FANTASY PLAYS: Waiver picks to help stay ahead of injuries
Fantasy football is a game of attrition. If your team can stay relatively healthy, your odds of winning increase dramatically.
Each and every week, fantasy owners hope and pray that their players don’t end up getting hurt and missing time. Injuries are why it’s so important to have depth on your team — you just never know when you will lose several key players.
Life won’t get much easier in Week 6 as Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Seattle take the week off. This means you’ll need replacements for players like LeSean McCoy, A.J. Green, Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin.
Running backs are always valuable on the waiver wire but with injuries to wide receivers such as Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepherd, DeVante Parker and potentially Jordy Nelson, you may end up paying a premium for receivers this week, too.
SAM BRADFORD, QB, Minnesota Vikings (41 percent owned in CBS Sports leagues)
Bradford took a majority of first team snaps by week’s end and seems likely to start Monday night in Chicago. But even if he misses the game, he should definitely be back for a tasty matchup at home versus Green Bay on Sunday. While he hasn’t played since Week 1 due to a bruised knee, we can’t ignore that he was extremely impressive in that game with a final stat line of 27-32 for 346 yards and three scores. The Packers pass defense is one of the worst in the NFL and will have a tough time containing Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph. Bradford could be the perfect replacement for Prescott or Wilson.
MARLON MACK, RB, Indianapolis Colts (22 percent)
After a two-week absence due to a shoulder injury, Mack came back with a vengeance Sunday with 91 yards rushing and a touchdown. Frank Gore will likely still be the starting RB but Mack is likely to eat into more and more of his playing time as the season progresses. Even with Gore starting, don’t shy away from Mack. Most teams use some kind of time share at running back and the Colts won’t be any different. There is also the added bonus that Andrew Luck is back practicing and could return to the starting role in a few weeks. Once he does, opposing defenses will be much more worried about the passing game and running room should open up.
ALFRED MORRIS (23 percent) and Darren McFadden (22 percent), RB, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys won’t play this week because of the bye but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any news coming out of Dallas. It is expected the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals will announce its decision about whether or not the NFL can suspend Elliott by the end of the week. If Elliott is suspended, both Morris and McFadden’s values will explode. But who will start in his absence? Morris has backed up Elliott all season long while McFadden has been a healthy scratch but that doesn’t mean the starting job will go to Morris. It may not matter, as whoever the Cowboys name the starter won’t be used like Elliott. They would both have value and may split the role evenly or Dallas may just go with the hot hand each week.
ROGER LEWIS, WR, New York Giants (0 percent)
The Giants were devastated at the WR position on Sunday with ankle injuries to all three starting receivers. Beckham is likely lost for the season as he needs surgery to fix a fractured ankle. Lewis automatically becomes valuable with that loss, but if Marshall and/or Shepherd are out of the lineup, too, there won’t be anyone left for Eli Manning to throw to with the exception of Lewis. Fantasy owners should be hoping that not only can they win their claim for Lewis but that at least one of Shepherd and Marshall can also line up to play Sunday in Denver.
JARON BROWN (50 percent) and JOHN BROWN (40 percent), WR, Arizona Cardinals
It’s certainly difficult to trust either one of these players as they are extremely inconsistent, but the opportunities for success should be there for both players. The Cardinals are a bad team. They have little to no running game and will be trailing in games more often than not. This will lead to quite a bit of passing in the second half. Sometimes when it comes to judging the likely success of a fantasy player, all we can ask for is the opportunity to succeed.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com