Injuries are always a soul-crushing part of the fantasy football season, but when they happen at this time of the year, the damage can sometimes be irreparable. If the injury is to a running back or a wide receiver, the damage can be minimized given every team’s “next man up” philosophy. But when the injury happens to your starting quarterback, the desire to pack it in for the season grows exponentially. This week, several fantasy owners were snake-bitten, and some of their fantasy teams may not make it out alive.
That sounded crazy dramatic, didn’t it? Fortunately, it really wasn’t all that bad as none of the quarterbacks who suffered major injuries this week are players upon whom you’ve built your fantasy dreams. Maybe you have a slightly uphill climb to recovery in a two-quarterback league, but overall, the players who left hurt were secondary and/or tertiary options in fantasy. Of course, while you may not have been directly affected by the loss of a middling journeyman, the ripple effect could have some unfortunate ramifications.
When Alex Smith celebrated the 33rd anniversary of Lawrence Taylor’s gruesome hit on Joe Theismann with a debilitating broken leg of his own, fantasy owners weren’t exactly lamenting his loss. You had to be in a pretty deep league to be not only rostering, but also starting Smith. However, his absence and the subsequent promotion of perennial underachiever Colt McCoy could cause problems for many of you who own Adrian Peterson.
McCoy has never been a strong option at the position and, knowing his shortcomings, the opposition is very likely to begin stacking the box and focus on shutting down the run. Peterson has been enjoying a renaissance season this year, and while Smith wasn’t much of a world-beater, he was still good enough to keep defenses honest. Defensive coordinators now will be daring the Redskins to beat them through the air.
The ripple effect we’ve seen from quarterback injuries was actually in full effect this week. When Marcus Mariota left with an elbow injury, the fantasy value of Dion Lewis and Corey Davis took a significant hit. When Joe Flacco failed to suit up, gone were the hopes of any Ravens receivers posting decent fantasy totals. His replacement, Lamar Jackson, hogged the spotlight all game with his rushing and threw just 19 passes all game. Michael Crabtree and John Brown? Buh-bye! Just imagine what would have happened had Cam Newton really hurt his ankle. Taylor Heinicke? Yuck.
Fantasy analysts tell you all the time to protect yourself from the injury bug, but sometimes there’s just nothing you can do. When your team is victimized by the ripple effect of a quarterback injury you never see it coming. So as we head into Week 12 and the Thanksgiving holiday, let us all be thankful for handcuffs, waiver pickups and the injury bug not biting your quarterback this season.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 4-6 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy sports advice and NFL player rankings.