The 2014 NFL season looks more and more like a demolition derby of humanity with each passing week. In Week 6, Victor Cruz of the New York Giants was the biggest name to see his season end. He ruptured the patella tendon in his knee on a fourth-down play and that was it. The night didn’t get any easier for the New York Giants as they lost Jerrel Jernigan for the season, which put them down two wide receivers. Losing 27-0 to the Eagles on Sunday night seemed to be secondary. Things worsened for the Giants in one day but is your fantasy team dealing with injuries? Of course it is. If you haven’t had a player get hurt you’re either extremely lucky or it’s a total fluke. Either way, we’ll help you get through this difficult time of the season.
Let’s look back and see the big fantasy-relevant names who got hurt on Week 6…
Stevan Ridley of the Patriots reportedly tore multiple ligaments in his knee and he is done for the season. Darren Sproles of the Saints sprained the medial collateral ligament in his knee and will miss 1-2 weeks. The Eagles are on a bye this week and take on Arizona next week. We also have lingering injuries to work with too. Reports out of Detroit say that superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson could sit until Week 10 to allow his ankle time to heal. Tight end Jimmy Graham could be down a couple more weeks with a sprained shoulder and that would be a blow to a questionable Saints offense. AJ Green of the Bengals is expected to miss this week while dealing with a toe injury but should be ready to roll for Week 8.
That last paragraph was three picks that went off the board in the first two rounds of most fantasy drafts, so we’re talking about serious players getting banged up. Reggie Bush (ankle) missed Week 6 as well, so the bodies keep piling up.
Carson Palmer made his return following four missed games, dealing with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder. Things seem to be working better for him as he helped Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd find the end zone for the first time this season. His shoulder has been responding well to treatment from a clinic in Denver, so it’s time to get him back on your roster this week. Arizona visits an Oakland team that has lost 14 straight games dating back to last season. He makes a nice streaming option this week if that’s how you roll at quarterback.
Joe Flacco has suddenly become a fantasy force to be reckoned with. He threw for five touchdowns in the first half against Tampa Bay last week en route to a 306-yard passing day. He’s going to be a quarterback to check in on a weekly basis. This week against Atlanta could be a little dicey but his Week 10 game against Tennessee looks mighty appealing.
Blake Bortles of the Jaguars posted his best game of his young career with 336 passing yards and a touchdown. He might not be more than bye-week fill in for now but he takes on Dallas in Week 10. That’s important with six teams on bye that week. Having Cecil Shorts III back helps Bortles immensely.
If you’re a little more desperate, see who the Titans trot out at quarterback. It could be Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst or possibly Zach Mettenberger. The matchup against Washington is a positive one, so there could be some hidden points there.
Branden Bolden is going to step into the Patriots RB2 slot after Ridley’s season-ending knee injury. It’s going to be interesting to see how they use their running backs going forward, since Shane Vereen is more of the pass-catching threat. We’re going to find out quickly since the Jets take on the Patriots on Thursday night.
Antone Smith of Atlanta is an intriguing stash for now. He posted a 4/64/1 line receiving on four targets and has 346 yards and five touchdowns on a grand total of 23 touches. The downside is that he’s stuffed down on the depth chart behind Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers, so he won’t get the touches we all want him to get.
Isaiah Crowell of the Browns posted a nice 11-77-1 line last week against Pittsburgh and has nice matchups coming up with Jacksonville, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. Ben Tate might get the bulk of the carries but there is plenty of room for Crowell to get touches and vulture a score or two.
This position got messy quickly with the big injuries. Cecil Shorts of Jacksonville is there to help you out 10-103-0 on 16 targets makes him a receiver you want on your roster. Bortles and Shorts seem to click and you should be able to take advantage of this to help you get by.
Odell Beckham Jr of the Giants is going to get thrust into the spotlight. The Giants lost two receivers and Beckham might be the top target on the team not named Larry Donnell. The Giants have Dallas this week so the points could be there for Beckham.
Malcom Floyd of the Chargers continues to impress while Keenan Allen falters. Floyd has put up 214 yards and two scores on 11 catches over his last three games. You might as well get him now since the Chargers have Kansas City, Denver, and Miami before their bye and Floyd will have chances to shine.
Andre Holmes of the Raiders put up a late 4/121/2 line against San Diego and looks to be a sneaky Raider to own. They have Arizona, Cleveland, Seattle and Denver coming up which should force Oakland’s Derek Carr to throw a ton. Some of them will land in Holmes’ hands and he should be rostered.
Jace Amaro of the Jets had a breakout performance against Denver with 10/68/1. We’ll find out if this is the exception or the rule but for now, we’ll take it either way. New England is without linebacker Jerod Mayo for the season so Amaro could have another solid game Thursday.
Defense & Special Teams
Yes, there’s not much to talk about with kickers, so we’ll go straight to defenses.
Pick up the Dallas DST this week. The Giants have no Cruz, and Andre Williams and Eli Manning didn’t get it done in a 27-0 loss to the Eagles. If he can’t get it done against the Eagles, it could be a long day against Dallas.
Take a look for the Arizona. When you play Oakland, you grab the opposite team’s DST.
That wraps it up for an unusual week. Leave your questions below and hopefully we can get through this together. We have one more week of short byes and then two weeks of six teams each on bye. If you prepare now and make moves, you can minimize the impacts of those big bye weeks and keep on rolling.