The Packers and Aaron Rodgers seem to have avoided a season-ending disaster. Fantasy owners are not as fortunate.
Despite some reports Rodgers might miss as little as three weeks due to his collarbone fracture, don't bank on him coming back on the optimistic side of his four-to-six-week recovery time. That means fantasy owners will be without Rodgers for Weeks 10, 11, 12 and 13—the rest of fantasy football's regular season.
Rodgers will be at a severe risk of re-injury of his cracked bone with another blow to the area—the non-throwing side of his body—before the four-week period is up. Expect the Packers to be very cautious here with their Super Bowl hopes riding entirely on Rodgers' shoulders.
But don't take our word for it. Listen to a medical professional like Nikhil Verma, associate professor of orthopedics at Rush University Medical Center, who told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
It's all the same whether they call it a crack or a fracture or a break. I think if it's a legitimate crack, it's going to be four to six weeks before you're comfortable that that bone is healed sufficiently to reliably provide strength to avoid re-injury. I know the initial reports were three weeks, but that seems aggressive. That's optimistic in my mind. ...
There's a real chance that if they let him go back early and it wasn't completely healed and he took another hit and landed on his shoulder, then he could break it and this time displace it and have a more significant break. There's a fine line there.
Rodgers said on his weekly ESPN Milwaukee radio show Tuesday, he is hopeful of beating the normal estimations, but we still should side with the Packers being cautious. Silverstein's report quotes Rodgers from the show:
It's a difficult injury because there's not a specific type of rehab you can do for this. It's not like you can get a massage or 'stim' [electrical stimulation] or the different various treatments that they have out there that can try to get you back quicker. You just have to wait for the bone to heal. That's going to be the frustrating part, but I feel like I've been a quick healer in the past and am hopeful this will be on the short end of whatever prognosis comes up.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy likes the current prognosis but won't venture a guess on a timetable to Silverstein.
I'm relieved, no doubt. You talk to the doctors after the game, talk to Aaron after talking to the doctors, (I) felt better talking to Aaron than I did talking to our medical staff. With the new information that was given [Tuesday], everybody felt better about it. How long? We don't have our hands around a timeline yet, but I know Aaron is very optimistic and he'll do everything he can to get back in a timely fashion.
Fantasy owners have used the Packers' relief and those optimistic "three weeks" reports to hope for the best, but we have to burst your bubble here: The Packers' relief is a function of the fact Rodgers' injury was not immediately season ending. It is still devastating for fantasy owners hoping for help before the fantasy postseason.
Without your stud quarterback, you might not be still alive in your fantasy league once Rodgers is able to suit up for a game again. You need to make an immediate move for a starting fantasy quarterback the rest of the way.
While you are almost entirely sunk in two-quarterback formats, here are the quarterbacks we would lean on if they are available in your league, in order of fantasy potential the next four-plus weeks (CBS Sports ownership percentage):
- Ben Roethlisberger (77), Pittsburgh Steelers
- Eli Manning (81), New York Giants
- Nick Foles (70), Philadelphia Eagles
- Jay Cutler (68), Chicago Bears
- Joe Flacco (63), Baltimore Ravens
Notice the premium placed on veteran passers there. They are more trustworthy than a younger, inexperienced option, despite the quarterback scoring numbers to date or ownership percentages.
We rank the leftovers:
- Jake Locker (73), Tennessee Titans
- Terrelle Pryor (77), Oakland Raiders
- EJ Manuel (14), Buffalo Bills
- Carson Palmer (41), Arizona
- Case Keenum (37), Houston Texans
- Alex Smith (77), Kansas City Chiefs
- Ryan Tannehill (45), Miami Dolphins
- Geno Smith (32), New York Jets
- Seneca Wallace (4), Green Bay Packers
- Mike Glennon (16), Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It is noteworthy Wallace is that low on the totem pole to replace Rodgers in your fantasy lineup, even though he should prove far more productive with a full complement of snaps in practice. McCarthy told the Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne:
It's clearly different for a quarterback to come off the bench than to go into a game. No disrespect to the backup quarterbacks in the National Football League, but the game plan set for Aaron Rodgers is different than the one set for the backup quarterback. ... We will play offense like we've always played offense, and we will go out Sunday afternoon, fully expect to score points, like we're supposed to score points, and we fully expect to win the game. That won't change.
McCarthy has to say those things. Fantasy owners don't have to believe in that talk. Rodgers' injury is a game-changer for fantasy owners and the Packers—especially owners of Jarret Boykin, who becomes worthless, Jordy Nelson and James Jones. Nelson and Jones are marginalized by the loss of Rodgers.
Expect a heavy dose of rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who is now a fantasy monster. McCarthy told Dunne:
Eddie definitely carried the torch. I like the way he ran. I thought he took a step forward as a runner. I thought he was more physical than he's been in the past, if you can believe that, and I think he has more to give. He's a talented young man. He's getting more and more comfortable each week in our offense.
Jags' O.W. Gets Promoted
Denard Robinson was a Heisman Trophy candidate at Michigan, but his 5'10" stature made it obvious he wasn't going to be an NFL prospect at that position. He was drafted as an athlete—the Jags listed his position as OW (Offensive Weapon)—and now has found a home as the Jaguars' No. 2 running back. That is a noteworthy promotion, because Maurice Jones-Drew is 28, looks past his prime and is a pending free agent.
"We bumped him up to No. 2 and we're intrigued by him at the tailback spot," Jags head coach Gus Bradley told John Oehser of the team's official website. "I would say that we're going to still continue with that process."
Robinson, owned in just 2 percent of CBS Sports leagues, is a solid addition in long-term keeper leagues. He still needs time to learn the nuances of the position, but his speed and natural running ability he displayed at Michigan make him a potentially intriguing fantasy option down the road.
Thursday Night Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
- Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon and Jordan Reed
- Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings
The Vikings are in the bottom 10 of fantasy against everything: Quarterbacks (third-worst), running backs (sixth-worst), wide receivers (eighth-worst), tight ends (third-worst), defense/special teams (ninth-worst) and kickers (eighth-worst). It is a great week to take advantage by starting all of your Redskins.
Jennings is the sleeper start for the Vikings, even with a limited Christian Ponder at quarterback, because the Redskins are third-worst in fantasy against wide receivers. The loss of Kyle Rudolph (foot) for at least a month will make Jennings a red-zone target. Expect Jennings to get six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown here.
- Washington Redskins: Darrel Young, Roy Helu, Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Aldrick Robinson, Logan Paulsen, Kai Forbath and Redskins D/ST
- Minnesota Vikings: Christian Ponder, Toby Gerhart, Jerome Simpson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson, John Carlson and Vikings D/ST
Most of those guys are too far off the fantasy radar to consider, no matter how favorable the matchup. As for Young's three-touchdown performance, you should take not from Helu's previous three-touchdown performance: It is not an event likely to be repeated.
Roster Trends Review
We break down the top 50 most-added players from Tuesday night's waivers run, using CBS Sports leagues as a point of reference.
|RK||Player||POS||TM||Past %||New %||Increase|
Nick Foles was the obvious first choice, coming off his seven touchdowns, but that game's pace might have changed once Rodgers went down. The Packers are going to slow the pace, and their defense is good enough to force Foles into a performance like the one he had against the Cowboys in Week 7. The silver lining there is Foles came on in relief of Michael Vick in that one. We are going to go on record as saying Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning both outperform Foles this week.
Rashard Jennings is the obvious add, especially amid another Darren McFadden (hamstring) injury, but it is shocking to see Chris Ivory owned in about as many leagues as Andre Brown (leg). We wrote in Bleacher Report's Top Pickups on Tuesday, Brown fully expects to be eased into a committee for one of the worst running teams in football. Meanwhile, Ivory is now the heavily used feature back for one of the NFL's better rushing teams. Ivory deserves more fantasy love.
Since we see a coming back to reality for Foles, we have to say Riley Cooper is a bit of fantasy fool's gold. Lance Moore and Doug Baldwin are potentially in better situations and will prove more consistent. If not for rookie Aaron Dobson hitting his bye, he would have been added in more leagues than Cooper most likely. After this week, it is very conceivable Cooper heads right back to the waiver wire.
Which Week 10 waiver addition has the most juice for the fantasy stretch?
Tim Wright is the only one from this position to look like a starter this week off waivers, especially against a Dolphins defense that has surrendered the second-most points to tight ends to date. Jared Cook surged back into fantasy pertinence some, but the Colts are in the top 10 against the position in fantasy and you cannot put a lot of faith in Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens, particularly with the emergence of Zac Stacy and the move to a power running attack there.
The Dolphins, Giants and Cardinals are solid streaming options, but the Texans might be the true stretch-run prize of this waiver class. The Texans are a lot better defensively than they have shown, and Case Keenum's viability at quarterback gives Houston a better chance at avoiding turnovers and putting a good defense in uncompromising positions. The Texans are a bargain add if you can avoid to stash a backup defense in the 50-plus leagues they remain available.
Josh Brown has had his moments, but we still cannot entirely trust the Giants' offensive production. Robbie Gould has a better chance with the potential return of Cutler and his matchup. If you're looking for a kicker to ride the rest of the season, instead of one week, go with the 49ers' Phil Dawson coming off bye. He was a preseason top-five pick at the position and is now available in almost half of fantasy at 49 percent.
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.