite good. As a standalone back, I don’t think Miller is worth owning. He’s shown he can’t play every down and be successful. If you are a Miller owner, now is a great time to sell, and do so by enticing your trade partner using the “feature back” label. Daniel Thomas was brought back after he failed to make the Fins’ final cuts. Fantasy owners know him all too well as the man who kept Miller down last season. Stay away from him, he’s not a good player.
Mark Ingram — Ingram looked like he was finally hitting his stride in 2014 — after three years in the league — before he injured himself on Sunday. A nice start in a contract year (143 yards, 2 TD) will have to be put on hold for at least a month, as the Saints back broke his hand vs. the Browns. Pierre Thomas should be owned in all leagues, which makes Khiry Robinson the best speculative add. Robinson was one of my sleepers coming into the season after he flourished in the Saints playoff run last year. He’ll likely see the early-down opportunities while Thomas handles third downs and passing plays. Travaris Cadet is a name to keep your eye on in much deeper leagues.
Ryan Mathews — Ryan Mathews is just trolling us. After three injury-plagued seasons, Mathews played all 16 games last year, rushing for a career-high 1,255 yards. Last year, during fantasy drafts, owners avoided him like the plague. But after a successful (and healthy) year, he stole back owners’ hearts — only to squash them yet again. Mathews suffered a sprained MCL on Sunday and has been given a 4-to-5 week timetable to return. “Take that, people who thought Mathews was over his injury woes!” Owners should be buying Donald Brown, and I believe he’s worth 15-20 percent of your FAAB. Unlike guys like Kniles Davis and Khiry Robinson, Brown has a chance to keep the feature-back role in San Diego even when Mathews does eventually return. Danny Woodhead should maintain his change-of-pace and passing down roles, but Brown ran for 537 yards and 6 TDs on just 102 carries with the Colts last year. Now, don’t we look stupid for questioning the Bolts’ when they signed him?
Robert Griffin III — It’s really sad to see RG3 get hurt like that again, but it’s not surprising. He’s been injury prone throughout his career (in college, too), and just never seemed sure of himself on the field, i.e. his footing, acceleration, timing. Owners who grabbed him in drafts were taking a risk and should’ve had a backup plan in place. Kirk Cousins is an obvious choice to replace him if Griffin was a starter for you. If he was a backup, it’s not gonna kill you, ‘cuz you probably don’t need two QBs anyway. The real life outlook should actually be better for the Washington Football Team minus RG3. Since Griffin went down at the end of his rookie year, I’ve felt Cousins was the better QB option in Washington. Comments made on Monday by Skins’ coach Jay Gruden lend me to believe that he feels the same way, too.
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