If you escaped this week without any injuries to your fantasy roster, consider yourself very, very lucky.
Week 7 was one of the most injury-ridden weeks in recent memory. I hated watching it. Not even for fantasy purposes, but simply due to the fact that too many talented players went down with an injury on Sunday. It was almost sickening to watch, really. As for fantasy owners, they should get a better idea of player statuses on what we like to call “MRI Monday’, but for now, I try to shed some light on the situation.
Too, too many.
Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Martin was one of the first big-name players to go down on Sunday. He suffered a shoulder injury while attempting to catch a pass in the third quarter, and did not return. Luckily. X-rays came back negative, showing no separation of the shoulder. Martin was seen with his arm in a sling after the game, and considering the Buccaneers have to turn around and play on Thursday night, it would be wise to prepare for life without Martin, at least for Week 8. In his absence, Mike James was practically the only running back on the field for Tampa Bay, carrying the ball 14 times for 45 yards. There will be a handful of teams on a bye this week, so go grab James if you need a back.
Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: This one hit home. I’ve been super high on Cutler all season long, and have him in my home league. So I was upset to see him gingerly limp off of the field on Sunday after taking a sack in the second quarter. He did not return to the game, and the team is calling it a groin injury. Unfortunately, multiple Bears sources have told the NFL Network that the injury “could be bad.” Cutler could hardly walk, and was down on the ground for a few minutes. Chicago has already re-signed quarterback Jordan Palmer, which could be a hint that Cutler will miss an extended period of time.
Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Foster hardly played on Sunday against the Chiefs. He exited during the first quarter after sustaining a hamstring injury. Initially listed as questionable to return, Foster did not suit up for the rest of the contest, returning to the sideline in a Texans cap. Never a good sign. However, Houston does have a bye this week, and after the game, Foster stated that the hamstring problem “doesn’t seem too severe right now.” Ben Tate, meanwhile, spelled Foster, but had his ribs banged up. However, he stayed in the game, rushing for 50 yards on 15 carries. Monitor this situation, and hopefully you handcuffed these two during your draft.
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: It was a bittersweet Sunday night for the Colts. They defeated familiar face Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but watched their leader, veteran Reggie Wayne leave the game with an injury. It was difficult for me to watch, as you’d be hard-pressed to find many better people in the game today. The injury occurred in the fourth quarter when Andrew Luck made a poor throw, and Wayne tried to adjust, putting his body in an awkward position. It initially looked like a knee sprain, but the Colts fear that he may have torn his ACL. He’ll have a second opinion on Monday, and everyone is praying it’s better news. The entire stadium was cheering “Reggie”, motivating him to get up. Wayne, along with a few other Colts players, had tears in their eyes. As for fantasy purposes, T.Y. Hilton would step in and see a major uptick in targets.
Other notable injuries: Sam Bradford, Jermichael Finley.
– Wideout Vincent Jackson is the hottest receiver in fantasy right now. Over his last two games, V-Jax has hauled in 19 balls for a whopping 252 yards and four touchdowns. The change at quarterback seems to be helping his value a ton, as rookie Mike Glennon certainly isn’t afraid to take shots down field. He also isn’t afraid to constantly look for his top wideout. Jackson was targeted a ridiculous 22 times on Sunday, which accounted for half of Glennon’s passes in the game. Since Glennon has been under center, Jackson has been the number one receiver in fantasy football.
– Alfred Morris is still the featured back in D.C., but could Roy Helu be on the rise? On Sunday, Helu saw 11 carries to Morris’ 19, but received three inside the 15-yard line, all accounting for scores. That’s right. Roy Helu, not workhorse, short-yardage phenom Alfred Morris, found the end zone three times on Sunday. Coming into this game, Morris saw 186 snaps, while Helu was quietly right behind him with 179. And during Sunday’s win against the Bears, Morris saw 41 snaps, but Helu followed him with a solid 35. He’s averaged 13 total touches over his last three games, and remember, Helu was originally supposed to be the starter for this team, but got hurt. Morris emerged in his rookie year, and the rest was history. Helu is a must-add for those who own Morris.
– Don’t look now, but Ryan Mathews has actually been… productive? It’s true. Mathews broke 100 rushing yards for the second consecutive week on Sunday, carrying the ball 21 times for 110 yards. Heck, he even graced us with his presence in the end zone for once. We saw Mathews run the ball well during the preseason, and it appears to be translating to the regular season. Over his last two games, he’s averaged a very healthy 21.5 carries per game, and is averaging 4.9 yards per clip. After a Week 8 bye, he gets the Redskins generous defense.
– And last, and surprisingly least, there’s C.J. Spiller. I pegged Week 7 as Spiller’s breakout week for a few days now, but it appears that gut feeling was just gas. Spiller looked lost on Sunday, carrying the ball just six times for 11 yards. He did catch three balls, but, of course, went for -4 yards. Excuse me while I go vomit, something Spiller should have been doing all season long, right, Nathaniel Hackett. I will say that he still isn’t 100 percent, as his ankle seems to be holding back some of his explosiveness. However, it’s been hard for me to watch the player I was highest on coming into the season. I mean, even Tashard Choice had as many carries as him this week. Buffalo remains one of the most run-heavy teams in football, so opportunity will be there, but that ankle needs to get better first.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.