2013 Fantasy Football: Early Week Injury Woes

By Dustin Manko
Christian Ponder
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Football is a tough game that is not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t matter what safety protocols the league puts in, as long as there is contact there will be injuries. Since the general population has no desire to watch flag football, the contact, and the injuries will remain. Fortunately this week saw far fewer injures than last week, although some of the bigger names in fantasy football were impacted. Here’s what you need to know about your guys.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden was able to finish the game, but was officially diagnosed with a concussion post game. Weeden will now have to clear league concussion protocols and for now looks doubtful for week 14. Jason Campbell suffered a concussion in week 12, and was cleared for activity today. He is still not cleared for practice however. As of press, the only healthy quarterback on the Browns roster is Alex Tanney, who has never played an NFL snap.

Josh Gordon gave owners a scare when he left the game briefly. He was examined on the sidelines for concussion symptoms. Gordon was able to return to action to put together a monster day, going over 200 yards and making a case as the best receiver in fantasy. He should be in no danger of missing next week, and remains a must start even in a tough matchup against Aqib Talib.

Christian Ponder also was forced to the sidelines with a concussion during the first half. The Minnesota Vikings obviously want Ponder to start, but like Weeden, Ponder will have to go through the concussion protocol. Two quarterback leaguers need to find an alternative. For what it is worth Matt Cassell played rather well in relief, going 20-33 for 243 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Streamers could do worse than Cassell next week, but not by much.

Fantasy owners need to just accept that C.J. Spiller is going to be less than 100 percent healthy for the duration of the 2013 season. Spiller tweaked his ankle again during the first half, but came back strong and had his best outing on the season, rushing for 149 yards and a touchdown. Owners can roster him as they normally would. He remains capable of putting up 20 plus fantasy points every week, but he does have a tough matchup next week at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Delanie Walker also suffered a concussion. It is a tough break, as Walker has been playing well of late. Owners should be looking for alternatives in an already thin tight end pool. Fellow tight end Jordan Reed was also scratched from the lineup late Sunday night after having lingering effects of the concussion sustained last week. Owners for both Walker and Reed should be ready with backups in case either is held out.

Reports from Green Bay are surfacing that Aaron Rodgers might be done for 2013. The Green Bay Packers are not in control of their playoff fates and there is little incentive for the Packers to rush back their franchise quarterback. Fantasy owners have a tough call on if they should keep Rodgers on their roster. He is obviously capable of being a top five quarterback when healthy, but it seems unlikely that he will play again this season. His upside is high enough to keep on the roster until he is officially shut down.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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