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!
Injuries hit hard in Week 2, and the league followed that up by handing us some more blows in Week 3. A couple of big name tight ends made the list — the Ravens’ Dennis Pitta and the Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph. Pitta had surgery to fix his hip and will be out for the season, and Rudolph had a procedure to repair a sports hernia. The Vikings are saying it’s “at least” a six-week timetable, but with an injury like that, it could be much longer. Rudolph never looked healthy all year, and lucky for him, he just signed a five-year, $36.5 million extension. In fact, Pitta signed a big deal this off-season too, and there’s a chance he may never play football again. In Pitta’s case, he’s obviously an insta-drop, but Rudolph owners are in a little bit more of a predicament. In the cutthroat world of fantasy football, I’m dropping Rudolph, especially since you can usually find a serviceable tight end on waivers. With just 10 catches for 96 yards, it’s not like Rudolph had been doing much anyway. Stashing a guy (and a tight end for that matter) for the next 6+ weeks is going to hurt your team more now than it will help if/when he returns.
As far as in house replacements, Owen Daniels is the obvious add in Baltimore, but if you’re in deeper leagues, fullback Kyle Juszczyk is a sneaky stash-and-see kinda guy. Think of him in the James Casey kind of mold. Rookie Crockett Gilmore is also in the mix. In Minnesota, Rhett Ellison and MarQueis Gray will split the tight end duties, but neither is worth a pickup in an offense that is already struggling to score and will have a rookie QB under center.
Pitta and Rudolph weren’t the only players to suffer injuries last week, so let’s go over some of the others…
Arian Foster, Texans: Foster is dealing with a hamstring injury — the same one that kept him out for most of the preseason. He was a late scratch on Sunday and has reported improvement, but admits he’s still not 100 percent. Hamstrings are very fussy and we could see Foster play this week, or possibly miss four weeks. Owners just have to sit tight. In the mean time, picking up Alfred Blue, and to a lesser extent, Jonathan Grimes, should be your top priority.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: This was a hot topic last week. Excitement brewed when Charles practiced towards the end of the week, but the Chiefs made the right call in sitting him. K.C. doesn’t play till Monday in Week 4 and that could be enough time to get their star player healthy for a matchup vs. the Patriots. Knile Davis excelled in his spot start last week, rushing for 132 yards and a score. Owners who picked up Davis have to be quite pleased, but after the performance, now is the time to sell. As soon as Charles comes back, Davis’ fantasy value will be rendered useless. Start sending out offers!
Eric Decker, Jets: After being questionable all week, Decker decided to give it a go on Monday night, but didn’t last very long before aggravating his hamstring injury. It was a rather foolish move and the Jets should have been smarter than that. Instead of being almost assured of Decker playing in Week 4, this now looks like a multi-week deal. Decker is by far the Jets best offensive weapon, and it’ll be a big loss for them for as long as he remains sidelined. Jeremy Kerley had a nice game (7/81/1) and will be the biggest beneficiary in Decker’s absence.
Roddy White, Falcons: Rowdy Roddy sat out Thursday night’s blowout win over the Bucs and also missed practice Monday. If he can get in at least a couple practices this week he should be in line to play vs. the Vikes, but — and tell me if you’ve heard this one before — hamstrings are a fickle thing. What does bode well for his chances of playing, is that fellow wideouts Harry Douglas and Devin Hester also suffered injuries. If all three sit, Atlanta would have to go into this weekend’s game with Julio Jones and Eric Weems (yeah…) as their starting duo. The smart money is on Roddy playing.
Danny Woodhead, Chargers: People who get a giggle out of the occasional sex joke will be forced to rely on Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as their source for humor after Danny Woodhead was put on season-ending IR with a broken fibula. In two straight weeks, the Chargers have managed to lose two-thirds of their backfield. If you picked up Donald Brown last week after Ryan Mathews went down, he’s now even more valuable. Branden Oliver will attempt to fill the void as the COP back in S.D., but he’s not worth of an add in most leagues just yet.
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