Week 2 Recap: Injury Bug Bites Again
September 15, 2014 | Jeff
Injuries are a part of the fantasy football experience every season. Players tear ACL’s, suffer high ankle sprains, get turf toe, and deal with bumps and bruises of varying degrees over the course of 16 games. As fantasy owners, we are forced to adapt to these issues by picking up adequate replacements off the waiver wire and relying on our team’s depth.
That being said, the injury bug is eating well in 2014 and spreading around the NFL at lightning speed as Sunday’s action claimed another heap of players. Let’s check in on the top fantasy storylines from Sunday, and see who is still standing as the season turns toward Week 3:
Knowshon Moreno: The Dolphins looked to have a serious early-down back on their hands this season, as Moreno was picking up right where he left off in Denver in 2013. Unfortunately, he will not be on the shelf for 4-8 weeks as he dislocated his elbow on Sunday in one of the more painful sounding injuries imaginable. Lamar Miller was the beneficiary of the additional touches, and he finished with 46 yards on 11 carries (4.2 ypc). Miller will see an expanded role over the next month or two in Bill Lazor’s offense while Moreno heals.
Sammy Watkins: The Buffalo rookie had his first big game as a pro on Sunday as he hauled in eight of a team-high 11 targets for 117 yards and a score. Quarterback E.J. Manuel only accounted for 202 passing yards, so Watkins was the obvious focal point here as the Bills moved to a surprising 2-0. As long as Manuel can stay afloat, Watkins can have some decent mid-range WR this season.
Robert Griffin III: The oft-injured Bob Griffin III went down again on Sunday and this latest injury could cost him some time. Griffin has apparently dislocated his ankle (ouch) and was carted off the field as he departed. Backup Kirk Cousins was solid in relief (22-33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns) and Washington fed Alfred Morris all afternoon long. Washington is going to have quite a difficult situation facing them if Cousins continues to play well while Griffin is out.
Delanie Walker: Tennessee drew the Dallas defense on Sunday so everyone expected a big game from the Titans skill players and they were rewarded handsomely. The only issue was that it wasn’t from Jake Locker…or Kendall Wright…or Justin Hunter. It was Delanie Walker who turned in the top performance as he snagged 10 of 14 targets for 142 yards and a touchdown. Walker was far less productive in Week 1 although he has scored in both of Tennessee’s games thus far. He will remain a low-end TE1/high-end TE2 moving forward and will most likely remain matchup dependent for owners looking to plug him in.
DeMarco Murray: Another huge workload was heaped upon Murray this week and he delivered again as he racked up 167 yards and a score on 29 carries. Through two weeks, Murray has handled 55 touches and totaled 316 yards with those opportunities. As long as he is healthy, Murray is a mighty safe bet as a RB1.
Stevan Ridley: The Patriots rolled over the Vikings on Sunday and the Patriots backfield continued to confuse fake footballers, as Ridley was the main back in this contest. Rildey was handed 25 carries and finished up with 101 yards and a score on the afternoon. Backfield mate Shane Vereen only saw seven touches in this one, but that could be attributed to the fact that the Patriots were milking a lead nearly the entire game. Ridley seems a bit safer in his role in the New England backfield at the moment, and I wouldn’t fret much about Vereen just yet.
Matt Asiata: The new starting running back in Minnesota turned in his usual rushing effort on Sunday, running for 36 yards on 13 carries. This is typical for the sluggish Asiata, but his receiving game contributions salvaged his fantasy afternoon as he caught five passes for 48 yards and a score. As long as the Vikings coaching staff doesn’t wise up and use Jerick McKinnon on passing downs (as they should), Asiata could chip in a decent flex day every now and then. Just don’t expect anything north of three yards per carry with this guy.
Jimmy Graham: Big Jimbo Graham was a monster as the Saints battled with the Browns on Sunday, stacking up 118 yards and two touchdowns on ten catches. Drew Brees’ favorite target now has 18 catches for 200 yards through the season’s first two games and I’d like to just go ahead and tattoo his name in the #1 slot in my tight end rankings for the rest of eternity. Minnesota will get have the unenviable task of defending Graham next week.
Giovani Bernard: The Cincinnati backfield was on fire in Week 2, as both Gio Bernard and rookie Jeremy Hill had nice fantasy days. Gio was the top dog as he ran for 90 yards and a score and also chipped in with five catches for 79 yards. Hill was more involved as promised, but this is still Gio’s backfield as he led the split with 32 touches to Hill’s 17. Hue Jackson loves to pound the ball and this is what we hoped the Bengals backfield would look like. Tennessee, who got torched by DeMarco Murray on Sunday, is up next for Cincinnati.
Zac Stacy: We haven’t seen the official snap counts yet from Sunday’s fantasy action, but Zac Stacy running for 71 yards and a score on 19 carries is very encouraging for those rooting for his fantasy success. Benny Cunningham only received seven touches in this one, and we will continue to monitor the workloads in St. Louis moving forward.
Bobby Rainey: With Doug Martin sitting out with a knee injury, Bobby Rainey made the most of his opportunity by rumbling for 144 yards on 22 carries. Rainey looked slick on Sunday as he averaged 6.5 yards a tote and even added 30 receiving yards on three catches. With the new Tampa Bay coaching staff having no loyalty to Doug Martin as he was drafted by the previous regime, Rainey may have just claimed himself a significant chunk of the Tampa rushing game in the future.
Arian Foster: Heading into the 2014 season, we knew Arian Foster would see a large workload, with health the only reason he could possibly disappoint. Well, Foster is still upright and he has crushed opposing defenses through the first two weeks of the season. 59 touches for Foster in two games and he is sitting at 270 total yards on the year. The huge workloads may catch up to Foster but as they say, you gotta smoke’em if you got ‘em, right?
Jordy Nelson: You didn’t think the Packers offense would struggle at home like they did at Century Link field, did you? Of course not! Aaron Rodgers was back on point and he fed Jordy the rock on Sunday until he was nauseous. Nelson caught nine of 16 targets for 209 yards and a score on Sunday as the Packers rallied against the Jets. Jordy is as safe as WR1’s come these days. Detroit is up next for Green Bay.
A.J. Green: Fantasy owners were roasted by A.J. Green on Sunday as he left Cincinnati’s game in the first quarter after registering zero catches for zero yards and, you guessed it, zero fantasy points. A “foot strain” is the reported injury and we will be holding our breath until more news is released.
Jamaal Charles: The hits keep coming for Charles owners early in the 2014 season, as the top fantasy pick left Sunday’s game early with an ankle injury. JC Superstar is now sitting at nine carries for 23 yards on the season and is hammering the fortunes of teams that drafted him at the top of fantasy drafts this summer. After Charles departed, Knile Davis filled in with 79 yards and two scores on 22 carries, and he will be a very hot waiver wire commodity this week. No timetable has been given for Charles’ injury yet.
Antonio Gates: The old man was at it again on Sunday as Antonio Gates caught seven passes for 96 yards and a hat trick of scores against Seattle. This was Gates’ second consecutive strong performance on the early season and he has made sure to put the Ladarius Green coming out party on hold. Gates will look to keep his strong season rolling in Week 3 at Buffalo.