The first round of the playoffs are in the books and you are still alive. Of course you are, after all, you’ve been reading FantasySharks.com all season. So let’s take a look at the moves you should make and those that you should steer clear of this week.
What a crazy week, once again the fantasy gods decided to smite us all with poor play and worse, injuries. Week 14 gave us injuries to top players at every position. Before I launch into the players to consider this week, let’s talk about the injuries.
This is not a normal part of my article, but as there were so many injuries this week and since this is the playoffs, I figure it would really help to know where your injured players stand as of now so you have a better idea of what you may, or may not, need to do this week on the waiver wire.
Andy Dalton suffered a broken thumb on Sunday after throwing an interception and making a tackle. The good news for real fans of Dalton is that he avoided surgery and is hoping to be back for the NFL playoffs. The bad news for fantasy fans of Big Red is that he will most likely not be back for the fantasy playoffs. He will be listed as day-to-day but most people close to the situation believe he will be back for the NFL playoffs or Week 17 at best.
I would not drop him however, just in case of a miracle rebound in his rehabilitation, but you need to have a backup ready to go and most likely you will be using that backup the rest of the fantasy playoffs.
Brian Hoyer left his game with a possible concussion so he is currently in the concussion protocol. That cloudy netherworld of will he or won’t he. If Hoyer was your man, first let me say congratulations on getting to the playoffs with Hoyer as your QB1 or QB2, you are going to need to have a backup plan as concussions can result in a player not even missing a week or can linger for several weeks, you just never know.
Matt Hasselbeck was on the receiving end of a questionable push to the ground out of bounds, I mean come on, did the defensive player think the 40-year-old slower than molasses Hasselbeck was going to juke him and take it to the house? Anyhow, he came out of the play with a rib injury that left him seething on the sideline and did not return to the game.
It’s always kind of fun when you can say, Charlie Whitehurst to the rescue! Ok, don’t sound so excited everyone. There has been no word yet as to whether or not Hasselbeck will be able to play next week, but honestly, it’s about time to pull the plug on him anyway. He’s 40, starting to get really banged up, and Andrew Luck should be returning sooner than later. He did great for the team, but his run is up.
Vincent Jackson just came off a right knee injury and then Sunday went out and injured the same knee again, he did not return to the game and word is that he may not be back this week. It too is up in the air but as of now it is not looking good. You will want to monitor his situation as the week progresses.
Brian Hartline suffered a broken collarbone on Sunday against the 49ers and is out for the season. You probably were not starting him but this may affect the number of targets Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge see from here on out.
Thomas Rawls broke his ankle and tore his ankle ligaments and needless to say is out for season. This one really hurt. I’ll talk about it more in the running back section but just know that Rawls is out for the season.
T.J. Yeldon went down with a mild knee sprain. This severity of the injury is not known at this time but if you are a Yeldon owner keep a watch as it’s possible he could play next week. The hope is there that he could play on this as it was not a major sprain, but it still is a knee sprain and on the conservative side you need to prepare for him being out for the rest of the fantasy playoffs. Mid-week injury reports should shed some clarity on Yeldon’s situation.
LaGarrett Blount injured his hip on Sunday. It also was not major but did take him out for the rest of the game and because it’s a hip he could miss some time or at least be nursing this injury for the rest of the season. Plan on him not being there for you the last few weeks of the fantasy playoffs.
Tyler Eifert is currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol as he got knocked out of the game with a blow to the head on a catch over the middle against the Steelers on Sunday. As mentioned before, the terrible thing about the concussion protocol is that he could be back next week, or he may be out for the rest of the fantasy season.
Much like Dalton, if you are a Bengals fan you can rest assured that he’ll be back for the NFL playoffs, but for you fantasy fans, he might not be back for your playoffs. Keep a close watch on this one throughout the week.
Greg Olsen has been competing with Eifert all season so why would he not also get dinged up on Sunday? Olsen scared his owners with a potential knee injury but the good news is it looks like he avoided any lingering problems and should be back next week in perfect working order. After the game, Olsen said that he could have gone back into the game if the team needed him.
Brandon Pettigrew did not return to action on Sunday after leaving the game with a knee injury. As it turns out, he tore his ACL and is out for the season. If he was your TE you will need a backup plan to get you through the playoffs.
Charles Clay left in the first half of his game on Sunday due to a back injury and did not return. The Bills have yet to shed any light on the matter, but if you are willing to read into the situation, he’s only listed as questionable right now, so it seems that there is hope that he will be able to go for you next week if you need him.
So, with all that in mind I think it is fairly safe to say that some of you may need the wavier wire to help you along this next week in every major position. Let’s start, as always, with quarterbacks.