Wally Spurlin
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Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Wally’s World fantasy musings article! As the regular season kicks off, this fine piece of fantasy football ramblings will grace the pages of Fantasy Sharks each and every Monday morning. Or it will get the axe and go the way of ‘New Coke’…that remains to be seen.

What this particular article will consist of is some of my initial thoughts following a Sunday (or training camp week) of NFL action and what fantasy implications there may or may not be. Or it may just be some fantasy-related ideas that have crept into my football-soaked mind.

There will not be an avalanche of stats and graphs to support my thoughts but just an off-the-cuff immediate reaction to things that I find interesting. I figure if something can grab my ADD-riddled attention span then there are others that may find it intriguing.

As I clear off a spot on the mantle (OK, it’s really just me shooing the cat off of an end table) for the Pulitzer Prize, this endeavor will undoubtedly garner let’s take a look at what’s piqued my interest during training camps to-date.

We always hate to see season-ending injuries occur so early in training camp, as San Francisco and Indianapolis’ backfields both lost depth last week. With Vick Ballard (Achilles) and Kendall Hunter (ACL) lost for the year I like Ahmad Bradshaw and rookie Carlos Hyde to benefit for fantasy purposes.

When healthy, Bradshaw is a better running back than Trent Richardson in Indianapolis and I just don’t see Marcus Lattimore returning to a physical state that will allow him to consistently contribute to the 49ers offense after those significant knee injuries.

In other injury news, there has been a rash of hamstring issues sweeping the fantasy landscape to-date.

Just as reports had Atlanta running back Steven Jackson looking ‘rejuvenated,’ he is sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Devonta Freeman bandwagon is getting very crowded now and we may just have to switch to a ‘hype train’ soon.

Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart also has a hamstring problem and is expected to miss a few weeks of camp. The beat goes on for a career beset by injury. It would have been interesting to see what the kid could have done if he ever stayed healthy.

I’m officially over Stewart.

Houston’s Arian Foster continues to miss time with a hamstring tweak. Admit it. Whenever you read an injury story relating to Foster your cheeks clinch a little more than they used to.

Foster has reached that age and point in his career where ‘nagging’ injuries are a big worry. Do not sleep on handcuffing Andre Brown if you draft Foster…I’m just sayin’.

Jacksonville wide receiver Cecil Shorts was gaining momentum as a No. 1 wide receiver for his team that could be had at an excellent average draft position (ADP). Yeah, that’s on hold as a Grade 2 hamstring strain has him on the shelf for a couple of weeks. For the sake of honest reporting I admit to having no idea what a Grade-2 strain actually means. I just know that when there is a ‘grade’ included with an injury it just sounds more serious.

I’m slowing my role on Shorts and the whole Jacksonville passing game for this season. Call me when Justin Blackmon dries out and is back on the field.

Miami wide receiver Mike Wallace is also dealing with a hamstring issue and I worry a bit more when these injuries hit speedy deep ball threats. Wallace depends on his wheels to create separation and is still working on chemistry with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Any missed time is detrimental to his ever returning to WR1 status for fantasy purposes. Let’s not forget that his hands were not exactly among the surest in the league last season, either. I’m letting other owners take the former Pittsburgh Steeler this season.

I realize that New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has softened over the years but he is reaching the breaking point with rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and his balky hamstring. You don’t practice and you don’t make Coughlin’s good side. If Beckham doesn’t get on the field soon, I’m thinking his rookie campaign is going to be a wash.

Third-year wide receiver Rueben Randle (who has also battled through some hammy issues) is benefitting the most from this scenario and is a nice mid-to-late round wide receiver selection with excellent upside for 2014. Another injury that caught my eye was the news that a screw was inserted into New England wide receiver Aaron Dobson’s foot in the offseason. That is never a good thing and the fact that he is missing valuable training camp time has me very worried. Once a dynasty darling with some redraft appeal, Dobson is now a big red flag injury concern in all formats moving forward. No thanks.


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