Another week, another handful of big injuries in fantasy football. We saw Jimmy Graham go down for the season with a knee injury, Rob Gronkowski go down with a knee injury that isn’t too serious, but still potentially a multi-week injury, and also Chris Johnson suffer a fractured tibia. As the season progresses, more and more injuries will pop up and determining who to keep, who to pick up, and who to drop becomes crucial for those vying for playoff spots. Hence, the Benchwarmers and yours truly is here to save your Fantasy Football season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off a huge performance against the Dolphins, throwing for almost 300 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. With Fitz seemingly over his thumb injury for earlier and having all his playmakers (Marshall, Decker, and Chris Ivory to support the run game) healthy, Fitz is poised to finish the season strong and could be a useful QB2 to have on your rosters in case something were to happen like Eli throwing for three more interceptions, or your quarterback going and partying when he promised he wouldn’t (here’s looking to you Johnny). The Jets are poised for a playoff spot with their play and they certainly won’t give up now offensively.
If you weren’t already sure, Jimmy Graham, Marshawn Lynch, and now Chris Johnson are droppable in re-draft leagues. They are taking up useless roster spots and aren’t expected to produce (Johnson and Lynch are questionable to return this season) for the rest of the fantasy football season.
David Johnson becomes a juicy name in Fantasy Football now, due Johnson’s tibia injury (and also Andre Ellington’s turf toe problem). He would seem to be stepping into a lead back role if Ellington is forced to miss any time, but Johnson automatically becomes the #2 running back in the high-powered Cardinals offense. With his immense play-making ability in the run and pass game, Johnson becomes a must-own and even considering to be a strong RB2 play in PPR leagues considering his receiving ability. Carson Palmer loves to throw the ball a lot and you can expect when his bevy of wide receivers are covered, he will be looking towards David Johnson’s way. Johnson is a must-own in fantasy leagues and possibly a must-start going forward.
Shaun Draughn has finished with 20 touches in each of the past two games and is becoming a force in the receiving game as well, with 13 receptions over that span. Carlos Hyde (obviously not worth owning in redraft) has no timetable to return as he continues to deal with a foot injury and Draughn is by far the bell-cow in the 49ers’ offense. He has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in each of the last two games and with the 49ers seeming to have a component quarterback for once in Blaine Gabbert (I just vomited in my mouth typing that), it helps open up the run game (and Gabbert has also been targeting Draughn too). He is worth owning in most leagues, and in all leagues that give points for receptions.
Doug Baldwin somehow had a hell of a game against the Steelers, with over 140 yards receiving and three touchdowns. No, he is not a threat to do that every week or even come close. But with the Graham injury mentioned about, Baldwin could certainly get more looks in the passing game going forward, which Seattle is starting to realize they need to use more if they want to win games. With that being said, the lack of wide receiving and tight end depth makes Baldwin the likely player to lead the Seahawks in targets most weeks going forward and is now into WR3 territory. He could be a useful FLEX play depending on the matchup.
Two 49ers on this list? Yikes. But it’s true, as Anquan Boldin has also benefited greatly from the quarterback switch to Blaine Gabbert. He has gone for 93 receiving yards in each of the past two games and is averaging nearly 10 targets a game (19 targets in past two games). The 49ers are going to be playing from behind a lot and be forced to throw the ball a lot and Boldin has proven to be the safety value for Gabbert. Considering he is still available in over 40% of Yahoo! leagues, Boldin has the ceiling to be a high-end WR3 and he could be a good option as a FLEX as we get into fantasy playoff time and as he only continues to build a rapport with Gabbert more.
The big disappointment in fantasy football known as Kyle Rudolph may be proving himself useful at the right time. He has garnered 19 targets, 13 receptions, 159 yards, and a touchdown over the past two games. He finds himself being targeted more over that span than Stefon Diggs (14 targets) and is becoming the trusted go-to-guy for Teddy Bridgewater in the anemic Vikings’ pass offense. Rudolph has been the main red-zone target for Bridgewater and considering Adrian Peterson is playing at an other-worldly level still, the Vikings are a threat to be in the red zone a lot, which means more chances for Rudolph to score. Considering the injuries to Graham and Gronk, Rudolph could have low-end TE1 value going forward.
Lastly, the man who will be taking Gronk’s spot in the Patriots offense for the time being is Scott Chandler. He undoubtedly had his best game as a Patriot on Sunday night with 11 targets, five receptions, 58 yards, and a touchdown. Considering just the lack of weapons that Tom Brady and the Patriots have on offense without Edelman, Gronk (potentially), and Lewis, Chandler could be targeted quite a bit come Sunday against the lowly Eagles. Chandler could see double digit targets again even if Amendola is back as long as Gronk is out of course. Chandler could provide some TE1 value until Gronk is ready to return and he is worth picking up and even playing considering your tight end situation.
That’ll do it for me this week. Remember, stay off my lawn, and no pictures.
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