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The fantasy gods giveth. But oh can they taketh away.
Now begins the "taketh away" portion of this broadcast.
Sunday was Armageddon for fantasy football owners. Stars crumbled. Heroes fell. Feelings of hope and optimism were replaced by doubt and self-loathing. Week 7 was a bloodbath from start to finish, and the few fantasy owners that made it out alive (I wish I was one of them) should be thankful that they did.
If there was ever an NFL Sunday that ran the gamut of human emotions, October 20th was that Sunday. As the injuries mounted, so did the questions.
"Can he play through it?"
"Is he done for the year?"
The last 24 hours haven't cleared up everything, but at least we now have a general sense of what we're dealing with. Here are seven injuries from Sunday that may shape the rest of your fantasy season:
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
With all his receivers covered downfield, Bradford was forced to tuck and run on 2nd-and-10 with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of the Rams' game at Carolina. Panthers safety Mike Mitchell shoved Bradford out of bounds after a 1-yard gain. Moments later, Bradford was being carted off the field with a left knee injury.
An MRI revealed that Bradford suffered a torn ACL. He's done for the season.
Bradford was quietly having an excellent season, producing 14 touchdowns to just four interceptions. His completion percentage (60.7) and QB ratings (90.9) were both career-highs and he entered Week 7 as the sixth-highest scorer among fantasy quarterbacks.
Now the Rams, who were forced to use journeyman Kellen Clemens for the remainder of the afternoon, are bringing in quarterbacks David Carr, Matt Leinart and John Skelton for tryouts. None of these players are good options, which means the Rams will probably look to run the ball more than they did earlier in the year. Rookie halfback Zac Stacy (70 rushing yards per game in Weeks 5-7) may end up being starter material in 10 and 12-team fantasy leagues.
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears
Another year, another Jay Cutler injury. The injury-prone signal-caller went down with 10:09 remaining in the second quarter against Washington after absorbing a huge hit from Redskins defensive end Chris Baker. Backup Josh McCown (14-for-20, 204 yds, TD) finished the afternoon in his place.
Today we found out that Cutler has a torn groin. The earliest we'd see him back is in four weeks.
The Bears are on a bye, so Cutler wouldn't have played this week anyway. Cutler doesn't exactly carry "iron man" status around the league, so the 4- week timetable seems generous. The good news is McCown actually looked pretty good on Sunday. Then again, what quarterback doesn't look great against the Redskins? Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery's stats are both going to suffer without Cutler in the lineup.
Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers
Finley's injury may have been the scariest of the day, and that's saying something given the carnage we saw yesterday. The big tight end was leveled by Cleveland safety Tashaun Gipson early in the fourth quarter and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
Finley remains in the hospital with an undetermined head/neck injury. The Packers haven't given a timetable for when he might be back, but it doesn't look like it's going to be anytime soon.
The timing couldn't have been worse for Finley, as he was headed for a huge boost in fantasy value with James Jones and Randall Cobb both injured. The Packers still have Jordy Nelson, who managed double-digit fantasy points even with stud corner Joe Haden covering him on Sunday.
The dark horse here is Jarrett Boykin. The second-year Virginia Tech wideout had a phenomenal game yesterday (eight grabs, 103 yards, 1 TD) and should be a target monster again in Week 8 if Jones misses another game. Boykin is only owned in about one percent of leagues, though that's about to change quickly.
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
After back-to-back huge games against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay, Foles couldn't get anything going Sunday in a loss to the Cowboys (11-for-29, 80 yards). His day ended after Dallas defensive end George Selvie sacked him for a 4-yard loss on the last play of the third quarter.
Doctors confirmed that Foles suffered a concussion. The Eagles haven't ruled him out for next week's game against the Giants yet, but we'd be shocked if he plays.
Basically all Foles needed to do to secure the Eagles' starting quarterback position over Mike Vick was A) Not implode and B) Not get injured. He failed on both accounts and now it looks like a less than 100 percent Vick (inactive Sunday because of a pulled hamstring) is going to get the start in Week 8. God have mercy on us all if neither can play and Matt Barkley (35.2 QB rating in relief of Foles on Sunday) is forced to start.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Houston's star running back came up lame in the first quarter on Sunday and was forced to watch the rest of the Texans' game at Kansas City from the sidelines. Foster finished the day with four carries for 11 yards.
Foster aggravated a hamstring injury he suffered in Week 6. Until we hear more, we'd consider him questionable for Houston's next tilt on November 3rd against Indianapolis.
The Texans are on a bye for Week 8, which gives Foster an extra seven days to heal up. That's obviously positive, but at 2-5, you've got to wonder how close the Texans are to mailing it in. With almost nothing to play for (Brian Cushing also suffered an injury on Sunday), the Texans may not feel the need to rush Foster back into action, especially with a very capable backup on the roster in Ben Tate. Fantasy owners are going to have to keep a close eye on this situation as it unfolds.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Martin lined up as a receiver in the third quarter Sunday versus Atlanta and wound up getting crushed by Falcons safety William Moore. Martin landed awkwardly on his shoulder and wasn't able to finish the game.
Martin's X-rays came back negative, but more testing revealed that he has a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Head coach Greg Schiano denies that the injury is season-ending, but we can't imagine a scenario where he'd play again this season.
It's a fitting end to what was a dismal season for Martin. A top-five fantasy pick in just about every draft this summer, Martin entered Week 7 as only the 18th-highest scorer at his position. His backup, rookie Mike James, is totally unproven and makes for a risky play heading into Thursday's matchup with Carolina. Possible waiver-wire replacements include Andre Ellington, Roy Helu, Donald Brown and Pierre Thomas. Unless you're stacked at other positions, there's a good chance Martin single-handedly ruined your season.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
With the Colts clinging to a 36-30 advantage late in the fourth quarter against Denver, Andrew Luck misfired on 3rd-and-1. Wayne, the intended target, suffered a non-contact injury on the play. The team called his injury a "sprained right knee" and sent Wayne to the locker room for more tests.
Wayne tore his ACL and meniscus. His season is over.
Kind of puts a damper on the Colts beating Denver, doesn't it? It's a crushing blow to all parties involved, as Wayne was on pace for over 1,100 receiving yards and 80 catches.
But unlike some teams that would be devastated after this type of injury, the Colts still have two pretty good receivers in T.Y. Hilton and Darrius Heyward- Bey. Even LaVon Brazill and tight end Coby Fleener could become viable fantasy options if Luck decides to incorporate them into the offense. Indianapolis' next game, which will come against Houston in Week 9, should offer us some insight into what the Colts' post-Reggie Wayne offense will look like.
Sunday was fantasy mayhem at its finest. The only thing missing was that guy from the Allstate commercials. I heard he's in St. Louis trying out to be Sam Bradford's replacement.
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