For the past five weeks it seems that we have had to shake up our fantasy football rosters and rankings based on the weekly injuries constantly hitting NFL teams. Well, we seem to be alleviated from that this week, but faced with a delightful set of new problems. Rather than a host of unwanted injuries, we now get to modify our rosters based on a delightful combination of injuries, trades and replacements.
Let’s start from West to East.
The biggest fantasy football injury this week seems to come from the Bay area as Jason Campbell is out for the season. Kyle Boller came in and completed 8 passes for 100 yards and no scores, with the team leading, though, we didn’t really get a feel for how he will react as a starter.
Oakland has just completed a trade for Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals. Palmer is coming out of a very ugly relationship. He hasn’t played a game this season, but did see his stats bump in 2010, when he threw for just under 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Expect it to take some time for him to get used to the system at all. I honestly don’t know what kind of playing shape Palmer is in, but he will definitely be the starter going forward. You can predict slow play from the receivers for a few weeks as Palmer gets settled, but in the end I think the receivers put up better numbers in the second half of the season than they did with Jason Campbell.
A focus will be put on the run game, so McFadden and Bush will be the least affected. Campbell was making ground it gaining respect for the passing game, but that all seems to be out the window. Kevin Boss is an intriguing tight end to watch though with Palmer coming in.
Tim Tebow steps in at quarterback. You have already heard what I have to say about that. But he will be starting his first game without the team’s best receiver Brandon Lloyd, who was traded to the St. Louis Rams.
John Fox should get the running game that he has likely wanted all along. With Tebow picking up an unpredictable amount of yardage each game and McGahee and Moreno getting the carries, the run game should be the only bright spot on the offense. I expect most of Tebow’s passes to be underneath as he does not have the arm or accuracy to make any downfield impact.
Lots of buzz going around about Demaryius Thomas stepping in as the number one receiver, but I for one will not be biting on him. Expect Eric Decker to be the Broncos’ top performing receiver this year. And like the situation in Oakland, tight end Daniel Fells might be one to watch.
Oh my sweet, sweet Cowboys. Injury to starting guard Bill Nagy and starting running back Felix Jones will make a couple waves. Mostly in the backfield.
Tashard Choice is a fumble away from getting tarred and feathered by Cowboy faithfuls, DeMarco Murray could see some extended playing time and definitely has the most upside going forward of any other Dallas back. Trade talks have come in about getting rid of Choice, but they will not go through because of the injury to Jones.
I expect the next 2-4 weeks with Felix’s injury to be proving time for DeMarco Murray. If you are short at running back, he could be a risky pickup for you, but the upside is definitely there.
Last night’s game made it pretty evident that it is time for Christian Ponder to step into the spotlight. He didn’t get much playing time, but what he showed was promising. Not sure what exactly we can make of it since the Vikings were trailing heavily and his yardage can all be filed under Garbage Time.
That said, he was impressive against the Bears defense in the passing game. He was under a good amount of pressure, made some errant throws and scrambled a lot, but was able to escape and get some positives.
Short of a horrific fire at a Starting NFL Quarterbacks Convention leaving all fantasy football starters hospitalized, I will not be starting Ponder this year. I expect the next few weeks to be a hell of a Welcome to the NFL for him. He does improve the passing game though as he is not, by any means, Donovan McNabb. I actually have the stock rising on Percy Harvin and maybe even Michael Jenkins and Greg Camarillo. Harvin, of course, the only real fantasy football starter of the bunch. Adrian Peterson is a beast and shouldn’t be too affected unless Ponder fails epically.
St. Louis Rams
Rams finally made a splash and added a wide receiver that might actually get some work done. Sam Bradford has been doing the best with what he has in Greg Salas and Danario Alexander, but these are not the elite receivers that he needs to help the team.
The acquisition of Brandon Lloyd from the Denver Broncos likely means that Mike Sims-Walker is cut. I expect Lloyd to get a handle on the offense pretty early and have the best impact of any Rams’ receiver going forward. This greatly increases the value of Sam Bradford and, in time, might open up some holes for Steven Jackson.
It does look like Bradford will be out this week against Dallas, and A.J. Feely could get the start. If this is the case, proceed with caution for every Rams player, including Jackson, as the Cowboys have the best run defense in the NFL.
Jahvid Best left the game with his second concussion of the year. I have heard everything from he might miss a week or two to he is being put on IR and his season is over. Maurice Morris had all of the carries in his absence this week, gaining 20 yards on five carries. Keiland Williams is second on the team in total rushing yards behind Best with a grand total of 49.
I originally had Moore getting most of the work, and he could get most in the next few weeks if Best doesn't return. However, Ronnie Brown has just been traded to the Detriot Lions. He should see some carries pretty soon and if Best doesn't come back in the next few weeks, it should be at least a solid split between Brown and Morris.
Overall, Brown is a nice fit for this offense. They need a power runner to offset Best and Brown can get that done. Will also like lining up in shotgun beside Stafford. But it is definitely a gamble to get either of these guys until we see a Lions game or at least learn a little more about Best's status.
More news to come on all of these. Any other teams you want to learn more about, all you have to do is ask. Got any questions about lineup changes, sleepers, trades, etc., you know what to do.