No matter if your fantasy team has already been devastated by injuries or it has escaped unharmed, savvy fantasy owners always keep an eye on the waiver wire for promising free agent gems.
They also monitor their team’s strengths while looking at others’ weaknesses due to injury, then making advantageous trades. Here’s a look at who’s hurting after Week 2 of the fantasy football season, and what you can do to stay a step ahead of your competition:
Forte's high ankle sprain sent Michael Bush's trade value through the ceiling.
Ah, the dreaded high ankle sprain. It sounds so moderate, yet what NFL star can return from it in less than a month?
Most accounts have Forte missing up to six weeks, or nearly half the fantasy season. This leaves owners with two choices: One, trade for his backup, Michael Bush, who already vultured a pair of scores from Forte in Week 1. Or if you’re a fan of longshots, claim Armando Allen and/or Kahlil Bell, who play behind Bush.
The smarter play is to trade for Bush, of course, but the price to acquire him has gone up dramatically since Thursday night.
The good news is that Hernandez’s ankle isn’t broken, as originally feared. The bad news is that he and Forte can share high ankle sprain war stories for up to the next six weeks.
New England isn’t going away from the two tight end set because Hernandez is out, so backup Michael Hoomanawanui is going to be a hot waiver pickup.
You knew injury issues were coming with Bradshaw, but not this early and not his neck. Bradshaw’s feet will one day be on display in a medical museum, but the MRI he’s undergoing on his neck is no joke.
The Giants were able to come back and beat the Bucs without him, and backup Andre Brown rushed for 71 yards and the game-winning TD. Brown’s a huge waiver pickup this week, and owners who have rookie David Wilson (three carries, six yards) have to consider the possibility that he’s slid down the depth chart.
Don't go bananas over Rosario's big day. Gates will likely be back this week.
If it’s the NFL regular season, then Gates is listed on the weekly injury report. He actually sat out Sunday’s game with a rib injury sustained in Week 1. That allowed backup Dante Rosario to have a career day (three TDs) against the Titans.
However, if you’ve got a high waiver priority in your league, don’t waste it here. Gates should be back this week, and Rosario, in his sixth season, had just five touchdowns before Sunday. This was a fluke.
Jackson's outburst probably didn't help his tweaked hamstring. Daryl Richardson rushed for 83 yards in his absence for the Rams and is a viable pickup this week if Jackson can't play.
It was a rough Sunday for Jackson. First he was robbed of a touchdown by the replacement officials. Then he spiked the ball in anger over the non-TD, which drew a penalty and some bench time. Then the injury-prone Rams back tweaked his hamstring and missed the remainder of the game.
Jackson, who was off to a good start with nine rushes for 58 yards against the Redskins, says the injury “isn’t too bad”, but fantasy owners should step in and claim backup Daryl Richardson (15-83-0) immediately.
If Maclin's hip pointer lingers, make a trade for tight end Brent Celek, who's a favorite of Michael Vick's.
Hip pointers are often nagging injuries that linger for a good part of the season. So Maclin’s aggravation of the injury against the Ravens is cause for owner concern.
Rather than scramble to pick up free agent Jason Avant, however, consider a trade. With Maclin off the field for a good part of the game, tight end Brent Celek benefitted, catching eight balls for 157 yards. The fact that he didn’t score should dupe his current owner and allow you to make a low-end deal for his services.
Maclin didn’t sound like he was confident about playing next week, after the Eagles’ win, so consider this move strongly.
The Jets’ RB appeared to get his bell rung against the Steelers defense Sunday, only to return to the game. His maddeningly inconsistent play continued, however, as he finished with 23 yards on 11 carries one week after rushing for 94 and a touchdown.
If he sustained a concussion, Jets doctors were foolish to put him back on the field. If he didn’t, then it was just another bad Greene outing. Worst of all, the only thing behind him is Bilal Powell (9-33 in Greene’s absence). There’s really no value fantasy play here.
Nine catches and 111 yards later, Donnie Avery is a hot waiver wire commodity.
The multiple concussions seem to be holding Collie back, as he was downgraded late last week and eventually not used against the Vikings.
That was great news for former Rams WR Donnie Avery, who stepped in and caught nine Andrew Luck passes for 111 yards Sunday. Everyone knows Reggie Wayne is the go-to guy, who Luck’s not getting paid to hand off.
Avery will be a cheap pickup who could blossom into a steal if Collie lingers on the injured list.
The Redskins suffered a pair of serious defensive blows when LB Brian Orakpo and DL Adam Carriker both went down against the Rams.
Orakpo re-injured the same pectoral muscle that required surgery last year, while Carriker injured a knee. Orakpo will miss substantial time, and Carriker is out for the season, so any owner who had the Redskins defense can now bid it adieu.
One under-the-radar option is the San Diego defense, which ranks a surprising fifth and is allowing just 12 points a game.
If Gabbert's injury decimates your fantasy team, you've got bigger worries than a waiver wire pickup.
As a third-string fantasy QB, Gabbert’s not an entirely horrible option. But he strained a hamstring against the Texans Sunday and was replaced by backup Chad Henne.
Gabbert was having a rough day against the talented Houston secondary (7-19-53), and is undergoing an MRI on his hamstring and a toe Monday. I would suggest picking up Henne on the waiver wire…if your other QBs are Tarvaris Jackson and Joe Webb.