Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fantasy Football: Week 7 in review

Beware Groupthink

Posted by Karl Brenkert on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 4:00 AM

One of the lessons we can take from fantasy football is the danger of following conventional wisdom. Last week the conventional wisdom said it was time to write off Matty Ice and the Falcons with the loss of Stephen Jackson, Julio Jones, and Roddy White to injury. This week Harry Douglas stepped up with 7 catches for 149 yards and a touchdown, proving that one man's loss is another man's opportunity in the NFL.

A similar situation played out in Green Bay. The Packers lost Randall Cobb and James Jones to injuries in week 6. Everyone thought that meant more work for Jordy Nelson; however Jarrett Boykin emerged with 8 catches for 103 yards and a TD. With the neck injury that put tight end Jermichael Finley in the ICU this week, Boykin has a chance to continue to be productive in the Packers offense.

With the number of significant injuries to high profile players this week, the waiver wire will feature a veritable smorgasbord of available free agents. Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin suffered a torn labrum and is out for the season. It's unlikely that the Martin owner was carrying rookie Mike James, so he's probably available in your league. Even if you don't particularly need a running back, pick this guy up if for no other reason than to cock-block your opponents. If he puts of serviceable numbers, you may be able to flip him for a position of need.

The running back situation in Houston is less clear cut. Arian Foster left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury and Ben Tate broke 4 ribs. To make matters worse for the Texans, they cut the only other RB on the roster Monday for breaking team rules. Both Foster and Tate claim they will play when the team comes back from their bye week, but keep an eye out for whomever the Texans add as the third-string back. He might turn out to be the starter.

Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was lost for the year with a torn ACL and was replaced by Kellen Clemens on Sunday. Clemens promptly fumbled twice. While it is unlikely that Clemens becomes a fantasy stud, a change at QB can have ripple effects through the whole offense. Be prepared to re-evaluate Zac Stacy, Chris Givens, Austin Pettis, and Tavon Austin. Bradford's favorite targets are unlikely to be the same as Clemens. Vincent Jackson has seen a surge in targets and production since Tampa Bay switched QBs.

Josh McCown looked much better replacing Jay Cutler who went down with a torn groin. While the Bears did lose to the Redskins, McCown threw for 204 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Jeffery went for more than 100, Marshall went for 75 yards, and Forte ran for 91 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. Cutler is expected to miss 4 to 6 weeks, but the rest of the Bears look as if they can still be trusted to start when the team returns from their bye week.

Finally, the Colts lost Reggie Wayne for the season with a torn ACL on Sunday night. Conventional wisdom says that the next man up, LaVon Brazill, is nothing more than a kick returner and that Darrius Heyward-Bey must take on a larger role. We'll see what Heyward-Bey can do with his increased opportunities. One thing I've seen with my own eyes is that Heyward-Bey drops the ball a lot.

The NFL season is long and injury plagued. Smart fantasy owners continually work the waiver wire trying to acquire any player who is likely to see a sudden increase in opportunities even when the conventional wisdom regards that player as a has-been or temporary replacement. We're not even to the midpoint of the season and anything can still happen. Don't take yourself out of the game.

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