Donnie Avery is hurt—again.
The promising young receiver from St. Louis went down in last night’s preseason game with what’s being called a “significant knee injury.” While details aren’t confirmed, most beat writers believe he has torn the ACL in his right knee.
While we hope today brings better news for Avery, it’s very likely he’s going to miss the 2010 season. In an ironic twist, Wes Welker of the Patriots was over giving him encouragement. That’s not a good sign.
This injury is very significant in dynasty circles, and some roster decisions are going to need to be made as soon as the nature of the injury is disclosed.
If this is confirmed to be as significant as we expect, the following players have seen a change in their short-term fantasy and long-term dynasty value.
Donnie Avery, WR
Avery has dealt with concussions, thigh strains, shoulder subluxations, rib bruises, hamstring strains, hip injuries, and now this knee problem in his short two-year career.
He’s been lucky enough not to miss too much actual game time with the other ailments, but this knee injury looks much more worrisome.
His career numbers of 100 catches, 1,263 yards, and eight touchdowns were giving owners hope that he and Bradford would create some nice chemistry on the field. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen now.
So, now what?
If Avery does, in fact, have a torn ACL and misses the entire 2010 season, I view him as an asset worth releasing unless you’re in a dynasty league with 40 or more roster spots.
Avery has talent, but he’s also very prone to injuries. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just a fact.
I expect the Rams to make the wide receiver position a priority in free agency and the 2011 NFL Draft that features three or four bona fide first-round talents.
Laurent Robinson, WR
Robinson will ascend to the No. 1 wide receiver by default if Avery’s injury keeps him out for the year.
He’s not exactly the picture of health, either.
After missing most of last year with ankle and leg injuries, Robinson is just now working himself back into shape and gaining confidence with the offense.
You could make a case that Robinson is the least desirable No. 1 NFL receiver to own in fantasy.
That being said, he should still be owned in all leagues at this point. Just don’t expect No. 1 fantasy receiver results.
Sam Bradford, QB
Bradford looked phenomenal against the Patriots first-team defense last night, throwing for 189 yards and two scores.
Losing Avery is a blow to his short-term development, but he has all the tools to be successful with or without his No. 1 option.
His value wouldn’t change a bit.
Other Rams WRs
Keenan Burton, Mardy Gilyard, Danny Amendola, Jordan Kent, Brandon Gibson, and Danario Alexander round out the wide receiving corps.
To me, the most intriguing players from that group are Gilyard, Gibson, and Alexander.
Danario Alexander will still likely be placed on the practice squad this season, but he has a lot of talent. Injuries have followed him as much as Avery of late.
Outside of Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson and Mardy Gilyard stand to gain the most from this injury this season.
Gibson has been coming on of late and fits right in the sleeper category. He’s had time in the system and seems to be “getting it.” He’s worth a flyer in deeper leagues.
Gilyard is just a rookie, but anyone who watched him play in college knows he has separation ability. He should be rostered as well.
The other player to keep an eye on may be young tight end Michael Hoomanawanui. He caught two touchdown passes from Bradford last night and looked like a serious red zone threat.
Avery’s unfortunate injury may open the door for some other players to step up and develop for a Rams team desperate for playmakers to emerge.
We’ll wait to see the exact extent of the knee injury, but all indications tell us the door on Avery’s long-term dynasty value just closed.
UPDATE: As expected, the Rams have announced Donnie Avery is out for the year with a torn right ACL.
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