Cutler among those injured in Week 7: What a rough week for a number of fantasy staples, if not superstars. Sam Bradford and Reggie Wayne both had torn ACLs. Brian Cushing had disgusting and unimaginable injuries to his knee. Jermichael Finley suffered a concussion and was in ICU through most of Monday. Doug Martin may or may not be out for the year depending on whether you believe Greg Schiano. And as long as we’re at it, let’s just add Jay Cutler to the list.
Bears head coach Marc Trestman told reporterson Monday that Cutler will miss “a minimum” of four weeks with a torn groin muscle and will be “week to week” after that point. Trestman said Cutler told him he heard a “pop” on the play he was injured. None of that sounds very good from a Bears fan perspective, but his replacement Josh McCown may not be as much of a sacrificial lamb as you think. McCown went 14 for 20 with 204 yards and a TD pass in just over a half of action against the Skins. And Chicago’s next two opponents are Green Bay and Detroit, which means the Bears are going to need to throw the ball to keep pace in both contests. McCown is as solid of a two-week plug-in as you’ll find.
Browns considering QB change: Brandon Weeden’s entire day may have been summed up on what happened on the third play from scrimmage for the Browns. Third and nine, pass rush comes, Weeden steps up to avoid it, has all the time he could possibly need to hit a wide-open Greg Little — except Weeden not only overthrew Little, he may have overthrown the entire Browns bench. The Browns have all the pieces they need on offense to minimally perform at a mediocre level. Weeden is not the guy to lead that offense, though. And that’s why Rob Chudzinski had this to say about the situation: ”at all positions we’re considering (a change)” and “we’ll basically put the guys at all positions who give us the best opportunity to win.” Translation: You’re going to see Jason Campbell play soon — like, maybe even this week in Kansas City. If Campbell does play, I have to believe the fantasy value of a handful of Browns (Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon in particular) will get a boost. Their frustration with Weeden was evident yesterday.
WR Douglas explodes against Buccaneers: So, let me guess. You’re psyched about Harry Douglas getting seven catches for 149 yards and a touchdown against the Bucs, right? You’re hoping no one else gets injured in the stampede to the waiver wire so you can claim him, right? Well, guess what — count me out. I’m not buying in.
I’ve tried the Douglas experiment before, and it’s failed spectacularly every time. I don’t see much changing during this go-around. Douglas un-impressively has one touchdown in each of his five seasons in the league, and he’s only topped 400 receiving yards once (498 in 2011). Even though Julio Jones is done for the year and Roddy White is finally finding out how it feels to be human and miss games, Douglas simply sneaked up on the Bucs, and now that defenses realize he is someone worth gameplanning for, he will be taken out of games pretty easily. Let someone else buy into the Douglas fool’s gold in your league. There are better options at WR on your waiver wire.
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Reggie Wayne has played at an elite level since coming into the league as a rookie. A brief rundown of his résumé highlights: he helped the Colts win a Super Bowl, he made the Pro Bowl six times, he was an All-Pro three times, he led the NFL in receiving yards in 2007, and he’s also the Miami Hurricanes’ career receptions leader with 173. Pretty impressive feat since more than a few good NFL WRs spent their college days at the U. But his 2013 season came to a premature end as he suffered a torn ACL during Week 7 against the Broncos.
Wayne haden’t posted enormous fantasy stats this season like he did in the past, but he has shown good consistency, especially for you PPR nuts. Even though his yardage bounced between 50 and 100 on a weekly basis, he failed to catch five or more passes in only one game this season. Scoring only two TDs was somewhat disappointing, but that’s the stat line with which he will finish the season.
Darrius Heyward-Bey now becomes a popular pickup, even though his production has been that of a borderline WR3 thus far this year. But Andrew Luck has got to find a primary target now, and he began to look Heyward-Bey’s way more after Wayne went down. Heyward-Bey has the potential to become a solid WR2 the rest of the way. After flaming out with the Raiders, this is his last chance to avoid becoming an unproductive journeyman.
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As if the 0-6 Buccaneers needed any more bad news, they have just received some of the worst kind on Monday morning.
RB Doug Martin reportedly has a torn labrum and could miss the rest of the 2013 season, although Bucs coach Greg Schiano said it may not be that bad. Schiano said it would be a “stretch” for Martin to play Week 8, although I have a hard time believing we’ll see Martin on the field again this year.
It’s not that he was such a productive force for the Bucs in 2013. The problem is his presence on the field at least kept defenses somewhat honest. Martin was a disappointment from a fantasy perspective — he rushed for one touchdown all year long in Week 1, topped 100 yards in a game only once (when he got 144 in Week 2 against the Saints). His total yardage on the ground was 456 through six weeks, and he only added a paltry 66 receiving yards in that span.
Even last year during his rookie season, Martin was more of a boom or bust QB. Either he would post insane fantasy point totals or abandon his owners completely. A large reason for his sporadic production probably had a lot to do with the inconsistent passing game, but that’s another issue to dissect altogether. For the interim, backup RB Mike James takes over the featured role and will be targeted on every single waiver wire He had 14 carries for 45 yards in yesterday’s loss at Atlanta and probably should be at least owned and kept on your bench if you can grab him. Tampa Bay’s next two opponents (Carolina and Seattle) won’t be easy to run against, but James could prove to have some decent value come fantasy playoff time after he gets acclimated to playing in the full-time role.
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» Case Keenum acquitted himself fairly well today in Kansas City. But injuries to Arian Foster and Duane Brown are reasons for concern going forward. Fortunately, the Texans have a bye next week.
» It’s been feast or famine for Anquan Boldin owners this season. They ate fairly well today.
» It was refreshing to see Le’Veon Bell produce against a Ravens defense that has been improving steadily since Week 1. The Steelers have found their primary RB, which is equally good news for fantasy owners.
» After staying away from Ray Rice in recent weeks, it seemed a near certainty that the Ravens would feature him against a Steelers defense that’s struggled against the run. He only has 12 carries for 38 yards. It’s starting to get harder to trust Rice … and it’s not totally his fault.
» In the past few weeks, the 49ers have returned to a power running game. Frank Gore is seeing better numbers and this week Colin Kaepernick is getting involved.
» It was all going Jay Cutler’s way … until today. The Bears have a bye in Week 8, but you might need to start thinking about other options in case his groin injury is serious.
» Jordan Reed is working his way up the tight end ranks. After his 19.40-point day in Week 7, he’s not a bona fide TE1 just yet, but he’s getting harder to ignore.
» Fantasy owners should be reasonably happy with Alfred Morris‘ 95 rushing yards. But all they’ll see is Roy Helu‘s three rushing touchdowns. And they’ll curse #Shanahanigans.
» Terrance Williams had six catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. He’s officially taken the No. 2 receiver job from Miles Austin, who hasn’t had a reception since Week 3.
» Michael Vick can’t return soon enough for the Eagles and fantasy owners. Nick Foles was awful before leaving with an injury. Matt Barkley was even worse. That will have a huge impact on the effectiveness of LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson going forward.
» If today is any indication, Chris Ivory has regained his status as the New York Jets running back of choice. Bad news if you picked up Bilal Powell.
» Welcome back, Gronk! Eight catches for 114 yards is the level of production we’ve been waiting for. Tom Brady, however? Fewer than eight fantasy points in two of his past three games. He’s officially a matchup-based option now.
» Daniel Thomas: 12 carries; Lamar Miller: 9 carries. Miller has become an untenable headache for fantasy owners.
» The Bengals hadn’t allowed a 300-yard passer in seemingly forever. Matthew Stafford scoffs at your research.
» The Rams got Tavon Austin more involved this week. He would have scored a touchdown had it not been called back because of a penalty. I’d still like to see a little more before I trust him in my lineup again.
» As long as Mike Glennon is Tampa Bay’s starting QB, Vincent Jackson needs to be in your starting lineup. Glennon has been locked on to his number one target quite a bit in the past two weeks.
» If anyone can has any rhyme or reason why Matt Ryan would have a huge day without Julio Jones and Roddy White and completing just two passes to Tony Gonzalez, I’d love to hear it. Certainly didn’t see that coming.
» Same ol’ Jaguars. This week they allowed Ryan Mathews to rush for 100-plus yards and a score. Mathews has been better this season, but the Jags will make you look like a quality front-line fantasy starter.
» Jay Cutler does little against Washington before leaving with an injury. Nick Foles has been a bust against Dallas. Tony Romo hasn’t been much better against the Eagles. Sometimes, there’s just no figuring this game.
» After slumping for a number of weeks, A.J. Green has been huge the past two weeks. But it’s fair to wonder if he’s not a matchup-based starter. Then again, he wasn’t a big factor against Green Bay, either. He’s been hard to figure.
» Hey Cowboys and Eagles … we’re still. waiting for the offensive explosion. Any time now.
» More than 100 receiving yards for Harry Douglas in the first half? Either he’s avoided Revis Island or he’s way better than we ever imagined.
» Defenses are leading the way early. Washington, Buffalo, Atlanta, New England and Carolina have all scored defensive touchdowns. And the Rams have a safety. It could be one of those days.
» More Lamar Miller headaches. Daniel Thomas is seeing the bulk of the carries early on and is being more productive with them.
» Just a reminder that Bill Belichick hates your fantasy team: Brandon Bolden had the first three Patriots carries today — including for a one-yard touchdown run.
» As expected, Roddy White is among the inactives for Week 7. It’s the first game he’s missed in his career. Gronk is active for the first time this season. Among the other notable names not playing this week: Steven Jackson, DeMarco Murray, Michael Vick and Danny Amendola.
» And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for … Rob Gronkowski is expected to start today! Let the fantasy congregation say … amen.
– Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG
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