The 2015 NFL campaign has officially become a battle of attrition. To some degree, NFL football always has attrition, but I don’t remember another year as bad as this one. Blame El Nino.
Major stars seem to go out for the year each week. Or they go on IR in waves. So far, it’s been Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster, Dion Lewis, Jordy Nelson, Kelvin Benjamin, Keenan Allen, and Steve Smith have all exited to the IR.
Long List of Injured Players
Players like Tony Romo and Andrew Luck might as well have gone on Injured Reserve, for all the good they’ve done their teams this year. The Steelers trainers room needs a revolving door, as much as Ben Roethlisberger have been back-and-forth. Lesean McCoy, Marshawn Lynch, Dez Bryant, Julius Thomas, and Antonio Gates have spent significant time on the mend. Heck, even Matt Forte is missing time. The Unsinkable Matt Forte, of all people.
Alshon Jeffrey, Reggie Bush, Mike Evans, and Vincent Jackson all missed games. Todd Gurley missed games to start the year, but that’s all forgiven now. Gurley is already considered the RB you’d most want to have in fantasy football right now.
Lesser fantasy names like Austen Seferian-Jenkins, Davante Adams, Tevin Coleman, and Sammy Watkins all have missed significant time. A Giants tight end nearly lost his foot to a staff infection.
Jason Pierre-Paul and (Bucs DB) C.J. Wilson each lost fingers in fireworks accident. Nobody can still tell me what happened to Breshad Perriman.
You might think I’m cherry-picking, but those are huge fantasy stars–at least 25% of the 1st round. I’ve barely touched on the defensive side of the balls, which has seen stalwarts like Terrell Suggs, Dee Milliner, Alec Ogletree, and Cameron Wake. Rookies who’ve never taken the field, like Dante Fowler, James Ajayi, and David Cobb have been hit with the injury bug (not to mention the mysterious Breshad Perriman). The list seems endless.
With bye weeks and injury situations, Week 10 of 2015 is set to be one of the most volatile weeks in recent memory. That represents an opportunity for skilled owners who can take advantage of the upheaval. Scores might be down a bit, but obscure NFL players will emerge to fill the void.
Start/Sit Suggestions for NFL Games This Week
Some of the following might seem obvious, but I list them because they missed practice time earlier this week. All these fantasy football league management sites offer their own knee-jerk advice through the week, so there’s no telling what kind of wacko advice owners might be receiving. Let’s get the facts straight.
- Deangelo Williams – Tip: Start – Deangelo Williams missed Wednesday practice with a troubling foot injury, causing owners to add Jordan Todman in free agency. He made a full practice on Thursday and is a full “Go” in a choice matchup with the Cleveland Browns.
- Ben Roethlisberger – Tip: Sit – Ben Roethlisberger is going to miss 2 more weeks with a foot injury. Big Ben’s taken a lot of direct shots over the years. One has to wonder if this isn’t the beginning of a decline.
- Matt Forte – Tip: Sit – Bench Matt Forte if you have a viable second option. This is one of the key decisions of the weekend. The Bears are out of the playoff hunt. John Fox is in his 1st year as coach, so he likely won’t lose his job. Kendall Langford did well in his 1st NFL start. Forte is still questionable. I bet the team is cautious on this one. Check back on Sunday morning and reevaluate.
- Kendall Langford – Tip: Start – Only start Langford as a flex player, though. He’s a RB3 coming into Week 10. Kendall Langford should get some carries, even if Matt Forte plays. If Langford is the starter, he goes to a RB2 option.
- Todd Gurley – Tip: Start – Todd Gurley missed some time earlier this week, causing panic among some Gurley owners. He was back at Rams practice on Thursday, so he’s good-to-go. Against a below-average Bears Defense, this locomotive should continue to roll.
- Alshon Jeffrey – Tip: Start – Day-to-day with a groin injury. He’s being rested, because he’s so valuable right now with Matt Forte injury. Jeffrey has gained 100+ yards in straight game. Playing against a tough Rams pass rush, consider him a WR2 in Week 10.
- James Jones – Tip: Start – Jones was limited in practice with a quadriceps injury, but expect the resurgent James Jones to be ready in Week 10.
- Eddie Lacy – Tip: Sit – Eddie Lacy was limited in practice with a groin injury. When it’s all said and done, I bet we’ll hear in the offseason Lacy’s benching was injury-related. Trade for him in a dynasty league (for cheap), but otherwise stay away from Eddie Lacy right now.
- James Starks – Tip: Start – What a reversal of fortune. Starks is set to gain the most carries again. All those Eddie Lacy owners, I hope you added Starks as a handcuff. Given Lacy’s durability and ascendence entering the season, I bet a lot didn’t.
- Peyton Manning – Tip: Start – Peyton Manning was limited in practice again, but this is just a precaution for a 40-year old player. Start Manning, if health is a concern. Of course, you might have a better option on the bench. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
- Josh McCown – Tip: Sit – McCown missed time again Thursday. Friday is going to be the tell-tale practice, but if you’re starting Josh McCown, you’re already in trouble.
- Dez Bryant – Tip: Start – Dez Bryant was limited with a knee this week in practice. It’s a precaution. With the Buccaneers on the docket, this is a dream matchup for Dez.
- Julius Thomas – Tip: Start – He was a full “Go” in practice and sits in a suddenly pass-friendly offense. Draft the big guy for your fantasy lineup.
- Antonio Gates – Tip: Sit – Antonio Gates is in the middle of a multi-week injury cycle. Bench him for the time being.
- Willie Snead – Tip: Sit – Willie Snead missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Things can change, but if he misses Friday’s practice, definitely 100% bench Willie Snead.
- Marques Colston – Tip: Start – With bye weeks and injuries and Willie Snead “Out”, Marques Colston becomes a viable starting option. Look at his numbers and Colston is showing signs of life over the past month. Drew Brees is getting hot again, while Willie Snead is likely going to miss the game. If Snead is “Out”, start Colston as a WR3 with some upside.
- Chris Polk – Tip: Sit – Polk was limited with a knee injury. Worse, he’s now listed as the #3 running back in Houston.
- Nate Washington – Tip: Sit – Nate Washington had shown big play ability in the Texans offense recently, but he’s nursing a hip injury. Bench, unless you have the most desperate of situations.
- Breshad Perriman – Tip: Sit – The Curious Case of Breshad Perriman has become bizarre enough that John Harbaugh is starting to comment on it. With Steve Smith out for the year and Perriman mysteriously working out on the side a full 10 weeks into the season, Harbaugh said he was hoping to see Perriman for the last 4 games of the season. Meanwhile, anyone is hard-pressed to figure out why the rookie won’t at least practice. Go figure.
Players to Start in Week 10
Other players who are back to a full practice regimen are Travis Kelce, Ronnie Hillman, and CJ Anderson. Do not let injury concerns stop you from starting these players, though I would shy away from any Broncos runner right now.
Also, Julian Edelman, Calvin Johnson, and Jonathan Stewart were limited in practice, but they should be in lineups. Edelman has had a rash of TDs in recent games, while Megatron is a no-brain starter anytime he’s healthy–almost regardless of offensive situation. Jonathan Stewart plays the lowly Titans run defense, if he’s healthy.
For those wondering, Ameer Abdullah is healthy and not in the doghouse. Jim Caldwell only said Abdullah’s lack of playing time was a matter of how the game played out.
Caldwell suggested the effectiveness of Joique Bell and Theo Riddick has more to do with Ameer Abdullah’s lack of touches than anything else.
Players to Bench in Week 10
Larry Donnell will miss the Giants game this week. Victor Cruz is missing practice and not much of a starter, anyway. Bench both of them. Kendall Wright of the Titans missed a second straight practice. With a tough Panthers Defense on the docket, bench Kendall Wright.
As for Emmanuel Sanders, he’s a toss-up at the moment. He’s still Questionable with a shoulder injury. His totals haven’t been that great since he suffered the injury late in the game a couple of weeks ago. Most team owners have gotten used to starting Sanders no-matter-what, so it would be hard to bench him. Check for late-breaking injury updates before making this decision.
That should cover the biggest injury concerns going into this week. Many leagues have their final round of division play going on right now. This is a pivotal time of the year, when the last couple of bye weeks happen. If you nail the Start/Bench decisions in Week 10 and 11, it can serve as a springboard for a division title and a deep player run. Gentlemen, good luck.