SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

November 17, 2012

Fantasy Forecast: Injury bug has some owners feeling less than thankful

Fantasy Forecast
Andy Silva

---- — As we all prepare to give thanks this week for the good things in our life, unfortunately some will be less than thankful watching football this weekend and on turkey day.

The injury bug bit with full force last week, with three quarterbacks suffering concussions and another suffering what appears to be a very serious rib injury.

Let’s start with the most serious. Ben Roethlisberger was originally diagnosed with what was believed to be a sprained shoulder. It got much more serious when it was discovered that he also dislocated a rib, which actually could have punctured his aorta had it moved around much more. Needless to say, Roethlisberger will not be playing this week against the Ravens. The team is not giving a timetable for Roethlisberger’s return, but various estimates in the media range from 3-4 weeks to the rest of the season.

Another player who is out for an undetermined amount of time is Michael Vick. He suffered what is being termed a “significant” concussion last week and is said to be “foggy” and not alert. The Eagles trainer was quoted in the press this week as saying Vick is “not even close” to playing, and given his relatively poor play in general this season I think it’s safe to drop Vick. Even if he hasn’t taken his last snap under center for Philadelphia, it should be a while before he takes the field again.

Last week also saw two other quarterbacks leave their games with concussions. San Francisco’s Alex Smith and Chicago’s Jay Cutler, whose teams will square off on Monday Night Football this week, both took shots to the head, although it looks as though Smith may actually play on Monday night after making progress throughout the week. Cutler, on the other hand, has been ruled out for the Monday Night game and no further update has been given on his condition.

In light of all these injuries to quarterbacks, I went to the waiver wire to see what options were out there. And I came away happy that I don’t own any of the aforementioned walking wounded.

There are slim pickings in standard Yahoo! leagues, with players like Christian Ponder of the Vikings (on bye this week), Sam Bradford of the Rams (facing the Jets) and Smith himself among the best options widely available. None of the three have averaged more than 230 yards passing per game in their last four contests and all have thrown nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns. Hopefully, if you own an injured QB you already have a backup. If not, I guess I would look at Smith for this week, see how he performs following last week’s concussion, and take it week to week playing the matchups.

It’s likely, however, that if you’re resorting to that your chances of success in the fantasy playoffs likely took a big hit.

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Quarterbacks aren’t the only ones dealing with pain this week.

Julio Jones is listed as questionable for the Falcons after missing practice all week with an ankle injury. Jones was limited by the injury last week, but still caught four receptions for 75 yards in the team’s loss to the Saints. I would tread carefully with him and monitor the pregame shows closely.

It also appears as though Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will miss his third straight game. Despite participating in practice on Thursday, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reported Hernandez was not expected to suit up for the game against the Colts tomorrow. It’s really beginning to look like a lost season for Hernandez, who was expected to be a major contributor until an ankle injury in Week 2 derailed him.

The news is slightly better in Washington, however, with Pierre Garcon saying that he “should be good to go” tomorrow. Garcon has missed a good chunk of time with torn ligaments in his foot and it was still up in the air this week as to whether he would play or undergo surgery. So, pardon me if I’m not ready to go all in on Garcon. I would wait to reinsert him into your lineup until you see how he performs and then how he responds early next week.

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Andy Silva writes the Fantasy Forecast for The Salem News. Follow him on Twitter @SN_FantasySports.