Fantasy Football: Monday Morning Rehab
Running backs were dropping like flies in Week 14 of the NFL regular season.
Marion Barber started the landslide when Dallas left him in Texas for yesterday’s game against Pittsburgh. Brandon Jacobs, Frank Gore, and Peyton Hillis then followed suit, each leaving their respective games with injuries of varying severity.
In Barber’s absence, however, a waiver-wire star was born. Rookie running back Tashard Choice blew up Pittsburgh’s defense to everyone’s surprise. Choice posted 166 yards of total offense on 28 touches (23 carries, five receptions). He was held out of the end zone but those totals are awfully impressive against the Steelers defense.
At least one of the backup running backs for the Giants is a must-own for Jacobs’ owners. Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw have been floating around waiver wires for most of the year, with Bradshaw being the most likely to be on your wire.
Tatum Bell ran decently for Denver after Hillis’ departure, but the game fell mostly on Jay Cutler’s shoulders. DeShaun Foster, meanwhile, did not run well in Gore’s absence and is only an option for very desperate Gore owners still in contention.
Brandon Jacobs [RB, Giants]
Jacobs had picked up 52 yards on 10 carries, but he didn’t return after hurting his left knee — the same knee that kept him out of the game against the Cardinals last month — on a carry in the third quarter.
Bad news for Jacobs and his owners. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but the big guy is getting banged up at an important time of year for both fantasy owners and the Giants.
New York clinched the NFC East despite losing to the Eagles yesterday thanks to the Cowboys, so the G-Men may opt to withhold Jacobs from practice and game action the next few weeks. Keep an eye on his practice availability this week.
Gus Frerotte [QB, Vikings]
Vikings starting quarterback Gus Frerotte has been carted off the field, with an apparent back injury.
Chris Myers of FOX has reported that Frerotte’s return is questionable.
The old man finally broke down. Many wondered if he could make it through the entire season as the team’s starting quarterback and that question now has been answered.
Tarvaris Jackson played well in relief of Frerotte and another quarterback controversy could be brewing in Minnesota. Chances are good that fantasy owners still alive in the postseason are not relying on the Minnesota quarterbacks, however.
Frank Gore [RB, 49ers]
From Roto Arcade:
Gore, among the NFL’s leaders in yards rushing and all-purpose yards, was hurt when a pile of tacklers fell on his leg as he stretched to reach the first-down marker on the second play of the second half. He kept his weight off his left ankle as two trainers helped him to the bench, and he left the field sitting in the passenger seat of a cart moments later.
The 49ers called the injury a sprain/contusion after the game and X-rays came back negative. But Gore apparently appeared extremely hobbled in the locker room following the contest and his status for next weekend’s game is highly uncertain.
Gore appeared to be in a lot of pain on the field after the injury, so my guess is that he will not return to practice this week until the very end of the week, if at all. Fantasy owners need to be prepared for his absence in a crucial week for fantasy owners.
Peyton Hillis [RB, Broncos]
Hillis hyperextended his hammy on his way down after making a fantastic 11-yard catch. He limped badly on his way to the locker room and is very unlikely to return.
Hillis was well on his way to another great fantasy performance before being sidelined. And the news after the game is not so good. According to head coach Mike Shanahan, the injury is one that typically takes between four and six weeks to heal. That means fantasy owners can expect to be without Hillis’ services for the rest of 2008.
Hillis becomes the sixth Denver running back to succumb to injury so far this season, and there still are three weeks to go. It is as if the fantasy gods have cursed Shanahan for being so mysterious with his running back decisions.
Daunte Culpepper [QB, Lions]
Culpepper was injured on the Lions’ next-to-last play of the game when he was hit from behind while throwing the ball and sacked for a 5-yard loss. Culpepper’s right arm was hit while he was in his throwing motion, and it was clear he was in pain and he didn’t move the shoulder while walking off the field.
Before extremely desperate fantasy owners rush out to grab Culpepper off the waiver wire, wait for the results of his MRI.
It does look as if he is beginning to settle in as Detroit’s quarterback, which is aided by the man-ness of wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Culpepper would be a hot add this week if the MRI comes back negative, but he is such a risk even without an injury that owners can afford to wait on his status before plucking him off the wire.
The MMR will continue to run every Monday morning as scheduled during the regular season. To stay updated on current NFL injuries later in the week keep an eye on Football Jabber’s injury column, The Bedpan.
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