Week 9 was especially rough on teams with injuries. Le’Veon Bell, Keenan Allen, and Steve Smith are all out for the season, and Matt Forte is looking at a long absence too.
Let’s look at the injury carnage from Week 8 and what it means.
Out for the season...
Le’Veon Bell, RB, PIT
Many of the savvy owners who drafted DeAngelo Williams to use in the first two weeks, prematurely dropped him after Bell returned from suspension – oops! It’s been confirmed that Bell is out for the year, and the sprint for Williams commences. He produced very well in the first two weeks, averaging over 100 yards and 1.5 TD’s per game. He is going to be a huge add this week, and an immediate RB starter.
Reggie Bush, RB, SF
Despite doing nothing all season, and not being a big part of a bad 49ers team’s plans, he was 25% owned in Yahoo leagues. Carlos Hyde remains the workhorse when he returns from injury. Until then, this opens the door for Mike Davis and Kendall Gaskins to split carries. Davis is the better add, but on that offense, really isn’t more than a desperation add who has no value when Hyde returns.
Khiry Robinson, RB, NO
Not that anybody had him on their rosters (10% owned), but he did vulture 4 rushing touchdowns this year. Now that he is out for the year, this should give Mark Ingram a little boost, and perhaps CJ Spiller, with more touchdowns coming their way.
Keenan Allen, WR, SD
Allen was having a resurgent season, more in line with his rookie campaign, than his second year in 2014. The Chargers have been unable to run, or stop opposing offenses – both of which have led to a pass-happy offense. The Chargers don’t have a clear #2 who stands to inherit all of Allen’s production, but it will likely be split between Malcom Floyd, Steve Johnson, the Chargers' running backs and tight ends. Floyd and Johnson now emerge as solid WR depth for your team.
Steve Smith, WR, BAL
Smith was the brightest spot on a rather abysmal Ravens’ passing game. Flacco has about as many passing interceptions (8) as touchdowns (10), and just lost his only reliable target for the year. Kamar Aiken becomes the top man standing in Baltimore. He has half the catches and yards of Smith, but the former UDFA journeyman becomes the top target in Baltimore by attrition. If you need a WR, Aiken will certainly be in line for high volume going forward, he just needs to turn it into more production.
Out for a while...
Matt Forte, RB, CHI
Fortunately for Matt Forte owners, he’s only out "for a while", and not for the year. Forte was having a surprisingly good year, and given the failure rate of many of the round 1 RB’s this year, has actually been a top 10 RB. Forte is a case where he is not a product of his system, but better than his system. So, while Jeremy Langford stands to inherit the workload, he probably will produce slightly under what Forte offered. Still, given the lack of great RB’s this year, Langford is a very good addition.
Colin Kaepernick benched
Only three times this year has Kaepernick thrown a touchdown pass. That’s not good. Neither is the fact that only 3 times he has passed for more than 170 yards. The 49ers struggles are much larger than Kaepernick, but he’s been miserable, nonetheless. If you’re one of the 43% of owners who has him (for some inexplicable reason), the 49ers have done you a favor and are strongly urging you to seek better options.
Vernon Davis traded
Kaepernick is not the only casualty of the 49ers awful season. Davis, who has catches in only 4 games this year, was sent packing. The former first round pick was shipped out for some late round draft picks. Outside of a pair of 13 TD seasons, his fantasy status has often been overhyped compared to his production. He now goes to a much better team, better QB, and better offense – but it may not matter. If you are TE-needy, he may be worth an add just to see what happens. His upside is that of Julius Thomas last year. But with Peyton Manning’s regression, and Davis’ regression, Davis is more likely a TE2 – which is an upgrade from his current production.
Joseph Randle released
Many drafted Randle hoping he would be the beneficiary of the departed DeMarco Murray’s production. Outside of a 3 touchdown outburst in Week 3, Randle did little this year. Although losing Tony Romo & Dez Bryant didn’t help the Cowboys’ offense. With Randle released and Lance Dunbar out for the year, Darren McFadden (of all people) becomes the RB to own in Dallas. McFadden has averaged 137 total yards since becoming the starter over the last two weeks. Christine Michael becomes the handcuff to own if you don’t trust McFadden to stay healthy – and who could blame you?.
2015 has been a rough year for running backs.
Elite running backs Jamaal Charles and Le’Veon Bell are out for the season, as is another good running back in Arian Foster. And many of the other highly drafted running backs in fantasy football have struggled...
- Eddie Lacy (43 rush yards per game, 2 TD’s)
- CJ Anderson (40 yards per game, demoted to second string)
- Jeremy Hill (splitting time with Giovani Bernard)
- LeSean McCoy (missed 2 games due to injuries)
- Joseph Randle (cut by the RB-needy Cowboys)
- Lamar Miller (averaging under 30 yards per game in 5 of 7 games this year)
- Frank Gore (65 yards per game)
- Melvin Gordon (averaging under 50 yards per game, with 0 touchdowns this year)