Cody Pagels
The Weekly Barometer - Week 8

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Even by the standards set by a sport where serious injuries occur in every game, Week 7 of the NFL season was an absolute fantasy injury train wreck. Three starting running backs and three starting quarterbacks went down, Jermichael Finley was temporarily paralyzed, and what should have been a Canton-sealing coda on the remarkable career of Reggie Wayne was ruined by a torn ACL on a freak play.

Aside from sidelining the players themselves, these injuries will have a ripple effect on the fantasy value on their teammates as well. You’re probably wondering the proper course of action if you own one of these other players. How much does the loss of Reggie Wayne downgrade Andrew Luck? How much production will Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte lose without Jay Cutler ? The list goes on.

My advice: Give it a week before you start selling off what you might perceive to be diminished studs. Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte being consensus second-round picks had a lot more to do with them being really good than it did with Jay Cutler . On that same note, get in there and buy low while a stud’s owner is still in panic mode. Talk up the fact that Marshall has a bye next week and then will be playing with Josh McCown for the next month. There’s a risk of sloppy quarterback play causing Marshall’s season to go the way of Larry Fitzgerald ’s 2012 campaign, but far more often than not, absolutely ridiculous talent trumps teammate concerns.

But speaking of injuries and byes, we’ve got lots of wounded warriors, and there’s a whopping six teams on a bye. Unless you’re in a four-man league you’ve got lineup holes, so let’s get to this week’s barometer.

Quarterbacks

Matt Ryan (Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay: 273 yards, 3 TD, -12 rushing yards)

Right here is the case in point for why you shouldn’t immediately panic when a stud loses a valuable teammate. I own Matt Ryan in one league and considered forking over some serious capital to get myself a new quarterbak after Julio Jones and Roddy White got hurt in Week 5, but I decided to wait because, oh yeah, he’s still a really good quarterback, and I was rewarded with 22 points. Stiffer challenges than the Buccaneers are ahead, five of his next seven games are on the road, and Harry Douglas won’t regularly be counted on for triple-digit receiving yards, but those stiffer challenges should coincide with Roddy White’s return. Keep using him as you normally would.

Ryan’s Status: Start With Confidence

Andy Dalton (Week 7 at Detroit: 372 yards, 3 TD, 6 rushing yards)

Having A.J. Green must be nice. I don’t mean to take anything away from Andy Dalton, because he’s a decent quarterback, but being able to put up huge stats just by throwing up jump balls and watching Green do the rest certainly elevates his fantasy value. He’s scored 24 or more points and thrown for three touchdowns in each of his last two games. His next two opponents, the New York Jets and Miami, are middle-of-the-pack in terms of fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. It would be hard to find a better replacement if your main guy is on a bye.

Dalton’s Status: Quality bye-week filler

Mike Glennon/Josh McCown/Case Keenum/Whoever replaces Sam Bradford

Nope. Glennon, McCown and Keenum were all surprisingly decent last week, but I’m not messing with any of them in normal one-quarterback leagues. I might put in a waiver claim on Glennon in a two-quarterback league, but beyond that I don’t see enough upside in any of these guys, at least not yet.

Status: Ignore

Running Backs

Roy Helu (Week 7 vs. Chicago: 41 rushing yards, 3 TD, 1 reception, 5 yards)

Come on, you didn’t really think Mike Shanahan would go two whole seasons without doing this, did you? Obviously, Helu should be added coming off a 22-point day, but I’m not ready to trust him in my lineup. Goal line touches aren’t something you can rely on every week, and for a player who works passing downs and once had 14 receptions in one game, 12 catches through six games feels downright paltry. But really, the most important takeaway here is Alfred Morris getting 95 yards on 19 carries. At 5.2 yards per carry on the season he’s playing too well for Helu to truly supplant him.

Helu’s Status: Add

Chris Ivory (Week 7 vs. New England: 104 rushing yards, 1 reception, -2 yards)

Ivory rushed for 104 yards Sunday, and it only took him 34 carries to do it. Coach Rex Ryan said he was simply riding the hot hand, meaning he’s either lying or the vortex of suck that the New York Jets offense has been for the last few years has warped his mind to the point of believing that gaining less than three yards per offensive touch constitutes a hot hand. I don’t know. What I do know is Chris Ivory is too fragile to handle a heavy weekly workload, and 10 fantasy points on 35 touches is not good. I just can’t see him as anything more than a desperation play.

Ivory’s Status: Ignore

Eddie Lacy (Week 7 vs. Cleveland: 82 rushing yards, TD, 5 receptions, 26 yards)

In preseason articles I was very down on Eddie Lacy and opined that the Packers aren’t capable of putting forth a fantasy relevant rusher. I was wrong, and I’m man enough to admit it. Lacy runs hard, he gets a consistent amount of carries, and the gratuitous carnage that has been exacted upon the Packers’ receiving corps will mean more targets going Lacy’s way. Better yet, his schedule is about as favorable as it gets. He doesn’t face another top-10 rushing defense the rest of the way, and five of his next nine opponents are in the top-10 in fantasy points allowed to running backs. Start him if you’ve got him, and see if his owner wants to sell high if you don’t.

Lacy’s Status: Start With Confidence

Adrian Peterson (Week 7 at New York Giants: 28 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 28 yards)

I wasn’t really expecting Game of the Week material Monday night when the 1-4 Minneosta Vikings took on the 0-6 New York Giants, but nothing could have prepared me for that terrible excuse for professional football. The answer as to why the Vikings waved the white flag on an extremely winnable game by trotting out and absolutely refusing to bench an obviously grossly unprepared Josh Freeman is only known in the space between Leslie Frazier’s ears. Peterson really never had a chance to produce in this one, and it was a second straight dud performance. I don’t care, he’s still Adrian Peterson. If his owner is selling low, make yourself the buyer in a hurry.

Peterson’s Stauts: Buy Low



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