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.
Fred Jackson — But the title features C.J. Spiller, doesn’t it? Yeah, we’ll get to him in a minute. First, let’s look at the older — and better — Bills’ running back. Throughout the season, Jackson has sent many fantasy owners into a panic, as he has rolled around on the field in what looked to be serious pain numerous times. Up until Week 7, he’s avoided serious injury. Given his career and injury history, you can’t be too surprised that he finally sustained an injury that will put him on the shelf. When Jackson was carted off the field, owners feared the worst. However, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Jackson’s injury isn’t as severe as originally thought. Jackson isn’t required to have surgery, and the worst-case scenario for the Coe College graduate is missing four weeks — so don’t cut him yet. Rapoport suggested that Jackson and the Bills are eying a return on November 6 against Kansas City. That opened the doors right up for…
C.J. Spiller — …..who has seen his name surface in potential trade rumors. Spiller looked to make the most of his time on the field with Jackson out, as he galloped 53 yards on a run that he bounced to the outside. However, when he was tackled to the ground, Spiller was in obvious pain. It turns out that Spiller broke his collarbone, and according to multiple reports, he’s expected to be out for the year after he underwent surgery on Monday. The injury to both Bills’ running backs opened the door for Anthony “Boobie” Dixon, who shouldered the load throughout the game. Due to his special teams play, Dixon was active, but will he get the majority of the carries the rest of the way? Former Philadelphia Eagle Bryce Brown, whom the Bills acquired in the offseason for a fourth-round pick, should at the very worst split touches with Dixon. Jackson described Brown as an “every-down back,” and he should get the primary work with Dixon filling the change-of-pace role and potential goal line role. The Bills also signed Phillip Tanner on Tuesday. For fantasy purposes, you can cut Spiller.
Pierre Thomas — And you thought Mark Ingram’s return would make the Saints’ backfield confusing. In the Saints’ game against the Lions, Thomas exited with a shoulder injury. As of print, the extent of the injury is not known, but NFL Network expects Thomas to miss 2-3 weeks. Thomas’ value was in PPR, and with his absence, we’ll have to keep an eye on the New Orleans’ game plan. In deeper PPR leagues, it’s worth taking a flyer on Travaris Cadet. Feel free to cut Thomas if there is something better on the wire.
Reggie Bush — Joique Bell has always been the better option in the Detroit backfield this year, but Bush has his value in PPR leagues. After missing Week 6, Bush returned in limited duty against the New Orleans Saints. Bush aggravated an ankle injury, but he — along with teammate Calvin Johnson — both tweeted how excited they are for London. His value going forward is questionable, but it looks like he’s expected to play this week.
Other injuries to watch:
A.J. Green — I’m going with my gut and saying that Green starts this week.
Calvin Johnson — He’s in London, and the game starts at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. Fun, right? With a Week 9 bye week, I doubt that Johnson plays against the Falcons.
Montee Ball — There’s no update, but feel free to dump him. The job won’t be his when he returns.