This 2012 season has been no bargain for fantasy GMs, with an epidemic of injuries to key players, especially as of late. Weeks 10 and 11 have been a nightmare scenario, taking out several top QBs, RBs, and now a standout TE who is as valuable as any player in the league. The trade deadline in your league may have passed, and the implications of these injuries have become even more severe as we approach fantasy postseason weeks. Here is what you need to know:
In as a replacement for Michael Vick, rookie Nick Foles failed to impress, and RB LeSean McCoy also went down to injury, leaving the Eagles with very few options on the offensive side of the ball. Other Eagles players will suffer as a result, so be conservative in expectations for DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and others.
Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger will remain out of commission for at least a few more weeks, and those who thought Byron Leftwich would be a viable backup were disappointed as he too suffered a rib injury in Week 11. Third stringer Charlie Batch isn’t quite as attractive an option.
Jay Cutler missed Monday night’s matchup with the 49ers and Brandon Marshall owners are lamenting. Matt Forte’s value may increase as a result, as a consolation prize to his owners, who are probably dealing with some other injuries as well.
Blaine Gabbert, who isn’t generally part of the fantasy discussion, suffered an injury of his own, opening the door for Chad Henne, who had a surprising big day, against a top rated Houston D nonetheless. Henne looks to be one of the most popular waiver wire pickups this week for owners dealing with injured QBs, as he should be the guy going forward in Jacksonville, at least temporarily.
After Alex Smith suffered a concussion last week and failed to pass testing for clearance this weekend, Colin Kaepernick stepped in with a breakout performance against a solid Bears defense on Monday night and may have sparked a quarterback controversy in San Francisco. Smith owners might be wise to pick up Kaepernick just in case.
The Broncos’ veteran RB Willis McGahee, should be out for the rest of the fantasy year after suffering a break and an MCL injury in his knee. He had been a pleasant surprise top 15 RB, balancing Peyton Manning’s air attack in Denver. Obviously the injury has implications for Manning and his receiver corps of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Brandon Stokley, but owners looking to replace McGahee should consider backup Ronnie Hillman, who has looked good on carries all year, thanks to a solid O-line who will give him ample opportunity for yardage up the middle.
Perhaps the biggest injury news of the week came in garbage time during the Patriots’ blowout of the Colts in New England. Rob Gronkowski suffered a broken forearm that might put him out for the remainder of the fantasy season just after becoming the first TE ever to score 10+ TDs in 3 consecutive seasons. This is a huge blow for the star’s owners, but a boon for those with Aaron Hernandez, whose value will skyrocket if he can shake his own nagging injury. WR Julian Edelman may see an expanded role – he is worth a look, especially if Hernandez isn’t at 100%. Owners missing Gronk might be able to stop the bleeding with Ben Watson or Mercedes Lewis, both who have been much more involved in their respective offenses as of late, and should be available on waivers.